Saturday, July 18, 2015

Climate Does Change

The scientific inquiry continues and contrarians still get the best media coverage.  
Fox News is all the way up to 28% accurate on the issue in 2014, and 72% misleading. They were only 7% accurate the year before.
  • Fox News covered climate science 50 times in 2013. Of these segments, 28 percent were accurate, while 72 percent were misleading portrayals of the science.
  • More than half of Fox's misleading coverage (53%) was from one regular program, The Five, where the hosts instigated misleading debates about established climate science.  Fox hosts and guests were more likely than others to disparage the study of climate science and criticize scientists.
Uninformed is only eclipsed by misinformed.  The issue deserves better from us.  Our children deserve better.

Are there reputable resources?  For a good 'bad example', note the graphic here:
"It just happens" from a popular site,  Despite presenting itself as a source of 
scholarly analysis, the site primarily consists of conspiracy theories, pseudoscience and propaganda.

It's fairly easy to find appealing articles to support almost any preferred conclusion.  This isn't science, of course.

In the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age around 8,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era - and according to the archeological record, of human civilizations.

The variations are generally attributed to orbital variations on a 100,000 year cycle that change the amount of sunlight we receive.  The solar energy changes are quite small, but enough to bring significant climate change.

If it were that simple, though, we wouldn't be in the intense debate we find these days.
We're stuck with some facts:

    NASA analysis of CO2 levels, now higher than at any time in the previous 650,000 years.
  • CO2 levels are at historic highs and it appears we did that, we humans.
  • Sea levels have risen about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century, and are rising faster as the years pass.
  • The global temperature rise since 1880 has the 20 warmest years occurring since 1981 and the 10 warmest occurring in the last 12 years.
  • The oceans are warming, up about 0.3 degrees since 1969.  Okay, that's not particularly persuasive.
  • Glaciers are retreating.  Greenland alone lost around 60 cubic miles of ice per year, 2002-2014.
  • Arctic ice is declining in both thickness and extent.  The decline is caused by and also contributes to climate change.
  • Extreme events ... consider the ten coldest and warmest years on record.
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 90 percent probability that human activities over the past 250 years have warmed our planet.

Monthly mass changes in Gigatonnes (Gt) for the
Greenland ice sheet since April 2002. The anomalies
are plotted against the 2002-2014 average. From NOAA.
The changes indicate a loss of around 2,800 gigatonnes
of ice for the period. That's about 20% more loss than
gain from snowfall each year.

Greenland holds about 10 percent of the total global
 ice mass.  If it were to all melt, sea levels should
rise by around 20 feet.  No one knows how long
 that might take, of course.
The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 90 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years.

They said the rate of increase in global warming due to these gases is very likely to be unprecedented within the past 10,000 years or more. The Summary for Policymakers is online at"

The facts here are from NASA, NOAA, and others, peer reviewed and independently supported.  The discussion continues among scientists, but little exists to support those who discount the basics.  The information available is continuously being updated.  Perhaps we should stay informed rather than media-formed.

More controversy - here - regarding Antarctica's ice.  :)