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2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 25 March 2017 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. Articles of signifigance as determined by the editor are highlighted in the Editor's Picks' section.

Editor's Picks

Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’

 dry Cedro reservoir in Quixadá, Brazil

A boat lies in the dry Cedro reservoir in Quixadá, Brazil. Climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events like drought. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.

Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows.

Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’ by Damian Carrington, Guardian, Mar 20, 2017

Fighting Ocean Pollution and Climate Change Is a Two-Front War

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Speaking to Pacific island leaders and diplomats in Suva last week, the incoming President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in November (COP23), Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, said his most important goal was to preserve the multilateral consensus for decisive action on climate change that was reached in the Paris Climate Change Agreement at the end of 2015.

“We cannot afford to have any government renege on the commitments that were made. Many countries face short-term domestic pressures, and there is no doubt that changing the behaviors that led us to this crisis will not be easy, but the rewards will be great. And besides, we have no choice,” he said.

The Fijian Prime Minister was speaking at a preparatory meeting for the UN Ocean Conference in June. The conference is designed to help reverse the decline in the health of world’s oceans, currently under threat from growing pollution and the impacts of climate change.

“In a very real sense, we are fighting a two-front war. One front is the fight to keep the oceans clean and to sustain the marine plant and animal life on which we depend for our livelihoods and that keep the earth in proper balance,” the Fijian leader said. “The other front is the fight to slow the growth of global warming and, unfortunately, also to adapt to the changes we know are coming - to rising seas, encroaching sea water, violent storms and periods of drought.”

Fighting Ocean Pollution and Climate Change Is a Two-Front War. by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, UNFCCC/COP-23, Mar 20, 2017

Business leaders urge G20 to put climate change back on agenda

Iceberg, Nuuk, Greenland June 2016

Children play amid icebergs on the beach in Nuuk, Greenland, June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Alister Doyle

Business executives and scientists on Tuesday urged the world's leading economies to put global warming back on the G20 agenda after finance ministers and central bankers failed to reaffirm their readiness to finance measures against climate change.

The G20's outreach organizations for business (B20), think tanks (T20) and civil society groups (C20) urged the Group of 20 leading economies in a joint statement to take fast and fundamental action to counter rising temperatures.

"Climate change represents one of the largest risks to sustainable development, inclusiveness, equitable economic growth and financial stability," the statement said.

"We need to be sure that (G20 leaders) will fulfill existing international climate-related commitments, foremost the Paris Agreement," it said.

The statement was signed by B20 chair Kurt Bock, who is also CEO of chemicals group BASF BASF.DE, and several leading scientists, including Ottmar Edenhofer from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change.

Business leaders urge G20 to put climate change back on agenda by Gernot Heller & Michael Nienaber, Reuters, Mar 21, 2017

Arctic Sea Ice Sets Record-Low Peak for Third Year

Constant warmth punctuated by repeated winter heat waves stymied Arctic sea ice growth this winter, leaving the winter sea ice cover missing an area the size of California and Texas combined and setting a record-low maximum for the third year in a row.

Even in the context of the decades of greenhouse gas-driven warming, and subsequent ice loss in the Arctic, this winter’s weather stood out.

Area of Arctic Sea Ice Extent

“I have been looking at Arctic weather patterns for 35 years and have never seen anything close to what we’ve experienced these past two winters,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which keeps track of sea ice levels, said in a statement.

Arctic Sea Ice Sets Record-Low Peak for Third Year by Andrea Thompson, Climate Central, Mar 22, 2017

El Niño's Odds to Return By Late Summer or Fall Increasing

The odds of El Niño's development by the late summer or early fall have increased, according to the latest output from forecast model guidance.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) officially declared La Niña's end in early February as sea temperatures have steadily warmed in the equatorial region of the central and eastern Pacific, and we're now in the neutral phase of the oscillation. Neutral means that neither La Niña or El Niño conditions exist.

As shown below, models currently suggest we'll be in the neutral category through the spring and into the early summer months (April-May-June, or AMJ), but after that, sea temperatures could be warm enough for El Niño conditions to take over.

Mid-March IRI/CPC Model-Based Probabilisitc ENSO Forecast

The chance for various phases of El Niño, according to IRI's mid-March model-based probabilistic forecast. Red bars show the probability of El Niño's development during each three-month period. (International Research Institute for Climate and Society)

El Niño's Odds to Return By Late Summer or Fall Increasing by Jonathan Belles & Brian Donegan, WunderBlog, Weather Undergound, Mar 23, 2017 

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  1. So despite bad news, KXL is not a done deal yet: a permit from NE is required. I hope someone will find a legal glitch that can possibly stop/delay it, just like judge Robart found anti-immigration order unconstitutional but5 chances look slim.

    I don't understand the political details here and how long state of NE will take on it. Or how "a fantastic governor" of NE can expedite it. I obviously do not believe in a single word of a man who signed it & who says: “It’s going to be an incredible pipeline. Greatest technology known to man". Foolish moronism of that man was only confirmed here, because a person who pronounces such nonsense clearly does not understand how human technology has evolved in more than 150 years since mid-1850. He's proven once again that facts and reality do not matter to him, not only when he's angry, but also when he's happy and smiling because things are moving according to his wishes.

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