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Latest Posts


Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?


Skeptical Science New Research for Week #28, 2020

Posted on 15 July 2020 by doug_bostrom

121 Articles 

Physical science of global warming & effects

Aerosols enhance cloud lifetime and brightness along the stratus-to-cumulus transition (open access)

The nature of ice-nucleating particles affects the radiative properties of tropical convective cloud systems (open access)

Importance of boundary processes for heat uptake in the Subpolar North Atlantic

Observations & observational methods of global warming & effects

NOAA: 2019 State of U.S. High Tide Flooding with a 2020 Outlook (PDF)

Observational evidence for a stability Iris effect in the Tropics

Warming trends increasingly dominate global ocean

Strong Summer Atmospheric Rivers Trigger Greenland Ice Sheet Melt through Spatially Varying Surface Energy Balance and Cloud Regimes

Glacier runoff variations since 1955 in the Maipo River basin, in the semiarid Andes of central Chile (open access)

Central Himalayan tree-ring isotopes reveal increasing regional heterogeneity and enhancement in ice-mass loss since the 1960s (open access)

Normal mode perspective on the 2016 QBO disruption: evidence for a basic state regime transition (open access)

Contributions of Greenland GPS observed deformation from multi‐source mass loading induced seasonal and transient signals

A unique feature of the 2019 extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole event



On baseball's 'first pitch' and climate's long road ahead

Posted on 14 July 2020 by Bud Ward

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

Forgive me, if you will, a sports analogy.

With the first call of “Play ball!” and the opening pitch of what will have to pass (or won’t) for the 2020 major league baseball season now scheduled to start in just a few weeks …

University of Minnesota public health specialist and frequent cable TV guest Dr. Michael Osterholm has emphasized recently and often that we are in the “first inning” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What he has not yet made clear is whether we are in the top of the inning, with this other-worldly guest still at bat … or instead in the bottom of the inning, with the home team – AKA USA – at bat. Nor has he made clear whether there’s any score at this point, though many might suspect the good guys are not yet winning. And may indeed be trailing.

If all that is true – and who are we mere mortals to question it? – where then are we (this time the collective civilization, the world) in terms of the climate change crisis still aborning? Still in the minor leagues? Not yet past spring training, nor primed to come out of the dugout for the start of the contest? Be Still My Soul.

Experts on public health for all practical purposes are unanimous in agreeing that we – at the very least we in the U.S. and in a handful of other under-performing countries – have a long haul ahead in combating, and ultimately defeating, the coronavirus and its COVID-19 progeny. Just as experts on climate change science agree overwhelmingly on the fundamental causes behind our warming planet.

There too, the strong consensus points to our being in this battle for the long run. Not just innings, or even extra innings. Not just for the duration of this particular and unusual baseball season, nor even for the post-season and ultimate World Series we can only hope eventually will happen. Climate change is not a contest for a season, or even for a professional athlete’s entire career on the field. It’s for the ages.

“And miles to go before we sleep,” as Robert Frost reminds us.



Everything You Need to Know About Climate Change

Posted on 13 July 2020 by Guest Author

Climate change can seem pretty complex, but we can all understand the core ideas. I want to explain everything from what we know is happening, to what we can do to stop it. After all climate change is happening, it's us, it's serious, but there is hope...

Intro: 0:00

It's Happening: 0:48

It's Us: 02:11

It's Serious: 05:07

There's Hope: 07:12

Conclusion: 09:27

Support ClimateAdam on patreon:



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

Posted on 12 July 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Global temperatures could exceed crucial 1.5 C target in the next five years

Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland, July 30, 2029

In this aerial view melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. In 2020, the Arctic is likely to have warmed by more than twice the global mean, a new assessment by the WMO found.

There is an increasing chance that annual global temperatures could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels over the next five years, new climate predictions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say.

Under the 2015  Paris climate accord, countries committed to reduce their carbon output and halt global warming below 2 degrees Celsius — and if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius — by the end of the century to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

But according to the WMO report, there is around a 20% chance that one of the next five years will be at least 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels, with the chance "increasing with time."

Annual global temperature is likely to be at least 1 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels, and the last five years has been the warmest on record, the assessment — based on modeling and the expertise of climate scientists — found.

In 2020, the Arctic is likely to have warmed by more than twice the global mean, and many parts of South America, southern Africa and Australia are likely to be dryer than in the recent past, the WMO said.

There is a 70% chance that one or more months during the next five years will be at least 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels, the WMO assessment said.

In the coming five years, almost all regions are likely to be warmer than the recent past, scientists warned.

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

Global temperatures could exceed crucial 1.5 C target in the next five years by Amy Woodyatt, CNN, July 9, 2020



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 11 July 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 5 through Sat, July 11, 2020

Editor's Choice

Think Covid-19 Disrupted the Food Chain? Wait and See What Climate Change Will Do

The pandemic has revealed deep flaws in the world’s food system and food leaders are calling for global coordination and climate resilient agriculture.


Photo by Paddy Walker on Unsplash

In the months since Covid-19 convulsed the globe, the world's food system has undergone a stress test—and largely failed it.

The pandemic disrupted global supply chains, induced panic buying and cleared supermarket shelves. It left perfectly edible produce rotting in fields, and left farmers no choice but to gas, shoot and bury their livestock because slaughter plants were shut down.

It also revealed a glaring problem: Though researchers have known for decades that climate change will roil farming and food systems, there exists no clear global strategy for building resilience and managing risks in the world's food supply, nor a coherent way to tackle the challenge of feeding a growing global population, on a warming planet where food crises are projected to intensify.

"We need to make sure food is safe, nutritious and sustainable, not just for today but for the future," said Emily Broad Leib, director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic. "There's growing acknowledgement that this has been something that's not been addressed in a coordinated way."

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the InsideClimate New website.

Think Covid-19 Disrupted the Food Chain? Wait and See What Climate Change Will Do by Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News, July 7, 2020



Spreading rock dust on fields could remove vast amounts of CO2 from air

Posted on 10 July 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from The Guardian by Damian Carrington

Spreading rock dust on farmland could suck billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air every year, according to the first detailed global analysis of the technique.

The chemical reactions that degrade the rock particles lock the greenhouse gas into carbonates within months, and some scientists say this approach may be the best near-term way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The researchers are clear that cutting the fossil fuel burning that releases CO2 is the most important action needed to tackle the climate emergency. But climate scientists also agree that, in addition, massive amounts of CO2 need to be removed from the air to meet the Paris agreement goals of keeping global temperature rise below 2C.

The rock dust approach, called enhanced rock weathering (ERW), has several advantages, the researchers say. First, many farmers already add limestone dust to soils to reduce acidification, and adding other rock dust improves fertility and crop yields, meaning application could be routine and desirable.

Basalt is the best rock for capturing CO2, and many mines already produce dust as a byproduct, so stockpiles already exist. The researchers also found that the world’s biggest polluters, China, the US and India, have the greatest potential for ERW, as they have large areas of cropland and relatively warm weather, which speeds up the chemical reactions.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, estimates that treating about half of farmland could capture 2bn tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to the combined emissions of Germany and Japan. The cost depends on local labour rates and varies from $80 per tonne in India to $160 in the US, and is in line with the $100-150 carbon price forecast by the World Bank for 2050, the date by which emissions must reach net zero to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #27, 2020

Posted on 8 July 2020 by doug_bostrom

79 Articles

Observations & observational methods of global warming & effects

Six hundred years of South American tree rings reveal an increase in severe hydroclimatic events since mid-20th century (open access)

Late summer temperature variability for the Southern Rocky Mountains (USA) since 1735 CE: applying blue light intensity to low-latitude Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm

Climate change impacts on the atmospheric circulation, ocean, and fisheries in the southwest South Atlantic Ocean: a review

Occurrence and drivers of wintertime temperature extremes in Northern Europe during 1979–2016 (open access)

Human influence on joint changes in temperature, rainfall and continental aridity

Freshening of Antarctic Bottom Water off Cape Darnley, East Antarctica

Tropical Widening: From Global Variations to Regional Impacts (open access)

The record-breaking compound hot and dry 2018 growing season in Germany

Finnish National Phenological Network 1997–2017: from observations to trend detection (open access)

Recent observed country‐wide climate trends in Morocco

Warming and monsoonal climate lead to large export of millennial-aged carbon from permafrost catchments of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Increase in beaver dams controls surface water and thermokarst dynamics in an Arctic tundra region, Baldwin Peninsula, northwestern Alaska



Saharan dust cloud was most intense in decades, and more, though milder, are coming

Posted on 7 July 2020 by Guest Author

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

The massive dust storm that formed over the Sahara Desert in mid-June invaded the southeastern U.S. June 25-28, bringing dangerous levels of air pollution, low visibility, and colorful sunsets.

The air pollution event over parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast, composed of fine particulate pollution (PM2.5, particles less than 2.5 microns or 0.0001 inch in diameter) and PM10 (particles less than 10 microns in diameter) was one of the most widespread and intense observed in recent decades.

According to FEMA meteorologist Michael Lowry, the intensity of the dust outbreak over the tropical Atlantic was by far the most extreme since the most detailed, continuous record of global dust began in 2002, when the MODIS instruments on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites began taking measurements. The Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measured on June 20, 2020, was 1.66, shattering the previous daily record of 1.13 set on July 31, 2013.

Figure 1Figure 1. The African dust cloud over the tropical Atlantic’s main development region (MDR) for hurricanes was at a record high thickness on June 20, 2020. (Photo credit: Michael Lowry)

Experts say more dust storms are likely in coming weeks and months, but not all will affect the U.S., and few will likely reach the intensity of the June 2020 event.



IEA: Coronavirus ‘accelerating closure’ of ageing fossil-fuelled power plants

Posted on 6 July 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Josh Gabbatiss

This year will see the largest ever drop globally in both investment and consumer spending on energy as the coronavirus pandemic hits every major sector, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The crisis is accelerating the shutdown of older fossil-fuelled power plants and refineries, with the agency saying it could provide an opportunity to push the global energy sector onto a “more resilient, secure and sustainable path”.

In the latest edition of the World Energy Investment report, which Carbon Brief has covered in previous years, the IEA has gone beyond its usual remit of reviewing annual trends. 

Its analysis looks ahead to the coming year and estimates the impact of this year’s economic turmoil on energy investment, which was expected to grow by around 2% prior to Covid-19. It is now expected to drop by 20%, or almost $400bn.

Meanwhile, as demand and prices collapse, consumer spending on oil is expected to drop by more than $1tn, prompting a “historic switch” as spending on electricity exceeds oil for the first time.

Here, Carbon Brief has picked out some key charts to illustrate the economic repercussions of the pandemic across the energy sector.

Energy investment will drop by a fifth

The “baseline expectation” for 2020 is a global recession resulting from widespread lockdowns, according to the IEA. Last month, the agency estimated this will also lead to CO2 emissions dropping by 8% this year in the largest decline ever recorded.

Based on the latest investment data and project information, announcements from companies and governments, interviews with industry figures and its own analysis, the IEA concludes such a recession will see energy investment drop by a fifth. This can be seen in the chart below.



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #27

Posted on 5 July 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Stop making sense: why it's time to get emotional about climate change

The science has been settled to the highest degree, so now the key to progress is understanding our psychological reactions.

Rebecca Huntley

Rebecca Huntley, an Australian social researcher and expert on social trends, at home in Sydney. Her new book is How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

It took me much longer than it should have to realise that educating people about climate change science was not enough. Due perhaps to my personality type (highly rational, don’t talk to me about horoscopes, please) and my background (the well-educated daughter of a high school teacher and an academic), I have grown up accepting the idea that facts persuade and emotions detract from a good argument.

Then again, I’m a social scientist. I study people. I deal mostly in feelings, not facts. A joke I like to tell about myself during speeches is that I’m an expert in the opinions of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Over the 15 years I’ve been a social researcher, I’ve watched with concern the increasing effects of climate change, and also watched as significant chunks of the electorate voted for political parties with terrible climate change policies.

There is clearly a disconnect between what people say they are worried about and want action on and who, when given the chance, they pick to lead their country.

The science behind climate change has been proven correct to the highest degree of certainty the scientific method allows. But climate change is more than just the science. It’s a social phenomenon. And the social dimensions of climate change can make the science look simple – the laws of physics are orderly and neat but people are messy.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on The Guardian website.  

Stop making sense: why it's time to get emotional about climate change by Rebecca Huntley, Environment, Guardian, July 4, 2020

This article is an edited extract from How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference, by Rebecca Huntley (Murdoch Books, $32.99)



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 4 July 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 28 through Sat, July 4, 2020

Editor's Choice

'2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary

A timely Australian documentary takes a 'solutions' approach, with the filmmaker inspired by visions of his young daughter as an adult.

Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau did not create “2040” for viewing during the coronavirus pandemic. Although only now being released, online, in the U.S., the documentary premiered in Australia in the spring of 2019.

Nevertheless, the film fits well with this summer 2020 moment. For a nation wondering what post-pandemic life will look like, “2040” provides an optimistic vision of a new normal, one that addresses issues of social justice while meeting challenges posed by climate change.

As such, “2040” is the most upbeat documentary about climate change since climatologist Richard Alley’s PBS series “Earth: An Operator’s Manual.” And it’s often funny, entertaining, and, in a family sitcom sort-of-way, touching.

“2040” begins with the movie-poster scene of Gameau planting a tree with his 4-year-old daughter, Velvet. In a voiceover, Gameau explains that he worries about how climate change will affect his daughter’s future. He knows the science; he briefly explains it using the heating, plumbing, and refrigeration systems of his house as analogies for different parts of the carbon cycles. And he says he often has felt overwhelmed by the doom-and-gloom depictions of climate change in popular media.

He wants to change this: “As a father, I think there’s room for a different story, a story that focuses on solutions.”

To write this new story, Gameau poses a question: “What [would] the world look like in 2040, if we just embraced the best that already exists?” And for “already exists” Gameau adopts a cardinal rule: “Everything I show in this 2040 has to exist today in some form. I can’t make it up.” Having laid down these ground rules, Gameau begins the work of assembling “the best that already exists” into a plausible depiction of his daughter’s life as an adult in 2040.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Yale Climate Connections website.

2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary by Michael Svoboda, Article, Yale Climate Connections, June 29, 2020



House Democrats eye 2021 with comprehensive climate action plan

Posted on 2 July 2020 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

House Democrats have released a comprehensive report showing how – if they control the White House and both the Senate and the House of Representatives – they might move forward on climate change. Their “Climate Crisis Action Plan,” released June 30 by the new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, runs more than 500 pages and would move the U.S. toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades.

The committee, established in 2018 when Democrats regained majority control of the House, designed the report with an eye the earlier “Green New Deal” initiative and also on current-day environmental and racial justice concerns. Backers of their effort acknowledge slim chances of enactment of major climate legislation in the current Congress, where Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and where scheduling of floor action is controlled by Kentucky Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The committee pointed to 17 official hearings and countless staff meetings with various stakeholders as a basis for the new Democratic climate plan. The detailed report spells out specific steps for tackling emissions from across a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy. Running throughout the report are themes considering investment in infrastructure and clean energy; worker assistance and efforts to provide a “fairer economy”; environmental justice and efforts to meet the needs of underserved communities; community resilience; public health and new approaches to agriculture; and national security.

Let’s examine some of the specific sectors and policies addressed in the plan.



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #26, 2020

Posted on 1 July 2020 by doug_bostrom

75 Articles 

Physical science of global warming & effects

The response of stratospheric water vapor to climate change driven by different forcing agents (open access)

Observations & observational methods of global warming & effects

Record warming at the South Pole during the past three decades

Variability of soil freeze depth in association with climate change from 1901 to 2016 in the upper Brahmaputra River Basin, Tibetan Plateau

Long-term trends in Arctic surface temperature and potential causality over the last 100 years

Nonlinear dynamics of fires in Africa over recent decades controlled by precipitation

More frequent summer heat waves in southwestern China linked to the recent declining of Arctic sea ice

A trend of increasing burned areas in Iraq from 2001 to 2019 (open access)

Modeling & simulation of global warming & global warming effects

Multiple drivers of the North Atlantic warming hole

Amplified Madden–Julian oscillation impacts in the Pacific–North America region

Effects of Strongly Enhanced Atmospheric Methane Concentrations in a Fully Coupled Chemistry-Climate Model (open access)

Lightning Variability in Dynamically Downscaled Simulations of Alaska’s Present and Future Summer Climate

Future drought characteristics through a multi-model ensemble from CMIP6 over South Asia

How warmer and drier will the Mediterranean region be at the end of the twenty-first century?

Europe-wide precipitation projections at convection permitting scale with the Unified Model (open access)

North Pacific storm track response to the mesoscale SST in a global high-resolution atmospheric model



Category 6 Sets Its Sights Over the Rainbow

Posted on 30 June 2020 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Weather Underground by Bob Henson

Above: This rainbow appears unusually low in the sky because it has formed early in the afternoon, rather than toward sunset. For a rainbow to form, water droplets must be present in the air in front of an observer and the sun must be shining from behind the observer. Rainbows result from the refraction and reflection of sunlight by these water droplets. (Bob Henson, via UCAR Digital Image Library)

Given that the very first entry in Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog (the original name of this blog) was “The 360-degree Rainbow”—see the full story in Jeff’s farewell post from October 2019—I thought it would be apropos for this final Category 6 entry to spotlight another, very different kind of rainbow.

I took the photo above looking east-northeast while stopped on a drive across northwest Oklahoma in April 1991, with a severe thunderstorm in the distance. I’d never seen a “rainbow rise” before, and I’ve certainly never seen anything that was as distinct as this. Primary rainbows always form opposite the sun, with an imaginary line running from the sun through the observer’s head to the center of the rainbow arc. So in order to see a rainbow near the horizon, the sun needs to be almost 42° above the opposite horizon. That's typically the case in the early to mid-afternoon (solar time) in midlatitude spring, as was the case on the stormy April day when I snapped this photo.

Rainbows are laden with symbolism, especially about places that lie beyond our human reckoning. When our pets die, we talk about them crossing the “rainbow bridge.” A 16-year-old Judy Garland sang longingly about a place “over the rainbow” in “The Wizard of Oz”—the most famous movie of all time in which a weather event (that mesmerizing tornado!) served as the central plot twist (no pun intended).



CSLDF: Why We’re Concerned About Scientific Integrity Policies

Posted on 29 June 2020 by Guest Author

A guest repost by Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) staff attorney Augusta Wilson. Fundraising is not the objective of this article but readers may wish to know that CSLDF is currently conducting a summer fundraiser to support defense of research scientists and research integrity from anti-science interference by politicians and industrial interests. 

The COVID-19 pandemic tragically highlights the dire and immediate threats to public health that can result when the culture of scientific integrity at research institutions is ignored or fails.

Scientific integrity violations impair scientific agencies’ and institutions’ ability to fulfill their missions and protect human and environmental health. What’s more, scientific integrity failures aren’t limited to issues surrounding the pandemic; they are distressingly pervasive in research institutions under the Trump administration.

Climate scientists are particularly hard hit. A June 15 article in The New York Times describes efforts to undermine climate science at federal agencies. The Times found that these actions first came from high-level Trump appointees, but they’ve filtered down to mid-level managers concerned about attracting unwanted scrutiny of their programs and budgets from senior political officials.

The article documents instances where climate scientists had their work flagged for additional review, denied final approval, or shelved after years of effort because it acknowledged human-caused climate change. It also describes cases in which scientists have found themselves under immense pressure from supervisors to delete “red flag” words related to climate change.

Interference with tax-payer-funded research, meant to inform both scientific discourse and the American public, because it touches on a politically contentious topic is the essence of a loss of scientific integrity.



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #26

Posted on 28 June 2020 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Global Warming Is Melting Our Sense of Time

East Siberia Heat Wave Fires 

Satellite image of smoke from active fires burning near the Eastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, Russia, on June 23, 2020. Photo: Handout/NASA Earth Observatory

On June 20, in the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic Circle, a heat wave baking the region peaked at 38 degrees Celsius — just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic. In a world without climate change, this anomaly, one Danish meteorologist calculated, would be a 1-in-100,000-year event. Thanks to climate change, that year is now.

If you saw this news, last weekend, it was probably only a glimpse (primetime network news didn’t even cover it). But the overwhelming coverage of perhaps more immediately pressing events — global protests, global pandemic, economic calamity — is only one reason for that climate occlusion. The extreme weather of the last few summers has already inured us to temperature anomalies like these, though we are only just at the beginning of the livable planet’s transformation by climate change — a transformation whose end is not yet visible, if it will ever be, and in which departures from the historical record will grow only more dramatic and more disorienting and more lethal, almost by the year. At just 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming, where the planet is today, we have already evicted ourselves from the “human climate niche,” and brought ourselves outside the range of global temperatures that enclose the entire history of human civilization. That history is roughly 10,000 years long, which means that in a stable climate you would only expect to encounter an anomaly like this one if you ran the full lifespan of all recorded human history ten times over — and even then would only encounter it once.

Click here to access the entire article as originally published on the New York Magazine website.

Global Warming Is Melting Our Sense of Time by David Wallace-Wells, Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 27, 2020



2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 27 June 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 21 through Sat, June 27, 2020

Editor's Choice

Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers

Earth at Night

Facebook is "aiding and abetting the spread of climate misinformation,” said Robert Brulle, an environmental sociologist at Drexel University. “They have become the vehicle for climate misinformation, and thus should be held partially responsible for a lack of action on climate change.”

Brulle was reacting to Facebook's recent decision, made at the request of climate science deniers, to create a giant loophole in its fact-checking program. Last year, Facebook partnered with an organization, Science Feedback, that would bring in teams of Ph.D. climate scientists to evaluate the accuracy of viral content. It was an important expansion of the company's third-party fact-checking program. 

But now Facebook has reportedly decided to allow its staffers to overrule the climate scientists and make any climate disinformation ineligible for fact-checking by deeming it "opinion." 

The organization that requested the change, the CO2 Coalition, is celebrating, E&E news reported on Monday. The group, which has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, says its views on climate change are increasingly ignored by the mainstream media. Now it plans to use Facebook to aggressively push climate misinformation on the public—without having to worry about fact checks from climate scientists.

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

Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers by Emily Atkin, Heated, June 24, 2020



Saharan dust storm expected to cause dangerous air pollution in U.S. this week

Posted on 26 June 2020 by Guest Author

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

A massive dust storm formed over the Sahara Desert last week and invaded the Caribbean over the June 20-21 weekend, bringing dangerous levels of air pollution and low visibility to the islands.

The dust is accompanied by a large amount of dry air from the Saharan Air Layer, putting a damper on any hurricanes that attempt to form. None of the reliable computer models are predicting Atlantic tropical cyclone formation for the remainder of June, largely because of the dry air that is accompanying the dust. The dust is also acting to decrease the amount of sunlight hitting the surface, cooling the ocean and further discouraging hurricane activity.

Dust cloudFigure 1. African dust cloud over the tropical Atlantic as seen by the GOES-17 satellite at 12 pm EDT June 22, 2020. (Photo credit: NOAA/RAMMB)

As detailed by IBM meteorologist Michael Ventrice, the impressive Saharan Air Layer surge is being driven by passage over western Africa of an atmospheric disturbance called a suppressed Kelvin wave. This disturbance generated strong east-to-west surface trade winds which blew the dust from the Sahara out over the Atlantic Ocean. June and July are the peak months for Saharan dust storms that affect the tropical Atlantic. That said, this week’s dust storm is an impressive one, with a much larger areal extent than average.

Saharan Air LayerFigure 2. Saharan Air Layer analysis for 8 a.m. EDT June 22, 2020. Dry and dusty air from the Sahara (orange and pink colors) extended from the coast of Africa into the central Caribbean. (Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS)



What 'Planet of the Humans' gets wrong about renewable energy

Posted on 25 June 2020 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

Like an earthquake rumbling down the San Andreas Fault, Jeff Gibbs’ and Michael Moore’s controversial film “Planet of the Humans” tore a rift through the environmental movement, a rift its leaders would not yearn for in an election year. After activists have spent decades painstakingly building popular support for climate policies focused on developing and deploying low-carbon technologies, the film and its defenders dismiss these as false solutions, saying the focus should instead be on curbing population, consumption, and economic growth.

Both those factions agree that, as the IPCC has concluded, human civilization must cut its carbon emissions to zero within a few decades to avert a climate crisis. Is there a scientific way to determine which group is right about the best way to achieve that goal? As a matter of fact, there is.

Kaya formula

In 1990, Japanese energy economist Yoichi Kaya developed a simple and elegant formula called the Kaya Identity that can help answer the question: F is human carbon emissions, P is human population, G is economic activity as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), and E is energy consumption.

Only one plausible solution: zero emissions

For carbon emissions (F) to reach zero, just one of the four terms on the right side of the formula must be zero. So either human population (P), per-person economic activity (G/P), the energy consumed to power the economy (E/G), or the carbon footprint of energy (F/E) must be zero. Common sense gives us the answer to the debate: clean energy is the only plausible route to zero emissions.

And we’re in luck. Clean energy would not destroy humanity or human civilization, which would be the result of zeroing the population, economy, or energy use. Contrary to the false claims in “Planet of the Humans,” carbon emissions from energy can plausibly reach zero. In fact, a new report from the University of California, Berkeley concludes that U.S. electricity could be supplied by near-zero emissions sources (like wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and geothermal, plus storage) in short order. About 40% of American electricity is supplied by clean sources as of 2020, and the report concludes that this number could feasibly be scaled up to 55% by 2025, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2035, and 100% by 2045.

If an energy-devouring economy like that of the United States can do it, one might argue, the rest of the world can too.

The Berkeley report also concludes that replacing fossil fuels with clean energy sources would prevent 85,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution and create half a million permanent jobs (mostly associated with manufacturing and construction of clean energy infrastructure), while electricity rates would only be 12% higher than business-as-usual (and cheaper than today’s rates).



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25, 2020

Posted on 24 June 2020 by doug_bostrom

Annual fishing report

It's been about a year since we swapped out the New Research deckhand. It seems longer— particularly the past 4 months— and not because of this particular work.

Over the course of the year somewhere in the neighborhood of 17,500 articles have been caught in our net, with about 1:5 making it into these summaries. In all about 3,500 made the grade as "climate research consumable."

For the upcoming year, better sorting of species is a continuing objective. As well, in the background (slowly) we're making progress in creating a kind of warehouse (given the already strained fishing analogy, an aquarium?) of articles.  

82 Articles

Physical science of global warming & effects

Variability of the Surface Energy Balance in Permafrost Underlain Boreal Forest (open access)

Mechanisms underlying recent Arctic Atlantification

Observations & observational methods of global warming & effects

ECTACI: European Climatology and Trend Atlas of Climate Indices (1979‐2017)

From a polar to a marine environment: has the changing Arctic ledto a shift in aerosol light scattering properties? (open access)

Observed extreme precipitation trends and scaling in Central Europe

Rapid cooling and increased storminess triggered by freshwater in the North Atlantic

Changes of the Arctic marginal ice zone during the satellite era (open access)

Comparative Analysis of Cold Events Over Central and Eastern China Associated with Arctic Warming in Early 2008 and 2016 (open access)

A Third Generation of Homogenized Temperature for Trend Analysis and Monitoring Changes in Canada’s Climate (open access)

A shortening of the life‐cycle of major tropical cyclones

Strong intensification of hourly rainfall extremes by urbanization

Describing the Relationship between a Weather Event and Climate Change: A New Statistical Approach (open access)

Edge Detection Reveals Abrupt and Extreme Climate Events (open access)

Influence of growing season temperature and precipitation anomalies on crop yield in the southeastern United States

Assessment of extreme precipitation through climate change indices in Zacatecas, Mexico

Assessing current and future trends of climate extremes across Brazil based on reanalyses and earth system model projections

Distinct tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly regimes enhanced under recent global warming



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