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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Global warming is real and human-caused. It is leading to large-scale climate change. Under the guise of climate "skepticism", the public is bombarded with misinformation that casts doubt on the reality of human-caused global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming "skepticism".

Our mission is simple: debunk climate misinformation by presenting peer-reviewed science and explaining the techniques of science denial.

 


New technology offers insights on Southern Ocean’s carbon secrets

Posted on 2 August 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Kristen Pope

The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica makes up less than a third of the global ocean surface, yet scientists believe it “plays an outsized role in the climate system,” according to a 2021 journal article in Geophysical Research Letters. Water and currents from other oceans meet here, allowing for heat and carbon transfer as this body of water connects the ocean and atmosphere.

Scientists have long believed the Southern Ocean to be a crucial carbon sink, but recent data is raising questions about whether the Southern Ocean may not actually be quite as much of a carbon sink as they once thought. To learn more and broaden their understanding, they are using new technology to collect additional data – especially during the seldom-surveyed winter season.

“The Southern Ocean is a really interesting place,” says oceanographer Adrienne Sutton, who works for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. “It covers only 30% of the global ocean surface but it represents as much as 75% of heat uptake and 40% of carbon uptake for the globe. So it plays an outsized role in climate, and that’s why we’re really interested in collecting more data there.”

Since the world and its systems are so interconnected, learning about the Southern Ocean’s carbon uptake is important in calculating global carbon estimates.

“As we try to manage carbon we need to know the natural sinks,” says Bronte Tilbrook, senior principal research scientist with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Oceans and Atmosphere in Australia. “About half the carbon is currently taken up by natural sinks both on land and in the ocean.” He points out that land sinks are very complex and difficult to quantify, so the ocean sink’s atmospheric measurements are needed. “In the ocean we have data that will allow us to get better ideas of how much carbon is going into the land, how much is going into the ocean, and what’s remaining in the atmosphere from emissions,” Tilbrook says. “The ocean data is really critical for understanding the global carbon budget.”

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2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

Posted on 1 August 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 25, 2021 through Sat, July 31, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’, State of the climate: 2021 sees widespread climate extremes despite a cool startCritical measures of global heating reaching tipping point, study finds and The amount of Greenland ice that melted on Tuesday could cover Florida in 2 inches of water.

Articles Linked to on Facebook

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Clouds study finds that low climate sensitivity is ‘extremely unlikely’

Posted on 30 July 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Ayesha Tandon

It is “very likely” that the way clouds change as the world warms will drive further temperature rise, a new study finds.

The response of clouds to a change in global temperature – known as the “cloud feedback” – plays a crucial role in how much the planet will warm. However, estimates of cloud feedback are uncertain. The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses global satellite observations to reduce this uncertainty.

Taking their findings into account, the authors produce a central estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) – the global temperature change resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 – of 3.2C. They add that low ECS values below 2C are “extremely unlikely”.

While much of the existing literature on cloud feedbacks focuses on specific cloud types or geographic regions, this paper presents the first global observational estimate of cloud feedback, the authors say.

A scientist not involved in the research tells Carbon Brief that “this is a really clever study”, adding that it is “the best one I have seen that combines models and observations to narrow down cloud feedbacks”.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #30, 2021

Posted on 29 July 2021 by doug_bostrom

88 articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

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3 comments


Climate change and tornadoes: Any connection?

Posted on 28 July 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bob Henson

Climate change may be the existential threat of our lives, yet when it comes to in-your-face weather, tornadoes are in a class of their own. Fortunately, human-warmed climate isn’t making violent U.S. tornadoes any more frequent. However, climate change may be involved in some noteworthy recent shifts in the location and seasonal timing of the tornado threat.

The United States is the global epicenter of tornado formation. An average of about 1,200 U.S. twisters are observed each year, with some years bringing as few as 900 and others as many as 1,600-plus. It’s all the result of a unique geography that allows hot, dry air from the Southwest to flow atop moist, warm, unstable surface air east of the Rockies, with cold air at the jet-stream level overtopping it all. This layer cake of winds and air masses, varying with height, supports development of rotating supercell thunderstorms, the kind that produce the most long-lived and intense tornadoes. Even weaker non-supercell storms can collectively spawn hundreds of twisters each year.

The total number of U.S. tornadoes observed each year roughly doubled from the 1950s to the 1990s with the advent of more storm spotters and chasers (think “Twister”). Most of these “extra” tornadoes were on the weak side, though, as the more intense ones were already hard to miss. The boost provided by more eyes and cameras largely disappears when the count turns to only the 300 to 600 tornadoes per year rated at least EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (or F1 on the original scale) with top wind gusts of at least 86 mph, ignoring the forgettable “EF zeroes” (EF0s).

Each tornado is a localized creature, which makes it difficult to link to global climate trends. Climate change typically plays out in local fashion by way of broad regional shifts, such as depleted sea ice, warmer oceans, and drier landscapes. Sometimes these shifts are distinct enough from natural variation to signal clearly that human-caused climate change is likely involved. In contrast, tornadoes and their parent thunderstorms are brief and episodic, and they normally vary a great deal over time and space, so it’s tougher to distill long-term trends in their behavior and distinguish those from normal ups and downs.

Nevertheless, a few signals have shown up in tornado seasons over recent decades. Some may be the result of year-to-year or decade-to-decade variability; others could be related to longer-term, human-caused climate change. Here’s what scientists have been noticing.

From the 1950s into the 2010s (and continuing into the 2020s), no significant trend has emerged in the annual number of U.S. tornadoes rated EF1 or stronger. (Image credit: NOAA/NCEI)

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How Climate Change boosts Killer Heatwaves

Posted on 26 July 2021 by Guest Author

Climate change is making extreme heat - like the recent Pacific heatwave - more common and more intense. This extreme weather has huge effects on human health, and as the global warming continues, temperatures will continue to become more deadly. In fact, some parts of the world may have even - temporarily - crossed the 35°C wet bulb temperature threshold - conditions that our bodies simply can't handle.

Support ClimateAdam on patreon: http://patreon.com/climateadam

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2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

Posted on 25 July 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 18, 2021 through Sat, July 24, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: Extreme rainfall in China: over 25 inches falls in 24 hours, leaving 33 dead, As scientists have long predicted, warming is making heatwaves more deadly, Scientists predict more extreme weather events in future, Scientists are worried by how fast the climate crisis has amplified extreme weather and Why trying to prove yourself wrong is the key to being right.

Articles Linked to on Facebook

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Cranky Uncle game now being translated

Posted on 23 July 2021 by John Cook

The Cranky Uncle game is now being translated into multiple languages, paving the way to building public resilience against misinformation across the world. So far, we have had volunteers offer to help translate the game into Danish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian. But we are always looking for more volunteers both for additional languages and for extra helpers on current languages (it's a big game with a lot of content - many hands make light work). Sign up to help with the translation effort here!

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29, 2021

Posted on 22 July 2021 by doug_bostrom

94 articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

Three flavors of radiative feedbacks and their implications for estimating Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity
Rugenstein & Armour Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1029/2021gl092983

Observations of climate change, effects

Multi-decadal change in western US nighttime vapor pressure deficit DOI: 10.1029/2021gl092983

Recent changes in the rain regime over the Mediterranean climate region of Israel
Drori et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03161-6

Heat and freshwater changes in the Indian Ocean region
Ummenhofer et al Nature Reviews Earth & Environment
DOI: 10.1038/s43017-021-00192-6

Recent changes in global dryland temperature and precipitation
Daramola & Xu International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7301

Climate hazards are threatening vulnerable migrants in Indian megacities
Hari et al Nature Climate Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01105-7

Faster decline and higher variability in the sea ice thickness of the marginal Arctic seas when accounting for dynamic snow cover
Mallett et al The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-15-2429-2021

Changing status of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean
Deshpande et al Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05880-z

Period-Lengthening of the Mindanao Current Variability from the Long-Term Tide Gauge Sea Level Measurements DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05880-z

Increase in CO2 uptake capacity in the Arctic Chukchi Sea during summer revealed by satellite?based estimation DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05880-z

Contrasting temporal variations in responses of leaf unfolding to daytime and nighttime warming
Wang et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15777

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Climate Change Detection and Attribution using observed and simulated Tree-Ring Width
Franke et al
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/cp-2021-80

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As scientists have long predicted, warming is making heatwaves more deadly

Posted on 20 July 2021 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) foresaw that global warming would lead to increasingly deadly heatwaves. “More hot days and heatwaves are very likely over nearly all land areas,” the world’s top climate scientists warned. “These increases are projected to be largest mainly in areas where soil moisture decreases occur.” 

 “The greatest increases in thermal stress are forecast for mid- to high-latitude (temperate) cities, especially in populations with non-adapted architecture and limited air conditioning,” they wrote at the time. “A number of U.S. cities would experience, on average, several hundred extra deaths each summer.”

Sound prescient? And familiar?  All too much so.

Twenty years later, it seems as though these climate scientists were gazing into a crystal ball rather than computer monitors. At the end of June 2021, the normally temperate Pacific Northwest experienced a record-shattering heatwave. The village of Lytton, in British Columbia,  set a new all-time Canadian temperature record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.3 degrees Fahrenheit) and was largely destroyed by a wildfire soon thereafter. Quillayute in the northwest corner of Washington, shattered its previous high temperature record by a full 11°F.

At least 800 deaths have so far been attributed to the extreme heat, and experts say they expect the final mortality tally to be considerably higher. Because of the region’s historically temperate weather, many homes lack air conditioning; residents were enveloped by temperatures well in excess of 100°F.

University of British Columbia marine biologist Christopher Harley estimates that the heatwave also caused over a billion marine wildlife deaths, as shells of dead mussels and clams coated rocks along the Pacific seashore.

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The number of lives that clean energy could save, by U.S. state

Posted on 19 July 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk

The United States can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while creating half a million new jobs, modernizing the energy infrastructure, and avoiding hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, according to the comprehensive Net Zero America study by researchers at Princeton University.  The study concluded that the price tag for a major energy transition would be no more than the current system costs.

But the results of the Net Zero study are even better than they appear at first glance, because the transition to renewable energy can partly pay for itself, simply because replacing fossil fuels would mean fewer people die from air pollution.

Though the primary motivator in adopting clean energy is to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air is an enormous co-benefit. Phasing out coal, natural gas, and internal combustion engines has immediate, local, and concrete effects on air quality and human lives.

A recent study found that air pollution from fossil fuels kills 8 million people per year, worldwide. In the U.S. alone, a 2019 study estimated that fossil fuel use causes over 50,000 deaths and $445 billion in economic damage annually. (See also: Burning fossil fuels heats the climate. It also harms public health)

The economic and health burdens of air pollution are borne by individuals, families, and society, not by energy companies. The damage is socially and racially unjust, levying the heaviest toll on those least responsible for causing the problem. The fossil fuel industry’s ability to freely pollute and cause widespread degradation to public health is an example of a generous subsidy, because society bears the costs for oil, gas, and coal’s business model.

Fewer respirators, more solar panels

The Net Zero America report explores how decarbonizing the energy supply would affect jobs, public health, agriculture, and scores of other factors. The report was originally published in December 2020, and an updated, refined version of the study is soon to be released.

Erin Mayfield, a co-author of the study and an associate research scholar at Princeton who studies societal impacts of environmental policy, shared some of the new datasets with YCC. The numbers point to huge benefits of switching to clean energy, in terms of a dramatic reduction in air pollution.

The study produced several forecasts on improvements in air quality, showing effects of eliminating specific fuels in each of the 48 contiguous states every year from now until 2050. It’s a staggering amount of data, with a lot of good news in the results.

The Net Zero project modeled five possible pathways to decarbonize the energy supply. The scenario labeled E+ is sort of the middle-ground, and it’s the basis for the comparisons that follow.  E+ would phase out most coal by 2030, add massive amounts of renewable energy to the grid, and electrify transportation.

These improvements would save around 400,000 American lives by 2050, the study concludes. Breaking down these results by source reveals the deadliest types of pollution. Eliminating coal-burning is projected to save more than 100,000 lives between now and 2050, and switching road transportation from internal combustion to electric would result in around 98,000 avoided deaths. Phasing out natural gas saves more than 42,000 lives, and another 30,000 early deaths can be averted from winding down fossil fuel production.

Early deaths avoided

The map below illustrates how these public health gains would be distributed across the country.

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2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

Posted on 18 July 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 11, 2021 through Sat, July 17, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: Repustar Fact Brief: Is carbon dioxide incapable of warming the planet any more than it already has?, The problem with “doing your own research” (these two articles were even way above average as far as impressions, engagement and comments go!), A New Heat Wave Will Set Records Across the West This Weekend, Death Valley, California, breaks the all-time world heat record for the second year in a row, and Thawing Permafrost has Damaged the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Poses an Ongoing Threat.

Articles Linked to on Facebook

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #28, 2021

Posted on 15 July 2021 by doug_bostrom

Decomposition of increasing atmospheric methane points to a decomposing Amazon

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, relatively short-lived in the atmosphere compared to CO2 but far more effective at "helping" to retain heat, gram-for-gram. With its radiative effects "super powers," methane is a potentially dramatic additional contributor to disastrous levels of warming of Earth's surface and it's for that reason that numerous articles in the New Research "GHG sources & sinks, flux" section treat various matters of methane and its direction as a constituent of the atmosphere, on a perennial basis. Modern concentrations of methane in the atmosphere are about twice what they were several hundred years ago, pretty much exclusively thanks to direct and indirect effects of human activity on the surface of our planet. After growth coming nearly to a halt in the early part of this century, methane has again been rising at concerning rates and researchers are scurrying to identify possible sources for this bulge.

In their article Large and increasing methane emissions from eastern Amazonia derived from satellite data, 2010–2018 (open access) just published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Wilson et al use direct sampling backed up by confirmatory calculations to identify South America's Amazon  River basin as a likely significant contributor to recent acceleration of atmospheric methane content. They attribute this to increases of temperature in conjunction with flooding events, something a layperson following the trend of other articles in this section of New Research will find intuitively plausible. 

This is an article with impressively deep foundations, meaning that its introductory section and underpinnings of citations of previous research are particularly rewarding for getting a grip on the general topic. 

From the concluding words of the abstract, these authors appear to have found a major component of recent increases in methane content of our air: 

Our results show that the Amazon alone was responsible for 24 ± 18 % of the total global increase in CH4 flux during the study period, and it may contribute further in future due to its sensitivity to temperature changes.

Sea level rise combines with lunar wobbles to create soggy 2030s for US seaboards

"Freeboard" is a nautical term to describe "extra" height of a ship's weather deck above the water level. It's a bad idea to load a ship so heavily as to diminish freeboard to dangerous levels, because this leaves no margin for handling rough weather or other contingencies. It's not a perfect analogy but in the case of the freeboard of the US seaboard we're increasing the water level below our "deck" such that an upcoming peculiarity in the Moon's orbit about Earth will likely cause massive and prolonged flooding in susceptible areas of the US coast (and of course coastlines elsewhere) beginning in the 2030s and extending for quite a few years. If we'd paid attention to science 20-30 years ago and in particular if the US public had not been subject to a prolonged, concerted campaign of lying and disinformation about climate change, we might have been facing only one factor in the upcoming unpleasantness, the natural variability of the Moon's orbit. Instead, we've set the scene for a sinking, as described in Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding (open access) by Thompson et al and just published in Nature Climate Change. The abstract: 

Coastal locations around the United States, particularly along the Atlantic coast, are experiencing recurrent flooding at high tide. Continued sea-level rise (SLR) will exacerbate the issue where present, and many more locations will begin to experience recurrent high-tide flooding (HTF) in the coming decades. Here we use established SLR scenarios and flooding thresholds to demonstrate how the combined effects of SLR and nodal cycle modulations of tidal amplitude lead to acute inflections in projections of future HTF. The mid-2030s, in particular, may see the onset of rapid increases in the frequency of HTF in multiple US coastal regions. We also show how annual cycles and sea-level anomalies lead to extreme seasons or months during which many days of HTF cluster together. Clustering can lead to critical frequencies of HTF occurring during monthly or seasonal periods one to two decades prior to being expected on an annual basis. 

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Death Valley, California, breaks the all-time world heat record for the second year in a row

Posted on 14 July 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters

For the second consecutive year, Death Valley, California, has set a world record for the hottest reliably measured temperature in Earth’s history.

Death Valley National Park’s Furnace Creek Visitor Center hit an astonishing 130.0 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4°C) on Friday afternoon, July 9, 2021, beating the previous world record of 129.9 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4°C), set there on August 16, 2020. For perspective, according to What’s Cooking America, a medium-rare steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 130-135°F.

According to weather records expert Christopher Burt, who wrote the comprehensive weather records book Extreme Weather, and extreme weather expert Maximiliano Herrera, who tweets under the Twitter handle Extreme Temperatures Around the World, the observation, if confirmed, would be the hottest reliably recorded temperature in world history.

Cautions about the record

Friday’s measurement will have to undergo review by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) before being declared officially valid. Two possible areas of concern are that the temperatures at Furnace Creek showed a steep jump during the afternoon, and the nearby Stovepipe Wells station was considerably cooler, topping out at 122.6 degrees Fahrenheit (50.3°C). (See the raw high-resolution Furnace Creek data here by choosing a time up to six days in the past from the drop-down menu, then choosing “Decoded Data”.) WMO has not yet certified last year’s 129.9 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4°C) reading on August 16, 2020 at Furnace Creek as valid, so there may be a long wait. Fortunately, we’ll have excellent independent verification of this year’s measurement thanks to a temporary thermometer set up at the site in May by Campbell Scientific.

Climatologist William Reid, an expert on Death Valley meteorology who has written extensively about the site, cautioned that an increase in vegetation and structures built in the vicinity of the Furnace Creek site in recent decades has allowed the station to record hotter temperatures.

“An increase in vegetation and some man-made structures not too far south of the station have resulted in poorer ventilation through the station area. Since the station is above a bare and sandy surface, hot air along the ground during afternoon sunshine is less effectively mixed away from the instrumentation. The result is higher temperature readings during the afternoon comparably,” Reid wrote. “I figure that most summer maximums at Death Valley today are a couple of degrees higher because of the poorer station exposure. A day that hits 125 degrees today probably would have only been as high as 122-123 degrees before 1980.”

Figure 1. Hourly maximum temperature at Death Valley National Park’s Furnace Creek Visitor Center July 6-12, 2021. (Image credit: NOAA)

Official world record remains 134°F at Furnace Creek in 1913

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Additional Fact Briefs published on Repustar

Posted on 13 July 2021 by BaerbelW

With an initial batch of eight published Fact Briefs we announced our partnership with the fact-checking organization Repustar at the end of April 2021. Since then, work has progressed in the background and seven more Fact Briefs have been published and are now available for quick rebuttals.

IceCore

Do ice core records showing that warming preceded CO2 rise cast doubt on greenhouse warming?

NO - Antarctic ice core records dating back 800,000 years suggest that increases in carbon dioxide lagged behind increases in temperature by a couple of hundred years. This observation has been used by some to incorrectly claim that modern CO2 emissions cannot be causing a rise in temperature. This misconception is based on the false dichotomy that warming is either driven by CO2 or CO2 is driven by warming. In reality, both are true. Read more ...

Is carbon dioxide incapable of warming the planet any more than it already has?

NO - As CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, trapping and re-radiating heat, Earth continues to warm. Rising CO2 acts like a blanket, reducing the amount of energy escaping into space and causing the lower atmosphere, and surface, to warm.

A long-standing misconception is that the greenhouse effect is “saturated,” suggesting that adding more CO2 will not increase the amount of energy being trapped. This view fails to recognize that the atmosphere consists of multiple layers.. Read more ...
Saturation
NaturalCycles

Do natural climate cycles disprove that modern global warming is caused by humans?

NO - During Earth’s last glacial period between 120,000 and 11,500 years ago, a number of approximately 1,500-year temperature cycles occurred. Also known as Dansgaard-Deschger events, the cycles caused a transfer of heat between the northern and southern hemispheres, producing a “seesaw effect”: when one hemisphere cooled, the other warmed. Read more ...

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The making of a one-of-a-kind climate change PR professional

Posted on 12 July 2021 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by James Hoggan

In the world of environmental communication, we are learning as we go. For years, we thought facts and outrage changed minds in ways we now know they don’t. We need to explore reliable new ways to speak, listen, and connect in the face of environmental disinformation and polarization.

For that we need ongoing research that helps educate us as it explores and advances the principles of effective science communication and highlights the harms of anti-environmentalism.

My own journey from corporate PR consultant to co-founder of a new media website investigating climate change disinformation was eye-opening. We launched DeSmogBlog in January 2006 to “clear up the PR pollution that clouds climate science.” We wrote about Darth Vader PR campaigns in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, largely funded by the coal and oil industries. Finding myself in the midst of a nasty international dispute about the climate crisis, I realized the strategies used to mislead people with anti-science propaganda and anti-environmentalism are much more developed and robust than those used to educate people about science and the environment.

My interest in environmental disinformation started in 2003 when I was invited to join the board of the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada’s best-known science-based environmental organization. Consultants at my public relations firm thought accepting would be a mistake. They questioned the wisdom of associating with environmental activists. We worked for the establishment. Environmentalists make the establishment nervous.

Suzuki Foundation board members had concerns of their own. Wasn’t public relations spin part of the problem? Wasn’t it responsible for much of the public confusion? It’s hard to argue with that. Public relations does have its “dark side.” Without bad actors manipulating public opinion, our path toward solutions would be quicker: We’d see more light, less heat.

Even though I owned a highly successful PR shop in Vancouver, I didn’t see myself as part of that dark side. But I can see why some Suzuki board members might disagree: We represented the establishment on difficult public issues, including the environment: governments, hospitals, universities, big business (especially real estate development), banks, biotech, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and even the cruise ship business.

When I accepted the appointment, I didn’t know a lot about the environmental challenges the world was facing. But when I join a board, I read my board package. I attend board meetings. I listen to briefings and read reports.

When Al Gore came to a board dinner in the spring of 2007, I paid attention. And given chances to talk to famous scientists about climate disruption, I jumped.

Two pieces of writing around that time upended my worldview: a New Yorker series called ‘The Climate of Man’ by Elizabeth Kolbert, which in 2006 became a best-selling book, Field Notes From a Catastrophe; and Boiling Point in 2004 by former Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan. These books opened my eyes to how serious the climate crisis is.

Over time, I realized that environmentalists are not crazy or even radicals. They’re very often telling the truth: Humans are rapidly destroying the oceans, driving record levels of species to extinction, and dangerously overheating the climate. Environmental collapse isn’t just a future risk. It is well underway.

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2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 11 July 2021 by BaerbelW

Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 4, 2021 through Sat, July 10, 2021

The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: What’s the carbon footprint of a wind turbine?, Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’, A guide to prebunking: a promising way to inoculate against misinformation, Hundreds died in the West's heat wave last week. Now another one is gearing up, An Indigenous Group’s Objection to Geoengineering Spurs a Debate About Social Justice in Climate Science, Western Heat Wave ‘Virtually Impossible’ without Climate Change, Australia govt to appeal court ruling on climate change duty of care.

Articles Linked to on Facebook

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Halfway point in this year's run of Denial101x - 5 more months to go!

Posted on 9 July 2021 by BaerbelW

This year's self-paced run of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, started on February 9, 2021 and it will be available until December 14, 2021. This means that we reached the halfway point with 5 months already behind and 5 more months ahead of us!  For the current run we are closing in on 1,000 registered participants and it's not too late to join them as you'll have ample time to work through the material at your own pace. The following graphic is a quick summary of our MOOC, shared at this year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (vEGU21) in a session about climate literacy:

SummarySlide Denial101x

Abstract EGU-8576 - Using an interdisciplinary MOOC to teach climate science and science communication to a global classroomfull presentation (7MB)

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #27, 2021

Posted on 8 July 2021 by doug_bostrom

Zigzagging to zero: Wandel Sea old ice

A plethora of previous research and observation has pointed to an ultimate demise of multi-year ice in the Artic, with a shrinking time horizon. "Old ice" is expected to mount a final resistance in redoubts such as the Wandel Sea. We're seeing the last act of this drama playing out, as illustrated by a synthesis of observations and modeling by Schweiger et al in our "highlight" article for this week,  Accelerated sea ice loss in the Wandel Sea points to a change in the Arctic’s Last Ice Area (open access, PDF). In a nutshell: secular change in climate behavior combines with variabilty to dictate a wavering path to "no more old ice," with the date of "done" looming ever closer. It's not possible to improve on a well-executed abstract for a concise summary: 

The Arctic Ocean’s Wandel Sea is the easternmost sector of the Last Ice Area, where thick, old sea ice is expected to endure longer than elsewhere. Nevertheless, in August 2020 the area experienced record-low sea ice concentration. Here we use satellite data and sea ice model experiments to determine what caused this record sea ice minimum. In our simulations there was a multi-year sea-ice thinning trend due to climate change. Natural climate variability expressed as wind-forced ice advection and subsequent melt added to this trend. In spring 2020, the Wandel Sea had a mixture of both thin and—unusual for recent years— thick ice, but this thick ice was not sufficiently widespread to prevent the summer sea ice concentration minimum. With continued thinning, more frequent low summer sea ice events are expected. We suggest that the Last Ice Area, an important refuge for ice-dependent species, is less resilient to warming than previously thought.

108 articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

‘Simpson's Law’ and the Spectral Cancellation of Climate Feedbacks
Jeevanjee et al Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10506744.1 10.1002/essoar.10506744.2

CO2-equivalence metrics for surface albedo change based on the radiative forcing concept: a critical review DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10506744.1 10.1002/essoar.10506744.2 10.1029/2021gl093699

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Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

Posted on 7 July 2021 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Peter Sinclair

“In a climate-changed world, the things that once seemed impossible are not just possible, they are probable.”

Those words come from on-air weather and climate change expert Jeff Berardelli wrapping up a piece for CBSN.

Berardelli had told the CBS cable network anchor that the temperature in the Pacific Northwest has increased 3 to 4o F in the past century, leading to expectations in the future for seven to 10 days per year of temperatures over 100oF. He attributed the historic high-temperature readings across the U.S Pacific Northwest and western Canada to an “omega block”:  a “blocking pattern or traffic jam in the atmosphere” that impedes strong weather systems from moving rapidly from west to east:  Instead, they ‘get stuck’ in place.”

“Almost unbelievable, even for meteorologists,” Berardelli says of the persistent heat that plagued the region June 26-28.

“We can certainly say that heat waves are increasing as a result of climate change,” says Steve Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin. Colorado assistant state climatologist Becky Bolinger points to “a time 30 years ago, 40 years ago, when it was uncommon to get 100-degree days every single year, and that is much more common now.”  They and other scientists in the video find a link to climate change.  

Kai Kornhuber of Columbia University says in the latest “This is Not Cool” video that the result is that “a weather pattern that was harmless in the past is now leading to very extreme conditions.”

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