Posts tagged Climate Change
Posts tagged Climate Change
July was the hottest month the continental US has seen since records began, federal scientists have said.
Last month, the average temperature was 77.6F (25.3C), hotter than the old record from July 1936, during a period of severe drought known in the US as the Dust Bowl.
The last 12 months were the warmest since modern records began in 1895.
I wonder if this is the new norm.
Russian heat wave statistically linked to climate change
The forces behind weather are notoriously hard to pin down, and so climate scientists need to be careful and nuanced when they assess whether extreme weather is linked to climate change or just a freak weather event. Some events, like the unprecedented heat wave that killed 700 in Russia last summer, seem obviously linked to climate change. Now, by using a modeling approach originally based on casinos, scientists can model weather and predict the impact climate change had.
In the case of the Russian heat wave, researchers predict that climate change was 80% responsible. “With climate change, it’s going to happen five times more often than without,” said climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf. These findings further solidify what climate scientists have been warning for decades: the hotter the Earth gets, the more likely extreme weather is to occur.
Added emphasis at the end is mine. We’ve taken the “ostrich” approach of putting our heads in the sand far too long.
CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data
Via Secrecy News:
When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic. But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center: It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.
Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.
“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.
With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.
But that’s not what CIA said. Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security. That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.
Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.
With the approach of Hurricane Irene, climate activists are reminding us that more intensive hurricanes are produced by warmer water, so that global warming over time will increase the severity and frequency of storms. This is true, and it is frightening. Some climate scientists even think we need a “level 6″ category for new, fiercer storms.
Climate is extremely complex, so that global warming won’t proceed in a straight line, something that helps the skeptics (most of whom are motivated by secret payments from large corporations or are under influence of same).
Right now, the Atlantic is in a warm cycle of 10 to 15 years. During the warm cycle, hurricanes are more frequent and more powerful. The warm cycle this time is slightly warmer, because the average surface temperature of the earth and its oceans has increased over the past century. Thus it is true global warming contributed to Irene’s wrath. But climate change activists should be careful to acknowledge the contribution of the warming cycle.
After the warming cycle, the Atlantic will turn cooler. Global warming may mean it won’t turn as cool as it otherwise would, but the cooling will nevertheless make for less dramatic hurricane seasons for a while in the 2020s. Climate change can only be measured over decades, not by individual events or even short patterns.
In other global warming news, a new study shows that weather cycles appear to correlate with increased violence in tropical countries. If the El Nino/ La Nina correlation holds up, it is a horrifying harbinger for what is likely to happen in those countries during the coming century of higher temperatures produced, not just cyclically, but by long-term warming produced by dumping masses of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Juan Cole talks about how Global Warming contributes to stronger hurricanes. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground (the website, not the 1960’s terrorist group) describes how exactly the process works:
Sea surface temperatures 1° to 3°F warmer than average extend along the East Coast from North Carolina to New York. Waters of at least 26°C extend all the way to southern New Jersey, which will make it easier for Irene to maintain its strength much farther to the north than a hurricane usually can. These warm ocean temperatures will also make Irene a much wetter hurricane than is typical, since much more water vapor can evaporate into the air from record-warm ocean surfaces. The latest precipitation forecast from NOAA’s Hydrological prediction center shows that Irene could dump over eight inches of rain over coastal New England.
Over 300 people were arrested for protesting destructive environmental policy outside of the White House last week. It seems more than a little ironic to me that people who aren’t hurting anyone are being arrested while the people that are causing this warming trend (and thus the accompanying hurricanes, droughts and diseases) are being ignored or rewarded.
The government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.
Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist, oversaw much of the scientific work for the government agency that has been examining drilling in the Arctic. He managed about $50 million in research projects and was suspended on July 18.
Some question why Monnett, employed by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (Boemre), has been suspended now.
The Obama administration has been accused of hounding the scientist so it can open up the fragile region to drilling by Shell and other big oil companies.
"You have to wonder: this is the guy in charge of all the science in the Arctic and he is being suspended just now as an arm of the interior department is getting ready to make its decision on offshore drilling in the Arctic seas," said Jeff Ruch, president of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
"This is a cautionary tale with a deeply chilling message for any federal scientist who dares to publish groundbreaking research on conditions in the Arctic."
The group filed an official complaint on Monnett’s behalf yesterday, accusing the government of persecuting the scientist and interfering with his work. It seeks his reinstatement and a public apology.
Monnett was on a research flight tracking bowhead whales, in 2004, when he and his colleagues spotted four dead polar bears floating in the water after a storm. The scientists concluded the bears, though typically strong swimmers, had grown exhausted and drowned due to the long distances between patches of solid sea ice. It was the first time scientists had drawn a link between melting Arctic sea ice and a threat to the bears’ survival.
A paper by Monnett and colleagues in the science journal Polar Biology quickly heightened public concern for the polar bear. In 2008, the government designated the animal a threatened species. But oil firms, that want to drill in the pristine Chukchi and Beaufort seas, have been complaining of delays caused by environmental reviews.
This month Obama issued an order to speed up Arctic drilling permits.
Still no word on what exactly he was suspended for, but the circumstances are so fishy that I can’t help but think ‘foul play’.
One of the world’s most prominent scientific figures to be sceptical about climate change has admitted to being paid more than $1m in the past decade by major US oil and coal companies.
Dr Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, is known for his view that global warming and the melting of the arctic sea ice is caused by solar variation rather than human-caused CO2 emissions, and that polar bears are not primarily threatened by climate change.
But according to a Greenpeace US investigation, he has been heavily funded by coal and oil industry interests since 2001, receiving money from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Insitute and Koch Industriesalong with Southern, one of the world’s largest coal-burning utility companies. Since 2002, it is alleged, every new grant he has received has been from either oil or coal interests.
In addition, freedom of information documents suggest that Soon corresponded in 2003 with other prominent climate sceptics to try to weaken a major assessment of global warming being conducted by the UN’s leading climate science body, the Nobel prize-winningIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Is anyone else reminded of the scientists being paid by tobacco companies to dispute findings about smoking’s harmful effect on humans? The amount of people who will skim a paper written by a shill like this and use it as an excuse to ignore the mountains of scientific evidence proving that climate change is anthropogenic just blows my mind. The science is clear, but the “other side” of the issue continues to plug it’s ears and ignore factual evidence.