Adjustments to climate data unfair? Well, adjustments DO make warming slightly less severe

March 25, 2018

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Annals of Global Warming: Chukchi ice melt 2018

February 24, 2018

As Bill McKibben notes, something seems amiss with this chart.

Chart from data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showing sea ice in the Bering-Chukchi Sea; 2018's ice decline in red. Graphic by Zachary Labe.

Chart from data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showing sea ice in the Bering-Chukchi Sea; 2018’s ice decline in red. Graphic by Zachary Labe.

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, track ice in the Arctic. The chart shows extent of sea ice in square kilometers, with a comparison of about the past 20 years.

In red, you see what is happening to the ice in 2018 — a dramatic melt, a dramatic plunge in the amount of sea ice.

Arctic Circle area temperatures rose dramatically above normal temperatures for winter in the past few weeks, by 25 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (see report in the Sydney Morning Herald). Such dramatic increases frequently result when a weakened jet stream fails to keep cold Arctic air in the Arctic — and the polar vortex slips to give some temperate latitude land incredible freezes. The colds that get reported on the news and touted by science dissenters as evidence Global Warming does not occur, are the result of those heat blobs in the Arctic.

Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports: Arctic temperatures in February 2018 are averaging well above normal, and peaking up to 25 degrees higher than normal. Photo: globalweatherlogistics.com

Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports: Arctic temperatures in February 2018 are averaging well above normal, and peaking up to 25 degrees higher than normal. Photo: globalweatherlogistics.com

Tipping points are not always discernable in real time. This may be an exception.

Time to act, people!

 

Tip of the old scrub brush to Bill McKibben, of course.


How can we not allow undeveloped nations and the poor to use fossil fuel energy?

December 18, 2017

Greenpeace and Tcktcktck volunteers raise a wind turbine on the beach at dawn in Durban, South Africa. Microgrid News image

Greenpeace and Tcktcktck volunteers raise a wind turbine on the beach at dawn in Durban, South Africa. Microgrid News image

How can we not allow undeveloped nations to catch the first world with fossil fuel energy? Katharine Hayhoe explains at Global Weirding.

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Annals of Global Warming: Ozone hole shrinks; success shows what can happen when world cooperates to end pollution; what’s the bad news?

November 14, 2017

(NASA caption) Ozone depletion occurs in cold temperatures, so the ozone hole reaches its annual maximum in September or October, at the end of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann

(NASA caption) Ozone depletion occurs in cold temperatures, so the ozone hole reaches its annual maximum in September or October, at the end of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann

Good news from NASA and NOAA: The ozone hole over Antarctica is shrinking, because policy makers heeded warnings from scientists, and they acted in the 1980s to stop the pollution that made the ozone hole grow into hazard.

In other words, cleaning up air pollution works to reduce problems.

If we apply those same principles to global warming climate change, we can save the planet: Listen to scientists, band together internationally, take effective action to stop the pollution.

BUT, much of the shrinkage in the past two years was due to warming atmosphere, which reduces the cold weather period during which the ozone hole grows. In other words, effects of the anti-pollution action isn’t yet clear.

This NASA video explains:

NASA discussed the events in a press release.

“The Antarctic ozone hole was exceptionally weak this year,” said Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This is what we would expect to see given the weather conditions in the Antarctic stratosphere.”

The smaller ozone hole in 2017 was strongly influenced by an unstable and warmer Antarctic vortex – the stratospheric low pressure system that rotates clockwise in the atmosphere above Antarctica. This helped minimize polar stratospheric cloud formation in the lower stratosphere. The formation and persistence of these clouds are important first steps leading to the chlorine- and bromine-catalyzed reactions that destroy ozone, scientists said. These Antarctic conditions resemble those found in the Arctic, where ozone depletion is much less severe.

In 2016, warmer stratospheric temperatures also constrained the growth of the ozone hole. Last year, the ozone hole reached a maximum 8.9 million square miles, 2 million square miles less than in 2015. The average area of these daily ozone hole maximums observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles.

Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large because levels of ozone-depleting substances like chlorine and bromine remain high enough to produce significant ozone loss.

Scientists said the smaller ozone hole extent in 2016 and 2017 is due to natural variability and not a signal of rapid healing.

First detected in 1985, the Antarctic ozone hole forms during the Southern Hemisphere’s late winter as the returning sun’s rays catalyze reactions involving man-made, chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine. These reactions destroy ozone molecules.

Thirty years ago, the international community signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and began regulating ozone-depleting compounds. The ozone hole over Antarctica is expected to gradually become less severe as chlorofluorocarbons—chlorine-containing synthetic compounds once frequently used as refrigerants – continue to decline. Scientists expect the Antarctic ozone hole to recover back to 1980 levels around 2070.

Ozone is a molecule comprised of three oxygen atoms that occurs naturally in small amounts. In the stratosphere, roughly 7 to 25 miles above Earth’s surface, the ozone layer acts like sunscreen, shielding the planet from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and also damage plants. Closer to the ground, ozone can also be created by photochemical reactions between the sun and pollution from vehicle emissions and other sources, forming harmful smog.

Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large compared to the 1980s, when the depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica was first detected. This is because levels of ozone-depleting substances like chlorine and bromine remain high enough to produce significant ozone loss.

More work to do; but at least the damage is not increasing dramatically. While it would be good to be able to report that human action to close the ozone hole had produced dramatic results, it is still useful to track the progress of this action, especially when global warming/climate change dissenters frequently argue falsely that the ozone hole never existed, and warming is a similar hoax.

NASA’s AURA satellite group said the ozone holes should be repaired and gone by 2040, 23 years from now.

We hope they’re right.

(NASA caption) At its peak on Sept. 11, 2017, the ozone hole extended across an area nearly two and a half times the size of the continental United States. The purple and blue colors are areas with the least ozone. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann

(NASA caption) At its peak on Sept. 11, 2017, the ozone hole extended across an area nearly two and a half times the size of the continental United States. The purple and blue colors are areas with the least ozone. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann

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Tip of Millard Fillmore’s old scrub brush to Sean Sublette at Climate Central

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Annals of Global Warming: Octobers in the U.S. are 2°F warmer

November 2, 2017

Octobers are warming across the U.S. with the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since 1970, October temperatures have risen about 2°F. Warming throughout the fall is even stronger in some parts of the country, with the Northeast and the West warming the most. This warming can delay the start of some of the traditional cold season activities in cooler and mountainous climates, such as skiing. The warming trend also means first freezes occur later in the year, which can allow more insects to survive later into the year and make for a longer fall allergy season.

From Climate Central: Octobers are warming across the U.S. with the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since 1970, October temperatures have risen about 2°F. Warming throughout the fall is even stronger in some parts of the country, with the Northeast and the West warming the most. This warming can delay the start of some of the traditional cold season activities in cooler and mountainous climates, such as skiing. The warming trend also means first freezes occur later in the year, which can allow more insects to survive later into the year and make for a longer fall allergy season.

Since 1970, Octobers are 2 degrees warmer? No big deal?

See the caption. A lousy 2 degrees is a lot. It’s enough to:

  • Reduce the number of freezing days, allowing pine bark beetles in Colorado to escape death by freezing, and thereby kill more pine trees, faster.
  • Change October precipitation from snow, to rain. Rain instead of snow may cause regional flooding due to the rapid water dump; it may reduce snowpacks that provide water through the warmer months, effectively adding to drought threat.
  • Keep some prairie flowers alive longer, delaying migration of butterflies triggered by reduced food supply; ultimately this could cause butterflies and other migrating beneficial insects to migrate too late in the year.

No big deal, unless you live on Earth.

“What did you do when you learned CO2 was hurting the planet, Grandfather?” our grandchildren will well ask. Got an answer?

Shake of the old scrub brush to Climate Central’s Twittering, with a clever .gif.

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Annals of Global Warming: Mexican plums blooming early in Dallas

February 17, 2017

Spring comes a few hours earlier every year as the planet warms; plants that used to blossom in March and April, now blossom in February. Mexican plum blossoms in Dallas, Texas, February 17, 2017. Photo by Ed Darrell, please share with attribution

Spring comes a few hours earlier every year as the planet warms; plants that used to blossom in March and April, now blossom in February. Mexican plum blossoms in Dallas, Texas, February 17, 2017. Photo by Ed Darrell, iPhone 6; please share with attribution.

Spring comes earlier every year in Dallas. Our Mexican plums used to blossom in March and April; for the past three years, we’ve had blossoms well before spring even comes. Last year we had a cold snap that took the young fruit out, after a premature blossoming.

It’s a sign of creeping global warming. Every year I marvel at Al Gore’s powers to convince our Mexican plum to blossom early, part of the “global warming conspiracy” so many fear.

That is, this is a symptom of global warming that cannot be faked, that is from observation, and not from models.

With flowers on fruit trees come hopes of a bountiful harvest. Dreading the underlying meaning of such an early blossom does not change our hopes, nor the birds’ hopes, for a good plum harvest.

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Annals of Global Warming: 2016 looks to be hottest year ever

November 19, 2016

Chart from Climate Central: The running average of global temperatures throughout 2016 compared to recent years. Each month shows the average of that month's temperature and each month before it

Chart from Climate Central: The running average of global temperatures throughout 2016 compared to recent years. Each month shows the average of that month’s temperature and each month before it

Earth is nearing the end of the the third record-breaking hot year in a row. 2014 was the hottest year ever, but was beaten by 2015. Now 2015’s heat takes second place to 2016’s heat.

2016’s record-breaking heat too fuel in part from an El Nino through the first nine months of the year; with a La Nina weather pattern developing now, there will be some cooling, but the cooling will not be enough to keep 2016 from being the warmest year ever recorded in human history.

Notes on this milestone can be found in several places; Climate Central’s explanation covers it succinctly.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its temperature data through the end of October on Thursday and found that for the year-to-date, the global average temperature is 1.75°F above the 20th century average of 57.4°F. That puts the year 0.18°F ahead of last year, the current hottest year titleholder, with just two months to go.

“It’s likely that we will end up as record warmest,” Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said during a press teleconference.

October itself tied as the third warmest in 136 years of record-keeping, coming in at 1.31°F (0.73°C) above the 20th century average of 57.1°F, according to NOAA. (NASA, which uses a different baseline and slightly different methods, put October in second place.)

September was the first month of the year to not be record warm (it came in second place), as temperatures began to cool slightly with the demise of El Niño and the move toward La Niña. It ended a streak of 16 consecutive record-setting months, itself a record.

Maybe more shocking, it’s been 115 years since we had a record cold year, according to Climate Central.

In fact, global temperatures have been above-average for 382 months in a row by NOAA’s reckoning, going all the way back to the Reagan administration. To find a record cold month requires going all the way back to February 1929. The last record-cold year was even further back, in 1911.

382 months. Anyone under the age of 31 has never experienced a single month of temperatures as low as the 20th century average, in their lifetime. A generation has been raised with global warming climate change as the norm. How will that affect voting patterns and public opinion to change government policies?

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Caption from Discover Magazine's ImaGeo blog: A map of temperature anomalies during October 2016 shows that the Arctic region was much warmer than the 1951-1980 mean. The United States and North Africa were also particularly warm. The largest area of cooler than average temperatures stretched across Russia. (Source: NASA GISS)

Caption from Discover Magazine’s ImaGeo blog: A map of temperature anomalies during October 2016 shows that the Arctic region was much warmer than the 1951-1980 mean. The United States and North Africa were also particularly warm. The largest area of cooler than average temperatures stretched across Russia. (Source: NASA GISS)


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