The little ice age cometh – not!
You may have seen the headlines:
“Three different lines of evidence suggest that the sun, which is expected to reach its maximum sunspot and magnetic activity in the current cycle in 2013, might even be entering a prolonged quiet period similar to the so-called Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 in which virtually no sunspots were observed.”
While the SMH was quite responsible, Fox News maxed it up:
The New Scientist tells us that last year:
researchers modelled what would happen to global temperatures if a grand minimum started now and continued until 2100. They found that it would lower temperatures by 0.3 °C at most.
That isn’t a new ice age: it’s a slightly less severe heatwave.
Skeptical Science has more, including this graph:
See also RealClimate.
Pole-to-pole flights gather the data vital to predict climate change
There are no satellite measurements of CO2, and scientists are no longer satisfied with measuring it at isolated places like Mauna Loa on Hawaii. So the “Hippo” project has been mounted to sample 50 to 100 substances in the atmosphere, including CO2:
It will fly in regular up-and-down swoops, rising from an altitude of 1,000ft to a maximum of 45,000ft, and back down to 1,000ft. Between Anchorage and Hawaii, for instance, it will complete 28 dips, taking 150 air samples with each swoop. It will fly over the entire Pacific Ocean as far as the polar regions 85 degrees north and 55 degrees south, covering an area as far west as Australia and as far east as the Gulf of Mexico.
The purpose is to create dynamic models of how gases and other substances are represented and move in the atmosphere in order to improve the sophistication of climate models.
Hybrid cars based on flywheels
New Scientist reports on a new flywheel technology for hybrid cars based on flywheels rather than batteries. The flywheel is light, only 4.5 kilograms, but spins at up to 60,000 revolutions per minute to store energy recovered from the engine and braking. It does this in a vacuum, otherwise the friction would rip it apart.
The power is delivered back to the drive system via gearing based on magnets, which make no physical contact.
2010 data makes recent warming statistically significant
Back in February 2010 you might recall this interchange between Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and the BBC:
Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?
Yes, but only just.
Now, according to the New Scientist, the addition of the 2010 data makes the 1995-2010 trend statistically significant.
What Jones is really telling us is that if you want to understand climate trends look at longer periods. It’s just dopey to cherry pick short periods.
Institutional investors reluctant to deal with climate risk
According to an Investor Group on Climate Change report published this week, some 98 per cent of global asset owners see climate change as a material risk across their portfolios.
But this apparent level of concern hasn’t matched attempts to grapple with climate-related investment risks and opportunities. Only 57 per cent of the global players had managed to specifically refer to climate change in their investment policies.
For example, the $70 billion Future Fund has not discussed climate change at any formal meetings since 2007.
In a sense the new findings of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), a working group of the Arctic Council, tell us what we already know – the melting of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets is accelerating and the release of methane from permafrost is a worry.
The issue is to identify the “tipping point” at which “the melting of Greenland cannot be stopped any more”.
“Recent research seems to indicate it is lower than we thought. We thought it was around 3 degrees (Celsius) of [global] warming – and it’s quite likely we might reach 3 degrees. New research seems to suggest it is actually lower and it would actually be crossed at 2 degrees.”
They also estimate sea level rise by 2100 to be 0.9 to 1.6 metres, giving a medpoint, not a maximum, of about 1.2m.
Ocean heading for mass extinction
There was a link on another thread but in case you missed it the
oceans are in trouble from acidification, warming and dead spots where there is a lack of oxygen. It’s not just the ocean we need worry about. We face mass extinctions on the land also:
“If we barrel along as we are right now, there’s an increasing risk that we will be entering into one of these mass extinction events,” he said.
“This is where you essentially get a runaway set of conditions which will be very unsustainable as far as human or any other life that we have on the planet today.”
“This comes back to the fact that the ocean is central to the climate and conditions across the entire planet.”
Climate Progress has a post.
Research centre under fire for ‘adjusted’ sea-level data
This one keeps coming through in feeds, so we’d better deal with it. The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters, about the thickness of a fingernail, every year to its actual measurements of sea levels. The reasons relate to glacial isostatic adjustment.
Over the next century that would make a difference of about an inch.
If you were an evil scientist trying to cook the books, that isn’t how you’d go about it.
Yes, Michael Mann was involved in the research.