This is What Global Warming Looks Like

Climate Progress has a mini celebration that major media outlets are finally beginning to connect the wildfire-windstorm-drought dots and call it climate change. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, talks with Judy Woodruff on The News Hour.

Even the Drudge Report featured this AP article by Seth Borenstein:

So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.

This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. “The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”

“What we’re seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this kind of environmental disasters.”

Oppenheimer said that on Thursday. That was before the East Coast was hit with triple-digit temperatures and before a derecho — an unusually strong, long-lived and large straight-line wind storm — blew through Chicago to Washington. The storm and its aftermath killed more than 20 people and left millions without electricity. Experts say it had energy readings five times that of normal thunderstorms.

Then there’s this:

 

AND, Colorado has been burning up, which we have all been watching with suspended breath,  while Russia, terrorized in 2010 by raging fires, is battling some 600 fires this month, which have already burned more acres in the east than those in the west two years ago.


Warmest U.S. Spring on Record: NOAA –>> Tipping Point

“So far, 2012 has been the warmest year the United States has ever seen, with the warmest spring and the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Thursday.”

Sweating It

and Really Sweating it…

Another Arctic measurement related to climate reached a milestone this spring, NOAA reported: the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million, the first time a monthly average for this greenhouse gas passed that level at a remote location.

The level of 450 ppm is regarded by many scientists and environmental activists as the upper limit the planet can afford if global temperature rise is to be kept to within 3.6 degrees F (2 C) this century. Some advocates suggest 350 ppm is a more appropriate target.

The 400 ppm mark for carbon dioxide in less remote locations, such as Cape May, New Jersey, has been reached for several years in the springtime, NOAA said in a statement.

But measurements of carbon dioxide over 400 ppm at remote sites like Barrow – and at six other remote Arctic sites – reflect long-term human emissions of the climate-warming gas, rather than direct emissions from a nearby population center.

The global monthly mean level of atmospheric carbon dioxide was about 394 ppm in April, compared to 336 ppm in 1979, pre-industrial levels of about 278 ppm and ice age levels of about 185 ppm.

Giant tabular icebergs surrounded by ice floe drift in Vincennes Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Australia's CSIRO's atmospheric research unit has found the world is warming faster than predicted by the United Nations' top climate change body, with harmful emissions exceeding worst-case estimates.

And really, really, really sweating it...

The Earth is reaching a “tipping point” in climate change that will lead to increasingly rapid and irreversible destruction of the global environment unless its forces are controlled by concerted international action, an international group of scientists warns.

Unchecked population growth, the disappearance of critical plant and animal species, the over-exploitation of energy resources, and the rapidly warming climate are all combining to bring mounting pressure on the Earth’s environmental health, they say.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/06/BA1T1OT26G.DTL#ixzz1x9XMVyFM


Clear Indications that Climate Change is Affecting Fish Stock

From Climate Progress

“Rising ocean temperatures are driving major changes in fisheries throughout western Europe, bringing warm water species typically seen in the Mediterranean to the coast of the United Kingdom.

“A new report card issued by European marine researchers details the ecological and economic impact that climate change is having on fisheries in the UK and Scotland — concluding that there are “clear indications that climate change is affecting fish stocks” in the region.


Big News Is Finally Reporting Climate Change

Joe Romm at  Climate Progress is giving a high-five to ABC news for a string of stories linking the extreme weather of recent years with global warming.


Generation Hot

Mark Hertzgaard has a new book out.  It won’t make you happy.  Of course you should already be unhappy.  People who have paid attention have known since 1988 that CO2 increase in the atmosphere was initiating climate changes that, minimally, would not be easy to deal with, and maximally had catastrophic implications — not just for song-birds but human beings as well.  Hertzgaard as dubbed those born this year and after as Generation Hot.  Here’s why.

“My daughter Chiara, age five, is a member. So is my goddaughter Emily, age twenty-two. So are the thousands of Pakistani children now suffering after record monsoon rains left 20 percent of their country — an area the size of Great Britain — under water.

In fact, every child on earth born after June 23, 1988 belongs to what I call Generation Hot. This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

For Generation Hot, the brutal summer of 2010 is not an anomaly; it’s the new normal.

One wouldn’t know it from most media coverage, but the world’s leading climate scientists have concluded that last summer’s rash of extreme weather — including record heat across much of Europe (especially Russia) and the United States — was driven in no small part by man-made global warming. Of course no single event can ever be definitively attributed to global warming; weather results from many factors. But according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, the extraordinary heat, rains, drought and flooding that occurred this summer fit the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projections of “more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.” In other words, dangerous climate change is no longer tomorrow’s problem; it is here today.

But for most of us, the other scientific shoe has yet to drop. Aside from a fundamentalist few, most people around the world, in rich and poor countries alike, accept that climate change is real and has already begun to occur. Nevertheless, many non-specialists still do not grasp the most fiendish aspect of the climate problem: we can’t turn it off. …”

HuffPo and ClimateProgress


Drought in the Amazon

* * *

Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, and the entire eastern region of the state are suffering the worst drought in more than a century. A government scientist who calls it an “atypical” drought says it is chiefly caused by warmer ocean temperatures.

Scientist Carlos Nobre, of the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), said, “When it comes to the Rio Negro, in Manaus, this drought has no parallel in the last 103 years. That is, since 1902, when the level of the Rio Negro began to be measured,” he said.

In the eastern part of the region, this is the worst drought in the last 50 or 60 years, he estimates. The governor of Amazonas state has declared a crisis due to the drought. Environmental News Service


More Rain Records

From Wunderground…

Tropical Storm Matthew continues to dump heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and neighboring regions of Mexico today. Puerto Barrios, in northern Guatemala, has received 4.57″ of rain in the past 24 hours. With Matthew expected to slow down and dissipate by Sunday, the storm’s heavy rains of 6 – 15 inches can be expected to cause severe flooding and dangerous mudslides. The rains are of particular concern for Guatemala, which suffered its rainiest August in its history…


Nope, No Global Warming Here


Blow Out In April, Merely Record Breaking in May


Lake Tanganyika Warmest in 1,500 Years

“Geologists led by Brown University say Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest and the second-deepest lake in the world, has experienced unprecedented warming during the last century, and its surface waters are the warmest on record. The finding is important because the warm surface waters likely will affect fish stocks upon which millions of people in the region depend.

The results of the study were published in Nature Geoscience.

The team took core samples from the lakebed that laid out a 1,500-year history of the lake’s surface temperature. The data showed the lake’s surface temperature, 26 degrees Celsius (78.8°F), last measured in 2003, is the warmest the lake has been for a millennium and a half.”

Scientific Blogging


Climate: Hot and Getting Hotter

From Climate Progress

Fast on the heels of the hottest June to October on record, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that last month was the hottest November on record, which should be no surprise to CP readers — see my November 24th post:

If November’s anomaly is the same as the anomaly for the last two months, then November will tie for the hottest November in the temperature record.

In fact, last month’s anomaly slightly exceeded that of September and October, which isn’t a big surprise since, as NOAA reported recently, “El Niño strengthened from October to November 2009.”

It seems increasingly likely that 2009 will be the second hottest on record in NASA’s dataset, which is superior to the Met Office/Hadley/CRU dataset (see “Why are Hadley and CRU withholding vital climate data from the public?” and Hansen essay below).  The figure above, from GISS (here), which updates the temperature of 2009 through November shows 2009 just edging out 2007.   As my 11/24 post also noted:

This year is currently on track to be the 5th warmest year on record, but, in fact, if the monthly temperature anomaly (compared to the 1951 to 1980 average) stays near where it has been for the last two months, then 2009 will surpass 2007 as the second hottest year on record.

Given how warm November was, December merely needs to be of average warmth (for this decade) for 2009 to be the second warmest in the temperature record.

Unlike NOAA, which announced its November global analysis with a major “State of the Climate” monthly update, NASA just quietly updates its data set (here).  NASA will doubtless wait until January to make its big announcement on where 2009 fits in the historical record.  NOAA uses a somewhat different temperature dataset, so, for it, November was only the fourth warmest on record.

Hansen just posted on his website, The Temperature of Science — a must-read piece about the purloined emails and his experience with temperature data…

The Hansen piece, referred to, is here. [pdf]