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Published on November 9, 2016
 

 
Antartica contains 90% of the world's ice. Together with Greenland it could raise our entire global sea level by 230 feet, if all the ice melts  Is sea level rise Reality or myth? 
 
Published on Jan 11, 2016

Our oceans are rising. With human use of hydrocarbons skyrocketing, waters around the globe are getting hotter and, now, this warm sub-surface water is washing into Antarctica’s massive western glaciers causing the glaciers to retreat and break off. Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of its freshwater, so if even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it – and it is already happening. In the last decade, some of the most significant glaciers here have tripled their melt rate. 

 

VICE founder Shane Smith travels to the bottom of the world to investigate the instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and to see first hand how the continent is melting -- and VICE follows the rising oceans to Bangladesh for a glimpse into the world's underwater future. From the UN Climate conference to the People's Climate March to the forces that deny the science of global climate change, this special extended episode covers all sides of the issue and all corners of the globe, ending with a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden.Global Warming's Great Hiatus Gets Another Debunking

Scientists had struggled to understand a slowdown in the world’s warming starting 15 years ago. A new study says it never happened.

Credit: NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information

The long-debated hiatus or pause in global warming, championed by climate denialists who tried to claim it proved scientists' projections on climate change are inaccurate or overblown, probably did not happen at all.

A new study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that the world's warming never really stalled during the last 15 years—it was just masked by incomplete data records that have been improved and expanded in recent years.

"The rate of temperature increase during the last half of the 20th century is virtually identical to that of the 21st century," said Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and lead author of the study.

The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science this week, is just the latest in a growing number of studies refuting the idea of a slowdown or stop in global warming.

"Tom Karl and colleagues have done solid work here, but they've mostly just confirmed what we already knew," said Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. "There is no true 'pause' or 'hiatus' in warming."

Global temperature trends are calculated using measurements from weather stations on land and by ships at sea. Until recently, stations in regions including Asia, South America and Africa were scarce. Ships collecting temperatures did so first by gathering water either in wooden buckets, in canvas buckets, by thermometers positioned near engine intake valves, and later buoys—resulting in temperature measurements that varied slightly by collection method and requiring correction.

Previous calculations estimated the world had warmed 0.113 degrees Celsius per decade from 1950 to 1999, and 0.039 degrees Celsius per decade from 1998 to 2012, according to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Global surface temperature "has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years [1998-2012] than over the past 30 to 60 years," the IPCC concluded in its Fifth Assessment report.

Within the last decade, thousands of new weather stations have been built in previously under-reported areas on land and a vast network of buoys have been deployed that more accurately measure sea surface temperatures. Karl and colleagues reanalyzed global temperature trends with the new data and corrected for ocean temperature discrepancies.

The NOAA scientists found that the world warmed 0.086 degrees Celsius per decade between 1998 and 2012, more than double the previous estimates. When the researchers included 2013 and 2014—when record-breaking heat spread across the globe—warming per decade jumped to 0.116 degrees Celsius.

The "newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA's NCEI do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus,'" wrote the study authors.

The scientists argue the findings even underestimate the world's warming because they don't consider what has happened in the Arctic, where temperatures have increased rapidly in recent decades, but where there is a limited number of weather recording stations.

"The fact that such small changes to the analysis make the difference between a hiatus or not merely underlines how fragile a concept it was in the first place," said Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who was not involved in the research.

Mann said the study doesn't prove that warming never slowed, but rather that when it did, it was short-lived, localized and had little impact on the world's overall warming trend over the last century.

"There was definitely a slowdown in warming from around 2000-2012 centered in the Pacific, but leading to a slowing of warming over the Northern Hemisphere," said Mann. That local event barely impacted the global mean temperature at the time.

"There certainly is variability from year to year, and one can find periods in the record where there are small changes," but over the long term, the world is still warming at an alarming rate, Karl said.

Scientists aren't holding their breath that the findings published this week will sway climate denialists from claiming there is a hiatus or pause in warming.

"There will be a very predictable chorus of 'data manipulation' and 'fraud' as they see a talking point disappear, and so it will just continue as before," said Schmidt. "Just remember, their objections have little or nothing to do with science."

 
Understanding our polar caps impact on both water supply and global warming 
 

Scientists Warn Drastic Climate Impacts Coming Much Sooner Than Expected

Former NASA scientist James Hansen argues the new study requires much faster action reducing greenhouse gases.
James Hansen testified in Congress against the Keystone XL pipeline

James Hansen testified in a Congressional hearing opposing the Keystone XL pipeline on climate grounds in 2014. Credit: Getty Images

Leading climate scientist James Hansen used a study published Tuesday to continue to hammer home the warning that humanity is nearing "the point of no return" when it comes to reversing or even mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

The study, initially made public in draft form last July as a "discussion paper" so it could be circulated  ahead of the Paris climate talks, holds that multi-meter sea rise could happen within a matter of decades, rather than centuries as previous estimates suggested. Hansen argues the dramatic sea level rise could put the earth's coastal cities in grave peril while a sudden influx of population from those cities will bring discord and conflict to the rest of the world.

The study, co-authored by a team of 19 international climate scientists, was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Hansen dismissed criticisms that the somewhat unorthodox study had stretched the science and blurred the line between advocacy and research.

The conclusion that deep cuts in net emissions of carbon dioxide are required to avoid a global calamity is "a scientific conclusion," he said. "It's not advocacy. It's telling you what is needed."

The study uses models, paleoclimate data and modern observations to analyze the impact of ice shed from Antarctic ice shelves and Greenland. It concludes the feedbacks created by the intrusion of cold freshwater into the planet's oceans are already shutting down ocean circulation, leading to the formation of more powerful superstorms. The study also contends the real world has been responding much faster to the inundation of freshwater than the models anticipated.

The study's basic conclusions remain the same as the original, though the title was softened. The initial title of "Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous" had the final phrase changed to "could be dangerous."

Hansen, the former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and currently the director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions program at Columbia University Earth Institute, has been one of the foremost voices urging rapid and comprehensive action to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Hansen, 74, developed one of the world's first climate models 35 years ago and has produced prediction after prediction about rising global warming that proved to be correct.

"This is a tragic situationbecause it is unnecessary. We could already be phasing out fossil fuel emissions if only we stopped allowing the fossil fuel industry to use the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for their waste," Hansen said in a video accompanying the study's publication, repeating previous statements he's made on instituting a carbon tax.

Hansen has been equally blunt about who's to blame for the planet's warming. He's been arrested several times at climate protests targeting the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects. He and 21 young people between the ages of 8 and 19 are currently suing the federal government for promoting "the use of fossil fuels, thus increasing the concentration of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere to unsafe levels and creating the dangerous climate change and ocean acidification that we face today."

In a conference call Monday, Hansen said that if scientists don't come out and say that drastic emissions cuts are needed, "then politicians will tell you what's needed and that will be based on the politics, rather than on science. So I don't see any reason not try to make the complete story clear rather than just drawing a line and saying, 'I'm not going to step beyond this.'"

The Paris Agreement, a treaty intended to slow global warming, limits fossil emissions and forest clearing in order to keep the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and possibly to keep the rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Either ambitious target would require eliminating  additions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. But the paper's authors stress the 2 degree Celsius threshold would still lead to inexorable damage.

"If Greenland freshwater shuts down deepwater formation and cools the North Atlantic several degrees, the increased horizontal temperature gradient will drive superstorms stronger than any in modern times," Hansen said in the video. "All hell would break loose in the North Atlantic and neighboring lands."

 

YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE SCIENCE OF IT  

 

 

 The effects of ice melt on ocean circulation were not included in the latest assessment by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meaning Hansen's predictions would occur much earlier and be less gradual than envisioned in the consensus reports of the IPCC.

Hansen's renewed calls for aggressive climate policy comes as the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that 2015 smashed temperature records, with global average surface temperature topping previous records by at least 0.76 degrees Celsius above the average temperatures from 1961-1990. This year is on pace to shatter even more records.  

"The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.



 
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