Could Doubling CO2 Increase Earth’s Temperature by 9 Degrees C?

by Emil Morhardt

That is the assertion of a paper in Nature by Carolyn W. Snyder (Snyder, 2016) based on an analysis of the correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and changes in the global average surface temperature (GAST) over the past 800,000 years. Actually the assertion is that the 95% “credible interval” is 7 to 13 degrees Celsius (12.6 to 23 degrees Fahrenheit) Yikes! Even the current scientific consensus value of something on the order of 3 C (5.4 F) (Collins et al., 2013) is frightening when you consider that the difference in the GAST between the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago and at present wasn’t much different than that. Continue reading

Is (Was) Global Warming on Hold?

by Emil Morhardt

A glance at the graph above, from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/), shows that the last two time periods covered (encompassing 2015) are warmer than at any time since 1850. In the prior decade, however, there was much less upward trend, feeding speculation, particularly from climate-change deniers, that all of the warming we have seen since 1900 was largely unrelated to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. There was also speculation from other scientists that the apparent slowdown in warming was statistically “in the noise” and that, in time, there would be a rebound and that the monotonic upward trend since the mid-1970s would soon resume, as it now seems to have. Time will tell, of course, but mainstream climate scientists Fyfe et al. (2016) have just made a new analysis of the early 2000s warming slowdown and pronounce it real and probably largely attributable to the early 2000s’ negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) in which intensification of the trade winds lowered sea surface temperatures enough to offset the warming from the ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases.  Continue reading

Using Cloud Computing to Monitor Climate Change

by Tyler Dean

The department of Biomedical Engineering at the Adhiyamaan College of Engineering has proposed a system that provides monitoring benefits to a large number of users by deploying a collection of observed data over a long period of time. The system uses a combination of advanced technologies to collect comprehensible environmental data that can be accessed from any location online. The system requires sensors for air pollution, temperature and humidity of a selected place. The data acquisition system acquires the data of temperature, humidity, pollution of air including Illumination, dust, carbon dioxide, ultraviolet, wind direction, wind speed, air pressure and the altitude from remote sensing areas .The system can be used for intrusion detection, used to remotely monitor the conditions of a place, to determine the habitat of a place and to field conditions to specify which cultivation is suitable for a region. Continue reading

Effects of Alternative sets of Climate Predictors on Species Distribution Models and Estimates of Extinction Risk

by Kyle Jensen

As arid ecosystems have been recognized as being especially sensitive to climate change, they thus provide an appropriate system to assess the use of SDMs in estimating the threat of climate change to various species. Species distribution models (SDMs) can quantify relationships between species and environmental factors, and use this data to predict spatial distributions. SDMs are thus widely used to derive projections of species distribution under conditions of climate change. These models are correlative however, and as such are unable to identify causal species-environment relationships. They can only be used as supporting evidence for an existing hypothesis on factors affecting species distribution; as such the factors must be chosen as inputs for the SDM to function. Identifying the important climatic factors involved in determining the range of a given species is a key factor in assessing the potential effects of climate change on species distribution and extinction risk. Little research however has been done investigating the effects using alternative sets of climate predictor variables may have on the projections of SDMs. Pliscoff et al (2014) seek to examine this area of potential uncertainty, addressing the potential variability of SDM spatial projections and determination of extinction risks through the creation and analysis of several sets of environmental predictors. They found that by adjusting climate predictor variables they were able to significantly affect predictions of spatial distribution as well as, for the first time, extinction risk estimates. This implies greater variability in such studies than previously thought. Continue reading

Projected Atlantic Hurricane Surge Threat From Rising Temperatures

by Tim Storer

The ability to accurately predict and prepare for weather changes in the 21st century will be an invaluable asset to nations and policymakers across the globe, and because extreme hurricanes have traditionally been among the most destructive weather patterns, prediction of their patterns/intensities is useful. Because it is so difficult to directly predict storm activity, researchers have sought to take a roundabout approach: first investigate connections between local/global temperatures and past hurricanes, and then use future temperature predictions to predict future storms. Because the high winds associated with hurricanes are so closely accompanied by increased sea levels, called surges, the measured levels are a good measure of hurricanes. In addition, the researchers note that surge levels have shown to be better than wind speeds at indicating the damage potential of hurricanes. In the United States, the greatest hurricane threats are usually tropical storms along the eastern seaboard, and these storms are the primary focus. It has been widely predicted that global temperatures are expected to rise in the upcoming century, and researchers have now found that global temperatures are a surprisingly effective indicator of storm surge levels (Grinsted et al. 2013). Additionally, it was estimated that there would be many more Katrina-scale events in the upcoming decades, by at least a factor of two. Continue reading

Very Large Wildland Fires Predicted to Increase in Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest

by Emil Morhardt

In the middle of one of the worst fire seasons on record for Northern California comes a new modeling paper by scientists at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Idaho, and the US Forest Service Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory predicting no effect of climate change on Northern California Very Large Wildfires (VLWFs), but potentially large increases in them in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains under future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenarios. It may well be that the size of the Northern California fires won’t reach the threshold of 50,000 acres used in this study (the top 2% of wildland fires), but if these not-so-large fires are disturbing, then the prospect of even larger ones more frequently in much of the western US is even more so. Continue reading