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Global climate report for 2012 full of warning signs

Strongest climate signals coming from Arctic and extreme weather events

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Many parts of the globe reported record and near-record temps in June 2013.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Some of the most compelling signs of global warming impacts continued to come from the Arctic in 2012, where sea ice extent reached a record low and Greenland experienced record surface melting last summer.

Another worrying sign is the warming in permafrost regions, where significant thawing could release a new surge of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that would intensify warming.

The average global temperature for the year was among the top-10 warmest on record, and other climate observations also are consistent with what to expect in a warming world, according to climate experts who released the 2012 State of the Climate report this week. Continue reading

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Is it time for a national climate summit?

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Ominous skies during last summer’s horrific Colorado wildfire season. Bob Berwyn photo.

Science, conservation groups call for high-level talks on addressing climate challenges

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Citing damage from intense storms like Sandy, more intense and frequent wildfires and prolonged droughts, a coalition of national groups, including the American Meteorological Society and the American Fisheries Society, are calling for a national, science-based climate summit.

In a Feb. 8 letter to President Bararck Obama, the groups said the summit “would be designed to identify policies and actions that can be taken by each Federal agency and by state and local governments to address the causes and effects of climate change.”

Other groups signing on to the letter include: Society for Conservation Biology, Society for Ecological Restoration, The Wildlife Society and the Ecological Society of America. Continue reading

Study suggests more intense hurricanes in coming decades

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NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Sandy battering the U.S. East coast on Oct. 29 Image courtesy of NASA GOES Project.

More CO2 equals more powerful st0rms

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The combination of more atmospheric carbon dioxide and less particulate pollution could result in a steady increase in the intensity of North Atlantic hurricanes, according University of Iowa researcher Gabriele Villarini, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering

The study is a compilation of results from some of the best available climate computer models of climate, said Villarini, who is also an assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering. Villarini conducted the study with Gabriel Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continue reading

Global warming: American Meteorological Society says there’s no room for doubt on climate change

‘Prudence dictates extreme care’

Global July temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record. Graphic courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While there are still a few prominent TV weather announcers who publicly question the overwhelming body of global warming science, the American Meteorological Society has updated its official position on climate change, acknowledging unequivocally “that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.”

“This statement is the result of hundreds of hours of work by many AMS members over the past year,” said AMS executive director Keith Seitter. “It was a careful and thorough process with many stages of review, and one that included the opportunity for input from any AMS member before the draft was finalized,” Seitter said. The full statement is online at the AMS website.

After describing in detail what’s known about climate change, the AMS statement ends with a poignant warning: “Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life.” Continue reading

Climate: Extreme rainfall events increasingly common

Increased atmospheric water vapor seen as key ingredient

Extreme rainfall events have increased in the past few decades.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Parts of the U.S. have seen clear statistical trends more extreme precipitation events in the past few decades, according to a new paper from the American Meteorological Society based on extensive research from federal and state agencies, as well as academic sources.

Increased water vapor in the atmosphere, as outlined by many climate change models, may be one of the key factors in the the observed changes, according to the researchers, who said that weren’t able to measure statistically significant changes in severe thunderstorms.

But for extreme precipitation, “there is strong evidence for a nationally-averaged upward trend in the frequency and intensity of events,” the paper concludes. About 76 percent of all stations reported increases in extreme precipitation. Continue reading

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