Posted on November 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New study suggests natural aerosols may be a bigger factor than previously thought
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In their quest to better understand the role of aerosols in the Earth’s climate, researchers may have to try and find the cleanest parts of the atmosphere.
Knowing to what degree both human-caused and natural aerosols mask the effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is crucial to making accurate climate predictions, according to a new study that assessed 28 factors that could affect the uncertainties in cloud brightness.
Natural aerosols, such as emissions from volcanoes or plants, may contribute more uncertainty than previously thought to estimates of how the climate might respond to greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: aerosols, atmospheric science, climate change, global warming, Greenhouse gas | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t question the EPA‘s fundamental finding that greenhouse gases are a big environmental threat, but the justices will decide how far the agency’s authority to regulate those gases extends.
At issue is the EPA’s ability to set emission limits on cars, factories and power plants — all key pieces in the Obama administration’s push to get a handle on global warming. Big business, of course, would like to see business-as-usual, and along with several states, legally challenged the EPA’s rule-making authority. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Clean Air Act, climate crisis, EPA, global warming, Greenhouse gas, greenhouse gas regulations, Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. temps expected to climb 9 degrees by 2100
All around the globe, the land areas show a greater increase in temperature than the surrounding ocean waters. Evaporation of the water helps to keep the ocean surface cool and the deep depths of the ocean have a large capacity to absorb energy before heating up.
FRISCO — After last week’s release of a relatively short summary of global warming science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now published a full report detailing the science. The report is available at the IPCC website.
It not easy reading, and it’s not easy to swallow the conclusions, but the report makes it clear that this is not the time for denial. The most pronounced warming will be in the northerh hemisphere, and areas like the Rocky Mountains and northern Canada could feel the heat sooner rather than later.
Without drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the average temperature across the contiguous 48 states is projected to increase by a life-changing 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Globally, temperatures are expected to climb by 7 degrees.
That warmth will cause sea level to rise by anywhere from 10 to 35 inches by 2100 — and that’s a conservative estimate. Some other studies estimate a 40-inch rise in sea level by 2100.
One crucial area that isn’t comprehensively covered by the IPCC involves the carbon locked into the world’s icy permafrost region. The report estimates huge thawing in permafrost region, but downplays the additional warming effects resulting from the release of that carbon, which could amount to another couple of degrees of temperature increases by 2100.
IPCC atlas of projected changes:
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Current sea level rise, global warming, Greenhouse gas, IPCC 5th assessment report, Rocky Mountains | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Future looks grim without drastic greenhouse gas cuts
Warmer and wetter times ahead.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The news is out and it’s not good. In fact, the latest update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is full of dire warning signs that the continued buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, if left unchecked, will lead to a climate catastrophe with dire consequences for humanity and the rest of the planet’s species.
The full assessment is being released piecemeal, with this week’s Summary for Policy Makers drawing global attention, as every word and phrase is scrutinized and parsed for meaning. And it’s actually not that hard to figure out what it all means — you don’t even have to be a scientist. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Tagged: global warming, Greenhouse gas, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea level rise | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Australia’s record-breaking 2013 heatwave may become the new norm in just a few decades.
‘A new climatic regime’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The number of severe heatwaves could double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a team of German and Spanish scientists who fine-tuned a set of climate models to try and reduce uncertainty. In the second half of the century, even higher frequencies are expected unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
“In many regions, the coldest summer months by the end of the century will be hotter than the hottest experienced today. That’s what our calculations show for a scenario of unabated climate change,” said Dim Coumou, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “We would enter a new climatic regime.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Complutense University of Madrid, extreme weather, global warming, Greenhouse gas, heatwaves, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Gravel parking lots instead of coral reef gardens’
Coral Gardens: A school of surgeonfish cruise coral reefs near Palmyra Atoll. Photo courtesy UC San Diego.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Global warming is likely to drastically reduce ocean diversity, without a food web that’s able to support an abundance of large sharks and whales. A new study shows that oceans in an ancient greenhouse world had few large reefs,poorly oxygenated water and tropical surface waters warm as a hot tub.
The research by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, paleobiologist Richard Norris and colleagues suggests that aspects of this greenhouse ocean could reappear in the future if greenhouse gases continue to rise at current accelerating rates. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, global warming, Greenhouse gas, oceans, Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Mountains around L.A. could see drastic reduction in winter conditions
California’s mountains are covered with heavy snow after a record October storm in this 2004 file image from the NASA Earth Observatory, but such snowfalls will be the exception by mid-century, according to a new UCLA study.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Skiing in the mountains of Southern California is already a dicey proposition, and by mid-century, L.A. skiers might have to look elsewhere for turns.
A UCLA study released this week shows that snowfall will drop by 30 to 40 percent in the next few decades. Of course, the impacts go far beyond recreation. Changes in seasonal precipitation will have a big impact on water supplies in the region, the researchers said.
The projected snow loss, a result of climate change, could get even worse by the end of the 21st century, said UCLA climate expert Alex Hall.
Sustained action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions could keep annual average snowfall levels steady after mid-century, but if emissions continue unabated, the study predicts that snowfall in Southern California mountains will be two-thirds less by the year 2100 than it was in the years leading up to 2000. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Snow and weather, water | Tagged: drought, global warming, Greenhouse gas, Los Angeles, San Gabriel Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, Southern California, UCLA, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘We need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have.’
A NASA map shows global warming temperature trends.
FRISCO — Australian scientists say that, even though they’ve managed to narrow the range of projected global warming, some uncertainties will always remain. The findings underscore the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, said University of Melbourne professor David Karoly.
“Our results reconfirm the need for urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to avoid exceeding the global warming target of 2 degrees needed to minimize dangerous climate change,” Karoly said.
The study found that exceeding 6 degrees Celsius warming by the end of the century is unlikely, while exceeding 2 degrees is very likely under a business-as-usual emissions scenario. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, global temperature projections, global warming, Greenhouse gas, Melbourne University | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A change in tropical wind patterns could impact winter weather in the northern hemisphere.
A ‘fingerprint’ of the expected global warming signal?
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A regular cycle of high-altitude winds in the tropics has weakened substantially in the past few decades, showing a clear fingerprint of greenhouse gas-induced global warming.
The winds in question, about 10 miles up, alternate between easterlies and westerlies about every other year, affecting chemical composition of the global atmosphere and even the climate at Earth’s surface, according to researchers with the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
Specifically, those atmospheric pulses can modify the behavior of monsoon precipitation and influence stratospheric circulation in northern hemisphere winter by inducing sudden stratospheric warmings that, in turn, can lead to outbreaks of Arctic weather across the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Atmosphere of Earth, climate, climate change, global warming, Greenhouse gas, Quasi-biennial oscillation, tropical atmosphere | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Concentration will wane from seasonal high point, but long-term trend is up
Mauna Loa. Photo courtesy USGS.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this week reached a level last recorded 2 to 5 million years ago.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Climate scientists have been closely tracking atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for a long time, but this week, the colorless, odorless gas made big headlines.
An atmospheric observatory on Mauna Loa for the first time measured daily concentrations of CO2 at slightly above 400 parts per million, a dubious milestone which, better than any other number, captures the extent to which we are changing the world. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, Charles David Keeling, climate, CO2, CO2 400 ppm, Environment, global warming, Greenhouse gas, Keeling Curve, Mauna Loa, Scripps Institution of Oceanography | 2 Comments »