Warming Quicker, Not-So-Quietly

March 4, 2016

648909_9122271_lzOvercast awaiting some supposed-heavy rains this early Friday on California’s north coast — meanwhile, more than just idle chit-chat about the weather.

From Slate yesterday: ‘As of Thursday morning, it appears that average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have breached the 2 degrees Celsius above “normal” mark for the first time in recorded history, and likely the first time since human civilization began thousands of years ago. That mark has long been held (somewhat arbitrarily) as the point above which climate change may begin to become “dangerous” to humanity.
It’s now arrived — though very briefly — much more quickly than anticipated. This is a milestone moment for our species. Climate change deserves our greatest possible attention.’

A goodly reason: February 2016 was the hottest month on record, and don’t just blame El Niño.

(Illustration above found here).

Drought goes dry, even in California — from TimeOut Los Angeles on Tuesday: ‘We expected lots of rain this season, but instead we’ve been hit with the hottest February on record in Los Angeles. At an average high of 77.5 degrees, this February beat the previous record (which was back in 1954) by almost two degrees. Remember when you spent President’s Day weekend at the beach? Record heat spell, friends.’

Further from the Slate article:

There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level.
But this month’s data is so extraordinary that there’s no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.
Using unofficial data and adjusting for different base-line temperatures, it appears that February 2016 was likely somewhere between 1.15 and 1.4 degrees warmer than the long-term average, and about 0.2 degrees above last month—good enough for the most above-average month ever measured.
(Since the globe had already warmed by about +0.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels during the 1981-2010 base-line meteorologists commonly use, that amount has been added to the data released today.)
Keep in mind that it took from the dawn of the industrial age until last October to reach the first 1.0 degree Celsius, and we’ve come as much as an extra 0.4 degrees further in just the last five months.
Even accounting for the margin of error associated with these preliminary datasets, that means it’s virtually certain that February handily beat the record set just last month for the most anomalously warm month ever recorded.
That’s stunning.

And that record heat might be sourced with how the oceans store heat and release it. Supposedly, so much heat has been sucked into the oceans the last 18 years, even fueling claims of a global warming “hiatus,” but actually no, just awaiting.
Via Gizmodo: ‘But just because heat enters the deep ocean doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Which brings us to why climate scientists and meteorologists think we’ve been breaking temperature records nonstop for the past year: deep ocean heat is starting to rise.’

And the shit is just-now hitting the fan…

Add shit to that shit — some recent serious climate notes:

— Last week, from the UK’s Independent:

The rapidly warming Arctic could have a “catastrophic” effect on the planet’s climate, a leading scientist has warned.
Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in California, said there was a growing body of “pretty scary” evidence that higher temperatures in the Arctic were driving the creation of dangerous storms in parts of the northern hemisphere.
According to a graph on the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre’s website, there were 14.2 million km squared of sea ice on 24 February.
On an average year over the last three decades, it would take until about 29 April for there to be as little sea ice as temperatures warm in the spring.
Since about 10 February, the area covered by sea ice has been noticeably below any of the last 30 years as the Arctic has experienced record-breaking temperatures of about 4C higher than the 1951-1980 average for the region.
Dr Gleick posted the sea ice graph on Twitter with the message: “What is happening in the Arctic now is unprecedented and possibly catastrophic.”

Dr Gleick said one of the reasons he was interested in Arctic sea ice was the ongoing drought in California.
“We’ve had four years of severe drought and hoped that the current El Nino [weather system], the strongest on record, would bring relief in the form of strong precipitation,” he wrote.
“It hasn’t so far, and there are only about six to eight more weeks in our rainy season. One reason appears to be that storm tracks have gone far to the north because, possibly, of these very changes in the Arctic and atmospheric circulation patterns.
“I’m afraid we’re in for a fifth year of drought.”

— And from the same neck of the woods — via TakePart in January

Greenland’s melting ice sheets are contributing more water to the oceans than previously realized, and that’s going to lead to even greater amounts of sea-level rise around the world, according to new research.
The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, reveals something scientists wouldn’t have expected just five years ago.
“It’s a very rapid change,” said one of the study’s authors, William Colgan of York University in Toronto.
“The ice sheet is now losing about 8,000 tons every second, year-round, day in and day out.”

Experts said this new research adds to scientists’ knowledge of the fragility of Greenland’s ice sheet.
“The ice in Greenland is a big, complicated beast, but every time we have a new result lately it turns out it’s melting faster than we thought,” said Josh Willis, a NASA climate scientist who was not involved with the study.
“We’re seeing now more and more ways in which the Greenland ice sheet is disappearing faster than we thought.”
The situation might worsen.
That new ice layer in the firn is darker than the snow that would normally be there.
“That’s important because it absorbs more solar energy and makes the ice sheet melt faster,” Colgan said.

— Also last week, a results of a new study show that due to climate change, plants, trees, fish and other natural resources are on the move, shifting toward the poles, and with that alteration, a lost of ‘natural capital,’ the economic value of those resources.
From Newsweek and lead researcher Eli Fenichel, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:

“People are mostly focused on the physical reallocation of these assets, but I don’t think we’ve really started thinking enough about how climate change can reallocate wealth and influence the prices of those assets,” says Fenichel.
The study uses fish as an example, but natural capital can include plants, trees, and other assets valuable to humans.
“We don’t know how this will unfold, but we do know there will be price effects. It’s just Economics 101—prices reflect quantity and scarcity and natural capital is hard for people to move,” Fenichel says.
“It’s as inevitable as the movement of these fish species.”
“To be clear, the ‘gainers’ here are clearly better off,” he says.
“They’re just not more better off than the losers are worse off. The losers are losing much more than the gainers are gaining. And when that happens, it’s not an efficient reallocation of wealth.”
It’s sort of like taking a piece of birthday cake from one child and giving it to another child who already has cake, according to Fenichel.
One child undoubtedly stands to benefit more.
“But the kid who got the second piece of cake is going to be a lot less happier than the kid who lost their only piece of cake will be upset.”

Other than that…

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