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Economist Says Best Climate Fix A Tough Sell, But Worth It We often talk about climate change as a matter of science. But the biggest questions are really about money. How much would it cost to fix the problem — and what price will we pay if we don't? The man who invented the field of climate economics 40 years ago says there's actually a straightforward way to solve the problem. Nordhaus has been at Yale University since 1967. Despite some scientific interest in climate change at the time, the topic "was zero on the intellectual Kelvin scale in economics," Nordhaus says. He started to grapple with the basic problem: Climate change was looming because people were burning cheap fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is now building up in the atmosphere faster than ever, and each extra ton increases the risk of sea level rise, shifting climate and other changes that are likely to cost a huge amount of money to address in the future. Right now, nobody pays for that, and it wasn't even clear what the price should be until Nordhaus started running the numbers.

Warming Arctic May Be Causing Jet Stream To Lose Its Way : The Two-Way hide captionThe jet stream that circles Earth's north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states. The jet stream that circles Earth's north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states. Mark Twain once said: "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes." He was making an unknowing reference to the jet stream, which drives the weather over North America and Europe like a high-altitude conveyor belt. The wayward jet stream could account for the persistently severe winter weather this year in the U.S. and Britain, as well as California's long drought. In all of the talk recently about the "polar vortex," you've already heard some of this.

Trees On The Move As Temperature Zones Shift 3.8 Feet A Day : Krulwich Wonders... You are a snail. You are a plant. You like where you are. Robert Krulwich/NPR But then, gradually, over the years, it gets warmer. Something is not right. In 2009, they came up with an answer, published in the science journal, Nature. Think about this for a moment. But, in general, a 3.8-feet-a-day rate seems hard, but not impossible. Even mountains have their problems. So far I've only mentioned animals, but animals have to eat, nest, seek shelter. Well, in a way they can. Dashing Trees Miles Silman, a forest ecologist at Wake Forest University, has been pondering this question. Feeley looked at changes over a 4-year period, and found that trees have been moving up to get cooler at an average rate of 8 feet a year; but some, Kolbert writes, were "practically hyperactive." On the lazier side, when the scientists looked at the genus Ilex (a group of trees that, in North America, include the Christmas holly), those trees weren't moving at all, essentially. What about our National Parks?

Scientists debunk climate change myths Wits University scientists have debunked two big myths around climate change by proving firstly, that despite predictions, tropical storms are not increasing in number. However, they are shifting, and South Africa could be at increased risk of being directly impacted by tropical cyclones within the next 40 years. Secondly, while global warming is causing frost to be less severe, late season frost is not receding as quickly as flowering is advancing, resulting in increased frost risk which will likely begin to threaten food security. According to Jennifer Fitchett, a PhD student in the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES), there has been an assumption that increasing sea surface temperatures caused by global warming is causing an increase in the number of tropical cyclones. The big surprise came when Fitchett and Grab looked at where storms have been happening. South Africa is already feeling the effects of this shift. Fitchett, J.

Weather Extremes : Heavy Rain Makes Dent in California Drought Japan Breaks National Heat Record. Chinese Heat Wave Continues An all-time national heat record was set in Japan today (August 12th) when the temperature peaked at 41.0°C (105.8°F) at the Ekawasaki site in Shimanto (part of Kochi Prefecture). The previous record of 40.9°C (105.6°F) was recorded at Tajima and Kumagaya on August 16, 2007. Location of Shimanto on the island of Honshu in Japan. How many have died as a result of the Chinese heat wave? On Sunday, August 11th, the temperature peaked at 42.7°C (108.9°F) at Shengxian, its hottest temperature measured so far during the heat wave. Eastern China, where about 30% of the population of the country and 5% of the global population reside (approximately 400 million people) has undergone a heat wave unprecedented in its history. The populous cities of China must be almost unendurable during long summer heat waves. It is difficult to properly estimate the number of fatalities as a result of excessive heat. Christopher C.

Global Analysis - Annual 2013 | State of the Climate Maps and Time Series Temperature and Precipitation Maps Annual Temperature Anomalies Time Series Annual Contents of this Section: Global Highlights The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. Global Temperatures The year 2013 tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. Top 10 Warmest Years (1880–2013) The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually-averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record. *Note: Tie is based on temperature anomaly in °C. Separately, the average global land temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average and ranked as the fourth highest annually-averaged value on record. For the period January–December, continual ENSO-neutral conditions contributed to a globally-averaged ocean surface temperature departure of 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 20th century average, tying with 2006 as the eighth warmest year on record. [ top ]

California's Recent Droughts Have Grown Longer And Stronger By Joe Romm "California’s Recent Droughts Have Grown Longer And Stronger" The good news: Parts of California are finally getting some much needed precipitation. The storms are being driven by an “atmospheric river,” which, as NOAA explains, is a “relatively narrow” region in the atmosphere “responsible for most of the horizontal transport of water vapor outside of the tropics.” Satellite image of water vapor showing an atmospheric river approaching California from the tropics (square box). The bad news: Accuweather reports Friday that “In terms of the ongoing drought that has gripped parts of the West for years, the moisture with this system will only make a dent in the huge precipitation deficit that has occurred.” As the map below reveals, for most of coastal and northern California, 15 to 36 (!) The ugly news: As the top chart from Bloomberg BusinessWeek reveals, California’s recent dry spells are growing longer and stronger.

Hot Alaska, Cold Georgia: How The Shifted Polar Vortex Turned Winter Upside-Down By Ryan Koronowski "Hot Alaska, Cold Georgia: How The Shifted Polar Vortex Turned Winter Upside-Down" A photo released Wednesday Jan. 29, 2014, by the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities and made on Jan. 25, 2014, shows road crews beginning the job of clearing the closed Richardson Highway, near Valdez, Alaska. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alaska DOT&PF It’s easy to forget about other places in the world, or even in your own country, when you’re out shoveling snow, or people who are homeless suffer the worst of urban cold snaps, or harbor seals on the Hudson River ride ice floes, or your city shuts down due to a mismanaged winter storm. The polar vortex, normally tucked away much closer to the Arctic, has swept down several times this winter, bringing cold temperatures and snow to large segments of the U.S. east of the Rockies. But not only is this cold not unprecedented — it’s not even happening most places. Why the displaced cold? What happened was we had really unusual weather.

The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media | Connecting scientists, journalists, and communicators Why is it so cold if the Earth is warming? (video) Dr. Jeff Masters from Weather Underground drops some science on those who think they can conclude that the planet isn't warming because "it's so cold this winter!" Interestingly, cold isn't the only abnormal weather pattern for North-America right now. There's also historic warm temperatures in Alaska, and the deepest drought in decades across the west... You really have to see the graphics and listen to the interview - it's great - but the general idea is that sometimes the Jet Stream slows down and shifts South, allowing very cold arctic air to come down over most of Canada and the US. Another factor: Cold waves used to be more frequent, and now that we're not used to them, they seem worse. Youtube/Screen capture Via Peter Sinclair See also: Cold waves used to be more frequent, and now that we're not used to them, they seem worse

Greenland glacier hits record speeds | The Rundown The calving front of the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland, as seen from NASA’s P-3B aircraft on April 21, 2012. Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video Traveling just over 6 mph would hardly break any speed record. In fact, the most recent summer speed of Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier, according to a new study published by The Cryosphere, has more than quadrupled its summer speed since the 1990s. The increase in speed means that more ice is being added to the ocean at a quicker pace, which contributes to a rise in the global sea level. The study says that though the average speedup over the past several years increased within factors of three, researchers estimate the speed can rise by more than 10 times the average within a few decades.

Is El Niño Developing? Data from ocean-observing satellites and other ocean sensors indicate that El Niño conditions appear to be developing in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Conditions in May 2014 bear some similarities to those of May 1997, a year that brought one of the most potent El Niño events of the 20th century. During an El Niño, easterly trade winds in the Pacific falter and allow giant waves of warm water—known as Kelvin waves—to drift across from the western Pacific toward South America. Surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific become significantly warmer than normal, altering weather patterns and affecting fisheries along the west coasts of the Americas. The maps above show the ten-day average of sea surface height centered on May 2, 1997 (left), and May 3, 2014. The height of the sea surface is a good indicator of the amount of heat stored in the water. The years 1997–98 brought El Niño out of the scientific literature and onto the front pages and evening newscasts. Instrument(s):