Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Climate Hustle

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?

 


Sunshine Blogger Award

Posted on 21 August 2018 by BaerbelW , dana1981, David Kirtley, Evan

Checking our Twitter stream on July 26, we were pleasantly surprised to notice that Jonathan Dean Coey had nominated Skeptical Science for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Sunshind-blogger-award

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The award is driven entirely by the community, passed from blogger to blogger in recognition of their inspiring, creative and motivational blogs. Each nominee passes it on to 11 of their favourite bloggers, and round and round it goes. This is a great way to give recognition to bloggers who may otherwise fly under the radar of many people.

For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post and/or on your blog.

So a big thank-you to Jonathan Dean Coey for nominating us for this award! As Skeptical Science is a global team effort, several of us have contributed answers to the questions we received from him. It’s therefore perhaps a bit different compared to other posts in this series where one blog often equals one author!


Jonathan's Questions and Our Answers

1. What will your blog be like in 5 years?

[Baerbel] Hopefully, Skeptical Science (SkS) will no longer need to fight misinformation regarding climate science in 5 years’ time and can actually report on successfully implemented mitigation policies in order to keep global warming to a manageable level (one can dream, right?!?) .

[Dana] We expect that in five years, climate science denial will no longer exist, and Skeptical Science (SkS) will be a nonstop party, celebrating humanity’s evolution to a wiser, more enlightened state that includes finding solutions to the existential threats we face. Of course, that’s also what we thought five years ago!

[David K] I have high confidence that SKS’s list of rebuttals will still be needed five years from now. There are many science deniers who have an amazing ability to avoid reality. And in today’s world of “fake news” their efforts to delay action on climate change will only continue to grow over the next five years.

Read more...

0 comments


State of the climate: 2018 set to be fourth warmest year despite cooler start

Posted on 20 August 2018 by Zeke Hausfather

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

Temperatures on the Earth’s surface in the first half of 2018 were lower than over the same period for the three previous years. This was due, in part, to a moderate La Niña event during late 2017 and the first half of 2018.

However, the world is quickly switching to El Niño conditions, which should contribute to a somewhat warmer finish to the year.

Sea ice has been at record or near-record lows in the Arctic for much of the year, but has recovered slightly over the past two months.

Antarctic sea ice extent has generally been on the low-end of normal for the first half of 2018.

With the data now in for the first half of the year, Carbon Brief estimates that 2018 is most likely to be the fourth warmest on record for the Earth’s surface. Depending on what happens in the remaining six months, it could be as high as the second warmest in some temperature datasets, or as low as the sixth warmest in others.

La Niña fading, El Niño growing

Global surface temperatures have warmed about 1.1C since 1850 – with 0.8C of that warming occurring since the 1970s. The best estimate provided by scientists is that almost all of this long-term warming is due to human emissions of greenhouse gases.

However, there is still a sizable amount of year-to-year variation on top of this warming trend. Short-term variations in the Earth’s climate are mainly associated with El Niño and La Niña eventsfluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Pacific which help to make some years warmer and some cooler. (Large volcanic eruptions can also lead to a run of relatively cooler years, though there has been no eruption with a major climate impact since Mount Pinatubo in 1991.)

For example, 2016 was exceptionally warm with help from a strong El Niño event. In contrast, 2017 was largely “neutral”, having no strong El Niño or La Niña conditions. The first half of 2018 was cooled by a modest La Niña event, while the second half of 2018 will likely feature modest El Niño conditions.

The figure below shows a range of different El Niño forecast models produced by different scientific groups, with the average of all the models shown in blue. Nearly all El Niño forecast models expect modest El Niño conditions for the remainder of 2018, with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific around 1C above the recent average.

Line graph of Ensemble of El Niño/La Niña (ENSO) forecast models as of July 2018 provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University. Both physics-based dynamical models (squares) and statistical models (circles) are shown.

Ensemble of El Niño/La Niña (ENSO) forecast models as of July 2018 provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University. Both physics-based dynamical models (squares) and statistical models (circles) are shown.

Typically, there is a lag of about three months between El Niño or La Niña conditions in the Pacific and their effects on global surface temperatures. This means that La Niña conditions in late 2017 and early 2018 may have a larger impact on 2018 temperatures than El Niño conditions in the latter part of the year.

Read more...

2 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #33

Posted on 18 August 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Research Highlight: Climate Model Predicts Faster Warming for the North Atlantic Ocean

As aerosol emissions decline, heat uptake in the North Atlantic could increase dramatically

Gulf Stream & AMOC 

The Gulf Stream, part of the larger Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation system. Photo: NASA

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have predicted faster rates of warming than previously predicted for the North Atlantic Ocean in a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate. This warming could disrupt major oceanic cycles and have worldwide impacts on climate systems.

The researchers modeled scenarios based on possible future greenhouse gas and aerosol emission rates. One likely scenario focuses on future decline in aerosols and continued increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Aerosols are minute particles suspended in the atmosphere. Some scatter sunlight, thereby actually acting as cooling agents.

The aerosol cooling effect is about 50 percent of the warming effect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide at present. Aerosols released from human activities are pollutants, however, and their health concerns have triggered worldwide efforts to curb emissions. An aerosol decline could spark an interesting catch-22: Because of their cooling effect, this decline would accelerate ocean warming that is already being caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions–most notably initiating major warming in the North Atlantic.

Historically, the Southern Ocean has been the predominant heat absorber, accounting for roughly 72 percent of uptake of anthropogenic greenhouse heat in the oceans, due in part to the area’s low levels of cooling aerosols. The opposite is true of the North Atlantic: under strong aerosol cooling, the North Atlantic has not taken up much heat, meaning that most of the warming in the Northern Hemisphere is happening in the atmosphere and not in the ocean.

“The ocean heat uptake moderates atmospheric warming by storing much of the greenhouse heat below the surface,” said Shang-Ping Xie, a climate researcher at Scripps and co-author of the study. “We now show that the ocean uptake is not only uneven, but its distribution also evolves with time."

Research Highlight: Climate Model Predicts Faster Warming for the North Atlantic Ocean by Chase Martin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Aug 14, 2018

Read more...

4 comments


New research, August 5-12, 2018

Posted on 17 August 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change impacts

Climate change and future wildfire in the western USA: an ecological approach to non‐stationarity (open access)

Influence of uncertainties in burned area estimates on modeled wildland fire PM2.5 and ozone pollution in the contiguous U.S.

Mankind

Coastal homeowners in a changing climate

Indigenous impacts on North American Great Plains fire regimes of the past millennium

Measuring temperature-related mortality using endogenously determined thresholds

Assessing thermal comfort in tourist attractions through objective and subjective procedures based on ISO 7730 standard: A field study

Global Freshwater availability below normal conditions and population impact under 1.5°C and 2°C stabilization scenarios

Climate change impacts on the energy system: a review of trends and gaps

Effects of climate change and agronomic practice on changes in wheat phenology

Climatic, topographic, and anthropogenic factors determine connectivity between current and future climate analogs in North America (open access)

An institutional analysis to address climate change adaptation in Tenerife (Canary Islands) (open access)

Economic sector loss from influential tropical cyclones and relationship to associated rainfall and wind speed in China

Re-imagining the potential of effective drought responses in South Africa

Understanding the current state of collaboration in the production and dissemination of adaptation knowledge in Namibia

Dynamic adaptive pathways in downscaled climate change scenarios (open access)

On the evaluation of adaptation practices: a transdisciplinary exploration of drought measures in Chile

Read more...

0 comments


Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

Posted on 16 August 2018 by Guest Author

Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

File 20180809 30467 1x5l5mq.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1 A firefighter runs after trying to save a home in Lakeport, California, suffering its biggest fires ever. AP Photo/Noah Berger Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Once again, the summer of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere has brought us an epidemic of major wildfires.

These burn forests, houses and other structures, displace thousands of people and animals, and cause major disruptions in people’s lives. The huge burden of simply firefighting has become a year-round task costing billions of dollars, let alone the cost of the destruction. The smoke veil can extend hundreds or even thousands of miles, affecting air quality and visibility. To many people, it has become very clear that human-induced climate change plays a major role by greatly increasing the risk of wildfire.

Yet it seems the role of climate change is seldom mentioned in many or even most news stories about the multitude of fires and heat waves. In part this is because the issue of attribution is not usually clear. The argument is that there have always been wildfires, and how can we attribute any particular wildfire to climate change?

As a climate scientist, I can say this is the wrong framing of the problem. Global warming does not cause wildfires. The proximate cause is often human carelessness (cigarette butts, camp fires not extinguished properly, etc.), or natural, from “dry lightning” whereby a thunderstorm produces lightning but little rain. Rather, global warming exacerbates the conditions and raises the risk of wildfire.

Read more...

21 comments


Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff

Posted on 15 August 2018 by John Abraham

A new paper, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has received a lot of media attention. The attention is justified because the paper paints a very grim picture of the climate and what humans may be doing to it. In particular, the authors of this study tried to determine the trajectory that the Earth is on so we can predict what the future climate will be.

There are many really important insights from this paper. The authors wanted to know how feedbacks in the Earth’s climate will play a role in shaping the climate in the future. By feedbacks, we mean a change in one part of the climate that then causes another change, which in turn may cause another change, and so on, potentially setting up chain reactions.

Feedbacks are really important because they are changes that the natural system makes without being caused directly by humans.

For example, melting ice is one feedback, particularly in the Arctic. Humans have emitted greenhouse gases that have caused the Earth to warm. As the Earth warms, ice melts; as ice melts, it means there is less white reflective cover on the Earth surface. In fact, a lot of this ice melting is happening in the Arctic. Instead of having a white surface that reflects sunlight, we have open ocean water that absorbs sunlight. Consequently, melting of ice leads to more absorbed sunlight which then leads to more melting of ice – a reinforcing cycle, as illustrated below.

diagram

 Melting ice positive feedback cycle diagram. Illustration: John Abraham

Read more...

18 comments


What does ‘mean’ actually mean?

Posted on 14 August 2018 by Kevin C

This is a re-post from Climate Lab Book

We commonly represent temperature data on a grid covering the surface of the earth. To calculate the mean temperature we can calculate the mean of all the grid cell values, with each value weighted according to the cell area – roughly the cosine of the latitude.

Now suppose you are offered two sets of temperature data, one covering 83% of the planet, and the other covering just 18%, with the coverage shown below. If you calculate the cosine weighted mean of the grid cells with observations, which set of data do you think will give the better estimate of the global mean surface temperature anomaly?

If you can’t give a statistical argument why the answer is probably (B), then now might be a good time to think a bit more about the meaning of the word “mean”. Hopefully the video below will help.

Why is this important?

Read more...

3 comments


Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

Posted on 13 August 2018 by dana1981

Last week, 18 wildfires were burning at once in California, including its largest in history, destroying over 1,100 homes and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. The smoke made the air in the state’s Central Valley unhealthy to breathe for a record 15 consecutive days, as I can personally attest.

Donald Trump decided to use the opportunity to renew his war with California by nonsensically blaming the wildfires on environmental laws.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!

It’s no surprise that Donald Trump dislikes California. His 2.9m national popular vote deficit to Hillary Clinton is a sore spot, and her margin of victory in California was by 30% and 4.3m votes. California has also long been a leader in developing laws to clean and protect the environment, and Trump despises regulations that benefit public health and welfare at the expense of industry profits.

And so, we got the Tweet bemoaning water being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean” (in scientific terms, they’re called “rivers”). Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire immediately noted that water isn’t firefighters’ problem:

We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires

Read more...

11 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #32

Posted on 12 August 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week...SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

On climate change, it’s time to start panicking 

The crisis over global warming warrants an unparalleled response 

US Capitol Montage

(Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

It is time for us to panic about global warming. Indeed, a proper state of panic is long overdue.

Global warming has made the news for a number of reasons this week: The Supreme Court rejected a request by President Donald Trump to halt a lawsuit by children and teenagers to force the federal government to address man-made climate change; Trump's Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation took new steps to reverse President Barack Obama's rules requiring car manufacturers to steadily reduce greenhouse gas pollution from their vehicles; former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced those same Trump policies as "stupid"; and The New York Times ran a brilliant piece documenting how, between 1979 and 1989, the world had the opportunity to effectively address man-made climate change... and squandered it.

Yet this is one of those issues in which — because there are so many twists and turns and overwhelming details — it is easy to lose sight of a crucial fact: If we do not resolve the problem of man-made climate change, it could quite literally spell the end of human civilization.

"There will be and already is major consequences and they grow over time. It does not look good," Kevin Trenberth, a a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, told Salon by email. "The effects are always local but there are more and more of them and the consequences are major. These includes floods and drought, heat waves and wild fires." He also pointed Salon in the direction of a paper he co-authored that elaborated on how Hurricane Harvey in particular could be linked to climate change.

On climate change, it’s time to start panicking by Matthew Rozsa, Salon, Aug 5, 2018 

Read more...

1 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

Posted on 11 August 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’ 

Trump's climate denial is "a crime against the planet" warns climatologist.

 

Embers Smolder from Wildfires Near Clearlake Oaks, California, On August 5, 2018. Credit: Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images

Two years ago, an actual headline from CBS in Sacramento was, “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.

And now, on Sunday evening, Trump’s denial of reality in California continued, as he attempted to blame the ever-worsening wildfires in the state on everything but climate change.

“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized,” the President tweeted. “It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

The tweet came just hours after the Trump administration declared the California wildfires a major disaster

Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’ by Joe Romm, Think Progress, Aug 6, 2018

Read more...

7 comments


Welcome to the Pliocene

Posted on 10 August 2018 by John Mason

The whole story in a table....

The graphic below (click on it for a large version) is adapted from a table in the supporting information from a newly published paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, as the paper is entitled, looks at several climate states - the present day, the mid-Holocene, the relatively warm Eemian interglacial and, heading back a bit further into geological time, the mid-Pliocene and mid-Miocene. Data are from palaeoclimate studies. The right-hand column assesses our chances of stabilising our climate at these states in the coming decades. In some cases, it is already too late - we have gone beyond the physical parameters that support such climates:

Data details: atmospheric CO2, temperature anomaly relative to the pre-industrial era and sea-levels relative to now measured and from palaeoclimate records. The graphic, created by "JG", is adapted from Table S1 from the paper's supporting information section, available here. Data sources are fully referenced.

Read more...

22 comments


New research, July 30 - August 4, 2018

Posted on 10 August 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

Temperature, precipitation, wind

Optimal Ranking Regime Analysis of U.S. Summer Temperature and Degree-Days: 1895-2015

Detectable Impacts of the Past Half‐Degree Global Warming on Summertime Hot Extremes in China

Time series analysis of quarterly rainfall and temperature (1900–2012) in sub-Saharan African countries

Trends of the observed temperature and its variations in the Tamil Nadu State of India

Roles of SST versus internal atmospheric variability in winter extreme precipitation variability along the U.S. West Coast

Read more...

0 comments


Factcheck: How global warming has increased US wildfires

Posted on 9 August 2018 by Zeke Hausfather

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

In the midst of record or near-record heatwaves across the northern hemisphere this summer, deadly wildfires have swept through many regions, such as the western USEurope and Siberia. This has focused a great deal of public attention on the role that climate change plays in wildfires.

Recently, some commentators have tried to dismiss recent increases in the areas burnt by fires in the US, claiming that fires were much worse in the early part of the century. To do this, they are ignoring clear guidance by scientists that the data should not be used to make comparisons with earlier periods.

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), which maintains the database in question, tells Carbon Brief that people should not “put any stock” in numbers prior to 1960 and that comparing the modern fire area to earlier estimates is “not accurate or appropriate”.

Here, Carbon Brief takes a look at the links between climate change and wildfires, both in the US and across the globe. As with any environmental issue, there are many different contributing factors, but it is clear that in the western US climate change has made – and will continue to make – fires larger and more destructive.

As one scientist tells Carbon Brief: “There is no question whatsoever that climate plays a role in the increase in fires.”

More area burned

Many areas of the western US are currently being ravaged by record-setting wildfires for the second year in a row. The Mendocino Complex fire in California is now the largest on record in the state, with firefighters expect the fires to keep burning for at least the rest of the month.

In California, 14 of the 20 largest wildfires on record have occurred over the past 15 years. At the same time, the western US has experienced some of its warmest temperatures on record, with 10 of the past 15 years among the 15 warmest years on record, based on temperature records from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to data from the NIFC, there has been a clear trend in increased area burned by wildfires in the US since the 1980s, when reliable US-wide estimates based on fire situation reports from federal and state agencies became available.

Read more...

1 comments


Climate change science comeback strategies

Posted on 8 August 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk

Science Comeback imageCredit: Image by Karin Kirk.

Staircase wit. L’esprit de l’escalier. It’s the way the perfect response in an uncomfortable conversation comes cruelly late, occurring only after the crux moment has long since passed, and you’re descending the stairs on your way home.

Why didn’t I think of that? you ask, kicking yourself for temporarily forgetting how carbon isotopes show that fossil fuels are indeed the source of the CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.

As the American culture war flares up like a SoCal heat wave, many feel understandably helpless watching misinformation accelerate throughout society. But even as you hit “enter” on a witty post correcting the spelling and grammar of someone who suggests scientists are incompetent, at some level you probably know this doesn’t improve the situation. Lobbing talking points back and forth typically only entrenches deeply held positions, a process known as belief polarization.

Want to see some expert comeback strategies for discussing #climatechange with a doubter?CLICK TO TWEET

So how then, to respond? Do you nod, smile, and walk away with clenched teeth? Do you whip out your smartphone and wave around graphs of ice core data?

Here are four strategies, each from a distinctly different point of view, each penned by an expert, each useful in either a face-to-face conversation on an online chat. The first lesson is this: have a conscious strategy, rather than a knee-jerk response. Think about where you want to go and what your goals are. And if your aim is to simply make the other person feel bad or look bad, then maybe reconsider if that’s helpful to either of you.

Let’s start with one of the most common climate contrarian remarks of all. One we’ve all heard many times: but the climate has changed before!

Read more...

7 comments


Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

Posted on 7 August 2018 by John Abraham

The Arctic is one of the “canaries in the coal mine” for climate change. Long ago, scientists predicted it would warm quicker than other parts of the planet, and they were right. Currently, the Arctic is among the fastest-warming places on the planet. Part of the reason is that as the Arctic warms, ice melts and ocean water is uncovered. The ocean is darker than ice so it in turn absorbs more sunlight and increases its warming. This is a feedback loop.

Another reason is that the Arctic doesn’t get that much sunlight so increased energy from the atmosphere has a bigger influence there than it would have elsewhere.

Scientists have looked to the Arctic for clues and hints of human climate change over the past decades. The fact that the Arctic is warming has led to a 70% reduction in the volume of summer sea ice – an enormous loss of ice.

sea ice

 Decline in September Arctic ice extent (not volume). Illustration: Nasa

A recent paper just published in the Journal of Climate by the American Meteorological Society takes an in-depth look at how fast the Arctic ice is melting and why. According to the paper, the authors completed a detection and attribution study of Arctic sea ice decline from 1953 to 2012. That is 60 years of data that tell the picture of climate change. The “detection” part of this study was about detecting what long-term trends are apparent over these six decades. The “attribution” part of the study is figuring out what is the cause of the trends.

Read more...

6 comments


The GOP and Big Oil can't escape blame for climate change

Posted on 6 August 2018 by dana1981

Last week’s issue of the New York Times magazine was devoted to a single story by Nathaniel Rich that explored how close we came to an international climate agreement in 1989, and why we failed. The piece is worth reading – it’s a well-told, mostly accurate, and very informative story about a key decade in climate science and policy history. But sadly, it explicitly excuses the key players responsible for our continued failure.

Culprit #1: The Republican Party

Rich’s piece immediately goes off the rails in its Prologue, where he argues that the GOP isn’t responsible – at least not for the climate failures up to 1989:

Nor can the Republican Party be blamed … during the 1980s, many prominent Republicans joined Democrats in judging the climate problem to be a rare political winner: nonpartisan and of the highest possible stakes.

However, his story is peppered with examples that contradict this narrative. The world’s foremost climate scientists had published the groundbreaking National Academy of Sciences ‘Charney Report’ in 1979, concluding that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would most likely cause 3°C of global warming (still the consensus today), and as Rich summarizes:

Read more...

2 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #31

Posted on 5 August 2018 by John Hartz

Stories of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Stories of the Week...

Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes

Cooling Down in Paris 2018 

People trying to cool down in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Credit: Ludovic Marin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Northern Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plagues. Cows are dying of thirst in Switzerland, fires are gobbling up timber in Sweden, the majestic Dachstein glacier is melting in Austria.

In London, stores are running out of fans and air-conditioners. In Greenland, an iceberg may break off a piece so large that it could trigger a tsunami that destroys settlements on shore. Last week, Sweden’s highest peak, Kebnekaise mountain, no longer was in first place after its glacier tip melted.

Southern Europe is even hotter. Temperatures in Spain and Portugal are expected to reach 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. On Saturday, several places in Portugal experienced record highs, and over the past week, two people have died in Spain from the high temperatures, and a third in Portugal.

But in the northernmost latitudes, where the climate is warming faster than the global average, temperatures have been the most extreme, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and the World Weather Attribution network. 

Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes by Alissa J. Rubin, World, New York Times, Aug 4. 2018

Read more...

0 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

Posted on 4 August 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

143-mph 'fire tornado' that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future

Wildfire Tornado Takes Down Transmission Tower 

A high-tension power transmission line tipped over from a tornado-like vortex that reached speeds of possibly more than 143 mph. (Cal Fire / National Weather Service)/h5>

Redding Fire Vortex

As authorities sifted the rubble from the fire that burned more than 1,000 residences in Shasta County, they were startled by what they encountered.

A soaring transmission tower was tipped over. Tiles were torn off the roofs of homes. Massive trees were uprooted. Vehicles were moved. In one spot, a fence post was bent around a tree, with the bark on one side sheared off.

This was not typical wildfire damage. Rather, it was strong evidence of a giant, powerful spinning vortex that accompanied the Carr fire on July 26. The tornado-like condition, lasting an hour and a half and fueled by extreme heat and intensely dry brush as California heats up to record levels, was captured in dramatic videos that have come to symbolize the destructive power of what is now California’s sixth-most destructive fire.

It may take years before scientists come to a consensus on what to exactly call this vortex — a fire whirl, as named by the National Weather Service, or a fire tornado. Whatever it’s called, it’s exceptionally rare to see a well-documented fire-fueled vortex leap out of a wildfire and enter a populated area with such size, power and duration. 

143-mph 'fire tornado' that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future by Rong-Gong Lin Ii , Joseph Serna & Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, Aug 3, 2018

Read more...

7 comments


New research, July 2-29, 2018

Posted on 3 August 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change mitigation

Climate change communication

Place, proximity, and perceived harm: extreme weather events and views about climate change

Teaching climate change in middle schools and high schools: investigating STEM education’s deficit model

Cool dudes in Norway: climate change denial among conservative Norwegian men

Emission savings

How important are future marine and shipping aerosol emissions in a warming Arctic summer and autumn? (open access)

Work time reduction and economic democracy as climate change mitigation strategies: or why the climate needs a renewed labor movement

The remaining potential for energy savings in UK households

Read more...

0 comments


Permafrost and wetland emissions could cut 1.5C carbon budget ‘by five years’

Posted on 2 August 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Robert McSweeney

Emissions of CO2 and methane from wetlands and thawing permafrost as the climate warms could cut the “carbon budget” for the Paris Agreement temperature limits by around five years, a new study says.

These natural processes are “positive feedbacks” – so called because they release more greenhouse gases as global temperatures rise, thus reinforcing the warming. They have previously not been represented in carbon budget estimates as they are not included in most climate models, the researchers say.

The findings suggest that human-caused emissions will need to be cut by an additional 20% in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C or 2C limits, the researchers estimate.

‘Engines for turning CO2 into methane’

Over the last year or so, there has been a flurry of new carbon budget studies – using slightly different approaches to estimate how much CO2 we can emit and still hold global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial levels.

(Carbon Brief summarised all the 1.5C budgets in a recent analysis piece.)

Many of these studies use global climate models to make their estimates. However, there are some processes which affect the climate that are not yet incorporated into these models.

The new study, published in Nature Geoscience, aims to fill that gap. It focuses on two processes on the land surface: thawing permafrost and natural wetlands.

These are both positive feedbacks for the climate because, as they respond to rising temperatures, they cause the release of more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Permafrost is the name given to soil that has been frozen for at least two years. It is predominantly found in the northern hemisphere – stretching across northern reaches of Russia, Canada and Alaska.

MYE111 A massive permafrost thaw slump near the Arctic Ocean coastline.

A massive permafrost thaw slump near the Arctic Ocean coastline, Canada. Credit: National Geographic Creative/Alamy Stock Photo.

Read more...

3 comments



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2018 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us