Sunday, March 20, 2016

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: lots of fluctuation, record hottest recently, and most important: the trend is going up.

Ocean Temperatures

Our biosphere includes oceans as well as atmosphere.  The oceans are heating up even more:

93% of the heat from greenhouse gases is going into the oceans.  This can have an even worse impact on the planet.  I've discussed this here and here and here.  Not much is mention in the media about the ocean temperatures, but they cannot be ignored.

Sea Levels

As I've pointed out in the past, the rise in sea levels, which will happen whatever we do about greenhouse gases, is our most immediate serious consequence of warming, consequences that are occurring now, and will get far worse in the next couple of decades.

What is important to understand that even a few inches in increase in sea level is going to have profound effects on ocean front flooding and damage from hurricanes and extreme weather.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days 
Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.
Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.
Here are flood days for three American cities,

Greenland Ice Sheet

One of the important sources of the rise in the sea level is the melting of land ice.
Here’s the change in the amount of ice in the Greenland ice sheet, measured by a satellite mission called “GRACE” (for “Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment”):

It’s not just the great ice sheets that are melting, so are the world’s glaciers. Notall of them are wasting away, you can find a few that are actually growing … but the vast majority are disappearing right before our eyes. A recent survey by the world glacier monitoring service produced this summary for different regions of the world:

Not only are the vast majority of the world’s glaciers melting, they’ve recently been shrinking even faster.

Arctic Sea Ice

I've discussed Arctic Ice on several occasions, herehere and here.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

And finally, the smoking gun