Weather

Skeptics Guide To Climate Change.

Scientific skepticism is healthy. In fact, science by its very nature is skeptical. Genuine skepticism means considering the full body of evidence before coming to a conclusion. However, when you take a close look at arguments expressing climate ‘skepticism’, what you often observe is cherry picking of pieces of evidence while rejecting any data that don’t fit the desired picture.

This isn’t skepticism. It is ignoring facts and the science.

This guide looks at both the evidence that human activity is causing global warming and the ways that climate ‘skeptic’ arguments can mislead by presenting only small pieces of the puzzle rather than the full picture.

Press link to read: skepticalscience.com

The Climate and Heat.

The earth’s climate system absorbs heat in many different ways. Increases in the temperatures that people experience day to day are only one of several reservoirs for accumulating heat. While changes in the atmosphere are the easiest to recognize, they are also the most variable and subject to “noise”. Changes in the ocean, where most of the heat is going, have been more steady, while the melting of vast stores of ice is accelerating. The earth continues to warm, day after day, at a concerning rate.

Press link for more: 4 Hiroshimas per second

The Earth really is warming.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but the Earth really is warming. Air and ocean temperatures are rising fast, ice is melting across the planet, ecosystems are shifting, sea levels are rising, and so on.

The latest zombie climate myth to rise from the dead involves the oldest form of global warming denial. It’s a conspiracy theory that the Earth isn’t really warming; rather, fraudulent climate scientists are “fiddling” with the data to introduce a false warming trend.

In The Telegraph, which is a mostly serious UK newspaper, Christopher Booker calls scientists’ adjustments to temperature data “the biggest science scandal ever.” These accusations have echoed through conservative media and online blogs, even being aired on Fox News (three times).

In reality climate scientists process the raw temperature data for very good reasons. Sometimes temperature monitoring station locations move. Sometimes the time of day at which they’re read changes. Sometimes changes are made to the instruments themselves. In each case, if adjustments aren’t made, then biases will be included in the data that don’t reflect actual changes in temperatures.

Richard Muller at UC Berkeley was skeptical that climate scientists were doing all these adjustments correctly, so he assembled the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) team to check the data for themselves. The biggest initial financial contribution to the project came from the Koch brothers.

As Muller discusses in the video below, his team confirmed that the Earth’s surface temperatures are warming. In fact, BEST finds that NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office have slightly underestimated the warming over the past 15 years.

Press link for more: skepticalscience.com

People Power, the Solution to Climate Inaction

BRISBANE, Feb 10 (IPS) – Nothing is more important to farmers like me than the weather. It affects the growth and quality of our crops and livestock, and has a major impact on global food supply.

The world’s weather is being messed up by global warming, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which releases heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.3

Every national science organisation in the developed world agrees that global warming is real and caused by human activities. That’s good enough for me.

If we keep on burning coal, oil and gas at ‘business as usual’ levels, our grandchildren will inhabit a planet some 5 degrees Celsius hotter by the end of the century – rendering large parts of it uninhabitable, including many currently densely populated areas, which will be under water due to melting glaciers and ice caps.

The impacts on farming in Australia (and everywhere else) of such a rise in temperature would be very severe indeed.

To avoid such a bleak future, we simply must stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If our politicians had any common sense, they would change quickly to renewable energy, but sadly they are captives of the fossil fuel industry that funds their re-election campaigns.

So, for the sake of future generations, we have to make this change happen ourselves, and the best way to do this is to disrupt the business model of companies trying to make money from fossil fuels by pulling the financial rug out from underneath them.

It’s called divestment, which is simply the opposite of investment. Here’s how it works. If you’ve got shares in fossil fuel companies, then sell them and invest in something that won’t wreck the planet.

Press link for more: Rob McCreath | globalissues.org

“Baked Australia”

A new report out earlier this week says climate change is making Australia hotter, with anomalously warm days occurring more often and heat waves becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.

Perhaps the report should have been titled “Baked Australia” instead of “Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia.”

To be honest, at first I wasn’t going to post anything about this. That’s because the report, from Australia’s Climate Council, doesn’t seem to have much if anything that has not been published before. It’s certainly useful as a synthesis of information. But then I grew concerned that its release was timed to stick a fork in the eye of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was about to undergo a political near-death experience. More about that in a minute. But first…

Press link for more: Tom Yulsman | discovermagazine.com

How Warming May Alter Critical ‘Atmospheric Rivers.

The hose has been turned back on full-force over Northern California: A stream of moisture is flowing over the drought-riddled state and dropping copious amounts of rain just days after the close of one of the driest Januaries on record.

The influx of much-needed rain comes courtesy of a feature called an atmospheric river that is a key source of much of the state’s precipitation and water supply. A relatively recent meteorological discovery, these ribbons of water vapor in the sky are something scientists are trying to better understand. They are flying research planes into the heart of the current storm to study what fuels it, which could help improve forecasts of the events.

But while the rain is a welcome change, the fact that it has been so dry means that “the soil and the ground is going to soak up a lot of this water,” and reservoirs won’t benefit as much as if it had been a normal, wetter winter before this, White said.

Another downside is that the storm is very warm, as it is pulling moisture from the tropics near Hawaii, so any snow that falls will only be at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada range. The snowpack that accumulates in the winter months is a critical part of California’s water supply, slowly melting and refilling reservoirs in the spring and summer, and it is needed across a wider swath of the mountains.
Press link for more:

Andrea Thompson | climatecentral.org

‘Unbearable heat by 2090’ if climate change not addressed

Searing Australian heatwaves will feel cool by 2090 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, a leading climate scientist says.

A new report reveals Australia’s hottest year on record would not have happened without climate change.

The country experienced its hottest day, month, season and calendar year in 2013, registering a mean temperature 1.2C above the 1961-90 average.

The Climate Council says recent studies show those heat events would have occurred only once every 12,300 years without greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Professor Will Steffen says life will be tough by 2090 if emissions aren’t reduced to stabilise the climate.

“What you consider an extreme heat event now would be a normal summer by the middle of the century,” the author of Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia told reporters on Saturday.

“By 2090, when my grandkids are around, that’s going to be a cool summer.”

“You don’t want to live in that world.

“There’s even questions in the research community about whether societies will be viable in that world.”

Based on analyses of data and model outputs, the report says climate change triples the odds that heatwaves of the 2012-13 Australian summer will happen as frequently as they do.

Press link for more: sbs.com.au

California Prepares to Adapt to climate change.

California Prepares to Adapt.

The El Nino cycle, today and in the past; atmospheric rivers, floods and droughts; water resources and management; how California learned from air pollution; California’s regional assessments; Impacts on regional natural systems, regional technical systems, and populations.

Press link for more:

scripps.ucsd.edu

NASA launches $916 million soil moisture satellite

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket boosted an innovative NASA satellite into orbit Saturday, kicking off a three-year, $916 million mission to measure the moisture, frozen and liquid, in the top few inches of Earth’s soil to improve forecasting, to better understand the causes and impact of droughts, floods and other natural disasters and to improve long-range climate change projections.

Soil moisture links the planet’s water, energy and carbon cycles, he said, and “if it wasn’t for the soil moisture variable, these three processes over land would vary independently, but they don’t. They work in concert like gears in a clock. They are linked together through the soil moisture variable.”

Understanding the details of those interactions will help scientists improve short- and long-term forecasting.

“As water evaporates from soil water to vapor in the atmosphere, it feeds the water cycle,” Entekhabi said. “It takes energy to vaporize water, and water vaporizing cools the surface and maintains the temperature much like humans have evolved sweating to regulate body temperature. The same thing happens with Earth system. And as plants transpire and pick up biomass through absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing water vapor, they are engaged in the water and energy cycles as well. cbsnews.com

“So these three cycles are intimately linked through the water variable. Through measurements SMAP can make, we can test and improve models that we use for atmospheric weather prediction and climate change projections.”

Australia: State of the Climate 2014

Weather and climate touch all aspects of Australian life. What we experience here at home is part of the global climate system. The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO contribute significantly to the international effort of weather and climate monitoring, forecasting and research. In State of the Climate, we discuss the long-term trends in Australia’s climate.

This is our third biennial State of the Climate report. As with our earlier reports, we focus primarily on climate observations and monitoring carried out by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO in the Australian region, as well as on future climate scenarios.

KEY POINTS

Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.
Rainfall averaged across Australia has slightly increased since 1900, with the largest increases in the northwest since 1970.
Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.
Extreme fire weather has increased, and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.
Global mean temperature has risen by 0.85°C from 1880 to 2012.
The amount of heat stored in the global oceans has increased, and global mean sea level has risen by 225 mm from 1880 to 2012.
Annual average global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 395 parts per million (ppm) in 2013 and concentrations of the other major greenhouse gases are at their highest levels for at least 800 000 years.
Australian temperatures are projected to continue to increase, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.
Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease, and heavy rainfall is projected to increase over most parts of Australia.
Sea-level rise and ocean acidification are projected to continue.

bom.gov.au