Climate 101

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House Committee Refuses to Hear Climate Facts

All the Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted against holding hearings on  “the role of climate change in causing drought heat waves, wildfires, reduced crop yields and impaired electricity generation”  on Feb 6, 2013

Response:

Denial of the science of climate change by members of Congress is a threat to our safety. Rep Waxman, who is calling for hearings on reports that climate impacts require prompt action said, “House Republicans have buried their heads in the sand.  I hope they will realize how out of step they are with the science, the public, and the business community.  We have a moral duty to act to prevent the worst impacts of climate change affecting our children and future generations.”

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, representing parts of Eastern Washington, joined in the vote against climate hearings.

Climate science is real, says American Meteorological Society

Rush Limbaugh says that global warming is not science, but a hoax.

Response:

Limbaugh is mistaken. Climate scientists have concluded that the world is heating up, burning fossil fuels is the main cause, and if the world does not stop the burning, we will suffer worse and worse weather catastrophes.

Limbaugh quotes Joe Bastardi, who is not a climate scientist, but a meteorologist, a weather forecaster, who has publicly questioned climate science. However, the professional organization for his profession does not support his skepticism.

The American Meteorological Society issued a statement this past August saying that “the Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence. Surface temperature data for Earth as a whole, including readings over both land and ocean, show an increase of about 0.8°C (1.4°F) over the period 1901–2010….”

“It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, [of which the most ] important … is CO2, whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation.”

 

Who earns more – climate scientists or oil company executives?

Are climate scientists faking results because they are “greedy for funding and lustful for power?”

In 2011 the pay  of the CEO for Exxon was $34.9 million. and the pay for the CEO for Chevron was $24.7 million.  At Penn State, the average tenured professor earned about $120,000 last year, and a new hire a bit less than $70,000.

MapLight  data shows that oil and gas companies donated $15,078,146 to Republican Senators and members of congress.  Environmental groups meanwhile, donated $2,847,072 to Democrat Senators and members of congress

Who Says Humans Caused Climate Change?

Nearly all climate scientists who have published in peer-reviewed  mainstream  science journals), and all national science academies of industrialized countries agree that the warming of the Earth over the last 50 years is mostly caused by emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gas.

There are scientists in other fields like physics, geography, and meteorology, who have said they are skeptical. Richard A Muller, a physicist at Berkeley said, “It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical.”

Muller considered himself a skeptic and accepted funding from the Koch brothers, (who helped fund the Tea Party) and other sources, to work with a team of scientists  at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project on the evidence of human-caused climate change.

In an op-ed entitled The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic  Muller explains their  conclusion that the average temperature of the Earth has risen 1.5oF over the last 50 years and “it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

They examined issues raised by skeptics, such as heat from cities, selection of data, quality of measurements, human error, solar variability, volcanic eruptions, and El Nino and they found that none of these things correlated with the pattern of rising temperatures and must be eliminated as causes of the warming climate.

Looking to the future, the Muller team predicted that Earth’s temperature will continue to rise by 1.5oF over the next 50 or even 20 years, depending on how much fossil fuel is burned.

Climate change in the Antarctic

Click to view full size image

Photo Credit Ted Scambos, NSIDC

Why is Antarctic ice not melting as fast as Arctic ice?

Response:

According to NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, some areas in East Antarctica show some cooling and some increase in snowfall. This is not unexpected, the effect of warmer air is to increase evaporation, (water vapor rising from the Earth) , and so it also increases the amount of rain and snow.

One reason why the Antarctic has warmed less than the Arctic is that water currents and winds flow around the Antarctic from west-to-east acting like a barrier against the warmer air and water to the north. The Arctic, however, is wide open to warmer waters and air from the south.

Another factor keeping the Antarctic cool, according to  recent research, is the thinning of the protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, most severe over the Antarctic. International agreements to halt production of chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone, are expected to allow that hole to start repairing itself by 2020. That may increase temperatures at the Antarctic.

The Antarctic is about the size of the US and Mexico combined. Part of the Antarctic, the Peninsula, has warmed 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950, and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thinner.

Climate scientists measure the volume and movement of ice in the Antarctic with satellite spectrometry, laser and radar altimetry, radar interferometry, ice core drilling and other really cold and dangerous hard work.

The loss of Arctic ice is like turning off an air conditioner, it magnifies the warming. Arctic ice floats on water, so it is not raising sea levels much. However Greenland and Antarctic ice is mostly land based, so it will flood ports and erode seacoasts.

There are markets for U.S. made solar panels, wind turbines, smart grids, batteries and algae fuel around the world.  Now is the time for us to develop these industries for export profits and a healthy, prosperous future.

Climate scientists risk their lives

Climate scientists risk their lives to collect information about global warming and its threats to the basic resources that we need to survive on this planet. The Heartland Institute owes an apology for the outrageous billboard campaign comparing climate scientists and scientifically informed citizens with mass murderers. The campaign has been halted.