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Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

 


New study investigates the impact of climate change on malaria

Posted on 23 July 2014 by John Abraham

It's tempting to view global warming on, well, a global scale. However, when we think about how climate change affects human and biological systems, it's often the local impacts that matter most. We want to know how things are going to change where we live, not on some abstract global scale.

In the past, local impacts have been very difficult for scientists to assess. One of our most useful tools, climate computer models, are best used to predict how the entire globe will change. These computer models work by subdividing the world into millions of elements or grid boxes. Equations describing conservation of mass, energy, and other processes are solved at each grid box. Then, the grid boxes are assembled to recreate the geometry of the entire Earth system. Just like a puzzle image takes shape when the pieces are brought together, so to the climate takes shapes as the grid boxes are brought together.

But, the weak link in this process is that with today’s computer power, the grid boxes are too large to give a true picture of local variations. We say the grid is “coarse” at the regional scale. Scientists have figured out a clever way around this problem; a way to use coarse global climate programs to get regional information.

The method, which is often called downscaling, was a central tool in a paper just published by a team of scientists including Dr. Matthew Thomas and Dr. Michael Mann, both from Penn State University. This study tackled the problem of malaria – a devastating disease that causes enormous economic and human costs around the world. It is a disease I’ve seen firsthand in my travel and work in east Africa.

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Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data

Posted on 22 July 2014 by BaerbelW , Anne-Marie Blackburn

Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this and what is it wearing on its head?

Weddell_Seal_DanCosta
Weddell Seal West Antarctic Peninsula (photo: Dan Costa - NMFS 87-1851-03)

To answer these questions we have to backtrack a bit and look at the recent history of data collection used to find out what is happening in the oceans.

How has the data for charts like the ocean heat content been collected?

OHC
Figure 1: Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue). From Nuccitelli et al. (2012)

The underlying data about the temperature at different depths has been collected since the 1960s via expendable bathythermographs (XBT) and mechanical bathythermographs (MBT) deployed from ships travelling across the high seas. These measurements have been rather confined to the shipping lanes most travelled and therefore leave out a lot of the actual ocean surface, including much of the polar regions as these are not (yet!) on any regular shipping lines.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a network of autonomous ARGO-floats started to be deployed all across the ocean and there are currently 3,600 floats providing around 100,000 measurements per year.

Current ARGO-statusFigure 2:  Positions of the floats that have delivered data within the last 30 days (Updated daily) From the ARGO website

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Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

Posted on 21 July 2014 by dana1981

Predicting global surface temperature changes in the short-term is a challenge for climate models. Temperature changes over periods of a decade or two can be dominated by influences from ocean cycles like El Niño and La Niña. During El Niño phases, the oceans absorb less heat, leaving more to warm the atmosphere, and the opposite is true during a La Niña.

We can't yet predict ahead of time how these cycles will change. The good news is that it doesn't matter from a big picture climate perspective, because over the long-term, temperature influences from El Niño and La Niña events cancel each other out. However, when we examine how climate model projections have performed over the past 15 years or so, those natural cycles make a big difference.

A new paper led by James Risbey just out in Nature Climate Change takes a clever approach to evaluating how accurate climate model temperature predictions have been while getting around the noise caused by natural cycles. The authors used a large set of simulations from 18 different climate models (from CMIP5). They looked at each 15-year period since the 1950s, and compared how accurately each model simulation had represented El Niño and La Niña conditions during those 15 years, using the trends in what's known as the Niño3.4 index.

Each individual climate model run has a random representation of these natural ocean cycles, so for every 15-year period, some of those simulations will have accurately represented the actual El Niño conditions just by chance. The study authors compared the simulations that were correctly synchronized with the ocean cycles (blue data in the left frame below) and the most out-of-sync (grey data in the right frame) to the observed global surface temperature changes (red) for each 15-year period.

The red dots on the thin red line correspond to the 15-year observed trends for each 15-year period.  The blue dots show the 15-year average trends from only those CMIP5 runs in each 15-year period where the model Niño3.4 trend is close to the observed Niño3.4 trend. The grey dots show the average 15-year trends for only the models with the worst correspondence to the observed Niño3.4 trend.  The size of the dots are proportional to the number of models selected.  The envelopes represent 2.5–97.5 percentile loess-smoothed fits to the models and data. Red: 15-year observed trends for each period. Blue: 15-year average trends from CMIP5 runs where the model Niño3.4 trend is close to observations. Grey: average 15-year trends for only the models with the worst correspondence to the Niño3.4 trend. The sizes of the dots are proportional to the number of models selected. From Nature Climate Change

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2014 SkS Weekly Digest #29

Posted on 20 July 2014 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Dana's Rupert Murdoch doesn't understand climate change basics, and that's a problem understandably generated the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves? by John Abraham attracted the second highest number of comments. Both articles are very topical and informative.  

El Niño Watch

Toon of the Week

 

Source: Jerry Brown faces climate change facts while GOP chases moonbeams by David Horsey, Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2014

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2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #29

Posted on 19 July 2014 by John Hartz

America's oil consumption is rising, not falling, outpacing China's

U.S. oil demand reversed course in dramatic fashion in 2013, as the nation's growth in crude consumption outpaced perennial leader China for the first time since 1999, according to oil company BP's annual compendium of world energy statistics.

The U.S. increase follows two years of declines, and dampens hopes that the world's largest oil guzzler was permanently reining in its appetite for crude. The nation's oil use rose by 400,000 barrels per day to a daily draw of 18.9 million barrels; China's oil consumption grew by 390,000 barrels a day, to 10.8 million barrels a day, according to the BP figures released last month.

America's Oil Consumption Is Rising, Not Falling, Outpacing China's by Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News, July 14, 2014

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1 comments


Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet

Posted on 18 July 2014 by John Hartz

This article is a reprint of a news release posted by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on July 17, 2014.

Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed; Southern Hemisphere warmth and Super Typhoon Haiyan among year’s most notable events

In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society.

State of the Climate 2013

Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlightsvisualsfull report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice.

“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.”

The report uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system, including greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover. These indicators often reflect many thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets. The report also details cases of unusual and extreme regional events, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia in November 2013.

Highlights:

  • Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.

  • Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest. 

  • Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.

  • Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades. 

  • The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent reached record high for second year in a row; South Pole station set record high temperature: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.56 million square miles on October 1. This is 0.7 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.51 million square miles that occurred in 2012 and 8.6 percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986. Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.

  • Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994. However, in the Western North Pacific Basin, Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.

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12 comments


Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

Posted on 17 July 2014 by John Abraham

As I sit here in a northern part of the United States (Minnesota), a rare summer arctic blast barrels down from Canada on what otherwise is one of the warmest days of the year. Global warming? I could use some global warming today, people are saying.

Not only is this a teachable moment, but it coincides with a major new study on climate connections. First, let’s see the current jet stream. It is wildly undulating, first swinging up into northern Canada before curving back and plunging into the central United States.

Typically, the jet stream represents a separation between cold arctic air and warmer southern air. If you are north of the jet stream, temperatures are cold whereas south of the jet stream it's more likely to be warm.

Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA. Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.

With this in mind, and the jet stream shown, you can almost predict the temperature pattern in the next image. The match is incredible and it is clear that my Minnesota cold-blast is more than balanced out by near 90°F temperatures in northern Canada. With all of this, I want to talk about a new study that looks at these fluctuations on a longer term.

Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA. Image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.

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17 comments


Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes

Posted on 16 July 2014 by John Hartz

This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the World Meterological Organization on July 11, 2014.

Better disaster data enables better decisions

Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8 835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme temperatures, floods, tropical cyclones and related health epidemics, according to a new report.

WMO Report Cover

The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012 describes the distribution and impacts of weather, climate, and water-related disasters and highlights measures to increase resilience. It is a joint publication of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.

The Atlas aims to provide decision-makers with actionable information for protecting life and property.

It is also highlights the need for stronger efforts to report, standardize and analyze data on weather, climate, and water-related hazards to improve understanding of disasters and reinforce the platform for prevention.

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2 comments


2014 SkS Weekly Digest #28

Posted on 15 July 2014 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, a reprint of a UN press release, generated the most commets of the articles posted on SkS during the past week - illustrating once again that SkS readers and team members have deep and abiding perspectives about what should be done in order to prevent dangerous climate change The interim report supports the UN Climate Summit scheduled for Sep 23, 2014. The full DDPP report will be presented in the spring of 2015. [Click here to access the Executive Summary of the interim report.]

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3 comments


Rupert Murdoch doesn't understand climate change basics, and that's a problem

Posted on 14 July 2014 by dana1981

Rupert Murdoch has a vast media empire. In the UK, his News Corp assets include The Times and The Sun. In the USA, he has Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal. In Australia, he's got The Australian and a multitude of local newspapers.

Many of Murdoch's news outlets are also among the worst when it comes to getting climate science wrong and disseminating climate myths and misinformation. Inaccurate media coverage is in turn the primary reason why the public is so misinformed about global warming.

In a recent Sky News interview, Rupert Murdoch expressed his own views about global warming and climate change.

Murdoch's most inaccurate statement was,

In terms of the world's temperature going up, the worst, the most alarmist things have said ... 3°C in 100 years. At the very most one of those will come from man-made, be man-made.

In reality, the worst case scenario considered by the 2014 IPCC report projects about 4°C global surface warming over the next century (on top of the nearly 1°C that we've already caused). All of that 4°C warming would be human-caused. The best case scenario would involve about 1°C global surface warming over the next century, and that's if we take serious action to reduce carbon pollution.

IPCC AR5 projected global average surface temperature changes in a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5; red) and low emissions scenario (RCP2.6; blue). IPCC AR5 projected global average surface temperature changes in a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5; red) and low emissions scenario (RCP2.6; blue).

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38 comments


Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Posted on 11 July 2014 by John Hartz

This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network on July 8, 2014.

STUDY CHARTS PATH TO LOW CARBON IN MAJOR EMITTING COUNTRIES

First Global Cooperative Effort Aims to Support UN Climate Talks

A report for the United Nations released today shows how the major emitting countries can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century in order to prevent dangerous climate change. The report, produced cooperatively by leading research institutes in 15 countries, is the first global cooperative program to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) interim report will be presented in a briefing today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and tomorrow/the day after to the French government, as host of the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate conference.  The interim report supports the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.  The full DDPP report will be presented in the spring of 2015.

“The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project report is an effort to demonstrate how countries can contribute to achieving the globally agreed target of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees,” said Secretary-General Ban. “Ambitious national action is critical to averting dangerous climate change.  This report shows what is possible.”

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The power of pie-charts to communicate consensus

Posted on 10 July 2014 by John Cook

Yale University and George Mason University are conducting some of the pioneering research into the efficacy of consensus messaging. Their latest study in Climatic Change tested the effect of three different ways to communicate the scientific consensus: a simple text message, a pie-chart and metaphors (e.g., likening the 97% consensus on climate change to a 97% consensus among doctors). They found that the most effective messages in increasing awareness of consensus were the simple text message and pie-chart. The most interesting result was that pie-charts were most effective on Republicans:

Change in perceived consensus

Pie-charts get a bad rap among science communicators (and often not without reason), but in this particular instance, the pie-chart is quite effective in communicating the overwhelming agreement among climate scientists. When SJI Associates designed The Consensus Project website, they used the 97% pie-chart as the website logo. It seems they knew what they were doing (I also like the visual double-entendre of the pie-chart forming a C). They used the same imagery in the shareable infographics communicating the results of our 97% consensus paper:

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El Niño in 2014: Still On the Way?

Posted on 9 July 2014 by Rob Painting

Key Points:

  • Development of El Niño in 2014 continues to edge closer with sea surface temperatures (SST) in the key indicator equatorial regions approaching El Niño thresholds.
  • The discharge of ocean heat to the atmosphere associated with the build-up of the El Niño phenomenon has predictably seen a rise in global surface temperatures, resulting in May 2014 being the warmest May ever recorded.
  • Despite the strong initial build-up of a large warm water volume anomaly (WWV) in the equatorial subsurface ocean earlier in the year, the atmosphere has so far not provided sufficient reinforcement to maintain this large pool of warmer-than-average water and a substantial portion has been eroded.
  • The last half-century of observations, however, still favour the development of an extreme El Niño event, but the substantial reduction of the warm water volume anomaly (thankfully) diminishes the odds of a powerful event rivaling that of 1997-1998 from taking hold.


Figure 1 - global sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (departures from the long-term average) as at 26th June 2014. Strong equatorial SST warming off the coast of South America (shown in red rectangle) is a tell-tale signature of El Nino conditions beginning to form. Image from NOAA Coral Reef Watch.  

El Niño on the Wane?.......

The intensity of El Niño is determined by a number of factors but, as discussed in the previous 2014 El Niño post, the size of the equatorial warm water volume (WWV) anomaly is a crucial ingredient because the heat from this warm water volume is discharged to the atmosphere as El Niño matures.

Earlier this year we saw the largest March WWV anomaly ever recorded. This warm anomaly exceeded even that of the monster El Niño of 1997-1998, raising fears of a similarly devastating El Niño in 2014. Fortunately, the chances of a repeat of 1997-1998 appear to have greatly diminished. The atmosphere needs to provide reinforcement in order for El Niño to fully take hold,  and although there have been brief episodes of westerly wind bursts, which allow near-surface warm ocean currents to flow back toward the east and shut off the upwelling of cold water there, these have not been of sufficient strength, or persistence, to shut off the upwelling entirely. As a result, the anomalous pool of warm water sitting beneath the eastern Pacific Ocean has been eaten away (moved out of the equatorial region)  and is now substantially smaller than before - see Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Global ocean temperature anomaly for the period 29th March-17th June 2014 (the Pacific Ocean is in the centre frame). Note that these are anomalies, not absolute temperatures, so the warmest water is still at the surface. The decline in the equatorial WWV anomaly is obvious as time progresses. Image adapted from CPC GODAS. 

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New Jersey science education standards may be blocked by climate contrarians

Posted on 8 July 2014 by howardlee

In the face of America’s slumping education performance in Science (currently ranked 23rd in the world), US educators have been trying to adopt new science education standards. But the state-by-state adoption of the science standards has been slow, held up by anti-science sentiments in state legislatures that do not agree with teaching evolution or climate change.

In Wyoming the climate contrarians succeeded in blocking the teaching of accepted science.

Now New Jersey is the latest state to debate the adoption of the new curriculum. Stunningly enough this is not a sure thing in this state, despite it being home to Edison and Bell Labs (birthplace of the transistor and the radio telescope), incubator of many  Nobel prizes and host to most major pharmaceutical companies, and of course several fine universities including Rutgers and Princeton (Nash’s and Einstein’s alma mater).

According to "Education Week," an American education news site, "External political influence that has an issue with human-induced climate change or evolution," may yet prevent New Jersey’s adoption of the new science standards.

In response, "Climate Parents" has launched a campaign to petition the New Jersey State Board of Education. "Loud fringe groups have gone to war against our children’s right to learn about climate change." said John Friedrich of Climate Parents. "They’ve launched coordinated attacks in each state that has considered adopting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of K-12 education standards meant to ensure that kids learn 21st century science, including climate science."

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5 comments


Rose-colored glasses: Antarctic sea ice is the Mail on Sunday's latest global warming distraction

Posted on 7 July 2014 by dana1981

David Rose and The Mail on Sunday produce the most reliable global warming journalism, in the sense that they can be relied upon to consistently misrepresent climate science. Their latest piece focuses on Antarctic sea ice.

You might wonder why we should particularly care about Antarctic sea ice. The answer is that it provides a nice distraction from rapidly declining Arctic sea ice, glaciers around the world, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the warming oceans, the warming atmosphere, and so on. Antarctic sea ice has bucked these trends by modestly increasing in extent and volume.

To put this increase in context, the volume of Antarctic sea ice has risen by about 7.5% since 1992, according to a recent study. The volume of Arctic sea ice, on the other hand, has declined by about 75% since 1980. Antarctica has been gaining about 30 cubic kilometers (km3) of sea ice volume per year, while the Arctic has been losing 10 times as much – 300 km3 per year.

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9 comments


2014 SkS Weekly Digest #27

Posted on 6 July 2014 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Mercury Rising: 2014 Sees Warmest May Ever Recorded Following on From 2nd Warmest April by Rob Painting attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Drawing the second highest number of comments was Today’s Solar Power ‘Revolution’: Powerful Insights from Energy Experts, re-posted from Yale Climate Connections by greenman3610.  

El Niño Watch

Toon of the Week

 2014 Toon 27

h/t to I heart Climate Scientists

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2 comments


Today’s Solar Power ‘Revolution’: Powerful Insights from Energy Experts

Posted on 4 July 2014 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

A powerful message on the ‘truly disruptive’ nature of solar energy technologies and the profound changes they portent for energy generation and individual customers … drawn from a range of respected energy experts.

Coming from a range of highly respected energy analysts, the new Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video is powerful, the words and “sound bites” striking:

  • Solar energy is “a truly disruptive technology.”
  • …in the past 10 years, “the precipitous drop in the pricing for solar, especially utility grade solar.”
  • “I’m extremely confident” that solar energy will produce a plurality of the energy, and most likely a majority,” used in the U.S. — more than any other single energy source — “in less than 20 years.”
  • “That single relationship is going to change — the old model of a generator selling to a customer. The customer’s going to be able to produce their own energy.”
  • For electric utilities, a future in which “the less electricity you sell, the more money you make.”
  • “After all, people don’t really want to buy electricity; they want the services that electricity provides.”
  • “For the first time, we’re going to buy solar for under five cents per kilowatt hour, and that puts solar competitive with wind, competitive with natural gas, competitive with coal, and competitive with nuclear. In fact, it beats them all, and that’s a revolution.”
  • “…buildings getting their own power on site…meters running backward, generating more electricity than they’re using.”
  • “…a giant distributed utility…instead of a utility monopoly.”
  • “The old model’s going to not work anymore.”
  • “This is what happened with file sharing of music, with Wikipedia, with YouTube, when millions of small players come together and they create the software and the connections, their power overwhelms…It isn’t even a competition .”

Independent videographer and regular Yale Climate Connections contributor Peter Sinclair’s new monthly video makes a powerful case for what many experts — across the political spectrum — are describing as a “revolution” in solar energy.

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26 comments


What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate?

Posted on 3 July 2014 by Guest Author

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” so the saying goes.

But what if that message warns we might want to rethink that whole fossil fuel burning thing pretty quick because it could seriously alter civilization and the natural world for centuries to come, and not in a good way?

Time to get the bullets out and start firing, obviously.

Climate scientists have been trying to dodge, catch or deflect those bullets for decades.

They are now all too used to being shot at, kicked and maligned as their findings are misunderstood, misrepresented, trivialised or booted around like footballs between politicians and other warring ideological factions and self-interested industry groups.

But if they had to pick one thing, what is it that really gets them annoyed?

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3 comments


'Reform conservatism' is not enough reform on global warming

Posted on 2 July 2014 by dana1981

The conservative YG Network recently published a series of ‘reform conservative’ essays called ‘Room to Grow,’ designed to create a ‘thriving middle class’ while limiting the size of government. Those essays have been subject to intense criticism from Vox’s Matt Yglesias and New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait for failing to even mention climate change despite devoting a chapter to energy policies. Adam White, author of that energy policy chapter, pushed back by arguing,

There's no shortage of talk about climate change—its causes, its dangers, and the challenges and costs of regulating it.

Unfortunately, in terms of conservative climate policies, that’s not an accurate statement. When it comes to global warming, today’s conservative American policymakers most often deny the scientific evidence that climate change is a problem to begin with. When discussions are able to move beyond the stage of science denial, conservative policymakers will generally assert – without any supporting evidence – that climate policies will kill jobs and cripple the economy. In reality, studies have shown that the opposite is true: smart climate policies can have minimal economic impact and even grow the economy.

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2 comments


Mercury Rising: 2014 Sees Warmest May Ever Recorded Following on From 2nd Warmest April

Posted on 1 July 2014 by Rob Painting

Increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, from human industrial activity, are trapping ever more heat in the atmosphere and ocean. This is causing the Earth to warm regardless of a downturn in solar radiation over the last 3-4 decades. Despite this long-term warming of the background climate state, especially the warming of the ocean, global surface temperatures exhibit fluctuations from year-to-year because the Earth's weather is never the same in each year.

Figure 1 - global surface temperature anomalies for the month of May since 1880. 2014 is, globally, the warmest May in 135 years of observation. Image from NOAA NCDC.

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31 comments



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