Posts Tagged ‘NOAA’
Republican answer to every climate question
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time since measurements began, breaching a threshold not seen for 3 million years.
The main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming averaged 400.03 parts per million at a monitoring station on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano yesterday, according to data published today on the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. The administration’s data stretches back to 1958.
The reading is considered a landmark by scientists and environmentalists, who say carbon emissions caused by burning fossil fuels are warming the planet and must be reined in before they cause irreversible changes to weather, sea levels and Arctic ice cover.
“We are in the process of creating a prehistoric climate that humans have no evolutionary experience of,” Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment…
The last time CO2 levels were this high was at least 3 million years ago, he said. Then, “temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial times, the polar ice caps were much smaller, and sea levels were about 20 meters higher than today,” he said…
Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for as much as a century, so levels now may cause warming for decades. The concentration has now increased by more than 40 percent from the pre-industrial mark of 280 parts per million…
The United Nations in 2007 said stabilizing the gas at 400 ppm to 440 ppm may lead to a temperature gain of as much as 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s at odds with the goal set out by climate treaty negotiators from more than 190 nations, who have agreed to shoot for limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees. The global average has already risen by about 0.8 of a degree since pre-industrial times.
As usual, conservative politicians in the United States and their peers in the Flat Earth community pay no attention to landmarks like this – other than to pat themselves on the back for ignoring science. Pimps for the fossil fuel industries, their only notice of ongoing scientific research is to complain that it occurs at all.
In a parallel effect, we have already reached and surpassed the critical mass for stupidity, egregious politics and short-sighted incompetence in the Congress of the United States.
Sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2012 were the highest recorded in 150 years, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). These high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are the latest in a trend of above average temperature seen during the spring and summer seasons, and part of a pattern of elevated temperatures occurring in the Northwest Atlantic, but not seen elsewhere in the ocean basin over the past century…
Sea surface temperature in the region is based on both contemporary satellite remote-sensing data and long-term ship-board measurements, with historical SST conditions based on ship-board measurements dating back to 1854. The temperature increase in 2012 was the highest jump in temperature seen in the time series and one of only five times temperature has changed by more than 1 C…
“Changes in ocean temperatures and the timing and strength of spring and fall plankton blooms could affect the biological clocks of many marine species, which spawn at specific times of the year based on environmental cues like water temperature,” Kevin Friedland, a scientist in the NEFSC Ecosystem Assessment Program, said. He noted that the contrast between years with, and without, a fall bloom is emerging as an important driver of the shelf’s ecology. “The size of the spring plankton bloom was so large that the annual chlorophyll concentration remained high in 2012 despite low fall activity. These changes will have a profound impact throughout the ecosystem.”
Michael Fogarty, who heads the Ecosystem Assessment Program, says the abundance of fish and shellfish is controlled by a complex set of factors, and that increasing temperatures in the ecosystem make it essential to monitor the distribution of many species, some of them migratory and others not…”We now have information on the ecosystem from a variety of sources collected over a long period of time, and are adding more data to clarify specific details. The data clearly show a relationship between all of these factors.”
“What these latest findings mean for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem and its marine life is unknown,” Fogarty said. “What is known is that the ecosystem is changing, and we need to continue monitoring and adapting to these changes.”
What is also known is that the average political hack in Congress doesn’t care a tinker’s damn about these changes – or how they may result. So, a comprehensive political response to build understanding and education, policy and best practices among those who earn their livelihood from the Northeast seas – ain’t about to happen.
Wing foot pteropod
The shells of some marine snails in the seas around Antarctica are dissolving as the water becomes more acidic, threatening the food chain, said a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience…
Oceans soak up about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year and as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase from burning fossil fuels, so do ocean levels, making seas more acidic.
Ocean acidification is one of the effects of climate change and threatens coral reefs, marine ecosystems and wildlife.
The shell of the pteropod sea snail in the Southern Ocean was severely dissolved by more acidic surface water, the researchers from the British Antarctic Survey, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research…NOAA and other institutions found.
And although the snails did not necessarily die, it increased their vulnerability to predators and infection which could affect other parts of the food chain.
“The corrosive properties of the water caused shells of live animals to be severely dissolved and this demonstrates how vulnerable pteropods are,” said lead author Nina Bednaršek, from the NOAA.
…Until now, there has been little evidence of the impact of ocean acidification on such live organisms in their natural environment and the study supports predictions that acidification could have a significant effect on marine ecosystems…
Climate models forecast more intense winds in the Southern Ocean this century if CO2 continues to increase, which will make the mixing of deep water with more acidic surface waters more frequent, the study said.
Since the start of the industrial revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent, according to NOAA research.
The authors of the study predict surface waters could be 150 % more acidic by the end of this century.
Keep messing with my scungilli and I’m getting really pissed off!
If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never lived on a planet that experienced a colder-than-average month
Looking backwards…and then forwards
Nowhere on the surface of the planet have we seen any record cold temperatures over the course of the year so far. Every land surface in the world saw warmer-than-average temperatures except Alaska and the eastern tip of Russia. The continental United States has been blanketed with record warmth — and the seas just off the East Coast have been much warmer than average, for which Sandy sends her thanks.
The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.
If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. That’s beyond astonishing…
Sandy is probably not even the deadliest or most expensive weather disaster this year in the United States — Sandy’s damages of perhaps $50 billion will likely be overshadowed by the huge costs of the great drought of 2012. While it will be several months before the costs of America’s worst drought since 1954 are known, the 2012 drought is expected to cut America’s GDP by 0.5 – 1 percentage points…
While Sandy’s death toll of 113 in the U.S. is the second highest death toll from a U.S. hurricane since 1972, it is likely to be exceeded by the death toll from the heat waves that accompanied this year’s drought. The heat waves associated with the U.S. droughts of 1980 and 1988 had death tolls of 10,000 and 7,500 respectively, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, and the heat wave associated with the $12 billion 2011 Texas drought killed 95 Americans.
Our politicians think long-range considerations mean a 4-year election cycle. Perish the thought they look at the growing sum of weather-related costs from climate change.
I’ve blogged previously on that portion of the equation. It is contemptible that so many of the elected officials we’re allowed – couldn’t care less about looking at the whole picture, the whole cost in lives, homes and dollars of climate change. Taking a few bucks away from whichever corporation funds their favorite lobbyist scares their timid butt more than the death of elderly voters or the destruction of arable land.
A project to help track Arctic climate change using volunteers to transcribe U.S. ship logs online was launched on Wednesday by the National Archives and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Using citizen scientists to transcribe thousands of pages of logbooks from Navy, Coast Guard and other ships from 1850 to World War Two will fill a big data gap, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said.
Scientists in recent decades have gotten weather data from satellites and ground observations, and such tools as ice samples show ancient patterns, she said. But the archived logs could establish a baseline of historical weather data…
Project organizers, which include science web portal Zooniverse, hope to enlist thousands of volunteers to transcribe scanned pages from logbooks. The pages will be loaded onto Old Weather, an online weather data project (www.oldweather.org)…Navy logs carried weather observations 24 times a day.
Mark Mollan, a reference archivist and a project organizer, said the National Archives had 1,000 boxes of Arctic ship logs. Each page put online will be transcribed three times to eliminate errors, he said…
Four bulky logbooks, all with Arctic observations in neat 19th century handwriting, were displayed at the news conference.
The logs included one from the doomed 1879 Arctic voyage of the Jeannette, a U.S. Navy ship that sank after being trapped in ice off Russia. The commander starved to death and 18 other expedition members died.
New like this drives me up a tree. I would love to become un-retired and start all over again with a geek career in computational analysis. Just imagine what can be done with these transcriptions? Converted to digitized text they can become a searchable database for the world of research that was never envisioned by the original record-keepers.
Not only will we be able examine and determine a baseline for Arctic weather; but, ship’s logs typically record both the ordinary and the unusual. What a delight to data-mine.
Republican Party prepares a report on climate change for the elections
March 2012 will go down as the warmest March in the United States since record-keeping began in 1895, NOAA said Monday.
In addition, the three-month period of January, February and March was the warmest first quarter ever recorded in the Lower 48 states. The average was 42 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping 6 degrees above the long-term average.
…According to Chris Vaccaro, spokesperson for NOAA…”The scope and the scale of warmth was really unprecedented”…
The warm temperatures also contributed to conditions that were favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There were 223 preliminary tornado reports during March, a month that averages 80 tornadoes, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. The majority of these tornadoes occurred during a severe weather outbreak across the Ohio River Valley and Southeast in early March. The outbreak caused 40 deaths and total losses of $1.5 billion, making it the first billion-dollar disaster of 2012.
Short-term weather patterns such as the one that affected the United States are poor indicators of global climate trends, however. Parts of the world, most notably Eastern Europe, experienced below-average to extreme cold temperatures this winter.
Anyone who is a student of science knows that. But, it is fun poking a stick in the know-nothings who believe all climatology must be pre-approved either by the Republican Party or the Creationist of your choice.
Three years of research flights from pole-to-pole constructs first global picture of greenhouse gases
A three-year series of research flights from the Arctic to the Antarctic has successfully produced an unprecedented portrait of greenhouse gases and particles in the atmosphere…
The far-reaching field project, a collaboration including scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography…known as HIPPO, is enabling researchers to generate the first detailed mapping of the global distribution of gases and particles that affect Earth’s climate.
The series of flights…mark an important milestone as scientists work toward targeting both the sources of greenhouse gases and the natural processes that draw the gases back out of the atmosphere.
“Tracking carbon dioxide and other gases with only surface measurements has been like snorkeling with a really foggy mask,” says Britton Stephens, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and one of the project’s principal investigators. “Finally, HIPPO is giving us a clear view of what’s really out there…”
The flights have helped scientists compile extraordinary detail about the atmosphere. The research team has studied air samples at different latitudes during various seasons from altitudes of 500 feet above Earth’s surface up to as high as 45,000 feet into the lower stratosphere…
The National Hurricane Center says it successfully predicted Hurricane Irene’s North Carolina landfall over the weekend and its destructive route up the U.S. East Coast.
But if members of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wielding the budget ax in Washington have their way, future accurate forecasting may not be guaranteed and even curtailed, critics including hurricane experts say. Proposed cuts in the budget of the U.S. weather agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and in funding for new satellites to help improve severe storm warnings, could undermine the NHC’s forecasting ability.
“There are certain people that think all we have to do is cut spending,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, told reporters in a visit to NHC headquarters in Miami on Thursday.
Nelson said that defunding NOAA programs that provide “hurricane hunter” aircraft for researching the intensity and track of hurricanes was “like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
Well in advance, the Miami-based hurricane center came within about 10 miles of pinpointing the location where the center of Irene came barreling across North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Saturday in its first U.S. landfall.
This remarkable precision, especially given the massive size of the storm, has been credited with reducing costs by preventing unnecessary evacuations and other preparations, and probably saving lives…
Cuts proposed by a committee of the Republican-controlled House include a 42 percent reduction in funding for NOAA’s “hurricane hunter” planes, Nelson said.
Bill Read, the National Hurricane Center director, called the instrument-packed aircraft the “backbone” of storm surveillance and one of the big reasons the United States consistently does a much better job forecasting the track of a storm than any other country around the globe…
“It is our only real tool to know exactly what’s going on at the time we put out our advisory on the structure and the intensity of the storm,” Read added, referring to the closely watched hurricane forecast updates issued by the Miami center.
I can’t think of anything polite to say about Know-Nothing Congress-Creeps who would cut science budgets that provide specific life-supporting services as an immediate result of their research. The economic benefits alone are significant and should be – even to dimwits whose idea of weather forecasting is wetting one finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.