Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean. The world’s oceans are playing a game of hot potato with the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. An illustration showing movement of water from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.Click image to enlarge. Credit: Lee et al., 2015 Scientists have zeroed in on the tropical Pacific as a major player in taking up that heat. But while it might have held that heat for a bit, new research shows that the Pacific has passed the potato to the Indian Ocean, which has seen an unprecedented rise in heat content over the past decade. The new work builds on a series of papers that have tracked the causes for what’s been dubbed the global warming slowdown, a period over the past 15 years that has seen surface temperatures rise slower than they did the previous decade. Shifts in Pacific tradewinds have helped sequester heat from the surface to the top 2,300 feet of the ocean. But unlike Vegas, what happens in the Pacific doesn’t stay in the Pacific.
Proof Of Global Warming: Scientists Confirms Hotspot On Earth's Troposphere. Ever felt like the Earth is melting from the heat? Researchers have confirmed that the planet’s troposphere has a hotspot, literally proving global warming. (Photo : John LeGear | Flickr) If melting ice caps won't convince climate change deniers that the planet is in trouble, maybe proving that the Earth literally has a hotspot will do the trick.
In a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, climate scientists confirmed that the upper troposphere is exhibiting strong warming. Colloquially referred to as the tropospheric hotspot, the warming has long been expected as part of the theory on global warming, as such appearing in a lot of climate models. Steve Sherwood, chief investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and lead author for the study, explained that he and his colleague Nidhi Nishant used improved methods of analysis and more recent data to reexamine radiosondes, or the global weather balloon network. Photo: John LeGear | Flickr.
Carbon Tax or Carbon Market? Amazon Losing Capacity To Absorb CO2 Says Study. 27.03.2015 06:53 Age: 130 days Click to enlarge. Nature paper suggests Amazon's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide has halved since the 1990s. Courtesy: Peter van der Sleen and University of Leeds From the University of Leeds The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America. The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published today in the journal Nature. Over recent decades the remaining Amazon forest has acted as a vast ‘carbon sink’ – absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – helping to put a brake on the rate of climate change. The Costs of Climate Adaptation, Explained in 4 Infographics | World Resources Institute.
As global temperatures climb, so do the costs of adapting to a warmer world. Severe weather events are becoming more frequent, creating major budget pressures for national governments, especially those in the developing world. Sea level is projected to rise by 52-98 centimeters by the year 2100, threatening billions of people in coastal communities. And increasing temperatures and shifting weather patterns threaten major economic sectors, such as agriculture, tourism and energy supply. So how much money will the world need to protect itself from these impacts? And how much money are we currently spending to solve the problem? 1) The costs are increasing. Scientific research on climate change impacts is improving year after year, influencing adaptation finance estimates for the coming decades. 2) Adaptation finance from the public sector is growing. 3) There’s still a huge gap between how much adaptation finance we have and how much we need. 4) Most climate finance goes to mitigation.
Arctic sea ice extent hits record low for winter maximum | Environment. Arctic sea ice has hit a record low for its maximum extent in winter, which scientists said was a result of climate change and abnormal weather patterns. The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) said on Thursday that at its peak the ice covered just over 14.5m sq km of the northern seas. This was 130,000 sq km smaller than the previous lowest maximum in 2011. The peak occurred on 25 February, which the NSIDC’s senior research scientist Ted Scambos said was “very early but not unprecedented”. Climate change is driving declining ice coverage in the Arctic, with a recent study finding it has also become significantly thinner, down 65% since 1975. Scambos said northern oceans have progressively warmed because of climate change. “[The record low extent] is significant, in that it shows that the Arctic is being seriously impacted by our warming climate,” said Scambos. The loss of ice from the Arctic has raised questions over when the region will experience its first ice-free summer.
What the Green Movement Got Wrong. Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters. Dirty Wars Official Trailer 1 (2013) - War Documentary HD. A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say. NASA scientists studied past droughts and climate models incorporating soil moisture data to estimate future drought risk. According to NASA's study, "droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years. " (NASA Goddard via YouTube) The long and severe drought in the U.S. Southwest pales in comparison with what’s coming: a “megadrought” that will grip that region and the central Plains later this century and probably stay there for decades, a new study says. Thirty-five years from now, if the current pace of climate change continues unabated, those areas of the country will experience a weather shift that will linger for as long as three decades, according to the study, released Thursday.
“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it,” said Toby R. The other writers for the study were its lead author, Benjamin I. The US is on track for a record-breaking megadrought. In just a few decades, a huge swath of the US could experience the biggest megadrought that the US has seen in 1,000 years. New research published on Feb. 12 in the journal Science Advances predicts that this hypothetical could become reality from the Mississippi River to California. It could make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s seem mild by comparison.
No one knows what megadroughts, which can last from 30-50 years, look like. So researchers from NASA and Columbia and Cornell Universities went back 1,000 years to peer confidently into our drier future. “If you want to study drought variability in the past, trees are the records to do it with,” lead author Benjamin I. Cook’s team was particularly interested in what’s called the “Medieval Warm Period,” which spanned from the 9th to the 13th century. This was all before humanity started power-blasting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The possible future that emerged was sobering. But just how likely is very likely? Increase In Arctic Solar Absorption Measured. 19.12.2014 10:42 Age: 24 days Click to enlarge. Sea ice fraction change. The Arctic Ocean is absorbing more of the sun's energy in recent years as white, reflective sea ice melts and darker ocean waters are exposed. The increased darker surface area during the Arctic summer is responsible for a 5 percent increase in absorbed solar radiation since 2000. Courtesy: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Lori Perkins Click to enlarge. From NASA NASA satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 – a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the same period. While sea ice is mostly white and reflects the sun’s rays, ocean water is dark and absorbs the sun’s energy at a higher rate.
Since the year 2000, the rate of absorbed solar radiation in the Arctic in June, July and August has increased by five percent, said Norman Loeb, of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. Terrifying NASA Video Shows How Carbon Emissions Are Engulfing the World. Carbon dioxide emissions are invisible, but NASA has just made them all too real. The space agency has released a video of high-resolution imagery documenting carbon emissions released over an entire year.
The result is what looks like the world’s biggest storm stretching the length of the northern hemisphere. The video is the first time scientists have been able to see in fine detail how carbon dioxide moves through the atmosphere, showing the source of greenhouse emissions and their destination. It’s mesmerizing and scary. The large, swirling, cloud-like plumes grow and spread across the globe over an entire seasonal cycle, showing just how far C02 emissions can spread.
As the time-lapsed animation rolls through the year, the differences between spring, summer, fall, and winter are obvious—especially in the northern hemisphere. As the plant-growing season peaks in late spring and summer, the dark red plumes that signify the worst concentrations of carbon dioxide dissipate. Certainty vs. Uncertainty: Understanding Scientific Terms About Climate Change. Uncertainty is ubiquitous in our daily lives. We are uncertain about where to go to college, when and if to get married, who will play in the World Series, and so on. To most of us, uncertainty means not knowing. To scientists, however, uncertainty is how well something is known. And, therein lies an important difference, especially when trying to understand what is known about climate change. In science, there's often not absolute certainty. But, research reduces uncertainty. In many cases, theories have been tested and analyzed and examined so thoroughly that their chance of being wrong is infinitesimal.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, scientists like to point out the level of uncertainty. Decision makers in our society use scientific input all the time. Taking into account the many sources of scientific understanding, climate scientists have sought to provide decision-makers with careful language regarding uncertainty. So, what's the bottom line?
Methane Problems and Fracking Risk. CREDIT: Shutterstock Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. “In conclusion,” researchers write, “at the current methane loss rates, a net climate benefit on all time frames owing to tapping unconventional resources in the analyzed tight formations is unlikely.” In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. Remember, natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. Back in February, we reported that the climate will likely be ruined already well past most of our lifespans by the time natural gas has a net climate benefit. The new study used satellites to look at actual “methane emissions for two of the fastest growing production regions in the United States, the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations,” between the periods 2006–2008 and 2009–2011.