No More ‘Hiatus’ — Human Emission to Completely Overwhelm Nature by 2030

Keep burning fossil fuels at current rates and you can kiss nature’s influence over temperature good-bye. That’s the conclusion of two recent scientific studies.

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Humans are forcing heat trapping substances into the atmosphere at a terrifying pace. We pump out more than 10 billion tons of carbon on the back of about 50 billion tons of CO2 equivalent hothouse gasses into the atmosphere each year. This massive volume is the upshot of an inexorably rising emission starting during the 19th century and continuing to this day. By the end of this century, rates of burning could again increase nearly threefold.

The current, rampant pace of human emission is now at least six times faster than at any time during Earth’s geological past. But on our current path, that rate could exceed 20 times that seen during any of the previous worst hothouse extinction events.

Emission scenarios

(Current rate of annual carbon emissions in gigatons [black dots] compared to IPCC projected scenarios. Note that current human emissions are on the worst case emissions path. Image source: Global Carbon Project.)

This incredible rate of emission was the key factor in two new studies issued this week investigating the possibility of future hiatuses or ‘pauses’ in global warming due to nature-driven variability (see the studies here and here). And what the studies found was that rampant human burning of fossil fuels removed any possibility for hiatus decades driven by natural variability after 2030.

In essence, we are in the process of shutting down nature’s temperature-related influence entirely.

Understanding Natural Cycling Between Warm and Cool Periods

Natural shifts between atmospheric warm and cool spells appear to be primarily driven by how much heat the oceans uptake or expel.

In the Pacific, this rate of heat uptake is driven by the strength or weakness of the trade winds driving across the equator. During periods in which the trade winds are strong, a great volume of air contacts the surface water and more atmospheric heat is driven into the ocean through down-welling. During periods in which the trade winds are weak, the atmosphere-to-ocean heat transfer shuts down even as warmer waters rise from the depths and spread out across the ocean surface. During these times, the ocean is dumping heat back into the atmosphere.

A similar process happens in the Atlantic where salty, warm surface water down-welling transfers atmospheric heat toward the deep ocean. When that process shuts down, more heat piles up at the ocean surface and bleeds back into the atmosphere.

The first of these processes is called Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO — which is related to ENSO variations) and is thought to be the primary governor of this global natural variability. The second process, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), is thought to be the lesser of the two forces.

Past Variability in the Global Temperature Record

Even with large-scale human warming proceeding throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, we can see the effects of this natural variability on the global temperature record. During naturally driven warmer periods human-caused warming advances rapidly. During two of the naturally driven cool periods, human forced warming has a set-back, and, during the third, only seems to briefly slow down.

Temps since 1880

(Global temperature record as compiled by NASA. Note how warming has traditionally proceeded in a step-like fashion. Image source: NASA GISS.)

Taking a closer look, we find that the time from 1880 to 1910 saw global surface temperatures falling by 0.2 degrees Celsius as ocean heat uptake increased and IPO went negative. From 1910 to 1940, the IPO driver switched into positive. As the oceans disgorged their heat, the first effects of human greenhouse gas heat forcing became evident as global temperatures jumped by 0.45 degrees Celsius over a 30 year period. From 1945 to 1975, IPO again switched into negative, but this time human forcing was in the driver’s seat and temperatures only fell by around 0.06 degrees Celsius. By 1975, temperatures were again on the rise and through 2002, the heat spike rocketed fully 0.6 degrees C upward.

From about 2002 onward, we enter the current ‘hiatus’ period in which atmospheric warming, during a time when we should have seen cooling, has proceeded slowly despite major natural variability factors pushing for cooler atmospheres and warmer oceans.

Reducing Impacts of Natural Variability

The term ‘global warming hiatus,’ however inaccurate, is a new invention. Its use first cropped up over the past couple of years as human greenhouse gas forced warming seemed to slow somewhat from its rampant upward pace through the 1980s and 1990s. This brief pause in atmospheric warming caused some global warming skeptics to declare an end to human-caused heating. An extraordinary claim in the face of highest ever heat-trapping gas emissions.

But what was really happening was that natural variability, which should have been driving the Earth’s atmosphere to cool, was starting to take a back seat.

For two recent studies, mentioned above, found that natural variability driven temperature change has radically fallen even since the 1980s.

The first study, headed by Masahiro Wantanabe, found that, during the 1980s natural variability was responsible for about 47 percent of the observed global temperature change. By the 1990s, this number had fallen to 37 percent. And as an IPO driven switch should have led to cooler temperatures during the 2000s, Wantanabe finds that the effect of natural variability had again plunged to 27 percent.

The cause for the loss of the temperature driving effect of natural variability, according to global climate model runs, is a stunning rate of human greenhouse gas increase. And a related study led by Nicola Maher found that if greenhouse gas emissions by humans kept rising at ever more rapid rates, the natural variability measure is completely overwhelmed by 2030:

The likelihood of future hiatus periods is found to be sensitive to the rate of change of anthropogenic forcing. Under high rates of greenhouse gas emissions there is little chance of a hiatus decade occurring beyond 2030, even in the event of a large volcanic eruption.

Under the worst case emissions scenario — RCP 8.5 — natural variability is completely subsumed by human warming by 2030. Continuing on this track through 2100 means that the human forcing is so strong that even a volcanic eruption on the scale of Krakatau would not be enough to generate a warming hiatus.

For those considering use of solar radiation mitigation through aerosol inject, this point is a very important one to consider. It is a basis for proof that such mitigation eventually radically fails to reduce greenhouse gas heating effects if levels of emissions are not also drawn down.

Sadly, we are currently on the RCP 8.5 track. But, according to the studies, if humans could somehow rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the effect of natural variability on climate would be at least somewhat preserved.

Human-Forced Variability

The discussion of natural variability does not include instances in which human heat forcing produces outcomes outside of natural variability. The most obvious of these would be a large glacial outburst event in which enough water is released from Greenland and West Antarctica to raise seas by 1 meter or more this century. Such an event would have a temporary cooling effect that could result in an unnatural hiatus in warming. Such a human-forced variability was not considered in these global climate model studies, but it is worth considering as the strength of the now rampant human heat forcing continues to increase.

Links:

Global Carbon Project

NASA GISS

Contribution of Natural Variability To Global Warming Acceleration and Hiatus

Drivers of Decadal Hiatus in 20th and 21st Centuries

No More Pause — Global Warming Non-Stop From Now On

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

 

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61 Comments

  1. thank you – an excellent and definitive article. One question – what is your sense of how big a factor the aerosol cooling effect from (predominantly) Asian industrialization is? This seems to be quite the wildcard despite the multiple studies trying to gauge just how much warming is being masked.

    Reply
    • Net aerosol negative feedback is probably in the range of 1 to 1.4 watts per meter squared. So if all the aerosols fell out, we’d probably be in the range of 3.5 watts per meter squared now. Total global forcing including the aerosol negative feedback is in the range of 2.35 watts per meter squared (2014).

      The error bars RE aerosols are all pretty large, including the recently large addition of the Asian component. Although some recent studies seem to have nailed it down a bit more. We have a tug of war going between the likelihood that the amount masked is probably a bit higher than we first estimated, the fact that as aerosols become more dense the cooling effect by volume falls, and the fact that rapidly increasing greenhouse gas saturation lowers the net impact of aerosols.

      Reply
    • Phil

       /  September 3, 2014

      Are the Asian aerosols linked predominately to China and India or is it more broad than just those two countries?

      I have heard that China will probably have to clean up the causes of their aerosol emissions (if they want to be able to breath). What is the prospect if that occurs – I have read that they are very short lived – you need industrial processes to keep churning them out to keep them in the atmosphere.

      Has there been any research on the short run impact of China cleaning up its emission of aerosols?

      Reply
      • Primarily China and India.

        Action by China might take down the aerosol negative feedback by 0.2 to 0.4 Watts per meter squared globally over the course of a couple of decades. Looks like they’re heading down that path.

  2. Thanks Robert. I thought these two papers were a huge development in terms of there attempt to quantify natural variation along side GHG forcing. I really appreciate this post. One question that I have been thinking about lately. How much of a lag is their in response to major changes occurring in IPO and similar changes in the atlantic? To put it another way, would surface temperatures take a few years to show a strong response or are we talking a few months? It seems clear that we are warming out of severe cooling influences from 2011 in relation to the Pacific. The oceans are showing huge heat anomalies despite no el Nino yet. It seems that surface temperatures should begin showing a stronger response sooner rather than later at this point.

    Reply
    • Temperature response due to ocean surface warming is pretty quick — on the order of months. The IPO/PDO signal seems to take a few years to emerge out of the background noise and AMO is pretty muted, but can wag the tail a bit.

      With ocean surface temps so warm since May, we’ve already seen some impact — with record warmest months in many measures for both land and sea surface.

      As for the larger IPO/PDO trend, as I said before, it will take a few years for the signal to tease out.

      Reply
  3. utoutback

     /  September 3, 2014

    This post and the recent studies caused me to look into the prospects of current and proposed coal fired power plants spewing ever more CO2 into the atmosphere (Robert, this goes back to comments in the last post string).
    A figure stated in this “climate science.com” article states 300 billion tons from currently operating coal plants.

    http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/existing-coal-power-plants-will-emit-300gt-of-co2.html

    Yikes!

    Reply
    • This is something to be aware of for any power plant, including ‘clean’ natural gas.

      You need to multiply the expected annual emissions of that plant – based on fuel and usage – by the predicted operating lifetime of that plant. So even a modern CCGT gas plant, touted as clean but run over 50 years, is worse than an old coal plant due to be decomissioned in 8 years.

      Reply
    • They say this is based on the assumption the plants will operate for 40 years. We have plants in this country that are more than twice as old.

      What we need is a way to shut these things down early and rapidly.

      Reply
      • utoutback

         /  September 3, 2014

        This calculation does not include the carbon load associated with mining and transport which is moving this ore from all points to India and China. Yes, this must stop now.

        On another subject, I’m wondering if we will ever hear the phrase “carbon tax” in the upcoming elections.

      • It would be nice. My bet is that would lead to campaign funding shenanigans like we’ve never seen before.

  4. A surprisingly decent article on the drought in the west in USA Today. The graphs at the top are quite good.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/09/02/california-megadrought/14446195/

    Reply
    • So, for the US West, it’s starting to look like a 1000 year drought.

      The thing about these articles that annoy me is that they ignore much of the recent science showing climate change is a major driver for this.

      Reply
  5. jyyh

     /  September 3, 2014

    And of course local illusions of hiatus will still occur locally

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  September 3, 2014

      Especially in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia especially. That damn Ruppert Murdoch and his evil ‘news’ (propaganda) empire.

      Reply
  6. Ever wonder why yeasts in a vat of sugar water behave the way they do? So we can have beer/wine.

    Wonder who will have beer/wine after us…

    Reply
  7. Yet another paper linking extreme weather to sea ice loss…

    Study links polar vortex chills to melting sea ice

    http://www.newson6.com/story/26427587/study-links-polar-vortex-chills-to-melting-sea-ice

    Weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex by Arctic sea-ice loss

    Successive cold winters of severely low temperatures in recent years have had critical social and economic impacts on the mid-latitude continents in the Northern Hemisphere. Although these cold winters are thought to be partly driven by dramatic losses of Arctic sea-ice, the mechanism that links sea-ice loss to cold winters remains a subject of debate. Here, by conducting observational analyses and model experiments, we show how Arctic sea-ice loss and cold winters in extra-polar regions are dynamically connected through the polar stratosphere. We find that decreased sea-ice cover during early winter months (November–December), especially over the Barents–Kara seas, enhances the upward propagation of planetary-scale waves with wavenumbers of 1 and 2, subsequently weakening the stratospheric polar vortex in mid-winter (January–February). The weakened polar vortex preferentially induces a negative phase of Arctic Oscillation at the surface, resulting in low temperatures in mid-latitudes.

    Reply
    • Danabanana

       /  September 3, 2014

      Good to see Prof. Jennifer Francis’s work on Arctic amplification and Jet Stream supported further. She deserves a Nobel imo.

      Reply
    • Kara and Barents have seen very low ice totals since 2007.

      Interesting report here.

      Looks like sea ice is in the range of 2013 for this melt season. Volume may have had a bit of a pseudo recovery back toward 2007 for end melt season.

      Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Long-lost satellite data reveal new insights to climate change

    Once stashed in warehouses in Maryland and North Carolina, images and video captured from orbit by some of NASA’s first environmental satellites in the mid-1960s are now yielding a trove of scientific data. The Nimbus satellites, originally intended to monitor Earth’s clouds in visible and infrared wavelengths, also would have captured images of sea ice, researchers at the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center realized when they heard about the long-lost film canisters in 2009. After acquiring the film—and then tracking down the proper equipment to read and digitize its 16-shades-of-gray images, which had been taken once every 90 seconds or so—the team set about scanning and then stitching the images together using sophisticated software. So far, more than 250,000 images have been made public, including the first image taken by Nimbus-1 (left) on 31 August 1964, of an area near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the researchers reported on 29 August.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/09/long-lost-satellite-data-reveal-new-insights-climate-change

    Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Extinctions during human era one thousand times more than before
    Date:
    September 2, 2014
    Source:
    Brown University
    Summary:
    The gravity of the world’s current extinction rate becomes clearer upon knowing what it was before people came along. A new estimate finds that species die off as much as 1,000 times more frequently nowadays than they used to. That’s 10 times worse than the old estimate of 100 times.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151125.htm

    Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Rainfall for the 24-hour period ending at midnight yesterday totaled 4.5 inches at Columbia Regional Airport, breaking the single-day record of 4.15 inches set in 1931, according to the National Weather Service.
    Between 7 a.m. yesterday and 7 a.m. today, 4.27 inches fell at the airport, 5.47 inches at the University of Missouri’s Sanborn Field and 6.55 inches at a weather station 9 miles east of town, according to the weather service. Records are only kept on a calendar-day basis, a meteorologist in St. Charles said. A flood warning remains in effect through 3:30 p.m. today.

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/local/storms-bring-record-amount-of-rainfall-to-columbia/article_143a5f6d-0211-5519-847b-f2de5c5bb79d.html#image_1

    Reply
  11. earthfriendrick

     /  September 3, 2014

    Of little solace, I do not think that we will see the RCP8.5 scenario… Based on systems response to chemical and physical changes seen to date, our rate of over consumption and societal instability and conflict, collapse will almost inevitably prevent the worst case emissions scenario from happening… Most unfortunately, as most of us here know, the genie will have long since been set free so hot house earth appears to be an inevitability…

    Reply
    • Bernard

       /  September 3, 2014

      Some agree with you.

      “Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Updated Comparison of The Limits to Growth with Historical Data”

      http://www.sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/files/mssi/MSSI-ResearchPaper-4_Turner_2014.pdf

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  September 3, 2014

        Robert,

        You stated: “Overall, I’m rather disappointed by what appears to be a back-handed attempt to render the whole sustainability argument fossil fuel access centered and to blatantly ignore clear environmental signals that are now ongoing”.

        I wonder why that is. Did the peak oil community scare the hell out of policymakers to the point where the need to maintain high flows of fossil fuels, despite a log of supposed denial of peak oil itself amongst many mainstream economists and govt. authorities.

        Could it be the influence of corporate money (inc. oil and gas money) on mainstream environmental organizations like the EDF? They don’t want to rock the boat too hard against one of their main revenue sources?

        I re-read the Truthout article again after your critique and see what you mean (yesterday’s thread). I also think that he likely overestimates the probability of a very, very rapid rise in mean global temperatures in the next 2 decades (his short-term) and discounts the long-term effects, when I see the big ‘state change’ as more likely (towards the 2080 – 2100 period). Still, it’s interesting in that the story is presented by an environmentally aware and sensitive author.

        Thanks for taking the time to help us see through some of this, one hopes, unintentional confusion on the part of the environmental press when reporting on climate change issues. They do get a lot right in their reporting, but if views such as these recent examples become more widely held, it might hamper the ability for effective policy action as much as that by outright AGW deniers and their allies.

      • Mark,

        Upon a RE-read of the paper, I think I over-reacted somewhat. So I’ll be moderating my comments.

        I still think the overall analysis overplays peak oil and underplays pollution. However, given the context of the more balanced Guardian piece it seems to me that this was an honest mistake or rather a difference of opinion based on research point of view.

        Mea culpa.

      • http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse?commentpage=6

        I find this article in The Gaurdian to be far better balanced. It’s amazing how much more salient the authors views appear to me when due credit is given to pollution impacts and potential environmental response.

        The notion is not to ignore peak oil, but to attempt to mitigate it as part of the larger energy/resources climate problem.

        Given the Guardian piece, I might take a crack at this. It is certainly worthwhile to see how the model runs continue, even if the author’s analysis in the paper is far too peak oil focused and downplays the other issues far too much for my liking.

    • Spike

       /  September 3, 2014

      “collapse will almost inevitably prevent the worst case emissions scenario from happening…”

      There may be some truth in that, but I wonder about the climate change impact of the period leading up to collapse. I would imagine wars are pretty carbon intensive, leading to additional fossil fuel burning to fuel military production, additional drives to intensify agriculture with all its additional impacts, and the huge costs of rebuilding – all that additional cement production and so on. Wonder if anyone has looked at that more closely.

      Reply
      • To the contrary, and as Spike so presciently alludes, collapse locks in the consumption of old energy sources. So you end up with hundreds of years of continued fossil fuel consumption. A long tail of burning as the civilizations slowly contract and fight over the diminishing pool of resources.

        Given the expanded access to unconventionals and, at this point, a falling price of some of the major fuel sources, oil, gas and coal certainly have broad enough access to hit these worst case emissions scenarios under laissez faire policy stances. And we would do well to create an artificial peak in fossil fuel supply through a combined effort to reduce ff consumption and expand renewable energy access. This helps to reduce the carbon emission problem and puts us in the peak fossil fuels driver seat.

        Now, the real question is would such action be enough to tamp down the amplifying feedbacks that already appear to be in play. Or do we need to add radiation management to the equation as an emergency measure in addition to atmospheric carbon capture?

    • I agree with you. It is very unlikely that the growth in emissions will continue much more than some decades, as the main reason for our high emissions is the high energy input to industry and globalization. If there are serious economic disruptions down the road, there will be a serious down scaling of any production. However, people need energy for heating so gas and coal will still be burned for that wherever possible – but the systems for trading fossil fuels for these things will be hampered by economic factors. No doubt any form of economic adjustment will results in a fair amount of turmoil to the point of infrastructure being broken in rioting and wars. Its a funny thing with humans, when people despair at the loss of their hopes for the future, they tend to convert into high-gear entropy machines, making sure that whatever we have left is also turned to ash and dust. The scramble for the last drops of oil surely will be one of high entropy.

      Reply
      • The BAU model involves dumping more energy tech and resources into extraction until the system breaks.

        What does this look like?

        In the mid 2000s Saudi Arabia began to hit peak. We had an oil supply crisis and there was flight to fracking, tar sands and new methods of enhanced extraction. China moved to produce all sorts of products from coal gasification and most of the world continued to grow its consumption (net) despite high energy prices and liquidity crises in some countries.

        A mixed bag that was not the end of BAU some predicted during the mid 2000s, and we are worse off because the pollution/climate problem has grown that much more intense.

        So now we are in a political war over whether or not to continue to extract unconventional fuels. But if the politics were not an object — another discussion entirely — then what would happen during the next 10 to 20 years?

        Bakken will peak first, but Eagle Ford will run longer. The ripping up of the earth to mine tar sands will continue to expand, soaking up more energy and resources but coughing up more fuel. Massive shale deposits in Russia will come on line (again with the political caveat). These deposits are many times the size of Bakken and Eagle Ford and will generate another jump in supply.

        China will turn its coal into various petroleum products through a mega scale Fischer process. There is all sorts of unconventional coal that can be dumped into the hideous maw the Chinese are in the process of constructing. Japan, the US Canada and others, within a decade or three, depending on market price and availability, will learn how to access sea bed clathrates. The process will be messy, involving the partial destabilization and release of some of the clathrate into the ocean environment. But, like fracking, the negatives will be glossed over and the resource will be accessed.

        And when this phase finishes, the mining tech developed to extract tar sands will be pointed at extracting the Kerogen formations in the US. Billions of barrels of high cost fuel dumped into a system that has been made captive to gulping it down.

        This is the ugly future that BAU fossil fuel emission has in store and if we don’t stop it soon it will be enough to wreck the climate many times over.

        Peak oil is again being advanced as a central issue, as Simmons did during the mid 2000s. And we have a radical effort to again downplay climate change. But we should be looking to peak oil and other fossil fuels voluntarily as swiftly as possible. The apparatus for our destruction is already being built and it runs on unconventional oil, gas, and coal.

  12. Elevation and elevation change of Greenland and Antarctica derived from CryoSat-2. Greenland and Antarctica are together losing over 500 (±107) cubic kilometers of ice annually now.

    West Antarctica is losing ice three times faster now than it was in the time period from 2003–2009.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/09/02/global_warming_cryosat_observations_show_rapid_greenland_antarctic_ice_loss.html

    Reply
  13. Scientific American, August: Coal Plants Will Emit 300 BIllion Tons of Future CO2 (So many new plants have been built worldwide that emissions across their lifetimes will be enormous)

    The study says that despite international efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, the global power sector’s CO2 commitments are growing 4 percent each year, and have not declined at all since 1950.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-plants-will-emit-300-billion-tons-of-future-co2/

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Warming Gulf of Maine imperils lobster, fish catch

    FRIENDSHIP, Maine (AP) — Imagine Cape Cod without cod. Maine without lobster. The region’s famous rocky beaches invisible, obscured by constant high waters.

    It’s already starting to happen. The culprit is the warming seas — and in particular the Gulf of Maine, whose waters are heating up faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, scientists say.

    Link

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  September 3, 2014

      I was on the northern part of Cape Cod last week, and I can say that the ocean water felt very warm compared to my memories of past years during the same last week of August. An entirely subjective impression, of course – If you can only go in up to your knees, the water is normal. Up to your waist, a bit warmer; and if you can stand full immersion without a wet suit, it’s damn warm. I missed seeing the Great White Shark, but plenty of seals.

      The local paper reported near shore ocean temperatures of 70 F.

      Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Reply
  16. “Researchers at Aberdeen and Cambridge universities carried out a joint study exploring what would happen if the world continued to adopt a western-style diet based around “excessive consumption” of food, particularly “emission-intensive” meat and dairy products.

    They found that if this trend continued, international targets on greenhouse gas emissions would be smashed by the food industry alone.

    If the world’s population swells to almost 10 billion and “business as usual” prevails, the amount of land given over to growing crops would see a 42% increase by 2050. Fertilizer use would grow by 45% in the same period, they found. This could decimate the world’s most fragile environments, destroying 10 percent of the remaining rainforests.

    This deforestation combined with the methane emitted by livestock would cause the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the food industry alone to grow by almost 80%.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasperhamill/2014/08/31/meat-eaters-could-cause-dangerous-climate-change-scientists-warn/

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    The Arctic Sea Ice Problem Is Actually Worse — Not Better — Than We Thought

    In addition, as Phil Plait at Slate explains, another 2012 event had a significant impact that year.

    The longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie River, feeds into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic. Usually, water from the river slowly flows into the sea, which means that warm river water steadily cools in the Arctic. But in 2012, water was mostly trapped behind a barrier of sea ice.

    Sometime between June and July, the ice dam broke. Researchers found that the river volume was particularly high that year — with the largest outflows from the river ever recorded, meaning that a crazy quantity of warm water had been stopped up.

    Read more: Link

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    In her own words: USGS hydrologist discusses subsidence in the Central Valley

    http://mavensnotebook.com/2013/11/22/in-her-own-words-usgs-hydrologist-discusses-subsidence-in-the-central-valley/

    (Article dated NOV 22 2013. Excerpt follows. Click the above link for the full article.)

    Groundwater withdrawals in the Central Valley have caused a 1200-square mile subsidence bowl that is affecting water conveyance and flood control infrastructure, according to the results of a USGS study released yesterday, Land subsidence along the Delta-Mendota Canal in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley, California. At yesterday’s news conference on the release of the USGS’s latest report, Land subsidence along the Delta-Mendota Canal in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley, California, 2003-10, hydrologist Michelle Sneed discussed the findings of the report in more detail.

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Old Ship Logs Reveal Adventure, Tragedy And Hints About Climate

    What can yesterday’s weather tell us about how the climate is changing today? That’s what an army of volunteers looking at old ships’ logs is trying to answer through the Old Weather project.

    One of those volunteers — or citizen scientists, as the project calls them — is Kathy Wendolkowski of Gaithersburg, Md.

    Sitting in her kitchen, she uses her laptop to read from the logbook of the Pioneer, a ship that was out measuring ocean depths near Alaska on July 15, 1925. An image of the Pioneer’s log from that day was posted online by the National Archives at the website OldWeather.org. Her task is to transcribe the logs’ handwritten notes, from their elegant cursive script to something that can be digested by computers.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 3, 2014

      More about the old ships logs –

      Old Weather: Our Weather’s Past,
      the Climate’s Future


      Introduction

      Help scientists recover Arctic and worldwide weather observations made by United States ships since the mid-19th century by transcribing ships’ logs. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and will improve our knowledge of past environmental conditions. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and tell the stories of the people on board.


      39%

      OF THE LOGS COMPLETED

      Arctic

      62,872 PAGES DONE

      8VOYAGES DONE

      Reply
      • Thanks for the link, Bob.

      • Colorado Bob

         /  September 3, 2014

        Lot’s of old duffers around to do this work , and the log book hand writing was always careful , and beautiful , who knew sailors hand penmanship at the top of their list.

  20. Colorado Bob

     /  September 3, 2014

    Watch how Louisiana’s coastline has vanished over the last 80 years

    Over the last 80 years, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastland — land that has simply vanished into the Gulf of Mexico. And much, much more land is likely to disappear in the years ahead unless major changes are made.

    That’s the subject of a terrific new investigation from Bob Marshall of The Lens and Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw of ProPublica. You should absolutely go read their entire piece (and check out all of their excellent visuals), but I’ve made a slider image out of two key maps to highlight the very basic change at play here:

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 3, 2014

      Losing Ground
      by Bob Marshall, The Lens, Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw, ProPublica, Aug. 28, 2014

      In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes — 16 square miles a year — due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: Nearly all of the nation’s offshore oil and gas production, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes.

      Link

      Reply
  21. I believe we have to cut co2 emissions by 60% to get to RCP8.5

    Reply
  22. Tom

     /  September 4, 2014

    Ah, but as usual, the mainstream media goes the other way with crap like this:

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/03/once-again-the-goreacle-missed-the-mark-entirely/

    Once Again, The Goreacle Missed The Mark Entirely

    Stop me if you heard this before: former Vice President Al Gore completely whiffed it on an environmental prediction.

    I know, shocking.

    The latest swing and a miss was a prediction he made when accepting his 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, a prize becoming increasingly worthless given its dubious winners. “The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,” he said. “It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.”

    Well, London’s Daily Mail has taken great glee in pointing out that not only was he wrong, there is a lot more ice now than there was two years ago. [oh there’s more]

    [and]

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/02/study-the-lower-troposphere-has-not-warmed-in-the-last-26-years/

    Study: The Lower Troposphere Has Not Warmed In The Last 26 Years

    The nearly two-decade long pause in global warming may just be the tip of the iceberg for evidence against anthropogenic climate change. A new paper found that temperatures in the lower troposphere have not shown a warming trend in as many as 26 years.

    “In the surface data we compute a hiatus length of 19 years, and in the lower tropospheric data we compute a hiatus length of 16 years… and 26 years” using satellite data sets, according to Dr. Ross McKitrick of the economics department at the University of Guelph in Canada. [read the rest]

    Reply
  23. Colt

     /  September 4, 2014

    I urge everyone to read Guy McPherson’s Climate summary at his website. http://www.guymcpherson.com

    Reply
  24. Kevin Jones

     /  September 14, 2014

    Colt. McPherson certainly challenges. Scientists are human. Reticence is a two edged sword. I recommend to youth that they become engaged in the wonderful sciences of earth systems as imperfect as they always will be and some honest historians’ work and think real hard about not bringing another child into this world without serious reflection…..on the nature of reality at this unprecedented moment. ’tis a bitch…..and get themselves right with hands-on production and putting-by of food in community with each other, etc;…. Wake up & Take care!, I mean.

    Reply
  1. No More 'Hiatus' -- Human Emission to Completel...
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