Posts from the ‘climate’ Category


Arctic Sea-Ice: Feeling Low. Really Low.

It’s official. Nearly a month before we see the usual “seasonal low” of Arctic sea ice as it melts throughout the summer, we have hit the record low for sea ice extent.

This means that there is now less Arctic sea ice than at any time since records began in 1978. And we still have nearly a month of additional melting to go before the autumn ice sets in.

This is due to climate change. More dark ocean water means more heat absorbed by the ocean and a chance for reinforcing these lower ice levels in seasons to come. What will this mean for ecosystems? What will this mean for those who want to exploit the uncovered mineral and shipping resources of the Arctic? What will this mean for our oceans?

This image from RealClimate shows the new low level:

(via RealClimate)

What a great graph .gif.


Sea level has risen by about eight inches overall worldwide since around 1900 and the waters are expected to rise an estimated three feet by 2100. “Sometimes we forget that the damage in New Orleans in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina came not from wind or rain, but from the storm surge [that caused flooding] ahead of that storm,” Lemonick says. If sea levels rise as expected, “all of those storm surges are going to be starting from a level three feet higher, which means that they have much greater potential to drive inland, to wash over barrier islands, and to really inundate the coast. … Many, many millions of people and trillions of dollars of infrastructure are in serious danger, if those projections are correct.”

— via Climate ‘Weirdness’ Throws Ecosystems ‘Out Of Kilter’: Fresh Air

Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

This was a — wait for it — Koch-funded study that finally reached the same conclusion as 97 percent of the scientific community. 

Actually, it even found the the current findings underestimatedthe rate of warming. 

Remember that time the Koch brothers funded a study to disprove man-made climate change and accidentally ended up proving it?

Science, when applied correctly, tells no lies.

(via jtotheizzoe)


Burning Up The Climate Record Books

328: The magic number

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released their latest “State of the Climate” report. June 2012 marks the 328th month in a row that global surface temperatures – the temperatures that affect our local climate and weather – were above average. This unfortunate proof of the “new normal” is just the latest straw on the climate camel’s back, and you really have to wonder how many more it will take before more people start to view this as the serious situation that it is.

Some other high/lowlights:

  • The Northern Hemisphere was more than 2˚F above normal for June, an all-time record.
  • Globally, June 2012 was the warmest on record (for land temps).
  • Ocean temperatures, whose rise is perhaps more dangerous than land (feeding extreme weather and ice melt), were at their 10th highest level on record.

There’s hope, however. A new poll from Stanford University and The Washington Post says that 6 in 10 Americans now agree that the climate is changing, and two-thirds want the U.S. to lead the world in fighting climate change. They can’t yet agree on what that means, exactly. More interesting tidbits from that poll here.

Previously: Record highs to record lows ratio at 10:1 in 2012! Ack!

In the “reasons why we need alternative energies” category, here’s an article describing how the United States’ East Coast and California have the highest rates of sea level rise. Due to a number of factors like salinity, temperature, and currents, these areas are “sinking” more quickly than most other places in the world. Our preference for living near water means that even seemingly small amounts of sea level change can be pretty significant. Hopefully, California will acknowledge the threat it serves and not refer to it as “recurrent flooding” or disregard it completely like some other states we know.

American coasts have the worst luck with climate change



Siberian Lake Reveals New Clues About Arctic Climate

Scientists already knew that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. But the new study, based on a sediment core drilled from a Russian lake, suggests the far north’s climate is even more sensitive than researchers suspected.

Give this one a read.

Made entirely of carbon and stable in open air, the transparent layer of carbon nanotubes and buckyballs can pick up infrared light, in addition to letting visible light through to conventional cells below. Although efficiency is only about .1%, it is expected to increase quickly. Because carbon is so cheap, the cost should be relatively low and therefore can go into use with a low efficiency. Every bit helps! Hopefully this can push solar energy to become a more powerful alternative.

MIT researchers develop working prototype of infrared-absorbing solar cells

It’s law in Switzerland that, if the slope of a roof allows it, to make it a “living roof.” In order to meet the country’s drastic environmental goals, all buildings must replace the amount of potential meadow they take up with an equal amount on the top of their building. It does a lot of great things for the cities too; endangered orchids are flowering, the lack of hot asphalt expanses in the city means negligible urban heat-island effect, which combined with the better insulation the soil provides lowers air conditioning costs by up to 20%.

Not to mention it looks great. And reminds me of Minecraft in the best sort of way!

Presumably wanting to get in the anti-science party that North Carolina is throwing, Virginia wants to stop saying “sea level rise” and replace it with “recurrent flooding” in the coastal areas. Which is ridiculous. As the article states:
In the first place, “recurrent flooding” is to “sea level rise” as “repeated breath holding” is to “drowning.” One is local and manageable; the other is systemic and catastrophic; pretending they’re the same is politics of a high order. 

Virginia jumps on the anti-sea-level-rising bandwagon