Tag: climate science

Climate roundup: The ill winds of global warming

Snow, ice, reindeers and forests …

Sunlit icebergs gleam on the horizon in the Antarctic Sound.
Sunlit icebergs gleam on the horizon in the Antarctic Sound. @bberwyn photo

By Bob Berwyn

2016 ended the way it began, with record warm temperatures and record-low sea ice in the Arctic. Federal scientists tracking the changes released a report detailing how the Arctic is unraveling. I covered it for InsideClimate News: The Arctic Is Unraveling,’ Scientists Conclude After Latest Climate Report.

Just before Christmas I wrote an enterprise piece on how the odds for a white Christmas have changed in different parts of the world. In many regions, the chances of seeing flakes on the holiday have decreased due to climate change, but a little counter-intuitively, they’ve also increased in other places: What Are Your Chances of a White Christmas? Probably Less Than They Used to Be.

In another Christmas-themed story, I reported on a Norwegian study that showed how widespread grazing by reindeer affects the reflectivity in northern tundra regions. It turns out that when the ungulates munch shrubs and brush, they make the world cooler: Save the Reindeer, Save the Arctic.

And with much of the West getting crushed by snowfall thanks to a subtropical weather connection, I explored a new study showing that such Pineapple Express storms are likely to become more frequent as the world warms: Global Warming Will Increase ‘Pineapple Express’ Storms in California.

Another sign that we may be near a climate tipping point is research from California showing that some severely burned forests just aren’t regenerating at all. The fires have become so big and so intense that all the seed stock trees are destroyed, leaving big cleared areas where there is no source for new growth — except for shrubs and brush that quickly grow to dominate the landscape and prevent new seedlings from taking root: California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires.

And some people think that they don’t have to worry about climate change because they heard global warming slowed down between 1998 and 2012. Not so, according to scientists who recalculated the rate of warming in the world’s oceans to show there was no hiatus: Already Debunked Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Gets Another Dunking.

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Here’s how the climate-denial sausage is made

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There’s no question global temperatures have been climbing steadily for decades, yet a small cadre of radical organizations has been working to deceive the public about the realities of climate change.

New Yale study shows funding behind the effort to mislead Americans on climate science

By Bob Berwyn

Organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers form the core of a disinformation network that has spawned a vast body of literature that deliberately tries to deceive the public about global warming, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The research by Yale University researcher Dr. Justin Farrell closely scoured more than 40,000 texts produced by the climate change counter-movement (164 organizations), finding that  organizations with corporate funding were more likely to have written and disseminated texts meant to polarize the climate change issue. Continue reading “Here’s how the climate-denial sausage is made”

Global warming consensus extends beyond climate scientists

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A new survey shows most scientists in all fields are convinced that human-caused climate change is real.

‘When it comes to climate change, scientists are people, too …’

Staff Report

The consensus on the reality of climate change extends beyond the field of climate science to other disciplines, according to a new study out of Purdue University, where researchers surveyed 700 scientists.

The results show that more than 90 percent believe that average global temperatures are higher than pre-1800s levels and that human activity has significantly contributed to the rise. Continue reading “Global warming consensus extends beyond climate scientists”

Study confirms global warming high the atmosphere

‘We should no longer accept the claim that there is warming missing higher in the atmosphere’

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All of South America, nearly all of North America, as well as Eurasia, were much warmer than average in April 2015.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Decades of readings from thousands of measuring stations around the world show in excruciating detail how the Earth is warming under its thickening blanket of greenhouse gases, but tracking the temperature rise in the upper levels of the atmosphere has been more elusive.

But new research by Australian climate scientists,  published in Environmental Research Letters, confirms strong warming in the upper troposphere, crushing yet another argument used by science-denying global warming skeptics who try to cast doubt on the overwhelming evidence of dangerous climate change.

The findings are based on a new analysis of data from the global weather balloon network. The evaluation found “clear indications of warming in the upper troposphere,” according to professor Steve Sherwood, with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. Continue reading “Study confirms global warming high the atmosphere”

‘Earth League’ scientists call for moral leadership on climate

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The Blue Marble, courtesy NASA.

‘The window of opportunity is closing fast …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some of the world’s leading scientists say it’s time to get serious and take bold action now to ensure completion of an effective climate treaty this year.

Banding together as the Earth League, the scientists released a statement spelling out what’s needed to give the world a good chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. The first essential element is a commitment to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, which requires transition to a zero-carbon society by mid-century.

“The window of opportunity is closing fast. We are on a trajectory that will leave our world irrevocably changed, far exceeding the 2 degrees Celsius mark,” said Johan Rockström, Chair of the Earth League, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and board member of the Global Challenges Foundation. Continue reading “‘Earth League’ scientists call for moral leadership on climate”

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

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 “Global warming: in the realm of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2”