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Accelerating Global Climate Change III

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Sore Throat





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Climate slowdown means extreme rates of warming 'not as like PostFri May 24, 2013 10:38 pm  Reply with quote  

Could it be that the billions of dollars spent on a clandestine operation to disperse metallic aerosols in the upper atmosphere over the past decade has actually had a measurable impact on global climate change? Shouldn't all the "ESTEEMED" atmospheric scientists who are actually collecting real field data be able to weigh in on this? And IF there is a black operation that is temporarily retarding climate change induced by increased greenhouses gases, wouldn't keeping this secret be highly immoral in that it would lessen the urgency to attack the root cause of the problem? Inquiring minds want to know.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22567023

Climate slowdown means extreme rates of warming 'not as likely'

By Matt McGrath

Scientists say the recent downturn in the rate of global warming will lead to lower temperature rises in the short-term.

Since 1998, there has been an unexplained "standstill" in the heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this will reduce predicted warming in the coming decades.

But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly.

The slowdown in the expected rate of global warming has been studied for several years now. Earlier this year, the UK Met Office lowered their five-year temperature forecast.

But this new paper gives the clearest picture yet of how any slowdown is likely to affect temperatures in both the short-term and long-term.

An international team of researchers looked at how the last decade would impact long-term, equilibrium climate sensitivity and the shorter term climate response.

Transient nature

Climate sensitivity looks to see what would happen if we doubled concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and let the Earth's oceans and ice sheets respond to it over several thousand years.

Transient climate response is much shorter term calculation again based on a doubling of CO2.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007 that the short-term temperature rise would most likely be 1-3C (1.8-5.4F).

But in this new analysis, by only including the temperatures from the last decade, the projected range would be 0.9-2.0C.

"The hottest of the models in the medium-term, they are actually looking less likely or inconsistent with the data from the last decade alone," said Dr Alexander Otto from the University of Oxford.

"The most extreme projections are looking less likely than before."

The authors calculate that over the coming decades global average temperatures will warm about 20% more slowly than expected.

But when it comes to the longer term picture, the authors say their work is consistent with previous estimates. The IPCC said that climate sensitivity was in the range of 2.0-4.5C.

Ocean storage

This latest research, including the decade of stalled temperature rises, produces a range of 0.9-5.0C.

"It is a bigger range of uncertainty," said Dr Otto.

"But it still includes the old range. We would all like climate sensitivity to be lower but it isn't."

The researchers say the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world's oceans.

Not everyone agrees with this perspective.

Prof Steven Sherwood, from the University of New South Wales, says the conclusion about the oceans needs to be taken with a grain of salt for now.

"There is other research out there pointing out that this storage may be part of a natural cycle that will eventually reverse, either due to El Nino or the so-called Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and therefore may not imply what the authors are suggesting," he said.

The authors say there are ongoing uncertainties surrounding the role of aerosols in the atmosphere and around the issue of clouds.

"We would expect a single decade to jump around a bit but the overall trend is independent of it, and people should be exactly as concerned as before about what climate change is doing," said Dr Otto.

Is there any succour in these findings for climate sceptics who say the slowdown over the past 14 years means the global warming is not real?

"None. No comfort whatsoever," he said.
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Sore Throat





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97% global warming consensus meets resistance from scientifi PostTue May 28, 2013 8:21 pm  Reply with quote  

http://m.guardiannews.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/may/28/global-warming-consensus-climate-denialism-characteristics


97% global warming consensus meets resistance from scientific denialism

The robust climate consensus faces resistance from conspiracy theories, cherry picking, and misrepresentations

Dana Nuccitelli

The Skeptical Science survey finding 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming has drawn an incredible amount of media attention. Hundreds of media stories documented our survey and results. Lead author John Cook and I participated in a number of interviews to discuss the paper, including on Al Jazeera, CNN, and ABC. President Obama even Tweeted about our results to his 31 million followers.

The story has been so popular mainly because our results present a simple but critical message. There is a wide gap between the public awareness and the reality of the expert consensus on human-caused global warming.

Additionally, as John Cook has discussed, research has shown that perception of consensus is linked to support for climate policy. This is true along most of the ideological spectrum – when people are aware of the expert consensus on human-caused global warming, they are more likely to support taking action to solve the problem.

Opponents of climate action have been aware of the powerful influence of the scientific consensus for decades. As far back as 1991, Western Fuels Association launched a $510,000 campaign to "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)" in the public perception. A memo from communications strategist Frank Luntz leaked in 2002 advised Republicans "to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."

Thus although our results were straightforward and consistent with previous research, we were not surprised when they met with resistance from certain groups, and anticipated the critiques with an FAQ. However, in reviewing the various criticisms of our paper, we noticed some common threads amongst them. A 2009 paper published in the European Journal of Public Health by Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee discussed five characteristics common to scientific denialism:

1) Cherry picking;
2) Fake experts;
3) Misrepresentation and logical fallacies.
4) Impossible expectations of what research can deliver; and
5) Conspiracy theories;

These characteristics were present throughout the criticisms of our paper, and in fact we found examples of each of the five characteristics among them.

For example, the author of one blog post contacted a handful of scientists whose papers were included in our survey and claimed that we had 'falsely classified' their papers. Climate economist Richard Tol echoed the criticism of our paper in this blog post. This particular criticism manages to check off three of the five characteristics of scientific denialism.

Specifically contacting these few scientists is a classic example of cherry picking. Our survey received responses from 1,200 climate researchers; the author of this post carefully selected a few of them who all just happen to be well-known climate 'skeptics'. It's also a variant of the fake expert characteristic, as John Cook explained in his textbook with G. Thomas Farmer, Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis.

"A variation of the Fake Expert strategy is to take the handful of remaining dissenting climate scientists and magnify their voices to give the impression of more significant disagreement then there actually is."

The handful scientists contacted for this blog post are among the less than 3% of climate researchers who dispute human-caused global warming. As a result, the voices of this small minority of 'skeptics' are magnified.

Third, this blog post argument is a misrepresentation of our study. The Skeptical Science team categorized the papers based solely on their abstracts, whereas the scientists were asked about the contents of their full papers. We invited the scientific authors to categorize their own papers, so if they responded, their 'correct' classifications of the full papers are included in our database. As illustrated in the graphic below, we found the same 97% consensus in both the abstracts-only and author self-rating methods.

Another characteristic of movements that deny a consensus involves impossible expectations. The tobacco industry perfected this approach in the 1970s, demanding ever-more stringent levels of proof that smoking caused cancer in order to delay government regulation of their products. This technique of impossible expectations was illustrated in another blog post claiming that only papers which quantify the human contribution to global warming count as endorsing the consensus. Most climate-related research doesn't quantify how much global warming humans are causing, especially in the abstract; there's simply no reason to.

We didn't expect scientists to go into nitty gritty detail about settled science in the valuable real estate of the abstract (the short summary at the start of the paper). However, we did expect to see it more often in the full paper, and that's exactly what we observed. When scientists were asked to rate the level of endorsement of their own papers, in the 237 papers that actually specified the proportion of human-caused global warming, over 96% agreed that humans have caused more than half of the recent global warming.

In yet another blog post, Christopher Monckton, whom my colleague John Abraham exposed as habitually misrepresenting climate scientists' research, has also misrepresented our results. Monckton compared apples to oranges by looking at previous consensus studies in an effort to argue that our results show a 'collapsing' consensus. On the contrary, using a consistent apples-to-apples comparison over a two-decade span, we showed that the consensus on human-caused global warming is growing.

In recent years, fewer papers have taken a position on the cause of global warming in the abstract. This was predicted by Naomi Oreskes in 2007, who noted that scientists will move on to focus on questions that are not settled. Some blogs advanced a related logical fallacy by claiming that this shows 'an increase in uncertainty.' However, if uncertainty over the cause of global warming were increasing, we would expect to see the percentage of papers rejecting or minimizing human-caused global warming increasing. On the contrary, the percentage of rejecting studies is declining as well. That scientists feel the issue is settled science actually suggests there is more certainty about the causes of global warming.

Finally, a conspiracy theory has been proposed, suggesting that the consensus is simply a result of scientific journals refusing to publish papers that reject human-caused global warming. Our analysis included results from 1,980 journals all around the world. For all of these nearly two thousand international scientific journals to block 'skeptic' research would involve a massive conspiracy indeed.

Due to the importance of our results, we fully expect the resistance to continue, and we fully expect those who resist our findings to continue to exhibit the five characteristics of scientific denialism. However, we have used two independent methods and confirmed the same 97% consensus as in previous studies. That overwhelming agreement on human-caused global warming manifests in so many independent ways indicates that the scientific consensus is a robust reality.
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Global carbon emissions soared to record high in 2012 PostMon Jun 10, 2013 6:20 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/06/10/global-carbon-emissions-record-high/2408487/

Global carbon emissions soared to record high in 2012

However, the U.S. posted its lowest emissions since the mid-1990s.

By Karl Ritter, Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) - The world's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record high of 31.6 billion tons, even though the U.S. posted its lowest emissions since the mid-1990s, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

In its annual World Energy Outlook report, the Paris-based IEA said top carbon polluter China had the largest emissions growth last year, up 300 million tons, or 3.8 percent, from 2011. Still, the increase was among the lowest seen in a decade as China continues to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

U.S. emissions dropped 200 million tons, or 3.8 percent, in part due to a switch in power generation from coal to gas, while Europe's emissions declined by 50 million tons, or 1.4 percent, the IEA said.

The agency said the energy sector accounts for about two-thirds of global emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which scientists say are fueling climate change.

Global climate talks are aimed at keeping the temperature rise below 3.6 degrees F compared with pre-industrial levels. The IEA found the world is on track for an increase of from 6.5-9.5 degrees F.

"Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities. But the problem is not going away - quite the opposite," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

Climate scientists have warned that the global temperature rise could have catastrophic consequences such as flooding of coastal cities and island nations, disruptions to agriculture and drinking water, and the spread of diseases and the extinction of species.

The IEA report, presented in London, said emissions could be reduced significantly by 2020 by improving energy efficiency in buildings industry and transport, limiting the use of coal-fired power plants, halving the oil and gas industry's release of methane, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Some of those measures are being implemented in individual countries around the world, but governments are struggling to reach a global agreement that would make such actions binding.

Climate negotiators meeting this week in Bonn, Germany, are haggling over the content of a global climate pact that is supposed to be adopted by 2015. The main sticking point is how to divide the burden of emissions cuts between developed and developing countries.

Industrialized countries want emerging economies like China, India and Brazil to take on bigger responsibilities, while the developing countries stress the historical responsibilities of long-time carbon polluters Europe and the United States.

The IEA report said developing countries now account for 60 percent of global emissions from energy, up from 45 percent in 2000.
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Greenhouse gases nearing highly dangerous levels, study find PostMon Jun 10, 2013 9:42 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-greenhouse-gases-dangerous-levels-20130610,0,2144313.story

Greenhouse gases nearing highly dangerous levels, study finds

By Neela Banerjee

WASHINGTON — Emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are growing at such a rate that the world will probably exceed a safe limit in average global temperatures by the end of the century and veer into a higher temperature zone that would profoundly damage economic growth and most other aspects of life, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.


Emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide, need to stay below certain levels so that they do not push average global temperatures higher than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists and policymakers have warned. Average temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last 150 years or so, as mass industrialization spurred the increased combustion of fossil fuels.

The IEA report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, says carbon dioxide emissions grew at a rate of 1.4% in 2012, releasing a record 31.6 gigatons into the atmosphere. On this current path, the world’s average temperatures are on track to increase between 3.6 degrees Celsius to 5.3 degrees Celsius, or 6.48 degrees Fahrenheit to 9.54 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century, said the IEA, an independent research group established by the world’s most industrialized nations.

“Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “But the problem is not going away — quite the opposite.”

Soaring temperatures would have profound implications for everything, including water supplies, electricity production, agriculture and public health. At the 2009 global climate talks in Copenhagen, dozens of participating countries, including the United States, agreed to take steps to prevent the average rise in global temperatures from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius. But the agreement was not legally binding, and worldwide emissions have increased.

Emissions of greenhouse gases have fallen in the United States recently to levels not seen since the mid-1990s, largely because of a natural gas boom that has prompted a shift in power generation away from coal. The IEA report notes that “China experienced the largest growth in CO2 emissions (300 Mt), but the increase was one of the lowest it has seen in a decade,” driven in part by the greater reliance on renewable energy.

The IEA’s predictions arrived on the heels of a new measure to address climate change announced over the weekend at a California meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The United States and China agreed to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a highly potent heat-trapping chemical used as refrigerant in appliances. If the use of HFCs were left unchecked, they could account for 20% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the White House said. The reduction in HFCs would be the equivalent of slashing two years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to David Doniger, policy director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The agreement between President Obama and President Xi to work together to address HFCs is a significant breakthrough,” said Andrew Steer, chief executive of the World Resources Institute, a Washington environmental group.

Still, reducing HFCs addresses only a small element of climate change. To get back on track for keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, governments would have to take aggressive steps in other areas besides HFC reductions. About two-thirds of carbon dioxide emissions come from the world’s power plants, the IEA report says. The group recommended curtailing the use and construction of inefficient coal-fired plants and boosting the use of renewable energy and natural gas.

At the same time, the report also recommended phasing out subsidies to fossil fuel industries. The IEA called for eliminating leaks of the powerful greenhouse gas methane at oil and natural gas wells. The group also recommended improving energy efficiency in industry, transportation and construction.

All those ideas have been circulating around Washington, but Congress and the White House have shown little sense of urgency so far. Congress has shown no interest in ending fossil fuel subsidies. A modest bipartisan energy efficiency bill in the Senate has gotten ensnared in a thicket of unrelated amendments.

Meanwhile, much-awaited rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants have stalled in the White House. Rules that would cut emissions from existing plants have yet to be proposed.
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Warm Ocean Causing Most Antarctic Ice Shelf Mass Loss PostFri Jun 14, 2013 7:09 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20130613.html

Warm Ocean Causing Most Antarctic Ice Shelf Mass Loss

PASADENA, Calif. -- Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent's ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found.

Scientists have studied the rates of basal melt, or the melting of the ice shelves from underneath, of individual ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers that empty into the sea. But this is the first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves. The study found basal melt accounted for 55 percent of all Antarctic ice shelf mass loss from 2003 to 2008, an amount much higher than previously thought.

Antarctica holds about 60 percent of the planet's fresh water locked into its massive ice sheet. Ice shelves buttress the glaciers behind them, modulating the speed at which these rivers of ice flow into the ocean. Determining how ice shelves melt will help scientists improve projections of how the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to a warming ocean and contribute to sea level rise. It also will improve global models of ocean circulation by providing a better estimate of the amount of fresh water ice shelf melting adds to Antarctic coastal waters.

The study uses reconstructions of ice accumulation, satellite and aircraft readings of ice thickness, and changes in elevation and ice velocity to determine how fast ice shelves melt and compare the mass lost with the amount released by the calving, or splitting, of icebergs.

"The traditional view on Antarctic mass loss is it is almost entirely controlled by iceberg calving," said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California, Irvine. Rignot is lead author of the study to be published in the June 14 issue of the journal Science. "Our study shows melting from below by the ocean waters is larger, and this should change our perspective on the evolution of the ice sheet in a warming climate."

Ice shelves grow through a combination of land ice flowing to the sea and snow accumulating on their surface. To determine how much ice and snowfall enters a specific ice shelf and how much makes it to an iceberg, where it may split off, the research team used a regional climate model for snow accumulation and combined the results with ice velocity data from satellites, ice shelf thickness measurements from NASA's Operation IceBridge -- a continuing aerial survey of Earth's poles -- and a new map of Antarctica's bedrock. Using this information, Rignot and colleagues were able to deduce whether the ice shelf was losing mass through basal melting or gaining it through the basal freezing of seawater.

In some places, basal melt exceeds iceberg calving. In other places, the opposite is true. But in total, Antarctic ice shelves lost 2,921 trillion pounds (1,325 trillion kilograms) of ice per year in 2003 to 2008 through basal melt, while iceberg formation accounted for 2,400 trillion pounds (1,089 trillion kilograms) of mass loss each year.

Basal melt can have a greater impact on ocean circulation than glacier calving. Icebergs slowly release melt water as they drift away from the continent. But strong melting near deep grounding lines, where glaciers lose their grip on the seafloor and start floating as ice shelves, discharges large quantities of fresher, lighter water near the Antarctic coastline. This lower-density water does not mix and sink as readily as colder, saltier water, and may be changing the rate of bottom water renewal.

"Changes in basal melting are helping to change the properties of Antarctic bottom water, which is one component of the ocean's overturning circulation," said author Stan Jacobs, an oceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y. "In some areas it also impacts ecosystems by driving coastal upwelling, which brings up micronutrients like iron that fuel persistent plankton blooms in the summer."

The study found basal melting is distributed unevenly around the continent. The three giant ice shelves of Ross, Filchner and Ronne, which make up two-thirds of the total Antarctic ice shelf area, accounted for only 15 percent of basal melting. Meanwhile, fewer than a dozen small ice shelves floating on "warm" waters (seawater only a few degrees above the freezing point) produced half of the total melt water during the same period. The scientists detected a similar high rate of basal melting under six small ice shelves along East Antarctica, a region not as well known because of a scarcity of measurements.

The researchers also compared the rates at which the ice shelves are shedding ice to the speed at which the continent itself is losing mass and found that, on average, ice shelves lost mass twice as fast as the Antarctic ice sheet did during the study period.

"Ice shelf melt doesn't necessarily mean an ice shelf is decaying; it can be compensated by the ice flow from the continent," Rignot said. "But in a number of places around Antarctica, ice shelves are melting too fast, and a consequence of that is glaciers and the entire continent are changing as well."

Imagery related to this release is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20130613.html .

Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
whitney.clavin@jpl.nasa.gov

J.D. Harrington 202-358-5241
Headquarters, Washington
j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

Maria-Jose Vinas Garcia 301-614-5883
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
maria-jose.vinasgarcia@nasa.gov
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Climate Change-Poverty Link Highlighted In World Bank Report PostWed Jun 19, 2013 4:05 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/19/climate-change-poverty-link_n_3463748.html

Climate Change-Poverty Link Highlighted In World Bank Report

STOCKHOLM -- The World Bank says it will increasingly view its efforts to help developing countries fight poverty through a "climate lens."

In a report released Wednesday, the international lending institution warned that heat waves, rising seas, more severe storms and other impacts of climate change will trap millions of people in poverty.

As a result, the Washington-based bank said it is stepping up support for efforts to curb climate change and to help the world adapt to it.

"Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate change and weather extremes," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

Already by the 2030s, 40 percent of the land used to grow maize in sub-Saharan Africa will be unable to sustain that crop because of droughts and heat, the report said. Also by that time, sea level rise coupled with more intense cyclones could inundate much of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, it said.

"At the World Bank Group, we are concerned that unless the world takes bold action now, a disastrously warming planet threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions and roll back decades of development," Kim said. "In response we are stepping up our mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk management work, and will increasingly look at all our business through a `climate lens.'"

In a conference call, bank Vice President Rachel Kyte said the World Bank doubled its lending aimed at adaptation efforts to $4.6 billion in 2012.

She said that money was separate from the adaptation funds transferred from rich to poor countries in U.N. climate talks. The developed countries have pledged to ramp that financing up to $100 billion annually by 2020. Critics say that won't be enough, pointing to the New York's recently announced $20 billion plan – for that city alone – to stave off rising seas with flood gates, levees and other defenses.

Aid groups and climate activists welcomed the report, which was launched in London and prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, both based in Germany.

"The World Bank must go beyond ringing the alarm bell," said Sasanka Thilakasiri, of British charity Oxfam. "It must ensure its own lending meets the needs of the people who are most vulnerable to climate change."
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2013 Alaska Heat Wave: Record-Breaking Temperatures Bake 49t PostThu Jun 20, 2013 6:02 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/19/baked-alaska-unusual-hea_n_3463563.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

2013 Alaska Heat Wave: Record-Breaking Temperatures Bake 49th State

By RACHEL D'ORO

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the 49th state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven — or a tropical paradise.

With temperatures topping 80 degrees in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.

They're sunbathing and swimming at local lakes, hosing down their dogs and cleaning out supplies of fans in at least one local hardware store. Mid-June normally brings high temperatures in the 60s in Anchorage, and just a month ago, it was still snowing.

The weather feels like anywhere but Alaska to 18-year-old Jordan Rollison, who was sunbathing with three friends and several hundred others lolling at the beach of Anchorage's Goose Lake.

"I love it, I love it," Rollison said. "I've never seen a summer like this, ever."

State health officials even took the unusual step of posting a Facebook message reminding people to slather on the sunscreen.

Some people aren't so thrilled, complaining that it's just too hot.

"It's almost unbearable to me," said Lorraine Roehl, who has lived in Anchorage for two years after moving here from the community of Sand Point in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "I don't like being hot. I'm used to cool ocean breeze."

On Tuesday, the official afternoon high in Anchorage was 81 degrees, breaking the city's record of 80 set in 1926 for that date.
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Climate Change Study From World Meteorological Organization PostWed Jul 03, 2013 7:14 pm  Reply with quote  

One can only wonder how hot things would be without the clandestine atmospheric modification program underway to blanket the upper atmosphere with reflective metallic aerosols. And of course, there are the undisclosed "unintended" consequences for the earth's ecosystem and human health.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/climate-change-study-wmo_n_3539545.html

Climate Change Study From World Meteorological Organization Reveals Unprecedented Extremes Since 2001

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle

July 3 (Reuters) - The world suffered unprecedented climate extremes in the decade to 2010, from heatwaves in Europe and droughts in Australia to floods in Pakistan, against a backdrop of global warming, a United Nations report said on Wednesday.

Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest since records began in the 1850s, with 2010 the hottest, according to the study by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The number of daily heat records far outstripped lows.

It said many extremes could be explained by natural variations - freak storms and droughts have happened throughout history - but that rising emissions of man-made greenhouse gases also played a role.

"Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement.

The study said damaging extremes included Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, floods in Pakistan in 2010, droughts in the Amazon basin, Australia and East Africa and a retreat of Arctic sea ice.

Deaths from extreme events totalled 370,000 people, up 20 percent from the 1990s, the Geneva-based WMO said, though the world population also rose sharply over the period, from 5.3 billion in 1990 to 6.9 billion in 2010.

The jump in the death toll was caused mainly by a heatwave in Europe in 2003 which killed 66,000 and a heatwave in Russia in 2010 in which 55,000 people died.

However, casualties from storms and droughts fell, partly because of better preparedness for disasters.

The study said that 44 percent of nations recorded the highest daily maximum temperature of the past half-century in the decade 2001-10 but only 11 percent reported a new low.

It also said that the decade "continued an extended period of accelerating global warming" with average decadal temperatures 0.21 degree Celsius (0.4 F) warmer than 1991-2000, which was in turn 0.14 C warmer than 1981-1990.


SLOWING RATE OF INCREASE?

Other reports have found that the rate of temperature rises has slowed this century.

"Global mean surface temperatures have not increased strongly since 1998" despite rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to a draft report by the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists due for release in September.

Some experts say the apparent rise from the 1990s is magnified because a volcanic eruption in the Philippines in 1991 dimmed sunlight and cut temperatures.

The WMO also said it was hard to link any individual extreme events to climate change rather than to natural variability.

However, warmer air can hold more moisture, raising risks of downpours - the study said that 2010 was the wettest year since records began. And sea levels have risen about 20 centimetres in the past century, increasing risks of storm surges.

One 2004 study, for instance, said that climate change had at least doubled the risks of the European heatwave in 2003.

Peter Stott of the UK Met Office who led that study said scientists were now trying to see if there was a human fingerprint behind other extremes in 2012, such as Superstorm Sandy or drought in Australia.

"You can't just take a record-breaking event and say 'that's climate change'," he said. (Editing by Gareth Jones)
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Has global warming stopped? No - it’s just on pause, insist PostTue Jul 23, 2013 6:20 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/has-global-warming-stopped-no--its-just-on-pause-insist-scientists-and-its-down-to-the-oceans-8726893.html

Has global warming stopped? No - it’s just on pause, insist scientists, and it's down to the oceans

Temperatures still expected to reach predicted 2015 levels with only a five-year delay after 12 of the 14 hottest years on record

Steve Connor


Huge amounts of heat – equivalent to the power of 150 billion electric kettles – are being continuously absorbed by the deep ocean, which could explain why global warming has “paused” over the past 10 to 15 years, scientists have concluded in a series of reports to explain why the Earth’s rate of warming has slowed down.


Global average temperatures are higher now than they have ever been since modern records began. However, after a period of rapid temperature increases during the 1980s and 1990s there has been a significant slow-down since the turn of the century, leading some sceptics to claim that global warming has stopped.

A scientific assessment of the planet’s heat balance has found that the most likely explanation for the recent hiatus in global warming is the continual absorption of thermal energy by the huge “heat sink” of the deep ocean many hundreds of metres below the sea surface, according to scientists from the Met Office.

Senior climate scientists said that they had always expected periods when the rate of increase in temperatures would level off for a few years and emphasised that the last decade was still warmer than any previous decade, with 12 of the 14 hottest years on record occurring since 2000.

Professor Rowan Sutton, a climate scientist at Reading University, said the temperatures have levelled off in the past, the latest example being in the 1940s and 1950s when sulphate pollutants from the post-war boom in industrial production may have acted as a shield against incoming solar radiation.

“Some people call it a slow-down, some call it a hiatus, some people call it a pause. The global average surface temperature has not increased substantially over the last 10 to 15 years,” Professor Sutton said.

“Climate scientists absolutely expect variations in the rate at which surface temperature will rise….but that is not to say we understand all the details of the last 10 to 15 years,” Professor Sutton said.

The problem for the Met Office is to explain why the rate of increase in global temperatures has declined in recent years while concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have continued to accelerate. Sceptics claim that this shows there is not a strong link between the two, whereas climate scientists insist that rising carbon dioxide concentrations are largely responsible for the rise in global temperatures.

Professor Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said that a pause in the rate of increase in global temperatures lasting this long is unusual but not exceptional, with similar pauses of about 10 years expected on average twice every century.

The most likely explanation for the current pause is that excess heat trapped by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is being transferred from the atmosphere to the oceans where it is being transported down to deeper layers that cannot be monitored by satellites, Professor Belcher said.

“It looks like the Earth is continuing to accumulate energy but it looks like it is being re-arranged and hidden from view,” he said.

However, measurements from hundreds of ocean floats released over the last decade, which descend and drift to depths of up to 2,000 metres, show that huge amounts of heat from the sea surface is now being transferred to the deep ocean, with unknown consequences for the environment, the scientists said.

“In summary, observations of ocean heat content and of sea-level rise suggest that the Earth system has continued to absorb heat energy over the past 15 years, and that this additional heat has been absorbed in the ocean,” says the Met Office report.

The pause, however, is unlikely to change the predictions over the future course of global warming. Temperature increases expected by 2015 will only be delayed by a further five or ten years, the scientists said. Average surface temperatures are still on course to increase by 2C this century, with further rises expected by the end of the century if nothing is done to curb carbon dioxide emissions, they said.

It is not possible to account for the recent lack of surface warming solely by looking at the difference between amount of heat being received from the Sun and the amount of thermal energy being lost from the planet – calculations show that extra heat continues to be absorbed by the Earth at a rate of 0.6 Watts per square metre, equivalent to about 300bn 1KW electric heaters or 150bn 2KW kettles distributed across the planet.

“Observations of ocean heat content and of sea-level rise suggest that the additional heat from the continued rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations has been absorbed in the ocean and has not been manifest as a rise in surface temperature,” the Met Office says in one of its three reports into the global warming pause.

“Radiated forcing by greenhouse gases has continued unabated; that heat is being held in the system but is not manifest as a rise in global mean surface temperature. Observations of ocean heat content and of sea-level rise suggest that this additional heat has been absorbed by the ocean,” it says.
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Arctic Methane Release Due To Climate Change Could Cost Glob PostWed Jul 24, 2013 4:14 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/arctic-methane-climate-change_n_3643917.html

Arctic Methane Release Due To Climate Change Could Cost Global Economy $60 Trillion, Study Reports

By Nina Chestney

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - A release of methane in the Arctic could speed the melting of sea ice and climate change with a cost to the global economy of up to $60 trillion over coming decades, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used economic modelling to calculate the consequences of a release of a 50-gigatonne reservoir of methane from thawing permafrost under the East Siberian Sea.

They examined a scenario in which there is a release of methane over a decade as global temperatures rise at their current pace.

They also looked at lower and slower releases, yet all produced "steep" economic costs stemming from physical changes to the Arctic.

"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb," said Gail Whiteman, an author of the report and professor of sustainability, management and climate change at the Rotterdam School of Management, part of Erasmus University.

"In the absence of climate-change mitigation measures, the model calculates that it would increase mean global climate impacts by $60 trillion," said Chris Hope, a reader in policy modelling at the Cambridge Judge Business School, part of the University of Cambridge.

That approaches the value of the global economy, which was around $70 trillion last year.

The costs could be even greater if other factors such as ocean acidification were included, the study said, or reduced to some $37 trillion if action is taken to lower emissions.

As much as 80 percent of the costs would likely be borne by developing countries experiencing more extreme weather, flooding, droughts and poorer health as the Arctic melt affects the global climate, the paper said.

Methane is a greenhouse gas usually trapped as methane hydrate in sediment beneath the seabed. As temperatures rise, the hydrate breaks down and methane is released from the seabed, mostly dissolving into the seawater.

But if trapped methane were to break the sea surface and escape into the atmosphere, it could "speed up sea-ice retreat, reduce the reflection of solar energy and accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet," the study said.

It said that could bring forward the date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds 2 degrees Celsius by between 15 and 35 years - to 2035 if no action is taken to curb emissions and to 2040 if enough action is taken to have a 50 percent chance of keeping the rise below 2 degrees.

Scientists have said the rise in global average temperatures this century needs to stay below 2 degrees Celsius to prevent devastating climate effects such as crop failure and melting glaciers.

However, the International Energy Agency warned last month that the world is on course for a rise of 3.6 to 5.3 degrees Celsius citing record high global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions last year.

The Arctic has oil and gas reserves which Lloyd's of London has estimated could draw investment of up to $100 billion within a decade. Environmentalists warn Arctic drilling is too risky and could have devastating consequences for the region. (Editing by Jason Neely)
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Due to Global Warming, End Is Virtually Certain for NYC, Bos PostWed Jul 24, 2013 9:33 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/due-to-global-warming-end_b_3628981.html

Due to Global Warming, End Is Virtually Certain for NYC, Boston, Miami, Holland

Eric Zuesse

A new article in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is headlined "The Multimillennial Sea-Level Commitment of Global Warming," and it reports that because of carbon emissions that are virtually certain, on the basis of the lack of policy-response to global warming thus far, sea levels are now set to rise anywhere from around 8 inches to 7 feet within 100 years, and around 5 yards to 10 yards within 2,000 years. The projections are clearer (within a narrower range) for the longer time-frame than for the shorter one. That's because even if the short-term consequences of heat-rise turn out to be relatively slight, the longer-term consequences are clearer, and will be considerably larger, as delayed impacts kick in.

An interview with the article's lead author, Anders Levermann, was aired on the PBS radio program "Living On Earth," during the week starting July 19th. Levermann noted that, as the lead author of the coming report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he can reveal that it will be "focusing on the next 100 years," and that because of uncertainties that are yet to be resolved in such short-term predictions, "the sea level projections that we obtain for different climate scenarios range from 20 centimeters and [to] two meters." However, beyond that, "two thousand years is what we looked at," and, "We expect sea level rise of two meters of each degree of global warming that we cause." The interviewer asked, "That's on the order ... of about 7.5 feet," and Dr. Levermann answered, "Yes." That's 7.5 feet for each and every degree Centigrade of temperature-rise.

So, the question is: How many degrees will the atmosphere heat up? Recently (on 26 May 2013), the journal Nature Climate Change headlined "Uncertainty in Temperature Projections Reduced," and reported, "increased probability of exceeding a 2 ºC global-mean temperature increase by 2100 while reducing the probability of surpassing a 6 ºC threshold." Therefore, by merely the end of the present century, there will be at least a 2-degree Centigrade, or around a 4-degree Fahrenheit, temperature-rise. This makes almost inevitable at least a fifteen-foot sea-level rise within no more than 2,000 years.

The "Living On Earth" report also included a map showing "Areas at risk of sea level rise," and the map indicated that the submersion will be the most devastating along the East Coast, from the middle of Delaware down to the tip of Florida; and also along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. All coastal cities there, plus the coasts around NYC and Boston, will be submerged enough, within 2,000 years, so that, not only will they be deeply flooded, but even minor coastal storms will make them uninhabitable for anyone who might otherwise still be living there.

Economists discount the welfare of future generations, and therefore the welfares of our descendants 2,000 years into the future, and even just 100 years from now, are treated as virtually worthless, in today's economic cost-benefit analyses.

Economist Richard S.J. Tol noted in his May 2010 "The Economic Impact of Climate Change," in Perspectiven der Wirtschaftspkolitik, that, "The discount rate is the most important source of variation in the estimates of the social costs of carbon. This is not surprising as the bulk of the avoidable impact of climate change is the distant future." He went on to say, "Implicitly, the policy problem is phrased as 'how much are we willing to pay to buy a better climate for our children?' Alternatively, the policy problem could be phrased as 'how much compensation should we pay our children for deteriorating their climate?'"

Lawrence Summers and Richard J. Zeckhauser titled their September 2008 NBER working paper "Policymaking for Posterity," and objected there to the way that the profession was valuing future generations. They noted the extreme impact that current discounting has upon these calculations: "At even a relatively modest 3 percent discount rate, a dollar of benefits a century from now is worth less than 6 cents today. ... At the discount rate of 7 percent mandated for use in certain US government contexts by the OMB, the distant future becomes nearly irrelevant, as $100 a century from now is valued less than 10 cents today." But their "distant future" was actually just a finger-snap in the context of human history. So, in an important sense, we are already near the end of history as the human species has known it.

The reason why future generations are being discounted like that, is that, in current microeconomic theory, people are treated like property, because microeconomic theory started in the 1700s, when the slave trade was very big, and the aristocracy wouldn't have financed or otherwise advanced the careers, or the publications, of any economists whose works made a theoretical distinction between people and property. Furthermore, financial economics requires future values of investments to be discounted by the expected future inflation rate. Consequently, since people are indistinguishable from property, our descendants are treated like property, and they are discounted for inflation, just as if they were property instead of people. The standpoint of today's investors is the standpoint of economic theory, and future people are being treated only as investments.

Coal and oil companies, and many other industries, favor existing economic theory as it stands, and do not want it to change. Though the slave traders are almost entirely gone now, the aristocracy still wants to discount future generations, because this permits those investors to make profits today off of people who haven't yet been born -- and who aren't even around to complain about being abused. But they will be around ultimately; and a few ecologically minded economists, who are a small minority among professional economists (a profession that's very dependent upon international corporations for their career-success), are trying to change the way these cost-benefit calculations are done. However, this situation simply can't change unless microeconomic theory itself is fundamentally changed, and few economists have any interest at all in doing that, because international corporations don't want it.

So, somewhere in time between, say, the years 2100 and 4200, such cities as Boston, NYC, etc., will be uninhabitable. They will be past history. It's an interesting thought, perhaps - but just a curiosity that's heavily discounted, so it's not actually being given much thought. Perhaps it's not given even as much thought as the beef that a person consumes, which had been a cow a few days before. After all, that beef has a taste, which is enjoyed now. The future is "just the future" -- and it's discounted at compounded annual rates.

----------

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
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'Runaway greenhouse' easier to trigger on Earth than thought PostWed Jul 31, 2013 4:33 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/runaway-greenhouse-easier-trigger-earth-thought-study-says-6C10761164

Meanwhile the "Pigs at the Trough" http://www.amazon.com/Pigs-Trough-Corporate-Corruption-Undermining/dp/1400051266 continue their support of the status quo to extract every cent of profit with no regard for the ultimate consequences for life on earth. And they are enabled by the mainstream media that they own and the sock puppets that lead our entirely dysfunctional government. It is a tragedy unfolding at an accelerating pace.

'Runaway greenhouse' easier to trigger on Earth than thought, study says

John Roach, NBC News

It's plausible that conditions on Earth could get so hot and steamy that the oceans entirely evaporate and render the planet inhospitable to life, according to new calculations that suggest this so-called runaway greenhouse is easier to initiate than previously believed.

"We could go into the runaway greenhouse today if we could get the planet hot enough to get enough water vapor into the atmosphere," Colin Goldblatt, a professor of Earth system evolution at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and lead author of the study, told NBC News.

The reality, though, he said, is that burning all the planet's fossil fuels such as oil and coal is "very unlikely" to trigger the uncontrollable warming.

"Our estimate is that it would take 30,000 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to make it warm enough to trigger this runaway greenhouse," Goldblatt said.

Today, the carbon dioxide level is 400 parts per million, a milestone crossed this May for the first time in several million years. Burning all the planet's fossil fuels such as coal and oil would lead to 2,000 to 3,000 parts per million, a factor of ten difference.

Getting to 30,000 parts per million "really seems quite unlikely," Goldblatt said. The outlier chance of a runaway greenhouse due to human activity, he noted, stems from the inherent uncertainty in the calculations.

The uncertainty led the researcher and his colleagues to conclude in a paper published Sunday in Nature Geoscience that "anthropogenic emissions are probably insufficient" to trigger a runaway greenhouse.

The calculations "are significant" and "done by a very capable team," David Grinspoon, the curator of astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, told NBC News in an email.

"I find their conclusion that the danger of humans triggering a runaway is remote to be both sound and vaguely reassuring," he added. "However, this work also reminds me of how much more we need to do to really understand long-term climate change and that makes me uncomfortable."

Calculating a runawaygreenhouse

The runaway greenhouse becomes possible when the Earth absorbs more energy from the sun than can escape to space, putting the planet out of thermal balance.

Think of the atmosphere as akin to a bathtub with the plug pulled out, allowing a certain amount of water to swirl down the drain, Goldblatt said.

"If you turn the taps on harder, you will fill it up with more water than can get out at one any one time, then eventually your bath is going to fill up to overflowing," he explained. "And it is the same kind of process with the runaway greenhouse."

The greenhouse effect stems from the fact that water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases in the atmosphere absorb some of the energy radiated from the Earth. Only a fixed amount can escape from the atmosphere to space.

"If we absorb more solar radiation than that maximum we can emit, then all that can happen is the Earth is going to warm," Goldblatt said. "It just can't keep itself in energy balance anymore."

He and colleagues used modern computing power and models of the behavior of greenhouse gases to revisit the classic calculations of the conditions necessary for a runaway greenhouse on Earth, which were originally done in the 1980s.

They found that the maximum amount of solar radiation that can escape to the atmosphere is lower than previously thought and it is easier than thought for a steamy atmosphere to absorb sunlight.

In other words, it is easier to trigger the runaway greenhouse than believed and this is all possible on a planet that receives the same amount of solar radiation as the Earth does today, he said.

Finding Goldilocks

Rather than raise alarm about human-caused climate change, Goldblatt said, the study illustrates the variety of plausible climate states Earth could be in and hammers home the benefit of Earth being in the so-called Goldilocks zone for life — not too hot, not too cold.

The new study also illustrates how difficult it is to determine habitability of planets around other stars, "because it will depend on the detailed history of planets, not just their distance from a star," Grinspoon, the astrobiologist, said.

"This makes me realize that we really need to explore our closest neighboring planet, our sister Earth, Venus," he added.

Venus is thought to have been victim of a runaway greenhouse, which boiled off its oceans. And as the sun's solar radiation continues to intensify in the future, the Earth too will be similarly cooked.

"Venus shows us what we will be like in the future," Goldblatt said, "and it is not pretty."
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U.S. Cities Sinking Under Climate Change, Study Suggests PostWed Jul 31, 2013 6:32 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/30/us-cities-sinking-climate-change_n_3676325.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

U.S. Cities Sinking Under Climate Change, Study Suggests

The Huffington Post

Climate change could literally sink more than 1,700 U.S. cities and towns.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests more than 1,700 urban areas -- including New York and Miami -- could find themselves below sea level before this century is out.

Without a sharp and immediate curb in greenhouse gas emissions, the study notes, at least 80 of those cities could be submerged within the next decade.

Even then, many municipalities won't escape the growing tide of global warming, The Guardian reports.

“Even if we could just stop global emissions tomorrow on a dime, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Hoboken, New Jersey will be under sea level,” study author and Climate Central researcher Benjamin Strauss said.

"Hundreds of American cities are already locked into watery futures and we are growing that group very rapidly," Strauss said. "We are locking in hundreds more as we continue to emit carbon into the atmosphere."

By locked in, Strauss means the cities will have crossed a point of no return — when global temperatures can no longer be checked. Even a state of zero emission would take too long to actually cool the existing climate system, essentially swallowing cities that are already on the brink.

As Jeff Kluger writes for Time magazine, "The cause, of course, is climate change and ice melt, but for all the urgent talk about how we need to get that problem under control — and we do — a certain amount of additional warming and sea-level rise is now baked into the system."

The Climate Central analysis also determined those emissions cuts would have to be considerably deeper than those proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this year.

"Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction,” Obama told reporters in January.

Lauded as ambitious by observers, Obama's plan includes investing heavily in renewable energy technology as well as bolstering municipal defenses against increasingly unpredictable and powerful storms.

If Benjamin Strauss' analysis holds true, however, it wouldn't be enough. In 1,700 cities, the paper concludes, a full quarter of the population would find itself living below the high-water mark by 2100.

And many of them could be staring into the face of climate change well before then.

“Pretty much everywhere it seems you are going to be under water unless you build a massive system of dykes and levees,” Strauss wrote in his analysis.
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Rise in violence 'linked to climate change' PostFri Aug 02, 2013 3:36 pm  Reply with quote  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23538771

Rise in violence 'linked to climate change'

By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC World Service

Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests

US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.

The team says with the current projected levels of climate change, the world is likely to become a more violent place.

The study is published in Science.

Marshall Burke, from the University of California, Berkeley, said: "This is a relationship we observe across time and across all major continents around the world. The relationship we find between these climate variables and conflict outcomes are often very large."

The researchers looked at 60 studies from around the world, with data spanning hundreds of years.

They report a "substantial" correlation between climate and conflict.

Their examples include an increase in domestic violence in India during recent droughts, and a spike in assaults, rapes and murders during heatwaves in the US.

The report also suggests rising temperatures correlated with larger conflicts, including ethnic clashes in Europe and civil wars in Africa.

Biological root?

Mr Burke said: "We want to be careful, you don't want to attribute any single event to climate in particular, but there are some really interesting results."

The researchers say they are now trying to understand why this causal relationship exists.

"The literature offers a couple of different hints," explained Mr Burke.

"One of the main mechanisms that seems to be at play is changes in economic conditions. We know that climate affects economic conditions around the world, particularly agrarian parts of the world.

"There is lots of evidence that changes in economic conditions affect people's decisions about whether or not to join a rebellion, for example."

But he said there could also be a physiological basis, because some studies suggest that heat causes people to be prone to aggression.

"It is a major priority for future research to distinguish between what is going on in each particular situation."

The scientists say that with the current projected levels of climate change the world is likely to become a more violent place.

They estimate that a 2C (3.6F) rise in global temperature could see personal crimes increase by about 15%, and group conflicts rise by more than 50% in some regions.

Commenting on the research, Dr Stephan Harrison from the University of Exeter said it was a "timely study".

"What they have found is entirely plausible... For example, we already know that hotter and drier weather causes an increase in urban violence. Likewise, during cooler and wetter weather people tend to stay indoors, and the threat diminishes."

However, other researchers have questioned whether climate breeds conflict.

Work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that this environmental factor was not to blame for civil war in Africa.

Instead, Dr Halvard Buhaug, from the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway, concluded that the conflict was linked to other factors such as high infant mortality, proximity to international borders and high local population density.

Commenting on the latest research, he said: "I disagree with the sweeping conclusion (the authors) draw and believe that their strong statement about a general causal link between climate and conflict is unwarranted by the empirical analysis that they provide.

"I was surprised to see not a single reference to a real-world conflict that plausibly would not have occurred in the absence of observed climatic extremes. If the authors wish to claim a strong causal link, providing some form of case validation is critical."
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Record-breaking temperatures now the new norm PostTue Aug 06, 2013 9:50 pm  Reply with quote  

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/08/06/record-breaking-temperatures-now-the-new-norm/

Record-breaking temperatures now the new norm

Traci G. Lee, @traciglee

Rising temperatures were at unprecedented levels worldwide in 2012, with the United States experiencing its warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2012 State of the Climate report.

The report released online Tuesday expanded on preliminary results from earlier this year showing that surface temperatures in the Arctic saw an increase last year at a rate about two times faster than the rest of the globe, while polar sea ice coverage reached record lows.

“The records or near records being reported from year to year are no longer anomalies or exceptions,” said Jackie Richter-Menge, research civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “They have become the rule for us.”

Richter-Menge’s observation is also reflected in the report’s findings on rising sea levels and trends in the oceans. According to the study, the global sea level reached a record high in 2012, increasing at an average rate of 3.2 mm per year over the last two decades.

Along with tracking the severe changes in the Arctic, the NOAA report also touched on the rise of greenhouse gas concentrations in 2012, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—all which increased from the previous year.

The report comes as environmental groups continue to keep a close eye on President Obama’s next steps on addressing climate change. In June, Obama laid out a series of reforms to reduce greenhouse emissions and to develop renewable clean energy.

Last week, newly-confirmed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy promised to take aggressive actions aimed toward cutting carbon pollution and confronting climate change deniers. “We are not going to stop looking at the science,” McCarthy said.

Earlier this summer, Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine introduced a bill into the House Science Committee that would likely defund NOAA’s climate research in favor of weather forecasting.

On Twitter, Bridenstine criticized the NOAA for focusing on “lower priorities” over weather prediction. “It is possible to provide over an hour of warning time for tornadoes,” Bridenstine tweeted in July. “HR 2413 helps us move closer to the goal of preventing any lives from being needlessly lost.”
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