Global Temperatures Are the Hottest on Record for a Fifth Month This Year

Nov 26, 2014

Image credit: Rajesh Kumar—AP

By Helen Regan

The world is heading for the warmest year on record with October the fifth month to break worldwide heat records.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday that the average global temperature for October was 58.43ºF (14.74ºC).

“It is becoming pretty clear that 2014 will end up as the warmest year on record,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. “The remaining question is: How much?”

This year, the world’s temperature is averaging 58.62ºF, (14.78ºC), already beating other hot years 2010 and 1998.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

43 comments on “Global Temperatures Are the Hottest on Record for a Fifth Month This Year

  • Has Fox done a report about the weather outside their studio being cold and therefore global warming is baloney?
    Usually happens when they ramp up their “War on Christmas” segments.
    Anyway the data comes from NASA and NOAA who we all know are in the pay of low energy light bulb manufacturers who are run by the Illuminati.
    Also God wouldn’t flood the planet twice – he promised he wouldn’t so we can screw it up how ever we like. He gave us dominion. Raptures coming next year any hows.



    Report abuse

  • We have seen it in the geological record, the tipping points to runaway warming.

    Albedo. I saw an experiment where a white and black panel were laid on the Arctic ice. It a minute the black panel was 72 degrees F. The white one was 32 degrees F. As ice melts it reveals “black” seawater which absorbs heat even faster.

    There is more carbon in the form of methyl hydrides, frozen under the oceans, and under the permafrost than their is oil or gas. Methane is a 26 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. As it melts, it releases methane into the air , which heats the atmosphere which melts more methane in a vicious circle.



    Report abuse

  • I see the lame ideas of geo-engineering are being wheeled out again as an excuse for further prevarication from urgently getting on reducing CO2 emissions.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30197085
    .Schemes to tackle climate change could prove disastrous for billions of people, but might be required for the good of the planet, scientists say.

    That is the conclusion of a new set of studies into what’s become known as geo-engineering.

    This is the so far unproven science of intervening in the climate to bring down temperatures.

    These projects work by, for example, shading the Earth from the Sun or soaking up carbon dioxide.

    Ideas include aircraft spraying out sulphur particles at high altitude to mimic the cooling effect of volcanoes or using artificial “trees” to absorb CO2.

    Long regarded as the most bizarre of all solutions for global warming, ideas for geo-engineering have come in for more scrutiny in recent years as international efforts to limit carbon emissions have failed.

    All of the proposals are woefully inadequate for the scale of the problem, and could well cause serious and extensive environmental damage, due to a lack of understanding of the big picture in their proposers simplistic ideas.



    Report abuse

  • A3Kr0n Nov 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    It’s hard to think of global warming when you’re freezing your ass off like I am.

    Think of it this way! Nothing is lost which a friend gets!!!

    Britain and parts of Europe have had one of the warmest wettest autumns on record, as tropical air has moved north on this side of the Atlantic, and Arctic air has moved south over North America!



    Report abuse

  • Forgive me for being a little confused. On a recent Catalyst program, it was stated that air temperatures have not increased over the past decade or so, but the excess heat was being absorbed by the oceans and these warmed waters were going to lead to dreadful consequences.

    I’m certainly not a AGW denier though I can understand why the average citizen is becoming wary.



    Report abuse

  • Let me try a simple case in recent news. Some of you may have seen TV reports of enormous snowfalls in Buffalo, New York. These are caused by the prevailing winds blowing along Lake Erie, picking up moisture as they go, then dumping it on Buffalo, at the far end of the Lake. They often get large amounts of snow from this ‘lake effect’. This year, the winds were colder than some, but the water temperature was warmer than usual. When the difference between water temperature and air temperature exceeds 16 degrees C, a LOT of moisture gets picked up. Thus the huge snowfall. I bet similar experience occurs in the North Sea.



    Report abuse

  • Believe me, I am definitely of the AGW school of thought as my many comments to this effect will attest, but I can understand why people are confused. Is this a difference in measurement, atmospheric versus land temp?
    When I’m called to support my position I usually mention the evidence of melting ice-sheets and freakish weather conditions. I also mention graphs showing increasing temperatures since the the industrial revolution. Science reporters, please don’t make this hard for me! Keep it simple and clear.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Nitya,

    Alan4Discussion would do a better job of explaining this than me however I’ll give it a stab.

    The key factor here is raised. In a period of no AGW you would see decades long fluctuations up and down, with a median line flat. What we have now is a decades long trend up with up and down fluctuations along the way so the lowest temps are never reaching a low as they did say 5 decades ago, but the highs reaching higher than at any time on record. You need to look at the trend to see what has happening. AGW deniers (and I know you aren’t one) point to a few years of cooling or level temperatures and say look the temperature hasn’t risen in the last decade failing to acknowledge that it has failed to dip below the previous peaks in past decades. There are many factors that can explain cooling in atmospheric temperatures and again Alan has a better understanding than I in this area but let’s take ocean warming as one example. If I warm the ocean I evaporate a whole bunch more water than usual in winter, that evaporated water now mixes with cooler air stirred up due to a more active atmosphere may now fall as tonnes of snow. That area is going to have a massive drop in temperature (locally), but what drove it was increase ocean temperatures. We need to stop seeing air temperatures as the be all and end all. Its the total heat trapped in the system that’s important, the feedbacks can take decades to get under way don’t be fooled by short term fluctuations on air temp.

    Regards



    Report abuse

  • One of the predictions of global warming is an increase in the number and severity of extreme cold events like the Buffalo / New York snow storms. The circular jet stream around the Arctic pole is trapped by weather bands further south. A prediction of global warming models is that the weather bands that trap this jet stream in the Arctic will weaken, allowing the very cold jet stream to penetrate further south, resulting in events like this one. And the one that blanked out the UK and Europe in the recent past. One event is weather. So is two or three, or a dozen events. But if this continues over a period of time, then it is climate. And that means the climate has changed. This is predicted behaviour. It is unwise to ignore events like this.



    Report abuse

  • rod-the-farmer Nov 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I bet similar experience occurs in the North Sea.

    Hi Rod !
    The UK does get cold North winds from the Arctic and East winds from Siberia across the North Sea, but the North Sea is relatively small and cold.
    The seriously heavy snow (and rain) comes from moisture picked up from the Gulf-Stream and the North Atlantic, meeting these cold winds.
    So far this autumn the cyclonic winds have brought warm air from the west and south.



    Report abuse

  • Nitya. I saw the same Catalyst program. Energy is being trapped in the earth’s system by green house gasses. That excess energy can increase air temperature, which it has done, and / or it can be absorbed into the oceans, which it is doing. It is a property of water, H2O, that it can absorb enormous amounts of energy with little temperature rise. But the energy isn’t gone. It’s just stored. Energy can move and does move. El Ninio / La Ninia is a classic example of the transference of energy in ocean systems.

    It turns out the sun is going through a low cycle, similar to the Maunder Minimum that resulted in the mini ice age in the 1600’s. During this cooling sun cycle, we haven’t have a cooling period. Air temperatures have flat line for the past 20 years, but that flat lining is in the crimson range of high temperatures. Sitting on record levels. Hardly a mini ice age.

    Two things are going to happen. The sun will recover from its current minimum cycle and start pumping out more energy. The extra stored energy in the oceans will start to feed into global climate events. If a hurricane has a normal mean energy of X, said energy originates in the oceans, and the oceans hold more energy, then the new mean for hurricanes becomes X plus (Extra Energy). Bigger storms. This also explains events like the Buffalo snow storms.

    When these two warming events start to happen together, the current flat line temperature period bumping along at the hottest ever in recorded history, will break out. How big the break out will be is unknown, but it is a very dangerous position, because if the break out is big enough, and a tipping event is trigger, like the release of tundra methane, we will way exceed all predictions and the planet may go through a global extinction event.

    Or we could continue to burn carbon so someone can make a profit or so we can have cheap petrol. Short Term???

    For international readers, this is the Catalyst Science program Nitya is referring to.

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4107264.htm



    Report abuse

  • Hi Reckless. Thanks for your imput. This is normally part of my line of argument as well, ie minor fluctuations are to be expected, it’s the long-term trend that is important. That being said, any one of my fanatical opponents is going to read this article and then trump it with one such as the Catalyst program! I want to be able to reply with authority. This makes it difficult when seemingly contradictory science articles are aired.
    In most cases I can explain the science adequately and I think coherently. Every now and then I’m at a loss. I think it’s okay to say that I’m not sure, but those in opposition to AGW want consistency.



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile data collected from satellites is giving ever more accurate maps of ocean currents and ice-caps.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30191584
    .Scientists have produced what they say is the most accurate space view yet of global ocean currents and the speed at which they move..

    The information has been drawn from a range of satellites, but in particular from the European Space Agency’s Goce mission.

    This platform, which operated from 2009 to 2013, made ultra-precise measurements of Earth’s gravity.

    It has detailed the role this force plays in driving ocean circulation.

    The new model – presented at a Goce conference at the Unesco HQ in Paris, France – will be of fundamental importance to climate modellers, because it is the mass movement of water that helps to transport heat around the globe.

    Goce carried instrumentation capable of sensing very subtle changes in Earth’s gravitational tug.

    This pull varies ever so slightly from place to place because of the uneven distribution of mass inside the planet.

    Scientists used these observations to construct what is called a “geoid”, which essentially describes the “level surface” on an idealised world.

    It is the shape the oceans would adopt if there were no winds, no currents and no tides to disturb them.

    By comparing this geoid with measurements of sea-surface height made by other spacecraft, researchers can see where water has become piled up.

    And it is water’s desire always to “run downhill” that is a major influence on the direction and speed of currents – although atmospheric winds and the Earth’s rotation are of course critical partners in the overall picture.

    {see link}
    Clearly visible in the map at the top of this page are the Agulhas Current flowing down the African coast; the Gulf Stream running across the Atlantic; the Kuroshio Current that sweeps south of Japan and out into the North Pacific; as well as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and the system of currents that hug the Equator. In places, these great trains of water move in excess of 1m per second.

    The new Goce model of ocean circulation has been checked and integrated with the point measurements from drifting buoys. This has helped capture some of the smaller-scale features in the currents that lie beyond the capabilities of satellites, even one that made as highly resolved observations as the Esa mission.



    Report abuse

  • Thanks David. I think the program presented that case really well and it was accessible to everyone. The sun experienced a massive solar flare recently after a long quiet period, if memory serves.



    Report abuse

  • David R Allen Nov 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    and a tipping event is trigger, like the release of tundra methane,

    Already we have loss of permafrost and tundra drying in summer,

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727131415.htm

    After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a University of Florida study shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames.

    In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Nature, UF ecologist Michelle Mack and a team of scientists including fellow UF ecologist Ted Schuur quantified the amount of soil-bound carbon released into the atmosphere in the 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which covered more than 400 square miles on the North Slope of Alaska’s Brooks Range. The 2.1 million metric tons of carbon released in the fire — roughly twice the amount of greenhouse gases put out by the city of Miami in a year — is significant enough to suggest that Arctic fires could impact the global climate, said Mack, an associate professor of ecosystem ecology in UF’s department of biology.

    “The 2007 fire was the canary in the coal mine,” Mack said. “In this wilderness, hundreds of miles away from the nearest city or source of pollution, we’re seeing the effects of a warming atmosphere. It’s a wake-up call that the Arctic carbon cycle could change rapidly, and we need to know what the consequences will be.

    Smoke from the fire pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but that’s just one part of a tundra fire’s potential impact. The fire also consumed up to 30 percent of the insulating layer of organic matter that protects the permafrost beneath the tundra’s shrub- and moss-covered landscape.

    In a pine forest, fire would burn up leaf litter on the ground, but not the soil beneath. Because the Arctic tundra has a carbon-rich, peaty soil, however, the ground itself is combustible, and when the fire recedes, some of the soil is gone. In a double whammy, the vulnerable permafrost is not only more exposed, but also covered by blackened ground, which absorbs more of the sun’s heat and could accelerate thawing.

    “When the permafrost warms, microbes will begin to decompose that organic matter and could release even more carbon that’s been stored in the permafrost for hundreds or thousands of years into the atmosphere,” Mack said. “If that huge stock of carbon is released, it could increase atmospheric carbon dioxide drastically.

    The study shows how isolated fires can have a widespread impact, said University of Alaska biology professor Terry Chapin. “When you think about the massive carbon stocks and massive area of tundra throughout the world, and its increasing vulnerability to fire as climate warms, it suggests that fire may become the dominant factor that governs the future carbon balance of this biome,” Chapin said. “The paper by Michelle and her colleagues raises this possibility for the first time. It presents a very different perspective on the way in which climate change may affect this biome in the future.

    Using radiocarbon dating, co-author Schuur and researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Fire Service and Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, found that carbon up to 50 years old had been burned in the 2007 fire.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Nitya,

    I sympathise entirely, unfortunately the science is simple at heart but it has so many interactions that you cannot make it simple. I was like you finding myself convinced but arguing with people all the time but having insufficient education myself to really understand the full picture. I did a semester on it in a post graduate diploma I was doing. All the physics is at its heart stuff you could do in the kitchen but the amount of interactions and interactions with other interactions is enormous. It was hard, but I came to grips with much of it, scared the hell out of me.

    They can’t make it simple unfortunately. The only thing I can suggest is that people arguing with you about this is a bit like a general member of the public wandering into a military aircraft hanger and starting to tell the aircraft mechanics how to do their job – just not qualified. If they or you or I don’t understand it all that’s okay, we can seek information if we are interested.

    A lot of these people in the general public are arguing because they think that because they have experienced weather and watched it on the news they understand it, or if they don’t understand it then no-one else does. The people who have spent the time learning about it (to whatever extent we do understand it) are almost all declaring the problem is real because all the data collected points in this direction. Those with qualifications who object almost without exception are not participating in the science in, not publishing in peer review journals or are publishing in obscure economics journals etc.

    I had a guy at work (a science teacher) who is a very bright guy (much brighter than me by the way) arguing with me about a paper he found questioning some aspect of AGW. I simply said I’d have a look at the paper but that I’d be with holding judgement until I’d read where the paper stood after peer review. When I read the paper, to me at my level of mathematics it would have taken weeks to do the maths sufficiently well to understand his argument fully. I told my co worker this but added that I’d looked up reviews of the paper and found about 20 criticisms from other climate scientists including altering the scale of his graph to match the data he wanted to show, being very selective about the period of time chosen to better match his conclusion, having provided absolutely no evidence at all for his contentions in-spite of receiving the same criticism for the same paper 5 years prior, publishing in an obscure journal that had nothing to do with climate science so the referee’s of his paper likely had no specialist knowledge etc.

    So I’d be suggesting that to the people arguing with you that as neither you or I have done decades of research into this drawing a conclusion against the consensus of those that have is a little bizarre. Let’s get on line and see what actual climate scientists have to say about this. If there is disagreement among the qualified scientists lets see how they stand up to peer review. If they don’t choose to engage in peer review what does that tell you? I’ve found this to be a very successful strategy in at least getting people to take an unreasonable belligerent stance in which they essentially claim to know more that people who actually spend their life studying this, or they learn something about peer review and are forced to answer why they should listen to someone with qualifications who isn’t prepared to put his or her theories up for scrutiny.

    Regards



    Report abuse

  • David R Allen Nov 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    One of the predictions of global warming is an increase in the number and severity of extreme cold events like the Buffalo / New York snow storms.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30215782

    .Climate change and population growth will hugely increase the risk to people from extreme weather, a report says.

    The Royal Society warns that the risk of heatwaves to an ageing population will rise about ten-fold by 2090 if greenhouse gases continue to rise.

    .They estimate the risk to individuals from floods will rise more than four-fold and the drought risk will treble.

    The report’s lead author Prof Georgina Mace said: “This problem is not just about to come… it’s here already.

    She told BBC News: “We have to get the mindset that with climate change and population increase we are living in an ever-changing world – and we need much better planning if we hope to cope.

    The report says governments have not grasped the risk of booming populations in coastal cities as sea level rises and extreme events become more severe.

    “People are increasingly living in the wrong places, and it’s likely that extreme events will be more common,” Prof Mace says.

    “For most hazards, population increase contributes at least as much as climate change – sometimes more. We are making ourselves more vulnerable whilst making the climate more extreme.

    “It is impossible for us to avoid the worst and most unexpected events. But it is not impossible to be prepared for an ever-changing world. We must organise ourselves right away.

    The report’s team said the UK was comparatively resilient to extreme events – but still vulnerable because of the high density of people living in areas at risk.

    The report advises all levels of society to prepare – from strategic planning at an international and national level to local schemes by citizens to tackle floods or heatwaves.

    Its scenarios are based on the assumption that the world stays on the current trajectory of emissions, which the authors assume will increase temperature by 2.6-4.8C around 2090. It assumes a population of nine billion.

    They say they have built upon earlier work by calculating the effects of climate change coupled with population trends. They warn that the effects of extremes will be exacerbated by the increase in elderly people, who are least able to cope with hot weather.

    Urbanisation will make the issue worse by creating “heat islands” where roads and buildings absorb heat from the sun. As well as building homes insulated against the cold, we must also ensure they can be properly ventilated in the summer, the report says.

    The authors say cutting greenhouse gas emissions is essential. But they argue that governments will also need to adapt to future climatic shifts driven by climate change.



    Report abuse

  • David R Allen Nov 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Nitya. I saw the same Catalyst program. Energy is being trapped in the earth’s system by green house gasses. That excess energy can increase air temperature, which it has done, and / or it can be absorbed into the oceans, which it is doing. It is a property of water, H2O, that it can absorb enormous amounts of energy with little temperature rise. But the energy isn’t gone. It’s just stored. Energy can move and does move. El Ninio / La Ninia is a classic example of the transference of energy in ocean systems.

    Taking this down to the most basic level:

    Water can absorb a vast amount of heat compared to air. When you boil a kettle it does not boil in the first 5 seconds! – Especially if it contains melting ice-cubes!

    Unlike pans and kettles, oceans are heated from the top down, not from the bottom up. In a kettle the hot water rises and mixes with the cold, but in oceans (2 thirds of the Earth’s surface), sunlight only penetrates and heats the top few metres of water. This produces a warm surface layer in the tropics which only mixes where the deep cold ocean currents hit obstructing land and are pushed up to the surface, or when warm surface layers approach the poles and are chilled.

    These currents change in cycles over time, (El Niño and La Niña events etc.), so when there is a lot of mixing the air is cooled with heat taken into the ocean depths, and when there are extensive warm surface layers the atmosphere is warmed. Warm surface layers also increase evaporation and the intensity of storms.

    The Solar heat absorption is complex, so when deniers, cherry-pick one aspect (such as air temperatures or local weather), this is only evidence of cherry-picking!
    The heat is still building when according to Solar cycles it should be declining, but it never built uniformly in any case.



    Report abuse

  • Reckless and Alan.
    I usually answer critics of AGW by saying that this is a highly complex problem with many interacting factors. But …still they come back with the fact that some papers (such as the article above) say that the figures show the highest temperature ever, whilst others ( in the Catalyst program) say that average world temperatures have not increased over the last eight years. These contradictory viewpoints both come from reputable sources. As a rule I challenge the sources cited AGW deniers because these are normally the problem.



    Report abuse

  • But …still they come back with the fact that some papers (such as the article above) say that the figures show the highest temperature ever, whilst others ( in the Catalyst program) say that average world temperatures have not increased over the last eight years.

    These two statements are both correct, and both damning for AGW deniers. They are not inconsistent. While this year might be the hottest on record, when graphed with the previous 8 years, will produce a graph of best fit which is a flat straight line. The trend line graph over a period of time is flat. I laugh when AGW deniers cite this as evidence that there is no such thing as global warming, given this flat line graph represents near record breaking temperatures for every year. The graph is very red.

    I find a parallel between AGW deniers and the religious. The thought patterns, or should I say lack of thought patterns seem similar. Both deny obvious evidence. Both are intractable. Both see evil in their opponents.



    Report abuse

  • David R Allen Nov 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    One of the predictions of global warming is an increase in the number and severity of extreme cold events like the Buffalo / New York snow storms.

    One of the favourite denier tricks, is to quote local areas of Greenland and Antarctica where the ice is increasing (because a warmer wetter climate is dumping more snow there)!

    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Ice_sheet_highs_lows_and_loss
    In addition to showing the current highs and lows of the ice sheets, the study also highlights how much ice was lost between January 2011 and January 2014. Ice sheets gain mass through snowfall and lose it through melting and by glaciers that carry ice from the interior to the ocean.

    It is important to assess how ice-sheet surface elevation and thickness across Greenland and Antarctica is changing to understand how they are contributing to sea-level rise.

    Using an astonishing 200 million data points across Antarctica and 14.3 million across Greenland collected by CryoSat, the team were able to study how the ice sheets changed over the three years.

    The resulting maps reveal that Greenland alone is reducing in volume by about 375 cubic kilometres a year.

    .The two ice sheets combined are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year, the highest rate observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago.

    The researchers say the ice sheets’ annual contribution to sea-level rise has doubled since 2009.

    Glaciologist Angelika Humbert, another of the study’s authors, added, “Since 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has increased by a factor of about two and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by a factor of three.

    Both the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula, in the far west, are rapidly losing volume. By contrast, East Antarctica is gaining volume, though at a moderate rate that doesn’t compensate for the losses on the other side of the continent.

    The basic physics of latent heat, means that a vast amount of heat is absorbed in turning 500 cubic kilometres of ice a year, at 0°c, to liquid water, at 0°c.



    Report abuse

  • Has Fox done a report about the weather outside their studio being cold and therefore global warming is baloney?

    Unfortunately, this “joke” of egocentricity holds true for many people. I read it in the comment sections all the time. They are completely ignorant that fires are devouring Australia while they are watching the snow drift.



    Report abuse

  • Where I live. The hottest September on record. The most days ever in October over 30 degrees C. The 3rd driest spring on record. My rainwater tanks ran dry in early August (still our winter wet time) and haven’t pumped again. This is just anecdotal local weather reports, but it is consistent with the predictions of global warming.



    Report abuse

  • Yep. This. “Climate change is a complete hoax!!! How do we know? Well, it’s cold as balls and snowing outside our building here in Pemphigus, Tennessee!! My stepdad’s second cousin says it’s been cold as balls and snowing this time of year ever since he can remember, and he’s old as dirt, so there’s your proof!!! Me driving my jacked-up Ford F-350 duelie diesel supercab truck that gets 5 miles to the gallon back and forth to work every day ain’t gonna change that!!”



    Report abuse

  • When I was a kid, people would wear out the epigram: “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it”…”.OOO-eeee! Sho’ is hot today..Mus’ be a hunert deegrees in the shade.” (southern black dialect quote from a chain-gang song). Climate change scientists have been measuring multiple affects around the world: increasing atmospheric temperatures, wildfires, melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. We seem to be talking at a much more sophisticated level about “climate” rather than “weather” comparing an array of complex empirical data derived from long-term scientific investigation. Still the same question nags. What are we going to do about it? What difference does it make if Joe affirms that it’s happening and Mary denies that it is happening. What are we going to do about it? What have we gained if we read a million studies that describe in excruciating detail what is coming down but can do little or nothing to stop the annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions? Yeh, we sure be in hot water today.



    Report abuse

  • Melvin Dec 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    What are we going to do about it? What have we gained if we read a million studies that describe in excruciating detail what is coming down but can do little or nothing to stop the annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions? Yeh, we sure be in hot water today.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30225511

    .A key UN climate meeting in Peru has opened with negotiators attempting to advance a new global agreement.

    One hundred and ninety-five nations have committed to finalising a new climate pact in Paris by 2015’s end

    The process has been boosted by recent developments, including a joint announcement on cutting carbon by the US and China.

    The two weeks of discussions have started amid record-breaking global temperatures for the year to date.

    According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), the global average temperature over land and ocean from January to October was the hottest since records began in 1880.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony in Lima, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the conference had to make history.

    “2014 is threatening to be the hottest year in history and emissions continue to rise, we need to act urgently,” she told the negotiators.

    “We should be able to lay the foundations for a strong agreement in Paris and raise the level of our ambitions so that gradually over the long term we are able to achieve climate neutrality – this is the only way to truly achieve sustainable development for all.”

    In September, millions of people took to the streets of cities all over the world in a demonstration of popular support for a new approach.

    Days later, 125 world leaders attended a meeting called by the UN secretary general, where they re-affirmed their commitments to tackle the problem through a new global agreement.

    *.The chances of that happening were increased by November’s announcement from the US and China, with the Chinese signalling that their emissions would peak around 2030.**

    The European Union also contributed to the positive mood by agreeing climate targets for 2030.



    Report abuse

  • Twenty-five years ago at Kyoto we saw the same zeal, the same earnest expressions of concern, the same solemn charade of signing protocols. I hope you’re right about the evangelical revival of resolve. My own sense is that global warming and carbon emissions are pretty far down on the public’s list of priorities. Perhaps this time governments and the people they represent will demand comprehensive, sustained effective measures to bring down carbon emissions on an annual basis. Complex strictly-enforced cooperation between and among nations would be required even if national economies suffer damage in the short to mid-term or consumers have to pay more for goods and services – especially energy. Unfortunately developing economies and their struggling masses may be especially reluctant to take extra hits on their already low per capita incomes. Those living in developed affluent countries with mature economies that have largely exported their dirty manufacturing to the third world; the US, the Eu, Japan et. al. with their stable or declining populations, and relatively homogenous educated citizenry are well situated to bring greenhouse gas emissions down from a high base. Poor nations less so.

    I was amused by the old shell game that politicians love to play with timetables: “The chances of that happening were increased by November’s announcement from the US and China, with the Chinese signalling that their emissions would peak around 2030.” What good does it do for emissions in the filthiest country on earth to get their pollution to “peak” in 15 years? These statements are always characterized as “signals” without any real substance. Granting a scenario where China “peaked” their emissions by 2030, it would take decades thereafter to bring them down to 2000 levels. That’s hardly a solution absent any binding agreement. It’s unlikely in the foreseeable future that any nation -especially the world powers will surrender national sovereignty to an international enforcement regime.

    I’m reminded of a Woody Allen joke. A mother walks in on her son who is masturbating. She chastises him, “If you keep doing that, you’re going to go blind.” Embarrassed but collected, he counters, “Well, can I keep doing it until I need glasses?”



    Report abuse

  • Melvin Dec 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I was amused by the old shell game that politicians love to play with timetables: “The chances of that happening were increased by November’s announcement from the US and China,

    Your lack of research into the efforts being made, is no basis for amused dismissal of those signs of real progress.

    with the Chinese signalling that their emissions would peak around 2030.” What good does it do for emissions in the filthiest country on earth to get their pollution to “peak” in 15 years?

    The Chinese are using dirty industries, while making major efforts to expand their sustainable ones.

    These statements are always characterized as “signals” without any real substance. Granting a scenario where China “peaked” their emissions by 2030,

    Your failure to look at developments, does not mean they do not exist.

    Huge numbers of Chinese students are studying sustainable systems in western universities and many large projects are already under-way. There are also foreign university campuses in China as well as their own excellent ones.

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/courses/architecture-and-built-environment/sustainable-building-technology-%28nottinghamningbo%29-msc.aspx

    The MSc Sustainable Building Technology is currently offered in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology (CSET) at The University of Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus in China.

    The course is carefully structured to accommodate the interests and skills of those who are related to building design and technology and building energy and environmental performance.

    (The strong emphasis is targeted to successful integration of renewable and sustainable energy technologies into buildings, which requires an understanding of both design and technology and hence the close co-operation of architecture and engineering.

    The course is designed to allow discussion and exchange of information between different disciplines and encourages novel and imaginative solutions to the challenge of producing environmentally friendly buildings.

    it would take decades thereafter to bring them down to 2000 levels. That’s hardly a solution absent any binding agreement.

    All planning and construction projects take time to put in place – which is why we need to get on with them!
    Only theists and quacks, have instant magic-wand answers.

    It’s unlikely in the foreseeable future that any nation -especially the world powers will surrender national sovereignty to an international enforcement regime.

    Making and respecting international agreements by sovereign governments, has nothing to do with challenges to sovereignty! It is a matter of honesty and integrity – as with routine trade agreements.

    The situation in China is complex and quite different to Western problems. It has a strong central government which (right or wrong) can make rapid changes when motivated.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/china-sustainability-economy-environment-ecology

    • China’s issues of sustainability are not historically linked to private consumption as they are in the United States or western Europe; they are linked to the industrial processes that are supporting China’s economic development model.

    • China does not see emissions as a problem that must be dealt with immediately. With millions remaining in poverty, economic growth is still the priority.

    • The largest pressure China faces to solve sustainability issues comes from within. External pressures or concerns about the planet as a whole are secondary.

    Simply put, the issues that China faces are largely tied to economic development, the problems themselves are growing in size and frequency, and China will do what it takes to fix those problems in a way that considers the needs of its people first.

    As we have seen in recent years, China’s ability to manage stable growth and create a balance between economy, environment, and society has proven limited; nearly every day there are reports of another problem. This has the effect of creating a wider public awareness. In China, it is more personal, more tangible.
    Environmental and safety disasters are occurring in individuals’ own backyards, and this is moving people to demand more from their leaders.



    Report abuse

  • Your lack of research into the efforts being made, is no basis for amused dismissal of those signs of real progress.

    Signs or real progress are empirical measurements at benchmarks along a period of time. If pollution in Beijing was 10 units last year and it drops to 9.5 units this year that is real progress. Like pornography, we know what it is when we see it.

    The Chinese are using dirty industries, while making major efforts to expand their sustainable ones.

    Exactly – which side is going to win by 2050?

    Huge numbers of Chinese students are studying sustainable systems in western universities…
    • China does not see emissions as a problem that must be dealt with immediately. With millions remaining in poverty, economic growth is still the priority.

    Will the “huge numbers” of students in western universities teach the millions in poverty how to dig out of the hole? It’s the snarling dog with the wagging tail dilemma.

    • China’s issues of sustainability are not historically linked to private consumption as they are in the United States or western Europe; they are linked to the industrial processes that are supporting China’s economic development model.

    The Chinese historical issue of sustainability before the 1960s for the masses was a system of subsistence farming and soaring agrarian-culture birthrates that had delivered the venerated nation into abject poverty, famine and overpopulation. Both problems were addressed with rapid industrial-manufacturing expansion and the one-child policy after 1976 when Mao kicked the bucket. China is a paradox to be sure and like many developing nations today it has generated a growing middle class along with huge numbers still mired in poverty. In any event, it seems strange to say the middle class and above; indeed every Chinese family does not indulge or aspire to indulge in private consumption on the western model. Have you ever been in the home of a successful Chines businessman or businesswoman? Though reluctant, many Chinese, I speculate, would tell you that their country would be far down the road to sustainability had population stabilized between 200 and 300 million. (Instead of 1.3 billion).

    All planning and construction projects take time to put in place – which is why we need to get on with them! Only theists and quacks, have instant magic-wand answers.

    I agree completely. I also agree that “some” progress will be made no matter what. (The “smog” in Beijing is intolerable. The people will demand that the air be cleaned up.) I hope that the progress will be steady and rapid. I don’t pretend to have a magic wand but I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball either. No one can predict the future. We’ll have to measure real progress year by year. I suspect the solutions will come on line gradually as technology provides affordable and available clean energy on an economy of scale. An International Energy Agency report finds credible evidence that solar panel technology, decreasing exponentially in cost and increasing exponentially in production, could provide part of the answer consistent with these requirements.



    Report abuse

  • The build-up of heat continues!

    There is also clear graph on this link.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30311816

    This year is in the running to be the hottest globally and for the UK since records began, early estimates show.

    In the first 10 months of 2014, global average air temperature was about 0.57 Celsius above the long-term average.

    And the first eleven months in the UK have produced an average temperature 1.6C above the long-term.

    A separate study by the UK Met Office says the observed temperatures would be highly unlikely without the influence of greenhouse gases produced by humans.

    The global figures come in estimates from the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

    If this year’s current global trend continues for the next two months, the previous record years of 1998, 2005 and 2010 will be overtaken by a narrow margin.

    The Secretary-General of the WMO, Michel Jarraud, said the preliminary data for 2014 was “consistent with what we expect from a changing climate.”

    “The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century.”

    In unusually strong language, Mr Jarraud highlighted the impacts of the weather extremes.

    “Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere.”

    And he asserted that the new figures confirm the key trend in climate change: “There is no standstill in global warming.”



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile the consequences continue to build!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30252137

    .Sea-level rise and river engineering “spell disaster” for many of the world’s river deltas, say scientists.

    Half a billion people live in deltas, but the newly published research suggests many of these areas are set to be inundated by rising seas.

    Some of the lowest lying, including the Mekong and Mississippi, are particularly vulnerable.

    The paper is published in the journal Nature.

    Lower lying deltas, including the Mississippi, could be worst affected by rising sea levels (see maps on link)



    Report abuse

  • At the upcoming world conference on climate change in Peru, public relations should become a priority along with bold proposals. The public is starting to turn a deaf ear to the sound bite “hot enough for you yet?” People hunger for transparent encouraging reports on measures to mitigate the problem. Scolding people, rich or poor or in the middle, for consuming too much, burning too much fossil fuel which powers almost everything on earth, polluting too much – is a non-starter. The working stiff has to get to work. Fathers and mothers have children to feed, meals to prepare, homes to heat in winter and cool in summer, sons and daughters to send off to college, frequent air travel needs for business and vacation, etc. An informed public will be willing to make reasonable non-disruptive sacrifices -conservation, energy efficiency, recycling, and even some modest cost-of-living increases indexed to income but intrusive measures following on rude reprimands will only provoke uncooperative reaction. The popular mind loves solutions that are effective whose costs and benefits are clearly shown to them. Perhaps the conferring nations could create a well-funded “bank” whose sole purpose is to finance cost-effective research, development and projects on the ground designed to prevent billions of tons of carbon from spewing into the atmosphere annually. China, for example, that leads the world in solar power could demonstrate through worldwide media how it is tackling part of the problem with exponentially increasing output and installation of solar power in China. Visual images of solar power in action, whether generated from rooftops or centralized grid arrays, would spur the public’s imagination, enthusiasm and long-term commitment.

    Respectfully challenging “traditional” pro-natalist nations around the world, I believe that all countries in the world must reach a consensus on concerted public-policy efforts to bring birthrates down to replacement and somewhat below replacement levels over the coming decades. If world population grows another 3 to 4 billion, other actions undertaken to address global warming, resource depletion, pollution, militarized civil conflict and “culture wars” runs the unacceptable risk of becoming an exercise in futility. Unless global populations are reduced progressively over the next two hundred years to fall within a viable range for the planet’s carrying capacity (whose exact point is obviously unknown), then our species, if not doomed, will be consigned to the quality of life found on an ant heap.



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion Dec 4, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Meanwhile the consequences continue to build!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30252137

    The costs of doing nothing, he said, would be huge, with vast areas of land underwater, harbours unable to allow shipping and rich agricultural land destroyed by salt.

    “We [would] lose biodiversity, ecological services, damage economies and trade, and force people to migrate by not planning ahead.”

    Prof Paul Whitehead, an expert in river dynamics, from the University of Oxford, said the article was “fascinating” and summarised some key findings in deltas around the world.

    “My experience of working in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta in Bangladesh is that the same processes are at work,” he told the BBC.

    “Over half the world’s population live in flood plains or in deltas – that is why it is so important.”



    Report abuse

  • Melvin Dec 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    At the upcoming world conference on climate change in Peru, public relations should become a priority along with bold proposals. The public is starting to turn a deaf ear to the sound bite “hot enough for you yet?” People hunger for transparent encouraging reports on measures to mitigate the problem.

    There are lots of people working hard to advance progress on resolving sustainablity, even if the muppet press ignores or disparages them.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30277519

    ‘Future Earth’ platform outlines global change strategy

    A global initiative bringing together scientists across different disciplines has launched its strategy to identify key priorities for sustainability.

    The document outlines what Future Earth, launched at the 2012 Rio +20 Summit, hopes to contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    It has identified eight global challenges, including “water, energy and food for all” and decarbonisation.

    The strategy also focuses on the roles of policymakers and funding bodies.

    “Future Earth is a global research platform aimed at connecting the world’s scientists across the regions and across disciplines to work on the problems of sustainable development and the solutions to move us towards sustainable development,” explained Future Earth science committee vice-chairwoman Belinda Reyers.

    Dr Reyers – chief scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch, South Africa – said the strategy had been distilled down to eight “sustainability challenges”:

    Deliver water, energy and food for all

    Decarbonise socio-economic systems

    Safeguard the terrestrial, freshwater and
    marine natural assets

    Building healthy, resilient and productive cities

    Promote sustainable rural futures

    Improve human health

    Encourage sustainable consumption
    and production patterns

    Increase social resilience to future threats

    “Within each of the eight challenges, we have developed what we see as fundable research programmes that scientists and funding agencies can use as a starting point for building their programmes and strategies,” she explained.

    Dr Reyers explained the strategy aimed to build on the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process within the United Nations framework.

    The SDGs are the successor to the UN Millennium Development Goals, which come to end in 2015.



    Report abuse

  • I commend the scientists for defining eight crucial challenges that demand our focused yet comprehensive attention. Once more, however, they have left out family planning efforts or buried it in a sub-category where no one can see it and be offended.

    Strong offense is taken by those who equate birth control with the miserable failures of “population control” in the 70s or associate “family planning” unreasonably with China’s One Child Policy.

    More broadly and deeply, humans from all cultures have historically been socialized to internalize pronatalism; to welcome each new child, whether the 1st or the 13th, as a gift from God, or, in secular terms, the most precious manifestation of human life we feel in the instinctive core of our being.

    Societies, economies, political entities, cultures have all encouraged population growth as vital to growth, prosperity and survival with good reason that now must countered with other “good reasons.” Religious and cultural taboos against birth control and abortion persist in throwing up bitter opposition. Therefore we are programmed to attribute an inalienable [personal reproductive] right to every woman and man to have as many kids as they want -and can responsibly care for goes the unheard faint UN proviso. More belligerently we all succumb to the light trigger reflex, “it’s none of you goddam business how many kids a woman has!” And nowadays we’ve extended that reflex to…”or if she chooses to remain childless!”

    The good news is that global birthrates are falling to around replacement level in the second half of the century. The dreadful news is that demographers project the decline will occur at a slower pace, leaving at least 10 billion people instead of 9.3 billion to contend with by 2050.

    No coercion will be necessary to achieve stable or sub-replacement population. Under conditions of infant and childhood (under 15) mortality below 2%, mothers can virtually expect 100% survival rates for their offspring and birthrates will tend effectively to drop below two children on average. So what’s the problem?

    The problem derives from our bio-psychological instinct favoring pro-natalism grounded first in evolution and then history. Put another way we are “embarassed” to talk about limiting family size lest we be misconstrued by parents or prospective parents as presuming to “tell them how many kids to have.” Scientists, environmental activists, public policy makers all understand that birth control and abortion are the third rail of public discussion. Therefore everyone avoids it like a pious Jew or Christian avoids taking the name of God in vain. (Granted I’m using some hyperbolic license but when was the last time you heard Obama of Baener propose a numerical limit on the population of the United States through government subsidized family planning combined with reductions in annual net immigration?)

    Here’s the critique: Until and unless our species publicly recognizes the imperative of controlling our reproductive growth to bring about first the stabilization of population (zero-growth) and then population reduction to a global optimal number (“optimal” must be considered an abstraction up for debate. Personally I reckon optimal world population to fall between 2.5 and 3.5 billion.), then we are destroying the only foundation that can make possible the long-term effectiveness of the measures to meet the other eight challenges. I must tell you now that keeping population issues out-of-bounds, by not bringing human reproductive behavior and population to the center of the robust discussion about sustainability, survivability, and quality of life for our species on this planet – ALL OTHER EFFORTS WILL FAIL.



    Report abuse

  • For interest on the topic in general, and a little more grist for the deniers to worry about, although the “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts,” school of logic appears to apply, I ran across this at the World Maritime News website. WMN and the marine community in general are hardly in denial, and are actively planning for the day the the NW passage and the Russian Northern passage are routinely open.

    The headline is: “West Antarctic Melt Rate tripled in past decade.”

    http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/145693/west-antarctic-melt-rate-tripled-in-last-decade/?utm_source=emark&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20update%20World%20Maritime%20News%2C%202014-12-05&uid=2948



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile – further confirmation of something most of us knew!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-30389737

    .Australia was the worst performing industrial country in terms of climate change in 2014, a new report has said.

    The report by two non-government organisations said the poor ranking was due in part to policy changes made by the current coalition government.

    The Climate Change Performance Index ranks emissions and climate policies of the 58 highest CO2 emitters worldwide.

    It ranked Denmark as the best performing nation, followed by Sweden and the UK.

    .Saudi Arabia ranked last on the index.

    The report was published by Germanwatch and CAN Europe.

    It said Australia’s conservative government had kept its election promises to reverse a number of climate policies.

    “As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared with last year (2013), thus replacing Canada as the worst performing industrial country.”

    .Since it took office in 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government has scrapped a tax on carbon and wants to halve the country’s legislated renewable energy target.

    It has yet to secure enough votes in the senate to cut the target, which has created uncertainty for renewable energy investors.

    The Climate Change Performance Index is compiled with the help of about 300 energy and international climate experts and reviews each country’s national and international policies with respect to their efforts to avoid climate change.



    Report abuse

  • The nations attending the conference in Peru have a golden opportunity to make a significant dent in global carbon emissions because this time they will come armed with technology, not only effectively improved but also heading toward a critical mass of distribution necessary to accomplish reductions on an economy of scale. The two major obstacles might be (1) attracting investment capital coordinated with government subsidies/programs to fund the ramping-up -especially in developing or undeveloped countries, and (2) overcoming the inertia and resistance of the established fossil fuel infrastructure, both physical, economic and psychological. Global efforts at mitigation must take place within a constrained time frame so that emissions must be reduced by 30+% by 2050, a date only 35 years in the future. Some success here and some failure there that leaves the world where we are now would be disastrous.

    As a final thought, clean technology must be decoupled from per-capita emissions and pollution. The 30+% increase in population would wipe out proportionately “cleaner” technology if indexed to the increase in the [per capita] base in absolute numbers. We should keep in mind that the world’s people will not only be consuming more energy, they will be consuming much more per capita as economies and standards of living rise in the relatively poor world throughout the century. Simply put aggregate emissions from nations around the globe must approach zero as carbon neutral energy sources come to supply all-or virtually all- of the world’s energy demand.



    Report abuse

  • Perhaps there is a lesson here for “business as usual” climate threat deniers!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30453552

    .The former mayor of a French seaside town has been sentenced to jail for four years for ignoring flood risks before a storm that killed 29 people.

    .Rene Marratier hid the risks to La Faute-sur-Mer to avoid putting off property developers, the court said.

    The storm Xynthia hit western Europe in early 2010. The storm knocked down seawalls in La Faute-sur-Mer, leading to severe flooding.

    Marratier called the verdict “unjust” and said he would appeal.

    On Friday, the court said that Marratier knew La Faute-sur-Mer, a west coast resort in the Pays de la Loire region, was at risk of flooding.

    However, he “deliberately hid” the risk so that he could benefit from the “cash-cow” of property development, the court added.*

    Marratier’s deputy was jailed for two years.

    There seems to be a parallel in the US:-

    http://observer.com/2014/09/climate-change-fears-be-damned-hurricane-fears-cant-dampen-the-oceans-allure/

    The comments they’ve heard over the past few months represent two schools of thought regarding the best course of action in the wake of Sandy. On the one hand, real estate brokers, homeowners, developers and the government—from local municipalities all the way to the federal level—appear confident that the new regulations requiring greater flood protection will go a long way toward reducing the damage if (or when) another Sandy rears its head. On the other hand, a chorus of geologists, oceanographers and other science-minded folks warn that Sandy is just an overture. With climate change and the rising sea, they urge caution when it comes to building on the coastline or even retreating from it altogether.



    Report abuse

  • While scientific measuring techniques become ever more accurate, the increases in floods and droughts continue.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30510263
    Figures quoted by Nasa on Tuesday are for California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins – the state’s “water workhorses”.

    Unsustainable practice

    Grace data indicates total water storage in these basins – that is all snow, surface water, soil moisture and ground water combined – has plummeted by roughly 15 cubic km a year.

    This number is not far short of all the water that runs through the great Colorado River (nearly 20 cubic km), which is one of the primary sources for import into the state.

    Jay Famiglietti from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California said: “We’ve shown that it’s now possible to explicitly quantify previously elusive drought indictors like the beginning of the drought or the end of the drought, and importantly the severity of the drought in any point in time.

    “That is, we can now begin to answer the question: how much water will it take to end the drought?

    “We show for the current drought this quantity peaked in 2014 at 42 cubic km of water. That’s 11 trillion gallons, or about one-and-a-half times the volume of Lake Mead.*

    “So, no – the recent rains have not put an end to the current drought at all, but they are certainly welcome.”

    Rather worryingly, a lot of the deficit – two-thirds – is accounted for by reductions in ground water, which constitutes an unsustainable level of extraction.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.