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It’s now time to work for climate adaptation and social justice

Brace for impact: it’s time to build the fight for climate adaptation, New Internationalist, Feb 25 17  

 Responding to climate change is not just about curbing emissions, but also adapting to what has already changed, says Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik The fight to tackle climate change has two core branches: mitigation (curbing excessive greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation (addressing the effects of climate change that are already unfolding). But although both areas are needed, the public tends to focus on the former in discussions on climate change.

The pressing priority is always to pull down emissions. Climate change is portrayed a future threat and our responsibility to act is framed in reference to our children and grandchildren. If environmental ruin is already here, it is deemed marginal compared to the tempests amassing on the horizon.

climate-change-vital-signs

But this uneven focus on the future understates the gravity of present impacts. Today, climate change accounts for 87 per cent of disasters worldwide. Some of the worst droughts in decades are continuing to unravel across southeastern Africa and Latin America. Cyclonic storms, floods, wildfires, and landslides are bearing on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The sudden violence of disasters is paralleled by the brutality of gradual change. Coastlines are being shaved and eroded by rising tides. The encroachment of sea water is increasing the salinity of littoral lands, leaving them withered and infertile. Rain patterns are shifting, shattering the millions who rely on the sky for sustenance. Every second, one person is forced to flee their home due to extreme climactic conditions.

This context of daily displacement and desolation means that the fight to tackle climate change today is fundamentally a fight to determine the fatality of the future. Yet adaptation, the crucial tool in that fight, has been side-lined and neglected.

So what is adaptation?

Adaptation means preparing our society for the climatic threats it faces and will face, insofar as we can. It means weaving safety nets for the world’s most vulnerable populations. It means bolstering river embankments, introducing measures to prevent diseases, building water-resistant infrastructure, expanding storm sewers and water storage, extending insurance, implementing disaster early-warning systems, and introducing a range of measures to palliate damage.

Some adaptation initiatives are already underway. From the Cook Islands to Morocco, farmers are adjusting practices and diversifying crops, to create a more climate-resilient agriculture. Current agricultural models, where monocultures breed vulnerability, are being transformed into biodiverse agrosystems.

In flood-prone areas, like Delaware, urban planners and citizens are reengineering and redesigning neighbourhoods to reduce the risk of inundation and future sea level rise. In urban areas prone to intense heat, like the Indian city of Ahmedabad (which lost 1,300 citizens to a 2010 extreme heat wave), municipal officials are implementing heat action plans which train health workers, distribute cooling supplies, open public areas for shade, and raise public awareness.

In some areas, the only plausible form of adaptation is abandon. In Fiji, villages such as Vunidogola are already being relocated after Cyclone Winston and other disasters devastated a number of settlements – while rising sea levels provide an additional layer of risk. The Fijian state has listed relocation as a top priority for the government.

A decade ago, the Maldivian government also organized a ‘staged retreat’, concentrating populations away from secluded islands threatened by rising sea levels. In Alaska, the citizens of Newtok have applied for federal disaster relief to finance their own relocation, as thawing permafrost erodes the land under their feet, pulling the village towards the Ninglick River. In China, the government has relocated over a million people away from areas governed by environmental hazards.

But adaptation is not just a technical exercise; it is also a struggle to shape what kind of world will greet the intensifying weather patterns of tomorrow. Whose lives will matter when the storms arrive? Will the seawalls we build to hold back the swelling tides be accompanied by walls to hold out those fleeing?

The challenge of adaptation directly exposes the climate crisis as a crisis of social justice. All disasters break open the wounds of unequal societies. Storms do not discriminate, but they do make landfall on landscapes riven by disparities of wealth, power and safety.

The labels of ‘natural disaster’ and ‘extreme weather’ can mislead us into thinking that the principal dangers we face stem from the atmosphere’s furies. But as geographer Jesse Ribot writes, ‘vulnerability does not fall from the sky.’ The wreckage of climate change is the product of collision: between environmental conditions and human realities.

This collision explains why women are far more likely than men to die in natural disasters and endure the slow violence of environmental degradation. It lies at the root of why ethnic minorities, the disabled, the silenced, and the neglected, are all disproportionately susceptible to the rigours of a changing climate.

Deep adaptation means challenging these inequities………..  https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2017/02/22/brace-for-impact-time-to-build-fight-for-climate-adaptation/

February 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climatologists explain threat of drastic cooling in North Atlantic

Drastic cooling in North Atlantic beyond worst fears, scientists warn https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/24/drastic-cooling-north-atlantic-beyond-worst-fears-scientists-warn

Climatologists say Labrador Sea could cool within a decade before end of this century, leading to unprecedented disruption, reports Climate News Network, Guardian,  , 25 Feb 17, For thousands of years, parts of northwest Europe have enjoyed a climate about 5C warmer than many other regions on the same latitude. But new scientific analysis suggests that that could change much sooner and much faster than thought possible.

Climatologists who have looked again at the possibility of major climate change in and around the Atlantic Ocean, a persistent puzzle to researchers, now say there is an almost 50% chance that a key area of the North Atlantic could cool suddenly and rapidly, within the space of a decade, before the end of this century.

That is a much starker prospect than even the worst-case scientific scenario proposed so far, which does not see the Atlantic ocean current shutdown happening for several hundred years at least.

A scenario even more drastic (but fortunately fictional) was the subject of the 2004 US movie The Day After Tomorrow, which portrayed the disruption of the North Atlantic’s circulation leading to global cooling and a new Ice Age.

To evaluate the risk of extreme climate change, researchers from the Environnements et Paléoenvironnements Océaniques et Continentaux laboratory (CNRS/University of Bordeaux, France), and the University of Southamptondeveloped an algorithm to analyse the 40 climate models considered by the Fifth Assessment Report.

The findings by the British and French team, published in the Nature Communications journal, in sharp contrast to the IPCC, put the probability of rapid North Atlantic cooling during this century at almost an even chance – nearly 50%.

Current climate models foresee a slowing of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC), sometimes known also as the thermohaline circulation, which is the phenomenon behind the more familiar Gulf Stream that carries warmth from Florida to European shores. If it did slow, that could lead to a dramatic, unprecedented disruption of the climate system.

In 2013, drawing on 40 climate change projections, the IPCC judged that this slowdown would occur gradually, over a long period. Its findings suggested that fast cooling of the North Atlantic during this century was unlikely.

But oceanographers from EU emBRACE had also re-examined the 40 projections by focusing on a critical spot in the northwest of the North Atlantic: the Labrador Sea.

The Labrador Sea is host to a convection system ultimately feeding into the ocean-wide MOC. The temperatures of its surface waters plummet in the winter, increasing their density and causing them to sink. This displaces deep waters, which bring their heat with them as they rise to the surface, preventing the formation of ice caps.

The algorithm developed by the Anglo-French researchers was able to detect quick sea surface temperature variations. With it they found that seven of the 40 climate models they were studying predicted a total shutdown of convection, leading to abrupt cooling of the Labrador Sea by 2C to 3C over less than 10 years. This in turn would drastically lower North Atlantic coastal temperatures.

But because only a handful of the models supported this projection, the researchers focused on the critical parameter triggering winter convection: ocean stratification. Five of the models that included stratification predicted a rapid drop in North Atlantic temperatures.

The researchers say these projections can one day be tested against real data from the international OSnap project, whose teams will be anchoring scientific instruments within the sub-polar gyre (a gyre is any large system of circulating ocean currents).

If the predictions are borne out and the North Atlantic waters do cool rapidly over the coming years, the team says, with considerable understatement, climate change adaptation policies for regions bordering the North Atlantic will have to take account of this phenomenon.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Future sea level rise studies by NASA project – Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG)

sea-ice-meltingfOMG measurements of Greenland give us a glimpse of future sea rise https://www.skepticalscience.com/omg-greenland-sea-level-rise.html 24 February 2017 by John Abraham  If you meet a group of climate scientists, and ask them how much sea levels will rise by say the year 2100, you will get a wide range of answers. But, those with most expertise in sea level rise will tell you perhaps 1 meter (a little over three feet). Then, they will immediately say, “but there is a lot of uncertainty on this estimate.” It doesn’t mean they aren’t certain there will be sea level rise – that is guaranteed as we add more heat in the oceans. Here, uncertainty means it could be a lot more or a little less.

Why are scientists not certain about how much the sea level will rise? Because there are processes that are occurring that have the potential for causing huge sea level rise, but we’re uncertain about how fast they will occur. Specifically, two very large sheets of ice sit atop Greenland and Antarctica. If those sheets melt, sea levels will rise hundreds of feet.

Parts of the ice sheets are melting, but how much will melt and how fast will the melting occur? Are we talking decades? Centuries? Millennia? Scientists really want to know the answer to this question. Not only is it interesting scientifically, but it has huge impacts on coastal planning.

One reason the answer to this question is illusive is that melting of ice sheets can occur from above (warm air and sunlight) or from below (warm ocean waters). In many instances, it’s the melting from below that is most significant – but this melting from below is really hard to measure.

With hope we will have a much clearer sense of ice sheet melting and sea level rise because of a new scientific endeavor that is part of a NASA project – Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG). This project has brought together some of the best oceanographers and ice experts in the world. The preliminary results are encouraging and are discussed in two recent publications here and here.

In the papers, the authors note that Greenland ice loss has increased substantially in recent decades. It now contributes approximately 1/3 to total sea level rise. The authors want to know whether this contribution will change over time and they recognize that underwater processes may be the most important to study. In fact, they note in their paper:

Specifically, our goal is improved understanding of how ocean hydrographic variability around the ice sheet impacts glacial melt rates, thinning and retreat.

In plain English, they want to know how water flow around Greenland affects the ice melt.

Their experiments are measuring a number of key attributes. First, yearly changes in the temperature of ocean water near Greenland. Second, the yearly changes to the glaciers on Greenland that extend into the ocean waters. Third, they are observing marine topography (the shape of the land underneath the ocean surface).

The sea floor shape is quite complicated, particularly near Greenland. Past glaciers carved deep troughs in the sea floor in some areas, allowing warm salty water to reach huge glaciers that are draining the ice sheet. As lead OMG investigator Josh Willis said:

What’s interesting about the waters around Greenland is that they are upside down. Warm, salty water, which is heavy, sits below a layer of cold, fresh water from the Arctic Ocean. That means the warm water is down deep, and glaciers sitting in deep water could be in trouble.

As the warm water attacks marine glaciers (glaciers that extend into the ocean), the ice tends to break and calve, retreating toward land. In some cases, the glaciers retreat until their grounding line coincides with the shore. But in other cases the undulating surface allows warm water to wear the glacier underside for long distances and thereby increase the risk of large calving events.

Oftentimes, when glaciers near the coast break off they uncork other ice that can then more easily flow into the oceans.

Click here to read the rest

February 27, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Trump’s associates and USA conservatives to wage war on environmentalists

Conservatives predict ‘real war’ with environmentalists http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060050477  Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter   Greenwire: Thursday, February 23, 2017 People who question the science of climate change today told conservative activists they were looking forward to using their bigger platform during the Trump administration to roll back U.S. EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a panel of prominent global warming skeptics said one of their top targets was the Obama administration’s 2009 endangerment finding, the basis for EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

“It’s going to be a real war with environmentalists, no question about that,” said Steve Milloy, who says he served on President Trump’s EPA transition but was not listed on the administration’s official landing team for the agency. “There’s going to be a lot of litigation. But we’re going to move EPA in the right direction.”

Milloy said “nothing’s made me prouder than the fact that Donald Trump is now president” because Republicans as a whole had been lukewarm in their support of climate skeptics prior to Trump, who once called climate change a Chinese hoax.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute sponsored the panel this morning in one of the side ballrooms at CPAC, happening outside Washington. Appearing on the panel with Milloy were James Delingpole and Tony Heller. All three have questioned whether human-caused climate change is occurring.

Delingpole, an executive editor at the Breitbart News Network, likened environmentalism to a religion and recycling advocates to a “cult.”  The environmental movement, he told the conservative audience, was full of “control freaks” looking for a scientific justification “to tax us, to regulate us, to control our lives.”

Heller, who also goes by the pseudonym Steven Goddard, accused the government of faking statistics to make people believe in “absurd” and “fake news” climate change.

He claimed that conservatives who don’t believe in climate change have been treated like women who were accused of being witches in the 1600s. “Right now, conservatives get blamed for every bad weather event and for climate change, right. It’s our fault,” he said. “But hundreds of years ago, it was witches who were blamed for it.”

‘Scumbags’

The treatment of people who don’t believe in man-made warming is about to change during the Trump administration, Delingpole said. “The people who portray people like us as selfish, greedy, nature-hating scumbags — no. They are the scumbags. We are the good guys,” Delingpole said. “Thank goodness, thanks to Donald Trump, the tide’s turned, and we are about to witness that.”

Along with questioning federal climate change science, panelists also said they were skeptical of EPA research on everything from air pollution to pesticides.  Milloy, who led a crusade against EPA’s risk assessment of secondhand smoke, said he hoped the Trump administration would completely end scientific research at the agency, accusing it of paying for “the science it wants.”

An agency “can’t be responsible for producing science and then regulating” based on that science, Milloy said.Being selected to EPA’s transition team was “a dream come true after fighting EPA for 25 years,” he said.

Conservatives are starting to see the fruits of the advice of that transition team, beginning with the confirmation of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, he said.

Under the Trump administration, Milloy said, warming skeptics would get to participate in debates over killing President Obama’s key climate policies, including the endangerment finding, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2014.

“The endangerment finding needs to be repealed,” he said. “If it’s not, then President Trump is going to be forced to issue his own climate policy.”

John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, slammed the panel in a series of tweets.

“This is alt-reality, folks,” he said.

Twitter: @apeterka Email: areilly@eenews.net

February 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Attacks on climate scientists will continue

Climate scientists face harassment, threats and fears of ‘McCarthyist attacks’
Researchers will have to deal with attacks from a range of powerful foes in the coming years – and for many, it has already started “…….
The Texas Tech University professor Katharine Hayhoe, who has gathered a healthy following for her Facebook posts that mix climate science with evangelism, has opened her inbox to missives including “Nazi Bitch Whore Climatebecile” and a request that she “stop using Jesus to justify your wacko ideas about global warming”.

Threats and badgering of climate scientists peaked after the theft and release of the “Climategate” emails – a 2009 scandal that was painfully thin on scandal. But the organized effort to pry open cracks in the overwhelming edifice of proof that humans are slowly baking the planet never went away. Scientists are now concerned that the election of Donald Trump has revitalized those who believe climate researchers are cosseted fraudsters.

Mann said climate scientists “fear an era of McCarthyist attacks on our work and our integrity”. The odd unfulfilled threat may be perturbing but a more morale-sapping fear is that the White House and Congress will dig up and parade seemingly unflattering emails, sideline or scrap research and attempt to hush the scientific community…..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/22/climate-change-science-attacks-threats-trump

February 25, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Effect of air pollution might have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170223124327.htm February 23, 2017

Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
sea-ice-meltingfHumans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century.

Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century. The new results challenge the perception that Arctic sea ice extent was unperturbed by human-caused climate change until the 1970s.

Scientists have observed Arctic sea ice loss since the mid-1970s and some climate model simulations have shown the region was losing sea ice as far back as 1950. In a new study, recently recovered Russian observations show an increase in sea ice from 1950 to 1975 as large as the subsequent decrease in sea ice observed from 1975 to 2005. The new observations of mid-century sea ice expansion led researchers behind the new study to the search for the cause.

The new study supports the idea that air pollution is to blame for the observed Arctic sea ice expansion. Particles of air pollution that come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels may have temporarily hidden the effects of global warming in the third quarter of the 20th Century in the eastern Arctic, the researchers say.

These particles, called sulfate aerosols, reflect sunlight back into space and cool the surface. This cooling effect may have disguised the influence of global warming on Arctic sea ice and may have resulted in sea ice growth recorded by Russian aerial surveys in the region from 1950 through 1975, according to the new research.

“The cooling impact from increasing aerosols more than masked the warming impact from increasing greenhouse gases,” said John Fyfe, a senior scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada in Victoria and a co-author of the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

To test the aerosol idea, researchers used computer modeling to simulate sulfate aerosols in the Arctic from 1950 through 1975. Concentrations of sulfate aerosols were especially high during these years before regulations like the Clean Air Act limited sulfur dioxide emissions that produce sulfate aerosols.

The study’s authors then matched the sulfate aerosol simulations to Russian observational data that suggested a substantial amount of sea ice growth during those years in the eastern Arctic. The resulting simulations show the cooling contribution of aerosols offset the ongoing warming effect of increasing greenhouse gases over the mid-twentieth century in that part of the Arctic. This would explain the expansion of the Arctic sea ice cover in those years, according to the new study.

Aerosols spend only days or weeks in the atmosphere so their effects are short-lived. The weak aerosol cooling effect diminished after 1980, following the enactment of clean air regulations. In the absence of this cooling effect, the warming effect of long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide has prevailed, leading to Arctic sea ice loss, according to the study’s authors.

The new study helps sort out the swings in Arctic sea ice cover that have been observed over the last 75 years, which is important for a better understanding of sea ice behavior and for predicting its behavior in the future, according to Fyfe.

The new study’s use of both observations and modeling is a good way to attribute the Arctic sea ice growth to sulfate aerosols, said Cecilia Bitz, a sea ice researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle who has also looked into the effects of aerosols on Arctic ice. The sea ice record prior to satellite images is “very sparse,” added Bitz, who was not involved in the new study.

Bitz also points out that some aerosols may have encouraged sea ice to retreat. Black carbon, for instance, is a pollutant from forest fires and other wood and fossil fuel burning that can darken ice and cause it to melt faster when the sun is up — the opposite effect of sulfates. Also, black carbon emissions in some parts of the Arctic are still quite common, she said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Geophysical Union.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Media war against climate scientists – Mail on Sunday (UK) launches new attack

climate-changeMail on Sunday launches the first salvo in the latest war against climate scientists  https://www.skepticalscience.com/rose-launches-first-salvo-latest-war-against-climate-scientists.html 7 February 2017 by John Abraham

In this new political era, climate scientists and their science are under attack. The attack is from multiple fronts, from threats to pull funding of the important instruments they use to measure climate change, to slashing their salaries and jobs. But there is a real fear of renewed personal attacks, and it appears those fears are now being realized. What the attackers do is identify and isolate scientists – a process termed the “Serengeti Strategy” by well-known and respected scientist Michael Mann who suffered these types of attacks for years.

The author of the recent attack piece, David Rose in the UK, has a history of denying the well-established science of climate change. He has a long history of making incorrect climate change statements. In the attack, Mr. Rose claims that scientists used misleading data in a recent (2015) paper that studied the rate of temperature change across the globe. He reportedly obtained information from someone who works at NOAA to imply that internal review procedures were not followed as the paper was prepared for publication. What Mr. Rose omitted however, is incredibly telling and he does a disservice to his readers.

First, he neglects to mention that the work from the 2015 paper authored by Dr. Thomas Karl and others at NOAA has already been independently verified by other researchers.

The second thing Rose neglects to mention is that his story’s source was never involved any part of the work. According to a colleague of the authors Peter Thorne, this source:

never participated in any of the numerous technical meetings on the land or marine data I have participated in at NOAA NCEI either in person or remotely. This shows in his reputed (I am taking the journalist at their word that these are directly attributable quotes) misrepresentation of the processes that actually occurred. In some cases these misrepresentations are publically verifiable.

Mr. Rose further neglects to mention that Dr. Karl was not involved in the development of the critical sea surface temperature data that was used in the study. That information was already published before the Karl paper appeared.

The attack piece also claims that the scientists discarded high-quality temperature measurements in favor of low quality data. This claim is demonstrably false, as described here and here.

The lengths to which Mr. Rose goes in his attack are disheartening and dishonest. He includes a graph that appears to show two temperature results that disagree. When they are replotted correctly, as temperature anomalies with correct baselines, the discrepancy disappears. This finding shows that the NOAA results from 2015 actually agree extremely well with data from other institutions.

Click here to read the rest

February 10, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, UK | Leave a comment

Trump’s attitude to science is like Stalin’s , says Australia’s Chief Scientist

Australia’s chief scientist compares Trump to Stalin over climate censorship
finkel-alanAlan Finkel warns that forcing EPA data to undergo political review before publication will ‘cause long-term harm’,
Guardian, , 7 Feb 17, Australia’s chief scientist has slammed Donald Trump’s attempt to censor environmental data, saying the US president’s behaviour was comparable to the manipulation of science by the Soviet Union.

Speaking at a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday, Alan Finkel warned science was “literally under attack” in the United States and urged his colleagues to keep giving “frank and fearless” advice despite the political opposition.

“The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from last week going forward has to undergo review by political appointees before that data can be published on the EPA website or elsewhere,” he said.

“It defies logic. It will almost certainly cause long-term harm. It’s reminiscent of the censorship exerted by political officers in the old Soviet Union.

“Every military commander there had a political officer second-guessing his decisions.”

Last month Trump’s administration mandated that any studies or data from scientists at the EPA undergo review by political appointeesbefore they can be released to the public.

The communications director for Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said the review also extended to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing the Earth’s climate was warming and human-induced carbon emissions were to blame.

Finkel compared the Trump administration’s attempt to censor science to the behaviour of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

“Soviet agricultural science was held back for decades because of the ideology of Trofim Lysenko, who was a proponent of Lamarckism,” he said……..https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/06/australias-chief-scientist-compares-trump-to-stalin-over-climate-censorship

February 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Global warming might accelerate, due to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, “El Tío” (the uncle)

climate-changeMeet El Niño’s cranky uncle that could send global warming into hyperdrive, The Conversation, Research Fellow in Climate and Water Resources, University of Melbourne, Climate Extremes Research Fellow, University of Melbourne                                 , Science Fellow, Met Office Hadley Centre   Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of MelbourneSenior Research Scientist, CSIRO, PhD student, University of Melbourne      February 6, 2017

You’ve probably heard about El Niño, the climate system that brings dry and often hotter weather to Australia over summer.

You might also know that climate change is likely to intensify drought conditions, which is one of the reasons climate scientists keep talking about the desperate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the damaging consequences if we don’t.

El Niño is driven by changes in the Pacific Ocean, and shifts around with its opposite, La Niña, every 2-7 years, in a cycle known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO.

But that’s only part of the story. There’s another important piece of nature’s puzzle in the Pacific Ocean that isn’t often discussed.

It’s called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, or IPO, a name coined by a study which examined how Australia’s rainfall, temperature, river flow and crop yields changed over decades.

Since El Niño means “the boy” in Spanish, and La Niña “the girl”, we could call the warm phase of the IPO “El Tío” (the uncle) and the negative phase “La Tía” (the auntie).

These erratic relatives are hard to predict. El Tío and La Tía phases have been compared to a stumbling drunk. And honestly, can anyone predict what a drunk uncle will say at a family gathering?

What is El Tío?

Like ENSO, the IPO is related to the movement of warm water around the Pacific Ocean. Begrudgingly, it shifts its enormous backside around the great Pacific bathtub every 10-30 years, much longer than the 2-7 years of ENSO.

The IPO’s pattern is similar to ENSO, which has led climate scientists to think that the two are strongly linked. But the IPO operates on much longer timescales.

We don’t yet have conclusive knowledge of whether the IPO is a specific climate mechanism, and there is a strong school of thought which proposes that it is a combination of several different mechanisms in the ocean and the atmosphere.

Despite these mysteries, we know that the IPO had an influence on the global warming “hiatus” – the apparent slowdown in global temperature increases over the early 2000s……….

Since about the year 2000, some of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases has been getting buried in the deep Pacific Ocean, leading to a slowdown in global warming over about the last 15 years. It appears as though we have a kind auntie, La Tía perhaps, who has been cushioning the blow of global warming. For the time being, anyway.

The flip side of our kind auntie is our bad-tempered uncle, El Tío. He is partly responsible for periods of accelerated warming, like the period from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.

The IPO has been in its “kind auntie” phase for well over a decade now. But the IPO could be about to flip over to El Tío. If that happens, it is not good news for global temperatures – they will accelerate upwards……….

more work needs to be done to predict the next shift in the IPO and climate change. This is the topic of a new set of experiments that are going to be part the next round of climate model comparisons.

With further model development and new observations of the deep ocean available since 2005, scientists will be able to more easily answer some of these important questions.

Whatever the case, cranky old El Tío is waiting just around the corner. His big stick is poised, ready to give us a massive hiding: a swift rise in global temperatures over the coming decades. https://theconversation.com/meet-el-ninos-cranky-uncle-that-could-send-global-warming-into-hyperdrive-72360

February 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

A Washington State judge uses doubt on climate change as legal cause to block a climate activist’s defense

text-cat-question

 

Would  any judge question a  medical expert’s evidence in the way that this judge doubts the evidence of the world’s climate scientists? Then again – they do say that “the law is an ass”

Judge in environmental activist’s trial says climate change is matter of debate
Controversial statements angered environmentalists who insist courts have an obligation to recognize the science about manmade climate change,
Guardian,   31 Jan 17, A Washington state judge has sparked outrage for remarks questioning the existence of climate change and the role of humans in global warming.

During the high-profile trial of Ken Ward, a climate activist facing 30 years in prison for shutting down an oil pipeline, Judge Michael E Rickert said: “I don’t know what everybody’s beliefs are on [climate change], but I know that there’s tremendous controversy over the fact whether it even exists. And even if people believe that it does or it doesn’t, the extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.”

The Skagit County judge made the comments on 24 January while addressing Ward’s request to present a “necessity defense” in court, meaning he would argue that the grave threat of climate change justified civil disobedience.

Rickert’s controversial statements, along with his decision to block Ward from arguing that his pipeline protest was necessary to prevent harm to the planet, angered environmentalists who insist that American courts have an obligation to recognize the science and consensus among researchers about man-made climate change.

“I thought it was shocking and deeply worrisome for my case,” said Ward, 60, of Corbett, Oregon, who temporarily shut off the safety valve of the TransMountain pipeline in Skagit County. “We are in the late stages of global collapse, and to have someone who is presumably as knowledgeable and aware as a judge should be blithely dismissing the biggest problem facing the world is chilling.”

Ward, whose trial began on Monday, is part of a group of activists that targeted oil sands pipelines in Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota on 11 October 2016. The coordinated #ShutItDown actions – which have led to a dozen criminal cases and threats of hefty prison sentences against activists and journalists – was aimed at stopping 15% of US crude oil imports for a day.

He later added that with climate change, there’s “great controversy” with “over half of our political leaders”. (Critics have slammed the GOP as the “only major party in the advanced world” to deny climate change)……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/environmental-activist-trial-judge-questions-climate-change-ken-ward

February 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

America’s EPA head announces pullout from a global pact to cut emissions

U.S. will change course on climate policy, says former EPA transition head Reuters, By Nina Chestney |30 JAN 17  LONDON The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration.

Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA’s transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation.

He alarmed nations that backed the 2015 Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases by pledging to pull the United States out of the global deal agreed by nearly 200 countries. However, Trump told the New York Times in November that he had an “open mind” on the agreement.

Trump’s administration has asked the EPA to halt all contracts, grants and interagency agreements pending a review, sources said.

“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy. Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package,” Ebell told reporters in London on Monday.

The top energy official for the European Union, meanwhile, said he hoped that Trump would stick to the Paris deal……..http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-epa-idUSKBN15E1MM

February 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Joint Statements on Climate Change from National Academies of Science Around the World

climate-change
Skeptical Science 27 January 2017  This is a re-post from Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

National academies of sciences from around the world have published formal statements and declarations acknowledging the state of climate science, the fact that climate is changing, the compelling evidence that humans are responsible, and the need to debate and implement strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Not a single national science academy disputes or denies the scientific consensus around human-caused climate change. A few examples of joint academy statements since 2000 on climate are listed here. Many national academies have, in addition, published their own reports and studies on climate issues. These are not included here.

The Science of Climate Change (Statement of 17 National Science Academies, 2001)

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5520/1261

Following the release of the third in the ongoing series of international reviews of climatescience conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chang (IPCC), seventeen national science academies issued a joint statement, entitled “The Science of Climate Change,” acknowledging the IPCC study to be the scientific consensus on climate changescience.

The seventeen signatories were:

  • Australian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
  • Brazilian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Society of Canada
  • Caribbean Academy of Sciences
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • French Academy of Sciences
  • German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina
  • Indian National Science Academy
  • Indonesian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Irish Academy
  • Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy)
  • Academy of Sciences Malaysia
  • Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Turkish Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Society (UK)

Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change(Statement of 11 National Science Academies, 2005)

http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

Eleven national science academies, including all the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, signed a statement that the scientific understanding of climate change was sufficiently strong to justify prompt action. The statement explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus and stated:

“…there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.”………

Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change(Statement of 11 National Science Academies, 2005)

http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf………

 

Joint science academies’ statement on Growth and responsibility: sustainability, energy efficiency and climate protection (Statement of 13 National Science Academies, 2007)

http://www.pik-potsdam.de/aktuelles/nachrichten/dateien/G8_Academies%20Declaration.pdf……..

A joint statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change(Statement of 13 individual National Science Academies and the African Academy of Sciences, 2007)

http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=4825………..

 

Zmian klimatu, globalnego ocieplenia i ich alarmujących skutkow: “Climate change, global warming and its alarming consequences” (Statement of the Polish Academy of Sciences, December 2007)

http://bit.ly/2jwgtNL………

 

Joint Science Academies’ Statement: Climate Change Adaptation and the Transition to a Low Carbon Society (Statement of 13 National Academies of Sciences, June 2008)

http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/climatechangestatement.pdf……..

 

Climate change and the transformation of energy technologies for a low carbon future (Statement of 13 National Academies of Sciences, May 2009)

http://www.leopoldina.org/en/press/press-releases/press-release/press/713/………

Health Effects of Climate Change (Statement of the Inter Academy Medical Panel/42 National Academies of Sciences, 2010)

http://www.leopoldina.org/de/publikationen/detailansicht/publication/health-effects-of-climate-change-2010/………

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (Joint Statement of the Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, February 2014)

http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/events/a-discussion-on-climate-change-evidence-and-causes/……..

Position de l’Académie sur les Changements Climatiques (Statement of the Académie Royale des Science, des Lettres & des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, November 12, 2014)

https://t.co/SZT9VvU8vx………

 

U.K. Science Communiqué on Climate Change (Joint Statement of the Royal Society and member organizations, July 2015)

https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF…….

 

Facing critical decisions on climate change (Joint Statement of the European Academies Science Advisory Council and its 29 members, 2015)

http://www.leopoldina.org/de/publikationen/detailansicht/publication/facing-critical-decisions-on-climate-change-in-2015/

Facing critical decisions on climate change in 2015

The science of climate change reported by the IPCC Fourth Assessment (2007) and Fifth Assessment (2014) have been thoroughly evaluated by numerous national academies (e.g. Royal Society/National Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) and by international bodies. Advances in science and technology have increased our knowledge of how to mitigate climate change, uncertainties in the scientific analysis continue to be addressed, co-benefits of mitigation to health have been revealed, and new business opportunities have been found. EASAC remains concerned, however, that progress in turning this substantial evidence base into an international policy response has so far failed to match the full magnitude and urgency of the problem

Even if emissions of GHG stopped altogether, existing concentrations of GHG in the atmosphere would continue to exert a warming effect for a long time. Whatever measures are put in place to reduce the intensity of global human-induced climate forcing, building resilience through adaptation will be necessary to provide more resilience to the risks already emerging as a result of climate change…

Signatories/Members of the European Academies Science Advisory Council

  • Academia Europaea
  • All European Academies (ALLEA)
  • The Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium
  • The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • The Czech Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
  • The Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • TheCouncil of Finnish Academies
  • The German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • The Academy of Athens
  • The Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Irish Academy
  • The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
  • The Latvian Academy of Sciences
  • The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • The Polish Academy of Sciences
  • The Academy of Sciences of Lisbon
  • The Romanian Academy
  • The Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • The Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
  • The Royal Society
  • The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) (Observer)

 

[This list is not a complete summary of the many individual or joint statements of national academies of sciences. Please send additions and corrections to pgleick@pacinst.orghttps://www.skepticalscience.com/joint-statements-on-climate-change-from-nas-around-world.html

January 30, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

European Union will remain top investor against climate change, regardless of Donald Trump

poster-climate-Francehttp://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-eib-idUSKBN1581IT BFrancesco Guarascio | BRUSSELS, 29 Jan 17   The European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending institution, will maintain a target of investing around 20 billion dollars a year to fight climate change over the next five years, it said on Tuesday, sending a warning to climate skeptics.

Climate investment is already about a quarter of EIB total loans. Last year the bank lent 83.8 billion euros ($90 billion), of which 19 billion went to projects to counter climate change.

“We, Europeans, must lead the free world against climate skeptics,” the EIB president Werner Hoyer said at a news conference in Brussels.

While he did not mention Donald Trump directly, the new U.S. president has promised to bolster the U.S. oil, gas and coal industries, in part by undoing federal regulations curbing carbon dioxide emissions. He has also suggested pulling out of a global climate change pact signed in Paris in 2015, calling it expensive for U.S. industry.

World temperatures hit a record high for the third year in a row in 2016, the World Meteorological Organisation said last week.

Hoyer said the bank would maintain ambitious targets against global warming. “We aim to provide $100 billion for climate action over the next five years, the largest contribution of any single multilateral institution,” he said.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is adding to EIB’s concerns, as it is one of the four main shareholders of the bank, holding about 16 percent of its shares.

Only EU member states can be EIB shareholders. Hoyer said the Brexit impact on the bank “is completely unclear” but he did not rule out the possibility of changing rules to allow Britain to remain a shareholder even after Brexit – an option that would need approval from London and the other 27 EU capitals.

Hoyer said in the two years of Brexit negotiations, expected to start in March, the bank will remain in “limbo”.

“We will be missed in the UK if we had to reduce our business there or disappear completely,” Hoyer added. Last year, the bank lent to Britain more than 7 billion euros.

He said that, contrary to other large EU states, Britain has no national promotional bank and “relies heavily” on EIB funding for certain investments in infrastructure and other projects. The EIB already now invests outside the EU, but its lending is mostly concentrated on Europe. Hoyer said Britain could remain a recipient of EIB lending after leaving the EU, but “it is a question of dimension”.

He urged negotiators to be constructive and avoid “further damage” to existing projects funded by the bank in Britain.

($1 = 0.9312 euros)   (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alison Williams)

January 30, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

People are tweeting ClimateFacts since EPA workers can’t

By John D. Sutter, CNN January 26, 2017 Source: Employees terrified by EPA lockdow  John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on SnapchatTwitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

Trump Wants “Alternative Facts” on Climate Change. We Saved the Real Ones.

 trump-burning-booksDaily KosBy Paul Bland for Public Justice  Thursday Jan 26, 2017 ·”……Today, the new White House team is taking a deeply troubling step to hide the truth by shuttering the EPA’s climate change website and, by extension, deleting volumes of important scientific information. And it is part of a very troubling pattern: President Trump once famously proclaimed that climate change was an idea “created by and for the Chinese.” And, in an all-out assault on science and reality, he has nominated Scott Pruitt – a man so extreme that we broke 35 years of silence on cabinet nominees to oppose his nomination – to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment