Climate Voices project connects scientists with communities looking to learn more about global warming

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Real science, from real scientists.

Expert speakers available in all 50 states

Staff Report

FRISCO — Debates about global warming can quickly descend into murky territory, especially if they take place in a political context. But communities looking for straightforward and nonpartisan scientific information can find from a science speakers network that includes climate experts from all 50 states.

The Climate Voices Initiative was launched last year by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the United Nations Foundation, aiming to bring  together scientists with members of local communities to discuss climate science and regional effects of climate change. Continue reading

Global warming: in the realm of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2

Scientists: ‘Climate change is a threat to life on Earth and we can no longer afford to be spectators’

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A rising tide of CO2 …

Staff Report

FRISCO — When atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations hit 400 parts per million about a year ago, there was widespread media coverage, explaining how the mark wasn’t all that significant in and of itself, but that it represented a psychological threshold to measure human impact on the climate.

Well guess what? CO2 emissions continue unabated, although there are some hopeful signs (global energy production increased in 2014, but CO2 emissions leveled off), and once again this spring, the atmospheric observatory atop Mauna Loa is once again measuring CO2 above the 400 ppm level — 401.77, to be exact, as of March 22, and as high as 403.10 ppm back on March 15. Continue reading

Climate: Winter temperature across the lower 48 states was 2 degrees above the long-term average

Record warmth in West outweighed late-winter chill in the East

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Warm temps in the West, chilly in the East.

Staff Report

FRISCO — While TV news and weather stations focused on snowstorms in the Northeast, continued record warmth in the West helped drive the average winter temperature across the lower 48 states to well above average, resulting in the 19th-warmest winter on record.

According to the new monthly update from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature for the winter (December – February) was 34.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.1 degrees above the 20th century average.

But for February, the average temperature was slightly below average (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) across the contiguous 48 states, ranking near the median value in the 121-year period of record. Continue reading

Global warming: The challenges of climate modeling

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Climate models may not get it 100 percent right, but they are generally in the ball park.

Researchers test models against slowdown in pace of global warming

Staff Report

FRISCO — The slowdown in the rate of global warming during the past 15 years lies within the range of random fluctuations of the Earth’s climate, according to European researchers who recently did a sophisticated statistical analysis to determine whether there are any systematic errors in climate models used to project future warming.

The analysis, by Jochem Marotzke, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, and Piers M. Forster, a professor at the University of Leeds in the UK, show that climate models are not overestimating man-made climate change and that warming is likely to reach critical levels by the end of the century absent significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

USGS report shows how global warming will shift Pacific wind and wave patterns

Study pinpoints impacts to island communities & ecosystems

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How will islands in the Pacific Ocean be affected by global warming?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have developed climate models that help show how global warming will change wind and wave patterns, potentially affecting island communities, especially as sea level rises.

The new USGS report looked at U.S. and U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, where climate change is expected to alter the highest waves and strongest winds. The detailed data should help communities develop coastal resilience plans and ecosystem restoration efforts, and to design future coastal infrastructure. Continue reading

Climate study predicts doubling of extreme La Niñas

Will global warming intensify extreme weather swings?

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How will climate change affect ENSO?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global warming could increase the frequency of extreme La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean, with more droughts in southwestern United States, floods in the western Pacific regions and increased Atlantic hurricane activity.

The international study, published in Nature Climate Change, used advanced modeling to show how increased land-area heating, combined with more frequent El Niños, will feed a cycle of extreme La Niñas. Continue reading

Climate: ‘It’s time to start getting angry’

Climate researchers call for action at Breck conference

By Adam Spencer

BRECKENRIDGE — For nearly 70 years, Americans breathed poisonous exhaust from leaded gasoline while a team of oil and auto industry-funded scientists maintained that millions of cars burning lead — a potent neurotoxin — was safe.  When federal regulators finally started to phase out leaded gasoline in the 1970s, levels of the toxin found in Americans’ blood plummeted by 77 percent.

“The use of leaded gasoline very much mirrors the fight over climate change,” said Dr. Jim White, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and a geology and environmental science professor at the University of Colorado.

White argued, at the annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit held in Breckenridge this week, that big oil’s arguments against the early warnings of lead’s health impacts (spills at the plants that produced the petroleum additive in the 1920s killed some workers and made others crazy) are very similar to the arguments used today to discredit human-caused climate change. Continue reading

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