Climate science discovers more bad news

❝ A new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century.

❝ The federally mandated study was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, at a time when many Americans are on a long holiday weekend, distracted by family and shopping…

“The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities,” NOAA’s David Easterling said…

❝ The report’s findings run counter to President Donald Trump’s consistent message that climate change is a hoax.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” as some Americans faced the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century.

But the science explained in these and other federal government reports is clear: Climate change is not disproved by the extreme weather of one day or a week; it’s demonstrated by long-term trends. Humans are living with the warmest temperatures in modern history…

History will answer whether Trump is a pathological liar, incredibly ignorant or just a crook! Meanwhile, we need to get on with trying to turn the United States to playing a constructive and useful role in economics and environmental health.

Earth approaches climate change – on a visual record – even if politicians see nothing

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Scientists are getting better at producing visualizations that make climate change, a pretty heady topic, simple enough to take in at a glance. This image charts global temperature changes each year since 1850, using the period from 1961 to 1990 as a baseline. The color scale ranges from dark blue (-2.5 degrees C) to dark red (+2.5 degrees C).

It was created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins…

Evidence-based data and analysis is key to scientific understanding. Then there are those who care not for science or understanding. They rely on conditioned-responses from decades of earnest dedication to reality TV and pronouncements from prominent people.

Same as it ever was.

26 states sue to stop Clean Power Plan – 61% of their public support the policy

On October 23rd, President Obama’s signature climate change program The Clean Power Plan was entered into the Federal Register. Almost immediately, 26 US states sued to stop the policy, which sets strict limits on coal-fired power plants.

However, according to our model of state-level public opinion, a majority of the public in 23 out of the 26 states filing suits actually support setting strict limits on coal-fired power plants. Across all 26 suing states, 61% of the public supports the policy, ranging from 73% public support in New Jersey to 43% in Wyoming and West Virginia. Furthermore, only 38% of the public in those states on average opposes the policy.

America’s history of controversy over climate change and the legal and political challenges to the Clean Power Plan might suggest that the nation is divided over regulating carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants. Our research finds the opposite: a large majority of Americans overall support the approach. Our models find that a majority of Americans in almost every state support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants.

Please visit our interactive Yale Climate Opinion Maps to explore more public opinion around energy and climate policy including: regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, requiring utilities to generate at least 20% of their electricity using renewable sources, and other climate change policies and beliefs at the national, state, congressional district, and county levels.

Or you could behave like the average Republican and rely exclusively on what your dearest pundit tells you to think. One of the things I always do in my blog posts is link to the original article. Often in that post you will find a link to the science referenced. In the case of climate change, just wander over to the links listed on the RH side of this blog. I can especially recommend and as sites specifically chartered to discuss climate science.

My experience tells me that folks who take the time to read the science on any question end up with greater understanding, enhanced reason when it comes to making sensible political decisions.

Americans finally noticed climate change — even Republicans

Maybe it’s the pope. Or the freakish year in extreme climate records. It might even be explained by the United Nations climate talks and the bright lights of the presidential election cycle. Whatever the cause, U.S. views on climate change are shifting—fast.

Three-quarters of Americans now accept the scientific consensus on climate change, the highest level in four years of surveys conducted by the University of Texas at Austin. The biggest shocker is what’s happening inside the GOP. In a remarkable turnabout, 59 percent of Republicans now say climate change is happening, up from 47 percent just six months ago.

When public opinion shifts this much in a single survey, a bit of skepticism is justified…Yet these results are precisely in line with a separate survey published this month by the University of Michigan, which found that 56 percent of Republicans believe there’s solid evidence to support global warming, up from 47 percent a year ago. The Michigan poll also found bipartisan agreement with climate science at the highest level since 2008.

The changing views by Republicans could strand some of the leading presidential candidates in an increasingly unpopular position. Many in the party reject mainstream climate science, and not just at the margins. Republican leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top presidential contenders Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio all articulate views that would be considered extreme in other countries.

Republicans will probably get what they deserve. Flat Earth fear of science fits in nicely with 1920’s economics.

The world is at a critical point in global climate talks, with leaders set to meet next month in Paris to hammer out final details of a plan to reduce the long-term trajectory of carbon pollution. Some of the biggest impediments to the talks have been removed in recent months: Significant commitments were made by China and India, and the prime ministers of Australia and Canada were replaced by leaders more sensitive to climate change…

Last year in the U.S., Bloomberg interviewed dozens of former senior Republican congressional aides, lobbyists, and staff at nongovernmental organizations. Many Republicans privately recognized the need to address climate change—in stark contrast to their party’s public stance—but saw little political benefit in speaking out.

After proving Republicans have as little backbone as Democrats, the realities of climate change – more apparent in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere – just may turn around some of the remarkable stupidity in conservative political correctness. Passing regulations which prohibit including descriptions of climate change in official documents is the height of Doublethink. Republicans have done that at the state and federal level.

Maybe it worked well when we changed the name of the War Department to Department of Defense over sixty years ago – as we embarked on decades of invading other countries. You can still line up beaucoup presidential candidates for that one. But, folks who have kinfolk in half the population still absent from Katrina’s New Orleans, a similar big percentage waiting to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy – even people who think patriotism is spelled O-B-E-Y start to change their behavior.

Climate change includes increasing lightning strikes

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Lightning strikes in the lower 48 U.S. states will increase about 12% for every degree rise in Earth’s average temperature, potentially sparking more wildfires, according to a new study.

The new estimate was based on calculations of convective energy and precipitation from future thunderstorms, and fits three independent data sets chronicling past strikes, according to the study, published online Thursday in the journal Science.

“You need two ingredients to make lightning in a storm,” said the study’s lead investigator, David Romps, a climate scientist at UC Berkeley. “One of those is that you have water in its three phases — vapor, liquid and ice — coexisting in the cloud. And the other is that the storm clouds be rising quickly enough to loft that liquid and ice into the atmosphere and keep it suspended. So we’ve built our proxy around those two ideas.”

Previous formulas were built around predicted cloud heights and did not account for as much of the variance in actual strikes as the new proxy does, according to the study. The new proxy explains about 77% of the variance in strikes.

A 12% rise for every degree Celsius works out to about a 50% rise over this century

It’s only conjecture; but, you would have to think an increase in lightning strikes will forge an equivalent rise in the number of wildfires – lightning causing about half of all wildfires. Not a feature of climate change that anyone in mountain and forest country looks forward to.

Thanks, Mike

Experts affirm manmade global warming but local predictions elude those expecting daily weather report

Climate scientists are surer than ever that human activity is causing global warming, according to leaked drafts of a major U.N. report, but they are finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades.

The uncertainty is frustrating for government planners: the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the main guide for states weighing multi-billion-dollar shifts to renewable energy from fossil fuels, for coastal regions considering extra sea defenses or crop breeders developing heat-resistant strains.

Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

That is up from at least 90 percent in the last report in 2007, 66 percent in 2001, and just over 50 in 1995, steadily squeezing out the arguments by a small minority of scientists that natural variations in the climate might be to blame.

That shifts the debate onto the extent of temperature rises and the likely impacts, from manageable to catastrophic. Governments have agreed to work out an international deal by the end of 2015 to rein in rising emissions…

And gauging how warming would affect nature, from crops to fish stocks, was also proving hard since it goes far beyond physics. “You can’t write an equation for a tree,” he said…

The new study will state with greater confidence than in 2007 that rising manmade greenhouse gas emissions have already meant more heatwaves. But it is likely to play down some tentative findings from 2007, such as that human activities have contributed to more droughts…

The report will flag a high risk that global temperatures will increase this century by more than that level, and will say that evidence of rising sea levels is now “unequivocal”…

Drew Shindell, a NASA climate scientist, said the relative lack of progress in regional predictions was the main disappointment of climate science since 2007.

“I talk to people in regional power planning. They ask: ‘What’s the temperature going to be in this region in the next 20-30 years, because that’s where our power grid is?'” he said.

“We can’t really tell. It’s a shame,” said Shindell. Like the other scientists interviewed, he was speaking about climate science in general since the last IPCC report, not about the details of the latest drafts…

The core advance in the report, due for a final edit by the end of September, is a greater sum of evidence about the science of global warming. Not that it will mean much to those who fear science as much as they hate civil rights.

Fools who rely on ideology that fears science think the future is determined week-by-week by one or another of their superstitions. Reason, democracy, learning by scientific methods only hinders their flight from reality.

Decades of data show troposphere is warming

Not only is Earth’s surface warming, but the troposphere — the lowest level of the atmosphere, where weather occurs — is heating up too, U.S. and British meteorologists have reported.

In a review of four decades of data on troposphere temperatures, the scientists found that warming in this key atmospheric layer was occurring, just as many researchers expected it would as more greenhouse gases built up and trapped heat close to the Earth.

This study aims to put to rest a controversy that began 20 years ago, when a 1990 scientific report based on satellite observations raised questions about whether the troposphere was warming, even as Earth’s surface temperatures climbed.

The original discrepancy between what the climate models predicted and what satellites and weather balloons measured had to do with how the observations were made, according to Dian Seidel, research meteorologist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…

The first satellite data on troposphere temperature was gathered in 1979, but neither weather balloons nor these early satellite weather observations were accurate measures of climate change, Seidel said.

“They’re weather balloons and weather satellites, they’re not climate balloons and climate satellites,” she said. “They’re not calibrated precisely enough to monitor small changes in climate that we expect to see…”

This latest paper reviewed 195 cited papers, climate model results and atmospheric data sets, and found no fundamental discrepancy between what was predicted and what is happening in the troposphere. It is warming, the study found…

Scientists at NOAA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the University of Reading contributed to the paper, published on Monday in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews – Climate Change, a peer-reviewed journal.

The junk science crowd won’t read it – or comprehend it if they did. Governments mostly will ignore the information.

Forgive my cynicism; but, I have little confidence in most human beings responding to scientific analyses of human problems – when we barely get past ideology or superstition for issues affecting the whole species.

Climate scientist James Hansen wins Sophie Prize

U.S. climate scientist James Hansen won a $100,000 environmental prize for decades of work trying to alert politicians to what he called an unsolved emergency of global warming.

Hansen, born in 1941, will visit Oslo in June to collect the Sophie Prize, set up in 1997 by Norwegian Jostein Gaarder, the author of the 1991 best-selling novel and teenagers’ guide to philosophy “Sophie’s World.”

“Hansen has played a key role for the development of our understanding of human-induced climate change,” the prize citation said.

Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies since 1981, testified to the U.S. Congress as long ago as 1988 about the risks of global warming from human activities led by the burning of fossil fuels.

“We really have an emergency,” Hansen said in a video link with the prize panel in Oslo about feared climate changes such as a thaw of ice sheets on Greenland or Antarctica or a loss of species of animals and plants in a warming world…

Hansen said that world temperatures were on a rising trend despite what he called a “well orchestrated campaign” in the past year to discredit scientific findings about global warming…

After years focused on science, he said he started speaking out more about risks of global warming in 2004, reckoning his grandchildren would not forgive him if he stayed silent. His latest book is called “Storms of My Grandchildren.”

“Follow the money” is still a reasonable method of directing attention upon who funds the papier mache skeptics. After all, who profits from maintaining reactionary technology, the ideology of anti-science?

It’s been of parallel interest watching testimony in Congressional hearings about the greedy bastards who caused this Great Recession we’re laboring to overcome. The most frequent criticism was of their short-sighted, short-term view of cause-and-effect relationships. The fossil fuel militia aren’t even that advanced.