2017 was the second-hottest year on record according to Nasa data, and was the hottest year without the short-term warming influence of an El Niño event: In fact, 2017 was the hottest year without an El Niño by a wide margin – a whopping 0.17°C hotter than 2014, which previously held that record. Remarkably, 2017 was also hotter than 2015, which at the time was by far the hottest year on record thanks in part to a strong El Niño event that year.
In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change.This year, a major scientific update from the U.S. Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: "There is no convincing alternative explanation." The Royal Society published a compendium of how the science has advanced, warning that it seems likelier that we've been underestimating the risks of warming than overestimating them.
Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented deluge, which caused catastrophic flooding in Houston in August, was made three times more likely by climate change, new research has found. Such a downpour was a very rare event, scientists said, but global warming meant it was 15% more intense. The storm left 80 people dead and 800,000 in need of assistance.
Current predictions of climate change may significantly underestimate the speed and severity of global warming, according to a new study.Reappraisal of the models climate scientists use to determine future warming has revealed that less optimistic estimates are more realistic. The study indicates that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4C by the end of this century,.
The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to some scientists. However, other experts said they were not alarmed, saying fluctuations in emissions are to be expected and that big polluters such as China are acting to cut emissions.
This year will be the hottest ever that wasn't affected by the El Nino weather event. The prediction is a shock because El Nino has been used to explain rising temperatures and occasionally to suggest that the temperature isn't warming at all. The new finding shows that the climate is in fact warming rapidly, even without the effect of the El Nino which pushes up temperatures across the world.
It is "extremely likely" that human activities are the "dominant cause" of global warming, according to the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers. The climate report notes that the past 115 years are "the warmest in the history of modern civilization." The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than three million years, the UN has warned. The new report has raised alarm among scientists and prompted calls for nations to consider more drastic emissions reductions at the upcoming climate negotiations in Bonn. Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400 ppm in 2015.
Commercial airliners will be buffeted by up to three times more turbulence in future decades. Experts have warned the risk of mid-air injuries will rise and passengers can expect to spend more time confined to their seats with the seatbelt sign switched on due to rougher skies disturbed by climate change. On transatlantic flights, instances of severe turbulence will increase by 180 per cent, while over Europe the rate is set to worsen by 160 per cent.
When Hurricane Harvey blasted ashore in August, drowning south Texas in a year's worth of rain in just a few days, it left behind an estimated $150 billion in damage to sodden homes and inundated factories, and claimed about 60 lives. Two weeks later, Hurricane Irma churned into Florida, killing at least 33 people there and causing billions more in damages - as well as brutal loss of life in the Caribbean. But these storms may not be 2017's deadliest U.S. disaster. Instead, that title may go to a largely unseen killer: rising temperatures.
More than two dozen named fires currently burn across Washington and Oregon. More than one million acres have burned in Montana, an area larger than Rhode Island, in the Treasure State’s third-worst fire season on record. And the largest brushfire in the history of Los Angeles currently threatens hundreds of homes in Burbank. Canada may be experiencing an even worse year for wildfires: 2.86 million acres have burned in British Columbia, the largest area ever recorded in the province.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, which followed on the heels of the intensely destructive Hurricane Harvey,many scientists worry they are a sign of a “new normal” in which extreme weather events become more intense as a result of manmade climate change. Rather than expressing astonishment, they say policymakers need to strengthen long-term countermeasures and act more effectively on reducing carbon emissions.
The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
Scientists looked at 50 years of data on world population and economic activity to come up with their forecast. One factor taken into account was "carbon intensity", the amount of carbon emitted for each dollar of economic activity. Professor Adrian Raftery, who led the University of Washington team, said: "Our analysis is compatible with previous estimates, but it finds that the most optimistic projections are unlikely to happen. We're closer to the margin than we think. Overall, the goals expressed in the Paris Agreement are ambitious but realistic. The bad news is they are unlikely to be enough to achieve the target of keeping warming at or below 1.5 degrees."
Global warming may be unleashing new sources of heat-trapping methane from layers of oil and gas that have been buried deep beneath Arctic permafrost for millennia. As the Earth's frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the surface through permafrost that's starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas, scientists said. In a study, the scientists used aerial sampling of the atmosphere to locate methane sources from permafrost along a 10,000 square-kilometer swath of the Mackenzie River Delta in northwestern Canada, an area known to have oil and gas deposits.
Human-caused climate change dramatically increased the likelihood of the extreme heatwave that saw deadly forest fires blazing in Portugal and Spain, new research has shown. Much of western Europe sweltered earlier in June, and the severe heat in England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland was also made significantly more likely by global warming. Such temperatures will become the norm by 2050, the scientists warned, unless action is taken to rapidly cut carbon emissions. Scientists combined temperature records and the latest observations with a series of sophisticated computer models to calculate how much the global rise in greenhouse gases has raised the odds of the soaring temperatures.
The world has three years to start making significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or face the prospect of dangerous global warming, experts have warned in an article in the prestigious journal Nature. Calling for world leaders to be guided by the scientific evidence rather than “hide their heads in the sand”, they said “entire ecosystems” were already beginning to collapse, summer sea ice was disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs were dying from the heat.
Soaring temperatures in the Arctic have triggered a huge seasonal surge in carbon dioxide emissions from thawing permafrost and may be tipping the region toward becoming a net source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Even into early winter, when the ground would have been frozen 40 years ago, microbes in the permafrost are continuing to release heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions are now outpacing the uptake of CO2 during the spring and summer growing season. The study's authorsfound that emissions from October through December have increased by 73 percent since 1975 and that the increase correlates with rising summer temperatures.
The Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million (it was actually 410.28 ppm). Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years. It’s a new atmosphere that humanity will have to contend with, one that’s trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at a quickening rate
In general, air will get moister as the Earth warms – provided there is a moisture source. This may cause more intense rainfalls and snow events, which lead to increased risk of flooding. But warmer air can also more quickly evaporate water from surfaces. This means that areas where it’s not precipitating dry out more quickly. In fact, it’s likely that some regions will experience both more drought and more flooding in the future. The dry spells are longer and with faster evaporation causing dryness in soils. But, when the rains fall, they come in heavy downpours potentially leading to more floods. The recent flooding in California – which followed a very intense and prolonged drought – provides a great example.
For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces. For the past 4.5 billion years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere. But over the past six decades human forces “have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change in the Earth system,” the authors wrote, giving rise to a period known as the Anthropocene. “Human activities now rival the great forces of nature in driving changes to the Earth system,” they wrote.
Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.
A controversial study that found there has been no slowdown in global warming has been supported by new research. Many researchers had accepted that the rate of global warming had slowed in the first 15 years of this century. But new analysis in the journal Science Advances replicates findings that scientists have underestimated ocean temperatures over the past two decades. With the revised data the apparent pause in temperature rises between 1998 and 2014 disappears.
When a dip in the polar vortex comes to our part of the world, it’s usually the result of a change in pressure, which can push the frosty Arctic air south. The Arctic jet stream (or polar vortex) can sometimes dip far enough south that it allows the cold air to travel down to places that do not normally have Arctic conditions, like wherever you live. When there is this dip in the jet stream that brings cold to the East, there’s usually a countervailing loop that takes warm air into Alaska or the Arctic. In the last few years, a frozen East has often coincided with a warm Alaska. This phenomenon is not exclusive to North America — the polar vortex can freeze Europe and Asia, too.
Over the first decade of this century, record high daily temperatures in the U.S. were registered twice as often as record lows, a clear sign of global warming. If emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases continue on their current track, that ratio could become even more skewed, potentially reaching 15-to-1 by midcentury, a new study finds.
New research shows that climate change may impede the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions. When an eruption is powerful enough, volcanoes spew sulfur gasses high into the atmosphere, 10 to 15 kilometres above Earth's surface. Here, gasses react with water to form aerosol particles that linger in the stratosphere for one or two years, reflecting sunlight and heat from the sun, and cooling the planet. "[B]ut as the planet heats up and our atmosphere changes, we've found that fewer eruptions will be able to reflect the sun's radiation," said a scientist who specializes in climate and volcanoes.
The world is set to notch up a new heat record in 2016 after a sizzling 2015 as global warming stokes more floods and rising sea levels, the U.N. weather agency said on Monday at climate change talks overshadowed by Donald Trump's election win.
President-elect Trump has called climate change a hoax and a source in his transition team says he is seeking quick ways to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to shift the world economy away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.
If leading scientists writing in one of the most respected academic journals are right, planet Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime. That, according to one of the world’s most renowned climatologists, could be “game over” – particularly given the imminent presence of climate change denier Donald Trump in the White House. According to the current best estimate, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if humans carry on with a “business as usual” approach using large amounts of fossil fuels, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for "many generations". The 400 parts per million benchmark was broken globally for the first time in recorded history in 2015. But according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2016 will likely be the first full year to exceed the mark. The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago, say experts.
The global temperature has increased to a level not seen for 115,000 years, requiring daunting technological advances that will cost the coming generations hundreds of trillions of dollars, according to the scientist widely credited with bringing climate change to the public’s attention. A new paper submitted by James Hansen, a former senior Nasa climate scientist, and 11 other experts states that the 2016 temperature is likely to be 1.25C above pre-industrial times, following a warming trend where the world has heated up at a rate of 0.18C per decade over the past 45 years.
A pattern of warm and dry winters in the West, paired with frigid conditions in the East, has become more frequent since 1980, a trend that reflects the influence of global warming on the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere. The pattern has been costly, including a multi-year drought in California and economically disruptive snowstorms in the Northeast. The past two years—Earth's warmest years on record—brought the greatest East-West temperature contrasts in the observational record. The coolest Eastern winter on record and the warmest Western winters since at least 1980 have all been recorded since 2013, the study found.
The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist. This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.
The world is careening towards an environment never experienced before by humans, with the temperature of the air and oceans breaking records, sea levels reaching historic highs and carbon dioxide surpassing a key milestone, a major international report has found. The “state of the climate” report, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) with input from hundreds of scientists from 62 countries, confirmed there was a “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat, sea level rise and extreme weather in 2015.
Scientists at NASA released their first-ever mid-year analysis of climate trends, which revealed that every month between January and June had the warmest average temperature on record for that month. NASA researchers did this new analysis "mainly because the average temperatures for the first half of this year are so in excess of any first part of the year that we've seen," said NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt. When comparing this year's temperature trends with past years, Schmidt said 2015 was also a very warm year, "but 2016 really has blown that out of the water."
The series of smashed global records, particularly the extraordinary heat in February and March, has provoked a stunned reaction from climate scientists, who are warning that climate change has reached unprecedented levels and is no longer only a threat for the future. Alongside the soaring temperatures, other records have tumbled around the world, from vanishing Arctic sea ice to a searing drought in India and the vast bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.
In the remote reaches of Antarctica, the South Pole Observatory carbon dioxide observing station cleared 400 ppm on May 23, according to an announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s passed that level in 4 million years.
Scientists who measure and forecast the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere said that we may have passed a key turning point. Humans walking the Earth today will probably never live to see carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere once again fall below a level of 400 parts per million.
The world is hurtling towards an era when global concentrations of carbon dioxide never again dip below the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone, as two important measuring stations sit on the point of no return. The news comes as one important atmospheric measuring station at Cape Grim in Australia is poised on the verge of 400ppm for the first time. Sitting in a region with stable CO2 concentrations, once that happens, it will never get a reading below 400ppm. Meanwhile another station in the northern hemisphere may have gone above the 400ppm line for the last time, never to dip below it again.
Climate science has progressed so much that experts can accurately detect global warming’s fingerprints on certain extreme weather events. For years scientists have given almost a rote response to the question of whether an instance of weird weather was from global warming, insisting that they can’t attribute any single event to climate change. When it comes to heat waves, droughts, heavy rain, and some other events, scientists can now detemine whether they were more likely or more severe because of man-made global warming.
The annual growth rate of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose more in 2015 than scientists have ever seen in a single year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. It was the fourth year in a row that carbon dioxide concentrations grew by more than 2 parts per million, with an annual growth rate of 3.05 parts per million in 2015. The spike comes in the same year that Earth reached an ominous global warming milestone -- scientists last year measured the highest atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide ever recorded. As of February, the average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in the earth’s atmosphere was about 402.6 ppm.
Global warming went into overdrive in January, leading to astounding temperature records. January was the globe's most unusually warm month ever recorded, and the past three months have been the most unusually warm three-month period on record as well, according to new findings from NASA. January was also the warmest such month on record, NASA found, in preliminary data released this weekend by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
If humans don’t cut carbon emissions soon, the Earth could feel the catastrophic impact for tens of thousands of years, a new study has found. Researchers from an array of universities in the United States and Europe suggest that the consequences of fossil fuels burned today could last well beyond 2100 – and the study is meant to urge policymakers to act with that perspective in mind.
During the next week, the official climate agencies around the world that are responsible for tracking the planet's average temperatures will almost certainly come to the same conclusion: 2015 was the warmest year on record. The combination of a record strong El Niño event plus the highest amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at any time in human history have given the climate system the equivalent of a Power Bar plus a shot of espresso. On Wednesday, one unofficial temperature tracking group, known as Berkeley Earth, revealed its determination that 2015 was by far the planet's warmest year, both on land and sea.
Mankind is pumping so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it could postpone the next ice age by more than 100,000 years, according to new research which finds humans are having a “mind-boggling” impact on the Earth. The volume of CO2 emissions that has accumulated in the atmosphere is so great that it has fundamentally changed the relationship between people and the planet as human behaviour radically alters the way the system operates. The study found that the next ice age would be pushed back by about 50,000 years even if emissions stopped overnight. If the volume of greenhouse gases forecast to be produced in the coming decades comes to pass it could be postponed by more than 100,000 years.
Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years. While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change. A 2014 flip was detected in the sluggish and elusive ocean cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which scientists link its 2014 phase change to a rapid rise in global surface temperatures.
The first half of the 2010s will be remembered for its record heat. The five-year period from 2011-15 has been the hottest such period ever recorded. And with last year setting the hottest year mark, only to be surpassed by a wide margin this year, it’s clear that the planet has changed.
Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2014 and the relentless fuelling of climate change is endangering the planet for future generations, the World Meteorological Organization said. Graphs issued by the WMO, a U.N. agency, showed levels of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, climbing steadily towards the 400-parts-per-million (ppm) level, having hit a new record every year since reliable records began in 1984. Carbon dioxide levels averaged 397.7 ppm in 2014 but briefly breached the 400-ppm threshold in the northern hemisphere in early 2014, and again globally in early 2015.
From a deadly snowstorm in Nepal to a heat wave in Argentina that crashed power supplies, at least 14 extreme weather events last year bore the fingerprints of human-induced climate change, an international team of scientists reported. Researchers examined 28 weather extremes on all seven continents to see if they were influenced by climate change or were just normal weather. Their conclusion: Half of them showed some role of climate change.
The world is currently in a period of mass extinction, according to a new study. Human activities have been linked to the falling populations of many species but the research also warns that extinction on a large scale could threaten human existence. The study, which has been published in Science Advances, calls for fast actions to protect threatened species, populations and habitat. It estimates that species are disappearing up to about 100 fasters than the normal rate between mass extinctions, known as the background rate.
Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a Florida State geography professor. In a paper published today by Nature Climate Change, researchers found that rising ocean temperatures are having an effect on how many tropical storms and hurricanes develop each year. "We're seeing fewer hurricanes, but the ones we do see are more intense," Prof. Jim Elsner said. "When one comes, all hell can break loose."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says in March, the global monthly average for carbon dioxide hit 400.83 parts per million. That is the first month in modern records that the entire globe broke 400 ppm, reaching levels that haven't been seen in about 2 million years.
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the International Energy Agency. Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.
Blame global warming for about 75 percent of the world’s unusually hot days and 18 percent of its extreme snow or rain, according to a new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. Heat waves and heavy storms are occurring at least four times more often than they did before carbon pollution started driving up thermometers. Global average temperatures are now about 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit) higher than before industrialization.
World leaders must reduce the long-held target of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic impacts on the world's poorest people, says a leading climate scientist. Industrialised nations must stop ignoring the sustained calls from the developing world - backed by scientists - and set a 1.5 degree cap when the internationally agreed limit comes under review at UN climate talks later this year in Paris, France, says Petra Tschakert, a geographer from Pennsylvania State University.
A recent study published in the journal Science details how Arctic warming is essentially putting the brakes on atmospheric circulation in mid-latitudes, leaving North America and Europe with uncharacteristically strong heat waves.
The new year has only just begun, but we’ve already recorded our first days with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million, potentially leading to many months in a row above this threshold, experts say. While the 400 ppm mark is somewhat symbolic (as the increase in warming between 399 ppm and 400 ppm is small), it is a large increase from pre-industrial CO2 concentrations, which were around 280 ppm. The progressively earlier occurrence of these high CO2 levels — not seen in somewhere between 800,000 and 15 million years — points to the inexorable buildup of heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.
Small volcanic eruptions may have been slowing global warming for over a decade, according to a new study with results that are in line with previous findings that vast quantities of ash and gases ejected from volcanoes can have a remarkable cooling effect on Earth’s climate by blocking solar radiation. According to scientists, the effects of such volcanic eruptions may explain why the warming of the planet has slowed down in recent years, falling short of matching levels predicted by scientists based on the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere, Discovery News reported, adding that small-scale ejections could be responsible for almost halving the rate of global warming.
So 2014's December may have been bone-chillingly cold for some parts of the world, but when measurements from every corner of the Earth from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 were finally combined and averaged, it was revealed that this past year was easily the hottest ever recorded. That's according to Japan''s Meteorological Agency, one of the four primary record-keeping organizations that routinely measure, gather, and assess net temperature data from across the globe. This data includes both terrestrial and water surface temperatures, which - as shown by this past record-breaking summer being driven by a warming ocean - can vary significantly.
New research shows that CO2 brings peak heat within a decade of being emitted, with the effects then lingering 100 years or more into the future. The research, published in Environmental Research Letters, provides policymakers and economists with a new perspective on how fast human carbon emissions heat the planet. Back-of-the-envelope estimates for how long it takes for a given puff of CO2 to crank up the heat have generally been from 40-50 years. But the new study shows that the timeframe for CO2 emissions to reach their maximum warming potential is likely closer to 10 years.
While severe weather like hurricanes and tornadoes typically only hit particular areas of the globe, lightning can strike anywhere. And it does, a lot. A bolt of lightning flashes through the sky and hits the ground somewhere around the world about 100 times every second. That’s 8 million lightning strikes in a single day — yes, you read that right: just one day. Now, a new study finds that lightning strikes will become even more frequent as the planet warms, at least in the continental U.S.
Global greenhouse emissions will need to fall to zero by the end of this century if the world is to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, according to the UN’s leading scientists. In its latest report, released today in Copenhagen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also calls for the unrestricted use of coal, oil and gas to be phased out by 2100.
In the latest study to look at the possible connection between the precipitous decline of Arctic sea ice and extreme weather over the Northern Hemisphere, researchers found that cold winters over Europe and Asia were twice as likely thanks to sea ice decline in a particular part of the Arctic. A new study was able to find a connection by conducting a large number of computer model simulations and determining there is a link between sea ice decline and cold winters over Europe and Asia, at least.
Climate change may have "serious, pervasive and irreversible" impacts on human society and nature, according to a draft U.N. report due for approval this week that says governments still have time to avert the worst. Delegates from more than 100 governments and top scientists meet in Copenhagen on Oct 27-31 to edit the report, meant as the main guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to fight climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015. They will publish the study on Nov. 2.
The savage heat waves that struck Australia last year were almost certainly a direct consequence of greenhouse gases released by human activity, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made tying a specific weather event to global warming. Five groups of researchers, using distinct methods, analyzed the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013 and continued into 2014, briefly shutting down the Australian Open tennis tournament in January when the temperature climbed to 111 degrees Fahrenheit. All five research groups came to the conclusion that last year’s heat waves could not have been as severe without the long-term climatic warming caused by human emissions.
Just days after NASA data showed that August 2014 was the warmest August on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the ranking and raised the ante: There’s a good chance 2014 could become the warmest year on record. which ranks as the 3rd warmest such period on record. Specifically, if each of the remaining months of the year ranks among the top five warmest, 2014 will take the top spot.
Surging levels of carbon dioxide sent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a new record in 2013, while oceans, which absorb the emissions, have become more acidic, the UN said. Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide all broke fresh records in 2013, said the report. Global concentrations of CO2, the main culprit in global warming, soared to 396 parts per million last year, or 142 percent of pre-industrial levels -- defined as before 1750. That marked a hike of 2.9 parts per million between 2012 and 2013 alone -- the largest annual increase in 30 years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
Due to global warming, a megadrought is likely in store for the southwestern United States in the future, researchers say. According to a new study, the chances that this region will experience a decade-long drought is at least 50 percent, and the odds of a "megadrought" - one that lasts over 30 years - ranges from 20 to 50 percent over the next century.
Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous – and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the group. There is little in the report that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.
As people clean up after torrential rains and heavy flooding in cities in the Midwest and along the Atlantic Coast, the events highlight what many climate researchers say is a new "normal" for severe rainfall in the US. Quite apart from what long-term changes in precipitation say about global warming, these events also provide a reality check on the ability of urban areas to cope with flooding from intense downpours in a warming climate.
"Our analysis demonstrates that the upper-tropospheric moistening observed over the period 1979–2005 cannot be explained by natural causes and results principally from an anthropogenic warming of the climate. By attributing the observed increase directly to human activities, this study verifies the presence of the largest known feedback mechanism for amplifying anthropogenic climate change."
Scientists have linked the rapid rise in Arctic temperatures over the past two decades to weather extremes in the northern hemisphere such as heatwaves in the US and flooding in Europe. Temperatures in the Arctic have risen twice as fast as the rest of the world since 2000, and this could have triggered changes to global wind patterns, which have brought extreme weather to lower latitudes. A study has found that the number of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, floods and droughts, has almost doubled over the same period and that this increase can be linked with unusual wind patterns in the upper atmosphere, influenced by warmer Arctic temperatures.
The latest fifth assessment report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a bleak future for the world, and especially South Asia. Hinting that it may already be too late for significant course correction on global warming, the report cautions, “Regardless of action taken now to reduce emissions, the climate will change until around the middle of this century.” Urgent damage control and risk mitigation are the need of the hour, the report notes.
Climate data compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries indicate that global temperatures in 2013 continued their long-term rising trend. Moreover, the planet ranged well outside of normal levels in 2013, hitting new records for greenhouse gases, Arctic heat, warm ocean temperatures and rising sea levels. According to the study, 2013 was somewhere between the second- and sixth-hottest year on record for the planet since record keeping began in 1880. (Four groups of scientists, who rely on slightly different methods to calculate global surface temperatures, ranked 2013 slightly differently compared with other years.)
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii told Climate Central that June would be be the third month in a row where, for the entire month, average levels of carbon dioxide were above 400 parts per million (ppm). In other words, that’s the longest time in recorded history that this much carbon dioxide has been in the atmosphere.
After an early spring and summer, the year is now racing towards autumn ahead of schedule, conservationists have said. As the year reached the half-way mark, the National Trust said wildlife seemed to have come through the wettest and stormiest winter on record and nature had hurtled "helter-skelter" through the seasons since.
Researchers found that forests throughout the eastern United States are showing signs of spring growth earlier than ever, and the growing season in some areas extends further into the fall. Other than the fact that some get to enjoy a much-welcomed prolonged spring, the expanded growing season has also allowed forests to store as much as 26 million metric tons more carbon dioxide (CO2) than before. Yet, researchers remind us that this is just one small upside to climate change, and does in no way outweigh its many negative affects.
The acid test of a scientific theory is whether it makes predictions that eventually come true. So consider this old prediction, from a pair of researchers in Australia and New Zealand. They were summarizing the results of then-primitive computerized forecasts about global warming. “The available evidence suggests that a warmer world is likely to experience an increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events, associated with a more intense hydrological cycle and the increased water-holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere.” That was published in 1995, and it was based on research going back to the 1980s. Fast forward to 2014. In the National Climate Assessment, published last week, researchers in the United States reported that “large increases in heavy precipitation have occurred in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains, where heavy downpours have frequently led to runoff that exceeded the capacity of storm drains and levees, and caused flooding events and accelerated erosion.”
The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects. Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.
There has been no reverse in the trend of global warming and there is still consistent evidence for man-made climate change, the head of the U.N. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. U.N. weather agency chief Michel Jarraud said ocean temperatures, in particular, were rising fast, and extreme weather events, forecast by climate scientists, showed climate change was inevitable for the coming centuries.
Two Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) climate scientists and two colleagues argue that policymakers need to acknowledge that the world is already on track for warming beyond 2°C. "A policy narrative that continues to frame this target as the sole metric of success or failure to constrain climate change risk is now itself becoming dangerous," they wrote. "[It] ill-prepares society to confront and manage the risks of a world that is increasingly likely to experience warming well in excess of 2°C this century,"
Despite reports of a global warming "hiatus," a new study shows that the number of areas being affected by extreme heat are on the rise and that the hottest temperatures on the planet are also increasing. “. . . [T]he frequency of hot extremes over land has continued to increase in the last 15 years, despite an apparent stabilization of the global mean temperature,” the study concluded.
Scientists call it Santa’s revenge. It’s the theory that persistent weather patterns at the mid-latitudes – like this winter’s tediously long-lasting polar vortex or California’s severe drought – are a direct consequence of climate change heating up the Arctic. New evidence suggests the link is real, even as experts continue to argue over how much it is influencing the weather on a day to day basis. The effect has implications for severe weather predictions, food security and water use across the northern hemisphere. If the data are right, they suggest that climate change in the Arctic is coming home to roost in a big and expensive way.
Last year was the thirty-seventh consecutive year of above-normal global temperature. According to data from NASA, the global temperature in 2013 averaged 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 degrees Celsius), roughly a degree warmer than the twentieth-century average. Since the dawn of agriculture 11,000 years ago, civilization has enjoyed a relatively stable climate. That is now changing as the growing human population rivals long-range geological processes in shaping the face of the planet. Fully 4 billion people alive today have never experienced a year that was cooler than last century’s average, begging the question of what is now “normal” with respect to the climate.
Warming in the Arctic is thought to be influencing the jet stream, a high-altitude corridor of fast-moving air, leading to severe cold snaps. It may have been responsible for record snowfall in New York during the winter of 2014/15, and unusually cold winters in the UK in 2009/10 and 2010/11. When the jet stream follows a “wavy” irregular path there are more cold weather fronts plunging south from the Arctic into mid-latitudes, bringing freezing conditions that persist for weeks at a time. When the jet stream flows steadily from west to east, winter weather in the UK and other countries in the temperate belt between the tropics and the Arctic is milder.