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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, discourses of climate delay, and climate solutions denial.

 


Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media

Posted on 14 June 2024 by BaerbelW

Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based on their and other such comments, we compiled a list of telltale signs to be on the lookout for when reading posts or comments related to human-caused climate change or global warming on LinkedIn, other social media channels and even our own comment section. We hope you find this list helpful as the pointers can serve as warning flags to take a closer look before deciding whether to ignore or accept what has been written.


  • The scientific consensus on human-caused global warming is questioned or even attacked outright, even though the basic statements that global warming is real and is mostly caused by humans due to the continued burning of fossil fuels can be called a settled fact - the facts are at least more than settled enough to base our decisions on. Legit discussions can obviously happen about what we should do. For more, please read our explainer about a scientific consensus.

    Several studies have shown that - depending on what you look at - there's agreement from 91-100% in the scientific literature and among climate scientists on the major points - usually in the high 90s. When reading comments that provide references, readers should keep in mind that finding references from the 1-3% while ignoring the other 97-99% is a prime example of "cherry picking".

Consensus studies

  • Reactions via the „laugh“ icon on serious topics like human-caused climate change could either have happened accidentally (unlikely) or be a sign that the commenter doesn‘t quite (want to) grasp or accept scientific findings on the topic (quite likely).
  • Comments making claims which seem to contradict our large list of rebuttals will in most likelihood be wrong or misleading or will not rely on scientific research published in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. If in doubt, please head over to sks.to/arguments and check for yourself.
  • Comments rattling off many long-debunked myths - i.e. gish-gallops - have the sole aim to waste everybody's time and confuse people. They are best ignored.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024

Posted on 13 June 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology:

We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 to 2021. Because smoke can be transported at continental to intercontinental scales, even regions that may not typically experience direct burning of landscapes by wildfire are at risk of smoke exposure. We found that 99.3% of North America was covered by smoke, affecting a total of 1,333,687 lakes ≥10 ha. An incredible 98.9% of lakes experienced at least 10 smoke-days a year, with 89.6% of lakes receiving over 30 lake smoke-days, and lakes in some regions experiencing up to 4 months of cumulative smoke-days. Herein we review the mechanisms through which smoke and ash can affect lakes by altering the amount and spectral composition of incoming solar radiation and depositing carbon, nutrients, or toxic compounds that could alter chemical conditions and impact biota. 

From Denial to the Culture Wars: A Study of Climate Misinformation on YouTube, de Nadal, Environmental Communication:

Climate change is becoming a new front in the culture wars, with YouTube as one of its key arenas. Centered on an “Alternative Influence Network” orbiting Spain’s right-wing populist party Vox, this article examines the underexplored role of YouTube political influencers in propagating climate misinformation. Using thematic analysis, it uncovers instances of “post-denial” narratives that accept the reality of climate change while targeting climate policy and the climate movement, often through conspiracy theories and misogynistic rhetoric. Disagreements extend beyond policy specifics, intertwining with ongoing culture wars against a “woke wave” encompassing feminism, anti-racism, and now environmentalism. Amidst escalating opposition to Net Zero policies, the study sheds light on how these climate narratives reinforce “us” vs “them” binaries and appeal to feelings of resentment among young white males disoriented by rapid cultural change, who increasingly turn to YouTube for news and community.

Climate changes and food-borne pathogens: the impact on human health and mitigation strategy, Awad et al., Climatic Change:

The impact of climate change on food-borne pathogens is multifaceted and includes changes in the environment, agriculture, and human behavior. This review article examines the effect of climate change on food-borne pathogens, explores the connection between climate change and food-borne illness, records the current evidence on the effects of climate change on food-borne pathogens and potential consequences for human health, highlights knowledge gaps and areas for further research, and summarizes the strategies for mitigation and adaptation. 

Uncertain Pathways to a Future Safe Climate, Sherwood et al., Earth's Future:

Global climate change is often thought of as a steady and approximately predictable physical response to increasing forcings, which then requires commensurate adaptation. But adaptation has practical, cultural and biological limits, and climate change may pose unanticipated global hazards, sudden changes or other surprises–as may societal adaptation and mitigation responses. These poorly known factors could substantially affect the urgency of mitigation as well as adaptation decisions. We outline a strategy for better accommodating these challenges by making climate science more integrative, in order to identify and quantify known and novel physical risks including those arising from interactions with ecosystems and society. We need to do this even–or especially–when they are highly uncertain, and to explore risks and opportunities associated with mitigation and adaptation responses by engaging across disciplines. We argue that upcoming climate assessments need to be more risk-aware, and suggest ways of achieving this.

From this week's government and NGO section:

Navigating the Transition to Net-zero Emissions in Southeast Asia – Energy Security, the Role of Gaseous Energy Carriers and Renewables-based ElectrificationFekete et al., German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action:

The authors emphasize that rapid expansion of renewable electricity and electrification of energy end users is essential, not only to achieve climate mitigation targets but also to boost energy security and economic development across Southeast Asia. Focusing on Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Philippines the authors analyze net-zero pathways under two different decarbonization scenarios – one centered on reducing fossil fuel use through the deep electrification of energy demand, and the other achieving these reductions through the use of renewable gases such as hydrogen.

The Incredible Inefficiency of the Fossil Energy SystemWalter et al., RMI:

Today’s fossil energy system is incredibly inefficient: almost two-thirds of all primary energy is wasted in energy production, transportation, and use, before fossil fuel has done any work or produced any benefit. That means over $4.6 trillion per year, almost 5% of global GDP and 40% of what we spend on energy, goes up in smoke due to fossil inefficiency. Literally. The winds are changing, though, as fossil technologies are undercut by more efficient alternatives. End-use efficiency is driving out fossil fuels, reinforced by three new tailwinds that upend the energy landscape: renewable electricity, localization, and electrification. These drivers will allow us to drastically cut down on energy waste and phase out fossil fuels.

140 articles in 59 journals by 851 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Changes in Compound Hot Extremes over the Mid–High Latitudes of Asia and the Underlying Mechanisms, Jiang et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-23-0502.1

Observations of climate change, effects

Air–sea heat fluxes variations in the Southern Atlantic Ocean: Present-day and future climate scenarios, Moura et al., International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8517

Analysis of tropical nights in Spain (1970–2023): Minimum temperatures as an indicator of climate change, Correa et al., International Journal of Climatology Open Access pdf 10.1002/joc.8510

Disastrous effects of climate change on High Mountain Asia, Cui et al., Advances in Climate Change Research Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2024.06.004

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Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy

Posted on 12 June 2024 by Guest Author

This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024.

I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become cheaper before it could replace fossil fuels. That milestone has now been reached, with solar and wind power often costing less than oil, gas, and coal.

This is especially true if you add in the external costs of fossil fuels, such as the costs of air pollution that kills millions of people each year and the costs of fossil fuels contributing to geopolitical instability.

However, instead of the market naturally transitioning to these cheaper and cleaner energy sources, fossil fuel companies are leveraging their enormous political influence to hinder this shift. They employ tactics such as lobbying, spreading disinformation, and funding politicians who support fossil fuels, all in an effort to maintain their dominance and profits in the energy market.

Opinion Title

My NYT piece focused on disinformation, but this is just a small piece of the picture — there is a lot more going on than I could fit into a 1,000-word op-ed.

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At a glance - Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?

Posted on 11 June 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW, Ken Rice

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact-Myth-Box

At a glance

Yet another climate change myth that has not aged well. As of early May 2024, all of the past 12 months had come in at more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, so all of the first sentence is now tripe.

However, with regard to the rest of the myth, the evidence suggests it is extremely unlikely that Earth can enter a runaway greenhouse state.

Why is that? We have two good lines of evidence to support the contention. Firstly, we know an awful lot these days about the geography and climate of Earth in the past. Ancient geography can be determined by examining rock sequences on the continents and noting similarities in their fossil faunas, sedimentary environments and ancient magnetism.

So we know, for example, that around 55.8 million years ago, Ellesmere Island, off the NW coast of Greenland, was a lot warmer than it is today. The main geographical difference between then and now was that the Atlantic Ocean was narrower. The faunal difference was a lot more impressive. Where there are now glaciers and polar bears, back then tortoises, snakes and alligators thrived. Their fossils, along with those of redwood, ginkgo, elm and walnut, are to be found in Ellesmere Island's sedimentary rocks.

The time in question is known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. As the name suggests, it was probably the hottest climate experienced on Earth in the past 600 million years. To get temperate to subtropical temperatures in the Arctic is indeed impressive. But there was no runaway beyond that. Why?

Trapping of heat by CO2 and other greenhouse gases causes an energy imbalance on Earth. This imbalance gets amplified by positive feedbacks. A positive feedback happens when the planetary response to a change serves to amplify that change. For example, due to burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 has gone up by 50%. The resulting enhanced greenhouse effect is heating up the planet. The heating, among other things, melts arctic permafrost, releasing the CO2 and methane trapped within it. These gases amplify that initial change. The effect reinforces the cause, which will in turn further increase the effect, which in turn will reinforce the cause… and on and on.

So won't this spin out of control? The answer is almost certainly not. Feedbacks are not just positive. One very important one is that a warmer planet radiates more energy out to space than a cooler one. This feedback is not only negative but it is also strong.

Furthermore, positive feedback cycles will go on and on, but there will be a diminishing of returns, so that after a number of cycles the effects become insignificant. Thus, if we double the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the amount by which the response to that change - heating - can be amplified is approximately three times.

The creator and spreader of this particular myth is essentially putting words in people's mouths. No surprise there. But we do not need a runaway greenhouse effect to make life on Earth difficult. Just a few degrees of additional heating will do exactly that.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!


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Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths

Posted on 10 June 2024 by Guest Author

This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy.

Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. Some are a little bit true but so unbalanced, incomplete, and out of context that they might as well be false. And some tap into genuine complexities. When the facts are complicated, nuanced, mutable, or otherwise hard to pin down, statements may mislead (both deliberately and accidentally) by oversimplification. 

The links below are primarily about the first two categories, that is, wholly or mostly false statements. 

Myths about wind and solar

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

Posted on 9 June 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024.

Story of the week

Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by Sueellen Campbell. Without a lot of fuss and bother Campbell's article inventories silly myths about modernized (aka "renewable") energy sources and cuts directly to the chase for each with a ink to clarifying information from reliable sources. Topics covered include:

  • Wind turbine noise
  • Bird mortality caused by wind turbines
  • Whale mortality caused by wind turbines
  • Cancer caused by wind turbines
  • The environmental footprint of resources for updated energy sources
  • Electromagnetic health effects of solar farms
  • Solar power as a threat to farmland
  • Intermittency of wind and solar power

A few of these have some basis in fact. Others are complete inventions of imagination with no basis in reality whatsoever. All share in common calculated emotional appeal, synthesized in hope of generating public fear, rejection and— the real objective— profitable public policy procrastination.

Our legacy energy system based on fossil fuel has vastly larger negative impacts, yet fossil fuel's continued growth mostly flies beneath the public radar. High profile projects such as Keystone XL may encounter signifcant negative publicity, but for the most part the industry carries on in relative serenity. Regardless of all of the obvious downsides of sticking with this primitive system, the sheer momentum of more than a hundred years of habit lends an eerie sort of inexorability of increased commitment to the identifed folly of our caveman-grade combustion lifestyle.

How may this be? We find some details in Pam Radtke's article published in floodlight, a journal with the self-described mission of "investigating the powers that stall climate action."  Is US offshore wind dead in the water — or just poised for the next big gust? certainly does that, describing sophisticated regulatory capture by the fossil fuel industry leading to legally mandated paralysis of energy modernization. This is of course made easier when a public confused by misinformation cannot pass clear messages of preferences to polticians in charge of public policy. The only way out of this impasse is to be less confused, which leads us back to our story of the week. Facts at our fingertips are our way forward, and there they are!

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before June 2

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Fact Brief - Is the ocean acidifying?

Posted on 8 June 2024 by SkS-Team

FactBriefSkeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline.

Is the ocean acidifying?

YesAcidification of oceans simply means a reduction in their pH outside of normal values.

The pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity of water-based solutions. It runs from 0 (highly acidic) through 7 (neutral) to 14 (highly alkaline). Any reduction in pH value, in the direction of 0, is acidification. The oceans acidify whenever they become less alkaline, regardless of whether their pH declines below 7.

A good analogy for acidification can be found with the way we talk about temperatures. If the pH of a solution shifts from 8.1 to 7.9, that is acidification, even though the solution remains slightly alkaline. In the same way, if the temperature rises from -40°C to -15°C, it has definitely warmed up, even though it's still freezing cold.

Since the Industrial Revolution, ocean pH has declined from 8.2 to 8.1 — a 30% increase in acidity.

Go to full rebuttal on Skeptical Science or to the fact brief on Gigafact


This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Sources

Smithsonian Ocean Ocean Acidification

Encyclopædia Britannica PH | Definition, Uses, & Facts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration What is Ocean Acidification?

European Environment Agency Ocean acidification

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The Cranky Uncle game can now also be played in Romanian!

Posted on 7 June 2024 by BaerbelW

As of May 31, 2024, the Cranky Uncle game is available in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Swedish, Turkish, Albanian, Macedonian, Finnish and Romanian. It can be played on iOS or Android devices as well as in the browser. More languages are already in the queue and this blog post will be updated whenever a new language gets launched. In addition, there may be language specific announcements linked via the flag-icons at the top. These will be created by the translator teams and will most likely go into more language specific details or explain some particularly tricky or interesting translation challenges.

New languages and features

May 2024: for version 3.8 we added Romanian to the Cranky Uncle game which can now be played in 13 languages! In addition, some features from Cranky Uncle Vaccine have been made available over the last months. There's now a "back button" to navigate back to an earlier screen and the "onboarding" will happen before the initial option to participate in the research.

Language Flags

December 2023: for version 3.4 we added Finnish to the Cranky Uncle game which can now be played in 12 languages!

July 2023: for version 3.3. we added Albanian and Macedonian to the Cranky Uncle game which can now be played in 11 languages! Cranky Uncle is for sure a polyglot by now!

April 2023: for version 3.2 we added Turkish to the Cranky Uncle game which can now be played in 9 languages! In addition, we added a page to list the Cranky resources available in different languages, which may come in handy for presentations and/or workshops.

December 2022: for version 3.1 we added French, Italian and Swedish to the Cranky Uncle game which can now be played in 8 languages!

August 2022: With the addition of Spanish and Portuguese, v3.0 of the Cranky Uncle game can now be played in 5 languages! In addition to adding new languages, this version of the game also eliminates the need to login with an email-address or groupcode.

February 2022: The multi-lingual v2.0 was launched with German and Dutch as the first two languages the game could be played in apart from English.

A brief recap of the game's history and motivation

It’s been a long journey to get us to this point. We ran our initial crowd-funding campaign back in January 2020 and thanks to generous donors, we worked with creative agency Goodbeast to develop and launch v1.0 of the game in December 2020. Our next goal had always been to develop a multilingual version of the Cranky Uncle game and thanks to some additional funding support from Monash University, Cranky Uncle initially learned Dutch and German and started to teach people how to identify the science denial techniques in these two languages in February 2022. More languages have been added since then and the updates are listed at the top of this article.

The Cranky Uncle game adopts an active inoculation approach, where a Cranky Uncle cartoon character mentors players to learn the techniques of science denial. Cranky Uncle is a free game available on smartphones for iPhone (sks.to/crankyiphone) and Android (sks.to/crankyandroid) as well as web browsers (sks.to/crankybrowser). The player’s aim is to become a “cranky uncle”—a science denier who skillfully applies a variety of logically flawed argumentation techniques to reject the conclusions of the scientific community. By adopting the mindset of a cranky uncle, the player develops a deeper understanding of science denial techniques, thus acquiring the knowledge to resist misleading persuasion attempts in the future. More information about the game and its scientific background is available in the article “Teaching students how to spot climate misinformation using a cartoon game” published in the journal Plus Lucis.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024

Posted on 6 June 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment:

Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases has been partially balanced by the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosols. In 2020, fuel regulations abruptly reduced the emission of sulfur dioxide from international shipping by about 80% and created an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock with global impact. Here we estimate the regulation leads to a radiative forcing of +0.2±0.11">+0.2±0.11Wm−2 averaged over the global ocean. The amount of radiative forcing could lead to a doubling (or more) of the warming rate in the 2020 s compared with the rate since 1980 with strong spatiotemporal heterogeneity. The warming effect is consistent with the recent observed strong warming in 2023 and expected to make the 2020 s anomalously warm. The forcing is equivalent in magnitude to 80% of the measured increase in planetary heat uptake since 2020. The radiative forcing also has strong hemispheric contrast, which has important implications for precipitation pattern changes. Our result suggests marine cloud brightening may be a viable geoengineering method in temporarily cooling the climate that has its unique challenges due to inherent spatiotemporal heterogeneity.

“We are not droids”– IPCC participants’ senses of responsibility and affective experiences across the production, assessment, communication and enactment of climate science, Hartz, Climatic Change:

The growing understanding of how and why the climate is changing has led to mounting calls on climate scientists to take on more responsibility in the context of climate science. While an increasing responsibilisation takes place in the academic literature, asking scientists to “do more”, there is limited engagement with the responsibilities that scientists already assume in practice. Drawing on novel empirical insights from 77 semi-structured interviews with participants of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I take the increasing ‘peer-to-peer responsibilisation’ as a point of departure to contextualise such calls, asking what scientists themselves already feel and assume responsibility for at both the personal and professional level. I find that climate experts participating in the IPCC not only assume increasing responsibility across different stages of the IPCC process but also beyond. As my data analysis demonstrates, IPCC participants increasingly feel and take on responsibility not only for producing and assessing climate science but also for communicating and/or enacting it (PACE). 

Global groundwater warming due to climate change, Benz et al., Nature Geoscience:

Focusing on diffusive heat transport, we simulate current and projected groundwater temperatures at the global scale. We show that groundwater at the depth of the water table (excluding permafrost regions) is conservatively projected to warm on average by 2.1 °C between 2000 and 2100 under a medium emissions pathway. However, regional shallow groundwater warming patterns vary substantially due to spatial variability in climate change and water table depth. The lowest rates are projected in mountain regions such as the Andes or the Rocky Mountains. We illustrate that increasing groundwater temperatures influences stream thermal regimes, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, aquatic biogeochemical processes, groundwater quality and the geothermal potential. Results indicate that by 2100 following a medium emissions pathway, between 77 million and 188 million people are projected to live in areas where groundwater exceeds the highest threshold for drinking water temperatures set by any country. 

Direct observational evidence from space of the effect of CO2 increase on longwave spectral radiances: the unique role of high-spectral-resolution measurements, Teixeira et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics:

This paper presents direct evidence from space (solely based on observations) that CO2 increase leads to the theoretically expected effects on longwave spectral radiances. This is achieved by using a methodology that allows us to isolate the CO2 effects from the temperature and water vapor effects. By searching for ensembles of temperature and water vapor profiles that are similar to each other but have different values of CO2, it is possible to estimate the direct effects of CO2 on the spectra.      

Russian dilemma for global arctic science, Rees & Büntgen, Ambio (perspective):

Polar regions are critically implicated in our understanding of global climate change. This is particularly the case for the Arctic, where positive feedback loops and climate tipping points enhance complexity and urgency. Half of the Arctic and much of the world’s permafrost zone lie within Russian territory. Heightened geopolitical tensions, however, have severely damaged scientific collaboration between Russia and previously well established academic partners in western countries. Isolation is now causing increasingly large data gaps in arctic research that affect our ability to make accurate predictions of the impact of climate change on natural and societal systems at all scales from local to global. Here, we argue that options to resume both practical knowledge of collaborative working and flows of research data from Russia for global arctic science must continue to be asserted, despite an increasing tendency for the Arctic to become disconnected. 

From this week's government/NGO section:

Perceived threat of climate change in the second half of lifeBünning et al., German Centre of Gerontology

Over one in four people in the second half of life (28%) perceived a high threat from the climate crisis in 2023. Just over half (51%) rated the threat as medium, while about one in five (21%) perceived only a low threat from the climate crisis. Climate change is perceived as a significantly greater threat than Covid-19. On average, the threat of the climate crisis in 2023 was rated as 5.8 on a scale of 1 to 10. The perceived threat of COVID-19 was rated on average as only 3.1. Even at the peak of the pandemic in winter 2020/21, the perceived threat of 4.7 was more than one scale point below the perceived threat of the climate crisis in 2023. There are no age differences regarding the perceived threat posed by the climate crisis. In all four age groups, from middle to old age, the average perceived threat was between 5.6 and 5.9 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Climate change, El Niño and infrastructure failures behind massive floods in southern BrazilClarke et al., World Weather Attribution

Between 24 April and 4 May 2024 over 420 mm of rain fell in Brazil’s southernmost state Rio Grande do Sul, leading to more than 90% of the state being affected by flooding. Researchers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the US collaborated to answer the question of whether and to what extent human-induced climate change altered the likelihood and intensity of the rainfall that caused the flooding. They also investigated the role of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To assess the role of human-induced climate change the authors combined observation-based products and climate models that include the observed ENSO relationship and assess changes in the likelihood and intensity of the 10-day and 4-day heavy rainfall over Rio Grande do Sul, They found an increase in the likelihood for both events of more than a factor of 2 and intensity increase of 6-9% due to the burning of fossil fuels.

137 articles in 60 journals by 1060 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Divergent Impacts of Evapotranspiration by Plant CO2 Physiological Forcing on the Mean and Variability of Water Availability, Li et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2023jd040253

Polar Low Circulation Enhances Greenland's West Coast Cloud Surface Warming, Lac et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Open Access pdf 10.1029/2023jd040450

Roles of the atmosphere and ocean in the projected north atlantic warming hole, Li et al., Climate Dynamics 10.1007/s00382-024-07289-w

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Climate Adam: Coping as the world’s best known climate scientist

Posted on 5 June 2024 by Guest Author

This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any).

Katharine Hayhoe is quite possibly the world's most famous climate scientist. She's produced wide ranging research, and communicated climate change with everything from books to late night TV appearances with Jimmy Kimmel. So how does Katharine cope with all this work? Whether it's the mental health consequences of understanding the climate crisis, or the barage of hate she gets every single day? I was thrilled to sit down with her and talk about what it means to be one of the most visible people working on climate change... in the world.

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

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At a glance - CO2 is the main driver of climate change

Posted on 4 June 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW, Ken Rice

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "CO2 is the main driver of climate change". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact-Myth-Box

At a glance

It may come as a surprise to some people unfamiliar with climate science, but tracking down anyone who actually said, "CO2 is the only driver of climate change", has proved most elusive. Thus, the idea that, "CO2 is not the only driver of climate as some would have us believe.", is lacking something rather important. Who actually said it?

In climate science, nobody ever said it. That's because climate science covers everything that affects the climate. If you don't include everything, it would be like trying to find out how an internal combustion engine-powered car works, using as an example one without a crankshaft. The talking-point looks more like an example of a straw man fallacy, in which an argument, claim, or opponent is invented, and then shot down in flames, point-scoring being the idea. One sees this a lot in politics, but not in science.

Through science, we know that Earth's climate is affected by a myriad of drivers that operate on timescales varying from seasons to tens of thousands to tens of millions of years. We've investigated them in depth and we continue to do so. We understand which ones act as 'radiative forcings' - the external, independent primary drivers that determine whether energy is being added to or removed from the system. We likewise understand which ones act as 'feedbacks' - secondary drivers that determine how energy is moved around within the system.

The very nature of science is that it is an ongoing self-correcting process in each and every discipline. So we do understand the key forcings and feedbacks that operate within our climate and on what time-scale they occur. CO2, along with the other greenhouse gases, is but one of these factors.

Before you get too relaxed, however, of all the variables out there, CO2 is the one that has seen a huge change. Since pre-industrial times its concentration has gone up by a whopping 50%. Just imagine if a change of that amount occurred with another part of the climate system. How about the strength of sunlight going up by 50%? 

Ironically, at the time of writing (early 2024), there is a lot of discussion as to why 2023 was so warm. The heat came on particularly in the second half of the year, coinciding with the onset of strong El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean. But normally there's a lag between El Nino starting up and peak temperatures. Did the injection of unusual amounts of water vapour into the upper atmosphere by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano have a hand? Possibly. Did the cleaning-up of sulphate aerosol-generating shipping fuels partially remove a well-known negative or cooling feedback, and if so by how much?

The trouble is that scientific investigations involve a lot of careful hard work and that takes a lot of time. For people more used to the instant answers of politicians, that might be disappointing, but there's a difference. Science requires evidence, politics less so. 

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Jeff Masters and Bob Henson give us the low-down on the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season

Posted on 3 June 2024 by Guest Author

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

Hurricane in the background with four photos of people smiling in the foreground(Background photo credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

To kick off hurricane season, Yale Climate Connections editors Sara Peach and Sam Harrington sat down with meteorologists and Eye on the Storm writers Jeff Masters and Bob Henson. 

This roundtable discussion has been edited and condensed.

Sam: What is your process of covering a hurricane? 

Jeff: It kind of starts on Twitter or Bluesky now. Some of the aficionados of hurricane forecasting are anticipating, well before the National Hurricane Center puts something out, that “Hey, this is something we got to watch.” And of course, Bob and I look on our own at the models and see just kind of the general pattern, how things are shaping up. It can give you a general feel for something that might be coming up.

Bob: Yeah, I think there’s more and more skill with identifying busy periods. Even if the individual hurricanes aren’t ironclad, the models will give us a sense of maybe a particular week might be busy. So we try to keep an eye out for busy periods.

Jeff: Yeah, I’ll adjust my vacation schedule, depending on what the models are showing. I mean, I like to go up north and go camping near Lake Superior. And I’ll try and come up with a four- or five-day stretch that’s not going to see a major landfalling storm, according to the latest model guidance. 

This year, it could be an early hurricane season.

Sam: Is that what it’s feeling like to you?

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

Posted on 2 June 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 33 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, May 26, 2024 thru Sat, June 1, 2024.

Story of the week

Sometimes one story is not enough.

Our ongoing 2023-2024 experiences with lethal heatwaves, early wildfires and a threatening Atlantic hurricane season are reminders that climate progress in public policy and law has been glacially slow, far outpaced by inexorable radiative physics colliding with our CO2 emissions. We're hardly looking at a track record of unalloyed success.

Our list of articles this week gives some clues to why we're facing extreme conditions we could have better ameliorated, or even avoided. Published by DeSmogClimate Campaigners Must Understand the Implications of June`s Critical European Parliamentary Elections describes an archetypal competently organized and knife-edged campaign by the fossil fuel industry to undermine productive public policy intended to deal with our climate crisis. This disciplined task force faces a general public that routinely leaves more than half of EU parliamentary election ballots unfilled. It's arguable that the fossil fuel collective's concerted efforts (admirable skills— if aligned to a better purpose) with a healthy dash of public sloth and apathy are why we're now living in a world of extremes. 

Is rational acknowledgement of our predicament a lost cause? It might be better to think of this as a matter of momentum. If so, where can we see that? Another notable story this week happened in Vermont, USA and is covered by The Guardian's Dharma Noor`Game-changing`: Vermont becomes first state to require big oil to pay for climate damages. Let alone 20 years ago, this legislation would have been hard to imagine in 2014. It's an agonizingly slow and needlessly costly process but Vermont now has evidence of climate change in plain sight. Explanations of that evidence are accepted— and then form the basis of public policy to deal with outcomes. 

It's worth remembering: about 325 years have passed since Thomas Savery introduced the first coal-fired motive power apparatus to find a home in industry. Since then we've wrapped our entire culture first around coal and then adding liquid and gas hydrocarbons to the mix. 326 years of habit is a lot of momentum. In contrast, serious early warning of the side-effects of our expedient natural gift reached the ears of legislators and public executives some 59 years ago. Six decades is short compared to over three hundred years. What's more,  about forty of these years were pretty much completely wasted thanks to such foot-dragging as what's happening in the EU as described above. 

What we see in these two stories is that dots are being connected. Vermont's legislation will encounter a blizzard of court action but regardless of the exact outcome this furor wouldn't be happening if accountability had not been assigned. It's a watershed moment in the US, part of burgeoning global momentum. All signs are toward accumulation of legal and regulatory energy to deal with climate change— and with that we should expect climate progress to accelerate. As we see in Vermont, this advancement happens by taking a little time to see what happening— and then voting according to one's conclusions. 

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before May 26

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Fact Brief - Have climate models overestimated global warming?

Posted on 1 June 2024 by John Mason

FactBriefSkeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline.

Have climate models overestimated global warming?

noClimate models have correctly predicted how the planet would warm due to human greenhouse gas emissions.

Models use the laws of physics to probe Earth’s climate system - this being the atmosphere, oceans, land and biosphere. They apply what are known as external forcings to that system, such as changes in incoming sunshine or greenhouse gas levels, to see how the climate may change over time.

In a 2019 study, the temperature predictions from 17 climate models used between 1970 and 2007 were compared to observed temperatures. The study concluded the models were "skillful in predicting" future temperatures.

A more recent study published in 2023 looked at climate models created by scientists working for ExxonMobil. Their modeling was found to have been just as accurate as that developed within academia, with average projected warming within the same bounds as that of academic and government bodies from 1970-2007.

Go to full rebuttal on Skeptical Science or to the fact brief on Gigafact


This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Sources

Geophysical Research Letters Evaluating the Performance of Past Climate Model Projections

Science Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

Skeptical Science New paper: Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

University of Queensland Climate Modeling Success Stories

The Guardian The father of climate change

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On Hens, Eggs, Temperature and CO2

Posted on 31 May 2024 by Guest Author

The original version of this blog – written by Giacomo Grassi, with contributions from Stefano Caserini, Giorgio Vacchiano, Gianni Comoretto, Claudio della Volpe, and Mario Grosso - appeared in the Italian climate website Climalteranti. The version here has been checked and further enriched by Pierre Friedlingstein (Global Carbon Project).

A recent article suggests that the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by the influence of temperature on natural systems, rather than fossil fuels. But it's a glaring mistake, like confusing the brake with the accelerator.

A few months ago, a scientific article titled "On Hens, Eggs, Temperatures and CO2: Causal Links in Earth’s Atmosphere" was released, led by Demetris Koutsoyiannis, a professor of Hydrology at the University of Athens. The article analyzes the correlation between temperature difference (ΔT) and atmospheric CO2 concentration difference (ΔCO2) over the past 60 years. The correlation is evident between ΔT and ΔCO2 six months later, while it is null between ΔT and ΔCO2 six months earlier (figure 1 below). From these correlations, the authors conclude that it is not the variation in CO2 levels that influences temperatures, as claimed by a century of climate science and the IPCC, but the exact opposite.

Fig 01

Figure 1: From Koutsoyiannis et al. 2023

The authors further assert, among other things, that: (i) the sequence they propose (first an increase in temperature, then a raise in atmospheric CO2 concentration) is well-documented in the planet's geological history; (ii) currently, human activities contribute only 4% of total emissions, with natural emissions being dominant and their increase - due to rising temperatures - more than three times higher than those linked to human activities.

The study has received some attention in climate change-denying or skeptic circles (e.g. here).

Acknowledging that the observed correlation may raise doubts among non-experts, this post briefly outlines how the conclusions of the study by Koutsoyiannis et al. represent a glaring mistake.

Let's start with what scientists studying the carbon cycle, whose data is utilized in IPCC reports, have to say. According to the Global Carbon Project, which annually publishes the Global Carbon Budget, anthropogenic CO2 emissions have reached about 40 billion tons per year on average over the last decade. These emissions are predominantly from fossil fuels (88%) and partly from land use and deforestation (12%) (see figure below). Only about 45% of these emissions remain in the atmosphere. The remaining portion is absorbed by terrestrial ecosystems (around 30%) and oceans (around 25%).

Fig 02

Figure 2: Approximated numbers from Friedlingstein et al. 2023, Global Carbon Project

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #22 2024

Posted on 30 May 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Unveiling Unprecedented Methane Hotspots in China's Leading Coal Production Hub: A Satellite Mapping Revelation, Han et al., Geophysical Research Letters:

China is likely the world's largest anthropogenic source of methane emissions, with coal mine methane (CMM) being the predominant contributor. Here, we deploy 2 years of satellite observations to survey facility-level CMM emitters in Shanxi, the most prolific coal mining province in China. A total of 138 detected episodic events at 82 facilities are estimated to emit 1.20 (+0.24/−0.20, 95% CI) million tons of methane per year (Mt CH4/yr) during 2021–2023, roughly equivalent to 4.2 times the integrated flux from the Permian plumes and four times of the integrated flux from the Four Corners plumes, two of the world's largest hotspots for oil and gas methane emissions. This work reveals the heavy-tailed distribution characteristic of CMM emission sources for the first time, with 20% of emitters contributing approximately 50% of total emissions. 

Maritime Freight Carbon Emission in the U.S. using AIS data from 2018 to 2022, Cheng et al., Scientific Data:

Global maritime emissions, a 3% contributor to greenhouse gases, anticipate a surge of 90–130% by 2050. Regulatory challenges persist due to international governance gaps. Legislative strides, including the EU Emission Trading System, highlight global efforts. In the U.S., despite legislative commitment, consensus hurdles impede cross-regional carbon management. Prevailing top-down emissions estimation methods warrant scrutiny. This paper unveils U.S. maritime emissions intricacies, focusing on carbon accounting, transfer, and compensation for cargo and tanker vessels. Leveraging AIS data (2018–2022), an activity-based/bottom-up approach navigates emissions calculations, aiming to reshape understanding and foster strategic reductions.

Abrupt increase in Greenland melt enhanced by atmospheric wave changes, Graversen et al., Climate Dynamics:

Recent Greenland ice-sheet melt constitutes a considerable contribution to global sea-level rise. Observations indicate an approximate zero mass balance of the ice sheet until the late 1990s, after which a strong increase in melting occurred. This cannot be attributed linearly to gradually-increasing global warming. Instead the abrupt shift has been linked to atmospheric circulation changes, although causality is not fully understood. Here we show that changes of atmospheric waves over Greenland have significantly contributed to the shift into a strong melting state. 

Central-Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation less predictable under greenhouse warming, Chen et al., Nature Communications:

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant mode of interannual climate variability in the tropical Pacific, whose nature nevertheless may change significantly in a warming climate. Here, we show that the predictability of ENSO may decrease in the future. Across the models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6), we find a robust decrease of the persistence and predictability for the Central Pacific (CP) ENSO under global warming, notably in passing through the boreal spring. The strength of spring predictability barrier will be increased by 25% in the future. The reduced predictability of CP ENSO is caused by the faster warming over surface ocean in tropical Pacific and, in turn, the enhanced thermodynamical damping rate on CP ENSO in response to global warming. In contrast, the predictability of Eastern Pacific ENSO will not change. Our results suggest that future greenhouse warming will make the prediction of CP ENSO more challenging, with far-reaching implications on future climate predictions.

How the public understands and reacts to the term “climate anxiety”, Gregersen et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology:

Analyses of an open-ended question asking what people think of when they hear or read the term “climate anxiety” showed that most respondents (52%) provided neutral descriptions (e.g., worry about climate change impacts), 27% viewed climate anxiety as unfounded, irrational, or excessive, and equal proportions of respondents critiqued the term specifically for contributing to such negative associations (6%) or referred to climate anxiety as a reasonable and rational reaction (6%). These findings indicate that among some audiences, using the term climate anxiety may provoke reactance and be perceived as distracting from political actions to mitigate climate change. Our results give important insights into the potential consequences of the terms we use when reporting on climate distress. 

Trust in climate science and climate scientists: A narrative review, Cologna et al., PLOS Climate:

We identify several reasons that lead some audiences to be distrustful or skeptical about the competence, integrity, benevolence, and openness of climate scientists–four key dimensions of trustworthiness. Given the narrative style of this review and the continuously developing research on trust in climate science, we invite more systematic reviews on the topic which could help to identify potentially overlooked correlates of (dis)trust in climate science. We find no clear evidence that respectful advocacy by climate scientists negatively affects trustworthiness perceptions. However, the effect of advocacy on perceived trustworthiness seems to be dependent on the policy in question. We provide several recommendations that can help climate change communicators become more trustworthy.

From this week's government/NGO section:

GenCost 2023?24: Final reportGraham et al., CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator

GenCost is a leading economic report for business leaders and decision-makers planning reliable and affordable energy solutions to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The authors highlight wind power’s slower recovery from global inflationary pressures, resulting in upward revisions for both onshore and offshore wind costs over the next decade. Despite this, updated analysis reaffirms that renewables, including associated storage and transmission costs, remain the lowest cost, new build technology out to 2050. The inclusion of large-scale nuclear costs this year was prompted by increased stakeholder interest in nuclear technology following the updated cost estimates for SMRs in the 2023-24 consultation draft.

Extreme heat in disadvantaged communitiesBruzgul et al., ICF Climate Center

The authors use the latest climate projections to understand how people living in “communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment,” as defined by the Justice40 Initiative, could potentially be exposed to extreme heat in the coming decades. Because the risks of extreme heat are acute for human health and energy reliability, the analysis focuses on potential exposure to extreme heat levels that have impacts on those two areas.

135 articles in 53 journals by 688 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Cloud Radiative Effects Associated With Daily Weather Regimes, Zhao, Geophysical Research Letters Open Access pdf 10.1029/2024gl109090

Global aviation contrail climate effects from 2019 to 2021, Teoh et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Open Access 10.5194/acp-24-6071-2024

Increasing frequency and lengthening season of western disturbances are linked to increasing strength and delayed northward migration of the subtropical jet, Hunt, Open Access pdf 10.5194/egusphere-2023-1778

On the Driving Factors of the Future Changes in the Wintertime Northern-Hemisphere Atmospheric Waviness, Yamamoto & Martineau Martineau, Geophysical Research Letters Open Access pdf 10.1029/2024gl108793

The effects of warm-air intrusions in the high Arctic on cirrus clouds, Dekoutsidis et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Open Access 10.5194/acp-24-5971-2024

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What you need to know about record-breaking heat in the Atlantic

Posted on 29 May 2024 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Michael Lowry

map showing record warm temperatures in the CaribbeanOver 90% of the tropical Atlantic is experiencing record or near-record warm sea surface temperatures for late May.

Waters across the Atlantic’s tropical belt — extending from the coast of Africa through the Caribbean — are hotter now than in any other late May on record, with over 90% of the area’s sea surface engulfed in record or near-record warmth. The extent of marine heat has never been greater heading into a hurricane season, outpacing by wide margins the previous late May record-holder in 2005, a year remembered for one of the most active and destructive hurricane seasons in modern history.

About 67% of the tropical Atlantic experienced record or near-record warm sea surface temperature anomalies in late May 2005 using 1981-2024 records, a notably smaller extent than May 2024. The Atlantic Main Development Region (area outlined by the black boxes above) is the warmest on record (since 1981) going into a hurricane season.

Although record-setting sea surface temperatures alone don’t guarantee a busy hurricane season, they do strongly influence it, especially when the abnormal warmth coincides with the tropical belt known as the Main Development Region, or MDR, the area where 85% of Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes form. When considered alongside a developing La Niña — the periodic cooling of the equatorial Pacific that reduces storm-busting Atlantic wind shear — the unprecedented ocean heat is driving up seasonal hurricane outlooks higher than ever before.

Colorado State University — the group that pioneered seasonal hurricane forecasts in the 1980s — issued its most aggressive April forecast last month in almost 30 years of doing such preseason outlooks. NOAA, the parent agency of the National Weather Service, will release its first 2024 hurricane season outlook May 23, and expectations are for similarly bullish numbers.

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At a glance - What is the link between hurricanes and global warming?

Posted on 28 May 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW, Ken Rice

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "What is the link between hurricanes and global warming?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact-Myth-Box

At a glance

Hurricanes, Cyclones or Typhoons. These are traditional terms for near-identical weather-systems. The furious storms that affect the tropics have a fearsome reputation for the havoc they bring. Such storms are driven by the heat of the tropical oceans, where sea surface temperatures vary by just a few degrees Celsius and are almost always in the high twenties. Hurricane formation can only take place at such temperatures.

In the Atlantic, for example, a tropical storm-system begins life as a developing wave of low pressure tracking westwards out of Africa. Offshore in the tropical Atlantic, the warmth of the ocean's surface drives intense evaporation. That warmth and moisture provide the fuel for thunderstorm development.

Most such waves simply carry clusters of disorganised showers and thunderstorms. But in some, the storms organise into rain-bands. Once that happens, low-level warm and moist air floods in towards the low pressure centre from all compass points. But it does so in an inward spiralling motion. Why? That's due to the Coriolis Effect. Because the Earth rotates, circulating air is deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in a curved path. In the Southern Hemisphere the air is deflected to the left. The effect is named after the French mathematician Gaspard Gustave de Coriolis (1792-1843), who studied energy transfer in rotating mechanical systems, such as waterwheels.

The other essential ingredient required to form and keep a hurricane going is low wind shear. Wind shear is defined as winds blowing at different speeds and in different directions at different heights in the Troposphere - the lower part of our atmosphere where weather occurs. For a hurricane, wind-shear of less than 10 knots from the surface to the high troposphere is perfect.

With those ingredients in place, an organised cluster of thunderstorms may spin up into a tropical depression. If conditions favour further development, a tropical storm will form and then strengthen into a hurricane. A hurricane has a minimum constant wind speed of 119 kilometres per hour (74 mph). The most intense Category 5 storms have sustained winds of more than 252 kilometres per hour (157 mph). Highest winds are typically concentrated around the inner rainbands that surround the hurricane's eye.

So, given the above, what will a warmer world result in?

It's a bit of a mixture due to the number of variables involved. The number of storms reaching Category 3-5 intensity is considered to have increased over recent decades. That's because warmer sea surface temperatures give a storm more fuel. In contrast, the number of individual systems in a given year appears to have decreased although the jury's still out on that. But one thing is a lot more certain. Extreme rainfalls.

There's a simple, memorable formula that describes how warmer air can carry more moisture: 7% more moisture per degree Celsius of temperature increase. Hurricanes already dump vast amounts of rain: in a warmer world that amount will only increase. Allowing further warming to take place simply makes an already bad situation worse.

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The silent tragedy of local restrictions on renewable energy

Posted on 27 May 2024 by Guest Author

This story by James Goodwin was originally published by The Revelator and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

Communities across the United States may soon find themselves facing a grim scenario. By adopted local ordinances that obstruct the development of new renewable energy resources within their borders, they have put themselves at risk of missing out on the next big technology-driven economic revolution: the clean energy transition.

As you read this, rapidly advancing renewable energy technology is transforming how we power the U.S. economy in the 21st century, bringing with it new economic opportunities and social and environmental benefits. Yet the communities that have enacted or are considering anti-renewable energy ordinances may be left watching as the better jobs, cheaper electricity, and cleaner environment that come with this transition pass them by.

Many of these communities already face high unemployment and poverty rates, among other economic and social challenges, making the consequences of their legislation even more tragic.

The press and energy policy researchers have focused on these policies’ potential impact on achieving our nation’s broader decarbonization goals, but to date they’ve overlooked these broader consequences of anti-renewable energy ordinances.

It’s crucial that we closely watch how the benefits and costs of the clean energy transition are distributed, because previous technology-driven economic revolutions — such as those brought about by steam engines, electrification, and digital computers — have tended to reinforce preexisting socioeconomic inequities. The clean energy transition offers a critical opportunity not just to break this pattern, but to reverse it.

Can we imagine the clean energy transition unfolding in a way that reduces inequality?

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

Posted on 26 May 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, May 19, 2024 thru Sat, May 25, 2024.

Story of the week

This week's typiclal compendium of stories we'd rather were plot devices in science ficition novels but instead are captured from our own small planet present a daunting prospect. We're in a world of trouble, documented day-by-day. Is there a unifying theme to our troubles, and if so what's our answer?

How about looking for a theme?

That's 10 of 34 stories we highlight this week. Granted this is colored by Skeptical Science's own prism, which is concerned with climate change as a communications challenge thwarted by vested interests.. That said, the litany of physical, biological and cultural impacts of our accidental sudden changing of our climate clearly share a common root cause: fossil fuel extraction and marketing at prodigious scale. 

Nobody originally intended or volunteered to cause harm on the scale of our anthropogenic climate change, but equally we shouldn't expect any volunteers to step forward to abandon what's worked before in terms of acquiring wealth in astronomical quantity. Let alone gratuitously eschewing vast riches, the entrenched fossil hydrocarbon industry is actively working to preserve the earning capacity of its natural gift-- including by promoting copious bunk (pdf) for absorption by the public mind. We can gauge the success of this strategy by our current global temperature. Climate disinformation works at scale.  

All of this by way of elliptically arriving at our Story of the WeekMastering FLICC - A Cranky Uncle themed quizRarely we blow our own horn— that's what you're hearing now. What's "FLICC?" FLICC stands for "Fake experts," "Logical fallaices," "Impossible expectations,' "Cherry picking," and "Conspiracy theories." FLICC is a taxonomical system for classifying different forms of bunk, allowing us to identify which particular cognitive weapons are being targeted at our psychological susceptibilities. Here we're talking about climate disinformation promoted by the fossil fuel industry.

Some familiarity and practice with FLICC helps us to deal with the firehose of climate myths lobbed into our brains by professional disinformers on a daily basis. Our Story of the Week is really a quiz: How are your bunk detection skills right now? Take our test and find out. If you're not happy with your results, give our FLICC synopsis a read! 

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before May 19

May 19

May 20

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