Climate: Shift in Pacific Ocean pattern likely to drive global temperatures to new record highs

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Global temperatures could surge in the next few years as the Pacific Ocean shifts to a warm phase.

‘In the long term, there is robust evidence of unabated global warming ..’

Staff Report

FRISCO — A shift in a decadal-scale cycle of Pacific Ocean temperatures could lead to a spike in global warming the next few years, climate researchers said after tracking a subsurface layer of unusually warm water in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The layer, between 300 and 1,000 feet below the surface, has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized, according to climate researchers from UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who published their finding in the journal Science.

“Given the fact the Pacific Decadal Oscillation seems to be shifting to a warm phase, ocean heating in the Pacific will definitely drive a major surge in global surface warming,” said Veronica Nieves, lead author of the study and a UCLA researcher with the UCLA Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering. Continue reading

Climate: Does solar activity drive North Atlantic currents?

A new study found that Greenland temperatures fell from the 1970s through the early 1990s while temperatures across much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere rose. This map shows the average difference in surface temperatures between 1920-1940 and 1975-1995. Grey areas indicate regions where not enough data was available to calculate long-term temperature changes. Credit: Takuro Kobashi

Greenland temperatures fell from the 1970s through the early 1990s while temperatures across much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere rose, and solar activity may be an important factor.
Credit: Takuro Kobashi

Low solar activity could speed Greenland Ice Sheet melting in coming years

Staff Report

FRISCO — Solar activity could be an important factor in determining how fast the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, scientists concluded in a new study after analyzing ice cores and historical temperature records.

Based on their analysis, the researchers found that High solar activity starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1980s played a role in slowing down ocean circulation between the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic oceans. Continue reading

Warmer oceans lead to more extreme coastal rainstorms

Study tracks eastern Mediterranean climate trends

This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres.

This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres. Graphic courtesy GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Rapidly warming sea surface temperatures are resulting in more extreme coastal rainstorms, Russian and German researchers said after analyzing climate data from the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The impetus for the study was a deadly 2012 flash flood in the Russian city of Krymsk, near the Black Sea coast that killed 172 people. The Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean have warmed by about 2 degrees Celsius since the early 1980s.

The study was led led by scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, and published in the international journal Nature Geoscience. Continue reading

June’s Arctic sea ice extent was 3d-lowest on record

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The northern hemisphere June snow cover extent has been far below average for 11 straight years.

Late-season snow cover also shrinking dramatically in northern hemisphere

Staff Report

FRISCO — Warm June temperatures across much of the Arctic may have set the stage for a big sea ice meltdown during the next few weeks, federal ice trackers said as they released their latest monthly update last week.

The Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 was the third lowest on record, and June snow cover was the second-lowest, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center report, which measured an average sea ice extent of about 4.24 million square miles for the month, which is 355,200 square miles below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Continue reading

Bumblebees losing ground to global warming

Changes in southeastern forests may be contributing to the decline of bee populations, @bberwyn photo.

Bumblebees are being squeezed in a climate vice, Canadian researchers found in a new study. @bberwyn photo.

‘The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Canadian researchers say North American and European bumblebees are being squeezed in a “climate vise” that’s compressing their habitat.

In their study, the scientists found that it’s getting too warm at the southern end of their range, but the bees haven’t been able to expand northward into cooler territory.

“The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents, effects that are not due to pesticide use or habitat loss. It looks like it’s just too hot,” said Professor Jeremy Kerr, Macroecology and Conservation chair at the  University of Ottawa. Continue reading

Climate: 20 feet of sea level rise is inevitable

‘The ominous aspect to this is that CO2 levels are continuing to rise, so we are entering uncharted territory …’

This graph shows cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of long-term tide gauge measurements and recent satellite measurements. Graph courtesy EPA.

This graph shows cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of tide gauge measurements and satellite measurements. Graph courtesy EPA.

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The Florida coastline is being swallowed by rising sea level despite efforts to bolster beaches. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — It doesn’t take much global warming to raise sea level by 20 feet or more, climate researchers said in a new review study finding that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years.

An increase of just 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in global mean temperatures is enough trigger a big meltdown of Greenland and Antarctic ice, which means that the world’s coastal areas are going to be swamped in the global warming era — it’s just a question of whether it will take a few hundred, or a few thousand years.

“Studies have shown that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributed significantly to this sea level rise above modern levels,” said Anders Carlson, an Oregon State University glacial geologist and paleoclimatologist, who co-authored the new study appearing in Science. Continue reading

Spike in extreme rains linked with global warming

Raindrops splashing into a pond in Vail. PHOTO BY DYLAN BERWYN.

A new study documents a distinct increase in extreme rainfall events linked with global warming.

Southeast Asia sees biggest increase in dangerous rainstorms

Staff Report

FRISCO —There’s clear evidence that global warming is causing more frequent record-breaking rainstorms, according to scientists with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The upward trend in extreme rainfall events has been striking in the last 30 years, and particularly noticeable in Southeast Asia, the researchers said in a new study, explaining that the spike lies outside the range of natural variability.

The worldwide increase is consistent with rising global temperatures, which are caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, the scientists said. Continue reading

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