New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” finds that by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system “into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years.”
In the best-case scenario PNNL modeled, with atmospheric carbon Read more…
Can the Arctic ice survive the ‘Big Heat’? NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
We probably have less than five years before we witness the ‘Big Heat’ – a supercharged surge of rapid global warming, destabilizing the climate system in deeply unpredictable ways.
Forget the so-called ‘pause’ in global warming-new research says we might be in for an era of deeply accelerated heating.
While the rate of atmospheric warming in recent years has, indeed, slowed due to various natural weather cycles – hence the skeptics’ droning on about ‘pauses’ – global warming, as a whole, has not stopped.
Far from it. It’s actually sped up, dramatically, as excess heat has absorbed into the oceans. We’ve only begun to realize the extent of this phenomenon in recent years, after scientists developed new technologies capable of measuring ocean temperatures with a depth and precision that was previously lacking.
In 2011, a paper in Geophysical Research Letters tallied up the total warming data from land, air, ice, and the oceans. In 2012, the lead author of that study, oceanographer John Church, updated his research. What Church found was shocking: in recent decades, climate change Read more…
The warmth that led 2014 to become the hottest year on record has continued into 2015, with last month ranking as the second-hottest January on record globally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.
Global ocean temperature data and rankings for 2014.
Click image to enlarge. Credit: NOAA
“I think it is safe to say that the warmth so far in 2015 really is a continuation of the warmth in 2014,” NOAA climatologist Jake Crouch said in an email.
The past month was 1.39°F above the 20th century average of 53.6°F, second only to 2007 in the agency’s records, which go back to 1880. The Japan Meteorological Agency had January 2015 tied with both January 2002 and 2007, while NASA data put the month in a tie for third with 2002, behind 2007 as the hottest and Read more…
A senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, Jane Long, has warned Florida residents that global warming will lead to them being under water. The remarks were made at a recent three-day conference targeting journalists and addressing the issue of global warming and worldwide climate change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Though there was discussion of global climate change, Florida was a hot topic as presenters discussed the consequences of rising sea levels. Leonard Berry, a professor at Florida Atlantic University and also a presenter at the conference told his audience “(c)limate change for us in Florida is not a future problem….it’s a current problem.” Berry used photos from 2012 flooding to demonstrate his point.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a rise in sea level of one to two feet by the middle of this century and a rise in sea level of four to six feet by the end of this century. According to Berry, cities like Tampa Bay have “major problems at three feet.” He attributes Florida’s particular vulnerabiliy to both sea level rise from global warming and the presence of Full Article Here
The fire currently burning in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California, isn’t particularly large: As of the latest Forest Service report, it has burned 769 acres and is 20 percent contained.
Nor is it particularly damaging: So far, 22 buildings or structures have been destroyed by the fire. (One was the fire chief’s home.) Compare that with the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego county, which destroyed 2,820 structures.
However, it is markedly unseasonal: The California wildfire season was pronounced over on October 31, 2013. But of course, it isn’t over.
In general, western wildfire seasons are getting longer. Thomas Tidwell, chief of the US Forest Service, said so directly in recent congressional testimony, noting that “the length of the fire season has increased by over two months since the 1970s.”
And of course, it doesn’t help that the Big Sur area is currently experiencing drought conditions.
It is also worth pointing out that for the state of California, seven of its 10 largest fires have occurred since the year 2000, including this year’s Rim Fire, the third largest in state history.
Here’s a helpful infographic from the Union of Concerned Scientists, showing just how much fire seasons are lengthening: Read more…
Here’s a definition that should send chills down the spines of investors: “An unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” This sums up a black swan event. Nassim Nicholas Taleb mainstreamed the concept through his writings. His points became particularly topical through his book, The Black Swan, around the time of the financial crisis — a major, destructive event that many people found unexpected and, beforehand, maybe even impossible.
There’s a similar risk brewing on the horizon. Climate change could be the next black swan event that causes an ugly ripple effect through our lives and economies. The majority of current investment strategy comes up short on modeling, even considering that this as a legitimate concern, at least for our lifetimes.
Here’s a lesson in extreme irony: The term originated when people didn’t believe black swans existed at all. Because no one had ever seen one, it certainly looked as if Read more…
By 2100, extreme heat waves could cover 80 percent of the globe
Hundreds of thousands of East Coasters suffered through hot and sticky climates for much of July, as temperatures reached record highs in some places. Although these types of extreme heat waves are unusual, they will become more frequent and severe across the globe in the next 30 years, and there’s nothing that can be done about it, according to a new study from a team of international researchers.
Most environmental and climate researchers believe that extreme heat waves are the result of global warming and high levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. But no matter what actions are taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, intense summer heat waves are expected to Read more…