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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

NOAA: 2012 shows climate change with record sea-level rise, Arctic melting, heated-up oceans

August 7, 2013 Comments off
washingtonpost.com

2012 arctic ice meltWASHINGTON — 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…

Colorado climber now documenting retreat of Himalayan glaciers

August 6, 2013 Comments off

denverpost.com

By John Meyer

The Main Rongbuk Glacier, shot in Tibet by David Breashears in 2007. When compared with the 1921 photo shot by George Mallory, below, it clearly shows how much the glacier receded in 86 years. Breashears is a former Denver climber who has summited Everest five times. (David Breashears, 2007, Special to The Denver Post)

This year marks two major anniversaries in the history of Mount Everest. It has been 60 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach its summit, and 50 years since the first five Americans did it, including the epic first ascent of the West Ridge by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld.

David Breashears, who was deeply inspired by Hornbein and Unsoeld as a teenager in Denver, became an iconic rock climber in Eldorado Canyon in the 1970s and went on to make history of his own on Everest. Now he’s more concerned about a different kind of history being made there.

The glaciers around Everest and throughout the Himalayas are receding rapidly.

“They are the ultimate canary in the mine,” said Breashears, who Read more…

The Climate Is Set to Change ‘Orders of Magnitude’ Faster Than at Any Other Time in the Past 65 Million Years

August 3, 2013 Comments off

theatlantic.com

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…

Violence will rise as climate changes, scientists predict

August 2, 2013 2 comments

latimes.com

Death Valley

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…

Wars in prospect as climate change stirs unrest, UN told

February 15, 2013 Comments off
Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

The seeds of conflict take root.

This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.

Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialised countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.

In the Marshall Islands — site of US nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s and now being lost to Read more…

Arctic Soil Releases Dangerous Levels of CO2, Speeding Global Warming

February 12, 2013 Comments off

scienceworldreport.com

Arctic

(Photo : Reuters) Global warming has caused scientists to worry as permafrost melts, releasing a vast amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and further perpetuating the problem.

For most of the year, the Arctic is frozen: its hard-packed tundra and ice forming solid ground. In fact, some of that ice never melts in what is known as permafrost, which stays solid all year. Now, global warming has caused scientists to worry as permafrost melts, releasing a vast amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and further perpetuating the problem.

Flooding triggered by melting snow washes vast amounts of carbon-rich soil from the land into the water. These waters contain most of the carbon that is currently being released from melting permafrost. Permafrost itself contains years of collected organic matter and when it collapses, it exposes new layers of soil to sunlight. Once this carbon is exposed, it is then oxidized by bacteria and produces CO2. In fact, scientists estimate that carbon from Read more…

Record snow in a warming world? The science is clear

February 10, 2013 1 comment

dailyclimate.org

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.”

blizzard walker

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.

Super-saturated air

The science behind this is Read more…

Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change

January 22, 2013 Comments off

phys.org

pastorurimelt.jpgGlaciers in the tropical Andes have been retreating at increasing rate since the 1970s, scientists write in the most comprehensive review to date of Andean glacier observations. The researchers blame the melting on rising temperatures as the region has warmed about 0.7°C over the past 50 years (1950-1994). This unprecedented retreat could affect water supply to Andean populations in the near future. These conclusions are published today in The Cryosphere, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

The international team of scientists – uniting researchers from Europe, South America and the US – shows in the new paper that, since the 1970s, glaciers in tropical Andes have been melting at a rate unprecedented in the past 300 years. Globally, glaciers have been retreating at a moderate pace as the planet warmed after the peak of the Little Ice Age, a cold period lasting from the 16th to the mid-19th century. Over the past few decades, however, the rate of melting has increased steeply in the tropical Andes. Glaciers in the mountain range have shrunk by an average of 30-50% since the 1970s, according Read more…

Global increase in record-breaking monthly-mean temperatures

January 22, 2013 Comments off

springer.com  legalbrief

The last decade has produced record-breaking heat waves in many parts of the world. At the same time, it was globally the warmest since sufficient measurements started in the 19th century. Here we show that, worldwide, the number of local record-breaking monthly temperature extremes is now on average five times larger than expected in a climate with no long-term warming. This implies that on average there is an 80 % chance that a new monthly heat record is due to climatic change. Large regional differences exist in the number of observed records. Summertime records, which are associated with prolonged heat waves, increased by more than a factor of ten in some continental regions including parts of Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Amazonia. Overall, these high record numbers are quantitatively consistent with those expected for the observed climatic warming trend with Read more…

Not Even Close: 2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S.

January 10, 2013 Comments off

nytimes.com

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A dry section of the Morse Reservoir in Cicero, Ind., in July.

The numbers are in: 2012, the year of a surreal March heat wave, a severe drought in the Corn Belt and a huge storm that caused broad devastation in the Middle Atlantic States, turns out to have been the hottest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States.

How hot was it? The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.

If that does not sound sufficiently impressive, consider that 34,008 daily high records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows, according to a count maintained by the Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton, using federal temperature records.

That ratio, which was roughly in Read more…