worse than we thought – global food production!

The impact of climate change on global crop production is likely to be worse than previously predicted, scientists said at a Royal Society discussion meeting partly organised by Reading scientists in London.

A two-day international meeting entitled ‘Food Crops in a Changing Climate’ brought together world-class scientists in the fields of meteorology, climate science and agriculture, to discuss the impacts of a changing climate on the productivity of staple food crops, grown throughout the world.

“Both these results show that we need to seriously re-examine our predictions for future global food production as they are likely to be far lower than previously estimated.” said Professor Steve Long from Illinois University.

University of Reading, Impact of climate change on crops worse than previously thought, 27 Apr 2005

worse than we thought – amplifying feedbacks!

Climate change will be much worse, much sooner than most people think. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) recent report, while rather dire, is actually a best-case analysis.

For example, the IPCC’s report did not include the effects of “amplifying feedbacks” such as melting permafrost releasing methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — which causes more warming, which melts more permafrost, and on and on.

Including such effects leads to much more dire results than the UN presented.

Daily Kos, 23 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – destabilisation of global climate!

We are in a Global Climate Emergency. The situation is much worse than we are told by those in power and much worse than the day to day discussion in the media would suggest. The need to take action on climate is more urgent and more immediate than ever.

The measures currently being taken at the national level – and even the best plans, currently being floated at the international level – are quite inadequate to meet the current level of threat. The main reason for this is that the destabilisation of global climate has progressed much more quickly than scientists thought.

This has had the result that the plans developed to deal with it are now insufficient, being based on out of date scientific projections.

Campaign against climate change, 11 Jan 2009

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – beach erosion

South Coast beach erosion worse than predicted, says experts. Twenty years ago, Professor Short was among the first researchers to document beach rotation in Australia.

He helped in the latest research that suggests an upsurge of El Nino and La Nina events will lead to extreme flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific, including Australia.

Professor Short, from Sydney University’s School of Geosciences, is co-author of a paper on coastal erosion of beaches that states it could be much worse than previously predicted. A South Coast resident, Professor Short says a persistent southern swell has built up sand on the northern end of smaller beaches.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Oct 2015

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – solar energy!

We are all seeing rather less of the Sun. Scientists looking at five decades of sunlight measurements have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface has been gradually falling.

Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought. The effect was first spotted by Gerry Stanhill, an English scientist working in Israel. Comparing Israeli sunlight records from the 1950s with current ones, Stanhill was astonished to find a large fall in solar radiation.

“There was a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight, and that really amazed me,” he says.

BBC Radio, 14 Jan 2005

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – global warming!

The latest scientific research indicates global warming is happening faster then recent United Nations reports projected, while China and India’s rapid economic growth means carbon emissions are rising quicker than expected, a Labor-backed panel into climate change has heard.

Summer in the northern hemisphere over the past century had extended 12 days, but in some areas, such as northern Norway, it was about six weeks longer, said Graeme Pearman, former chief of the CSIRO’s atmospheric research.

“This is not something that’s affecting people in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time. It’s now,” he said. “The recent science has strengthened the concern that we may have underestimated the rate of change.”

The Age (Australia), 15 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – animal extinctions!

Climate change over the next 50 years is expected to drive a quarter of land animals and plants into extinction, according to the first comprehensive study into the effect of higher temperatures on the natural world.

The sheer scale of the disaster facing the planet shocked those involved in the research. They estimate that more than 1 million species will be lost by 2050. The results are described as “terrifying” by Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology at Leeds University.

Professor Thomas said: “When scientists set about research they hope to come up with definite results, but what we found we wish we had not. It was far, far worse than we thought, and what we have discovered may even be an underestimate.”

The Guardian, 9 Jan 2004

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – Antarctic ice!

Antarctic ice thawing faster than predicted.

Chris Rapley, the outgoing head of the British Antarctic Survey, said there were worrying signs of accelerating flows of ice towards the ocean from both Antarctica and Greenland with little sign of more snow falling inland to compensate.

The ice is moving faster both in Greenland and in the Antarctic than the glaciologists had believed would happen, Rapley told Reuters during a climate seminar in Ny Alesund on a Norwegian Arctic island 1,200 km from the North Pole.

Reuters, 22 Aug 2007

worse than we thought – impacts!

Global warming is driving humanity toward unprecedented risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the changes have only just begun, with the worst effects hitting the earth’s poorest people the hardest.

“Things are worse than we had predicted in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report,” said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at Independent University in Bangladesh. “We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.”

al Jazeera America, 31 Mar 2014

worse than we thought – temperature!

Climate change may be far worse than scientists thought, causing global temperatures to rise by at least 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, or about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Nature, takes a fresh look at clouds’ effect on the planet, according to a report by The Guardian. The research found that as the planet heats, fewer sunlight-reflecting clouds form, causing temperatures to rise further in an upward spiral.

“If this isn’t an alarm bell, then I don’t know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after the IPCC report was released.

Huffington Post, 1 Jan 2014

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – sea ice loss!

Meanwhile, sea ice in the Arctic reached a record low this year, covering just 1.59 million square miles and thus shattering the previous 2005 minimum of 2.05 million square miles. The observed rate of loss is faster than anything predicted, says senior research scientist Mark Serreze of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Scientific American, 26 Nov 2007

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – Climate sensitivity to CO2!

Climate change is likely to be worse than many computer models have projected, according to a new analysis. The work, published yesterday in Science, finds evidence that Earth’s climate is more sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than some earlier studies had suggested.

“Temperatures are likely to go up to the high side of current projections, as is [atmospheric] water vapor,” said John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “To the extent those environmental impacts influence events like [Superstorm] Sandy, expect the impacts to be on the high side.”

Scientific American, 9 Nov 2012

worse than we thought – ocean circulation!

Michael Mann: We do suspect that this ocean circulation pattern not only could slow down, there is evidence now… that it’s already happening and it’s happening faster than the models predicted it to.
Thom Hartmann: Which is bad news.
Michael Mann: Yeah.
Faster Than Expected, 13 Oct 2015

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – heatwaves in Australia!

The government has been urged to better articulate the dangers of climate change after a report that shows the frequency of heatwaves in parts of Australia has already surpassed levels previously predicted for 2030.

The Climate Council report highlights that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all experienced a higher average number of hot days between 2000 and 2009 than was expected to occur by 2030. Tim Flannery, of the Climate Council, told Guardian Australia that heatwaves were the “most dangerous natural hazards in Australia”.

“They kill hundreds of people and the fact they are accelerating beyond the predicted trends is a concern,” he said.

“Heatwaves are coming earlier, they are lasting longer and they are hotter. They build up for days and before you know it, elderly people, infants and the homeless are in danger.”

The Guardian, 18 Feb 2014

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

worse than we thought – glaciers in Greenland!

The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years.

The implications are mindboggling: In the study’s likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen’s view, requires “emergency cooperation among nations.”

The Slate, 20 Jul 2015

worse than we thought – Arctic sea ice!

Summer Arctic sea ice shrank to its fourth lowest level on record this month, dispelling faint hopes of a recovery, federal scientists said.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Tuesday that the Arctic hit its summer minimum last week with 1.7 million square miles of sea ice, down 240,000 square miles from 2014. That’s a difference the size of California, New York and Maryland combined.

That means there’s no recovery in Arctic sea ice, despite claims of some climate change doubters, said Stroeve and Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn’t part of the government measurement team.

“We remain on a trajectory that is actually ahead of model predictions,” Mann said. “Arctic sea ice is one of several aspects of climate change that his happening even faster than originally predicted.”

Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep 2015

worse than we thought – financial cost!

How much is climate change going to cost us? Estimates have varied greatly over the years, from the Stern Review’s worst-case scenario of around 20 percent of the global GDP, to economist William Nordhaus’s vastly smaller number.

A new study, however, suggests a much higher cost than many have estimated—largely, it turns out, because economists hadn’t been looking at the issue in sufficient detail.

The problem, argues a team of Princeton University researchers led by Francis Dennig, is that accounting for regional differences in discounting likely masks the effects of substantial within-region variation in income.

Pacific Standard, 8 Dec 2015

worse than we thought – carbon storage!

Climate Change Models Will Need Revision. The amount of greenhouse gasses stored in the area which the researchers examined, 117 sites across North America, is “roughly equivalent to one sixth of the entire carbon content in the atmosphere.”

Again, that is just for North America: European and Asian Arctic regions probably hold a similar amount of stored carbon. So what that means is basically that a lot more climate change causing gases will be released into the atmosphere as the arctic warms and the permafrost melts than we’ve accounted for before.

Treehugger, 26 Aug 2008

worse than we thought – ocean warming!

People are already familiar with the idea of global warming, but new data shows that we might be underestimating just how fast global warming is taking place right now.

Paul Durack and his colleagues from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have come to the conclusion that estimates of ocean warming for the southern hemisphere have been miscalculated; the actual number could actually more than double than originally thought.

This means that in total, the world’s oceans are actually around 24 to 58 percent warmer than thought.

GMA News online, 6 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – sea levels!

Anny Cazenave of France’s National Center for Space Studies told the meeting that improved satellite measurements show that sea levels are rising faster than had been expected.

Rising oceans can pose a threat to low level areas such as South Florida, New York and other coastal areas as the ocean warms and expands and as water is added from melting ice sheets.

And the rise is uneven, with the fastest rising areas at about 1 centimeter _ 0.39 inch _ per year in parts of the North Atlantic, western Pacific and the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, she said.

Huffington Post, 17 Mar 2009

worse than we thought – risk!

The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth’s climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago – and could be even worse than that.

Study co-author Ronald Prinn, the co-director of the Joint Program and director of MIT’s Center for Global Change Science, says that, regarding global warming, it is important “to base our opinions and policies on the peer-reviewed science,” he says Without action, “there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated,” Prinn says. “This increases the urgency for significant policy action.”

MT News, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 19 May 2009

worse than we thought – pollution impact!

An independent climate change report has found pollution’s impact on global warming is worse than previously predicted. The University of Melbourne study was commissioned by The Climate Institute.

It found temperature rises and ice cap melting are occurring faster than the worst-case scenarios predicted by the United Nations. The Climate Institute’s John Connor says the predictions of dangerous temperature rises for Australia are alarming.

“A rise of three degrees above pre-industrial levels for Australia will be disastrous,” he said. “It’ll see increased droughts, wildfires affecting our capital cities and it will also put at risk the Greenland ice sheets and some of the Antarctic ice sheets which are the real biggies in terms of sea level rises if they slip into the oceans.”

yourdemocracy.net.au, 9 Oct 2007

worse than we thought – tides!

Global sea levels have risen faster than previously thought over the past century, suggesting that climate change is having a greater than expected impact on the rising oceans, a study has found.

Previously, researchers gathered tide gauge records from around the world, averaged them together from different regions and then averaged those rates together again to create a global estimate, said Dr Eric Morrow of Harvard University.

“But these simple averages aren’t representative of a true global mean value. Tide gauges are located along the coasts, therefore large areas of the ocean aren’t being included in these estimates and the records that do exist commonly have large gaps,” he said.
Independent, 15 Jan 2015

worse than we thought – ice sheet decay!

NASA scientists are now warning that recent projections seem too conservative: Since 1992, sea levels have increased by an average of 3 inches around the world.

Three years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that by 2100 sea levels could rise 28 to 98 centimeters (11 to 38 inches), depending on the volumes of greenhouse gases emitted.

“We’ve never seen anything on that scale before,” says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I was in awe.”

“The IPCC projections produce conservative scenarios of ice-sheet decay, because those models do not yet include the fast melt [of ice] into the ocean that would prevail during times of rapid or catastrophic ice sheet retreat,”

National Geographic, 27 Aug 2015

worse than we thought – Albatross nests

Climate Change May Swallow Albatross’ Nesting Grounds Sooner Than We Thought. Bigger storms caused by rising seas will flood seabird nests long before their colonies are actually submerged—and albatrosses may be too stubborn to adapt. All of which adds up to trouble for the birds—and soon.

“When you include the storm wave piece on top of the sea level rise piece, the impacts happen a lot earlier,” says Nat Seavy, research director of bird conservation non-profit Point Blue (he was not involved in the research). “And sea level rise is happening even faster than predicted, which means that these impacts will happen even sooner.”

Audubon, 8 Oct 2015

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected, said Dr Raupach, a co-chairman of the Global Carbon Project, based at the CSIRO in Canberra.

The Age, 22 May 2007

worse than we thought – dire global consequences!

The Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications report, released today, outlines dire global consequences of a warming Arctic that are far worse than previous projections.

The report shows that numerous arctic climate feedbacks – negative effects prompted by the impacts of warming — will make global climate change more severe than indicated by other recent projections, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 assessment.

“We need to listen now to these signals from the Arctic, and take the necessary action in Copenhagen this December to get a deal that quickly and effectively limits greenhouse gas emissions,” said James Leape, director general of WWF International. WWF Global, 2 Sep 2009

worse than we thought – soot!

Soot worse for global warming than thought.

Grains of soot deposited in snow have also caused about one-quarter of the observed rise in global surface temperature since 1880, suggests the model by James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko. The pair examined how soot particles affect the atmosphere when they darken snow and ice.

The effect of soot on snow is unambiguous,” Hansen told New Scientist. “It causes a strong warming effect.”

New Scientist, 22 Dec 2003

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

worse than we thought – methane!

New studies about the warming of the planet and the risk of massive release of methane from the Arctic are “worse than we thought.”

The expedition team SWERUS-C3, the Swedish-Russian-US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon was led by chief scientist Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University, who early on during the expedition remarked: “This was somewhat of a surprise.”

As such, the deadly combination of warming oceans and tenuous ice shelves that contain humongous quantities of methane may result in the “perfect storm” for runaway global warming, but nobody knows for sure.

Once again, that’s a key point: Nobody knows for sure. What is known is that the elements that lead to runaway global warming are “worse than we thought.”

Counterpunch, 20 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – CO2 emissions!

These proclamations, amazingly, go on and on, but one of the biggest, and almost completely unknown beyond the world of science, is that our CO2 emissions today are worse than the worst-case scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This was first revealed in the scholarly community in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in March of 2007 by a team of seven international scientists led by senior scientist Dr. Michael Raupach at the Australian National Science Program (CSIRO: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).

“Climate change is proceeding ten times faster than we (the climate scientists) had predicted .” Dr. Konrad Steffen, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Climate Change Now, Bruce Melton, June 2010

worse than we thought – climate heating!

The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously, Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Field said “the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious” than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report called “Climate Change 2007.”

Reuters, 4 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – time left for humanity!

There’s even less time for humanity to try to curb global warming than recently thought, according to a new in-depth scientific assessment by 26 scientists from eight countries.

Sea level rise, ocean acidification and the rapid melting of massive ice sheets are among the significantly increased effects of human-induced global warming assessed in the survey, which also examines the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are causing the climate change.

Mother nature puts a limit on how long you can dither and procrastinate, climatologist Richard Somerville, one of the study’s authors, told ABC News.
abcnews (US), 24 Nov 2009

worse than we thought – catastrophic damages!

The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.

The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions form fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s.

That is faster than even the worst-case scenario modelled by the world’s leading sientist in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, published over recent months, because updated emissions figures were not available in time to be included.

Senior CSIRO scientist Michal Raupauch, who led the international research on accelerating global emissions, told the Age that the findings were “dreadful”. “Emissions are increasing faster than we thought, which means the impacts of climate change will also happen even sooner than expected.”

The Age (Australia), 22 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – California sinking!

California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows. Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals.

Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”

Yahoo News, 23 Aug 2015

worse than we thought – Colorado River!

Colorado river is collapsing ‘sooner than anyone thought’. Water resource experts have known for many years that current use of the Colorado River is not sustainable.

This past spring was an unusually wet one, leading to higher-than-average runoff from river’s source in the Rocky Mountains. Yet even at atypically high levels, the river still ran dry before reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.

All of which suggests that the elaborate water distribution system that sustains the cities and farms of the Southwest may be collapsing sooner than anyone expected.

Natural News, 10 Aug 2015

worse than we thought – sea level rise!

Rises in sea levels caused by climate change are likely to be bigger than predicted and more dangerous, but scientists are reluctant to “stick their necks out” on the issue for fear of being labelled alarmist, a leading international expert is warning.

Stefan Rahmstorf, a lead author of the recent United Nations report on climate change, has just published a new way of projecting sea level rises caused by global warming. His method suggests much higher rises than published by the UN panel this year, adding to concerns that the panel was too consrvative in its last report.

“It was the icesheet experts who were most upset,” said Professor Rahmstorf, who advises the German government on climate change. “They felt that those risks were not properly represented.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

worse than we thought – ocean warming!

Global warming is worse than we thought, according to a study that claims temperature readings in the southern hemisphere have been inaccurate.

The US research suggests that we have been sucking up more than twice as much of the heat created by greenhouse gases than previously believed. Scientists have now recommended increasing estimates of the rate of ocean warming by between 48 per cent and 152 per cent.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists used satellite observations to uncover long-term ocean warming in the upper 2,300ft (700 metres) of Southern Hemisphere oceans, and found old data was inaccurate.

“This underestimation is a result of poor sampling prior to the last decade and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimated temperature changes in data-sparse regions,” said oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of the study.

Daily Mail Australia, 7 Oct 2014

worse than we thought – extreme weather!

As yet, we can’t say how much of the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy was attributable to climate change. It’s nonetheless suggestive of the extreme events that a changing climate will visit on us – much sooner than we had anticipated.

Obama can perhaps be forgiven for casting climate change as a future challenge. The scientists who drew up the last major report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 may have taken that view too.

But it is now becoming clear that the report underestimated how quickly the planet would respond to warming and how serious the effects are likely to be.
New Scientist, 14 Nov 2012