WASHINGTON — A new massive federal study says the world in 2012 sweltered with continued signs of climate change. Rising sea levels, snow melt, heat buildup in the oceans, and melting Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheets, all broke or nearly broke records, but temperatures only sneaked into the top 10.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday issued a peer-reviewed 260-page report, which agency chief Kathryn Sullivan calls its annual “checking on the pulse of the planet.” The report, written by 384 scientists around the world, compiles data already released, but it puts them in context of what’s been happening to Earth over decades.
“It’s critically important to compile a big picture,” National Climatic Data Center director Tom Karl says. “The signs that we see are of a warming world.”
Sullivan says what is noticeable “are remarkable changes in key climate indicators,” mentioning dramatic spikes in ocean heat content, a record melt of Arctic sea ice in the summer, and Read more…
Some of the earliest clues scientists had that Earth’s climate has changed over time were mismatches between the fossil record and a current ecosystem. How could this palm tree have grown in Wyoming? Why have fossils of the tropical breadfruit tree been found as far north as Greenland? These cold places must have once been warm and wet. The world is not as it has always been.
And somehow, despite the tumult, species adapted, moving thousands of miles to habitats where they could survive. Won’t species today just do the same as temperatures rise in the years ahead?
It seems they may not have the chance. A new paper in the journal Science finds that Read more…
A child cooks shrimp and an egg in a frying pan heated by a manhole cover on a hot summer day on July 31 in Jinan, China. It has been so hot that eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard burst into flames in one of the worst heat waves in 140 years. AP
SHANGHAI (AP) – It’s been so hot in China that folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself.
The heat wave — the worst in at least 140 years in some parts — has left dozens of people dead and pushed thermometers above 104 degrees F in at least 40 cities and counties, mostly in the south and east. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a “level 2″ weather emergency — a label normally invoked for typhoons and flooding.
“It is just hot! Like in a food steamer!” 17-year-old student Xu Sichen said outside the doors of a shopping mall in the southern financial hub of Shanghai while her friend He Jiali, also 17, complained that her Read more…
Death Valley in July. (David McNew / Getty Images / July 14, 2013)
By Monte Morin
Long before scientists began to study global warming, author Raymond Chandler described the violent effects of dry, “oven-hot” Santa Ana winds gusting through the city of Los Angeles.
“Every booze party ends in a fight,” he wrote in his 1938 story “Red Wind.” “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks. Anything can happen.”
While social commentators have long suggested that extreme heat can unleash the beast in man, formal study of the so-called heat hypothesis — the theory that high temperatures fuel aggressive and violent behavior — is relatively new. Using examples as disparate as road rage, ancient wars and Major League Baseball, scientists have taken early steps to quantify the potential Read more…
By Marlene Cimons
As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn’t real.
The reality is that such snowstorms often don’t occur despite global warming, but because of it.
They would be wrong.
“Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “As long as it’s cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls.”
The reality is that such snowstorms often don’t occur despite global warming, but because of it. “It’s basic physics, and it’s irrefutable,” Mann said.
The science behind this is Read more…