Global Warming: A Hot and Cold Topic

Compiled by Newsbyrd Staff –

(June 30, 2012)  Hardly more than a decade ago, one could find healthy debate -on both sides, concerning man-made global warming.  Even science had questions about the link between humans and long-term rising temperatures.  And although most supercomputer models did indeed correlate the two, there was always that odd-ball machine (or scientist), that said the opposite.

Today, the human-link argument is harder to argue unless you stumble upon a particular Republican Senator from Oklahoma or a CEO from one of the Big-5 oil companies.  The discussion today is more of a matter of degrees, specifically, when and how bad?  In the public domain there is also a lot of confusion between climatic cycles and global warming.  This is understandable. Not everyone is a climate scientist and earlier this month,  2,132 warm temperature records were set in the United States within a one week period.

Information on the subject is not hard to find.  The follow four articles were posted on the @newsbyrd twitter group, all within one hour of each other.

Warming Climate or Global Warming

weather map, global warmingDuring the June 22-to-28 period, there were 2,132 warm temperature records set or tied in the U.S., compared to 486 cold temperature records. This includes 267 monthly warm temperature records, and 54 all-time warm temperature records.

For the year-to-date, warm temperature records have been outpacing cold temperature records by about 7-to-1.

In a long-term trend that demonstrates the effects of a warming climate, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm. According to a 2009 study, if the climate were not warming, this ratio would be expected to be even. Other studies have shown that climate change increases the odds of extreme heat events and may make them warmer and longer lasting.

Source: Think Progress June 30, 2012

Waterways

Global warming has already significantly changed our Fraser River (Vancouver, Canada). Its waters are warming and its flows are shifting to earlier in the year. By summer when the legendary salmon runs surge into the river to spawn, the river is more often becoming too warm and low for their survival. Already more and more salmon are dying en route to the spawning grounds. Fishing quotas are being cut back to make up for it.

Experts predict far more “dramatic changes” lie ahead unless humans switch away from climate polluting energy sources. They say our salmon will be hard pressed to survive and thrive in the new overheated Fraser River we are creating.

The Fraser River drains a watershed larger than the state of Washington. The CO2 from the burning of oil, coal and natural gas has changed the climate significantly in this huge watershed. Average air temperatures are rising, average snowpack is declining and rainfall has changed throughout of the year. The river that drains his huge changing landscape is being changed as a result.

Source: The Vancouver Observer June 26, 2012

A Hot and Cold Topic, Depending on the Weather

“So much for global warming.” That’s quite possibly one of the most common phrases I hear every time New Zealand has a cold snap. It’s understandable people are confused by scientists telling us the world is heating up and to prepare for the worst, only to then be told August was the coldest on record.

melting glacier, global warmingHowever, there is a huge difference between what is gradually happening over a century, and the usual weather we’ll continue to receive over the next few decades.

From the scientists I’ve spoken to, it sounds as though New Zealand will be one of the better-placed nations to cope with and adapt to climate change. Some suggest we will become a warmer, tropical paradise that could see grapes grown across Waikato and Northland and a climate that has mild winters and hot, humid summers.

But we’re talking decades for this to happen, perhaps more than 100 years.

“Climate change is about a gradual shift in average conditions underlying the usual variations in the weather,” says Dr James Renwick, associate professor at Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Source: The New Zealand Herald  June 30, 2012

What Scientist Have to Say

The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450–600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era and inexorable sea level rise. Thermal expansion of the warming ocean provides a conservative lower limit to irreversible global average sea level rise of at least 0.4–1.0 m if 21st century CO2 concentrations exceed 600 ppmv and 0.6–1.9 m for peak CO2 concentrations exceeding ≈1,000 ppmv. Additional contributions from glaciers and ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise are uncertain but may equal or exceed several meters over the next millennium or longer.

Source: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Spawning Sockeye Salmon (YouTube)

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Posted by at June 30, 2012
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