Friday, November 2, 2012

Anyone a little warm in here?

We keep getting these wake up calls. 
Last year was the warmest winter on record. 
The  mid region of the United States and the west coast are  currently experiencing long term drought.  NOAA climate prediction site: (
Evidence indicates that storms are tending to be more intense – rainstorms, tornadoes, wind storms.
And now Sandy comes to visit in the last days of October! – Unusual for the end of the hurricane season...and in a pathway way farther northward due to warmer sea water!  In the last two decades there have not been a great increase in the number of hurricanes but they have tended to be larger and more intense...again due to the increased energy available in warmer than usual ocean.

This is a critical issue at this time. We have one presidential candidate who is a "Global Warming Denier" and the other candidate who "gets it" but has been unable to deliver his program due to an unresponsive Congress.  This next Tuesday be sure to vote for the election of President Obama and Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate.  Volunteer to take voters to the polls.  Do what you can.  It will make a difference on many issues  - and it is our best hope for beginning to heal the planet!

Our one and only planet

**Recommended reading: Put a book mark on this site! “Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism”: ...Pass it on to your friends!

...If you need help answering "doubters" click here...

First an important  reminder  - ‘climate’ refers to long term changes in the environment generally detected only statistically.  ‘Weather’ is concerned with short term phenomenon – like a rain storm, a period of drought, or a hurricane. Both deniers and proponents of climate change sometimes get confused on this point.
Mid Atlantic hurricane - taking its energy from warm sea water
Here are some well established facts about Earth's climate:

Our atmosphere is getting warmer:
1.  The energy of the sun can enter the earth’s atmosphere when CO2 is present – but longer wave heat waves radiated  from the warm earth can not pass freely through a CO2 rich atmosphere. The more CO2 in our atmosphere the more solar heat we trap.

2.  Consider the vast amounts of coal and oil burned on earth in the last 200 years and it is not a surprise that the CO2 concentration has increased - and that it is a major cause of the warming atmosphere on Earth.
Relationship between atmospheric CO2 an atmospheric temperature

3. A measurable steady warming has been noted since the mid 1880s.  Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.

4.  The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top  2,000 feet of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

In-coming tide - How high?

Changes in ocean level

1.  The level of the Earth’s oceans has risen about 6.7 inches in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century. There are low lying Pacific island  nations in danger of becoming flooded, low lying Bangladesh experiences more and more intense periods of flooding, and large blocks of low level land in many countries is experiencing tidal flooding

Record of sea level changes - New York

Changes in amount of water stored as  ice 

1.  NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show that Greenland lost 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005.  Melting glacial ice results in a rise in the sea level. 

  2   Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last    several decades.
  3. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the  Alps,  Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa... true in our own Sierra Nevada glaciers.

Changes in Arctic sea ice

Changes in the Acidity of the oceans

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. 

Changes in the Biology of the Ocean

Many organisms are adapted to very specific conditions.  If the sea water temperature changes by .3 degree there are organisms that can tolerate the variation... and they die.  changes in the acidity are also critical to life.  These changes re hardly noticeable critical critical to humans - but critical for the plankton, plants, animals of the sea.

 A few years ago when the "Ozone Hole" was discovered over the Antarctic - there was enough concerns raised that the  light weight propellants used in aerosol cans and air conditioners were replaced with other chemicals that diminished the damage. Now the evidence for an even greater problem grows year by year. 

Northern Pacific jellyfish (now properly called "Jellies"
The problem is that the wealthiest industries ever known on this planet ( oil, coal, ) would stand to go out of business if we replaced them as energy sources. There is no getting around it - no matter how clean the burning - these fuels will release convert carbon stored deep in the earth for for eons of time into carbon dioxide that will increase our problem.  The Canadian oil shale and coal are by far the dirtiest and the only use for them is to burn them releasing their CO2.

These industries have sexy ads that make their products look clean and desirable.  They have the best paid lobbyists, and they contribute the most to candidates.
Read all about it here: <>

My references in preparing this blog : NASA climate site:,
Skeptical Science:

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Approach to climate change by scientists and by politicians