First one of the latest alarmism FAKE studies from Environmental Research Letters via bgr.com
By Mike Wehner
The effects of human-prompted climate change are varied and unpredictable, and we’re already starting to see some of the effects. Mankind is making some important progress on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, but it might not be happening fast enough to alter the fate of our planet, and that’s bad, bad news for anyone living near the coasts. Several new studies now point to even more dramatic changes in sea level than were previously thought, with data that shows some of even the most dire predictions were off by as much as half.
The new study, which was published in Environmental Research Letters, compiles many different types of data into a single picture of how the Earth might respond to the continued burning of fossil fuels throughout the rest of the century. It’s not pretty.
Using what scientists already know about previous sea level spikes dating back some 10,000 years or so, they were able to make some educated assumptions about how arctic ice will likely behave as the planet gets warmer. The scary part is that, given the most up-to-date models of sea ice behavior, there’s a good chance we could begin to lose ice at an accelerated pace, causing a snowball effect that would push an incredible amount of water into Earth’s oceans.
When the researchers combined that knowledge with predictive indicators of future global warming spikes over the next 80 years or so — using historical markers to paint a picture of industrialization and the socioeconomic pushback against measures to curb climate change — things begin to look even worse.
If the study is accurate in its predictions, even the most over-the-top predictions for sea level rise by the year 2100 — which had been around three feet, which would have been devastating on its own — would be off by half, and the real impact could be as much as six feet or more. The good news is that if we are able to sufficiently curb our burning of fossil fuels there’s a chance we could limit that figure to something closer to 1.5 to 2 feet of sea level rise, which would still pose a huge problem for coastal cities, especially during hurricane season, but would obviously be a lot more manageable than the worst case scenario.
The world just warmed on its own: NASA finds heat-blasted tropical forests emitted more carbon than China
It becomes very difficult to control climate change when massive belches of emissions are suddenly spewing from rainforests
Despite humans finally beginning to address their carbon output, a cutting-edge NASA study has found that the world’s El Nino-stricken forests single-handedly sent global emissions into overdrive in 2016.
In lush areas of Africa, South America and Indonesia, dried and rotting forests were responsible for the “largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration seen in at least 2,000 years,” reads an October statement issued by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The forests’ final tally, as recorded by a new NASA earth satellite, was 2.5 billion tonnes of extra carbon emissions, putting them in close contention to beat China as the world’s heaviest emitter.
For context, 2.5 billion tonnes is equivalent to 13 Canadas worth of emissions or 3.75 Indias. The massive release singlehandedly raised global carbon emissions by more than 50 per cent, from an average of 4 gigatons to the record-breaking 6.3 gigatons seen in 2015/2016.
“The CO2 growth rate in 2015 was the largest since CO2 (recording) started in 1958,” wrote lead author Junjie Liu in an email to the National Post.
The study, published in the latest issue of Science, was possible thanks to a new NASA satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2).
Launched in 2014, the 300-pound probe is designed to provide day-by-day observations on precisely where carbon is being emitted and where it’s being absorbed.
Using OCO-2 data, NASA scientists were able to zero in on three areas causing the unusual spike in emissions: the Amazon rainforest, Indonesia and a swath of tropical East Africa, including parts of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
As Scott Denning, an OCO-2 science team member, noted in an email to the National Post, each region had a “different problem.” The Amazon was unusually dry, which meant that heat-stressed plants weren’t consuming their normal diet of C02. Africa remained wet, but was unusually hot, which caused plant matter to rot quicker. Indonesia, meanwhile, was on fire.
Dry conditions caused Indonesia’s seasonal fires to spiral out of control in 2015, blanketing much of southeast Asia in a thick smoky haze.
The forests had all been hit hard by a particularly severe bout of El Nino, a naturally occurring period of global warm weather. However, it provides a clear example of what atmospheric scientists call a “feedback loop,” a phenomenon in which global warming can kick off natural processes that only serve to make the warming worse.
“Our study indicates a positive carbon-climate feedback: more CO2 will remain in the atmosphere during warmer and drier climate, which further warms up climate,” wrote Liu.
The classic example of a feedback loop is the release of methane trapped in the Arctic. As the ice caps melt, tonnes of methane are freed from their prehistoric slumber, adding to the sum of greenhouse gases encircling the globe.
Ironically, the 2015/2016 spike in emissions occurred just as humans seem to be curbing their fossil fuel diet. Even as the global economy grew, human carbon pollution has only recently hit a plateau, fuelled in part by American and Chinese efforts to ditch coal.
“This huge increase in atmospheric CO2 growth rate happened when emissions were basically flat for three years,” Dunning wrote. He added, “bummer!”
The year 2016 was the hottest on record, and likely would have been even without El Nino. Still, scientists remain unsure as to how much the noted severity of the 2015/2016 El Nino was influenced by climate change.
The latest El Nino might have been no more intense than one seen in 1997/1998, but Liu said it is “difficult to quantify” for certain given the patchiness of 1990s emissions data.
However, the NASA report hinted that the findings are likely a preview of coming attractions.
Many climate models anticipate a future of longer and more severe El Ninos. What’s more, with temperatures continuing their annual climb, even normal conditions could one day resemble the heat-wave afflicted world of 2015-16.
Normally, it’s the world’s tropical regions that are sucking in carbon, rather than emitting it. For every tonne of carbon released by burning fossil fuels, roughly half is neutralized by forests or the ocean, while the other half ends up in the atmosphere.
However, the NASA study noted that under present forecasts, “the role of the tropical land as a buffer for fossil fuel emissions may be reduced in the future.”
“The team’s findings imply that if future climate brings more or longer droughts, as the last El Nino did, more carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere, leading to a tendency to further warm Earth,” said Annmarie Eldering, a deputy project scientist with OCO-2.
National Post doesn’t know what leg to stand on
Warm winters, scorching summers: New maps project impact of climate change
All of Canada is projected to get warmer in the future, even under a low-carbon scenario
Is this the end of the Great Canadian winter?
A new report says that even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, all of Canada is projected to get warmer by the end of the century, while the number of 30 C plus days per year are predicted to “explode” under the current global warming trajectory.
The report by climatologists at the University of Winnipeg-based Prairie Climate Centre looks at how temperature and precipitation are likely to change under two hypothetical warming scenarios: a “low-carbon” one that assumes emissions will slow, and a high-carbon scenario that assumes the opposite — “that humanity will continue to emit more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere well into the future.”
“It is of course urgently necessary that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the most dire climate-change consequences, but we must also accept the reality that at least some climate-change impacts are all but guaranteed,” writes climate-change researcher Ryan Smith.
How much warmer and wetter will our future climate be? According to a series of maps produced by the Prairie centre climatologists:
– Under a high-carbon scenario, in some months the Arctic is projected to warm by more than 12 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Sea ice and snow reflect unwanted solar energy back into space. Without it, the open ocean would absorb sunlight, speeding the rate of global warming.
– The months of December and January are projected to warm faster than the month of June. Warmer winters might sound marvellous, but they make it easier for agricultural and forest pests to survive winter. Cold winters are also vital for winter roads relied upon by “tens of thousands of Canadians,” including First Nations.
– Southern Canada is expected to get wetter through the spring, fall and winter — increasing the risks of the kind of flooding that soaked swaths of Ontario and Quebec this year — but much drier in summer, increasing drought and wildfire risks.
The modelling was based on two 30-year future periods — 2021 to 2050, and 2051 to 2080, using 12 different climate models. The researchers used an average of the models.
Overall, the globe is projected to warm by two to three degrees Celsius by 2051 to 2080, compared to 12 degrees or more for some places in the Canadian High Arctic, assuming the high-carbon future we’re trending towards, Smith said in an email.
Toronto’s summers are projected to warm by four degrees Celsius by 2051 to 2080 in a high-carbon scenario; in comparison, its winters are projected to warm five degrees Celsius. Churchill summers will warm by 3.5 degrees Celsius; its winters by nine degrees.
While Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are warming at a slower rate (at least compared to the Canadian Arctic), the warming is still “dramatic and worrisome,” Smith said. “Even a few degrees of average temperature change can lead to a drastic climate change.”
For example, Toronto currently averages 12 days per year that reach or exceed 30 C. By 2051-2080, under the high-carbon modelling, that number is projected to rise to 55.
“Winter, in our future,
is going to be
from the past”
“Sometimes the ‘average mean temperature change’ can be very misleading, especially when we talk of only a few degrees of change,” Smith said. “The reality is that small changes in the mean add up to big changes in the extremes.”
Why is winter changing, and projected to change more? There’s an energy deficit during winter, Smith explained. Longer nights and shorter days mean energy is being lost to space. Greenhouse gases stop this escaping heat.
“More simply: we cool off at night, and nights are longer in the winter, and greenhouse gases prevent the planet from cooling off,” Smith said.
The less snow the less reflective the surface. “As soon as you get the snow cover gone, boom, it warms up really quickly, because the sun gets absorbed by the ground,” said Danny Blair, a University of Winnipeg professor of geography and director of science at the Prairie Climate Centre.
“Winter, in our future, is going to be very different from the past,” he said. Winters will get not just warmer, but wetter.
The researchers were also struck by the projected average drying and warming in the summer months across the Prairies and into Alberta and B.C., with 20-per-cent drops in precipitation in some regions. “That spells trouble,” said Blair. Drought and forest fires “are even more so going to be a problem in our future.”
Under the high-carbon, far future scenario, the number of hot days “is just going to explode. It’s scary,” Blair said.
Near the end of the century, summers in southern Ontario will have, on average, more than 80 days of 30 C plus — the climate of Nebraska or northern Texas.
The Prairie Climate Centre is a collaboration of the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.