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The Definitive Global Climate Change (aka Global Warming) Thread — General Discussion and Questions

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  • Fri, Sep 04, 2015 - 06:07pm

    #2941

    Arthur Robey

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    The Climate and Syria

A link that Draws a link between climate wars and revolution. 

My Comment. OK Except I would have left out the superfluous "good guy/bad guy" sanctimony.

http://www.upworthy.com/trying-to-follow-what-is-going-on-in-syria-and-why-this-comic-will-get-you-there-in-5-minutes?c=ufb2

  • Sun, Sep 06, 2015 - 01:55am

    #2942

    Arthur Robey

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    A blocking high

The high over the South pole Has merged with The Haley cells. I haven't seen this before.

Purple indicates lows.

  • Tue, Sep 08, 2015 - 04:45am

    #2943

    Mark Cochrane

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    Global Migration Shift From Climate

Well, apparently there are some reporters that don't have their heads in the sand.

Call It What It Is: A Global Migration Shift From Climate, Not a Migrant or Refugee Crisis

Hundreds more died off the coast of Libya today, on the heels of 71 deaths of migrants trapped in the back of a truck near Vienna, Austria. At the same time, NASA officials just warned that rising global sea levels from climate change could affect coastal regions, including 150 million residents in Asia who lived "within a meter from the sea."

While news organizations and policymakers around the world wrestle with calling displaced persons "refugees" or "migrants"or "asylum-seekers," a far more dangerous precedence of denial over a looming global shift of populations largely from climate change is taking place.

——-

A recent "10-Point Plan to Solve Europe's Refugee Crisis" proposed by German officials fails into the same well-meaning but illusory trap: It calls on European nations to "help genuine refugees," as if migration from environmentally ravaged and climate destabilized economies, including parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, is somehow less "genuine."

This is not only wrong; it is delusive. We need to recognize we now live in an age of mass climate migration. Banter over building walls or policing seas or drawing classifications matters little.

Interestingly, the US Military already has this on their radar screens because they rightly understand that dealing with such matters is likely to increasingly fall under their umbrella of operations. From the Defense Department's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR):

"While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world," the Defense Department's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) states. The report, which forecasts threats to national security over a two-decade outlook, considers a security future where global warming will affect how the Defense Department will respond to global natural disasters, deal with climate-induced mass migration and prepare for operations with rising sea levels and an ice-free Arctic. "

A lot of people are going to have to find new places to live as sea levels rise, droughts get more extensive and intense, temperatures rise, and extreme weather events occur. What to do about this mass migration is a moral dilemma for those of us who don't have to relocate but it is a life and death matter for those of us who do. Who will have more conviction in their arguments? The winds of change are upon us in many facets of life it would seem.

Mark

  • Fri, Sep 11, 2015 - 09:24pm

    #2944

    Mark Cochrane

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    Humans versus the volcanoes!

All,

Just saw this updated graphic over at Skeptical Science. It provides a representation of the weighting between human-related CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, deforestation and such as compared the average global CO2 emissions from volcanoes. There was a time when the 'skeptics' regularly claimed that such natural emissions swamped whatever we were doing. Amazing what can be said based on no date and a lot of desired results. In any case the smokestack plume comes in two sizes, either 130 times greater than what we average from volcanoes, which fits with all of the data that we actually have. The other smaller one is only 100 times as large and it presumes that there are some other natural sources that we have not yet discovered. Doesn't that make everyone feel better!

Mark

They even give the rough version showing how the scaling was done for the drawing.

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 06:10pm

    #2945
    Doug

    Doug

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    El Nino

I found this handy synopsis of what the weather was like in the last heavy El Nino winter, 1997-98.  It's broken down into regions of the lower 48.  If this winter remains true to form, it will be significantly warmer than normal around here with a little above normal precipitation, but not much snow.  It'll be a welcome break from the last two winters.

http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/techrpts/tr9802/tr9802.pdf

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 08:49pm

    #2946

    Mark Cochrane

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    El Nino – from the field

Doug,

Nice link. This (below) is the message from my field manager at our field site in Indonesian Borneo for the current conditions there. I am supposed to have our critical international field campaign there next month if we can navigate both the bureaucracy and the smoke.

Dear Team,

Just a cautionary note to let you know the smoke haze in PKY is quite unbelievable with many people succumbing to colds and respiratory problems resulting from the thick smoke which has reduced visibility to 100 m yesterday and closed the airport. Bob informed me that particulate levels are about 20 times higher than WHO's safe level for humans.
 
I would seriously suggest that if any of you are  planning to come to Palangkaraya and its surrounds in the next month or so and have any kind of respiratory issues, you consult your doctor before making travel plans.  Many people who can evacuate from here are doing so and heading south below the path of the smoke plumes
 
All of the field team including my self have been or are currently sick from smoke inhalation, and other dry season related illnesses resulting from quite poor field conditions.The team is therefore not operating at full strength. Be warned and take the necessary precautions.
I've had both lung and eye problems from working in such conditions previously. Can't say that I'm looking forward to it again this year but that's science for you…
 
Mark
  • Tue, Sep 15, 2015 - 07:52am

    #2947

    Mark Cochrane

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    And worse yet

Pekanbaru in Riau province Indonesia was where I was last month. Another city of nearly 1 million people that few have ever heard of. I even met with the Environment and Forestry Minister to tell her how bad the smoke problem could be this year from the peat fires. Smoke was very bad across much of the West and PNW of the United States but this is a whole new level of misery.

  Thousands flee Pekanbaru as haze hits record high

Thousands are fleeing Pekanbaru as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) in the Riau province capital, which is about 280km away from Singapore, surged to a record 984 yesterday.

Many have taken to the roads, trying to find their way north to neighbouring Medan, or west to Padang, to escape the thick haze that has rendered their hometown unliveable.

Visibility in Pekanbaru was reduced to between 100m and 200m yesterday afternoon, while Dumai and Pelalawan – which are also in Riau – had a visibility level of 50m.

Why is this happening? Palm oil. Got to have it for biofuels (Europe – save the planet), food and makeup! People are literally dropping dead in this stuff. It is not to great for the global climate either…

Mark

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - 10:25pm

    #2948

    Mark Cochrane

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    Who could have known?

All,

An interesting piece out today on Exxon's early role in actually documenting the role of fossil fuel burning in setting off global warming. Much as the tobacco industry had knowledge about nicotine's addictiveness long before they would admit the matter, the fossil fuel industry has long understood the climate impacts of their industry but have largely chosen to turn a blind eye, or better yet, to poke a stick in your eye to make sure that you were blind to it as well. This article shows conclusively that Exxon was well aware of the issues back in the 1970s, long before James Hansen of NASA spoke to Congress in 1988.

Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions.

———–

"In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels," Black told Exxon's Management Committee, according to a written version he recorded later.

It was July 1977 when Exxon's leaders received this blunt assessment, well before most of the world had heard of the looming climate crisis.

A year later, Black, a top technical expert in Exxon's Research & Engineering division, took an updated version of his presentation to a broader audience. He warned Exxon scientists and managers that independent researchers estimated a doubling of the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit), and as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) at the poles.  Rainfall might get heavier in some regions, and other places might turn to desert.

"Some countries would benefit but others would have their agricultural output reduced or destroyed," Black said, in the written summary of his 1978 talk.

His presentations reflected uncertainty running through scientific circles about the details of climate change, such as the role the oceans played in absorbing emissions. Still, Black estimated quick action was needed. "Present thinking," he wrote in the 1978 summary, "holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical."

——–

If you would like a truly maddening expose of how the public has been misled through the years, I highly recommend reading/watching Merchants of Doubt which details just how the manipulation has been implemented and by whom. I have read the book and can recommend it but I also recently saw the film and it is also well done with a different style of presentation than the book, so watch it even if you have already read the book if your blood pressure happens to be too low.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ii9zGFDtc

Perhaps we have finally reached the stage where we can start to do something about the climate issues that we face but just think how much easier both the climate issues and the peak oil problems would be to face if we had seriously engaged them back in the 1970s when the hand writing was already on the wall?

Mark

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - 11:27pm

    #2949

    SailAway

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    Alabama, Students to learn about evolution, climate change

Alabama is updating its decade-old science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change, topics that can still be controversial in the Bible Belt state.

Educators say the new rules — part of a major change that includes more experimentation and hands-on instruction and less lecturing — don't require that students believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/alabama_will_require_students.html

 

  • Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - 09:22pm

    #2950

    Mark Cochrane

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    Doubleshot

All,

One of the purported hallmarks of global climate change is a greater preponderance of extreme weather. Given that 'extreme' events are rare by definition, it has not been easy to quantify climate change-related alterations in extreme weather events though there is a lot of anecdotal and statistical support for the concept.

One of the main changes is an acceleration of the hydrological cycle. At the atmosphere warms, evaporation processes speed up and the air also holds more water, which results in heavier rainfall events. Anyone who has spent time in both the tropics and temperate zones has some intuitive idea of this if they have seen rain come down in each location. The tropics frequently get downpours of the 'coming down in buckets' variety while the temperate zone have less of these 'raining cats and dogs' events. The rain drops are much bigger in warmer air and the erosivity of those impacts are about 10 times greater. As the world warms, we are seeing more and more of those formerly 'tropical' downpours at higher latitudes.

The flip side is that droughts also get worse. In our recent paper (Jolly et al. 2015) one of the things that we found was that there was no significant global trend in mean annual precipitation but that there were more rainless days. In short, the same amount of rain is falling on average but it comes down in fewer days. This increases the potential time periods when drought can take hold in a region. Drought arises when water demand exceeds water supply for a period of time. What constitutes drought will vary by region but, in general, if (precipitation – evapotranspiration) is less than zero then things are getting drier.

If we look at across the United States, there is no obvious trend in drought conditions.

This is of small consolation to California residents who have been parched for the last 4 years and illustrates the problems with 'average' numbers. Metrics such as these are useful but require proper interpretation. If half the country were flooded while the other half was in extreme drought everything would look fine 'on average', for example. In the case of California, they are suffering a double whammy of lower precipitation and higher evapotranspiration due to increased temperatures. Rainfall is the main determinant of drought but it has recently been shown (Williams et al. 2015) that the anthropogenic warming caused by us in recent decades has been responsible for between 8-27% of the drought anomaly in California from 2012-2014. Seemingly small changes in temperature add up to large moisture deficits over time.

Since average precipitation is not increasing but average temperatures are rising, this equates to growing aridity over most land areas. Since 1980 this has already increased the average area of the Earth experiencing drought each year from roughly 22 to 30% (Dai 2013). This trend will only increase as the Earth continues to warm. Now add to this, the new finding (Mazdiyasni and AghaKouchak 2015) that extreme drought affected regions also tend to experience greater chances of extreme heat waves and drought severity takes on even greater importance. This doubleshot of extreme weather events isn't physically hard to understand since drought reduces water available for evaporative cooling but it was a statistically hard signal to quantify given the relative rarity of the coincidence of multiple rare events in time.

The take home message here is that we are increasingly entering a 'feast or famine' equivalent with precipitation. We will either have too much or too little water with less and less time spend with the right amount of moisture. While communities can adapt to this by working on better water storage and drainage, the effects upon the natural world around us are less certain. More stress on these systems will have cascading effects. The drought in California is calculated to have killed 12.5 million trees. The loss of these trees will have untold knock on effects for animal life, future wildfires and erosion events. These systems may recover if the weather returns to 'normal' but then again this may just be the precursor to unraveling of ecosystems as climate stresses mount.

Mark

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