Climate Name Change "Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. As scientific evidence shows that climate change is creating increasingly frequent and devastating storms, and with climate scientists declaring these extreme weather events as the new normal, we propose a new naming system. A system that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy."
A new meta-analysis finds that extreme changes in temperature increase the likelihood of inter-group conflict. (SLA)
The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
A new article in Nature warns that "the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge", thanks in part to the likely release of "a 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates" beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, "either steadily over 50 years or suddenly". An abrupt release is "highly possible at any time", says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who has observed plumes of methane up to a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface in the area. [more inside]
"University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello." Direct Vimeo link.
The last decade (2001-2010) was the warmest on record. According to The UN World Metereological Organisation's report, the average land and ocean-surface temperature for 2001-2010 was estimated to be 14.47°C, or 0.47°C above the 1961-1990 global average and +0.21°C above the 1991-2000 global average (with a factor of uncertainty of ± 0.1°C).
"Portland cement is the source of the “glue” that holds most modern concrete together. But making it releases carbon from burning fuel, needed to heat a mix of limestone and clays to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) – and from the heated limestone (calcium carbonate) itself. Monteiro’s team found that the Romans, by contrast, used much less lime and made it from limestone baked at 900˚ C (1,652˚ F) or lower, requiring far less fuel than Portland cement." -- How Berkeley Lab scientists discovered the secret of Roman concrete's durability and how it could help make modern concrete more environmentally friendly.
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped. [more inside]
Joseph Tomaras reflects on the Mauna Loa data and concludes that the main tasks of the moment are neither political nor economic, but ethical or moral. [more inside]
Explore different views into this global timelapse built from global, annual composites of Landsat satellite images. Watch change across the planet's surface beginning as early as 1984. See Vegas grow! Rainforests Shrink! Coastlines expand, and lakes vanish!
Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
When conservative pundits write about climate change, they're more likely to mention Al Gore than science.
Recent posts here, here and here discuss a growing sense that climate change is going to be worse than we thought. A link to Charles Stross's musing on a future that included climate change was discussed on MeFi here. But Kim Stanley Robinson asks a slightly different question: If capitalism is the driver of climate change, what happens next? What does post-capitalism look like?
Gunnar Garfors is on a mission to travel to all 198* countries in the world. As of today, he's at 196. [more inside]
Key to slowing/stalling/reversal of desertification and climate change? More cows (sort of). Holistic Management advocate and biologist Allan Savory, co-founder of the Savory Institute, discusses the counterintuitive tactic of allowing large herds of animals to free-roam marginal lands. [more inside]
The prospects of keeping climate change below that (2-degree goal) are fading away. Scientists track carbon pollution both by monitoring what comes out of factories and what winds up in the atmosphere. Both are rising at rates faster than worst-case scenarios that climate scientists used in their most recent international projections.
With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
"A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs. So, a paper about a tendency among this group to believe in conspiracy theories was met by … a conspiracy theory." - Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set [more inside]
Himileia Vastatrix, colloquially known as Roya or coffee rust, outbreaks are occurring at a frightening pace in Central America. Coffee futures and associated prices for specialty coffees, especially from small family-run farms are expected to rise, drastically, on top of a lower estimated harvest. [more inside]
US Carbon Dioxide emissions in 2012 were at their lowest levels since 1994 According to the the Business Council on Sustainable Energy. [more inside]
Melting Point Greenland has some sublime hi-def video of, well, Greenland melting. The summer 2012 melt was unprecedented, it alone rose global sea-levels by 1mm. The scientist-run blog Greenland Melting is following. Why Greenland's melting could be the biggest climate disaster of all.
How can we get CO2 out of the atmosphere? Get it out of the sea first. Making jet fuel from seawater is a pretty cool -- albeit energy intensive -- trick. But applying the same science to scrub CO2 out of seawater, where it is more densely concentrated than in the atmosphere -- and, by doing so, to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2 back to acceptable levels -- that's a game saver.
"what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? . . . we would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of America’s 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess it’s a question of priorities."
...and the news ain't good: "Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming." Overview letter is here, Executive Summary is here, and the full download is here. [WARNING: Full download runs to 147MB).
It's so hot in Australia they've added a new color to the weather map, a Tasmania-sized deep purple blob 50 degrees or more (123 F). In the USA 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded, smashing through previous records by a healthy margin. 2012 was also the second-worst on a measure called the Climate Extremes Index, surpassed only by 1998. Globally, 2012 is expected to be ranked as the eighth-warmest year on record, with that announcement coming later in the month. "Climate change has had a role in this,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA.
"It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice."
At Cambridge University, the Project for Existential Risk is considering threats to humankind caused by developing technologies. It will be developing a prospectus for the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, to be launched by the Astronomer Royal, a co-founder of Skype and the Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy. More detail from the university, while the news excites some journalists. [more inside]
As if ticks weren't awful/awesome enough already, the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) has been shown to transmit an allergy to meat in humans. [more inside]
In a report released [Tuesday], the World Bank analyzed the consequences of allowing temperatures to reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. ... the report's authors admit that predications are a challenge. Still, they do their best to try to paint a picture, and boy, is it grim.
Searching for Doggerland. "For decades North Sea boatmen have been dragging up traces of a vanished world in their nets. Now archaeologists are asking a timely question: What happens to people as their homeland disappears beneath a rising tide?"
October 2012 is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. State of the Climate: Global Analysis October 2012 (NOAA). While $50 billion Sandy has had the spotlight, the biggest natural disaster of 2012 (in the US) has been the Great Drought still ongoing which is expected to cut America's GDP by 0.5 to 1% for the year. The death toll from the heat waves that accompanied this year's drought will exceed that of Sandy. This Sunday and Monday, Ken Burns premiers his new documentary "The Dust Bowl", on PBS. (via)
I love a sun-powered country, A land of deepening mines, of ragged nuclear plants, of biomass and hydropower
While developed countries are pondering whether they should sign up to The Kyoto 2 Protocol and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020, based on 2000 levels which may be of questionable impact, the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau has ditched its primary source of electricity generation, costly diesel imports, in favour of 100% renewable solar power, becoming the first nation in the world to do so, at a time when the global energy systems of the 21C are struggling towards decarbonisation. [more inside]
A new study in which researchers have compared the last 10 years of actual climate data with the world's most sophisticated climate simulations and found the models predicting the most extreme global warming have been the most accurate in predicting the actual climate over the last 10 years. That means if those models continue to hold true, the world could be in for a devastating worst case of 4 to 6 degrees C by 2100. There are scientists who lay out the logic why human civilization could not survive. "If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving." (Previously; via)
Meet The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia"Ken Mampel, an unemployed, 56-year-old Floridian, is in large part the creator of the massive Hurricane Sandy Wikipedia page. He's also the reason that, for nearly a week, the page had no mention of climate change."
The vanishing groves: A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine.
The tragedy of climate change: the UK Pig Association is warning that due to droughts causing high pig food prices, a global bacon shortage is now unavoidable.
In 2003, the BBC reported that a population explosion of Great Gerbils had destroyed more than 4 million hectares of grasslands in China's north-western Xinjiang region -- an area about the size of Switzerland. By 2005 the damage covered 5 million hectares, and the Xinjuang Regional Headquarters for Controlling Locusts and Rodents were reported to be breeding and attracting pairs of golden eagles to curb the gerbil population. So McSweeney's Joshuah Bearman was assigned to the story. His report: An Investigation Into Xinjiang's Growing Swarm of Great Gerbils, Which May or May Not be Locked in a Death-Struggle With the Golden Eagle, With Important Parallels and/or Implications Regarding Koala Bears, The Pied Piper, Spongmonkeys, Cane Toads, Black Death, [and] Text-Messaging..
While the 2007 IPCC report showed Arctic sea-ice still present in 2100, it is now an unfolding "global disaster" according to Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams. Climate Code Red summarizes the science, saying the sea-ice is "in a 'death spiral' and likely to be gone in summer within a few years" ... "The sea-ice volume is now down to just one-fifth of what it was in 1979", and paints a newly emerging, rapidly worsening climate picture, urging climate scientists to sound the alarm on new data showing a world on the brink of dramatic tipping points, far sooner than anyone anticipated
Several measures of Arctic ice cover have hit record lows. Melting usually continues into September, so this year’s minimum should be below the 2007 record. The rate of melting far exceeds that predicted by most models. Predictions of when the Arctic might be entirely ice-free at the summer minimum are being brought sharply forwards.
Is climate change causing our recent extreme weather events? (pdf). A panel of eminent climate scientists lays out the current state of what we know, and what we don't know yet, in this forthcoming paper. Jason Samenow (of the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog) nicely summarizes the key points. [more inside]
NASA's James Hansen has been called the "godfather" of climate warming, largely because of his long record of major publications on the topic. He is also a determined climate activist, protesting, blockading, and demanding (PDF) that immediate action be taken to deal effectively with the issue, while using his science to advance his case. Recently, he and 2 colleagues effectively contradicted the widespread view that individual extreme weather events cannot be directly linked with observed climate warming, using extreme high temperatures as an example. [additional earlier and new (PDF) information]. (See previous (PDF) related work by others.) Several climate experts have attacked Hansen's activism and his science (PDF). Does his activism make James Hansen a bad scientist? (Related previous posts here and here, now peer-reviewed and published.)
In the five day period between July 8th and July 12th, Greenland saw a dramatic and unprecedentedly rapid thawing across 97% of its surface ice cover. Initially, NASA and other experts questioned the satellite data, viewing such a rapid melting as too unlikely to be true, but NASA has since confirmed the results. [more inside]
Was climate science the real reason the strategic dynamos on the UVA board wanted president Teresa Sullivan gone? The fund manager behind the coup is "very, very angry" that I would even ask… In a three-part series (1, 2, 3) of muckraking blog posts, journalist Moe Tkacik investigates the possibility that the failed ouster of President Teresa Sullivan from the University of Virginia (previously) might have been motivated not by vague conflicts over Internet-based distance learning, as had been speculated — but instead by global-warming-denial politics, with the coup plotters on the Board opposing Sullivan over the hire of climate scientist Michael Mann (previously).
Could global warming become an election issue? After the extreme weather last year and the likelihood that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature (which it almost has), it's possible that hot weather could become politically noticeable. Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to this poll (and this other poll and this other poll.) Obama has said that climate change and the money being thrown into the denial of science is one of the most important issues in the coming campaign discussion. but Romney doesn't know.
Yesterday Australia joined many developed nations in putting a price on carbon pollution (fixed at $23/tonne CO2e for three years) (prev). Despite extensive compensation, this moderate economic reform has proved enormously unpopular ("based on a lie") and is expected to be repealed if/when the Federal Opposition are returned to government.
"Climate change will take on a life of it's own and spiral out of control. Something like half the earth's currently-inhabited land would become too hot to survive on. I don't mean it's difficult to grow beans, or your air-conditioning bills are inconveniently high. I mean, if you go outside you die of hotness. Places that were an average of 80F will now be an average of 170, 180F. Will there still be human civilization under those circumstances?" - a TEDx talk on The Brutal Logic of Climate Change, by David Roberts of grist.org