let the models predict the future?

“The Weather of the Future” peers ahead at a world stricken by climate change.

Using models to predict weather patterns, climatologist Heidi Cullen, a frequent contributor to the Weather Channel, explores seven regions and their grim futures: the Sahel in Africa, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, California’s Central Valley, two sites in Greenland, Bangladesh and New York City.

Massive floods in Bangladesh may produce “climate refugees,” Cullen suggests; New York may be battered by a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds as high as 135 miles per hour; and coral reefs may be eaten away by an acidic ocean.

“These predictions and our seeming inability to heed their warning is a potential tragedy,” she writes. Cullen also predicts some geopolitical repercussions of global warming: Pirates run rampant, Osama bin Laden invokes U.S. carbon emissions to recruit terrorists, and Canada and the United States argue over naval authority in an ice-free Northwest Passage.

The book is at its best and most insightful when it explores today’s environment, such as regreening efforts in Niger. Let models be used to predict the weather, not the politics.
Washington Post, 8 Aug 2010

fly less!

Aircraft emissions are seen as one of the principal causes of global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, aviation causes 3.5 per cent of man-made global warming. This could rise to 15 per cent by 2050 as the number of low-cost flights in Europe and Asia continues to increase.
The Telegraph (UK), 19 Nov 2005

big bill

stack_of_poundsNick Starling, the director of general insurance for the Association of British Insurers, bleakly predicted that the worldwide cost of cleaning up major storms, triggered by global warming, could rise by two-thirds to £15 billion annually by 2080: he therefore implored governments to take stronger preventative action against climate change.
The Telegraph (UK), 3 Jul 05

US forests defy United Nations!

Highlights

  • We review information on US forest health in response to climate change.
  • We found that trees are tolerant of rising temperatures and have responded to rising carbon dioxide.
  • No long-term trends in US drought have been found in the literature.
  • CO2 tends to inhibit forest pests and pathogens.
  • Projections of forest response to climate change are highly variable.

“Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change” by Craig Loehlea, Craig Idsob, T. Bently Wigleyc, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 363, 1 March 2016, Pages 179–189

thanks to ddh

Earth in deep freeze

iglooClimate change is not going to be a bad thing for every part of the world. It will help make the frozen north of Russia and Canada more liveable and more productive.

Billions of the world’s poorest people, however, will be at risk of more erratic rainfall patterns. Some arid regions will turn into deserts and rising seas will inundate fertile but low lying delta regions that are home to tens of millions of peasant farmers in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt.

Global warming will also mean more forest fires; hurricanes hitting cities that are at present too far north of the equator to be affected by them; tropical diseases spreading beyond their present zones; the extinction of species unable to adapt to warmer temperatures; retreating glaciers and melting polar icecaps; and rising seas inundating coastal areas.

A far worse scenario cannot be ruled out: some scientists believe the melting icecaps could release huge amounts of methane that accelerate warming forming a cloud layer so dense as to block out heat from the sun and cause the planet to go into a deep freeze that extinguishes all life.
Professor Peter Singer, in the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Apr 2006 – screencopy held by this website

new finding – planets that don’t have a United Nations will not survive!

Climate change in extraterrestrial environments is inevitable and, should life on hypothetically habitable worlds not act as a stabilizer for their environments, it serves as a “sell-by” date for all burgeoning lifeforms.

In new research published in the journal Astrobiology, astronomers of The Australian National University (ANU) pondered this scenario and realized that young habitable planets can become unstable very quickly. What once was a life-giving oasis becomes a hellish hothouse or frozen wasteland very quickly.

“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Aditya Chopra, lead author of the paper. “Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive.”

“Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable,” he said.
Discovery.com, 21 Jan 2016

thanks to ddh

the luckless ladybird

ladybugThe luckless ladybird, already under siege from foreign invaders and parasitic wasps, now has global warming to contend with, scientists said yesterday.

Climate change has resulted in the gardener’s friend waking from its seven-month winter hibernation up to two weeks early, said Dr Mike Majerus, an expert on ladybirds at Cambridge University’s department of genetics.

The worry is that the aphids they eat are not responding to the earlier springs in the same way, leaving ladybirds facing starvation.
The Telegraph (UK), 2 Feb 2005

health problems

Many more people will die of heart problems as global warming continues, experts are warning. Climate extremes of hot and cold will become more common and this will put strain on people’s hearts, doctors say. A study in the British Medical Journal found that each 1C temperature drop on a single day in the UK is linked to 200 extra heart attacks.
BBC News, 11 Aug 2010

year getting shorter

………………………………….
Ocean bottom pressure changes lead to a decreasing length-of-day in a warming climate. We use a coupled climate model to evaluate ocean bottom pressure changes in the IPCC-A1B climate scenario.

Most prominently, the Arctic Ocean shelves experience an above-average bottom pressure increase. We find a net transfer of mass from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere, and a net movement of mass closer towards Earth’s axis of rotation.

Thus, ocean warming and the ensuing mass redistribution change the length-of-day by −0.12 ms within 200 years, demonstrating that the oceans are capable of exciting nontidal length-of-day changes on decadal and longer timescales.
Felix W. Landerer and others, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 34, Issue 6, March 2007.

year getting longer

The anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the Earth atmosphere will probably induce important modifications of the global circulation in the atmosphere and ocean. Due to the angular momentum conservation of the Earth-atmosphere-ocean system, variation of length-of-day(LOD) can be expected.

By using the outputs of models participating to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP-2) we reach the following conclusions: (1) the models globally agree to an increase of the LOD of the order of 1 microsecond/year (2) the effect is mostly associated with an increase of the mean zonal wind, of which about one third is compensated by a change in mass repartition.
Olivier de Viron and others, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 29, Issue 7, pages 50-1-50-4 April 2002

………………………………….

Doomsday – 2010

“Climate change…is the fundamental threat to humankind…If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest—even violence—could follow. The damage to national economies will be enormous. The human suffering will be incalculable…We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.”
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, prior to the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, UN News Centre, 11 Aug 2009

avalanches and landslides

penguin_landslideOver the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods. The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together. Worse may be to come.

Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure. Meanwhile, ongoing studies by Bill McGuire of University College London and Rachel Lowe at the University of Exeter, UK, are showing that non-glaciated volcanoes could also be at greater risk of catastrophic collapse if climate change increases rainfall.

“We have found that 39 cities with populations greater than 100,000 are situated within 100 kilometres of a volcano that has collapsed in the past and which may, therefore, be capable of collapsing in the future,” says McGuire.
New Scientist, 13 Oct 2010

Doomsday – 2025

A few hours after GEO-5’s release, the journal Nature published a review of evidence on environmental change concluding that the biosphere – the part of the planet that supports life – could be heading for rapid, possibly irreversible change.

The authors, headed by Anthony Barnofsky from the University of California, Berkeley, combined information on major transformations in the Earth’s past (such as mass extinctions) with models incorporating the present and the immediate future.

More than 40% of the Earth’s land is used for human needs, including cities and farms; and with the population set to grow by a further two billion by 2050, that figure could soon exceed 50%.

Rising demand for resource-expensive foods such as beef could mean it happens by 2025, Prof Barnofsky’s modelling suggests.
BBC News, 6 Jun 2012

the decline of the close clipped lawn

mowing_lawnGardeners should give up trying to grow many of the flowers that typify English cottage gardens and look for new varieties to meet the challenge of climate change, the Royal Horticultural Society said yesterday.

Forward-thinking gardeners should give up the “unequal struggle” of trying to keep them alive in the face of low rainfall and water restrictions, said Guy Barter, head of the Horticultural Advisory Service at the RHS gardens at Wisley, Surrey. …and the biggest casualty of drier, hotter summers will be the verdant, close-clipped lawn, so beloved of caring gardeners.

People should consider replacing them with gravel areas or trying hardier, tougher grasses common in hot climates, and not cutting them so finely or so frequently, he said.
The Telegraph (UK), 12 Jun 2005

a hell of a climate

humorous_devilBillions will die, says Lovelock, who tells us that he is not normally a gloomy type. Human civilisation will be reduced to a “broken rabble ruled by brutal warlords”, and the plague-ridden remainder of the species will flee the cracked and broken earth to the Arctic, the last temperate spot, where a few breeding couples will survive.

It is going to be a “hell of a climate”, he says, with Europe 8C warmer than it is today; and the real killer, says Lovelock, is that there is not a damn thing we can do about it. We are already pumping out so much carbon dioxide, with no prospect of abatement from the growing economies of China and India, that our fate is sealed.
The Telegraph (UK),2 Feb 2006

flatter bread breaks hearts

German researchers have shown that high CO2 levels in the atmosphere lead to wheat crops throughout Europe with less gluten, the protein in flour that forms the gooey matrix of dough.

By 2050, the researchers say, the expected CO2 levels in the atmosphere may lead to dough that rises nearly 20% less than it does now. The researchers, from the Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute in Braunschweig , say that CO2 disrupts nitrogen uptake by the plants, and this causes the protein deficiency.

A world with less gluten may appeal to coeliac sufferers and other members of the wheatless protection program. But for fans of ciabatta and pain de campagne, bread with texture like sponge cake is a heart-breaking prospect.
New Scientist, 10 Jul 2008

hot under the collar

man_hitting_computerA new research has shown that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so does human “heat” in the form of violent tendencies, which links global warming with increased violence in human beings.

While the global warming science has recently come under fire, the main premise behind the Iowa State researchers’ research paper is irrefutable. “It is very well researched and what I call the ‘heat hypothesis’,” a spokesman said.
dna India, 20/3/10

future of psychology profession assured!

In America, 200 Million People Will Suffer ‘Psychological Distress’ From Climate Change.

A report published by the National Wildlife Foundation finds that the majority of Americans can expect to suffer mental health problems as a result of global warming and warns that our mental health system is not equipped to handle it.

“The interplay between the climate realities we likely face and the potential psychological fallout from them was the subject of a conference convened in Washington D.C., in March 2009,” write Lise van Susteren, MD, and Kevin J. Doyle, JD, introducing their work. “A highly respected group of experts offered insights. Their thoughts, recommendations and supporting evidence are presented in this report.”
Gizmodo Australia, 30 Dec 2015

Doomsday – 2070

animal_dagger

But another report had been issued, just one day before, by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. And its conclusion read like a dagger through the heart of the land down under.

If global warming contiues at its current rate the CSIRO warned, life in the city of Sydney could be completely transformed by the year 2070. In just one generation, Sydney could slide into a near permanent state of drought. There could be a dramatic rise in deadly bushfires. Temperatures would rise 10 or 15 degrees Fahrenheit, or more.

Heat related deaths would soar from nearly 200 to more than 1,200 per year. The report was very grim reading for the people of Sydney. ABC News, Australia, 24 Feb 2007

where have all the ……..

“We now understand that the majority of life on Earth has never been – and will never be – known to us. In a staggering forecast, Wilson predicts that our present course will lead to the extinction of half of all plant and animal species by 2100. But the eminent Harvard biologist Edward O Wilson, and other scientists, estimate that the true rate is more like 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate.”

“The actual annual sum is only an educated guess, because no scientist believes that the tally of life ends at the 1.5 million species already discovered; estimates range as high as 100 million species on earth, with 10 million as the median guess. Bracketed between best- and worst-case scenarios, then, somewhere between 2.7 and 270 species are erased from existence every day.”

“Including today.”
The Independent, 30 Apr 2007

windows closed

windows_open_closedAlready, the window to prevent catastrophic climate change appears to be closing. Some governments are starting to redirect their attention away from climate change mitigation and towards staking their claims in a warming world.

“Canada is spending $3 billion to build eight new patrol boats to reinforce its claim over the Arctic waterways. Denmark and Russia are starting to vie for control over the Lomonosov Ridge, where new sources of oil and natural gas could be accessed if the Arctic Circle becomes ice free—fossil fuels that will further exacerbate climate change. These actions assume that a warming world is here,” said Erik Assadourian, Vital Signs Project Director.
Worldwatch Institute, 31 Mar 2015

we get the politicians we deserve

A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, also equated the drive for global warming legislation with the drive for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey. “That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down.”

“There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added. CNS News, 11 Jul 2008

all is lost!

A climate change report has painted an alarming picture of the effect on Australia if global temperatures increase by more than an average three degrees Celsius.

Under that scenario, heat-related deaths would triple, people would be displaced en masse from the coast and national icons like the Great Barrier Reef would almost certainly be lost, according to the analysis by the former head of the CSIRO’s Climate Impacts Group.

The frequency of bushfires would double and there would be major extinctions of animal and plant life, Dr Barrie Pittock says in the report commissioned by WWF Australia.

On an even more serious note, such a rise in temperature would almost certainly trigger an unstoppable climate tipping point – which may occur with a global warming of two to three degrees Celsius, Dr Pittock said.
The Age, 27 Sep 2007

Arctic sea ice – 2028

The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world, according to research that suggests the continent may never recover from global warming.

Julienne Stroeve of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, who jointly led the study, told The Independent: “The warming climate is leading to more open water in the Arctic Ocean. As these open water areas develop through spring and summer, they absorb most of the sun’s energy, leading to ocean warming.”

The Arctic had been predicted to see ice-free summers by 2070, but many scientists are now predicting it could happen within the next 20 years, according to the newspaper.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Dec 2008

I knew it all along!

dinosaursAn international team, including members from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London, has constructed a complete evolutionary tree tracing the history of all 4,500 mammals on Earth that puts the major diversification 10-15 million years after asteroid strike, casting into doubt the role the dinosaur die-off played in the success of our present day mammals.

Around 55 million years ago, the mid-latitude mean annual temperatures went up by up to 5 deg C over about 20,000 years. “It was a much bigger increase in temperature than we’ve had so far, but within the range that we might get within the next century (never mind 20,000 years),” said Prof Andy Purvis from Imperial College London.

It looks like a later bout of ‘global warming’ may have kick-started today’s diversity – not the death of the dinosaurs.
The Telegraph (UK), 29 Mar 2007

make love not war!

animalsClimate change is pushing Arctic mammals to mate with cousin species, in a trend that could be pushing the polar bear and other animals towards extinction, biologists said. Rapidly melting Arctic sea ice imperils species through interbreeding as well as through habitat loss, they said in a commentary in the British science journal Nature.

As more isolated populations and species come into contact, they will mate, hybrids will form, and rare species are likely to go extinct. The Times of Malta, 16 Dec 2010

a prediction in bad taste

Tasteless carrots, bad pizza dough and poor quality steak are some of the impacts we can expect from Australia’s changing climate, according to a new scientific study released.

‘Appetite for Change’, a report prepared by leading climate scientists David Karoly and Richard Eckard at the University of Melbourne, reveals the impact that shifting rainfall patterns, extreme weather, warming oceans, and climate related diseases will have on the production, quality and cost of Australia’s food in the future.
The Daily Examiner, 6 Apr 2015

Doomsday – 2100

Global warming is irreversible and billions of people will die over the next century, one of the world’s leading climate change scientists claimed yesterday.

Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed the Gaia principle (that Earth is a self-regulating, interconnected system), claimed that by the year 2100 the only place where humans will be able to survive will be the Arctic.

“Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert; before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs that survive will be in the Arctic, where the climate remains tolerable.”
The Scotsman, 17 Jan 2006

scientific explanation

“Well, the wacky weather could get even wackier. What we’re seeing is that the jet stream and the polar vortex are becoming unstable. Instability of historic proportions. Now think of the polar vortex as a bucket, a swirling bucket of cold air. However, the walls are weakening.”

“Cold air is spilling out, spilling out over the walls of the bucket. And the question is, why? Why is this polar vortex weakening? We think it’s because of the gradual heating up of the North Pole. The North Pole is melting.”
New York City College physics professor Michio Kaku, interview on CBS, This Morning, 13 Feb 2014