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Topic: climate change

NASA uses Supercomputer to create Future Climate projections for the United States

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Global models of the climate system are now the foundation for many important climate studies, but they typically show climate changes at very large geographic scales on the order of 100 to 250 kilometers. Some data sets have scaled that down to about 10 kilometers, but even these make it difficult to analyze climate change impacts on a local or regional scale.

Using previously published large-scale climate model projections, a team of scientists from NASA, the Climate Analytics Group, Palo Alto, CA, a non-profit that provides climate data services, and California State University, Monterey Bay, has released monthly climate projections for the coterminous United States at a scale of one half mile (800 meters), or approximately the size of a neighborhood.

Top figure shows the average temperatures for springtime in 1950 across the United States, compared to the lower figure's projected average temperatures for the same season in 2099. Area in black boxes are enlarged below. (NASA)

Top figure shows the average temperatures for springtime in 1950 across the United States, compared to the lower figure’s projected average temperatures for the same season in 2099. Area in black boxes are enlarged below. (NASA)

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NASA Scientists say Arctic may hold a key to Earth’s climate future

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Flying low and slow above the wild, pristine terrain of Alaska’s North Slope in a specially instrumented NASA plane, research scientist Charles Miller of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, surveys the endless whiteness of tundra and frozen permafrost below.

On the horizon, a long, dark line appears. The plane draws nearer, and the mysterious object reveals itself to be a massive herd of migrating caribou, stretching for miles. It’s a sight Miller won’t soon forget.

Permafrost zones occupy nearly a quarter of the exposed land area of the Northern Hemisphere. NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment is probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to measure emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost - signals that may hold a key to Earth's climate future. (Image credit: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)

Permafrost zones occupy nearly a quarter of the exposed land area of the Northern Hemisphere. NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment is probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to measure emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost – signals that may hold a key to Earth’s climate future. (Image credit: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)

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NASA Study reveals degradation of Amazon Forest due to Climate Change

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study.

These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA uses direct Satellite Observations to examine Ice Increases in the Antarctic Sea

 

Written by Alan Buis and Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA and British Antarctic Survey scientists have reported the first direct evidence that marked changes to Antarctic sea ice drift caused by changing winds are responsible for observed increases in Antarctic sea ice cover in the past two decades.

The results help explain why, unlike the dramatic sea ice losses being reported in the Arctic, Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change.

View of Sheldon Glacier with Mount Barre in the background, seen from Ryder Bay near Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctica. A new NASA/British Antarctic Survey study examines why Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change over the past two decades.

View of Sheldon Glacier with Mount Barre in the background, seen from Ryder Bay near Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctica. A new NASA/British Antarctic Survey study examines why Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change over the past two decades.

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NASA study shows Climate change likely hotter than current Projections

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA-funded study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, finds climate model projections that show a greater rise in global temperature are likely to prove more accurate than those showing a lesser rise.

The findings, published today in the journal Science, could provide a breakthrough in the longstanding quest to narrow the range of global warming expected in coming decades and beyond.

Scientists used observations from two NASA satellite instruments, including relative humidity data similar to these, from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft, to analyze how well leading global climate models reproduce observed relative humidity in Earth's tropics and subtropics. The AIRS surface relative humidity data shown here are representative only and are not from the study. Areas shown in reds and yellows are the driest; blue areas the moistest. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists used observations from two NASA satellite instruments, including relative humidity data similar to these, from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft, to analyze how well leading global climate models reproduce observed relative humidity in Earth’s tropics and subtropics. The AIRS surface relative humidity data shown here are representative only and are not from the study. Areas shown in reds and yellows are the driest; blue areas the moistest. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA: Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Changes

 

Written by Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth’s land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study.

Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, investigated how Earth’s plant life is likely to react over the next three centuries as Earth’s climate changes in response to rising levels of human-produced greenhouse gases. Study results are published in the journal Climatic Change.

Predicted percentage of ecological landscape being driven toward changes in plant species as a result of projected human-induced climate change by 2100. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Predicted percentage of ecological landscape being driven toward changes in plant species as a result of projected human-induced climate change by 2100. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Words of Warming: Climate news briefs

 

In her periodic newsletter and update, Goddard College Professor Catherine Lowther circulates these “Words of warming”. With her permission, we pass these items to our readers.

Dreaming the future can create the future. We stand at the threshold of a singular opportunity in the human experiment: To re-imagine how to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations. It’s a revolution from the heart of nature — and the human heart. Then again, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” We also stand at the brink of worldwide ecological and civilizational collapse. We face a reckoning from the treacherous breach in our relationship with nature. «Read the rest of this article»

Sections: News | 1 Comment »
 


Advancing climate change policy in a difficult economy

 

New presidential transition report charts first steps to advance climate change policy in difficult economy. Clean Air-Cool Planet unveils 25 early-action items to implement in first 150 days.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The ongoing economic crisis, volatile energy prices, and the rapid increase in global CO2 levels will force critical choices on climate action by the new President in the early days of the next administration, according to a report released today by Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), an independent organization dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming.

“The next president can lead America and the world in addressing climate change if he links our effort to reduce emissions to the revitalization of our economy and the creation of a more secure energy future.” ~~ Rafe Pomerance, CA-CP’s president.

To advance a new strategy, the report recommends 25 early steps through which the incoming President can establish clear priorities for his administration, build a consensus for legislation in Congress, and inspire the public and private sector to action to reduce the threat of climate change.    «Read the rest of this article»

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Clean Air – Cool Planet’s recommendations on climate change action for Obama

 

Clean Air — Cool Planet, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming, has offered recommendations on climate change action for President-Elect Obama’s consideration.

Clean Air — Cool Action notes that as president, Barack Obama “will have the opportunity and responsibility of establishing American leadership on climate change with a robust new strategy.” The organization cited the scale and complexity of the climate issue as unprecedented and one that will require a renewed focus on the interconnection between the economy, national security and the environment. This report outlines 25 early-action recommendations through which the new administration can lay the foundations for success in addressing climate change at both the domestic and international levels.” «Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Education | No Comments
 

Awkward facts about climatic disruption

 

Cautionary words on climate from a May 1 statement by George Woodwell, the founder and Director Emeritus of The Woods Hole Research Center.

I explore below paths that might, if followed, lead out of the chaos of an open-ended climatic disruption. Unfortunately the issues are complicated, the time for action is now late, and effective action is growing more difficult daily. Effective action is possible, however….

The changes in climate are far more serious than they may appear…. These changes, the warming of the higher latitudes, the destruction of forests, the accelerated decay of organic matter in forests and tundra soils, the melting of permafrost, the change from a reflective frozen white to black open water in the Arctic Ocean, and the warming of the surface water of the oceans all point to an acceleration of the warming trend. These are “positive feedbacks” which dominate as the earth warms and accelerate the disruption. Despite their importance, they have not been included in appraisals that suggest that a two degree average change in the temperature of the earth might be acceptable. The fact is that the feedbacks will almost certainly take the disruption beyond human control well before the temperature rise is two degrees C. Stopping at 2 degrees will not be possible. «Read the rest of this article»

 


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