Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest on record in March, behind 2002, and the eleventh warmest on record for January-March year-to-date period. Temperatures were warmer than average across Europe and Asia, prompting the March 2008 global and Northern Hemisphere land surface temperatures to be the warmest since records began in 1880. La Niña, the cold phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, persisted in the equatorial Pacific, damping ocean surface temperatures. The global average ocean sea surface temperature (SST) in March was the 13th warmest on record.
via Climate Progress
Jeff Masters has a great article on this, and I highly recommend reading through it for all of the details. There have been a number of talking heads appearing on tv and claiming that, since the winter of 2008 was so cold, global warming is clearly not happening. There have even been some people claiming that we are undergoing global cooling. The United States had it’s 54th coolest winter out of the past 113, so it was about an average year temperature wise for us. Globally, however, this winter was in the top 13% of warmest winters ever.
He also points out the difference between weather and climate, which I think is a very important distinction:
It is important to understand the difference between weather and climate. Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get. What we experience in one particular season or year is “weather”. Weather has a large variation from year to year, with cool seasons and years mixed in with warms ones. “Climate” is the weather measured on scales of tens of years or longer. One cool winter or year is not an indication that the climate is cooling back to normal. The climate is warming, and unless we see a series of several years of cool conditions, this year’s cool winter merely represents a normal fluctuation of the weather.
The warmest years on record globally were 2005 and 1998, when the global average temperatures were 1.08°F and 1.04°F higher than the long-term average of 57°F. The 2007 temperature was .99°F above average. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, part of a rise in temperatures of more than 1°F (0.6°C) since 1900. Within the past three decades, the rate of warming in global temperatures has been approximately three times greater than the century scale trend. All ten of the top ten warmest years for the globe have occurred since 1995. The global temperature record goes back to 1880.
For the contiguous U.S., 2007 was the tenth warmest year on record. U.S. weather records go back to 1895. Six of the 10 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have occurred since 1998, part of a three decade period in which mean temperatures for the contiguous U.S. have risen at a rate near 0.6°F per decade.
CNN reports on what a disastrous summer it has been for the warming of the Arctic. From the article:
552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet, according to preliminary satellite data to be released by NASA Wednesday. That’s 15 percent more than the annual average summer melt, beating 2005’s record. A record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, according to data the University of Colorado released Monday. That’s nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. It’s an amount of water that could cover Washington, D.C., a half-mile deep, researchers calculated. The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was nearly 23 percent below the previous record. The dwindling sea ice already has affected wildlife, with 6,000 walruses coming ashore in northwest Alaska in October for the first time in recorded history. Another first: the Northwest Passage was open to navigation. Still to be released is NASA data showing the remaining Arctic sea ice to be unusually thin, another record. That makes it more likely to melt in future summers. Combining the shrinking area covered by sea ice with the new thinness of the remaining ice, scientists calculate that the overall volume of ice is half of 2004’s total. Alaska’s frozen permafrost is warming, not quite thawing yet. But temperature measurements 66 feet deep in the frozen soil rose nearly four-tenths of a degree from 2006 to 2007, according to measurements from the University of Alaska. While that may not sound like much, “it’s very significant,” said University of Alaska professor Vladimir Romanovsky.
Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had her 14 pages of testimony on the subject of the impact of climate change on health cut to just 4 pages by the White House. What got cut?
The deletions directed by the White House included details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC’s analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels, according to one official who has seen the original version.
MSNBC has more details here.
Unfortunately, this heavy handed censorship of science on climate change is not new. A NASA PR appointee, George Deutsch, who worked on the Bush campaign attempted to silence Dr. James Hansen on this same topic. Deutsch, who said that his job was “to make the president look good”, later resigned after it became known that he falsified his resume. Scientific Activist has more details, and Dr. Hansen says it best:
“He’s only a bit player,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. ” The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That’s what I’m really concerned about.”
“On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed,” he said. “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”
For the contiguous U.S., the average temperature for August was 75.4°F (24.1°C), which was 2.7°F (1.5°C) above the 20th century mean and the 2nd warmest August on record, based on preliminary data.
A severe heatwave persisted throughout much of the month across southern and central parts of the nation. More than 30 all-time high temperature records were tied or broken and more than 2000 new daily high temperature records were established.
Raleigh-Durham, NC equaled its all-time high of 105°F on the August 21, and Columbia, SC had 14 days in August with temperatures over 100°F, which broke the record of 12 set in 1900. Cincinnati, OH reached 100°F five days during August, a new record for the city.
The warmest August in the 113-year record occurred in eight eastern states (West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida) along with Utah. For the Southeast, the length, severity and area of the heat wave led to comparisons with events in 1983 and 1954.
via Climate Progress
With one third of the Arctic ice cap already gone, and another month of melting to go, we need to consider what effect this will have on weather, climate, and sea level rise. Well, we don’t need to worry about sea level rise, since the polar sea ice is already in the ocean, and won’t appreciably change sea level when it melts. However, the remarkable melting of the ice cap will likely lead to unusual weather patterns this fall and winter. The lack of sea ice will put much more heat and moisture into the polar atmosphere, affecting the path of the jet stream and the resultant storm tracks. Expect a much-delayed arrival of winter to the Northern Hemisphere again this year, which may lead to further accelerated melting of the ice cap in future years.