Global Weirding & Climate Change Science News

Some of the top climate science news from around (other than what we’ve already covered):

Must-read Hansen and Sato paper: We are at a climate tipping point that, once crossed, enables multi-meter sea level rise this century

Climate change is likely to be the predominant scientific, economic, political and moral issue of the 21st century

Right now, we’re headed towards an ice-free planet.  That takes us through the Eemian interglacial period of about 130,000 years ago when sea levels were 15 to 20 feet higher, when temperatures had been thought to be about 1°C warmer than today.  Then we go back to the “early Pliocene, when sea level was about 25 m [82 feet] higher than today,” as NASA’s James Hansen and Makiko Sato explain in a new draft paper, “Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change.”

The question is how much warmer was it in the Eemian and early Pliocene than today — and how fast can the great ice sheets disintegrate?

We already know we’re at CO2 levels that risk catastrophe if they are sustained or exceeded for any extended period of time (see Science: CO2 levels haven’t been this high for 15 million years, when it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher).

Hansen and Sato go further, saying we’re actually at or very near the highest temperatures of the current Holocene interglacial — the last 12,000 years of relatively stable climate that has made modern civilization possible….

Changing Climate Means Changing Oceans

Scientists who study the oceans say the effects of climate change are already being seen in the world’s oceans. From acidification and warming temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice loss, Ira Flatow and guests look at how the oceans are changing with changes in climate….

Canada sees staggering mildness as planet’s high-pressure record is “obliterated”

Surface temperature anomalies for the period 17 December 2010 to 15 January 2011 show impressive warmth across the Canadian Arctic….

The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month.

The disinformers and many in the media love to focus on where it is cold in the winter.  It has been cool where many people live.  Brr!

Unfortunately for homo sapiens, it’s been staggeringly warm where the ice is.  I’ll do a post on Greenland shortly, but the NSF-sponsored researchers at UCAR/NCAR  have posted some staggering data on just how warm it has been in northern Canada:…

How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?

I’ll post Bastardi’s reply to my bet — really, my acceptance of his wager — below.  But first, let’s look at his latest anti-science, anti-scientist video.

Joe Bastardi is “the chief hurricane and long-range forecaster at AccuWeather and a national bodybuilding competitor.”  He is also, based purely on the objective evidence, probably the worst professional long-range forecaster on Earth.

Just last month, he cooked the books in an official In-Accuweather video to smear some of the nation’s leading scientists.   I called for him to be fired and suggested referring to the company as InAccuweather until it does.  Bastardi did ultimately retract the video but couldn’t bring himself to admit that his accusation of fraud against NSIDC was not merely completelyunwarranted but totally inappropriate and in fact based in part on his simple misreading of a graph….

Washington Post, Lester Brown explain how extreme weather, climate change drive record food prices.

Earlier this month I discussed how, “Extreme weather events help drive food prices to record highs.”  Since then I had lunch with one of the world’s foremost authorities on food insecurity, Lester Brown, who has a terrific new book out,World on the Edge, that I will blog on later.

I have been concerned about food security for a while (see links below).  But Brown’s work has persuaded me that genuinely destabilizing food insecurity may occur as soon as this decade — assuming 1 billion undernourished people isn’t already a crisis.  So I’ve decided to add a new category, “food insecurity,” to ClimateProgress and will be doing a series of posts in the coming weeks and months.

The Washington Post had a pretty good piece on the subject Saturday, which I’ll excerpt below.  Significantly, they note, “Russia has banned grain exports until the end of the 2011 harvest.”

As Brown explained to me, when the real food instability comes — if, for instance, the U.S. or Chinese breadbasket gets hit with the type of 1000-year 100-year heat wave Russia just did — then the big grain producers will ban exports, to make sure their people are fed.  In this scenario, if you don’t have your own food supplies or an important export item to barter — particularly oil — your country is going to have big, big problems feeding its people….

World Meteorological Organization: 2010 equals record for world’s hottest year and the “data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend.”

In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data….

Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record.

The World Meteorological Organization announcement follows fast on the heels of the release ofNOAA and NASA data showing 2010 tied with 2005 for hottest year on record.

WMO takes into account data from NASA, NOAA and UK Meteorological Office Hadley Center, as well as the satellite data, which is why 1998 is so close.  We now know that Met Office Hadley Centre data underestimates the rate of recent global warming.

The 2010 data confirm the Earth’s significant long-term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.”

Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the 1961-1990 average, and are the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate records.

The WMO also discusses the extreme weather….

New Scientist: Redouble your efforts, climate scientists

[Climate scientists] need to redouble their efforts to make their arguments, their doubts, and the reasons for both their confidence and their concerns intelligible to the non-specialist citizen. They need to combat, piece by piece, the misrepresentations brought in support of attacks on their scientific integrity, and to show readers why the popular accounts and even the naming of “Climategate” are so misleading. And they need to explain why the expectations of science on which these accounts are based are similarly misleading….

What I am proposing is far from a solution. But if it encourages climate scientists to take the lead in breaking the current impasse, both because they are best equipped to take on the task, and because their responsibility as scientists obliges them to do so, it is at least a start.

That’s from the conclusion of a piece in New Scientist by Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller, emeritus professor of the history and philosophy of science at M.I.T.

The good news is many climate scientists are already following that advice (see “Have you used the Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT) yet?“).  Here are more excerpts from the piece….

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