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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.

 


Climate change is increasing the risk of a California megaflood

Posted on 7 February 2023 by Guest Author

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

Asequence of nine atmospheric rivers hammered California during a three-week period in January 2023, bringing over 700 landslides, power outages affecting more than 500,000 people, and heavy rains that triggered flooding and levee breaches. On a statewide basis, about 11 inches of rain fell; 20 deaths were blamed on the weather, with damages estimated at over $1 billion.

But the storm damages were a pale shadow of the havoc a true California megaflood would wreak.

The Golden State has a long history of cataclysmic floods, which have occurred about every 200 to 400 years — most recently in the Great Flood of 1861-62. And a future warmer climate will likely significantly increase the risk of even more extreme floods. In particular, a 2022 study found that, relative to a century ago, climate change has already doubled the risk of a present-day megastorm, and more than tripled the risk of a trillion-dollar megaflood of the type that could swamp the Central Valley. 

Given the increased risk, it is more likely than not that many of you reading this will see a California megaflood costing tens of billions in your lifetime.

This is the third part of a three-part series on California’s vulnerability to a megaflood. Part One examined the results of a 2011 study introducing the potential impacts of a scenario, known as “ARkStorm,” which would be a repeat of California’s Great Flood of 1861-62 — though the study did not take climate change into account. Part Two looked at how California is preparing its dams for future great floods. Here, in Part Three, we’ll look at the increasing future threat of a California megaflood in a warming climate.

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Clean energy permitting reform needed to boost economy, protect climate and burn less coal

Posted on 6 February 2023 by dana1981

Originally published by The Hill

After decades of failure to pass major federal climate legislation, Congress finally broke through last year with the Inflation Reduction Act and its close to $400 billion in clean energy investments. Energy modeling experts estimated that these provisions would help the U.S. cut its carbon pollution about 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, bringing the Biden administration’s Paris commitment of 50 percent cuts within reach. But there’s a catch — the new law could cause the U.S. to actually burn more coal, if it’s not coupled with clean energy permitting reform.

That’s because the energy modeling groups assumed nothing would limit the rate at which clean energy projects like big wind and solar farms would be deployed. A subsequent Princeton analysis found that the slow rate at which the U.S. is building its electric transmission infrastructure would act as a crucial bottleneck slowing that clean energy deployment.

In recent years, the nation has only expanded its electricity transmission capabilities at a rate of just 1 percent annually, only about half as fast as in prior decades. Over the past decade, the U.S. has built more than 10,000 miles of new natural gas pipelines per year, compared to an average of just 1,800 new miles of electric transmission lines. Building a single new transmission line takes over a decade on average. Meanwhile, 2030 is now a scant seven years away.

The optimistic projections of the potential carbon pollution cuts from the Inflation Reduction Act mostly stem from an expected explosion in solar panel and wind turbine installations, thanks to clean energy tax credits. Energy modelers expect a tripling in American wind and solar generation capacity over just the next seven years. But most of those wind and solar farms would be built in rural areas and in the windy middle of the country. The clean electricity those projects generate would need to be transported to households and businesses in big population centers, mainly in cities and along the coasts.

That will require a lot of new electric transmission lines. The Princeton modeling team estimated that if the U.S. continues its slow 1 percent rate of annual transmission infrastructure expansion, that will only suffice to allow about 20 percent of the potential emissions cuts to be realized. And if those new solar panels and wind turbines are unable to connect to the grid, the increased electricity demand from the other Inflation Reduction Act provisions — which incentivize people to transition to electric cars, heat pumps and induction stoves — would instead be met by burning more coal and gas.

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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

Posted on 4 February 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Jan 29, 2023  thru Sat, Feb 4, 2023.

Story of the Week

Social change more important than physical tipping points

1.5-degree Goal not plausible

 Global Tipping Points

Photo: CLICCS / Universität Hamburg

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is currently not plausible, as is shown in a new, central study released by Universität Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence “Climate, Climatic Change, and Society” (CLICCS). Climate policy, protests, and the Ukraine crisis: the participating researchers systematically assessed to what extent social changes are already underway – while also analyzing certain physical processes frequently discussed as tipping points. Their conclusion: social change is essential to meeting the temperature goals set in Paris. But what has been achieved to date is insufficient. Accordingly, climate adaptation will also have to be approached from a new angle.

The interdisciplinary team of researchers addressed ten important drivers of social change: “Actually, when it comes to climate protection, some things have now been set in motion. But if you look at the development of social processes in detail, keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees still isn’t plausible,” says CLICCS Speaker Prof. Anita Engels. According to the Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook, especially consumption patterns and corporate responses are slowing urgently needed climate protection measures. Other key factors like UN climate policy, legislation, climate protests and divestment from the fossil fuels are supporting efforts to meet the climate goals. As the analysis shows, however, this positive dynamic alone won’t suffice to stay within the 1.5-degree limit. “The deep decarbonization required is simply progressing too slowly,” says Engels.

In addition, the team assesses certain physical processes that are frequently discussed as tipping points: the loss of the Arctic sea ice and melting ice sheets are serious developments – as are regional climate changes. But they will have very little influence on the global temperature until 2050. In this regard, a thawing permafrost, weakened Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and the loss of the Amazon Forest are more important factors – albeit only moderately. “The Fact is: these feared tipping points could drastically change the conditions for life on Earth – but they’re largely irrelevant for reaching the Paris Agreement temperature goals,” explains CLICCS Co-Speaker Prof. Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

The study also covers COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine: economic reconstruction programs have reinforced dependence on fossil fuels, which means the necessary changes are now less plausible than previously assumed. In contrast, whether efforts to safeguard Europe’s power supply and the international community’s attempts to become independent of Russian gas will undermine or accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuels in the long run remains unclear.

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Cranky Uncle could use your help to learn more languages!

Posted on 3 February 2023 by BaerbelW

Our Cranky Uncle Game can already be played in eight languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. About 15 more languages are in the works at various stages of completion or have been offered to be done. To kick off the new year, we checked with how our teams are doing and whether some help for their volunteer efforts is needed. The result is this "Call for help", listing  languages where our teams indicated specific areas they could use help with.

We want you

The translation tasks

Before listing the languages and what help is needed, here's some information about what translating the game entails with regards to type of work and effort needed. Not to mince words, translating the game is neither a quick nor a simple task, but I found it both creative and rewarding, and that also holds true for the teams who created the already published languages.

From already launched languages we know that it's quite a large task and requires a team of ideally three to four people in order to help with translating, brainstorming and proofreading. There are about 2000 items to translate from single words to larger paragraphs as well as many questions and answers, some of which require creative solutions as explained in this blog post. Cooperative translation work happens in a Google Workspace and utilizes a large Google sheet as well as several Google docs. Depending on time available it has taken between three and four months to finish the translation task for a language, based on experience thus far.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #5 2023

Posted on 2 February 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Via PNAS, Ceylan, Anderson & Wood present a paper squarely in the center of the Skeptical Science wheelhouse:  Sharing of misinformation is habitual, not just lazy or biased. The signficance statement is obvious catnip:

Misinformation is a worldwide concern carrying socioeconomic and political consequences. What drives its spread?. The answer lies in the reward structure on social media that encourages users to form habits of sharing news that engages others and attracts social recognition. Once users form these sharing habits, they respond automatically to recurring cues within the site and are relatively insensitive to the informational consequences of the news shared, whether the news is false or conflicts with their own political beliefs. However, habitual sharing of misinformation is not inevitable: We show that users can be incentivized to build sharing habits that are sensitive to truth value. 

In this week's government/NGO section and produced by the Rocky Mountain Institute, evidence of an inflection point:  Peak fossil fuel demand for electricity; It’s all over except the shouting.

Fairness is outside the scope of geophysics, so even while it may sound as though everybody's beating up on geoengineering we're really only hearing due diligence at work. Here's another paper suggesting we approach solar geoengineering with aerosols with extreme caution and circumspection. Future changes in atmospheric rivers over East Asia under stratospheric aerosol intervention published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics by Ju Liang and Jim Haywood leaves us with a strong impression of "more work needed," with indications of us risking signficant inadvertent hydrometeorological changes by geoengineering in haste. Large populations are on this map.

Carlson et al. remind us that bout two decades ago a landmark paper on contemporary climate change impacts on human health documented an already large negative climate effect. In their PLOS opinion piece The health burden of climate change: A call for global scientific action the authors point out that our current situational awareness of climate effects on health has lagged and grown worse even as it's certain that numbers from 2003 have grown much larger. As their title implies, they urge redress on what is also a serious climate justice problem.

122 articles in 55 journals by 818 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Climate teleconnections modulate global burned area
Cardil et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-023-36052-8

Geostrophic flows control future changes of oceanic eastern boundary upwelling
Jing et al., Nature Climate Change, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01588-y

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The escalator rises again

Posted on 1 February 2023 by Ken Rice

One of the most effective, and successful, graphics developed by Skeptical Science is the escalator.  The escalator shows how global surface temperature anomalies vary with time, and illustrates how "contrarians" tend to cherry-pick short time intervals so as to argue that there has been no recent warming, while "realists" recognise that even though there can be short-term variability, the long-term trend clearly indicates the reality of global warming.

A prominent example of the former was the one-time repetitious claim that it hadn't warmed since 1998, a year when there was a very strong El Nino. This claim persisted for quite some time, before - unsurprisingly - being dropped when it became clear that warming hadn't paused. However, this hasn't stopped others from making similar claims about more recent time periods, including, in 2019, a claim that we had just entered a cooling period.  The escalator is a really nice way to illustrate the problem with such nonsense.

However, our escalator is now slightly dated. The original version went up until 2011, while the current version ends in 2015.  We also noticed that Robert Rohde had updated the escalator and produced a staircase of denial.  This motivated us to update our escalator, which we present below. 

Skeptical Science Escalator

Source for data used in the graphic: Global mean monthly temperature anomalies, relative to the 1850-1900 mean, from Berkeley Earth.

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2023 self-paced run of Denial101x starts on February 7

Posted on 31 January 2023 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on February 7 2023 and it will be the 16th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 42,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or - more often - a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run will be available for almost 13 months until end of February 2024, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

To explore our MOOC in detail, please click on the graphic below to open an interactive PDF file created for a conference presentation in 2021.

Denial101x introduction

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The other ‘big one’: How a megaflood could swamp California’s Central Valley

Posted on 30 January 2023 by Guest Author

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

When early settlers came to the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers before the California Gold Rush, Indigenous people warned them that the Sacramento Valley could become an inland sea when great winter rains came. The storytellers described water filling the valley from the Coast Range to the Sierra during these rare events.

And their warnings became realized when Great Flood of 1861-62 hit. A six-week onslaught of at least 10 powerful Pacific storms in December and January carried mighty “atmospheric rivers” of subtropical moisture into California, dumping torrential rains in the valleys and prodigious snows in the mountains. When an unusually warm storm struck in January, heavy rains fell on the enormous Sierra snowpack, melting it.

A cataclysmic flood ensued, inundating the Central Valley and transforming it into a lake 300 miles long and over 20 miles wide; much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange counties was also inundated. As summarized in a 2013 Scientific American overview, the flood killed thousands of people, drowned one-quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle, and submerged downtown Sacramento under more than 10 feet of brown water laden with debris from countless mudslides. With the state’s capital city paralyzed, the California legislature was forced to move to San Francisco until the summer of 1862. By that point, the state was bankrupt, as one-third of its taxable properties had been destroyed.

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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #4

Posted on 28 January 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Jan 22, 2023  thru Sat, Jan 28, 2023.

Story of the Week

New Study Reveals Arctic Ice, Tracked Both Above and Below, Is Freezing Later 

Climate change is affecting the timing of both the freezing of the ice and its melting in the spring.

Arctic Sea Ice Near Greenland

Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash

Scientists have known for years that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world—nearly four times faster, according to a recent study. Tracking that warming is critical to understanding climate change not just in the Arctic but around the world. New data and analysis are crucial.

Now, an international team of scientists has compiled data from 2001 to 2018 to explore both surface and basal freezing/thaw cycles and uncover the mechanisms behind them. These findings could improve our understanding of changes in the atmosphere–ice–ocean system and the balance of sea ice in the Arctic.

The new study was published in November in the European Geosciences Union publication The Cryosphere, helping scientists understand when Arctic ice might disappear altogether in the summer. 

The study looks at both the surface ice, which is measured primarily by satellites, and the ice underneath, which is measured by sonar and by acoustic doppler profilers, which use sound waves to measure the speed of currents around the water column and other data. Cables extended from surface buoys into the below-ice water feed sonar data to the buoys and reveal important information about the freeze-thaw cycle, including timing. 

“Timing is really critical, and this shows that the timing is changing,” said Dartmouth Professor Donald K. Perovich, one of the study’s five authors.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Inside Climate News website.

New Study Reveals Arctic Ice, Tracked Both Above and Below, Is Freezing Later by Charlie Miller, Science, Inside Climate News, Jan 23, 2023

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #4 2023

Posted on 26 January 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Some of our more esoteric discussions with geophysics rejectionists (aka "climate science deniers") involve warming of the upper troposphere.  Resolving the 21st century temperature trends of the upper troposphere–lower stratosphere with satellite observations by Ladstädter, Steiner & Gleisner via Nature Scientific Reports brings in new orbital instrumentation and makes some important progress in quantifying events in this region of our atmosphere. The paper concludes:

"Our results document a large warming of the tropical upper troposphere, and indications for structural changes in the global circulation patterns. These findings, supported by recent research, reveal an accelerated change of the global climate in the first decades of the 21st century."

Meanwhile, down on Earth where our feet are made of clay, a lot of explaining to do: Paradoxes of Norway’s energy transition: controversies and justice, Korsnes et al. in Climate Policy.

There's quite a bit of heat around  carbon capture, and storage. Opinions fall on a spectrum ranging from "vital" through "moral hazard" and all the way to "pure greenwashing." Is carbon removal delaying emission reductions? by Carton et al. is billed as an advanced review and the authors deliver. Focusing on "moral hazard" but accounting for all colors of the matter at hand, the authors point out and demonstrate that worries over moral hazards of carbon removal can't be placed in a framework of solid evidence. The authors go on to identify specific means of better understanding of the problem, starting with an observation often seen in reviews: "we can't even agree on terminology and definitions." 

Science and scientific publishing move at a stately pace, so it's not a surprise and even quite approrpriate to see this fulsome memorial published in 2023: A Tribute to Paul Crutzen (1933–2021): The Pioneering Atmospheric Chemist Who Provided New Insight into the Concept of Climate Change. Crutzen's Nobel laureate was to do with ozone but his footprints were all over our atmosphere, and climate science, as comprehensively narrated in this Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society remembrance.

In this week's government/NGO section, The State of Carbon Dioxide Removal via the University of Oxford starts with the premise "scaling up carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is an urgent priority, as are efforts to rapidly reduce emissions if the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is to be met" and goes on to ask "how are we doing with that?" Not perfectly. Also in gov/NGO this week is an important concept delivered by the White House: our natural environment needs to be woven into economic reporting and economic policy. Obvious to many of us but not yet part of our economic formality, hence word on this from these quarters is a big deal. See National Strategy to Develop Statistics for Environmental-Economic Decisions

Wet-bulb temperatures are rising, with emerging potentially lethal instances already being recorded. Shouro Dasgupta and Elizabeth Robinson connect this with impacts on people working in the outdoors and other areas where workers are found but temperature control is not.  The labour force in a changing climate: Research and policy needs published in PLOS Climate summarizes what we know now and proceeds to identify major systemic gaps in our understanding of a situation that if unhandled will undoubtedly cost lives and misery.

A paper by Konrad, Bernt & Hofmann and just published in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment is oriented to a specific use case, vehicle rescue. But mobile recharging is going to find broader applications and so what seems a rather "niche" situation actually is not.   Life cycle assessment of MHP (Mobile Hydrogen Powersupply), an off-grid system to charge battery electric vehiclesIn our decarbonization section below which we offer as a weekly noncomprehensive ray of hope. 

195 articles in 66 journals by 1,288 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

A Dynamics of Surface Temperature Forced by Solar Radiation
Jing & Wang, Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl101222

Combined oceanic and atmospheric forcing of the 2013/14 marine heatwave in the northeast Pacific
Chen et al., npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41612-023-00327-0

Revisiting causality using stochastics on atmospheric temperature and CO2 concentration
Åsbrink, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 10.1098/rspa.2022.0529

Observations of climate change, effects

Changes in Seasonal Large-Scale Extreme Precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States, 1979–2019
Henny et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0088.1

Colder eastern equatorial Pacific and stronger Walker circulation in the early 21st century: Separating the forced response to global warming from natural variability
Heede & Fedorov, Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl101020

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Checklist: How to take advantage of brand-new clean energy tax credits

Posted on 25 January 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Samantha Harrington

Imagine it’s a cold February night and your furnace breaks. You want to replace it with an electric heat pump because you’ve heard that tax credits will help pay for the switch. And you know that heat pumps can reduce energy costs and the carbon footprint of your home.

But it turns out that your home needs a new electric panel to support a heat pump. Your house is freezing and you don’t have the time to make that improvement. You’re forced to stick to a gas-burning furnace that will last 15 to 20 years, so you lose out on the tax break and cheaper energy bills — and you’ve locked in fossil fuel pollution from the furnace that will likely continue until the late 2030s or beyond.

This example shows why it’s important to make a plan now to make the most of new federal clean energy tax credits available under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, said Sarah Lazarovic, the head of communications and brand at Rewiring America, a nonprofit that advocates for widespread use of clean electricity.

These new tax credits are designed to help consumers move away from highly polluting furnaces, home appliances, and cars in favor of newer, cleaner technology — such as heat pumps, induction stoves, and electric vehicles — that run on electricity.

Lazarovic suggests making a pledge to yourself: “From here on out, everything I buy is going to be electric, because otherwise I’m literally just throwing money away.”

Here are nine items to put on your checklist between now and 2032, the year when tax credits are scheduled to expire or start to decline.

THIS YEAR: Get a home energy audit

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The U.S. had 18 different billion-dollar weather disasters in 2022

Posted on 24 January 2023 by Guest Author

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

The contiguous United States suffered 18 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2022, according to NOAA, tied for the third-highest number in inflation-adjusted data going back to 1980. Only 2020, with 22 billion-dollar weather disasters, and 2021, with 20, had more. NOAA also reported that 2022 ranked as the 18th-warmest year since 1895.

The total cost of 2022’s billion-dollar weather disasters, $165 billion, was the third-highest on record, behind 2005 and 2017. Five of the last six years (2017-2022, with 2019 being the exception) have each had a price tag of at least $100 billion. Billion-dollar events account for 80-85% of the total U.S. losses for all weather-related disasters.

Billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S. killed 474 people in 2022, compared to 688 in 2021. NOAA’s 2022 billion-dollar weather disaster list included 11 severe storm events, three hurricanes, one flood, one winter weather event, one drought, and one wildfire event.

NOAA’s 1980-2022 annual inflation-adjusted average is 7.9 billion-dollar events, but over the past five years (2018-2022), the annual average has more than doubled, to 17.8 events. NOAA reported that the number and cost of disasters are increasing over time as a result of:

– Increased exposure (i.e., more people with more stuff );
– Increased vulnerability (i.e., more people living in flood plains, on barrier islands, etc.); and
– Climate change increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters.

A map showing all of the billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the U.S. in 2022.Figure 1. The 18 billion-dollar U.S. weather disasters of 2022. (Image credit: NOAA)

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Input to USDA about how to allocate IRA climate-smart agriculture funds

Posted on 23 January 2023 by dana1981

This is a re-post from the Citizens' Climate Lobby blog

In last year’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Congress included about $20 billion earmarked for natural climate solutions. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for deciding how those funds should be allocated to meet the climate goals outlined in the text of the IRA, which include projects that will “reduce, capture, avoid, or sequester carbon dioxide” in American forests and farms.

Eagle-eyed CCL volunteer Matthew Mayers noticed that USDA was requesting public input regarding how to achieve those goals in practice, and CCL staff jumped on the opportunity to provide comments on this issue related to CCL's healthy forests policy agenda.

Specifically, the IRA funds were directed towards four existing conservation programs: $8.45 billion for the environmental quality incentives program (EQIP), $3.25 billion for the conservation stewardship program (CSP), $1.4 billion for the agricultural conservation easement program (ACEP), and $4.95 billion for the regional conservation partnership program (RCPP). Currently, most of the grants from these programs go towards projects related to a wide variety of issues like habitat restoration, fencing, water conservation, and brush management – useful projects, but usually unrelated to climate change.

What does the science say?

To provide informed feedback to the USDA, CCL staff primarily referenced a 2018 study that estimated the potential of various natural climate solutions in the United States. The chart below summarizes the paper’s results, with forest-related solutions illustrated in shades of green and agriculture-related solutions in yellow, brown, and black.

Natural Climate Solutions Potential in the USA

Million metric tons (Mt) of potential carbon sequestration by natural climate solution category in the United States.  Graphic by Dana Nuccitelli, adapted from Fargione et al. (2018), Science Advances.

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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3

Posted on 21 January 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Jan 15, 2023  thru Sat, Jan 21, 2023.

Story of the Week

State of the climate: How the world warmed in 2022

With a new year underway, most of the climate data for the whole of 2022 is now available. And this data shows that last year set new records for individual locations as well as the world as a whole. 

Here, Carbon Brief examines the latest data across the oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and surface temperature of the planet (see the links below to navigate between sections). This 2022 review reveals:

  • Ocean heat content: It was the warmest year on record for ocean heat content, which increased notably between 2021 and 2022.
  • Surface temperature: It was between the fifth and sixth warmest year on record for surface temperature for the world as a whole, at between 1.1C and 1.3C above pre-industrial levels across different temperature datasets. The last eight years have been the eight warmest years since records began in the mid-1800s.
  • A persistent triple-dip La Niña: The year ended up cooler than it would otherwise be due to persistent La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific. Carbon Brief finds that 2022 would have been the second warmest year on record after 2020 in the absence of short-term variability from El Niño and La Niña events. 
  • Warming over land: It was the warmest year on record in 28 countries – including China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the Uk – and in areas where 850 million people live.
  • Extreme weather: 2022 saw extreme heatwaves over Europe, China, India, Pakistan and South America, as well as catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, Brazil, West Africa and South Africa. Climate change played a clear role in increasing the severity of all of these events.
  • Comparison with climate model data: Observations for 2022 are close to the central estimate of climate models featured in the IPCC fifth assessment report.
  • Warming of the atmosphere: It was the seventh or eighth warmest year in the lower troposphere – the lowest part of the atmosphere – depending on which dataset is used. The stratosphere – in the upper atmosphere – is cooling, due in part to heat trapped in the lower atmosphere by greenhouse gases.
  • Sea level rise: Sea levels reached new record-highs, with notable acceleration over the past three decades.
  • Greenhouse gases: Concentrations reached record levels for CO2, methane and nitrous oxide.
  • Sea ice extent: Arctic sea ice saw its 10th lowest minimum extent on record, and was generally at the low end of the historical range for the year. Antarctic sea ice saw a new record low extent for much of 2022.
  • Looking ahead to 2022: Carbon Brief predicts that global average surface temperatures in 2023 are most likely to be slightly warmer than 2022, but are unlikely to set a new all-time record given lingering La Niña conditions in the first half of the year.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Carbon Brief website.

State of the climate: How the world warmed in 2022 by Zeke Hausfather, Climate Brief, Jan 18, 2023

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #3 2023

Posted on 19 January 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Bad news delivered by an all-star cast of familiar researchers: Another Year of Record Heat for the Oceans. From the abstract:

In 2022, the world’s oceans, as given by OHC, were again the hottest in the historical record and exceeded the previous 2021 record maximum. According to IAP/CAS data, the 0–2000 m OHC in 2022 exceeded that of 2021 by 10.9 ± 8.3 ZJ (1 Zetta Joules = 1021 Joules); and according to NCEI/NOAA data, by 9.1 ± 8.7 ZJ. Among seven regions, four basins (the North Pacific, North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, and southern oceans) recorded their highest OHC since the 1950s. The salinity-contrast index, a quantification of the “salty gets saltier–fresh gets fresher” pattern, also reached its highest level on record in 2022, implying continued amplification of the global hydrological cycle.

Alexander Li, Chen-Fei Qu and Xi-Liang Zhang build improved models to explore different international emissions trading scenarios in Exploring U.S.–China Climate cooperation through linked carbon markets. Their results suggest yet again that "can't we all just get along" is a sensible hint, if we believe that mutually optimized GDP connotes success. While bilateral cooperation between the US and China will provide useful emissions benefits, the best outcome seems to be a fully mulitlateral engagement involving other SE Asian actors. 

In Polarisation vs consensus-building: how US and German news media portray climate change as a feature of political identities Robin Tschötschel explores a hypothesis with subtle implications: "Depending on the outlet consumed, audiences will encounter different representations of what it means to be a Democrat or Republican, a member of one of the German parties, or a young citizen." These portrayals feed cognitive heuristics helping to shape individuals' conclusions about the validity, importance or urgency of whatever matter is under discussion, here climate change. From case to case this of course may or may not be an engineered outcome and witless media behavior may be as harmful as planned deceit, Skeptical Science offers.

The other benefit of electric vehicles by Michael Stadler et al. employs buildings in California to provide a detailed model of how EV batteries can be integrated into power grids at the retail level to provide demand response. Even while we may end up replicating "too many cars" as we modernize vehicle fleets, there's a silver lining to having all of this transportation hardware piling up and connected to the grid: collectively it can replace large electrical plant assets needed for demand response. 

The invisible fingers of the gas CO2 we're adding to the atmosphere reach many places and act in subtle ways. One such circumstance appears set to have a profound impact on a ceteacean species. Changes in Antarctic sea ice cover due to warming trigger further knock-on effects and thus disturb a food web spanning from planckton, across krill and on to large mammals--whales. A surplus no more? Variation in krill availability impacts reproductive rates of Antarctic baleen whales by Logan Pallin et al. couples krill population with baleen whale reproductive rates to show where controls on whale populations are rooted, and how these in turn are controlled by geophysics we're creating. It doesn't help that krill are also the target of a burgeoning fishery. 

As part of their performance as trained circus animals putting on a show for the fossil fuel industry (and being paid poorly for this embarrassing, humiliating display), some US state legislatures are seeking to punish corporations for behaving responsibily via their including "Environmental, Social, and Governance" policies in corporate bylaws. ESG Boycott Legislation in States: Municipal Bond Market Impact in our government/NGO section and commissioned by the Sunrise Project examines how much gumming up the works in this way is costing taxpayers. It's costly friction; hundreds of millions of dollars per year are being wasted for fossil-friendly legislative optics. 

156 articles in 63 journals by 1,336 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

AMOC Stabilization under the Interaction with Tipping Polar Ice Sheets
Sinet et al., ESS Open Archive, Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10511833.1

Interaction between dry and hot extremes at a global scale using a cascade modeling framework
Mukherjee et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-35748-7

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2023 will be among HOTTEST ever

Posted on 18 January 2023 by Guest Author

2023 has barely begun, but thanks to global warming, climate scientists are already predicting it will be one of the hottest years ever recorded. But how can we already know the effects of climate change this year, and what role with the natural cycle of El Niño play?

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

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Can induction stoves convince home cooks to give up gas?

Posted on 17 January 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler

You walk into your kitchen to make pasta. After filling a pot with water, you place a small silicone mat in the middle of your counter, then set the pot above it and open a stovetop app on your phone. A short time later the water is boiling, although there’s no heat source in sight.

Sound like science fiction? The products that enable this scenario are available on the market today. Florida-based InvisaCook is one of several companies selling cooking hobs designed to be installed directly under porcelain or granite countertops, freeing up workspace in the kitchen and creating a clean, modern aesthetic.

“Invisible” cooktops rely on induction, a type of electric cooking technology that has attracted growing interest as gas stoves have come under scrutiny for contributing to climate change and dangerous indoor air pollution. Induction appliances use electricity to create an electromagnetic field beneath the cooking surface that transfers a current to pots and pans above, generating heat directly in the cookware.

An image of a person cooking with a silver pan on what appears to be a granite countertop but is actually an InvisaCook stove.Preparing food on an InvisaCook cooktop. (Image credit: InvisaCook)

With rave reviews from prominent food writers and chefs, induction represents a quantum leap ahead of the electric stoves most Americans are familiar with. With its fast cooking times, precise temperature control, easy cleanup, and exciting design possibilities (“invisible” stoves are just one of the induction cooktop models available on the market today), the technology is already established in Europe and Asia and seems destined to challenge gas stoves’ role as the appliance of choice for U.S. home cooks.

“As a culinary appliance, it’s superior in most ways to gas,” said Jeffery Liang, who helps Bay Area households go electric at BayREN, a coalition of Bay Area municipal governments focused on energy and resource efficiency.

But at Yale Appliance, a high-end Massachusetts retailer, the buzz around induction hasn’t yet translated to the sales floor. According to CEO Steve Sheinkopf, Boston is still a gas market.

“I am a big fan of induction, but the switch hasn’t been as pronounced as you would think.”

“There are barriers to converting from gas to induction, and they’re significant for a lot of people,” he said.

A growing support ecosystem is helping homeowners overcome these barriers, but more remains to be done.

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New paper: Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

Posted on 16 January 2023 by BaerbelW

This is a quick summary about the newly published paper "Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections" by Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Geoffrey Supran, Professor of Physics of the Oceans Stefan Rahmstorf and Professor of the History of Science Naomi Oreskes. It leverages a thread tweeted by Geoffrey Supran shortly after publication on January 12, 2023. Please note that the full paper will only be available open access for two weeks after publication.

The Abstract

Climate projections by the fossil fuel industry have never been assessed. On the basis of company records, we quantitatively evaluated all available global warming projections documented by—and in many cases modeled by—Exxon and ExxonMobil Corp scientists between 1977 and 2003. We find that most of their projections accurately forecast warming that is consistent with subsequent observations. Their projections were also consistent with, and at least as skillful as, those of independent academic and government models. Exxon and ExxonMobil Corp also correctly rejected the prospect of a coming ice age, accurately predicted when human-caused global warming would first be detected, and reasonably estimated the “carbon budget” for holding warming below 2°C. On each of these points, however, the company’s public statements about climate science contradicted its own scientific data.

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Some Highlights

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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2

Posted on 14 January 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Jan 8, 2023  thru Sat, Jan 14, 2023.

Story of the Week 

Relentless Rise of Ocean Heat Content Drives Deadly Extremes

The heat of global warming will keep penetrating deeper into the oceans for centuries after greenhouse gas emissions cease.

Sea Ice Greenland

Photo by William Bossen on Unsplash

Ocean heat content reached a new record high for the fourth year in a row, scientists said Wednesday as they released their annual measurements of ocean heat accumulating down to a depth of more than a mile.

The findings published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Science show that just in the past year, the planet’s seas absorbed about 10 Zetta joules of heat—equivalent to 100 times the world’s total annual electricity production.

The scientists found that the warmth keeps working its way deeper into the ocean, as greenhouse gases have trapped so much heat that the oceans’ deeper waters will continue to warm for centuries after humans stop using fossil energy.

Oceans cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface and have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat energy trapped by greenhouse gases since the start of the industrial age, dominating the global climate system. Measuring their temperature is one of the best ways to accurately track how Earth’s fever has kept rising since 2016, when the global average surface temperature peaked. 

Co-author John Fasullo, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said there are still open technical questions about the use of ocean heat content as a metric of climate change, “but our expectation is that ocean heat content more clearly resolves the march of climate change relative to other indices, such as surface temperature, which have more year to year variability.”

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Inside Climate News website.

Relentless Rise of Ocean Heat Content Drives Deadly Extremes by Bob Berwyn, Science, Inside Climate News, Jan 11, 2023

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2 2023

Posted on 12 January 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables 

The authors don't discuss it but folks who follow our GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry section will likely form some immediate connections from this paper and ask "what's this going to release?" Significant underestimation of peatland permafrost along the Labrador Sea coastline in northern Canada  just published in The Cryosphere exploits maximum value with maximum reliability from challenging data to sharply improve our acuity in inventorying key permafrost. The author team is lead by Yifeng Wang but we must note: the paper's second author is Skeptical Science's very own volunteer Robert Way. Proud! 

In this week's government/NGO reports section we find California’s Oil and Gas Workers: An analysis of the fossil fuel workforce, occupational transition opportunities, and State support for potentially impacted workers, assembled by the Gender Equality Policy InstituteBehind the frontlines of dealing with our climate problem are multiple echelons of subordinate components. We're looking at a systematic reweaving of economic patterns all while our machinery of economics must continue functioning.  Forgetting about big but not-so-obvious pieces will have negative feedback effects; let  us unleashing needless misery, omissions will leave large numbers of people high and dry, inevitably causing political friction and in turn costing time we can't afford. So while work like this may seem rather boring, it's absolutely key to our success. 

Planning any type of significant infrastructure? If those plans don't include the changes in geophysics we've triggered, they're incomplete and will lead to various failures and inefficiencies. Here's how that unfolds as illuminated by Basheer et al.: Negotiating Nile infrastructure management should consider climate change uncertainties

Becoming more conspicuous as our collective failures become more obvious: successful nation states employ layers of jurisdiction and governance, with their overall "big picture" handled by central governments having more or less coercive powers over subordinate units— yet this system stops at national borders. Is there reason to think that the system that successfully works to produce a fair overall approximation of civilization at all lower scales is mysteriously optional past a certain point? Can we expect success from this rule-breaking? How might that happen? In his opinion piece in PLOS Climate Aarti Gupta offers a partial workaround for missing rules in The advent of ‘radical’ transparency: Transforming multilateral climate politics?

"The climate isn't changing." We still hear this despite our lying eyes. In point of fact our climate is rapidly changing (and "too rapid" is a major of the problem) and surfacing evidence of that is one of quite a few reasons why we do this New Research feature. For every one major story about observed climate change effects we see broadly covered, there are many more that never leave the academic sphere.  Revisiting the agro-climatic zones of Ghana: A re-classification in conformity with climate change and variability is one such work, by Yamba et al. and intently focused on the vital task of keeping up with the reality we're creating. "People gotta eat," but if we're using anachronistic pre-climate-mess records, they won't. The authors are working on avoiding that problem. 

What's in the tin is on the label of The Increasing Efficiency of the Poleward Energy Transport into the Arctic in a Warming Climate. Christopher Cardinale and Brian Rose arrive at an outcome that may seem counterintuitive to the armchair climate scientist.  

144 articles in 54 journals by 1,052 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

A physical analysis of summertime North American heatwaves
Yu et al., Climate Dynamics, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06642-1

Hidden heatwaves and severe coral bleaching linked to mesoscale eddies and thermocline dynamics
Wyatt et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-35550-5

Teleconnections among tipping elements in the Earth system
Liu et al., Nature Climate Change, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01558-4

Observations of climate change, effects

Appraisal of climate change and source of heavy metals, sediments in water of the Kunhar River watershed, Pakistan
Soomro et al., Natural Hazards, 10.1007/s11069-022-05760-7

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