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2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #14B

Posted on 4 April 2015 by John Hartz

Antarctica’s record high temp bodes ill for ice

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming spots on the planet, but in recent days, a stubborn weather pattern sent temperatures skyrocketing there, setting a record high for the continent.

While the event that set the mercury soaring — called a Chinook, or foehn wind — isn’t unusual for the region, it does seem to be increasing with climate change, as winds around Antarctica become stronger. Scientists are worried that if these sudden warming events become more common or more intense, they could put the already threatened ice of the peninsula in an even more precarious situation, with serious implications for global sea level rise.

The peninsula of Antarctica is a slender arm of land that reaches out from the continent toward South America. It has warmed by about 5°F in the past 50 years, while the globe as a whole has warmed about 1.3°F.

Antarctica’s Record High Temp Bodes Ill for Ice by Andrea Thompson, Climate Central, Apr 1, 2015

California Tuolumne snowpack 40 percent of worst year

New NASA data find the snowpack in the Tuolumne River Basin in California's Sierra Nevada — a major source of water for millions of Californians — currently contains just 40 percent as much water as it did near this time at its highest level of 2014, one of the two driest years in California’s recorded history. The data were acquired through a partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts.

In its first springtime acquisition of the year, NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory quantified the total volume of water contained within the Tuolumne River Basin snowpack on March 25. The observatory data revealed that the amount of water in the mountain snowpack on that date was 74,000 acre-feet, or 24 billion gallons. This is about 40 percent of the maximum snow water content the observatory measured near this time last year, which was 179,000 acre-feet. This is the third year of Airborne Snow Observatory operations.

California Tuolumne snowpack 40 percent of worst year by By Alan Buis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Global Climate Change News, Apr 2, 2015 

Catholics prep for Pope Francis to tackle climate in upcoming encyclical.

Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, found himself facing a skeptic recently after he outlined the coalition's preparations for Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on global warming. 

The woman didn't doubt the science. She just wasn't sure of the bishops.

Why wouldn't U.S. bishops record messages on climate change to be played in all churches, just as they often do for annual Lenten fundraising drives, she asked. Why not distribute cards in the pews, urging parishioners to sign pledges to care for creation and the poor, through personal action and advocacy on global warming?

"So what you're asking for," Misleh deadpanned, "are miracles?"

Catholics prep for Pope Francis to tackle climate in upcoming encyclical. by Marianne Lavelle, The Daily Climate, Apr 2, 2015

Climate scientist: No, my study is not a "Death blow to global warming hysteria" 

Conservative media are grossly distorting a recent study on aerosols' climate impact as a "death blow to global warming hysteria." But the study's author himself stated in response that his research does not contradict the scientific consensus on global warming.

A recent study provided new estimates for the rate at which aerosols — tiny particles of matter suspended in the atmosphere - deflect the sun's rays, measuring what is known as aerosol "radiative forcing." The study from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, which analyzed data from 1850 to 1950, found that the level of radiative forcing from aerosols is "less negative" than commonly believed, suggesting that aerosols do not cool the atmosphere as much as previously thought.

Climate Scientist: No, My Study Is Not A "Death Blow To Global Warming Hysteria" by Denise Robbins, Media Matters, Apr 3, 2015

Climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C, say scientists

Does the fact that surface temperatures are rising slower than in previous decades mean scientists have overestimated how sensitive the Earth's climate is to greenhouse gases?

It's a question that's popped up in the media from time to time. And the short answer is probably no, according to a new paper in Nature Climate Change.

Using temperature data up to 2011, the authors work out a value of climate sensitivity of 2.5C, comfortably within the range where scientists have suggested the 'real' value lies.

Questions about climate sensitivity are complicated, and won't be solved by any single bit of research. But the new paper seems to contribute to a growing confidence among scientists that climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C.

Climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C, say scientists by Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, Apr 1, 2015

One image that shows future of climate models

The future of climate modeling is taking a lesson from Van Gogh’s paintings with a dose of extra technicolor for good measure.

Los Alamos National Laboratory released a simulation that captures the temperatures and currents of the world’s oceans in intimate detail. The image reveals ripples at a resolution from 35 miles down to 9 miles, though researchers can zoom in even more if needed (and if they have enough computing power and data at their disposal).

One Image That Shows Future of Climate Models by Brian Kahn, Climate Central, Apr 2, 2015

Typhoons are starting early this season, and a big one is headed toward the Philippines

Typhoon Maysak killed at least five people and damaged homes in the Chuuk state of Micronesia earlier this week, and now the weakened — but still dangerous — storm is headed towards the Philippines.

On Tuesday, Typhoon Maysak reached super typhoon status, with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center measuring its wind gusts at up to 195 miles per hour and sustained winds at 160 mph. Since Tuesday, the storm has weakened, with winds falling to around 132 mph Thursday, making it the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane.

But the typhoon made history during its time as a Category 5 equivalent storm. Meteorologist and Weather Underground founder Jeff Masters said that Maysak is the third super typhoon on record with such high wind strengths before April 1. Masters wrote on March 30 that Maysak was part of a “record early start to typhoon season in the Western Pacific.”

Typhoons Are Starting Early This Season, And A Big One Is Headed Toward The Philippines by Kate Valentine, Climate Progress, Apr 2, 2015

U.S. commits to slashing emissions up to 28 percent by 2025

The United States officially submitted its emissions-cutting target to the United Nations on Tuesday morning, formalizing its commitment to reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

The Obama administration had previously announced the goal in its work with China on a bilateral climate agreement. The Tuesday submission makes the pledge official.

"With today’s submission of the U.S. target, countries accounting for more than half of total carbon pollution from the energy sector have submitted or announced what they will do in the post-2020 period to combat climate change," wrote Brian Deese, senior adviser to the president, in a blog post Tuesday morning.

U.S. Commits To Slashing Emissions Up To 28 Percent By 2025 by Kate Shepard, Huffington Post, Mar 31, 2015

U.S. to commit to 28 percent emissions cut as contribution to Climate Treaty

In a highly anticipated announcement, the United States will offer a roughly 28 percent emissions cut as its contribution to a major global climate treaty nearing the final stages of negotiation, according to people briefed on the White House's plans.

The U.S. plans to announce its commitment Tuesday, the informal deadline for nations to submit their contributions to the United Nations. Although the goal of 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 isn't new — President Barack Obama first unveiled it last year during a trip to Beijing — the U.S. proposal has drawn intense interest from the vast majority of countries that have yet to announce how deeply they'll pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty.

Obama's pledge constitutes the opening offer by the U.S. as world leaders strive to reach a climate deal powerful and ambitious enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in December. If it's successful, it will mark the first time all nations — not just wealthier ones like the U.S. — will have agreed to do something about climate change.

U.S. To Commit To 28 Percent Emissions Cut As Contribution To Climate Treaty by Josh Lederman, AP/Huffington Post, Mar 30, 2015

Why Corporate America is reluctant to take a stand on climate action

Many environmental groups consider the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon-spewing coal plants, which aims to cut carbon pollution by 30%, as one of our last chances to win the fight against climate change.

But the vast majority of their top corporate partners – companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, FedEx, UPS, Target and Walmart, which have worked with environmental NGOs for years – aren’t backing them up, according to a Guardian survey.

The survey consisted of calls and emails to nearly 50 corporations that work with three environmental groups – Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund US – that have identified the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan as a top priority. These are Fortune 500 global companies that tout their sustainability efforts and celebrate their environmental partnerships.

Why Corporate America is reluctant to take a stand on climate action by Marc Gunther, The Gardian, Apr 3, 2015

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Comments 1 to 1:

  1. "Climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C, say swientists"

    Please correct this article title (unless you're talking about people who study 'swien'!?).

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [BW] Thanks, Fixed!

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