2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #27

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict


Sunset. Credit: Patrik Linderstam, Unsplash

Future global warming may eventually be twice as warm as projected by climate models and sea levels may rise six metres or more even if the world meets the 2°C target, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries.

The findings published last week in Nature Geoscience are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years when the world was 0.5°C-2°C warmer than the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th Century.

The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire dominated savanna.

“Observations of past warming periods suggest that a number of amplifying mechanisms, which are poorly represented in climate models, increase long-term warming beyond climate model projections,” said lead author, Prof Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern.

“This suggests the carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated, leaving very little margin for error to meet the Paris targets.” 

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict, Newsroom, UNSW Sydney, July 5, 2018 

Toon of the Week...

2018 Toon 27 

Quote of the Week...

The dirty little secret behind 'clean energy' wood pellets

Wood pellets burning

Wood pellets will be counted as renewable energy, the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has said, even though the EPA’s scientific board is still working on its advice on their environmental impact. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“Philosophically it looks good but practically it looks pretty bad in many cases,” said William Schlesingera biogeochemist and member of the US Environmental Protection Agency advisory board.

“When you cut down existing trees and burn them, you immediately put carbon dioxide in the air. None of the companies can guarantee they can regrow untouched forest to capture the same amount of carbon released. The whole renewable forest industry is kind of a hoax in terms of its benefit as climate mitigation.”

Schlesinger added, however, that burning wood can result in lower emissions than coal if managed and certified properly and could be used as a “bridge fuel” as solar and wind energy continues to expand.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the EPA , recently announced that wood pellets will be classified as renewable energy similar to solar or wind power.

This has caused alarm among some experts, including those on the EPA’s own scientific board, which is still working on its own advice on the environmental impact of burning wood to generate energy. “Pruitt announcing that before we weighed in was appalling – frankly it was insulting to our existence,” said Schlesinger.

“If you burn young trees and regrow them, it might not be too bad. If you venture into older trees or forests that have never been cut before, that can be very bad.”

The dirty little secret behind 'clean energy' wood pellets by Tom Dart & Oliver Milman, Environment, Guardian, June 30, 2018 

Coming Soon on SkS...

Climate Feedback Reviews...

Daily Mail correctly reports that climate change leads to more severe heatwaves, but explanation of recent weather is off the mark

2018 Climate Feedback 27

Cliate Feedback asked a team of scientists to analyze of Scorching Earth: Global warming to blame for all-time heat records being set worldwide, as experts warn stifling temperatures will continue to soar by Joe Pinkstone, Daily Mail, July 4, 2018

Six scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'neutral'.

Review Summary

This article in the Daily Mail describes recent record warmth occurring in a number of different places. But while the article is correct to note that climate change results in more frequent and stronger heatwaves, scientists who reviewed it found that the article (and particularly the headline) is not entirely accurate in its explanation of how these heatwaves relate to climate change.

Daily Mail correctly reports that climate change leads to more severe heatwaves, but explanation of recent weather is off the mark, Edited by Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, July 5, 2018

Poster of the Week...

2018 Poster 27 

SkS Week in Review... 

Posted by John Hartz on Sunday, 8 July, 2018

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