The Zachariæ Isstrøm glacier holds enough water to raise the sea level 19 inches—and it’s thawing rapidly.
UC Irvine glaciologists aboard the Cape Race in August 2014 mapped for the first time remote Greenland fjord bottoms and glacier melt that’s raising sea levels around the globe. (Photo: Maria Stenzel/University of California, Irvine)
Nov 16, 2015
By Taylor Hill
A Greenland glacier that holds the equivalent of 19 inches of sea-level rise has been melting at an accelerated rate since 2012, shedding as much as 5 billion metric tons a year, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
Satellite image taken Aug. 30, 2014, of Zachariæ Isstrøm and Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, glaciers in northeast Greenland. (Photo: Courtesy NASA/USGS)
While scientists have observed the melting of Greenland’s southern glaciers, the Zachariæ Isstrøm glacier is the first major glacier in the northern part of the country to show similar losses.
“That may be an indication that climate warming is spreading toward the poles,” said Jeremie Mouginot, the study’s lead author and an associate project scientist at the University of California, Irvine.
Working with researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Kansas, the team used aerial surveys, radar, laser profiling systems, and satellite observations from multiple international space agencies to piece together 40 years of data.
A Century of Glacier Photography Reveals the Great Melting of Greenland
They found that the Zachariæ glacier is rapidly eroding from the bottom thanks to warmer ocean water and increasing levels of meltwater that are affecting the ice sheet surface.
RELATED: Here’s What the World’s Cities Would Look Like After Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise
“The top of the glacier is melting away as a result of decades of steadily increasing air temperatures,
A Century of Glacier Photography Reveals the Great Melting of Greenland
while its underside is compromised by currents carrying warmer ocean water, and the glacier is now breaking away into bits and pieces and retreating into deeper ground,” Eric Rignot, study coauthor and UC Irvine professor of Earth system science, said in a statement.
“From our record, it is the first time Zachariæ has retreated so far inland and has lost its floating ice shelf,” Mouginot said.
The researchers also pointed out a neighboring glacier, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is experiencing rapid ice melts but at a slower pace than Zachariæ. The two glaciers make up 12 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet. If both fully collapsed, it would mean 39 inches of sea-level rise for the world.
“At the present rate of mass loss, it would take millennia for the glacier to completely disappear,” Mouginot said. “But we do not know how fast the glacier will flow in the coming decades.”
Scientists estimate Greenland’s 650,000-square-mile ice sheet is losing 303 billion tons of ice on average per year. But more ice loss from the north could mean an acceleration of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projection of sea-level rise of 1.6 feet to 3.2 feet by the end of the century. If the entire ice sheet melted, it would raise sea levels by more than 20 feet worldwide.
“Not long ago, we wondered about the effect on sea levels if Earth’s major glaciers were to start retreating,” Rignot said. “We no longer need to wonder; for a couple of decades now, we’ve been able to directly observe the results of climate warming on polar glaciers. The changes are staggering and are now affecting the four corners of Greenland.”
The head of a congressional committee on science has issued subpoenas to the Obama administration over a recent scientific study refuting claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the last decade.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a prominent congressional skeptic on climate change, issued the subpoenas two weeks ago demanding e-mails and records from U.S. scientists who participated in the study, which undercut a popular argument used by critics who reject the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind the planet’s recent warming.
Smith’s document request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered the agency to turn over scientific data as well as internal “communications between or among employees” involved in the study, according to a letter Friday by the House committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Tex.). Johnson accused Smith of “furthering a fishing expedition” by looking for ways to discredit NOAA’s study, which was published in June in the peer-reviewed journal Science.
“It is a disturbing trend for the legitimacy of this committee,” Johnson said in the letter to Smith. She linked the subpoena to previous requests by the committee’s Republican staff seeking information about NOAA’s climate researchers, which Johnson called “a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.” Noting that NOAA routinely publishes supporting data for its studies, Johnson said Smith had “not articulated a legitimate need for anything beyond what NOAA has already provided.”
Smith, responding to Johnson’s letter, said the subpoena was not “harassment” but “appropriate constitutional oversight.”
“This scandal-ridden administration’s lack of openness is the real problem,” Smith said in a statement released by his office. “Congress cannot do its job when agencies openly defy Congress and refuse to turn over information. When an agency decides to alter the way it has analyzed historical temperature data for the past few decades, it’s crucial to understand on what basis those decisions were made.”
NOAA Hiding The Decline: ‘Ten years ago, NOAA showed that all warming occurred before 1950, and a sharp drop in temperature after 1950. The National Academy of Sciences showed the same thing in 1975. The National Center for Atmospheric Research showed the same thing in 1974. This didn’t fit the government political agenda, so they simply made it disappear.’
Not, I hasten to warn you, because it’s exciting, well-produced or informative; rather, because of the fascinating light it sheds on the debate about global warming in general and also, in particular, on the ongoing controversy about whether organisations like NASA and NOAA are playing fast and loose with the world’s temperature data sets.
According to the video’s creator and star, Dr Kevin Cowtan, the latter suggestion is a nonsense. Using charts of South American and global temperatures, he painstakingly refutes suggestions by Christopher Booker and also (though tragically I don’t get a mention) by me that there is anything suspect, let alone corrupt or fraudulent, in the adjustments that NASA and NOAA have been making to the raw temperature data from weather stations around the world.
If you stumbled on it by accident on YouTube I think you’d be quite persuaded. Cowtan’s tone is soft and reasonable; the science, as he presents it, seems to stack up: a) there are perfectly valid reasons for these adjustments, to do with homogenising the raw data when it looks out of kilter with neighbouring but possibly more accurate weather stations, and with the changing nature of measuring equipment and b) the adjustments are, in any case, minor – altering the raw data by no more than 3 per cent.
When you Google “Dr Kevin Cowtan” he appears reassuringly neutral in this affair. He works in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, his current speciality being X-ray crystallography. A proper scientist, then, with no dog in this fight. Or so it looks until you scroll down a bit and see that his other area of research is “climate science.”
My climate science research focuses primarily on problems which are relevant to the public understanding of climate science. With my colleague Robert Way I have been investigating biases in historical temperature record from weather stations. Our primary work concerns temperature change over the past two decades. The main temperature record providers show a slowdown in the rate of warming over this period, however when biases in the temperature record are taken into account, we find that part of the slowdown disappears.
I am also involved in climate science communication, and am contributing to a massive online course run by the University of Queensland. I can offer undergraduate projects in this area for students who are interested to develop science communication skills.
So, not a neutral party after all then, but someone who depends for part of his livelihood on the lavish funding available in academe for those who promote the climate “consensus.” Perhaps, in the interests of full disclosure, he might have mentioned this detail on his YouTube biography. But I mean that only as a very mild and largely inconsequential criticism. What matters is not what Cowtan does for a living (“the motive fallacy”) but whether or not he has got his facts right.
And according to this counterblast from Dave Burton – a US computer programmer, sea level specialist and IPCC expert reviewer on AR5 – he hasn’t.
Burton’s key point is this: where Cowtan claims that all NOAA’s adjustments have done is increased warming by a modest 3 per cent, in actuality they have increased it by 35 per cent. So, far from Cowtan’s assessment that these adjustments are “inconsequentially tiny”, they are in fact quite massively distorting.
Might it be that they reached such wildly different conclusions by using different data? Er, no. Burton reached his conclusions by creating a spreadsheet with decadal data digitized from the exact graph used in Cowtan’s video.
Now I appreciate that in the context of the broader climate debate this might seem a trivial dispute. But I’ve been at this game long enough to be able to assure you that these faux rebuttals like the one offered by Cowtan are absolutely integral to the ongoing survival of the alarmist ‘consensus.’
As far as the warmist propaganda machine is concerned it really doesn’t matter two hoots whether or not Cowtan has got his facts right. What matters is that whenever the inconvenient subject of doctored temperature data crops up again, the alarmists have their ready-made get out. From a proper actual scientist. So he must know – right?
You can be sure that, if it hasn’t already, Cowtan’s dodgy rebuttal video will soon be linked to by the usual warmist sockpuppeteers in the comment threads below every relevant article. What none of them will mention, of course, is the Burton counter-rebuttal to the Cowtan rebuttal. Integrity has never been these people’s strong point. It’s winning the propaganda war that counts.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the case for a fraud trial against the climate data record gatekeepers seems to be getting stronger and stronger.
Paul Homewood, the blogger who noticed the discrepancies with the Paraguay temperature records, has now turned his attention to the Arctic region. His conclusion after studying the charts before and after is that the scale and geographic range of these adjustments is “breathtaking.”
In nearly every Arctic station from Greenland in the West to Siberia in the East, the data has been adjusted to make the warm period in the 1930s look cooler than it actually was. This, of course, has the effect of making the Twentieth Century warming look much more dramatic than the raw data would suggest.
Will this scandalous apparent evidence-tampering ever get much coverage in the mainstream media? It certainly ought to. Think about it: if Homewood (and Anthony Watts and Steven Goddard, et al) are correct, then what it essentially means is that the entire global warming scare has been sold to us on a false prospectus.
But it won’t, of course, because the mainstream media – in large part, at least – remains wedded to the Man Made Global Warming orthodoxy and therefore only really likes to run stories that prove how totally wrong, evil, and swivel-eyed climate change deniers are.
For example, this story in Nature, which sought to explain away one of the most embarrassing problems the warmist camp has been suffering of late: the abject failure of their fancy computer models to have predicted the planet’s failure to warm since 1998.
According to the lead author of this widely reported study, one Jochem Marotzke of the Max Planck Institute, it dealt a fatal blow to the sceptics’ case that the warmists’ computer models were a waste of space.
Professor Gordon Hughes, one of the statisticians who reviewed and confirmed Lewis’s findings has commented thus:
“The statistical methods used in the [Marotzke] paper are so bad as to merit use in a class on how not to do applied statistics. All this paper demonstrates is that climate scientists should take some basic courses in statistics and Nature should get some competent referees.”
But here’s a prediction. The rebuttal won’t receive nearly the coverage that Marotzke’s original inept paper did.
On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.
Chasing Ice won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the Best Documentary from the International Press Association. It has won over 30 awards at festivals worldwide. Still playing in theaters worldwide.
“CHASING ICE” is NOMINATED for an Academy Award: Best Original Song
“Before My Time” by J. Ralph featuring Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell.
The first decade of the 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean temperatures. High temperatures were accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and an accelerating loss of the ice sheets of the world’s glaciers.
Earth experienced above-average precipitation, including one year – 2010 – that broke all previous records. 2001 – 2010 period was also marked by dramatic climate and weather extremes such as the European heatwave of 2003, the 2010 floods in Pakistan, hurricane Katrina in the United States of America (USA), cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and long-term droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa.
Extreme floods, droughts and tropical cyclones were all experienced across the world and throughout the decade. More than 370,000 people died as a result of these, representing a 20 per cent increase in casualties from the previous decade. This increase is due mainly to the dramatic increase in the total reported deaths arising from heatwaves in 2003 and 2010.
Impact of Extreme events during 2001-2010 compared with 1991-2000. Total number of loss of lives
The average land and ocean-surface temperature for the decade 2001-2010 was estimated to be 14.47°C, or 0.47°C above the 1961–1990 global average and +0.21°C above the 1991–2000 global average (with a factor of uncertainty of ± 0.1°C).
The decadal rate of increase in the global temperature accelerated between 1971 and 2010. The global temperature increased at an average estimated rate of 0.17°C per decade during that period, compared with 0.062°C per decade for the entire 1880-2010 period. The average 2001-2010 decadal temperature was 0.21°C warmer than 1991–2000, which in turn was +0.14°C warmer than 1981-1990.
Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest years on record. The warmest year ever recorded was 2010, with a temperature estimated at 0.54°C above the 14.0°C long term average of 1961-1990 base period, followed closely by 2005.
Above-average temperatures were observed over most parts of the globe in 2001-2010. This was particularly marked in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Greenland recorded the largest decadal temperature anomaly, at +1.71°C above the long-term average and with a temperature in 2010 of +3.2°C above average. Africa experienced warmer than normal conditions in every year of the decade.
Decadal global combined surface-air temperature over land and sea-surface temperature (°C) obtained from the average over the three independent datasets maintained by the HadCRU, NOAA-NCDCand NASA-GISS.The Horizontal grey line indicates the long term average value ( 14°C).
Results from WMO’s survey showed that nearly 94% of reporting countries had their warmest decade in 2001-2010 and no country reported a nationwide average decadal temperature anomaly cooler than the long term average.
Some 44% of countries in the survey reported nationwide hottest temperature records in 2001-2010, compared to 24% in 1991-2000. Coldest daily minimum temperature absolute records showed an opposite pattern: In 1961-1970, nearly 32 % of the countries reported nationwide lowest minimum temperature values. The percentage decreased to 11% in 2001-2010.
Drought affected more people than any other kind of natural disaster due to their large scale and long-lasting nature. Some of the highest-impact and long-term droughts struck Australia (in 2002 and other years), East Africa (2004 and 2005, resulting in widespread loss of life) and the Amazon Basin (2010) with negative environmental impacts.
Flooding and heavy precipitation
Numerous high-impact flooding and heavy precipitation events were recorded during the decade. WMO devoted special case study to the large-scale flooding event which occurred in Pakistan in July 2010. It affected more than 20 million people and claimed some 2 000 casualties.
The 2001-2010 decade was the second wettest since 1901. Globally, 2010 was the wettest year since the start of instrumental records.
Most parts of the globe had above-normal precipitation during the decade. The eastern USA, northern and eastern Canada, and many parts of Europe and central Asia were particularly wet.
According to the WMO survey, floods were the most frequently experienced extreme events over the course of the decade. Eastern Europe was particularly affected in 2001 and 2005, India in 2005, Africa in 2008, Asia (notably Pakistan, where 2 000 people died and 20 million were affected) in 2010, and Australia, also in 2010.
According to the 2011 Global Assessment Report, the average population exposed to flooding every year increased by 114% globally between 1970 and 2010, a period in which the world’s population increased by 87% from 3.7 billion to 6.9 billion.
Anomalously warm weather that lasts for several days or weeks and has a severe impact on society is often referred to as a heatwave. Extreme heatwaves occurred in Europe in summer 2003 (more than 66 000 deaths in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, together) and in the Russian Federation in 2010 (more than 55 000 related deaths).
More than 500 cyclone-related disaster events were recorded killing nearly 170,000 people, affecting over 250 million, and caused estimated damages of $380 billion. The number of people exposed to severe storms almost tripled in cyclone-prone areas, increasing by 192%, in the same period.
According to NOAA-NCDC, 2001 – 2010 was the most active decade since 1855 for tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Basin. An average of 15 named storms per year was recorded, well above the 1981 -2010 long-term average of 12 named storms per year. The most active season ever recorded was 2005, with a total of 27 named storms, of which 15 reached hurricane intensity and seven were classified as major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
The North Indian Ocean saw the deadliest tropical cyclone recorded during the decade, when Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar in early May 2008. More than 138 000 people were reported killed or missing, eight million people were affected and thousands of homes were destroyed.
Composition of the atmosphere
In addition to analyzing global and regional temperatures, it also charted the rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, finding that global concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose by 39 per cent since the start of the industrial era in 1750, nitrous oxide concentrations rose by 20 per cent and methane concentrations more than tripled.
According to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, global-average atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide rose to 389 ppm1 in 2010 (an increase of 39 per cent compared to pre-industrial times), methane to 1 808.0 ppb1 (158 per cent) and nitrous oxide to 323.2 ppb (20 per cent). This changing composition of the atmosphere is causing the global average temperature to rise, which, in turn, exerts a significant influence on the hydrological cycle and leads to other changes
in climate and weather patterns.
Humanity’s emissions of chlorofluorocarbons and other chemicals have also changed the atmosphere by damaging the stratospheric ozone layer that filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation.
The record warmth of the decade was accompanied by the melting of ice caps, sea ice and glaciers and the thawing of permafrost. In addition to being a sign of a warming climate, melting ice and snow also affected water supplies, transport routes, infrastructure, marine ecosystems much more.
This image compares the average sea ice extent for September 2007 to September 2005; the magenta line indicates the long-term median from 1979 to 2000. September 2007 sea ice extent was 4.28 million square kilometers (1.65 million square miles), compared to 5.57 million square kilometers (2.14 million square miles) in September 2005. This image is from the NSIDC Sea Ice Index. Image courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.
The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean dropped below the previous all-time record set in 2007. This year also marks the first time that there has been less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles) of sea ice since satellite observations began in 1979. This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent using sea ice concentration data from the DMSP SSMI/S satellite sensor. The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice extent over the 1979-2000 time period. Layered over top of that are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 — September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (www.nsidc.org) will confirm the final minimum ice extent data and area once the melt stabilizes, usually in mid-September.
The report concludes that understanding the Earth’s climate and trends in temperature, precipitation and extreme events is of vital importance to human well being and sustainable development. As the report confirms, climate scientists can now link some natural oscillations to seasonal climate trends. They also understand the mechanisms by which humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions are raising global average temperatures.
While climate scientists believe that it is not yet possible to attribute individual extremes to climate change, they increasingly conclude that many recent events would have occurred in a different way – or would not have occurred at all – in the absence of climate change. (WMO)
In this overview of WMO publication we provided only a glimpse at the extreme climate conditions Earth has experienced in the first decade of 21st century. Many scientists still argue as to why this weather extremes are happening; whether growing human civilization is the source of extreme weather events or they are just the part of natural occurring process. For more facts WMO released please read the summary or the full report for even more data. Links are provided below.
Over the past year the world has experienced unprecedented and bizarre weather phenomena – from record breaking heat and cold to increasing earthquake activity worldwide. It’s not just global warming, but rather, a system wide surge of strange weather activity.
This video compiles extreme earth changes and weather events, with footage including meteors entering the atmosphere, sinkholes opening up worldwide, the discovery of dark lightning, increasing volcano activity, and a uniquely unusual UFO sighting in Ireland.
While this video does NOT imply extreme weather is a result of human activity – it does suggest that climate change is real and occurring all around us. Whatever the source, one may ask – will extreme weather define our world’s history for decades to come?
Now that global warming is completely unravelling, I want to elaborate on a point I made a few blogposts back about the role of humanities graduates in this great debate.
On the face of it, their record isn’t good. Some of the most influential promulgators of climate nonsense have been arts graduates – among them Bryony Worthington (the FoE activist turned peer responsible for the Climate Change Act), the BBC’s Roger Harrabin and a fair few of the Guardian’s 2,800-strong Environment Department. I think future historians – looking back on this period of mass hysteria in which so many people were persuaded by and so much expensive, damaging policy was based on the largest confection of lies in junk science history – could put together a reasonably persuasive thesis that it was mainly the fault of scientist-manque arts graduates too easily impressed by men in white lab coats.
Against that, though, you’d have to set people like me and the Booker. Neither of us – as the Warmists like endlessly to remind us and taunt us – has a science degree; yet we’ve dedicated most of the latter part of our careers towards exposing the scam. And we’ve done so with confidence not because we’re scientists but, rather, precisely because we’re not scientists. I don’t want to upset the many scientists here present who make such fascinating and enlightening contributions to this blog, for which I am always (well unless they’re trolls from the UEA….) extremely grateful. But as I tried to explain the other day in my brief spat with Wattsy, this debate isn’t mainly about “the science” and it never was mainly about “the science.”
This is something most of my journalistic contemporaries – such the one whose irksome private correspondence I quoted in the first version of this blog before someone persuaded me this was dishonourable and that I should take it down – have failed to understand. Even now, I think, in the journalistic mainstream, the view remains that “climate change” is a scientific debate about man’s influence on global warming. And it so isn’t. What it really is is just another proxy conflict in the culture wars: between those who believe in limited government, low taxation, minimal regulation, personal responsibility, free markets and liberty on the one hand; and on the other those who believe in an ever-enlarging state (perhaps even to the point of One World Government), high tax, more regulation, and rule by an elite of technocrats and “experts” on the other. I argue this, as those of you who have read it will know, in Watermelons.
Many blame the public’s confusion over global warming on a widespread ignorance of science. A scientific grounding wouldn’t hurt but it also wouldn’t help much – few laymen, no matter how well informed, could be expected to follow the arcane climate change calculations that specialist scientists wield.
The much better explanation for the public’s confusion lies in a widespread ignorance of history, not least by scientists. Any child can understand that the Romans conquered the world when temperatures were warmer than today, that the Dutch invented the ice skates during the Little Ice Age five hundred years ago, and that melting glaciers off Newfoundland a century ago produced the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
He’s dead right. We all have our part to play in the debate, humanities and science graduates alike. Our gravest mistake in this particular one, I think, has been to put far too much faith in scientists as arbiters of ultimate truth. We have elevated them to the status of priest, almost – as you can hear, for example, in the broadcaster’s reverential tone on the BBC every time he or she invokes the word “scientists”.
One of m’learned commenters (remind me and I’ll H/T you) traces the problem back to CP Snow’s 1959 Two Cultures lecture. Ever since arts graduates – note, eg, its effects on Melvyn Bragg’s career – have thought meanly of themselves for not having studied a proper science degree.
For years, I must say, I felt much the same about my own mere English Literature degree.
But not any more. Climategate and its aftermath changed all that. It’s not a science degree you need to negotiate the complexities of this tottering edifice of propaganda, tortured data, lies, misinformation, political wrangling, rampant greed, corporatist manoeuvring and establishment cover-ups: it’s the mental clarity you develop translating the Battle of Maldon, the powers of endurance you develop from reading the Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, and the critical nous you acquire while trying to understand what the hell Spenser was on about when he wrote the Faerie Queene.
This composite image shows a global view of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images. New research shows that major cities, which generally correspond with the nighttime lights in this image, can have a far-reaching impact on temperatures. (Image courtesy NASA and NOAA.)
If we divide that by the surface area of the U.S. in meters, we get 0.33 watts per sq. meter.
Now, compare that the the total radiative forcing from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations supposedly operating today, which (according to the IPCC) is somewhere around 1.6 W/m2.
…waste heat from our use of energy keeps getting generated, no matter how much our surroundings have warmed. So, with this correction, we now see that waste heat generation (0.33) becomes more like 50% of the remaining radiative imbalance (0.6) from anthropogenic GHG production.
Waste Heat is Mostly Released in the Lowest 10% of the Atmosphere
It seems his observations were spot-on, as this new paper just published in Nature Climate Change tells us. From the University of San Diego:
Urban Heat Has Large-scale Climate Effects
Researchers find that heat given off by metropolitan areas is enough to influence winter warming
The heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas has a significant enough warming effect to influence the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems during winter months, according to a trio of climate researchers.
Led by Guang Zhang, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, the scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that the extra heat given off by Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of warming in winter. They added that this effect helps explain the disparity between actual observed warming in the last half-century and the amount of warming that computer models have been able to account for.
“What we found is that energy use from multiple urban areas collectively can warm the atmosphere remotely, thousands of miles away from the energy consumption regions,” said Zhang. “This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change.”
The study, “Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America,” appears in online editions of the journal Jan. 27. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and NOAA supported the research.
Zhang, along with Ming Cai of Florida State University and Aixue Hu of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., considered the energy consumption – from heating buildings to powering vehicles – that generates waste heat release. The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was 16 terawatts (one terawatt equals 1 trillion watts). Of that, 6.7 TW were consumed in 86 metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere.
The release of waste heat is different from energy that is naturally distributed in the atmosphere, the researchers noted. The largest source of heat, solar energy, warms Earth’s surface and atmospheric circulations distribute that energy from one region to another. Human energy consumption distributes energy that had lain dormant and sequestered for millions of years, mostly in the form of oil or coal. Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, many of those urban areas lie directly under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams.
Zhang said the effect his team studied is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect, an increase in the warmth of cities compared to unpopulated areas caused by human activities.
The authors report that the influence of urban heat can widen the jet stream and strengthens atmospheric flows at mid-latitudes. They add that the warming is not uniform. Partially counterbalancing it, the changes in major atmospheric systems cool areas of Europe by as much as 1 degree C, with much of the temperature decrease occurring in the fall.
Overall, these changes have a noticeable but slight effect on global temperatures, increasing them worldwide by an average of about 0.1 degree C.
The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns or plays a role in accelerating global warming, though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.
The authors also contend that the urban heat effect accounts for the discrepancy between observed warming and winter warming simulated in the models used by the climate science community for analysis and prediction of climate. They suggest that the influence of energy consumption accompany heat-trapping gases and aerosols as necessary variables in computer models.
Here is another press release from NCAR:
January 27, 2013
BOULDER—Even if you live more than 1,000 miles from the nearest large city, it could be affecting your weather.
In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study this week in Nature Climate Change.
The extra “waste heat” generated from buildings, cars, and other sources in major Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes winter warming across large areas of northern North America and northern Asia. Temperatures in some remote areas increase by as much as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the research by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; University of California, San Diego; Florida State University; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
At the same time, the changes to atmospheric circulation caused by the waste heat cool areas of Europe by as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F), with much of the temperature decrease occurring in the fall.
The net effect on global mean temperatures is nearly negligible—an average increase worldwide of just 0.01 degrees C (about 0.02 degrees F). This is because the total human-produced waste heat is only about 0.3 percent of the heat transported across higher latitudes by atmospheric and oceanic circulations.
However, the noticeable impact on regional temperatures may explain why some regions are experiencing more winter warming than projected by climate computer models, the researchers conclude. They suggest that models be adjusted to take the influence of waste heat into account.
“The burning of fossil fuel not only emits greenhouse gases but also directly affects temperatures because of heat that escapes from sources like buildings and cars,” says NCAR scientist Aixue Hu, a co-author of the study. “Although much of this waste heat is concentrated in large cities, it can change atmospheric patterns in a way that raises or lowers temperatures across considerable distances.”
Distinct from urban heat island effect
The researchers stressed that the effect of waste heat is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect. Such islands are mainly a function of the heat collected and re-radiated by pavement, buildings, and other urban features, whereas the new study examines the heat produced directly through transportation, heating and cooling units, and other activities.
The study, “Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America,” appeared online yesterday. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor, as well as the Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Hu, along with lead author Guang Zhang of Scripps and Ming Cai of Florida State University, analyzed the energy consumption—from heating buildings to powering vehicles—that generates waste heat release. The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was equivalent to a constant-use rate of 16 terawatts (1 terawatt, or TW, equals 1 trillion watts). Of that, an average rate of 6.7 TW was consumed in 86 metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere.
Using a computer model of the atmosphere, the authors found that the influence of this waste heat can widen the jet stream.
“What we found is that energy use from multiple urban areas collectively can warm the atmosphere remotely, thousands of miles away from the energy consumption regions,” Zhang says. “This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change.”
The release of waste heat is different from energy that is naturally distributed in the atmosphere, the researchers noted. The largest source of heat, solar energy, warms Earth’s surface and atmospheric circulations redistribute that energy from one region to another. Human energy consumption distributes energy that had lain dormant and sequestered for millions of years, mostly in the form of oil or coal.
Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, many of those urban areas lie directly under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams.
“The world’s most populated and energy-intensive metropolitan areas are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents, underneath the most prominent atmospheric circulation troughs and ridges,” Cai says. “The release of this concentrated waste energy causes the noticeable interruption to the normal atmospheric circulation systems above, leading to remote surface temperature changes far away from the regions where waste heat is generated.”
About the article
Title: Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America
The worldwide energy consumption in 2006 was close to 498 exajoules. This is equivalent to an energy convergence of 15.8 TW into the populated regions, where energy is consumed and dissipated into the atmosphere as heat. Although energy consumption is sparsely distributed over the vast Earth surface and is only about 0.3% of the total energy transport to the extratropics by atmospheric and oceanic circulations, this anthropogenic heating could disrupt the normal atmospheric circulation pattern and produce a far-reaching effect on surface air temperature. We identify the plausible climate impacts of energy consumption using a global climate model. The results show that the inclusion of energy use at 86 model grid points where it exceeds 0.4 W m−2 can lead to remote surface temperature changes by as much as 1 K in mid- and high latitudes in winter and autumn over North America and Eurasia. These regions correspond well to areas with large differences in surface temperature trends between observations and global warming simulations forced by all natural and anthropogenic forcings1. We conclude that energy consumption is probably a missing forcing for the additional winter warming trends in observations.
The supplementary Information (SI) for this paper is here, and well worth reading:
Note: Coming from a Russian publication, this is an amusing read…sadly they appear to have a better handle on reality than Western counterparts.
By Stanislav Mishin
For years, the Elites of the West have cranked up the myth of Man Made Global Warming as a means first and foremost to control the lives and behaviors of their populations. Knowing full well that their produce in China and sell in the West model and its consequent spiral downward in wages and thus standards of living, was unsustainable, the elites moved to use this new “science” to guilt trip and scare monger their populations into smaller and more conservatives forms of living. In other words, they coasted them into the poverty that the greed and treason of those said same elites was already creating in their native lands.
What better way to staunch protests at worsening economic and life conditions than to make it feel like an honourable job/duty of the people to save “Gia”. At the same time, they used this “science” as new pagan religion to further push out the Christianity they hate and despise and most of all, fear? Gia worship, the earth “mother”, has been pushed in popular culture oozing out of the West for a better part of the past 1.5 decades. This is a religion replete with an army of priests, called Government Grant Scientists.
Various groups have fought back. This is including Russian hackers, who published a huge database of UK government, scientific and university emails depicting the fixing of data to sell Global Warming, er Climate Change (as if it never changed on its own). And while taking hit after hit, the beast, like Al Qaida, will not die. As a matter of fact, the beast is on a steady come back, as it is quite useful during the down times recession. The US alone spends $7 billion each year on warming “studies”, which is, in truth, nothing but a huge money laundering operation, as no real science is conducted and vapid alarmist reports the only product generated.
Global warming ubx (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amongst the newest claims of pending disasters, is a cry that icepacks are now melting at three times the rate of the 1990s, even though there has not been any significant warming in the past 20 years. Greenland’s icepack melt off, has been linked to volcanic activity under the ice, heating it. Must be the magmamen and their SUVs. These facts, however, do not faze the Gia crowd and their Elite/Governmental backers. The fact that a super storm hit the NE US is also being played as evidence of GW. Thank God that before GW no such things ever happened. How are they to explain that Russia and Eastern Europe are projected to have the coldest winter in 20 years? Oh, but I doubt my Western readers are even aware of that.
Now, with their economies in a spiral of debt laden, non-manufacturing recession (if not out and out depression), the Elites, who sense they are loosing their grip or toe hold on key economic regions outside their home regions, are once again calling out their inquisitors of Global Warming and sending them towards the developing world.
The first salvo has been fired by a British Warming dandy named Lord Nicholas Stern of Brantford, who as an academic at Whitehall, has made a career and quite a bit of money off of this scam. Lord Stern, a former World Bank chief economist and author of the landmark Stern review of the economics of climate change, was a close associate of Gordon Brown and the Leftists, who with the Tory counterparts and in parallel to the American Democrats/Republicans set up the grand and self destructive economic schemes that have plunged their own nations and many many others into the abyss of poverty.
The good Lord Stern, in commentary on why countries such as Russia, China, India and Brazil, in other words, the BRICs, have to pony up cash and depress their own growth, made this statement for the Guardian paper: “It’s a brutal arithmetic – the changing structure of the world’s economy has been dramatic. That is something developing countries will have to face up to,”
His premise is that even if you take out the deindustrialized West, run away Global Warming will not stop due to the industrialized world. Its now all the fault of those raising themselves up for the destruction of the world, from the phantom joke of GW. Lord Stern tried to assure that the opening salvo was not a salvo, by stating: “I am not pointing the finger at the developing world, just looking at what is necessary. I am not accusing or proposing, just calculating what is needed [to meet scientific estimates of the emissions cuts needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change]”. More like a calculated accusation. After all, this is not some light weight of the GIA cult, but the movement’s chief economist who enjoyed the ear of the UK government: a perfect tool of the Western Elites.
Expect the cries to get louder and more shrill in the months to follow.
The article originally appears on author’s blog, Mat Rodina
2012 will go down as the hottest year ever with some of the most extremest weather events to hit this planet. With the trend continuing in 2013 the future of our weather looks very grim. We all might not agree on the main reason why, but we all have to agree that this is a very real thing taking place today. Please respect other peoples opioions when leaving a comment. Thanks for watching here and your feed back is very important to me and others.
Melting ice in Greenland has swelled the island’s rivers with water. A NASA satellite snapped a photo of meltwater overflowing the banks of the Watson River near Kangerlussuaq, a key air transportation hub, on July 12.
Two weeks later, however, river levels have receded somewhat, according to a release from the NASA Earth Observatory.
“Water rises every year, but I’ve never before observed it at this level of discharge,” said Richard Forster, a University of Utah researcher who has done extensive fieldwork in Greenland, in a statement. “It was also about two weeks prior to the normal seasonal peak.”
The town, known as Kanger, hosts one of the island’s busiest commercial airports and is a frequent departure point for scientific research flights. It lies about 74 miles (125 kilometers) from the sea.
The water most likely came from melting of the ice sheet — rather than an ice-dammed lake bursting or glacial lake drainage — as the high discharge was maintained for so long, Forster said.
This year’s ice melt is well above average: About half of Greenland’s surface ice tends to melt every summer, with the meltwater at higher elevations quickly refreezing in place and the coastal meltwater either pooling on top of the ice or draining into the sea. [Giant Ice: Photos of Greenland’s Glaciers]
The massive melt may have been caused by a ridge or dome of warm air hovering over Greenland.
Signs of ice melt were even found around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) above sea level is near to the highest point on the ice sheet.
The melting characteristics of such a huge ice sheet — spanning 656,000 square miles (1.7 million square kilometers) — is important for various reasons, particularly its potential effect on sea levels. If melted completely, the Greenland ice sheet could contribute 23 feet (7 meters) to global sea-level rise, according to a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body charged with assessing climate change.
Whether or not this recent massive melt will affect the overall ice loss this summer, and as such bump up sea level, is still an open question.
In other Greenland-melting news, a massive iceberg that recently broke away from one of Greenland’s largest glaciers is making its way downstream and toward the open ocean, as shown by a new satellite photo.
The drifting island of ice split from the Petermann Glacier’s ice shelf — the front end of a glacier, which hangs off the land and floats on the ocean.
Thenewly birthed berg is estimated to be about 46 square miles (120 square kilometers), and finally broke away from the floating tongue of ice on Monday, July 16.
Meltwater flooding the Watson River in Greenland. Photo taken on July 12, 2012.
CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory
Thank you Joey Bellmore for a great earth changes report! At this point there is so much unfolding with just the Earth changes, that’s it’s hard to get to everything while covering other topics demanding our attention. While there’s some crossover with stories covered below this post, Joey Bellmore features events of importance that aren’t covered here. (Formerly JoeyB)
These spacecraft can measure sea-surface height even when there is widespread ice cover because they are adept at picking out the cracks, or leads, that frequently appear in the frozen floes.
The data (1995-2010) indicates a significant swelling of water in the Beaufort Gyre, particularly since the early part of the 2000s. The rising trend has been running at 2cm per year.
Model predictionA lot of research from buoys and other in-situ sampling had already indicated that water in this region of the Arctic had been freshening.
This fresh water is coming in large part from the rivers running off the Eurasian (Russian) side of the Arctic basin.
Winds and currents have transported this fresh water around the ocean until it has been pulled into the gyre. The volume currently held in the circulation probably represents about 10% of all the fresh water in the Arctic.
Of interest to future observations is what might happen if the anticyclonic winds, which have been whipping up the bulge, change behaviour.
“What we seen occurring is precisely what the climate models had predicted,” said Dr Giles.
“When you have clockwise rotation – the fresh water is stored. If the wind goes the other way – and that has happened in the past – then the fresh water can be pushed to the margins of the Arctic Ocean.
“If the spin-up starts to spin down, the fresh water could be released. It could go to the rest of the Arctic Ocean or even leave the Arctic Ocean.”
If the fresh water were to enter the North Atlantic in large volumes, the concern would be that it might disturb the currents that have such a great influence on European weather patterns. These currents draw warm waters up from the tropics, maintaining milder temperatures in winter than would ordinarily be expected at northern European latitudes.
Cracks, or leads, in the ice provide vertical surfaces against which the wind can push
The creation of the Beaufort Gyre bulge is not a continuous development throughout the 15-year data-set, and only becomes a dominant feature in the latter half of the study period.
This may indicate a change in the relationship between the wind and the ocean in the Arctic brought about by the recent rapid decline in sea-ice cover, the CPOM team argues in its Nature Geoscience paper.
It is possible that the wind is now imparting momentum to the water in ways that were not possible when the sea-ice was thicker and more extensive.
“The ice is now much freer to move around,” said Dr Giles.
Cryosat-2: Esa’s newest radar satellite is dedicated to studying the polar regions
“So, as the wind acts on the ice, it’s able to pull the water around with it. Depending on how ridged the surface of ice is or how smooth the bottom of the ice is – this will all affect the drag on the water. If you have more leads, this also might provide more vertical ice surfaces for the wind to blow against.”
One consequence of less sea-ice in the region is the possibility that winds could now initiate greater mixing of the different layers in the Arctic Ocean.
Scientists are aware that there is a lot of warm water at depth.
At present, this deep water’s energy is unable to influence the sea-ice because of a buffer of colder, less dense water lying between it and the floes above.
But if this warm water were made to well up because of wind-driven changes at the surface, it could further accelerate the loss of seasonal ice cover.
The CPOM team is now investigating the likelihood of this happening with Cryosat-2, Esa’s first radar satellite dedicated to the study of the polar regions.
“We now have the means to measure not only the ice thickness but also to monitor how the ocean under the ice is changing,” says Dr Seymour Laxon, director of CPOM and co-author of the study, “and with CryoSat-2, we can now do so over the entire Arctic Ocean.”
Sir David Attenborough, the television wildlife presenter, has warned that people in towns and cities are putting the planet at risk because they are losing touch with the “realities of the natural world”.
David Attenborough pictured with an anaesthetised polar bear on Frozen Planet Photo: BBC
The broadcaster said urbanisation over the last 60 years meant that too many people had little or no contact with the natural world.
In an interview with Eureka magazine, published by The Times, he said: “We have a huge moral responsibility towards the rest of the planet.
“A hundred years ago people certainly had that, they were aware of the seasons and aware of what they were doing to the land and animals around them.”
Sir David, whose Frozen Planetseries ends on the BBC next week, said UN figures showed that due to rapid urbanisation since the 1950s, more than 50% of the world’s population now live in towns and cities.
“So over 50% is to some degree out of touch with the natural world and don’t even see an animal from one day to the next unless it’s a rat or a pigeon,” he added.
“That means that people are getting out of touch with the realities of the natural world, of which we are in fact a part.”
The final episode of the seven-part series Frozen Planet sees Sir David speaking more freely than in previous episodes about the threat mankind poses to the planet.
He claims that the Arctic could be emptied of ice in summer by 2020 and polar bears are already dying due to a lack of ice.
The BBC dropped the “climate change” episode from its main package when selling the series abroad to make it more appealing to international viewers, such as those in the United States, where the public is more sceptical about global warming.
Instead, it was either offered as an optional extra or, in the case of the US, elements from it were incorporated into the other episodes.
Sir David has become involved in a public war of words with Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor.
September 1, 2011 – GREENLAND – New photographs taken of a vast glacier in northern Greenland have revealed the astonishing rate of its breakup, with one scientist saying he was rendered “speechless.” In August 2010, part of the Petermann Glacier about four times the size of Manhattan island broke off , prompting a hearing in Congress. Researcher Alun Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth University, U.K., told msnbc.com by phone that another section, about twice the size of Manhattan, appeared close to breaking off. In 2009, scientists installed GPS masts on the glacier to track its movement. Taken nearly two years after the picture above, this photo shows the extent of the ice loss. The channel is about ten miles wide. But when they returned in July this year, they found the ice had been melting so quickly — at an unexpected 16-and-a-half feet in two years — that some of the masts stuck into the glacier were no longer in position. Hubbard, who has been working with Jason Box, of Ohio State University, and others, said in a statement issued by the Byrd Polar Research Center that scientists were still trying to work out how fast the glacier was moving and the effect on the ice sheet feeding the glacier. But he said he was taken aback by the difference between 2009 and 2011 when he visited the glacier in late July. “Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the break-up, which rendered me speechless,” he said in the statement. “I’m very familiar with the glacier. It’s very hard to sort of envisage something so big not being there … to come back and basically see an ice shelf has disappeared, which is 20 kilometers across (about 12 miles) … I was speechless and started laughing because I couldn’t sort of believe it,” Hubbard added, speaking to msnbc.com. –MSNBC
Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather.
The human and economic toll over just the past few months has been staggering: hundreds of people have died, and thousands of homes and millions of acres have been lost at a cost estimated at more than $20 billion.
And the United States has not even entered peak hurricane season.
“This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we’ve seen in the last century since we’ve had good records,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
While it’s not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring’s extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future.
“In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods,” he told AFP.
“We are seeing an increase in the amount (of rain and snow) that comes at once, and the ramifications are that it’s a lot more water to deal with at a time, so you see things like flooding.”
More than 6.8 million acres in the central United States have been swamped after record spring rainfall overwhelmed rivers already swollen from the melting of a heavy winter snow pack.
Some levees burst under the pressure as the mighty Mississippi River swelled to more than three miles (nearly five kilometers) in width. Others were intentionally breached in order to ease pressure and protect cities downstream.
The latest flooding along the Missouri River has forced mass evacuations and threatened to inundate two nuclear power plants in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, the southern United States is dealing with one of the most extreme droughts since the dust bowl of the 1930s, and the dry conditions have led to massive and uncontrollable wildfires.
More than 4.7 million acres have been burned in some 32,000 separate fires so far this year, which is more than twice the annual average over the past decade, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have lost the most land, and one fire even spread to the grounds of the top US nuclear research lab on Monday.
As with the plants in Nebraska, officials said the nuclear material stored inside is safe and that no contaminants have been released.
While most people have been able to escape the slow-moving floodwaters and wildfires unharmed, the spring’s violent storms have unleashed scenes of apocalyptic destruction.
Tornadoes have killed 542 people so far this year, making 2011 the deadliest tornado season since 1936 and the fourth worst on record, according to the National Weather Service.
Two bad days accounted for nearly all the deaths: an outbreak of dozens of tornadoes that killed 314 people in five southern states on April 27, and a nearly mile-wide twister that cut a six-mile (nearly 10 kilometer) swath of destruction through Joplin, Missouri on May 22, killing 146 people.
Climate change could bring less tornadoes, because while a warmer atmosphere will absorb more precipitation, causing more storms, it could also reduce the wind shear that builds storm intensity when cold and warm fronts collide.
However, the intensity of future droughts, heat waves, storms and floods is expected to rise drastically if greenhouse gas emissions don’t stabilize soon, said Michael Mann, a scientist at Penn State University.
“Even a couple degree warming can make a 100-year event a three-year event,” Mann, the head of the university’s earth systems science center, told AFP.
“It has to do with the tail of the bell curve. When you move the bell curve, that area changes dramatically.”
More extreme weather is expected in the coming months, said Jon Gottschalck, head of forecast operations at NOAA’s climate prediction center.
“We’re expecting warmer than normal conditions to continue across much of the south. The drought is probably going to continue in many areas,” he said.
“We also expect wetter than normal conditions to continue for the next season or two in the northern Rockies…and an active hurricane season.”