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  • Hotter, Drier, Hungrier: How Global Warming Punishes the World’s Poorest...

    On the outskirts of Kakuma in northwestern Kenya. Always arid, the area has become hotter and drier with the onset of climate change. Joao Silva/The New York Times

     

    KAKUMA, Kenya — These barren plains of sand and stone have always known lean times: times when the rivers run dry and the cows wither day by day, until their bones are scattered under the acacia trees. But the lean times have always been followed by normal times, when it rains enough to rebuild herds, repay debts, give milk to the children and eat meat a few times each week...

     

     

    Times are changing, though. Northern Kenya — like its arid neighbors in the
    Horn of Africa, where Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson paid a visit last week,
    including a stop in Nairobi — has become measurably drier and hotter, and scientists
    are finding the fingerprints of global warming. According to recent research, the
    region dried faster in the 20th century than at any time over the last 2,000 years.
    Four severe droughts have walloped the area in the last two decades, a rapid
    succession that has pushed millions of the world’s poorest to the edge of survival.
    Amid this new normal, a people long hounded by poverty and strife has found
    itself on the frontline of a new crisis: climate change. More than 650,000 children
    under age 5 across vast stretches of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are severely
    malnourished. The risk of famine stalks people in all three countries; at least 12
    million people rely on food aid, according to the United Nations.

    A woman washed near a water distribution point in Kakuma. Four droughts have hit the region in the last 20 years. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    A grandmother named Mariao Tede is among them. Early one recent morning, on
    the banks of a dry stream, with the air tasting of soot and sand, Ms. Tede stood over
    a pile of dark embers, making charcoal. A reed of a woman who doesn’t keep track of
    her age, she said she once had 200 goats, enough to sell their offspring at the market
    and buy cornmeal for her family. Raising livestock is traditionally the main source of
    income in the region, because not much food will grow here.
    Many of her goats died in the 2011 drought, then many more in the 2017
    drought. How many were left? She held up five fingers. Not enough to sell. Not
    enough to eat. And now, in the dry season, not even enough to get milk. “Only when
    it rains I get a cup or two, for the kids,” she said.
    The most recent drought has prompted some herders to plunder the livestock of rival
    communities or sneak into nature reserves to graze their hungry droves. Water has
    become so scarce in this vast county — known as Turkana, in northwestern Kenya —
    that fetching it, which is women’s work, means walking an average of almost seven
    miles every day.
    Ms. Tede now gathers wood to make charcoal, a process that is stripping the
    land of its few trees, so that when the rains come, if the rains come, the water will
    not seep into the earth. On the roadside stood what were once sacks of food aid, now
    stuffed with charcoal, waiting for customers.

    Charcoal for sale along the main road in Turkana County. Production is stripping the land of its few trees. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Further along that same road, in a village blessed with a water pump, a herder
    named Mohammed Loshani offered up his ledger of loss. From 150 goats a little over
    a year ago, he had 30 left. During the 2017 drought, 10 died one month, a dozen the
    next.
    “If we get rain I can build back my herd,” he said. “If not, even the few I have
    will die.” He knew no one who had rebuilt their herds to pre-2011 drought levels.
    “If these droughts continue,” Mr. Loshoni said, “there’s nothing for us to do.
    We’ll have to think of other jobs.”

    Women near Kakuma. Food is hard to grow in the region, so raising livestock is the main source of income. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Poor Rains and You’re ‘Done’...

    When Gideon Galu, a Kenyan meteorologist with the Famine Early Warning Systems
    Network, or FewsNet, looks at 30 years of weather data, he doesn’t see doom for his
    country’s herders and farmers. He sees a need to radically, urgently adapt to the new
    normal: grow fodder for the lean times, build reservoirs to store water, switch to
    crops that do well in Kenya’s soil, and not just maize, the staple.
    Rainfall is already erratic. Now, he says, it’s getting significantly drier and
    hotter. The forecast for the next rains aren’t good. “These people live on the edge,” he
    said. “Any tilt to the poor rains, and they’re done.”
    His colleague at FewsNet, Chris Funk, a climatologist at the University of
    California, Santa Barbara, has linked recent drought to the long-term warming of the
    western Pacific Ocean as well as higher land temperatures in East Africa, both
    products of human-induced climate change. Global warming, he concluded, seems to
    produce more severe weather disruptions known as El Niños and La Niñas, leading
    to “protracted drought and food insecurity.”
    Jessica Tierney, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona, took the
    longer view. By analyzing marine sediments, she and her colleagues came to the
    conclusion that the region is drying faster now than at any time in two millenniums
    and that the trend may be linked to human activity. That rapid drying in the Horn of
    Africa, she wrote, is “synchronous with recent global and regional warming.”

    A woman collected water from a pit dug in a dry riverbed near Kakuma. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    It falls to James Oduor, the head of Kenya’s National Drought Management
    Authority, to figure out what to do about the new reality. “In the future,” he said
    flatly, “we expect that to be normal — a drought every 5 years.”
    Mr. Oduor keeps a postcard-size, color-coded map of his country to explain the
    scale of the challenge: dark orange for arid zones, light orange for semiarid zones,
    and white for the rest.
    More than three-fourths of the land, he points out, is dark or light orange, which
    means they are water-stressed in the best of times and during droughts, dangerously
    so. “The bigger part of my country is affected by climate change and drought,” he
    said. “They’re frequent. They last long. They affect a big area.”

    Water is so scarce in Turkana County that fetching it means walking almost seven miles every day, on average. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Ethiopia is even worse off. FewsNet, which is funded by the United States
    government, has warned of continuing “food security emergency” in the country’s
    southeast, where rains have failed for the last three years in a row and political
    conflict has displaced an estimated 200,000 people.
    In Somalia, after decades of war and displacement, 2.7 million people face what
    the United Nations calls “severe food insecurity.” During the 2017 drought,
    international aid efforts averted a famine. In the previous drought, in 2011, nearly
    260,000 Somalis died of hunger, half of them children, the United Nations reported.

    Women waited in the the shade in Turkana Country as an aid group evaluated children for malnutrition. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    ‘Five Are Dead, Then 10’

    I traveled across Turkana and neighboring Isiolo County in northern Kenya last
    month. Off the main highway, sandy paths led through sandy plains. A cluster of
    round twig-and-thatch huts emerged. Dust whipped through the air.
    Pastoralists have walked these lands for centuries. The older ones among them
    remember the droughts of the past. Animals died. People died. But then the rains
    came, and after four or five years of normal rains, people living here could replenish
    their herds. Now, the droughts are so frequent that rebuilding herds is pretty much
    impossible.
    “You wake up one morning and five are dead, then 10,” said David Letmaya, at a
    clinic in Isiolo County where his family had come to collect sacks of soy and
    cornmeal.

    Drawing water in Turkana County. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    These days, shepherds like Mr. Letmaya range further and further, sometimes
    clashing with rivals from Turkana over pasture and water, other times risking a
    confrontation with an elephant or a lion from the national park next door.
    Almost every night, park rangers can hear gunshots. Herders raid each others’
    livestock to replenish their own.
    At the Isiolo health center, everyone kept precise count of their losses. One
    woman said she lost all three of her cows last year and was left now with only three
    goats. A second said her husband was killed a few years ago in a fight with Turkana
    herders over pasture, and then, last year, the last of her cows died. A third said she
    lost 20 of her 30 goats in the last drought.

    It was a blazing afternoon, with no respite in sight. One by one, hauling boxes of
    soy and cornmeal bearing a World Food Program stamp, the women walked back
    home across the dry plains and the dry riverbeds, resting sometimes under an acacia
    heavy with nests that weaver birds had made from the dry brush.

    By SOMINI SENGUPTA

    MARCH 12, 2018

    Follow @NYTClimate on Twitter

    A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the
    headline: Fastest Drying in 2,000 Years Imperils Millions.

    source: https://www.nytimes.com/

    original story HERE

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  • Climate change is a disaster foretold, just like the first world war...

    ‘The extraordinary – almost absurd – contrast between what we should be doing and what’s actually taking place fosters low-level climate denialism’ Photograph: Guido Dingemans/Alamy Stock Photo

     

    The warnings about an unfolding climate catastrophe are getting more desperate, yet the march to destruction continues...

    “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time...”

    The mournful remark supposedly made by foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey at dusk on 3 August 1914 referred to Britain’s imminent entry into the first world war. But the sentiment captures something of our own moment, in the midst of an intensifying campaign against nature.

    According to the World Wildlife Fund’s 2016 Living Planet Report, over the last four decades the international animal population was reduced by nearly 60%. More than a billion fewer birds inhabit North America today compared to 40 years ago. In Britain, certain iconic species (grey partridges, tree sparrows, etc) have fallen by 90%. In Germany, flying insects have declined by 76% over the past 27 years. Almost half of Borneo’s orangutans died or were removed between 1999 and 2015. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% in a decade, with on average one adult killed by poachers every 15 minutes.

    We inherited a planet of beauty and wonders – and we’re saying goodbye to all that.

    The cultural historian Paul Fussell once identified the catastrophe of the first world war with the distinctive sensibility of modernity, noting how 20th century history had “domesticate[d] the fantastic and normalize[d] the unspeakable.”

    Consider, then, the work of climate change.

    In February, for instance, scientists recorded temperatures 35 degrees above the historical average in Siberia, a phenomenon that apparently corresponded with the unprecedented cold snap across Europe.

    As concentrated CO2 intensifies extreme events, a new and diabolical weather will, we’re told, become the norm for a generation already accustomising itself to such everyday atrocities as about eight million tons of plastics are washed into the ocean each year.

    It may seem impossible to imagine, that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we’re now in the process of doing.”

    This passage from the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert concluded a piece on global warming, which was published way back in 2005. Over the 13 years since, the warnings from scientists have grown both more specific and desperate – and yet the march to destruction has only redoubled its pace.

    The extraordinary – almost absurd – contrast between what we should be doing and what’s actually taking place fosters low-level climate denialism. Coral experts might publicize, again and again and again, the dire state of the Great Barrier Reef but the ongoing political inaction inevitably blunts their message.

    It can’t be so bad, we think: if a natural wonder were truly under threat, our politicians wouldn’t simply stand aside and watch.

    The first world war killed 20 million people and maimed 21 million others. It shattered the economy of Europe, displaced entire populations, and set in train events that culminated, scarcely two decades later, with another, even more apocalyptic slaughter

    And it, too, was a disaster foretold, a widely-anticipated cataclysm that proceeded more-on-less schedule despite regular warnings about what was to come.

    As early as 1898, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia initiated a conference to discuss international arbitration and limit the arms race taking place in Europe. At its opening session at The Hague, he noted that the competition between nations, in which each country was building up its forces to defend against its neighbors, had “transform[ed] the armed peace into a crushing burden that weighs on all nations and, if prolonged, will lead to the very cataclysm that it seeks to avert.”

    Over the next years, the rivalries intensified, leading to further militarization and a complex series of (often secret) treaties, as, between 1908 and 1913, the military spending of the major powers increased by 50%.

    In 1912, the international socialist movement had staged an emergency meeting in Basel in Switzerland in which representatives from almost every nation spoke out for peace.

    “The great European peoples are constantly on the point of being driven against one another,” the congress resolved, “although these attempts are against humanity and reason cannot be justified by even the slightest pretext of being in the interest of the people.”

    Yet in early 1914, Winston Churchill noted that “the world is arming as it has never armed before”. The eventual declaration of war in August that year was still a shock – but only in the sense that those attending a patient expiring from a long illness might be startled by the death rattle.

    The appeals to humanity and reason did not move states jostling for trade and commercial advantages. For the people of Europe, the arms race was disastrous; for specific governments, it made perfect sense, for those who did not compete risked falling behind.

    The same might be said today.

    From a global perspective, the necessity to abandon fossil fuels cannot be denied. But for individual economies, change risks undermining comparative advantages.

    If we don’t sell coal, says Malcolm Turnbull, our competitors will – which was, of course precisely the logic of the British fleet expansion in 1908.

    The devastation of the first world war eventually engendered a wave of revolt from a populace appalled at the carnage their politicians had wrought.

    Climate change has not yet spurred an equivalent of the mutinies in France or the revolution in Petrograd or the uprising in Berlin.

    Yet Labor’s appalling equivocation over the Adani mine – a piece of environmental vandalism for which there can be no justification – illustrates the urgency with which we need a new and different type of politics.

    The stakes could not be higher. Lamps are going out all over the natural world … and no one will ever see them lit again...

    Sun 11 Mar 2018 21.02 EDT

    • Jeff Sparrow is a Guardian Australia columnist

    source: https://www.theguardian.com/us

    original story HERE

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  • In Iceland, global warming no longer a joke - says president...

    A view shows an ice flow floating on a lake in front of the Solheimajokull Glacier, where the ice has receded by more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931, Iceland October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Thibault Camus/Pool

     

    "The common joke in Iceland is to say that ... global warming is something we should cheer for - but it's no longer funny."

    PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico, March 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Icelanders have long joked that global warming was something people on the chilly Nordic island could look forward to, but as ice caps and glaciers melt at record speeds, that gag is wearing thin, according to the country's president.

    Warming oceans around the North Pole are harming biodiversity and fish stocks, and causing acidification in the world's northern regions, forcing countries like Iceland to adapt to a new reality, said President Gudni Johannesson.

    "The common joke in Iceland is to say that on this cold and windy, rain-swept island, global warming is something we should cheer for - but it's no longer funny," Johannesson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

    "Climate change affects us all on this globe, but you can see the effects in particular in the northern regions - the ice cap around the North Pole is melting at record rates, the oceans there are getting warmer," he said.

    On the flip side, climate change could bring some economic benefits to the country of just 340,000 people, which would become a natural trade hub if new routes opened up from Asia to the Atlantic due to melting Arctic ice, he said.

    "The fact that the ice cap in the north is melting is no source for joy (but) the undeniable fact is that where there was ice, there will be a free waterway," he said. "Who knows, as the century goes on, maybe we will see increased traffic via the North Pole with Iceland as a hub."

    Johannesson was speaking on the sidelines of the World Ocean Summit in the Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen on Friday, where environmentalists, politicians and business leaders met to discuss how to improve the state of the oceans.

    While warmer temperatures are driving greater stocks of mackerel towards Iceland's coasts, the cod that was once a mainstay of its fishing industry is likely to head north, said Johannesson, who wore a pink tie made of cod skin at the summit.

    Changing patterns of fish migration will make it essential to reach deals with neighbouring nations over fish catches, said the president, a former academic who has written about Iceland's "cod wars".

    Iceland clashed with other states in the region several years ago as it upped the amount of mackerel it hauled in.

    Iceland's relations with places like the Faroe Islands and Norway are usually amicable, and "the only source of potential conflict lies in the distribution of fishing quotas", Johannesson noted.

    In 2016, mackerel was the third-largest catch for Iceland and its third most valuable fish, netting $103 million, or 8 percent of the nation's total catch value.

    Iceland is also weighing up how to expand its salmon-farming industry, while considering its potential environmental impact.

    "Fish farming is a part of the blue economy now and... will expand," said Johannesson. However, it has to be "as safe as possible because nature comes first", he added.

    As one of just a handful of countries in the world that permits commercial whale hunting, Iceland's whale catch is "sustainable", said Johannesson, who declined to comment on whether he personally supported the industry.

    Whale-watching has boomed alongside the tourism that has underpinned Iceland's economic rebound, he said, with no sign visitors are staying away in protest at Iceland's continued hunting of minke and fin whales.

    "Sustainability and the miniscule amount of whales being caught in recent years (are) based on scientific advice and way below any figures potentially threatening the future of the two whale stocks in question," he said.

    by Sophie Hares | @SophieHares | Thomson Reuters Foundation
     
    Saturday, 10 March 2018 16:24 GMT

    (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/)

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    source:  http://news.trust.org/

    original story HERE

     

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  • What did NZ's hottest summer do to our glaciers?

    View southwest toward the head of Mueller Lake and terminus of Mueller Glacier notice stream dissecting stagnant ice at head of lake.  Picture is from Noel Potter, UMaine,  2/2018 

     

    Climate scientists expect to find some "pretty pathetic" glaciers when they make this year's aerial survey of the South Island's ice-starved, post-summer snowline.

    What they find could be one of the biggest "melt years" yet seen...

    Niwa this week confirmed New Zealand's summer had been the hottest on record and this would have put a major dent in the amount of snow amid the postcard Southern Alps.

    The Niwa-led annual survey, which has now been running 40 years, each March recorded the snowline altitude of up to 50 glaciers across the South Island.

    It revealed how much of the previous winter's snow remained to contribute to long-term glacial ice accumulation.

    This time, the glaciers might likely be in a grim state...

    "We have seen preliminary photos of some of them and they look sad and dirty," said Niwa climate scientist and survey leader Dr Drew Lorrey.

    "At this time of year we can see the effects of the summer melt but following such an extreme summer the layers really start to peel back and you can see how harsh the effect has been on the glaciers.

    "Where it becomes a concern is if there is a succession of seasons like this within a decade or two – that's when it can cause the overall volume of the glacier to decline."

    Glacier fluctuations are among the clearest signals of climate change, because they are highly sensitive indicators of atmospheric temperature and precipitation levels.

    Scientists believe it was a warming planet that had partly caused New Zealand's glaciers to shrink in total volume by one third in just four decades.

    Victoria University glaciologist Professor Andrew Mackintosh said he was also expecting one of the largest melt years ever recorded.

    "Our team has previously investigated the relationship between the South Island glaciers and sea surface temperatures," Mackintosh said.

    We have seen that when the Tasman Sea is warmer than normal, you tend to lose a great deal of snow and ice in the Southern Alps.

    "The marine heatwave this summer, where temperatures have been up to 6C higher in some parts of the Tasman Sea, means we are expecting to see a much higher snow line."

    The survey was undertaken every March at the end of summer and carried out using specialised cameras from a light aircraft.

    Lorrey said the information gathered over the past four decades has produced a unique and incredibly valuable dataset that provides an independent measure of how climate change and variability are affecting our water resources.

    "We look at the surface of each glacier and the line of demarcation where there is snow from the previous winter above, and exposed bare ice below.

    "That line can tell you about the amount of snow gained versus the amount lost since the start of the glacier year in April."

    The five scientists on board the snowline flight – Lorrey and Trevor Chinn, together with Dr Huw Horgan, Dr Brian Anderson and PhD student Lauren Vargo from Victoria University - will take thousands of photos from different angles that will then be used to build 3D models of glaciers that can be compared year on year to give an accurate depiction of the volume of ice that has changed.

    Mackintosh said powerful computing methods were used to process the photos, enabling precise measurement of snowlines, and the glacier surfaces.

    Over the 40 years of the survey, the precision has evolved to the point it now "takes the guesswork out of expert judgement".

    Analysis of the photographs provides absolute numbers on how the snowline had changed which act as the benchmark for evaluating computer models of the glaciers.

    "It is a tremendous resource that gives us quantitative digital information on how glaciers have changed," Mackintosh said.

    It also allows us to reconstruct length changes for glaciers that have never been measured on the ground."

    Image / SuppliedImage / Supplied

    For the first time this year a thermal imaging camera will be used that Lorrey hoped will reveal more about the debris-covered ice.

    "While it is experimental, we hope it may tell us something about the thickness and extent of the debris cover and the properties of the ice underneath it."

    The survey comes after scientists revealed New Zealand's total glacier area had shrunk from 1240 sq km to 857 sq km - a decrease of 31 per cent since the late 1970s, or just under one per cent of loss each year.

    The number of glaciers also fell slightly from 3283 to 3180, while mean altitude climbed from 1859m to 1939m above sea level.

    Those figures followed a 2014 analysis by Chinn and other scientists which showed ice volume in the Southern Alps had shrunk by 18.4cu km or 34 per cent since the 1970s, and ice losses had been accelerating rapidly since the turn of the new century.

    Whether the overall trend of ongoing loss continued was dependent on how the world acted on climate change.

    One scenario that assumed future warming could be limited only to another 2C - the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change - would see glaciers keep retreating but stabilizing by the middle of the century.

    But if emissions continued to ramp up without any efforts to curb them, glaciers could become virtually unrecognizable by 2100.

    Around the world, glaciers were already melting at an unprecedented rate, losing on average between half a metre and metre of ice thickness every year.

    An interactive juxtaposition of the Brewster Glacier, pictured in 2016 and 2017, can be viewed here.

    Jamie Morton
     
     
    original story HERE

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  • Correcting the underestimation in the current IPCC future average global temperature projections...

     

     

    It is useful to now update the IPCC’s (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,) four most recent 2014 average global temperature and time frame predictions while compensating for their known and regular underestimations of about 25-40%. Please keep in mind the IPCC’s 2014 prediction scenarios also do not include any calculations or adjustments for crossing more global warming tipping points during their prediction scenario periods...

    Here is what the IPCC’s temperature and arrival date estimates might look like if their underestimation bias were corrected: 

    In IPCC Scenario 1, their most optimistic projection, they say we will have only a 2° Celsius increase by 2100 (3.6° Fahrenheit). (Please note that in all 4 graphs below, CS stands for Climageddon Scenario and the 25% and 40% are underestimation correction levels for the 4 IPCC prediction levels.)

    At the 25% underestimation level, this means that we will reach 2.5° Celsius (4.5° Fahrenheit) about 21 years sooner than they predict will occur—at about 2079. This puts us in the later part of Phase 1 of the Climageddon Scenario, or more likely, in the beginning of Phase 2.

    Correcting_IPCC_Prediction_Scenarios-01.png

    At the 40% underestimation level, we will reach 2.9° Celsius (5.2°+ Fahrenheit) roughly 34 years sooner than they predict—at about 2066. This puts us somewhere within Phase 2 of the Climageddon Scenario.  

    In IPCC Scenario 2, their more likely projection, they say we will have only a 3° Celsius increase by 2100 (5.4° Fahrenheit). 

    At the 25% underestimation level, this means we will reach 3.5° Celsius (6.9° Fahrenheit) about 21 years sooner than they predict—at about 2079. This puts us in or near Phase 3 of the Climageddon Scenario.  

    At the 40% underestimation level, we will reach 4.2° Celsius (7.5° Fahrenheit) about 34 years sooner than they predict—at about 2066. This puts us in or near Phase 4 of the Climageddon Scenario.

    Correcting_IPCC_Prediction_Scenarios-02.png

     

    In IPCC Scenario 3, their less optimistic projection, they say we will have only a 4° Celsius increase by 2100 (7.2°+ Fahrenheit). 

    At the 25% underestimation level, this means we will reach 5° Celsius (about 9° Fahrenheit)21 years sooner than they predict—at about 2079. This puts us in or near the chaos and collapse of Phase 5 of the Climageddon Scenario.  

    At the 40% underestimation level, we will reach 5.6° Celsius (10° Fahrenheit) 34 years soonerthan they predict—at about 2066. This also puts us in or closer to phase 5 of the Climageddon Scenario.

    Correcting_IPCC_Prediction_Scenarios-03.png

    In IPCC Scenario 4, their least optimistic projection, they say we will have only a 6° or more Celsius increase by 2100 (10.8°+ Fahrenheit). A 6° Celsius increase in average global temperature is the end of most human life as we know it.

    At the 25% underestimation level, this means that we will reach 7.8° Celsius (about 13.5°Fahrenheit) at about 2079. This will put us well into Phase 5 of the Climageddon Scenario.  

    At the 40% underestimation level, we will reach 8.4° Celsius (about 15° Fahrenheit) —at about 2066. This could put us in Phase 5 of the Climageddon Scenario faster than anyone is ready for. 

    Correcting_IPCC_Prediction_Scenarios-04.png

     

    (Please note: In the four corrected IPCC graphs above, we are using recalculated temperature estimates to extrapolate approximate placement positions for the graph’s new projected timelines. Rather than show the precise new time frames of a particular recalculated temperature, these four graphs illustrate relative differences from the IPCC’s predicted temperatures and time frames. These four graphs additionally point toward how unanticipated higher temperatures will also dramatically accelerate consequence arrival times and increase consequence severity. It is difficult to precisely recalculate new timeframes with temperature calculations only, and because there is always a delay in the actual time that it takes to get to higher temperatures because of inertia and momentum factors in climate systems and subsystems.)

    March 11, 2018

     
    PS: How are you protecting your family and assets from the intensifying consequences of global warming? 
     
     
     

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  • This dire ocean scenario is a stark reminder of why the world is trying to stop climate change...

    Rolling waves driven by Cyclone Christian appear in the Elbe estuary near the North Sea close to Brunsbuettel, northern Germany, on Oct. 28, 2013. (Christian Charisius/European Pressphoto Agency)

     

    Scientists on Thursday published an alarming scenario for what could happen to the planet’s oceans and fisheries by the year 2300 if very high levels of global warming are allowed to continue...

    The good news is that it’s eminently avoidable and a very long way off from happening. The bad news is that, according to the concerned authors, it highlights a new vulnerability that could arise in a severely disrupted climate system — and becomes a real possibility if rampant global warming continues well beyond this century.

    The study finds that in a future world of extreme warming, after Antarctic sea ice collapses and oceans are altered, large volumes of essential nutrients could become trapped in the Southern Ocean. That could impair the growth of tiny marine organisms that form the base of the food chain in other parts of the world ocean, thus triggering a 20 percent decline in fishery yields overall, including a 60 percent drop in the Atlantic.

    This would occur because the Southern Ocean near Antarctica is a key site of “upwelling,” in which deep ocean waters, which have picked up such nutrients as phosphorous and nitrogen from the depths (which end up there after marine organisms die and their bodies sink), rise and deliver that biological bounty to the surface. Then, the nutrients enter the global ocean circulation and are carried northward to more moderate climes.

    But if warming gets severe enough, Southern Ocean upwelling can be suppressed by warm ocean surface waters. Meanwhile, many of the nutrients that do manage to rise will be consumed by the increasingly active biology of the mostly ice-free ocean around Antarctica — leaving far fewer nutrients for the rest of the world.

    In this case, as organisms in the Southern Ocean die, more nutrients again sink to the bottom of that ocean, and stay there.

    “So you have nutrients building up in the deep ocean, down where the biology can’t use them or get to them,” said Keith Moore, the lead author of the study in Science and a professor at the University of California at Irvine.

    The researchers concede that the picture they paint is dire — and requires very high levels of warming that might never materialize. The temperature of the Antarctic Ocean in the scenario, for instance, would be 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it is now, and the sea ice ringing Antarctica would be almost entirely gone.

    The computer modeling study also uses a worst-case scenario for the burning of fossil fuels to the year 2100 and even beyond it, ultimately triggering atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide just below 2,000 parts per million. That’s far in excess of the current level around 410 parts per million. It’s questionable that humanity would let things get that bad, and growing numbers of wind and solar installations and electric cars suggest that in future decades, we’ll be powering key aspects of life without fossil fuels.

    Still, the authors said, it’s worth probing such extremes to understand how the climate system works, and they noted that for now, a high emissions scenario remains possible.

    “These simulations paint a fairly dire picture of what I think will be catastrophic changes in the context of unmitigated climate warming,” said Matthew Long, one of the study’s authors and an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “Along the path to those very catastrophic events, we may cross thresholds that we don’t know about. And so, I think it’s important for people to reflect on the impact we’re having on the world’s ocean and consider that in the context of action to mitigate climate warming.”

    A researcher who was not involved in the study but reviewed it for The Washington Post, oceanographer Lynne Talley of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said she found the scenario plausible if warming is strong enough.

    “Maybe they’ve got an extreme answer here, but all the pieces are what you’d expect to happen in a more moderate forcing,” Talley said.

    An accompanying essay in Science, by ocean experts Charlotte Laufkotter and Nicolas Gruber of the University of Bern and ETH Zurich, respectively, in Switzerland, added that “the mere possibility of a future Southern Ocean nutrient-trapping scenario is highly concerning, warranting dedicated efforts to further our understanding of the unique role of the Southern Ocean in the global climate system.”

    Fortunately, the study assumes as its premise a level of global warming that we in the present have ample opportunity to prevent.

    If you think that the Paris climate agreement will work, holding the warming of the planet to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and bringing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations back down before they get much past 450 parts per million, then you can safely assume that such things will not occur.

    On the other hand, if you don’t think the world can manage economic and population growth in the coming decades without a continual or even growing reliance on fossil fuels, this extreme scenario may be hard to get out of your mind.

    Moore also said that he thinks the scenario presented in the study could at least begin to kick in at a lower temperature than the extreme ones in the paper. He said he’ll start to worry at a global temperature rise around 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit), when a lot of floating Antarctic sea ice could start to go.

    “We don’t know exactly where that tipping point is,” Moore said. The study thus reinforces the importance of the Paris climate goals.

    In the end, Long said, there is a value in describing what the worst-case scenario actually is — even if it is never actually realized.

    “Human-driven climate warming is driving changes in the ocean that are epic in the context of Earth history,” he said. “They’re commensurate with some of the biggest, most fundamental reorganizations of the life support system of the planet. The scenario is unlikely, yet action remains stalled.”

     
    March 9, 2018
     

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  • The Arctic is sending us a powerful message about climate change. It’s time for us to listen...

    The Beast brought cold air from Siberia to cities unfamiliar with such harsh winter conditions, such as Rome. Image: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

     

    Arctic scientists aren’t usually afraid of a little cold. Windy conditions don’t usually get us howling. The beasts we pay attention to are usually polar bears. But last week’s “Beast from the East” triggered a few anxious conversations...

    Social media memes aside, our problem isn’t this one extreme weather event per se. Our key fear is that the Beast isn’t really from the East – its birthplace was farther north.

    Compelling scientific evidence suggests that the Beast actually comes from the high Arctic, and it’s not the only weather monster to emerge from that region.

    As some media reports have identified, alongside the freezing conditions in Europe, we’re simultaneously seeing exceptional warming happening over the Arctic. While the Beast screams and howls outside our windows in Europe, the Arctic is 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it should be right now north of 80 degrees North.

    Arctic near-surface air temperatures north of 80N. Image: Zack Labe, UC Irvine

    The Arctic has had warm spells before. So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that scientists have been monitoring the Arctic for decades and have conclusively shown a long-term, significant warming trend. In fact, it’s warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe. This warming is accompanied by other major Arctic-wide changes in the ocean, atmosphere and land.

    The most dramatic changes, though, are with Arctic sea ice – the ice that floats on top of the Arctic Ocean. The summer sea ice extent, for instance, is well-known to be in rapid decline: the 11 lowest extents have all occurred in the past 11 years. Winter sea ice, too, is now following the same track, with this year’s winter ice extent at its lowest value ever, beating the previous record that happened only last winter.

    Image: National Snow and Ice Data Center

    In 2017, the Arctic winter ice set the lowest level on record, but we’ve broken that record again. This is not the gold medal we want to win.

    This is all bad news for the Arctic ecosystem and the people that live there. But the really bad news is that scientists have recently linked rapid Arctic warming to extreme weather farther south. Be it frigid cold spells, prolonged floods, persistent warmth, or long dry spells, it’s the persistence of weather patterns that is the connection, according to research. When weather conditions stick around a long time, extreme events can happen, hammering away at the world as we know it. That cold Beast from the East may be lurking for longer because the Arctic is so darn warm.

    Right now there’s a so-called 'blocking high' parked over Greenland that’s causing the jet stream to shoot northward towards the North Pole east of Greenland, with a hair-pin southward turn over Europe. It’s bringing the heat into the Arctic and the cold into Europe. Scientists know this because we measure it in detail every few hours. See for yourself!

     Jet stream on 25 Feb 2018. Yellow arrow shows winds flowing from southern North Atlantic to the North Pole then down into central Europe.

    Jet stream on 25 Feb 2018. Yellow arrow shows winds flowing from southern North Atlantic to the North Pole then down into central Europe.

    To understand the real impact of the Beast (and its future brethren), we need to understand the bigger picture: the influences of the Arctic on our weather and its impacts on societies everywhere. The Beast started out as too much warmth in the Arctic, which displaced the cold air into Siberia, which then oozed eastward into cities unfamiliar with such harsh winter conditions: Rome, London, Zagreb.

    It’s critical that world leaders understand this global process that starts with excessive greenhouse gases and causes Arctic sea ice to melt. Diminished summer sea ice is connected to winter weather through complex processes that create “memory” in the system. And we’re seeing an expression of that connection now. Scientists expect further Arctic warming will make all sorts of weather conditions in many geographic locations stick around longer – be it hot, cold, wet or dry – any of which can become extreme. We are concerned that things are only going to get worse because we are still dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    The real nightmare begins if those quirks, or anomalies, in the Arctic are happening more often, and it looks like they are. Persistent cold spells, particularly in central and eastern Asia, have become more frequent. From mid December 2017 through to mid January 2018, western North America experienced record-breaking high temperatures, drought, and low snow-pack, while the east was cold and snowy. A similar pattern prevailed in Eurasia.

    Global risk experts agree. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report, extreme weather is the number one risk in terms of likelihood, and the number two in terms of impact. The Beast is to be expected, and we have reason to fear.

    Top 5 global risks in terms of likelihood. Image: World Economic Forum Global Risk Report

    Is it fair to say that the Arctic is a barometer of global risk? We think so because it all comes down to physics – a warmer Arctic means thinner sea ice, an earlier melt, a later freeze-up, and a greater likelihood of extreme weather events throughout the Northern hemisphere. And that brings more trouble down the road.

    We’ve set up the Arctic Basecamp at Davos for two years running, to raise awareness of the drastic change underway in the Arctic and the risks that it poses to all of us. The basecamp is a creative and immersive environment that gives attendees the opportunity to learn about both the damage being done to the polar regions, and the technology solutions that are reducing carbon emissions.

    As scientists, we need to bring the facts, the hardcore evidence, into discussions of global risks. And then global climate leaders like Christiana Figueres (former executive secretary of the the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and leaders from business, politics and civil society can bring the solutions. The Arctic Basecamp draws on research from Mission2020, a global campaign to accelerate action on climate change, enabling the world to reach a turning point on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and creating the conditions in which all of the sustainable development goals can be achieved.

    If we were on the main stage this week, we would say very simply: urgency, urgency, urgency. The Beast reminds us that extreme weather brings unpredictability and risks.

    We’re only three months into 2018. Yet we’ve already seen a parched California, a frigid eastern US, two “storms of the century” in New England, and a record-breaking heatwave in Florida. On the other side of the world, ski races at the Olympics had to be postponed because it was so cold and windy. Then comes the Beast from the East. The increasing frequency of extreme weather events is entirely consistent with scientific expectations. And this is costing us all a lot of money, and more importantly, lives.

    In the US, 2017 was the most expensive year ever for extreme weather events, racking up costs of over $300 billion in destruction and disruption. Not all of it can be tied to the Arctic, of course, but increasingly extreme weather in the northern hemisphere is.

    How bad could it get? We don’t really know. We see these kinds of bizarre conditions happening more often. But predictability of when and where they will happen is still not very good. It’s one thing knowing there will be greater frequency of extreme weather, it’s another to predict the when, where, and how bad.

    What’s our message to world leaders? The disease that’s causing all these symptoms is our addiction to fossil fuels. And to slow down the disease’s progression, there’s really only one treatment: to cut our carbon emissions any way we can do it. We need to bend the emissions curve by 2020, or we may face a bigger Beast.

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  • Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’...

    COLD SNAP: Dave Throup tweeted this picture of the Beast from the East, predicted to bring cold weather to the county next week. Picture: @DaveThroupEA

     

    This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Robert McSweeney

    While much of Europe is shivering in subzero temperatures, the Arctic and eastern US have basked in unseasonably warm conditions in recent weeks...

    Arctic temperatures during February hit record highs, including nine separate days where temperatures were above zero. This is more than 30C warmer than expected for an Arctic winter.

    Numerous news reports have pointed the finger at the “polar vortex” for this unusual combination of weather extremes. Some have suggested that climate change is making these events more likely, driven by declining Arctic sea ice.

    So what is the polar vortex? How does it affect mid-latitude weather? And what role – if any – is climate change playing?

    ‘Beast from the East’

    Many of the news headlines this week have been dominated by two sides of the same story. On one hand, the “Beast from the East” has swept across Europe, bringing freezing conditions and blizzards, leaving transport systems at a standstill in many countries.

    Selection of 'Beast from the east' headline coverage. Credit: Tom Prater, Carbon Brief

    Selection of ‘Beast from the east’ headline coverage. Credit: Tom Prater, Carbon Brief

    Temperatures across Germany tumbled to below -10C; homeless people in Brussels were detained overnight if they refused shelter; and roofs of dozens of houses collapsed under the weight of snow in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Snow even made a rare appearance in Rome.

    On the other hand, a “warm air intrusion” has brought extraordinarily mild conditions to the Arctic.

    Despite being in perpetual winter darkness, Arctic temperatures have soared in recent weeks. Siberia have been as much as 35C above average this month, reported the Guardian, while the northernmost tip of Greenland has already experienced 61 hours above freezing in 2018 – “more than three times as many hours as in any previous year”.

    These unusual weather extremes are two sides of the same coin. The culprit is a circulation pattern up in the stratosphere called the polar vortex, which has – temporarily – split into two, allowing warm air into the Arctic and pushing a blast of cold air over Europe.

    But such warm Arctic conditions have concerned scientists. Cape Morris Jesup, Greenland’s most northerly point, “has been consistently and extraordinarily warm for the last week or so”, says Dr Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). She tells Carbon Brief:

    “The DMI weather station recorded 10 consecutive days where the temperature was at least 0C or warmer for some or all of the day. This is the 3rd time in the record it has happened – the others were 2011 and 2017 – but the persistence of this weather event, as well as the magnitude of the warming is what has made it so unusual.”

    The warming has also been boosted by foehn-effect winds, which have pushed ice away from the coast of Greenland and created open water, Mottram adds.

    The warm Arctic conditions have seen sea ice melt when it is supposed to be growing through the winter. Arctic sea ice in January hit a new record low for the month, while InsideClimate News reported last week that “in just eight days in mid-February, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast disappeared”.

    Newspaper reports have speculated on the role that human-caused climate change could be playing – and whether the conditions are a sign of things to come. Wednesday’s Guardian, for example, led its frontpage with the headline, “Arctic heatwave triggers climate meltdown fears”.

    But the potential link between the climate change, the polar vortex and mid-latitude weather is a complicated, uncertain and – at times – contentious one.

    Front page from The Guardian, 28 February 2018

    Front page from The Guardian, 28 February 2018

    What is the polar vortex?

    The term “polar vortex” is “perhaps an unfortunate use of words”, says Dr James Screen, assistant professor in climate science at the University of Exeter. He tells Carbon Brief:

    “Most atmospheric scientists would say, I think, that the polar vortex is a specific feature of the wintertime stratospheric circulation (more fully, the stratospheric polar vortex). In recent times, the terminology has increasingly been used to describe the tropospheric circulation.”

    That needs a bit of unpacking. The first thing to note is that the polar vortex is in the stratosphere, around 8km above the Earth’s surface at the poles.

    The stratospheric polar vortex is a low-pressure weather system that sits over the Arctic (there is an equivalent one over the Antarctic). Its main feature is the strong west-to-east winds which encircle the north pole. These winds are known as the “polar night jet” because they only appear during the dark Arctic winter.

    The polar night jet forms a boundary between the very cold Arctic air and the warmer air over the mid-latitudes.

    Illustration of the stratospheric (blue) and tropospheric (red) polar vortices. Source: Waugh et al. (2017). © American Meteorological Society. Used with permission.

    Illustration of the stratospheric (blue) and tropospheric (red) polar vortices. Source: Waugh et al. (2017). © American Meteorological Society. Used with permission.

    As Screen pointed out earlier, the stratospheric polar vortex is often confused with a second vortex – this time in the troposphere.

    The tropospheric polar vortex is a year-round feature of mid-latitude weather, driven by the temperature difference between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. Its boundary winds are more commonly known as the jet stream. As seen in the illustration above, it is much larger than its namesake in the stratosphere.

    The position and strength of the jet stream have a big impact on mid-latitude weather. When the jet stream is strong, its fast-flowing winds provides a barrier between the cold air over the Arctic and the milder air further south. When it weakens, the jet stream slows and can develop kinks. This allows the cold Arctic air to spill out into the mid-latitudes and for warmer air to spill in – as has been the case recently.

    The science behind the polar vortex. Credit: NOAA

    The science behind the polar vortex. Credit: NOAA

    The strength and position of the jet stream can be gauged by a metric called the Arctic Oscillation (AO). When the AO is positive, the jet stream is strong. When it’s negative, the jet stream is weak.

    The similar names and characteristics of the two polar vortices can cause confusion, says Screen:

    “Typically, ‘polar vortex’ was reserved for the stratospheric, but now it seems ‘polar vortex’ is being used to essentially describe the jet stream”.

    The distinction is important when it comes to talking about what has been happening to the weather this week and the potential impacts of climate change (more on that later).

    Sudden stratospheric warming

    The trigger for this week’s unusual weather started with a “sudden stratospheric warming” event.

    Sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) occurs when something knocks the stratospheric polar vortex out of kilter. This can be caused by large weather patterns in the troposphere.

    The resulting wobbles in the polar night jet can cause the circulation to slow down, reverse in direction and even split into two separate vortices. This allows air to collapse in over the Arctic, compressing the atmosphere and causing temperatures to rise dramatically in the stratosphere – by as much as 50C in just a couple of days.

    When this happens, the knock-on impacts for the troposphere can mean the usual westerly winds that swirl around the mid-latitudes also reverse and become easterlies. This might take a few days or weeks to materialise.About two weeks ago, the stratospheric polar vortex weakened and then split into two. You can see this happen in the clip below. The fast-flowing winds shown by the purple lines wrench from neat single circle into two vortices swirling side-by-side.

    What is being seen now is consequence of the split, explains Mottram:

    “This has allowed warmer air to move up into the high Arctic Ocean and, at the same time, the remnants of the high pressure are now lodged over Scandinavia, bringing cold air to northern Europe and the Labrador Sea – so southwest Greenland is actually very, very cold and [Greenland’s capital city] Nuuk will probably have a below-average temperature this month.”

    This is a classic weather pattern that occurs throughout the observed record, says Mottram. However, this time around, the pattern has been deeper and longer than normal, prompting the question of whether climate change is playing a part – particularly as research has shown an increasing frequency and duration of Arctic “winter warming events”, where daily temperatures peak above -10C.

    Mottram says scientists do not yet have enough data about these events to say for sure whether these conditions are related to climate change, or that they will occur more frequently. However, such a warm Arctic could have had a helping hand, Mottram adds:

    “It’s probably safe to say, though, that the warming associated with this event has been boosted by climate change to an extent. We see these warming spikes all the way through the record, but the baseline is shifting upwards. The atmosphere is warmer and so is the ocean.”

    However, as well as background warming, some researchers argue that the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice is making extreme mid-latitude weather more likely.

    Arctic amplification

    Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing around three times as fast as the global average – a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification.

    One of the main reasons is the loss of sea ice in the region. As Arctic sea ice melts, energy from the sun that would have been reflected away is instead absorbed by the ocean.

    Monthly January Arctic sea ice extent for 1979 to 2018, showing a decline of 3.3% per decade. Note: the y-axis does not start at zero. Credit: NSIDC

    Monthly January Arctic sea ice extent for 1979 to 2018, showing a decline of 3.3% per decade. Note: the y-axis does not start at zero. Credit: NSIDC

    The links between Arctic amplification and mid-latitude weather has become a prominent topic of climate research. Just last month, the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences published a special issue on the subject.

    Scientists have put forward various mechanisms for how the two could be connected. For example, as the Arctic warms rapidly, the temperature difference between the Arctic and mid-latitudes declines. This could be weakening the jet stream, causing it to meander more and allow cold air to be pulled down to the mid-latitudes.

    At the same time, some climate model projections suggest that while declining sea ice could amplify year-to-year variability in mid-latitude weather in the near-term, total variability will ultimately decrease under high emissions scenarios with major loss of summer sea ice.

    The weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex is a possible route for Arctic amplification to influence mid-latitude weather, Screen explains:

    “It has been argued that Arctic sea ice loss has weakened the polar stratospheric vortex and that this might make the negative AO [a weakened jet stream] and severe winters more likely.”

    However, this theory is still “contentious”, he adds.

    Roma, Italy. 26th Feb, 2018. People walk by the ancient Colosseum during a snowfall in Rome. Credit: CrowdSpark/Alamy Live News. M5X5B2

    Roma, Italy. 26th Feb, 2018. People walk by the ancient Colosseum during a snowfall in Rome. Credit: CrowdSpark/Alamy Live News.

    Other scientists are more certain. Prof Jennifer Francis, a research professor in the department of marine and coastal sciences at Rutgers University, tells Carbon Brief “there’s definitely a connection”:

    “At least a dozen studies now have made the link between sea ice loss – especially in the Barents and Kara seas – to the jet stream into the stratospheric polar vortex and back to mid-latitude weather”.

    The process starts with sea ice loss allowing Arctic waters to absorb more heat from the sun during summer, explains Francis. This warmth slows ice formation in the Barents and Kara seas in early winter.

    There is usually a bulge in the jet stream over this region, says Francis. The warming creates an area of high pressure just to the east of the bulge, along with stronger cold winds from the Arctic going into central and eastern Asia, she explains:

    “This effectively creates a larger north-south wave in the jet stream, which under the right conditions, transfers wave energy upward into the stratosphere. When large pulses of wave energy go into the stratospheric polar vortex, the vortex can be disrupted from its usual circular shape centered over the pole.”

    This can, therefore, be the trigger for a sudden stratospheric warming event and, in turn, unusual weather in the mid-latitudes.

    One of the studies that has made this link was published last month in the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society (BAMS). Led by PhD researcher Marlene Kretschmerat the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the study identifies seven different “states” that the stratospheric polar vortex displayed during winter (January-February) over 1979-2015.

    Of these states, the frequency of a “weak distorted” vortex has increased from around three days per winter during 1979-96 to seven days during 1998-2015, the paper finds, while days of a “strong” vortex have declined from “from approximately 12 days per season to just six days”.

    A weak vortex is usually “accompanied by subsequent cold extremes in midlatitude Eurasia”, the study notes.

    In an earlier journal paper, Marlene Kretschmer’s research also identified sea ice cover in the Barents and Kara seas ice as “important external drivers” of mid-latitude weather patterns in winter.

    But despite the flurry of work in this area, the “research in understanding the stratospheric pathway from Arctic Amplification and sea ice is still very young”, notes Zack Labe, a PhD candidate in climate science at the University of California at Irvine.

    Indeed, there is “still significant research ongoing in understanding the dynamical relationships between stratosphere-troposphere interactions”, Labe tells Carbon Brief.

    As such, for the time being, there is “not a clear consensus on how sea ice and Arctic amplification may affect the polar vortex”, he concludes.

    Posted on 7 March 2018 by Guest Author

    source: https://skepticalscience.com/

    original story HERE

    About Skeptical Science

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  • Fisheries output to plunge unless global warming reeled in...

    FILE PHOTO: A Man stands on his fishing boat in the harbour of Ajaccio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo

     

    Global fisheries output will slump by 20 percent by 2300 and by 60 percent in the worst-hit North Atlantic region if governments fail to slow long-term global warming, a U.S. team of scientists said on Thursday...

    Most studies of climate risks extend to 2100 and overlook extra “catastrophic effects” such as the projected slump in ocean life that would only emerge in coming centuries, they said.

    Unchecked long-term warming would thaw sea ice around Antarctica and disrupt ocean currents, winds and the growth of tiny plankton, the report found. Worldwide, ever more nutrients would sink to the ocean depths, away from fish near the surface.

    “Marine ecosystems worldwide will be increasingly starved for nutrients,” lead author J. Keith Moore of the University of California, Irvine, told Reuters of the findings published in the journal Science.

    The shifts would cut the productivity of fisheries in 2300 by an average 20 percent and by 60 percent in the North Atlantic, where a normal upwelling of nutrients from deeper waters would be most reduced, according to computer simulations.

    Exceptions would be the Southern Ocean near Antarctica and in the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole where higher temperatures and shrinking ice, allowing more sunlight to reach the water, would boost the growth of tiny plants.

    FILE PHOTO: Fish lie in a fish tank on the Boulogne sur Mer based trawler "La Fregate" off the coast of northern France, August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

    Moore said such long-term projections involve many uncertainties but add to existing concerns about more heat waves, downpours and droughts that mainstream scientists link to a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    “We need to be thinking 1,000 years into the future, not 100 years,” he wrote in an email. “Global warming isn’t a problem our children can solve - it will be too late.”

    Global fisheries output will slump by 20 percent by 2300 and by 60 percent in the worst-hit North Atlantic region if governments fail to slow long-term global warming, a US team of scientists said on Thursday (08/03).(Reuters Photo/Pascal Rossignol)

    The study assumed greenhouse gases will continue to build up in the atmosphere, boosting average surface temperatures by 9.6 degrees Celsius (17 Fahrenheit) by 2300.

    That would be far above goals set in 2015 by almost 200 nations under the Paris climate agreement to limit warming to “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times by phasing out fossil fuels this century.

    The report did not factor in other risks, such as an acidification of the oceans caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide that could undermine the ability of creatures such as lobsters and oysters to build protective shells.

    Charlotte Laufkoetter, a scientist at the University of Bern who was not involved in the study, praised the findings as based on the best existing science, despite the difficulty of projecting so far into the future.

    “There are of course several uncertainties - circulation in the Southern Ocean is very difficult to model,” she told Reuters.

    March 8, 2018 / 1:06 PM

    Summary of the study: here; Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Mark Potter

     
     
    original story HERE

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  • 2018 SKS WEEKLY CLIMATE CHANGE & GLOBAL WARMING NEWS ROUNDUP #10...

     

    Severe flooding in Carlisle, north-west England, December 2015. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

     

    A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

    Editor's Pick:

    Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk.

    Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study...

    The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

    The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable.

    The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s.

    Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”

    The ClimateWise coalition of 29 insurers, including Allianz, Aon, Aviva, Lloyd’s, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich, conclude that the industry must use more of its $30tn of investments to help fund increased resilience of society to floods, storms and heatwaves. 

    Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk by Damian Carrington, Climate, Guardian, Mar 7, 2018 


    Links posted on Facebook

    Sun Mar 4, 2018

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    Sat Mar 10, 2018

    Posted on 10 March 2018 by John Hartz

    source: https://skepticalscience.com/

    original story HERE

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