Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Light on Heat

The normally conservative National Academy of Science has issued "the most comprehensive report ever on climate change" in response to a congressional request, affirming that "climate change is occurring, the Earth is warming ... concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing, and there are very clear fingerprints that link [those effects] to humans," and calling for strong action to confront the Climate Crisis, including mechanisms to put a stiff price on carbon.

Another NAS panel noted that "the government and communities need to prepare for threats that are likely no matter what actions we take," such as consequences of sea level rises and the droughts in the Southwest. In other words, they recognize the need to deal with both causes and effects, something I've been advocating here for several years.

Earlier this week, NOAA and NASA regular climate reports concluded that we've just experienced the hottest March and April on record. A weather expert noted that"the three past seasons with record warm April SST anomalies all had abnormally high numbers of intense hurricanes." NASA's figures show it was also the hottest January to April period, and it is very likely that 2010 will be the hottest year on record. NOAA also found a strong multi-year warming trend in the world's oceans.

There's both anecdotal evidence (from British explorers) and data suggesting that the Arctic ice is melting faster this year than the previous record year of 2007. The data shows an unusually steep curve in seasonal melting, which suggests 2010 could set a new record. Not exactly something you want to cheer for.

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