Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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Saturday, April 03, 2010


The rise in human emissions of carbon dioxide is driving fundamental and dangerous changes in the chemistry and ecosystems of the world's oceans, international marine scientists have warned in a study reported in ScienceDaily.

surface waters have already acidified an average of 0.1 pH units from pre-industrial levels, and we are seeing signs of its impact even in the deep oceans.

"Future acidification depends on how much CO2 humans emit from here on--but by 2100 various projections indicate that the oceans will have acidified by a further 0.3 to 0.4 pH units, which is more than many organisms like corals can stand," says co-author, Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland. "This will create conditions not seen on Earth for at least 40 million years. These changes are taking place as much as 100 times faster than they ever have over the last tens of millions of years."

Under such circumstances, "Conditions are likely to become very hostile for calcifying species in the north Atlantic and Pacific over the next decade and in the Southern Ocean over the next few decades," the researchers warn.

Besides directly impacting on the fishing industry and its contribution to the human food supply at a time when global food demand is doubling, a major die-off in the oceans would affect birds and many land species and change the biology of Earth as a whole profoundly, Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg adds.

The scientists say there is now persuasive evidence that mass extinctions in past Earth history, like the "Great Dying" of 251 million years ago and another wipeout 55 million years ago, were accompanied by ocean acidification, which may have delivered the deathblow to many species that were unable to cope with it.

"These past periods can serve as great lessons of what we can expect in the future, if we continue to push the acidity the ocean even further" said lead author, Dr. Carles Pelejero, from ICREA and the Marine Science Institute of CSIC in Barcelona, Spain.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Some good news amongst the climate-change gloom, in this report from an AAAS page.

The global conveyor-belt, the great current circling much of the planet, which keeps Europe warm, is not slowing down, according to careful analysis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

So The Day After Tomorrow is still just a very good movie.

ScienceDaily reports that the world's capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at a tipping point, according to research by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University.

It says that the age of cheap oil has ended as demand starts to outstrip supply, that current estimates of oil-reserves should be downgraded from between 1150-1350 billion barrels to between 850-900 billion barrels, and that we must accelerate the development of alternative energy fuel resources to ensure energy security and reduce emissions. But the oil-shortage cannot be mitigates with biofuels; there is not enough land.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The ice-loss off Greeenland is accelerating up its northwest coast, according to satellite measurements. Full report in ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Charles H. Greene, Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, one of the authors of 'A Very Inconvenient Truth,' published in the peer-reviewed journal Oceanography (March 2010), says that he and his co-authors conclude that the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report underestimates the potential dangerous effects that man-made climate change will have on society.

'Even if all man-made greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow and carbon-dioxide levels stabilized at today's concentration, by the end of this century the global average temperature would increase by about 2.4 degrees [Celsius] above pre-industrial levels, which is significantly above the level which scientists and policymakers agree is a threshold for dangerous climate change. Of course, greenhouse gas emissions will not stop tomorrow, so the actual temperature increase will likely be significantly larger, resulting in potentially catastrophic impacts to society unless other steps are taken to reduce the Earth's temperature.'

He also says that thermal inertia in the oceans means that the temperature rise this century will last for a thousand years.

Full report in ScienceDaily.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.

The research results, published in Science on March 5th, show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which has long been considered an impermeable barrier that seals in methane, is perforated, and is leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climatic warming.

'The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world's oceans,' said Shakhova, a researcher at UAF's International Arctic Research Center. 'Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap.'

Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The full report is on ScienceDaily

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


New data shows that ice-shelves are retreating in the southern section of the Antarctic Peninsula due to climate change, which can can cause glaciers to retreat and a rise in sea-levels if warming continues, threatening coastal communities and low-lying islands.

Research by the U.S. Geological Survey is the first to document that every ice-front in the southern part of the Antarctic Peninsula has been retreating overall from 1947 to 2009, with the most dramatic changes occurring since 1990. The USGS previously documented that the majority of ice fronts on the entire Peninsula have also retreated during the late 20th century and into the early 21st century.

The ice-shelves, which are attached to the continent and floating, hold in place the Antarctic ice-sheet that covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent. As they break off, it is easier for outlet glaciers and ice-streams to flow into the sea and raise it.

Full report in ScienceDaily.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The southern limit of permafrost is now 130 kilometres further north in the James Bay region than it was 50 years ago.

The average temperature in the area has increased 2 degrees Celsius in the last twenty years.

Researchers have found that ocean currents in the North Atlantic have changed to the extent that sub-tropical water is now reaching deep into Greenland's glaciers all year round, driving melting and probably triggering an accelerated loss of ice. Full report in ScienceDaily.

Sub-tropical heat is being rapidly transported to the glaciers--in months, not years.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Climate-change is transforming the Arctic environment faster than expected and accelerating the disappearance of sea ice, reports the biggest-ever study of Canada's changing north, which involved more than 370 scientists from 27 countries. Collectively they spent 15 months, starting in June 2007, aboard a research vessel above the Arctic Circle, the first time a ship has stayed mobile in Canada's high Arctic for a whole winter.

'(Climate change) is happening much faster than our most pessimistic models expected,' says David Barber, a professor at the University of Manitoba and the study's lead investigator.

Models predicted only a few years ago that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by the year 2100, but the increasing pace of climate change now suggests it could happen between 2013 and 2030, Barber said.

The cost of the Arctic's rapid melt will be $US2.4 trillion by 2050 as the region loses its ability to cool the global climate, says the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group, which released a report showing the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.

Full report in NewsDaily.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


NASA says the average global temperature for the last ten years are the warmest decade on record (since 1880), reports ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Climate Wizard, makes rapid visual sense of climate models or a combination of some of all of sixteen of the leading ones.

Read the report on ScienceDaily.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Those who say that the changes in climate, average global-temperature, and weather are not man-made are dead wrong. The facts are irrefutable, the reasoning from them is irrefutable, and therfore the conclusion is irrefutable. The argument is so simple it is beyond denial, even for the worst prat-headed denial-addict on the planet.

A mixture has the characteristics of its components. The behaviour of a mixture is determined by its components and their proportions. Every cook on the planet knows that. Change the ingredients or change the proportions of the ingredients and the outcome will be different. The mixture will behave differently; its internal activity will be different.

The atmosphere is a mixture. That is undeniable. We have changed the characteristics of the mixture by putting in components that were not there before and changing the proportions of existing components, in particular carbon-dioxide. That is undeniable. For two hundred years we have been busily putting back into the sky massive amounts of carbon that were taken out of it many millions of years ago and put deep into the ground in the form of nice safe coal and oil. That is undeniable. We know how much carbon-dioxide we are pumping into the sky; it is a simple calculation--at present over 9 billion tonnes a year. That is undeniable. Before we started using the sky as an open sewer for the waste gases from coal and oil, carbon-dioxide was 280 parts per million. Now it is 390ppm. That is undeniable. That is a massive change--about 40%--in the proportions of a very important ingredient. That is undeniable. The ingredient we have increased is one that traps heat, like the glass of a greenhouse. That is undeniable. After 4.5 billion years the Earth had reached a perfect equilibrium, and for the past 10,000 years it had not gone outside a one-degree band. Now it has. Before we changed the atmosphere the same amount of heat was being reflected back into space as was being received from the Sun. Now ~0.8 watts per square metre more is coming in than going out. Therefore the atmosphere is warming up, the average global temperature is rising, the polar ice is melting. That is all undeniable. The rise in temperature has been compounding at 1.5% per annum; the rise in carbon-dioxide has been compounding at 1.5% per annum. The correlation is no accident. That is undeniable.

In short, it is undeniable that human beings have changed the mixture called the atmosphere. We have therefore changed its characteristics and its behaviour, its internal activity. Weather is the short-term behaviour of the atmosphere; global climate is its long-term behaviour. We have caused a fundamental change in those behaviours.

That is undeniable.


For the latest data off the satellites, and records going back to 1880, click here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite is proving a precise and sophisticated tool for tracking carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, and its effect on climate in conjunction with water vapour, reports ScienceDaily.

The new data, which span the seven-plus years of the AIRS mission, measure the concentration and distribution of carbon-dioxide in the mid-troposphere--the region of Earth's atmosphere located between 5-12 kilometers (3-7 miles), above Earth's surface. They also track its global transport. The product represents the first-ever release of global carbon-dioxide data based solely on observations. The data have been extensively validated against both aircraft and ground-based observations.

In another major finding, scientists using AIRS data have removed most of the uncertainty about the role of water vapour in atmospheric models. The data are the strongest observational evidence to date for how water vapour responds to a warming climate.

"AIRS temperature and water vapour observations have corroborated climate model predictions that the warming of our climate produced as carbon-dioxide levels rise will be greatly exacerbated--in fact, more than doubled--by water vapour," said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

He explained that most of the warming caused by carbon-dioxide does not come directly from it but from effects known as feedbacks. Water vapour is a particularly important feedback. As the climate warms, the atmosphere becomes more humid. Since water is a greenhouse gas, it serves as a powerful positive feedback to the climate system, amplifying the initial warming. AIRS measurements of water vapour reveal that water greatly amplifies warming caused by increased levels of carbon-dioxide. Comparisons of AIRS data with models and re-analyses are in excellent agreement.

"The implication of these studies is that, should greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current course of increase, we are virtually certain to see Earth's climate warm by several degrees Celsius in the next century, unless some strong negative feedback mechanism emerges elsewhere in Earth's climate system," said Dressler.

Friday, December 11, 2009


A new index prepared by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which reduces solid climate-change data to a simple index, rather like a stock-market index, once again proves that human activity is the cause. Full report in ScienceDaily.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


A careful new study shows that the global oceans will rise may rise anywhere between 0.75 metres and 1.9 metres, reports ScienceDaily. ~The latter figure is consistent with another study that predicted up to 2.0 metres.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


A detailed study of paleoclimatological data, reported by ScienceDaily, shows that the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to the carbon-dioxide than previously thought. There are facts not factored into our models.

Oh dear!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


A new study, reported in ScienceDaily has for the first time used hard data to measure the level at which the oceans are absorbing carbon-dioxided, and found a significant reduction.

"Researchers have used climate models that suggest the oceans have been absorbing less CO2, but this is the first study to quantify the change directly using observations," said the author of the study, Jeffrey Park, who is professor of geology and geophysics and director of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studiesthe Park. "It strengthens the projection that the oceans will not absorb as much of our future CO2 emissions, and that the pace of future climate change will quicken."

He used data collected from atmospheric observing stations in Hawaii, Alaska and Antarctica to study the relationship between fluctuations in global temperatures and the global abundance of atmospheric CO2 on interannual time scales (one to 10 years). A similar study done 20 years ago found a five-month lag between interannual temperature changes and the resulting changes in CO2 levels. Park found that the lag has increased to at least fifteen months, a surprisingly large change, which indicates that the ability of the oceans to absorb carbon-dioxide is much reduced.

Friday, November 27, 2009


ScienceDaily reports satellite measurements by NASA showing an unexpected, and large, loss of ice in East Antarctica, an area that holds 90% of the world's fresh water, and was previously thought stable.

West Antarctica is losing 132 gigatonnes of ice a year. Now East Antarctica is estimated to be losing 57 gigatonnes a year. (A gigatonne is a billion metric tons.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A report in ScienceDaily says that atmospheric CO2 emissions have risen 29% since 2000 and 41% between 1990 and 2008. 1990 is the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol...

Another report, on a study that has for the first time measured the greenhouse-strength of a range of other chemicals, some of which last for thousands of years in the atmosphere, found that they have far greater heat-trapping power than carbon-dioxide.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Two reports from ScienceDaily show that the Greenland icesheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate, and that record high temperatures across the United States are far outpacing lows.

Friday, October 30, 2009


ScienceDaily reports that an Arctic expert who recently surveyed the region says that the thick, hard multi-year ice in the Arctic has in effect all vanished, leaving only 'rotten' ice that can easily be sailed through.