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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 and opinion 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

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Jan 22, 2023

Mon, Jan 23, 2023

Tue, Jan 24, 2023,

Wed, Jan 25 2023

Thu, Jan 26, 2023

Fri, Jan 27, 2023

Sat, Jan 28, 2023

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. The following CBC News item helps understand the challenges of getting people to learn about the harmful consequences of fossil fuel use, especially the climate change impact consequences.

    Why don't we talk about acid rain and the ozone hole anymore? Scientists debunk misinformation

    There are significant differences between the 'globally acted on and considered to have been reasonably resolved SO2 and Ozone issues' and the climate change harm of fossil fuel use. In addition to the 'immediate potential negative impact on influential people of a failure to address the problem' a major difference is the amount of 'developed perceptions of prosperity and superiority' that have to be given up to address the problem. However, there are other important things that can be learned from how each issue was addressed.

    The SO2 (acid rain) problem was a developed problem that was impacting the environment that influential people, including large groups of voters, could identify with and potentially experience. But even the undeniable harm done did not motivate rapid correction everywhere. Some European nations led the transition to reduced SO2 emissions, including 'low sulphur' and 'ultra-low sulphur' diesel. Other nations, including the USA and Canada delayed implementing the harm reduction technology because of the competitive trade advantages of the lower cost of not leading the transition. That delay also kept cleaner diesel engines developed in the nations leading the transition from being import competition because they would not run as well on the dirtier fuel. But the major difference from the climate change challenge is that 'more harm done' was acceptable while technology development occurred to reduce the problem. And a critical difference is that sulphur emissions did not have to be 'almost entirely eliminated'. Also, removal of sulphur from the atmosphere is not required.

    The ozone problem, like the SO2 problem, was also allowed to 'take some time to be solved'. And a major difference from the climate change challenge is that only a small part of the global economy was impacted by the required corrections of what had developed. The global agreement regarding the mitigation of the ozone problem was able to wait for new technology to develop. Also, the rate of harmful ozone impacts did not have to be brought to 'net-zero'. And actions were not required to remove harmful excess ozone impacts.

    The climate change challenge requires the ending of a developed activity that is a massive part of the global socioeconomic system. And there is the added potentially unpopular requirement for the people who benefited most from the current accumulated problem to pay for removing excess harmful impacts. There is no time to wait for 'new cheaper technology to be developed' ('waiting for cheaper alternatives to be developed' through the past 30 years has developed the current undeniably harmful reality). The currently developed technology for removing CO2 needs to be built and be operating today. However, only technology that is well understood to have minimal 'other' negative impacts should be built and operated, even if cheaper alternatives are available.

    For the climate change challenge, and so many other matters that matter to the future of humanity, the measure of acceptability of what has been developed and the alternatives needs to be 'essentially harmless'. Compromising the pursuit of being as harmless as possible 'because of other considerations' will fail to develop sustainable solutions. That reality is a major impediment to efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the climate change challenge. The science is solid. But it requires a lot of developed preferences and perceptions of status to be given up.

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  2. Here is some newer news that raises a very important point regarding the ‘objectives of human actions today’. It is reporting 'new research', but relates to my comment @1.

    NPR News Item “AI is predicting the world is likely to hit a key warming threshold in 10-12 years”

    The important point is the unfortunate, and incorrect, ways that the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 C and 2.0 C are discussed.

    The common sense needs to be that it is harmfully incorrect to refer to the 1.5 C target as ‘potentially, or actually, dead’. That incorrect way of thinking about the targets would be likely to also make 2.0 C ‘dead’.

    The required understanding is that, ideally, human action would keep global warming impacts below 1.5 C. If the powerful among the current generation is unwilling to make that happen, if the leadership actions taken indicate that 1.5 C will be exceeded, then the portion of the population most responsible for making the problem worse has to be required to pay today to start removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. And that ‘non-profitable action’ needs to be done with the least harmful of the currently developed technologies for doing that, not the least expensive. And any improvements that would further reduce the harm of those ‘removal operations already started’ would need to be implemented as modifications of existing operations, not just be part of new items built. And continued inaction to limit the harm done would trigger a larger 'penalty to do more 'now' to remove CO2.

    The science has long been clear that limiting harm done requires human global warming impacts to be brought back below 1.5 C. That will require unprofitable actions that need to be as harmless as possible. It is almost certain that the only way that will happen, and most effectively happen, is if the most harmful portion of the current population, those who benefited most from the developed problem and those who are currently benefiting most from continuing to make the problem worse, will not give up their harmful desires ‘they have to pay now, and be required to fix the problem as harmlessly as possible’. That penalty mechanism is likely the only way to keep human impacts below 2.0 C and minimize the magnitude and duration of an overshoot of impact above 1.5 C without having 'the solutions be new unnecessarily harmful developments'.

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