Showing posts from March, 2016

A Trek in Polar Bear Country

I just read a Kindle "single", Meltdown:  Terror at the Top of the World.  It's about a subarctic trek in polar bear country in Northern Canada organized by a couple who has done many of such treks joined by four other backpackers.  It ends pretty much right away with one of them severely injured by a polar bear.  But that is not what is to be taken away from the story.  The real story is what global warming is doing to the bears, to the Arctic, and to other wildlife trying to survive there.

Some of what is happening there is like what is happening in our yard.  Spring is coming earlier and plants are flowering, but before the bees and flying insects are available for fertilization.  The plants and the flying insects are going to have to adapt, change their reproductive cycles, but some may not and will disappear.

Just so, things like that are happening the Arctic and subArctic.  The polar bears are at the top of a complex food chain that is being disrupted by global wa…

Current Global Warming Basics

Here is a summary of the basic impacts of global warming on our biosphere.  I present here the quick view.  More discussion at that site.

Atmospheric Temperatures

Here’s the global average temperature each month from January 1880 through January 2016, according to data from NASA:

The red dot marks the most recent value, January 2016. It’s the hottest yet.
Here is the secular trend:

I have discussed measuring the trend from 1998 to present here and here.  There can be no question atmospheric temperatures and rising.

NASA isn’t the only organization that tracks global temperature. There’s also the National Climate Data Center, the Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K., a modified form from the Univ. of York in the U.K., independent data from a team organized by researchers from Berkeley Univ. in California, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, just to name the best-known. It would be redundant to show you data from all these organizations, because they all tell the same story: l…

Freak Winter Warmth in the Arctic and Russia

Notwithstanding the snow on the first day of spring in the Northeast, we have had the warmest winter on record.  In particular Alaska and parts of Russia skipped winter:

Parts of Russia, eastern Europe and Alaska saw temperatures that were more than 5 degrees Celsius, or about 9 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1981-2010 average, NOAA found. This was "beyond the upper bounds" of NOAA's temperature anomalies map, meaning that the agency ran out of colors to communicate the freak warmth.Ordinarily the Iditarod sled dog race begins in Anchorage, but this year 350 dumb truck loads of snow were brought in for the ceremonial beginning and the beginning of the race was moved 70 miles further north to Willow.  Probably not the last year this will happen.  In fact more likely they will have to move it further north as time goes on.

More Quakes

There was a quake yesterday at the north end of the Pacific Subduction Zone, and another one two weeks ago.  In looking over my list of quakes over the last year, nearly all of them were either at the north end by Vancouver Island, and the south end by Ferndale, California.  This worries me a little. The center part of the Zone appears to be locked.  Here is a plot of quakes over the last 40 years or so that confirms my impression:

Thus the northern and southern ends seem to be moving, but the center part looks like it is storing up a possibly tremendous amount of energy.  In my list over the last year just two of the magnitude 5+ quakes have occurred off of the Oregon Coast.  But the plate north of that seems to have none.  I've reported an average of one quake on the Subduction Zone about once a month which I felt reassured me that energy is being dissipated a little at a time, but now I'm not so reassured about big one being far off.

UW Climate Change Video Contest For H.S. and College Students

Video contest challenges students to creatively define climate changeFirst-place teams in both age categories will win $5,000, second-place finishers will get $1,000 and third-place contestants will win $500. The contest runs until April 4, and is open to any student in the state who wants to enter as an individual or as part of a team. Contest organizers encourage creativity, originality and a powerful message for each submission. Videos can take many different forms — claymation, music video, stand-up comedy routine and mini documentary, to name a few. The contest creators write: “Climate change is already shaping the world you’ll inherit. It will impact all aspects of society and the environment, affecting each of us in a variety of ways.” To that end, students are challenged to express how they feel about a changing climate, and the impacts, challenges and solutions associated with climate change in their neighborhoods, cities, state, nation and world.Last spring, in the contest’s…

Republican Heads In The Sand

As I've pointed out, a certain outcome of global warming is a rise in sea level, very likely at least two feet in the next fifteen years. Moreover starting now the few centimeters rise in the sea level is having serious consequences for lowlying areas, and each year will get worse.

Twenty Florida Mayors approached the Republican Candidates for President to discuss their positions on climate change.  Measures must be taken immediately to avoid catastrophic consequences to Florida's coastal cities.
When the question came: “Climate change means rising ocean levels, which in south Florida means flooding, downtown and our neighborhoods. It’s an every day problem in our neighborhoods. As president, will you pledge to do something about it?”

And the answer, for the Republican field, was no.

Florida is considered one of the most at-risk states to the effects of climate change, including, of course, rising sea level, which is dooming Miami. The Republican avoidance of global warming is …

26 Years Of Arctic Sea Ice Loss


Warmest Winter Ever

Better get used to it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Tuesday that this was the warmest winter ever recorded for the 48 contiguous states in the 122 years records have been kept. Alaska had its second warmest winter. This followed the warmest fall ever for the contiguous states. And the hottest year on record. And it appears last month was probably the hottest February on record.

New Results From Satellite Data On Global Warming

When asked about global warming, Ted Cruz answered citing deniers favorite satellite data, RSS, claiming no increase in atmospheric temperatures in the last 18 years.  As noted by SkepticalScience,
RSS had the only data that could remotely support Senator Cruz’s argument. Surface and ocean temperatures have warmed, ice has melted, sea levels have risen, species have been forced to migrate, spring has begun earlier, and so on.  Even other estimates of the atmospheric temperature, of the same satellite data by scientists at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), and by weather balloons, indicate that the atmosphere is warming. Ted Cruz cherry picked RSS because it was the lone outlier that seemed to support his preferred argument against the need to take action to mitigate the risks posed by human-caused global warming.  I commented on the RSS data a year ago.  I used a type of analysis developed in economics, LOESS, or locally reweighted regression, which relaxes the linear assu…

More On Damage From Sea Level Increasing

A new study has come out showing that there's more to worry about than just the sea level rising.
The authors of this study note that if you are concerned about societal and economic costs, the rate of sea rise isn’t the entire story. Much of the damage is caused by extreme events that are superimposed on a rising ocean. Damage is highly nonlinear with sea rise.  [A]s we warm the planet we are raising the baseline level of water from which extremes happen. Second, we are making some extreme weather events more likely. To measure the changes to extreme events in the future, the authors use a statistical method to estimate economic losses from coastal flooding. Using Copenhagen and other locations as test cases, they found that economic losses double when water rises only 11 cm. They also find that the costs rise faster than sea level rise itself. So, if we expect a linear increase in sea level over the next century, we should anticipate costs that increase more rapidly.