Global warming is well underway

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    Martin W

      Even as sceptics do way too good a job of befuddling people re global warming, evidence is that

      Climate Change is real, it's happening, and it ain't gonna be pretty as the next few decades unfold

      Much has been written re impacts on polar regions – where global warming has been more evident than in many places. Now, news of changes in the tropics:

      Alarming new satellite evidence of the effects of global warming comes as forecasters predict more severe hurricanes By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor The world's tropical zones are growing, threatening to drive the world's great deserts into southern Europe and other heavily populated areas, alarming new research suggests. The study – based on satellite measurements over the past quarter of a century – shows that the tropics have widened by 140 miles since 1979. Scientists suspect that global warming is to blame. …

      the areas just outside the tropics, at around 30 degrees north and south – running through China, North India, the Middle East, North Africa, Florida and the US Gulf Coast, and through Australia, Southern Africa and Argentina – are warming particularly fast. The zones immediately outside the tropics are often very dry – containing many of the world's great deserts – and these are also expected to move towards the poles as part of the tropical shift. The scientists believe that this may explain the recent droughts in southern Europe and the south-western United States. They say that if the process continues it could move the deserts into heavily populated areas, with devastating results. …

      But the evidence that global warming is causing more severe hurricanes grew stronger last week as the annual season for them opened. …

      Two new studies last week confirmed research which indicated that rising sea temperatures, caused by global warming, are increasing the strength of hurricanes. On Wednesday Jeb Bush – the Governor of Florida and the brother of the President – met some of the scientists who had conducted the research, saying that he found their information "compelling".

      Widening tropics 'will drive deserts into Europe

      Martin W
        By Mark Henderson, Science Editor

        GLOBAL warming is already influencing the evolution of some animals, according to research that attributes genetic changes to rising temperatures.
        Scientists have identified heritable genetic changes among squirrels, birds and insects that appear to be evolved adaptations to a warmer world.

        As average temperatures have increased, the researchers say, so have the lengths of the warmer spring and autumn seasons. This has given a substantial advantage to animals with the genetic ability to vary their behaviour accordingly, influencing the course of evolution.

        The evolutionary adaptations observed to date, however, are all related to changing season length, rather than building tolerance to higher temperatures or altered climatic conditions. This means that species are likely to remain vulnerable to extinction as global warming progresses.

        In a review published today in the journal Science, William Bradshaw and Christina Holzapfel, of the University of Oregon, highlight several examples of animal species evolving in response to global warming.

        The animals are migrating, breeding or developing earlier in the spring, and research has established that this goes beyond normal variation and is influenced by genetic change.

        Animals evolve to keep pace with global warming

        Martin W
          GLOBAL warming could be returning the world to the way it was four million years ago when sea levels were 80ft higher than they are today, scientists say.

          The forecast suggests that a climatic “switch” may soon be thrown, resulting in a seismic geothermal shift.

          If the prediction is correct, later generations could find themselves living in a climate similar to that of the early Pliocene epoch.

          Even though at that time the greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide was no greater than it is today, average global temperatures were at least 3C warmer.

          Sea levels were 25 metres, or 82ft, higher four million years ago during the early Pliocene. Such a rise would have a devastating effect on human populations around the world, submerging whole islands and coastal cities.

          The epoch was also marked by droughts and torrential rains.

          Human evolution may have depended on the onset of drier conditions about three million years ago, when ice started spreading in the north and the Earth began to cool. Experts writing in the journal Science say human-induced climate change may already be pushing the “switch”.

          Temperature rise may turn earth’s clock back 4m years

          Martin W

            A survey of US anglers and hunters find that – even tho most are rightwingers, majority believe (based on own experiences) that global warming is happening.

            Poll: Many hunters, anglers agree global warming happening

            Martin W

              Seems global warming issue is receiving more attention in US, depite the attempts of various people – often with “conservative” political agendas – to befuddle people. Also, perhaps some awareness that US is taking v little action, despite some promises; not surprising when there’s an oil man from Texas at the helm.

              for instance:
              U.S. foot-dragging fuels global warming
              By the time we get proof of climate change, it will be too late to reverse course.

              Time is running out for action on global warming

              Essentially, there is no national leadership. With a White House that bases its economic and foreign policies largely on fossil fuel development, much of the world has turned a blind eye to what this administration says about global warming. And with a Congress hamstrung by fossil fuel lobbyists and a leadership who would rather waste time debating gay marriage, don’t look for any constructive discussions on real issues.
              In response to Washington’s perpetual head in the sand, there is a growing movement by state and local leaders to address global warming.

              Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/06/12 02:57

              Martin W

                A report just out with observations of polar bears killing other polar bears for food – perhaps as it’s harder for them to access regular prey, because ice takes longer to form as winter approaches.

                Study: Warming turns bears into cannibals

                Martin W
                  Permafrost soil blanketing northeastern Siberia contains about 75 times more carbon than is released by burning fossil fuels each year. That means it could become a potent, likely unstoppable contributor to global climate change if it continues to thaw.

                  thawing permafrost could have contributed to changing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during past warming and cooling events in the earth’s history.

                  Global warming could accelerate from thawing Siberian permafrost

                  Martin W

                    Been reading a lot re An Inconvenient Truth, based on Al Gore’s presentation on global warming. Now found there’s a trailer here, giving some idea of content – and with Hollywood style dramatic music, pacing (yes, pacing, who’d have thought that of Mr G?):

                    "Watching" debate in N America, especially US, I find it puzzling that whether global warming is a serious problem is seen as political issue. Read an Esquire article, on American Idiots, suggesting this was a bit like saying you did or did not believe in gravity depending on political outlook.

                    Martin W
                      Australia’s migratory birds are arriving earlier and leaving later – most likely due to global warming, a new study has found.

                      Macquarie University PhD students Linda Beaumont and Ian McAllan, together with associate professor Lesley Hughes, have analysed the movements of migratory birds visiting south-eastern Australia since the 1960s.

                      Using published literature, bird observer reports, and observations of bird watchers, the team compared the arrival date for 24 species and the departure for 12 species over the past 40 years.

                      The study is believed to be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and is published in the current edition of the international journal Global Change Biology.

                      The study found half of the species analysed – which included sandpipers, kingfishers, bee eaters and plovers – showed a significant trend toward earlier arrival since 1960.

                      It showed they were arriving on average 3.5 days earlier per decade across the whole study group.

                      At the same time, there was an average delay in departure of 5.1 days per decade.

                      Global warming affects bird migration

                      For some time, I’ve believed timings of migrants changing on ne China coast (near Beidaihe) as a result of warming; seems that area is more affected by warming than many regions. Also, increases in some residents such as Vinous-throated Parrotbill perhaps as winters less harsh than had been normal.

                      Martin W

                        The British Trust for Ornithology has prepared a report on apparent impacts of climate change on migratory species. Includes birds that are wintering in Britain, or parts of Britain, in higher numbers – rather than moving south/west to warmer places; also variations in ranges of some marine animals inc cetaceans. Notes that, "Although it is thought that no species has yet become extinct solely because of climate change (Golden Toad is a possible exception), many extinctions (of both migratory and non-migratory species) are predicted in the near future." summary:


                        Martin W

                          Even as Disinformation for Idiots brigade (read, right-wingers in US) puts up more smokescreens re warming, main science keeps showing it’s real.

                          This just in:

                          WASHINGTON — There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers, and other “proxies” of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new report from the National Research Council. Less confidence can be placed in proxy-based reconstructions of surface temperatures for A.D. 900 to 1600, said the committee that wrote the report, although the available proxy evidence does indicate that many locations were warmer during the past 25 years than during any other 25-year period since 900. Very little confidence can be placed in statements about average global surface temperatures prior to A.D. 900 because the proxy data for that time frame are sparse, the committee added.

                          Scientists rely on proxies to reconstruct paleoclimatic surface temperatures because geographically widespread records of temperatures measured with instruments date back only about 150 years. Other proxies include corals, ocean and lake sediments, ice cores, cave deposits, and documentary sources, such as historic drawings of glaciers. The globally averaged warming of about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) that instruments have recorded during the last century is also reflected in proxy data for that time period, the committee noted.

                          The report was requested by Congress after a controversy arose last year over surface temperature reconstructions published by climatologist Michael Mann and his colleagues in the late 1990s. The researchers concluded that the warming of the Northern Hemisphere in the last decades of the 20th century was unprecedented in the past thousand years. In particular, they concluded that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year. Their graph depicting a rise in temperatures at the end of a long era became known as the “hockey stick.”

                          The Research Council committee found the Mann team’s conclusion that warming in the last few decades of the 20th century was unprecedented over the last thousand years to be plausible, but it had less confidence that the warming was unprecedented prior to 1600; fewer proxies — in fewer locations — provide temperatures for periods before then. Because of larger uncertainties in temperature reconstructions for decades and individual years, and because not all proxies record temperatures for such short timescales, even less confidence can be placed in the Mann team’s conclusions about the 1990s, and 1998 in particular.

                          The committee noted that scientists’ reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent. The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or “Little Ice Age,” from roughly 1500 to 1850. The exact timing of warm episodes in the medieval period may have varied by region, and the magnitude and geographical extent of the warmth is uncertain, the committee said. None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.

                          The scarcity of precisely dated proxy evidence for temperatures before 1600, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, is the main reason there is less confidence in global reconstructions dating back further than that. Other factors that limit confidence include the short length of the instrumental record, which is used to calibrate and validate reconstructions, and the possibility that the relationship between proxy data and local surface temperatures may have varied over time. It also is difficult to estimate a mean global temperature using data from a limited number of sites. On the other hand, confidence in large-scale reconstructions is boosted by the fact that the proxies on which they are based generally exhibit strong correlations with local environmental conditions. Confidence increases further when multiple independent lines of evidence point to the same general phenomenon, such as the Little Ice Age.

                          Collecting additional proxy data, especially for years before 1600 and for areas where the current data are relatively sparse, would increase our understanding of temperature variations over the last 2,000 years, the report says. In addition, improving access to data on which published temperature reconstructions are based would boost confidence in the results. The report also notes that new analytical methods, or more careful use of existing methods, might help circumvent some of the current limitations associated with large-scale reconstructions.

                          The committee pointed out that surface temperature reconstructions for periods before the Industrial Revolution — when levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases were much lower — are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that current warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.

                          The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science and technology advice under a congressional charter.

                          ‘High Confidence’ That Planet Is Warmest in 400 Years;
                          Less Confidence in Temperature Reconstructions Prior to 1600

                          you can order the book, or read online for free, at:
                          Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years

                          Martin W

                            Even before last year, I had a look at histogram showing the nos of US hurricanes over time; seemed to me the frequency had become fair bit higher than a cursory look at the cycles would predict.

                            Global warming accounted for about half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in Atlantic waters off the United States in 2005, while natural cycles were smaller factors, according to a study released Thursday by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

                            “The global warming influence provides a new background level that increases the risk of future enhancements in hurricane activity,” co-author Kevin Trenberth wrote in the study.

                            A statement issued by the center said that the study “contradicts recent claims that natural cycles are responsible for the upturn in Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995. It also adds support to the premise that hurricane seasons will become more active as global temperatures rise.”

                            Study finds strong warming tie to hurricanes
                            Half of Atlantic temperature increase in 2005 linked to global rise

                            Martin W

                              Australian Academy of Science believes that, with changing rainfall patterns, higher temperatures, global warming is set to impact many Australian species. Especially montane species such as pygmy possum and alpine plants.
                              Impact of global warming on biodiversity

                              Martin W

                                Has seemed many Americans have been happy to drive around in SUVs and so on, and if the US of A weather seemed ok, never mind about the rest of the world, they’d just keep on truckin. Recent hurricanes, now these rainstorms, plus a few other oddities weather-wise, may now give a few more of the gung-ho gas-guzzlers pause for thought. (Not all, of course; saw one article labelling Gore and others who are concerned re warming as "Marxists". Duh, not much thought there, and not for a thoughtful audience either.)

                                By Jason Szep BOSTON, June 29 (Reuters) – Images of swamped homes in the U.S. Northeast deepened suspicions over global warming, giving ammunition to scientists and others who say greenhouse gas-spewing cars and factories are fueling extreme weather. Meteorologists cautioned that no one should read too much into one storm. But the Atlantic Ocean is unusually warm for this time of year, they said, creating excess moisture in the atmosphere that can swiftly build a powerful rainstorm.

                                Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, said the Atlantic is warming faster than scientists projected even a decade ago, and he expects such storms as the one seen this week from Virginia to New York to become common.

                                "Scientists and climatologists are looking at one another and we’re just stunned because no one, even in the 1990s, projected the magnitude of the storms and degree of warming in the Arctic that we are seeing," he said. Epstein sees a clear pattern: rain has increased in the United States by 7 percent in three decades; heavy rain events of more than 2 inches (5 cm) a day are up 14 percent and storms dumping more than 4 inches (10 cm) a day rose 20 percent.

                                Northeast U.S. floods stir global warming debate

                                Martin W

                                  from the Independent – evidence supporting ideas that even as planet warmer overall, Britain [and elsewhere in nw Europe] could experience colder winters than have been the norm of late.

                                  By Steve Connor, Science Editor
                                  Published: 30 June 2006
                                  Greenland’s melting glaciers have the power to change Britain’s climate because of the way they can interfere with the Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic, which keeps winters relatively mild.

                                  Scientists have found the first hard evidence to show that this actually happened 8,200 years ago, when the climate in parts of the northern hemisphere cooled dramatically after a period of global warming.

                                  Paradoxically, a warmer world could lead to harsher winters in Britain because of the way that melting freshwater from the Greenland ice cap can interfere with the saltwater engine that drives the Gulf Stream

                                  Global warming may lead to colder winters in Britain

                                  Martin W

                                    Now comes an article suggesting that marine life such as coral not only threatened by warming, but also by more acidic oceans.
                                    Article including:

                                    Current carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have been for at least 650,000 years, according to ice core data from the Arctic and Antarctic.

                                    Ocean acidity has already increased 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, said Richard Feely, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

                                    at: Rising Ocean Acidity Threatens Reefs

                                    Martin W
                                      Scientists worldwide are watching temperatures rise, the land turn dry and vast forests go up in flames.

                                      In the Siberian taiga and Canadian Rockies, in Southern California and Australia, researchers find growing evidence tying an upsurge in wildfires to climate change, an impact long predicted by global-warming forecasters.

                                      A team at California’s Scripps Institution, in a headline-making report this month, found that warmer temperatures, causing earlier snow runoff and consequently drier summer conditions, were the key factor in an explosion of big wildfires in the U.S. West over three decades, including fires now rampaging east of Los Angeles.

                                      Researchers previously reached similar conclusions in Canada, where fire is destroying an average of 6.4 million acres a year, compared with 2.5 million in the early 1970s. And an upcoming U.S.-Russian-Canadian scientific paper points to links between warming and wildfires in Siberia, where 2006 already qualifies as an extreme fire season, sixth in the past eight years. Far to the south in drought-stricken Australia, meanwhile, 2005 was the hottest year on record, and the dangerous bush fire season is growing longer.

                                      “Temperature increases are intimately linked with increases in area burned in Canada, and I would expect the same worldwide,” said Mike Flannigan, a veteran Canadian Forest Service researcher….

                                      Global warming, fire upsurge linked
                                      INCREASED TEMPERATURES CAUSING DRIER SUMMERS

                                      Martin W

                                        We’re not just seeing heatwaves here and there this summer; instead, seems typical that places are warmer than usual.
                                        Here in Hong Kong, had some even hotter than usual weather lately, with neighbouring Guangdong province warning of heatwave.

                                        from a couple of news items:

                                        Northern California, withering under last week’s punishing heat, wasn’t the only hot spot in the world this year — thermometers have spiked throughout much of the United States, Canada and Europe, and scientists are predicting more intense, longer and more frequent heat waves in the future.

                                        While leading climate scientists have been reluctant to link regional heat waves with rising temperatures in the world’s atmosphere and oceans, they say the recent weather patterns are consistent with computer projections for global warming.

                                        In the United States, the first six months of 2006 were the hottest recorded in more than a century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. Canada reported the hottest winter and spring since it started keeping track about a half-century ago, while England, Germany and France are sweltering, and the Netherlands is recording the hottest month since temperatures were first measured 300 years ago.

                                        “The current heat waves throughout much of North America and Europe are consistent with the predictions of our global climate models,” said physicist John Harte, a professor and researcher in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group and the Ecosystem Sciences Division.

                                        The warming has been the greatest in the Arctic regions, particularly Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, as melting ice and snow reflect less sunlight back into the atmosphere and expose more land to heat and warmth. Antarctica also has warmed. Within the United States, the warming is greater in the West than in the East.

                                        “This is expected,” said James Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The subtropics, which include the American Southwest and the Mediterranean regions, become hotter and drier with increasing greenhouse gases, he said.

                                        “Weather will fluctuate a lot from year to year. But the situation this year is of the nature of the expected trend. So get used to it,” Hansen said….

                                        Yes, the planet is heating up
                                        Hottest year on record; more to come

                                        IT looks like being the hottest July [for UK] on record but Britain is not alone in experiencing extreme conditions, write Jonathan Leake and Alex Delmar- Morgan.
                                        Hot, arid weather is afflicting millions in America and in dozens of countries across Europe and parts of east Asia.

                                        The phenomenon has surprised meteorologists who are used to seeing drought as a regional, not global, problem. This weekend they said early analysis of the hot weather, together with the size of the areas affected, suggested it was linked to global climate change.

                                        “Greenhouse gas emissions raise the likelihood of heatwaves like this one,” said Dave Griggs, a Met Office representative on the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme. “By 2040 this will be just an average summer and by 2060 it will be a relatively cool one.”

                                        Heatwave with a global grip

                                        Martin W
                                          By Robert S. Boyd

                                          McClatchy Newspapers

                                          WASHINGTON – It was one of the greatest calamities of all time: Something turned up the Earth’s thermostat, touching off a monstrous heat wave that killed many animals and drove others far from their homes to seek cooler climes.

                                          This catastrophe occurred 55 million years ago, after the age of the dinosaurs and long before humans appeared. But scientists warn that today’s global warming means that it could be happening again.

                                          The ancient hot spell, which lasted 50,000 to 100,000 years, goes by the unwieldy name of Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. It was caused by a sudden – in geological terms – doubling or tripling of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate scientists say the result was a massive increase of 10 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit – even higher near the poles – above the prevailing temperature.

                                          “In certain regards, the PETM is very similar to what is happening right now,” said Gerald Dickens, an earth scientist at Rice University in Houston. “Just like now, a huge amount of carbon rapidly entered the ocean or atmosphere. The most notable difference is the rate. Things are happening much faster now than during the PETM.”

                                          Most scientists attribute much of today’s global warming to the burning of carbon-rich fossil fuels in factories, cars and trucks. If the present trend continues, Dickens said, the world will add as much carbon to the atmosphere in 500 years – from 1800 to 2300 – as the PETM did over 10,000 years.

                                          Global warming may be an accelerated version of ancient heat wave

                                          Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/08/26 13:26

                                          Martin W
                                            By Jonathan Brown

                                            Scientists claim to have produced the first conclusive proof that spring is arriving earlier as a result of global warming.

                                            In Britain trees are coming into leaf 10 days earlier than they did 30 years ago while in countries with more pronounced warming, such as Spain, they are doing so by a fortnight. On average spring has advanced by between six and eight days across Europe.

                                            According to the study, the biggest of its kind, the extended growing season has resulted in autumn being delayed by three days.
                                            Spain, which is growing hotter more quickly than any other European country, has experienced the most pronounced change, the report found.

                                            Countries to the east and north are warming relatively slowly and had changed the least. In Slovakia, spring was arriving only three days earlier.

                                            Dr Sparks said that the study was particularly effective because it used species that grow across all countries in Europe. Scientists examined the date that beech trees (fagus sylvatica) and wild cherries (prunus avium) came into leaf to measure the changes, giving a consistent picture of the effect of warming, the authors said.

                                            Annette Menzel, of the Technical University Munich, who co-wrote the study, said the findings had profound implications. “Unlike some studies that record individual species, this is the first comprehensive examination of all available data at the continental scale, and the timing of change is clear, very clear,” she said….

                                            Animals and plants ‘prove’ that spring arrives earlier every year

                                            Here in Hong Kong, too, seems to me to be tendency towards earlier springs.
                                            When I arrived in 1980s, was told Asian Koel didn’t sing till March, yet I’ve recently heard as early as the beginning of January. Winters seeming warmer; frost-intolerant plants are now advancing up highest slopes of HK’s highest mountain (957-metre Tai Mo Shan): might be reflection of climate change.
                                            In northeast China, changes are more pronounced. Some resident birds that were once rare/scarce on coast at Beidaihe – such as Vinous-throated Parrotbill – have become more common, I think as winters less severe; Chinese Bulbul has spread north, to breed at Beidaihe (becoming fairly common in the area), where the species was unknown before 1986.

                                            Martin W

                                              Commentary in Washington Times, by MICHAEL PRAVICA, Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

                                              … Whether it’s the fact that 9 out of 10 of the warmest years on record occurred in this past decade or that 2006 (just the first half) was the warmest year for the United States, or that average global temperatures have been rising (by about 1 degree during the last century), evidence abounds of warming. Despite many claims to the contrary, natural and human activity can alter the Earth’s atmosphere and modify our environment. All the oxygen we breathe (21 percent of our atmosphere) was produced by life via photosynthesis. Smog is a more direct effect of human/industrially induced atmospheric alteration.

                                              Indeed, many past societal catastrophes such as the Dust Bowl mass migrations of the 1930s were likely caused by over-farming. With our great potential to create and learn, we also have great potential to cause our own self-destruction. Our atmosphere is comparable to a rubber glove stretched over a bowling ball — it is very thin. Due to our atmosphere, we don’t suffer the extremes of temperature of Mercury and our moon. In the opposite extreme, since our atmosphere isn’t as thick or dense as Venus, we don’t suffer from oppressive heat (850 Kelvin) due to greenhouse warming that prevents water from condensing there. …

                                              Unfortunately for humans, there is no politics in nature but absolute natural laws. We cannot go on pretending these laws of nature don’t exist and can be violated without disastrous consequences. Whether it is warming, pollution, dwindling natural resources, pestilence and disease or overpopulation, the human race is on a collision course with reality and only science can avoid likely catastrophes ahead. In that spirit, I encourage all members of the public and their leaders to first of all learn the science behind the phenomenon of global warming and engage scientists in the debate so we can all decide together on the future course of action to tackle and prepare for global warming for the survival of the human race.

                                              Forum: Physicist examines global warming

                                              Martin W
                                                By Chris Buckley

                                                BEIJING (Reuters) – Storms, floods, heat and drought that have killed more than 2,000 people in China this year are a prelude to weather patterns likely to become more extreme due to global warming, the head of the Beijing Climate Center said.

                                                China was braced for further hardship as rising temperatures worldwide trigger increasingly extreme weather, Dong Wenjie, director-general of the climate center, said.

                                                “The precise causes of these phenomena aren’t easy to determine on their own,” Dong told Reuters of meteorological disasters that have caused 160 billion yuan (10.58 billion pounds) worth of damage this year.

                                                “But we know the broad background is global warming. That’s clear. It’s a reminder that global warming will bring about increasingly extreme weather events more often.”

                                                – and yet, the article notes, China remains unwilling to join international “action” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as it’s “a developing country”.
                                                Add more disasters, and it won’t be developing too well.
                                                Disaster-prone China takes heed of global warming

                                                Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/12/24 03:35

                                                Martin W
                                                  The world faces a catastrophic rise in global warming in 2050 unless urgent action is taken to cut human-induced carbon emissions, a leading academic warned yesterday.

                                                  Professor Peter Cox, of Exeter University, told the Royal Geographical Society annual conference that temperatures could rise 8C by 2100 because of a “compost effect” which could see carbon dioxide levels increase 50 per cent faster than previously estimated.

                                                  Currently, around one quarter of carbon emissions are absorbed by the soil and one quarter by the oceans. It had previously been assumed that these proportions would remain the same. But Professor Cox said that global warming is damaging the soil’s ability to absorb carbon emissions.

                                                  Changing climate: ‘Compost effect’ may cause global warming to reach crisis point in 2050

                                                  Martin W

                                                    Following the “compost effect” notions, news that carbon is being released more quickly from some northern lakes:

                                                    By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press
                                                    WASHINGTON — New research is raising concerns that global warming may be triggering a self-perpetuating climate time bomb trapped in once-frozen permafrost.
                                                    As the Earth warms, greenhouse gases once stuck in the long-frozen soil are bubbling into the atmosphere in much larger amounts than previously anticipated, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Nature.

                                                    Methane trapped in a special type of permafrost is bubbling up at a rate five times faster than originally measured, the journal said.

                                                    Scientists are fretting about a global warming vicious cycle that had not been part of their already gloomy climate forecasts: Warming already underway thaws permafrost, soil that had been continuously frozen for thousands of years.

                                                    The effect reported in Nature is seen mostly in Siberia, but also elsewhere, in a type of carbon-rich permafrost, flash frozen about 40,000 years ago.

                                                    “It’s kind of like a slow-motion time bomb,” said Ted Schuur, a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of Florida and co-author of the Science study. “There’s these big surprises out there that we don’t even know about.”

                                                    Scientists find new global warming threat from melting permafrost

                                                    Martin W
                                                      It’s hard at first to get your head around the idea, indeed it seems outlandish: that by switching on the light, or stamping on the car accelerator, you’re helping to pulverise a great city such as New Orleans.

                                                      But that’s the inescapable implication of a piece of research published yesterday by a group of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists. Freak storms such as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Big Easy a year ago, are not just freaks, they suggest. They are down to us.

                                                      Warmer seas causing more violent hurricanes and typhoons are almost certainly the result of greenhouse gas emissions, they conclude; they are caused, ultimately, by the carbon dioxide from the power station that provides your electricity, from the exhaust of the car you drove to work this morning.

                                                      The 19 scientists, from America, Britain and Germany, include James Hansen of Nasa, the doyen of American climate change researchers, and Professor Phil Jones from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia at Norwich.

                                                      They said that, in a comprehensive investigation, they had found an 84 per cent probability that human triggers accounted for most of the observed increases in sea surface temperatures (SSTs), during the past century, in the breeding grounds for hurricanes (as they are called in the Atlantic) and cyclones (as they are known in the Pacific).

                                                      The gathering storms: How man is making the wind blow

                                                      Martin W

                                                        Claims the sun’s output is varying, leading to global warming, looking more threadbare after study just out, showing output "varied by only 0.07 percent over 11-year sunspot cycles, far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution."

                                                        Study says global warming isn’t sun’s fault Analysis disputes claims that solar radiance is behind rising temperatures

                                                        Martin W
                                                          By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

                                                          WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Arctic perennial sea ice — the kind that stays frozen year-round — declined by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005, climate scientists said on Wednesday, in what one expert saw as a clear sign of greenhouse warming.

                                                          Researchers have been monitoring the shrinking polar ice cap with satellites since the 1970s. What is new, and remarkable to scientists, is that the decline has been observed in winter as well as summer.

                                                          “The greenhouse phenomenon is actually becoming apparent in the Arctic,” said Josefino Comiso of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington DC. “The winter warming signal is finally coming out.”

                                                          Arctic sea ice shrinks, a sign of greenhouse effect

                                                          Martin W

                                                            The US – home to the loudest global warming sceptics (and a more than fair number of idiots) – is warming, according to new report from PennEnvironment.

                                                            In the summer of 2006, Americans from coast to coast experienced a sweltering heat wave that broke more than 2,300 daily temperature records in July alone. This record warmth, however, was not an anomaly; rather, it is indicative of a broader trend toward increasing temperatures and extreme weather resulting from global warming. To examine recent trends in temperature in cities and towns across the United States, this report analyzes 2000-2006 temperature data from 255 major weather stations and finds that temperatures were above normal almost everywhere during the period.

                                                            Between 2000 and 2005, the average temperature was above normal at 95% of the locations we studied. Alaska experienced the most warming on average, with Talkeetna reporting average temperatures 4.6° F above normal. Outside of Alaska, weather stations in Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming reported the highest above-normal temperatures for the period.

                                                            During the first six months of 2006, the average temperature was above normal at 91% of the locations.

                                                            Executive summary, and link to full report (pdf) at:
                                                            Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States

                                                            Martin W

                                                              Britain’s most distinguished scientific academy – the Royal Society – has a good section on warming, with plenty of info, inc debunking climate change myths (as propounded by some sectors of energy industry, and cronies).
                                                              Climate Change

                                                              Martin W
                                                                earlier this year, officials in the Canadian Inuit territory of Nunavik authorized the installation of air conditioners in official buildings for the first time. …
                                                                experienced Inuit hunters, as comfortable reading ice conditions as professional golfers are reading greens, had seldom fallen through the ice and drowned. But this year in Alaska, more than a dozen vanished into the sea.
                                                                … “The ice conditions are just so drastically different from all of their hunting lifetimes.”
                                                                The people of this far northern Canadian hamlet of 250 used to hunt eider ducks every summer, using the meat and eggs for food and the soft feathers for clothing. But this past summer was the third in a row that the Inuit couldn’t reach the nesting grounds because the ice around them was too thin.

                                                                The seals have changed, as well.

                                                                Wayne Davidson, the resident meteorologist in Resolute Bay for 20 years, says monthly temperatures throughout the year are 5 to 11 degrees higher than recent historical averages. For example, Davidson said, the average daily temperature last March was minus 13.4 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with an average of minus 24.2 degrees from 1947 to 1991.

                                                                “There’s almost nobody left anymore who doesn’t accept that global warming is real.”

                                                                It certainly feels real enough to the people of Resolute Bay. From their perch on the edge of the Barrow Strait, they watched this summer as the waters of their rocky bay melted and filled with drifting icebergs – a view as depressing as it was picturesque, because in years past the water remained frozen solid enough to traverse aboard sleds and snowmobiles to their traditional hunting grounds.

                                                                “The heat of the sun is different now,” said Kalluk, the village elder, trying to make sense of the changes. “I think there is global warming, because snow that has never melted before is starting to melt now.”

                                                                In the Arctic, air conditioning on blast

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