Global sea level rise “accelerating a little every year”

Griff on sea level rise:


Research team detects an acceleration in the 25-year satellite sea level record:

Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady 3 mm per year, it’s accelerating a little every year, like a driver merging onto a highway, according to a powerful new assessment led by CIRES Fellow Steve Nerem. He and his colleagues harnessed 25 years of satellite data to calculate that the rate is increasing by about 0.08 mm/year every year—which could mean an annual rate of sea level rise of 10 mm/year, or even more, by 2100.

“This acceleration, driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate—to more than 60 cm instead of about 30.” said Nerem, who is also a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “And this is almost certainly a conservative estimate,” he added. “Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that’s not likely.”.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-year-satellite-sea.html#jCp

U.S. Climate Envoy Jonathan Pershing: Five Feet Of Sea Level Rise By 2050 Possible
The mood in Marrakech was somber when top climate envoy for President Barack Obama Jonathan Pershing dropped a bombshell on observers gathered there: The rapid warming in polar regions the world is now witnessing may result in five feet—or 1.5 meters— of sea level rise by 2050.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/daphne-wysham/us-climate-envoy-jonathan_b_13070296.html

Think sea level rise will be moderate and something we can all plan for? Think again.

Sea levels could rise by much more than originally anticipated, and much faster, according to new data being collected by scientists studying the melting West Antarctic ice sheet – a massive sheet the size of Mexico.

That revelation was made by an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday at the annual RIMS conference for risk management and insurance professionals in San Diego, Calif.

The conference is being attended by more than 10,000 people, according to organizers. It was day No. 3 of the conference, which ends Wednesday.

Margaret Davidson, NOAA’s senior advisor for coastal inundation and resilience science and services, and Michael Angelina, executive director of the Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, offered their take on climate change data in a conference session titled “Environmental Intelligence: Quantifying the Risks of Climate Change.”

Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of seal level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100..

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/12/405089.htm

“Climate change is one of the most significant challenges”

Opposition spokesperson for climate change, Todd Muller: Climate change a significant challenge

As we begin 2018, I have a request to my counterpart, Minister James Shaw, to ensure the significant climate change discussions that await both Parliament and communities all across New Zealand this year are anchored in sound evidence and supported by considered reflection, not adversarial rhetoric.

As opposition spokesman, I accept climate change is one of the most significant challenges confronting the globe over the next 50 years and will likely be a high profile domestic issue over the course of the next 12 months – particularly as the Government embarks on consultation regarding both our current emissions targets and the establishment of an independent climate commission.

But it is crucial that these discussions are characterised by respect for differing views and proven evidence.

I wish that more policies debated in Parliament and and in political forums was anchored in sound evidence, supported by considered reflection, and respected differing views.

 I welcome climate change being front and centre in 2018, but it must be informed by the best available science and practice, and continue to have the feel of proportionality.

If this is the general sort of approach by opposition MPs then this term could be a significant improvement on past terms.

North Island storm

We’ve only had a small amount of rain, a bit more breeze and a bit of cooling in the south, but there has been a major storm affecting much of the North Island and upper South Island.

Stuff:  Deadly storm causes travel chaos amid evacuations and widespread flooding

A woman has died after a tree fell on to a car in Rotorua, as a storm brings devastation and travel chaos to large parts of the country.

Niwa said 41mm of rain had fallen in Auckland since 9am on Thursday – more than the total amount of rain in November and December combined.

The wild weather prompted Air New Zealand to cancel or delay all regional flights. Flights in and out of Tauranga and Rotorua were also cancelled, with many more delayed.

The ASB Classic tennis tournament was a washout for a second day in Auckland, and the final won’t be played until Sunday.

The storm, which had entered into its second day, had caused widespread damage across much of the North Island and upper South Island.

Stuff: From drought scare to deluge despair: The science of the storm

After a period of calm, dry weather for much of the country, in which century old records for dryness were toppled, the furious storm from the north seemed to come out of the blue.

What may at first seem like atmospheric whiplash was actually a case of cause and effect – and may be a taste of things to come.

The sub-tropical low roaming down the country, which formed earlier in the week near Queensland in Australia, is the most significant storm to hit New Zealand in many months.

Part of the storm’s intensity, however, can be traced back much further, to the settled days of late November when much of the country was cloaked in sunshine and worrying about drought.

A weather pattern consistent with La Niña caused arm temperatures and widespread dryness, particularly in the south. It didn’t rain at all in Christchurch for more than 40 days, an effect which spread like a halo to much of Canterbury where rainfall totals for the month were in single digits. In Milford Sound, the wettest part of the country, it didn’t rain for 23 straight days.

Those warm, dry, and settled conditions contributed to an unusual phenomena: a marine heat wave, in which sea temperatures around New Zealand were about 2 degrees Celsius warmer than average.

Off the west coast, in the Tasman Sea, temperatures were as much as 6C above normal – at the time, it was the largest sea temperature anomaly in the world.

When weather conditions are settled – effectively meaning a lack of wind – there is no mechanism for deeper, colder water to come to the ocean’s surface, which keeps the seas warm, says Niwa scientist Chris Brandolino.

“Warm ocean temperatures release a lot of heat and a lot of energy into the atmosphere, and if you have a storm or a low pressure passing over that, it can provide the necessary energy to really ramp up the intensity of the storm”.

“In other words, if the same storm were to pass over waters that were cooler than average, as opposed to warmer than average, I’d be shocked if we got a similar result.”

That effect is a major reason why climate scientists say rising temperatures will increase the intensity of extreme weather events: warmer oceans can empower storms, potentially increasing rainfall amounts and wind speeds.

Stuff:  Living on the Edge: What climate change means for Taranaki

The climate change debate has hogged headlines recently but its influence on humanity is undeniable. In the first of a six-part series called Living on the Edge, reporter Deena Coster takes a deeper look at what it means for Taranaki.

The rough and rugged Taranaki coastline will be unrecognisable in 100 years’ time.

Houses once dotted along the coast will be lost, as coastal erosion and rising sea levels steal away the very land they rest on.

Creating a clear understanding of which areas of New Zealand are vulnerable to sea level changes is at the heart of a new $8m study.

For the next five years, the NZ SeaRise Programme will attempt to provide accurate estimates of the magnitude and rate of sea level rise for coastal regions to the end of this century and beyond.

Detailed maps will be drawn up from the data in order to show larger seaside settlements where its vulnerabilities lie.

One involved in the study is Professor Tim Naish, of the Antarctic Research Centre, based at Victoria University of Wellington.

He says regardless of what changes are implemented now, a 50cm sea rise by 2100 is unavoidable.

“That’s built in; we can’t avoid that.”

In Taranaki, Naish says rivers like the Waitara, Waiwhakaiho and Te Henui are going to rise, creating a flooding risk to low lying areas nearby.  The frequency of big storms hitting the region is also likely to increase.

Coastal erosion is another biggie.

Naish says adapting or doing something to protect itself is something local authorities are grappling with around the country.

Damage done to property and infrastructure through the effects of climate change, or budgeting to protect key assets, can represent a “big economic cost” to councils, but this needs to be balanced against the consequences of doing nothing, he says.

The social toll also can’t be ignored, including the potential relocation of communities away from at-risk areas in future years.

“That’s where it gets really difficult.”

 

2017 second hottest year recorded

There were indications through last year that it was likely to be one of the warmest on record, and that has been confirmed. Climate change/global warming is a growing concern for the well being of Earth and potentially for the future of the human race, which has been rapidly overpopulating the planet.

Stuff:  2017 was Earth’s second hottest year on record

Last year was Earth’s second hottest on record, just behind 2016.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service, the first major international weather agency to report on conditions in 2017, said temperatures averaged 14.7 degrees Celsius at the Earth’s surface – 1.2C above pre-industrial times.

Sixteen of the 17 warmest years have all been this century.

2017 was the hottest non El Niño year, and the third warmest ever recorded.

Scientific American:  The Top 7 Climate Findings of 2017

As the potential effects of climate change are seen around the world – from starving polar bears to record-breaking storms – interest in climate science is soaring. Scientists are digging into the “how,” “why” and “what’s next” of global temperatures, melting ice, emission sources and sinks, changing weather patterns, and rising seas.

The last year has seen major breakthroughs and advancements in climate research. Here are some of the biggest findings reported by scientists in 2017.

Temperatures and carbon concentrations are breaking records

In January, both NOAA and NASA officially confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. It’s the third time in a row that record has been broken – 2015 and 2014 were both determined to be the hottest years ever observed.

Just two months later, in March, NOAA scientists announced that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are climbing at a record pace for the second year in a row.

Record low sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica

Early March is around the time when Arctic sea ice typically reaches its maximum extent. Turns out it was the lowest max extent ever recorded in 2017, reaching just 470,000 square miles. For comparison, the average extent between 1981 and 2010 was about 5.57 million square miles. It’s the third year in a row scientists have seen a record winter low in the Arctic.

Around the same time, scientists observed record low sea ice in the Antarctic.

Sea-level rise is on the upswing

Multiple studies this year suggested that sea-level rise is occurring faster, or may be more severe in the future, than previous estimates indicate. One of the more dire of these was just published last week in the journal Earth’s Future. It suggests that better accounting for some of the physical processes affecting ice loss in Antarctica could double the sea-level rise expected under severe climate change scenarios. Another paper, released in October, came to similar conclusions. It also assumes a severe future climate change trajectory, and it updated Antarctic ice sheet dynamics.

These are some of the grimmer portraits of the future published this year, and their most alarming predictions rely on high-emissions scenarios that are not necessarily guaranteed to occur. But even more tempered studies are suggesting that future sea-level rise could be worse than we thought.

Some have tried to play down the risks of climate change by claiming that CO2 emission and sea level rise predictions were too high – but as scientific knowledge increases it’s just as likely they could have been too low.

Speaking of ice, glaciers are calving like crazy

In July, one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded broke from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf and began drifting out to sea.

Just a few months later, in September, Antarctica’s massive Pine Island Glacier – which already pours about 45 billion tons of ice each year into the ocean – calved an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan, or about 100 square miles.

These are some of the most remarkable glacier calving events recorded this year, but they’re hardly the only ones. The U.S. Coast Guard announced this month that the number of icebergs recorded in the North Atlantic this year is nearly double what it was in 2016 – more than 1,000 total observed.

Generally speaking, it’s natural for glaciers to lose large icebergs every now and then. But as both air and ocean temperatures rise, scientists are observing growing amounts of ice loss from both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and increasing instability among glaciers that back up to the sea.

Earlier this year, NASA images revealed a large new ice crack in Greenland’s enormous Petermann Glacier, which has already lost several gigantic icebergs over the last seven years.

Major discoveries about carbon

Using satellite data, researchers found that tropical forests – until recently thought to be one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks – are actually a net carbon source. Due to deforestation and degradation, they’re emitting about 400 million metric tons of carbon into the air each year.

There’s still great uncertainty about many aspects of the Earth’s carbon cycle, particularly when it comes to natural sinks like forests or the ocean.

But scientists are getting better at closing the gap. For instance, a report issued earlier this year by scientists with the Joint Global Change Research Institute suggested that methane emissions from livestock may be 11 percent higher than previous estimates suggested – a value that could help explain an ongoing scientific mystery about why atmospheric methane concentrations seem to be on the rise.

That could have serious implications for New Zealand’s agriculture.

These disasters could not have occurred without warming

…this year marks the first time some of the papers concluded that an event could not have occurred – like, at all – in a world where global warming did not exist. The studies suggested that the record-breaking global temperatures in 2016, an extreme heat wave in Asia and a patch of unusually warm water in the Alaskan Gulf were only possible because of human-caused climate change.

Scientists say these are likely not the only events to occur strictly because of climate change. They’re just the first to be discovered.

Global emissions are on the rise – again

A November report from the Global Carbon Project found that carbon dioxide emissions are growing again after being flat for three years. The findings have dashed experts’ hopes that global emissions had possibly peaked for good.

The research projects that 2017 could see a 2 percent increase in the burning of fossil fuels, bringing this year’s human-caused emissions up to about 41 billion tons of carbon dioxide. The reason for the uptick lies largely with China, the report suggests, where increases in the consumption of coal, oil and natural gas have driven its 2017 emissions up by about 3.5 percent.

China has been reported as working hard on increasing renewable energy use – see How China is leading the renewable energy revolution – so this may turn around.

But there are a lot of other countries and factors involved, so warming and it’s effects, like sea level rise and increased number and intensity of storms, will be of ongoing concern.

“We could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming”

Once again it’s hard to tell whether Trump is showing his ignorance, or showing how adept he is at pandering to ignorant views.

Not prepared for the effects of climate change

Don’t worry, be happy?

If the Dunedin climate changes to have more of what we have had over the last month many won’t complain. But they will of we get more storms, floods, coastal erosion and droughts.

A report from the Ministry for the Environment has warned that New Zealand lacks a coordinated plan to deal with future climate change and sea level rise.

Belinda Storey, the Principal Investigator, Deep South National Science Challenge says Council’s have to deal with it.

She says it means either increasing rates to fund it or look to central government for support, but there has been no commitment from Government.

“Adapting to sea level rise is going to be expensive and at the moment, that responsibility is primarily falling on local government. They simply don’t have the resources to adapt to it fully.

“The few options that are available to them are to increase rates across the board to help fund adaptations that happens at the coast, or to look to central government for support.”

On the report (from Minister for the Environment, James Shaw): Climate Change Risks and Adaptation

New reports released today show a clearer picture of the scale and urgency we face over climate change, along with guidance on managing and adapting to the results of global warming, Climate Change Minister James Shaw says.

“It’s important that New Zealanders have a clear picture of the potential impacts of climate change so that communities, local and central government, business and other sectors of our economy can make well-informed decisions about how we build resilience and adapt,” says Mr Shaw.

The Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group’s Stocktake report shows the size of the task to build New Zealand’s resilience to rising sea levels, a warmer climate, extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The Working Group’s panel of experts includes representatives from central and local government, finance and insurance sectors, science and communities.

The Stocktake report shows that New Zealand has significant information about what is happening to our climate and the impacts of change. However, not all of this information is in forms that support decision-making and there are some key gaps in our knowledge.

The report also notes that New Zealand is in the early stages of planning and currently lacks a coordinated plan on how to adapt to climate change. While some sectors and areas are proactive, in general we react to events rather than preparing for them. The Coastal Hazards and Climate Change guidance, also released today, supports this work by providing clear guidance to councils and communities on how to manage and adapt to the increased coastal hazard risks posed by climate change and sea level rise.

The Guidance, produced by NIWA, will encourage good decision-making so that New Zealand faces fewer risks from climate change in coastal areas, in a way that is fair to residents and consistent around the country. Further work on adaptation is underway.

The Government’s Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group is working on a report which will make recommendations for how New Zealand can effectively adapt to the impacts of climate change. The report is due in March next year.

From the Ministry – Adapting to climate change in New Zealand: Stocktake report from the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group

This report is the first report prepared by the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group. It summarises the expected impacts of climate change on New Zealand over the medium and long term, takes stock of existing work on adaptation, and identifies gaps in New Zealand’s current approach.

In taking stock of the work already underway the Group identified three characteristics that need to be in place for effective adaptation to develop in New Zealand:

  • being informed about how our climate is changing and what this means for us
  • being organised, with a common goal, a planned approach, the right tools, and clear roles and responsibilities
  • taking dynamic action to proactively reduce exposure to the social, cultural, environmental and economic consequences of climate change.

The report concludes that New Zealand is in the early stages of planning for climate change with many positive initial steps being taken across a number of sectors – it is in the informed phase, with some areas having advanced to the organised phase.

The information in the report is current as at May 2017, when it was first delivered to the Minister for Climate Change Issues.

The report provides the evidence for the Group’s second report which will report on options for adapting to climate change and recommend how New Zealand can build resilience to the effects of climate change.

The report (PDF): Adapting to Climate Change in New Zealand

Scientists’ warning to humanity over health of planet

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

25 years on many scientists (and some politicians and others) believe that the world still faces major environmental challenges. So environmental scientist William Ripple and his colleagues created a new letter. Since it was published in the journal BioScience on Monday, hundreds more scientists have signed on.

The letter:


Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”. These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.”

In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.

They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

The authors of the 1992 declaration feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life. They described how we are fast approaching many of the limits of what the biosphere can tolerate without substantial and irreversible harm.

The scientists pleaded that we stabilize the human population, describing how our large numbers—swelled by another 2 billion people since 1992, a 35 percent increase—exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realize a sustainable future.

They implored that we cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation, and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.

Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production— particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014).

Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends.

Trends over time for environmental issues identified in the 1992 scientists’ warning to humanity. The years before and after the 1992 scientists’ warning are shown as gray and black lines, respectively.

Panel (a) shows emissions of halogen source gases, which deplete stratospheric ozone, assuming a constant natural emission rate of 0.11 Mt CFC-11-equivalent per year.

In panel (c), marine catch has been going down since the mid-1990s, but at the same time, fishing effort has been going up (supplemental file S1).

The vertebrate abundance index in panel (f) has been adjusted for taxonomic and geographic bias but incorporates relatively little data from developing countries, where there are the fewest studies; between 1970 and 2012, vertebrates declined by 58 percent, with freshwater, marine, and terrestrial populations declining by 81, 36, and 35 percent, respectively (file S1).

Five-year means are shown in panel (h).

In panel (i), ruminant livestock consist of domestic cattle, sheep, goats, and buffaloes.

Note that y-axes do not start at zero, and it is important to inspect the data range when interpreting each graph. Percentage change, since 1992, for the variables in each panel are as follows:
(a) –68.1%; (b) –26.1%; (c) –6.4%; (d) +75.3%; (e) –2.8%; (f) –28.9%; (g) +62.1%; (h) +167.6%; and (i) humans:
+35.5%, ruminant livestock: +20.5%.

We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017).

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.

As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life. With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome and political leaders compelled to do the right thing. It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and
other resources.

The rapid global decline in ozone depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger (www.worldbank.org). Other notable progress (which does not yet show up in the global data sets in figure 1) include the rapid decline in fertility rates in many regions attributable to investments in girls’ and women’s education (www.un.org/esa/population), the promising decline in the rate of deforestation in some regions, and the rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector.

We have learned much since 1992, but the advancement of urgently needed changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities is still far from sufficient. Sustainability transitions come about in diverse ways, and all require civil-society pressure and evidence based advocacy, political leadership, and a solid understanding of policy instruments, markets, and other drivers.

Examples of diverse and effective steps humanity can take to transition to sustainability include the following (not in order of importance or
urgency):

(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;

(b) maintaining nature’s ecosystemservices by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats;

(c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;

(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics;

(e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;

(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;

(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods;

(h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;

(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation
of nature;

(j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;

(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing
out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;

(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and

(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning.

Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our dayto-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

Full letter with supplemental files:

http://scientists.forestry.oregonstate.edu/sites/sw/files/Warning_article_with_supp_11-13-17.pdf

Climate related trends

NASA has several interesting trend animations in their Climate Time Machine.

Carbon Dioxide

September 2002:

Time Series: 2002-2016, image #0

This time series shows global changes in the concentration and distribution of carbon dioxide since 2002 at an altitude range of 1.9 to 8 miles. The yellow-to-red regions indicate higher concentrations of CO2, while blue-to-green areas indicate lower concentrations, measured in parts per million.

December 2016:

Time Series: 2002-2016, image #171

Global Temperature

1884:

Time Series: 1884 to 2016, image #0

This color-coded map shows a progression of changing global surface temperatures since 1884. Dark blue indicates areas cooler than average. Dark red indicates areas warmer than average.

2016:

Time Series: 1884 to 2016, image #132

Arctic Sea Ice

1979:

Time Series: 1979-2017, image #0

This visualization shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979. At the end of each summer, the sea ice cover reaches its minimum extent, leaving what is called the perennial ice cover. The area of the perennial ice has been steadily decreasing since the satellite record began in 1979

2017:

Time Series: 1979-2017, image #38

Obviously climate and it’s affects will fluctuate, and the climate is affected by more than man-made effects, but the trends and the human influence on them are a concern for the planet that needs ongoing monitoring and also mitigating efforts. The risk is too great to do nothing.

https://climate.nasa.gov/interactives/climate-time-machine

US Climate Science Special Report

Highlights of the Findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report:


The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The statements below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe.

Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.

This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.

For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.

Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. Sea level rise will be higher than the global average on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

Changes in the characteristics of extreme events are particularly important for human safety, infrastructure, agriculture, water quality and quantity, and natural ecosystems. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the United States and globally and is expected to continue to increase. The largest observed changes in the United States have occurred in the Northeast.

Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent. Recent record-setting hot years are projected to become common in the near future for the United States, as annual average temperatures continue to rise. Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.8°F (1.0°C) for the period 1901–2016; over the next few decades (2021–2050), annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F for the United States, relative to the recent past (average from 1976–2005), under all plausible future climate scenarios.

The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate changes, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.

Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States and these trends are expected to continue. Under higher scenarios, and assuming no change to current water resources management, chronic, long-durationhydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century.

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally. Without major reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature relative to preindustrial times could reach 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century. With significant reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature could be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) or less.

The global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has now passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continued growth in CO2 emissions over this century and beyond would lead to an atmospheric concentration not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years. There is broad consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some of which are potentially large and irreversible.

The observed increase in carbon emissions over the past 15–20 years has been consistent with higher emissions pathways. In 2014 and 2015, emission growth rates slowed as economic growth became less carbon-intensive. Even if this slowing trend continues, however, it is not yet at a rate that would limit global average temperature change to well below 3.6°F (2°C) above preindustrial levels.

A Summary of Advances Since NCA3

Advances in scientific understanding and scientific approach, as well as developments in global policy, have occurred since NCA3. A detailed summary of these advances can be found at the end of Chapter 1: Our Globally Changing Climate. Highlights of what aspects are either especially strengthened or are emerging in the current findings include

  • Detection and attribution: Significant advances have been made in the attribution of the human influence for individual climate and weather extreme events since NCA3. (Ch. 3678).
  • Atmospheric circulation and extreme events: The extent to which atmospheric circulation in the midlatitudes is changing or is projected to change, possibly in ways not captured by current climate models, is a new important area of research. (Ch. 567).
  • Increased understanding of specific types of extreme events: How climate change may affect specific types of extreme events in the United States is another key area where scientific understanding has advanced. (Chapter 9).
  • High-resolution global climate model simulations: As computing resources have grown, multidecadal simulations of global climate models are now being conducted at horizontal resolutions on the order of 15 miles (25 km) that provide more realistic characterization of intense weather systems, including hurricanes. (Chapter 9).
  • Oceans and coastal waters: Ocean acidification, warming, and oxygen loss are all increasing, and scientific understanding of the severity of their impacts is growing. Both oxygen loss and acidification may be magnified in some U.S. coastal waters relative to the global average, raising the risk of serious ecological and economic consequences. (Chapters 213).
  • Local sea level change projections: For the first time in the NCA process, sea level rise projections incorporate geographic variation based on factors such as local land subsidence, ocean currents, and changes in Earth’s gravitational field. (Chapter 12).
  • Accelerated ice-sheet loss: New observations from many different sources confirm that ice-sheet loss is accelerating. Combining observations with simultaneous advances in the physical understanding of ice sheets leads to the conclusion that up to 8.5 feet of global sea level rise is possible by 2100 under a higher scenario (RCP8.5), up from 6.6 feet in NCA3. (Chapter 12).
  • Low sea-ice areal extent: The annual arctic sea ice extent minimum for 2016 relative to the long-term record was the second lowest on record. The arctic sea ice minimums in 2014 and 2015 were also amongst the lowest on record. Since 1981, the sea ice minimum has decreased by 13.3% per decade, more than 46% over the 35 years. The annual arctic sea ice maximum in March 2017 was the lowest maximum areal extent on record. (Chapter 11).
  • Potential surprises: Both large-scale state shifts in the climate system (sometimes called “tipping points”) and compound extremes have the potential to generate unanticipated climate surprises. The further the Earth system departs from historical climate forcings, and the more the climate changes, the greater the potential for these surprises. (Chapter 15).
  • Mitigation: This report discusses some important aspects of climate science that are relevant to long-term temperature goals and different mitigation scenarios, including those implied by government announcements for the Paris Agreement. (Chapters 414).

Executive Summary

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/

Climate debate

ndrew BaileyWWF has organised an election climate debate, starting tonight at 7 pm.

We know it’s 100% possible to unlock a safe climate future for all New Zealanders. Climate action is bigger than politics – but it’s election season right now. Will political parties come together to set a course for a 100% renewable energy, zero carbon future? Or will climate action remain a political football?

WWF-New Zealand’s Climate Debate is your chance to find out.

  • What: This election’s big climate debate.
  • When7pm on 19 September

Brought to you in partnership with Oxfam New Zealand and Fossil Free University of Auckland, the Debate is your chance to learn about the parties’ climate policies – and ask your political representatives the questions that matter to you. We already have an exciting mixture of speakers from almost all of New Zealand’s key political parties coming along, just days before the election.

Business journalist Rod Oram will be your MC on the night,asking all the candidates the questions that matter for Aotearoa’s climate future.

Taking part:

  • Megan Woods (Labour),
  • James Shaw (Greens),
  • Carrie Stoddart-Smith (Māori Party),
  • Denis O’Rourke (NZ First),
  • Damien Light (United Future),
  • Teresa Moore (TOP)
  • Andrew Bailey (National)

Youtube was hopeless, but Facebook is working.