The tiny black particles released into the atmosphere by burning fuels are far more powerful agents of global warming than had previously been estimated, some of the world’s most prominent atmospheric scientists reported in a study issued on Tuesday.
These particles, which are known as black carbon and are the major component of soot, are the second most important contributor to global warming, behind only carbon dioxide, wrote the 31 authors of the study, published online by The Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.
The new estimate of black carbon’s heat-trapping power is about double the one made in the last major report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2007. And the researchers said that if indirect warming effects of the particles are factored in, they may be trapping heat at almost three times the previously estimated rate.
Extreme events caused by warming are happening much sooner than we thought they would. It’s time for Obama to act
“WE WANT our children to live in an America… that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” With these words in his re-election speech, President Obama finally put climate change back onto the US political agenda.
That was welcome after a campaign in which both sides ducked the issue. But Obama still didn’t say quite the right thing. It’s not just our children we should be worrying about. 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 (see “Climate change: It’s even worse than we thought”).
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.
Bombshell: Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution
What makes this “man bites dog” is that Muller has been a skeptic of climate science, and the single biggest funder of this study is the “Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000).” The Kochs are the leading funder of climate disinformation in the world!
It gets better:
Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.
In short, a Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions!
Climate warming does not force sea-level rise (SLR) at the same rate everywhere. Rather, there are spatial variations of SLR superimposed on a global average rise. These variations are forced by dynamic processes1, 2, 3, 4, arising from circulation and variations in temperature and/or salinity, and by static equilibrium processes5, arising from mass redistributions changing gravity and the Earth’s rotation and shape. These sea-level variations form unique spatial patterns, yet there are very few observations verifying predicted patterns or fingerprints6. Here, we present evidence of recently accelerated SLR in a unique 1,000-km-long hotspot on the highly populated North American Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras and show that it is consistent with a modelled fingerprint of dynamic SLR. Between 1950-1979 and 1980-2009, SLR rate increases in this northeast hotspot were ~ 3-4 times higher than the global average. Modelled dynamic plus steric SLR by 2100 at New York City ranges with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario from 36 to 51 cm (ref. 3); lower emission scenarios project 24-36 cm (ref. 7). Extrapolations from data herein range from 20 to 29 cm. SLR superimposed on storm surge, wave run-up and set-up will increase the vulnerability of coastal cities to flooding, and beaches and wetlands to deterioration.
For a peek at what that means to our coast use this link.
Global sea level likely to rise as much as 70 feet for future generations
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.
The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand. They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was at its current level, and atmospheric temperatures were 2 degrees C higher than they are now.
“The difference in water volume released is the equivalent of melting the entire Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as some of the marine margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet,” said H. Richard Lane, program director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the work. “Such a rise of the modern oceans would swamp the world’s coasts and affect as much as 70 percent of the world’s population.”
“You don’t need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take from centuries to a few thousand years,” Miller said. “The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet (0.8 to1 meter) due to warming of the oceans, partial melting of mountain glaciers, and partial melting of Greenland and Antarctica.”
The climate war — the public opinion battle between skeptics of man-made global warming and those who believe in the scientific consensus — escalated to a new level of ferocity this past month. First a series of memos allegedly from the Heartland Institute — a libertarian think tank that has long supported climate skepticism — surfaced on the Internet, detailing the group’s previously anonymous corporate funding and outlining its plan to fight action on global warming. Then came the news last week that the Heartland memos had been fraudulently acquired by the environmental advocate and scientist Peter Gleick, who — after allegedly being sent an initial memo by a person he identified as a Heartland insider — impersonated as a Heartland board member via email in order to obtain several additional internal documents. Worse, Heartland now claims one of the memos was doctored — while nonetheless confirming that it plans to push global warming skepticism in the nation’s schools, opening up one more, very impressionable front in the seemingly endless climate war.
If there’s anyone who knows how nasty the climate fight can be, it’s Penn State climatologist Michael Mann. Mann, who has been involved with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for over a decade, gets regular death threats at his office. He’s been the target of a lengthy — and, critics say, politically motivated — investigation by the attorney general of Virginia. His private emails to colleagues have been hacked and published, and he’s become a major public target for Heartland and like-minded groups. “I guess over the years I’ve experienced quite a few adventures,” says Mann, who is about to publish book on his experiences, called The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. “It’s given me not just a solid understanding of the problem of man-made climate change, but also the campaign — largely funded by the fossil fuel industry — to deny that science.”
The United States was battered this year by at least 12 natural disasters that each caused at least $1 billion in damages, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday.
The agency said it was adding a June tornado outbreak in the Midwest and Southeast and record-setting wildfires in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to a list that also includes flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, drought in the Southern Plains and southwestern United States, five previous tornado outbreaks in Southern and central states, and a blizzard.
That count could still rise, because NOAA is still tallying damages from Tropical Storm Lee and a late October snowstorm in the Northeast.
But this year was not an aberration, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said during a speech here yesterday.
The seemingly endless onslaught of floods, droughts, wildfires, windstorms, blizzards and tornadoes that have marked 2011 fit within an ongoing increase in the number of natural disasters recorded in the United States, she said, citing statistics maintained by reinsurer Munich Re.
And at least some of that increase appears to be driven by climate change, Lubchenco said, citing a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“What we are seeing this year is not just an anomalous year, but a harbinger of things to come for at least a subset of those extreme events that we are tallying,” the NOAA chief told attendees of the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.