SiFi movie, “Day After Tomorrow” continues to play out in real life

The Day After Tomorrow was released in 2004 American it was a climate science fiction disaster film based on the 1999 book The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, the film starred Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and Sela Ward.  It was criticized at the time as too far fetch, maybe so, but ever since then, the main premise of the movie has been playing out.  

Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists! The decline in system underpinning Gulf Stream could lead to more extreme weather in Europe and higher sea levels on the US east coast

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that underpins the Gulf Stream, the weather system that brings warm and mild weather to Europe, is at its weakest in more than a millennium, and climate breakdown is the probable cause, according to new data.

Further weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could result in more storms battering the UK, more intense winters and an increase in damaging heatwaves and droughts across Europe.

Scientists predict that the AMOC will weaken further if global heating continues, and could reduce by about 34% to 45% by the end of this century, which could bring us close to a “tipping point” at which the system could become irrevocably unstable. A weakened Gulf Stream would also raise sea levels on the Atlantic coast of the US, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who co-authored the study published on Thursday in Nature Geoscience, told the Guardian that a weakening AMOC would increase the number and severity of storms hitting Britain, and bring more heatwaves to Europe.

He said the circulation had already slowed by about 15%, and the impacts were being seen. “In 20 to 30 years it is likely to weaken further, and that will inevitably influence our weather, so we would see an increase in storms and heatwaves in Europe, and sea level rises on the east coast of the US,” he said.

Rahmstorf and scientists from Maynooth University in Ireland and University College London in the UK concluded that the current weakening had not been seen over at least the last 1,000 years, after studying sediments, Greenland ice cores and other proxy data that revealed past weather patterns over that time. The AMOC has only been measured directly since 2004.

The AMOC is one of the world’s biggest ocean circulation systems, carrying warm surface water from the Gulf of Mexico towards the north Atlantic, where it cools and becomes saltier until it sinks north of Iceland, which in turn pulls more warm water from the Caribbean. This circulation is accompanied by winds that also help to bring mild and wet weather to Ireland, the UK and other parts of western Europe.

Scientists have long predicted a weakening of the AMOC as a result of global heating, and have raised concerns that it could collapse altogether. The new study found that any such point was likely to be decades away, but that continued high greenhouse gas emissions would bring it closer.

Rahmstorf said: “We risk triggering [a tipping point] in this century, and the circulation would spin down within the next century. It is extremely unlikely that we have already triggered it, but if we do not stop global warming, it is increasingly likely that we will trigger it.

“The consequences of this are so massive that even a 10% chance of triggering a breakdown would be an unacceptable risk.”

Research in 2018 also showed a weakening of the AMOC, but the paper in Nature Geoscience says this was unprecedented over the last millennium, a clear indication that human actions are to blame. Scientists have previously said a weakening of the Gulf Stream could cause freezing winters in western Europe and unprecedented changes across the Atlantic.

The AMOC is a large part of the Gulf Stream, often described as the “conveyor belt” that brings warm water from the equator. But the bigger weather system would not break down entirely if the ocean circulation became unstable, because winds also play a key role. The circulation has broken down before, in different circumstances, for instance at the end of the last ice age.

The Gulf Stream is separate from the jet stream that has helped to bring extreme weather to the northern hemisphere in recent weeks, though like the jet stream it is also affected by the rising temperatures in the Arctic. Normally, the very cold temperatures over the Arctic create a polar vortex that keeps a steady jet stream of air currents keeping that cold air in place. But higher temperatures over the Arctic have resulted in a weak and wandering jet stream, which has helped cold weather to spread much further south in some cases, while bringing warmer weather further north in others, contributing to the extremes in weather seen in the UK, Europe and the US in recent weeks.

Similarly, the Gulf Stream is affected by the melting of Arctic ice, which dumps large quantities of cold water to the south of Greenland, disrupting the flow of the AMOC. The impacts of variations in the Gulf Stream are seen over much longer periods than variations in the jet stream, but will also bring more extreme weather as the climate warms.

As well as causing more extreme weather across Europe and the east coast of the US, the weakening of the AMOC could have severe consequences for Atlantic marine ecosystems, disrupting fish populations and other marine life.

Andrew Meijers, the deputy science leader of polar oceans at British Antarctic Survey, who was not involved in the study, said: “The AMOC has a profound influence on global climate, particularly in North America and Europe, so this evidence of an ongoing weakening of the circulation is critical new evidence for the interpretation of future projections of regional and global climate.

“The AMOC is frequently modelled as having a tipping point below some circulation strength, a point at which the relatively stable overturning circulation becomes unstable or even collapses. The ongoing weakening of the overturning means we risk finding that point, which would have profound and likely irreversible impacts on the climate.”

Karsten Haustein, of the Climate Services Center in Germany, also independent of the study, said the US could be at risk of stronger hurricanes as a result of the Gulf Stream’s weakening.

“While the AMOC won’t collapse any time soon, the authors warn that the current could become unstable by the end of this century if warming continues unabated,” he said. “It has already been increasing the risk for stronger hurricanes at the US east coast due to warmer ocean waters, as well as potentially altering circulation patterns over western Europe.”

Dr Levke Caesar, of Maynooth University in Ireland, and the lead author of the paper, said sea level rises on the east coast of the US were another potential consequence. “The northward surface flow of the AMOC leads to a deflection of water masses to the right, away from the US east coast. This is due to Earth’s rotation that diverts moving objects such as currents to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere,” she said. “As the current slows down, this effect weakens and more water can pile up at the US east coast, leading to an enhanced sea level rise.”

The Guardian – Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

gettin’ too real: Make it hot – The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos

Scientists are telling us that we’re standing on a precipice

And we have to convert the global economy and make it emission-less

And those emissions are caused by every single one of our jobs

Every one of us contributing carbon emissions to the smog

For instance, if I write a rhyme tryin’ to describe climate change

And it’s hot, so it catches on, someone’s gonna fly me someplace

To perform it, and the appeal of that is enormous

It’s not an option for me to turn down work for global warming

 

‘Cause I make it hot, people say my rhymes are dope

I twist words until they’re unrecognizable

I make it hot, make it heezy fa sheezy

So hot even climate change skeptics will believe me

I make it hot, like the temperature it needs to be

Before the tea party will believe the IPCC

I make it hot, I liquefy the Greenland ice sheets

Seven meters of sea level rise, that’ll do nicely

 

And yeah, humans are adaptable, and we can toughen up

But that response ignores people who feel like it’s already tough enough

Make a list of countries that nobody visits as a tourist

They have low carbon emissions, the richest inflicted this on the poorest

We did it by heating our houses, and feeding our spouses

And flying and driving places and having no patience for power outages

The Pope calls it anthropocentric, he calls it obnoxious

But I got work to do, and work takes energy to accomplish

 

And I make it hot, I turn up the heat on the crowd

You make it hot too though, so don’t try to be weaseling out

I make it hot like the African sun

Like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

I make it hot, feel that bass when it vibrates

Hot like the permafrost releasing methyl hydrates

I make it hot, like a planet with low albedo

Like me rockin’ a trench coat on a beach instead of a speedo

 

Hot with no apologies, but still I’m feelin’ a lot grief

For the impact my lifestyle has on the planet’s ecology

My carbon footprint is bigger than crypto-zoology’s

I’m talkin’ Loch Ness monstrous, so I’m not at peace

Because the aggregate effect of every decision I’m makin’ is tragic

But I can’t just quit, they say that we’re “carbon emission addicts”

But that’s just glib, you want me to live in poverty abject

And if I did, what happens to greenhouse gasses on average?

If I quit and you don’t, it’s still hell in a hand-basket

A traffic jam with no plan of action, fantastic

This is a classic arms race that we’re trapped in, it’s ominous

Self-interested parties stuck in a tragedy of the commons

The problem is caused by our collective emissions of carbon

But the person who emits is not the person emissions are harmin’

So it’s a failure of the market, everyone is incentivized

To pollute as much as they can get away with, and catch a free ride

So it’s no surprise to see emissions on the rise

When the cost of burning fossil fuel is externalized

It’s effectively subsidized, it’s paid for by the victims

Of the eventual climate impacts caused by our emissions

And Bill McKibben and the Guardian have been targeting investments

Like: Dirty energy is the new tobacco, so keep your distance

From anybody makin’ a profit off of fossil fuels

Cool, I’m down with the boycott, I’m just boycotting myself too

 

‘Cause I make it hot, I cause a heat wave

How about nine degrees hotter than the hottest ones these days?

I make it hot, like climate refugees

Picture a hot hundred million displaced Bangladeshis

I make it hot, split flames, rap metaphors

A five-alarm blaze killing the last redwood forest

I make it hot, I make it six degrees

Causing the extinction of forty percent of species

 

Hot! So what are we left with?

A speeding train with no brakes, some kind of a death wish?

A scientific consensus that we’re standing on a precipice

And a population with no idea of how to reduce their emissions

Some people do offset their footprint voluntarily

With the milk of human altruism, hope, faith and charity

But that’s not gonna cut it – it’s not counterproductive

But we got a global carbon budget and it’s globally busted

 

And there are hundreds of gigatons that you would have to offset

You might as well donate your piggy bank to the national debt

I ain’t got no spare change to donate to carbon offsetting

I don’t even want to calculate my footprint, I find it upsetting

It’s like the medieval Catholic church, back when it was indulgence-selling

If you get a big mac and a diet coke, your belly is still swelling

 

But here’s what I’m willing: I’m willing to pay a tax

A fee that’s calculated against my carbon impacts

And globally harmonized to switch incentives around

And make sure most of that carbon stays safely underground

But I’m not gonna pay it, not unless you all pay it too

That way I can be sure that you’ll do what you say you’ll do

How about everyone has to pay it, no free riders allowed

No international pact with the US or China left out

You can invest it in green R&D, or you can dividend it back to me

But either way I won’t be happy until the day they’re carbon taxing me

‘Cause then I can make it hot, without ever feelin’ a chill

I’m sick of the guilt trip killin’ my high when I’m feelin’ a thrill

So I make it hot, I get your emotions aroused

If we can’t make those hot, we’re not gonna keep the oceans down

So let’s make it hot, people, let’s turn up the heat

On polluters tryin’ to catch a ride on all the rest of us for free

I make it hot on the mic and in my social life

When I agitate for my friends to agitate for a carbon price

 

And that’s how you make it hot

From The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos, released September 30, 2016

Written by D. Brinkman and D. Moross

 

If you don’t read anything else……….you need to read this

16,000 scientists sign dire warning to humanity over health of planet

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked ways to help the planet.

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

That letter made headlines 25 years ago, but the world still faces daunting environmental challenges. So environmental scientist William Ripple and his colleagues decided to create a new letter that has also struck a nerve. Since it was published in the journal BioScience on Monday, hundreds more scientists have signed on to the letter.

The letter essentially says that if there is not a groundswell of public pressure to change human behavior, the planet will sustain “substantial and irreversible” harm.

“This is not about some natural phenomenon that is removed from humans,” said Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University. “If we don’t have a healthy biosphere, as it is called, if we continue to have major environmental problems and climate change problems, then this goes directly to the welfare of humans. People need to understand that we are trying to save ourselves from catastrophic huge misery.”

Though there have been a handful of positive changes, current data show that many environmental problems have gotten “alarmingly” worse since the last letter was penned.

Since 1970, carbon dioxide emissions have increased sharply, by about 90%. About 78% of that comes from fossil fuel combustion, such as through the use of coal to heat our homes and driving cars that use gas, and through basic industrial processes and human activity which accounts for the majority of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

That human activity has helped raise the global average temperature. 2016 was the warmest year on record, according to NASA. In fact, the 10 warmest years on the 136-year record have occurred since 1998, according to the most recent data available.

Though the Trump administration has said climate change programs are a “waste of your money” and that climate change itself is an “expensive hoax,” the data suggest that temperature increases will probably cause a shortage in the world’s food crops. The weather will become more damaging, with more intense storms. Sea levels will rise and threaten coastal cities like Miami and New Orleans.

The new letter lists data showing a 75% increase in the number of ocean dead zones since the publication of the first letter. Dead zones are the areas in oceans, large lakes and rivers where marine life either dies or is driven away because the zone lacks sufficient oxygen.

Although dead zones can occur naturally, they are created largely by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities like farming and industrial pollution, according to the National Ocean Service. There are many along the US East Coast and in the Great Lakes, and the second largest in the world is in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists believe there are at least 405 dead zones worldwide, including near South America, Japan, China and southeast Australia.

That’s not merely bad news for the fish that live there; it is bad news for the humans who eat the fish and other seafood that need the fish to survive. The dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay, for instance — which measures 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools — results in the loss of tens of millions of fish, which both humans and crabs eat. It threatens the oysters there, too.

Despite the challenges there, the proposed Trump budget would cut cleanup funds for the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and other bodies of water with dead zones.

There has been an increasing appetite for fish, but it is getting harder to catch them. The recent revision of the US dietary guidelines urged Americans to eat more fish for heart health and weight control. More people have started to see the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which also emphasizes fish over meat.

The fishing industry has upped its efforts, but there has been a large drop in the harvest of wild-caught fish. In fact, a 2006 study found that all species of wild seafood could collapse within the next 50 years if more isn’t done to protect these populations. About 2,300 species of fish are listed as endangered or threatened according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In earlier research, scientists also predicted that this drop could compromise people’s need for protein and for micronutrients, particularly in developing nations. Already, 45% of deaths among children under age 5 is due largely to health problems caused by undernutrition according to a 2013 study.

Earth has seen a 26% reduction in the amount of fresh water available per capita since the 1992 letter. If conservation efforts and industry levels of pollution don’t change, UNESCO predicts that the world will face a 40% global water deficit by 2030.

Population growth, industrialization, urbanization and an increase in water consumption have threatened our freshwater sources significantly, research shows.

Currently, 20% of the world’s aquifers are being over-exploited.

Investment in water infrastructure has gone up globally and in the US, but some scientists question whether that investment will be enough.

Between 1990 and 2015, the world has lost 129 million hectares of forest land — an area about the size of South Africa.

Most deforestation has happened in tropical areas, but the US has also lost significant forest land. Studies have projected that with US population growth continuing as predicted, the country could lose 50 million more acres by 2050.

Trees aren’t merely pretty; they help clean the air and water, provide lumber for construction, create habitats for animals and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

There is some hope when it comes to forests though, as studies have shown that deforestation has slowed and more forests are better managed globally, suggesting that if humans put their minds to it, negative environmental trends can change.

There has been a 35% increase in the human population since the 1992 letter, putting a strain on the increasingly limited number of available natural resources. That trend is not expected to change anytime soon.

Researchers predict that there will be nearly 10 billion people living on Earth by 2050, according to the United Nations, with much of the population growth occurring in developing nations with the highest fertility rates but also the lowest food security.

Progress has also been seen when it comes to slowing growth, in the form of increasing education for women and girls and concentrated family planning efforts.

There has been a nearly 29% collective reduction in the number of animals in the world since the 1992 letter. Scientists say we are living in the sixth mass-extinction event, which means three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries.

A 2017 publication also looked at a well-studied group of 177 mammal species and found that all of them had lost at least 30% of their territory between 1900 and 2015; more than 40% of those species “experienced severe population declines,” meaning they lost at least 80% of their geographic range during that time. Put another way: This particular extinction is “more severe” than previously thought.

n the past 25 years, ozone depletion is the one significant positive trend.

There had been a steady decline in the Earth’s ozone layer, caused in part by gasses released by aerosol spray cans and refrigerants, reducing the ozone layer’s ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation.

After 1987, when the world’s governments came together to craft the United Nations Montreal Protocol, emissions of ozone-depleting gasses decreased significantly. The ozone is expected to see a significant recovery by the middle of the century.

The effort to help the ozone is one example, Ripple said, that when people come together to work on something, they can make a huge impact. That’s what he hopes the new letter will accomplish.

In addition to seeing more scientists sign the letter after its publication, Ripple has been overwhelmed by the number of other people who have reached out, some sending poems and songs that they have created about the environment, and pledged to help.

Ripple and his co-authors aren’t sure what the next steps will be, but like many a manifesto writer before him, he is hopeful, despite the dire tone of the letter.

“I’m an optimist,” he said. “My hope is that this letter triggers a worldwide conversation about these environmental and climate trends and perhaps more fundamentally that it can raise people’s awareness of the seriousness of global environmental problems so we can come together. It is so important to work together as a human race to make a sustainable future on planet Earth.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/health/scientists-warn-humanity/index.html

End of the world? THOUSANDS of Scientists issue bleak warning about future of mankind

16000 Scientists Sign Dire Warning to Humanity Over Health of Planet

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice | BioScience | Oxford Academic

As the Climate Catastrophe continues expanding here’s a slight glimmer of hope.

monks-solar

China’s installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity more than doubled last year, turning the country into the world’s biggest producer of solar energy by capacity, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Saturday.

Installed PV capacity rose to 77.42 gigawatts at the end of 2016, with the addition of 34.54 gigawatts over the course of the year, data from the energy agency showed.

Shandong, Xinjiang, Henan were among the provinces that saw the most capacity increase, while Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia had the greatest overall capacity at the end of last year, according to the data.

China will add more than 110 gigawatts of capacity in the 2016-2020 period, according to the NEA’s solar power development plan.

solar-roof-large

Solar plants generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power last year, accounting for 1 percent of China’s total power generation, the NEA said.

The country aims to boost the mix of non-fossil fuel generated power to 20 percent by 2030 from 11 percent today.

China plans to plough 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Helen Popper)

Unlike bogus President “Tweet’ler” the Science don’t lie.

New study confirms NOAA finding of faster global warming

Thomas Karl and colleagues were harassed by Republicans for publishing inconvenient science. A new study proves them right.

lamar-smith-r-tex

Doofus & House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. Photograph: Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Im

A new study has shown that a 2015 NOAA paper finding that the Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct.   http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1601207

Once again, science is shown to work. The laborious process in which scientists check and recheck their work and subject their ideas to peer review has led to another success. An independent test of global warming data has confirmed a groundbreaking 2015 study that showed warming was faster than prior estimates.

Because of its inconvenient findings, the study’s lead author Thomas Karl was subjected to harassment by Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science Committee, in an effort to impugn his credibility. But now Karl and his co-authors have been vindicated.

Let’s take a step back and discuss the science. Measuring the temperature of the Earth is hard. There are many locations to measure and many choices to make. Should we measure the temperature of the ground? Of the ocean waters? How deep in the water? If we measure air temperatures, what height should the measurements be taken? How many locations should we make measurements at? What happens if the instruments change over time or if the location changes? What happens if a city grows near a measurement location and the so-called urban heat-island effect grows? How do we estimate the temperatures in areas where no measurements exist?

These and many other questions make measuring global warming challenge. Different groups of scientists make different decisions so that depending on the institution, they will get a slightly different temperature result.

But this diversity is also a good thing. It turns out that it doesn’t matter whose results you use – NASA, NOAA, The Hadley Centre in the UK, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, or the Berkeley Earth group – they all report a warming world. However, the rates are slightly different. So, one persistent question is, which group is most accurate? Whose methods are best?

The new study looks into just this question. The group focused on perhaps the biggest differences among the groups – how they handle ocean temperatures. Specifically, global temperature values typically use a combination of near-surface air temperatures in land regions and sea surface temperatures in ocean regions. Since oceans cover approximately 70% of our planet, the way ocean temperatures are dealt with can separate the warming rates between these groups.

Ocean temperatures can be measured by ship-based temperature sensors, by special floating measuring instruments, or by satellites. Prior to the advent of satellites and floating sensors, ships were the main temperature sensing platforms. Ship sensors, which measure engine intake water, are known to be slightly warmer than the actual water. So using them introduces a warm bias in the measurements.

Also, as ships have gotten larger, the depth of the engine intakes have increased – meaning the tested water was further from the actual ocean surface. Since the temperature results from buoys differs from ship measurements, the various scientific groups have tended to try to perform corrections between the different sensors. The way the correction is done affects the reported warming rate.

The authors recognized that one of the biggest questions is how to stitch together different temperature results from different sensors. Therefore, they broke the temperature data up into groups according to the measurement device (buoys, satellites, ARGO floats, ships, etc.) and they evaluated warming rates separately for each group. The authors also used advanced statistics to handle areas where no data were recorded.

After applying their tests, the authors found that the results promoted by Karl at NOAA are the best, and other groups, in particular the Hadley Centre in the UK and the Japanese agency, are too cold.

So what does this all mean? A few things. First, this study is a nice reminder that the proper way for science to work is for publications to be scrutinized and checked by others. This process leads the entire scientific community to a deeper understanding of the science.

Second, this validates the scientists who were originally attacked by political non-scientists and in some cases by contrarian scientists. For instance, Judith Curry, a well-known critic of mainstream climate science was quoted as saying:

The new NOAA dataset disagrees with a UK dataset, which is generally regarded as the gold standard for global sea surface temperature datasets … The new dataset also disagrees with ARGO buoys and satellite analyses … Color me unconvinced.

I actually study ocean temperatures so I knew this statement by Judith Curry was complete nonsense. It is nice to see a team actually take the time to prove it. Perhaps she and others will finally admit they were wrong.

This paper is another reminder why it is so important to invest in the temperature measurements that are needed to create long-term climate records. We really need uninterrupted measurements that span many years/decades if we want to truly understand the Earth’s changing climate. Even though the costs of making these measurements are very small compared to what we spend on other less important activities, I am concerned that the new US administration will decide to pull the plug on these projects. If that happens, we will be flying blind.

Finally, and for those who read my posts regularly, I am sounding like a broken record. Global warming is happening, it never stopped, it never paused, and the models have gotten it right.

It reminds me of a debate between creationists and scientists. One scientist whose name I cannot remember stated, “we have the fossil record, we win.” Well, a similar quote works here. “We have the data, we win.” Now let’s move on to solving the problem.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/jan/04/new-study-confirms-noaa-finding-of-faster-global-warming

 

Scientists say the global ocean circulation may be more vulnerable to shutdown than we thought

global-ocean-currents

Play video:

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/bb26b6bc-d31c-11e6-9651-54a0154cf5b3

Intense future climate change could have a far different impact on the world than current models predict, suggests a thought-provoking new study just out in the journal Science Advances. If atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to double in the future, it finds, a major ocean current — one that helps regulate climate and weather patterns all over the world — could collapse. And that could paint a very different picture of the future than what we’ve assumed so far.

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, is often described as a large oceanic conveyor belt. It’s a system of water currents that transports warm water northward from the Atlantic toward the Arctic, contributing to the mild climate conditions found in places like Western Europe. In the Northern Atlantic, the northward flowing surface water eventually cools and sinks down toward the bottom of the ocean, and another current brings that cooler water back down south again. The whole process is part of a much larger system of overturning currents that circulates all over the world, from pole to pole.

But some scientists have begun to worry that the AMOC isn’t accurately represented in current climate models. They say that many models portray the current as being more stable than real-life observations suggest it actually is. Recent studies have suggested that the AMOC is weakening, although there’s some scientific debate about how much of this has been caused by human activities and how much by natural variations.

Nevertheless, the authors of the new study point out, many climate models assume a fairly stable AMOC — and that could be affecting the predictions they make for how the ocean will change under future climate change. And because overturning circulation patterns have such a significant effect on climate and weather all over the world, this could have big implications for all kinds of other climate-related projections as well.

“This is a very common and well-known issue in climate models,” said the new study’s lead author, Wei Liu, a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, who conducted the work while at the University of California at San Diego. “I wanted to see, if I use a corrected model, how this will affect the future climate change.”

Liu and colleagues from the UC-San Diego and the University of Wisconsin at Madison took a commonly used climate model and corrected for what they considered to be the AMOC stability bias. Then they ran an experiment to see how the correction would affect the model’s projections under future climate change. They instantaneously doubled the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from present-day levels in both the corrected and uncorrected models, and then they let both models run for hundreds of simulated years.

The differences were striking. In the uncorrected climate model, the AMOC weakens for a while, but eventually recovers. In the corrected model, however, the AMOC continues to weaken and after 300 years, it collapses altogether.

In a commentary also published today in RealClimate, Stefan Rahmstorf, an oceans physics expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, explained how such a collapse could occur when the AMOC gets too weak.

“Freshwater continually flows into the northern Atlantic through precipitation, rivers and ice-melting,” he wrote. “But supply of salty waters from the south, through the Gulf Stream System, balances this. If however the current slows, there is less salt supply, and the surface ocean gets less salty.”

Because freshwater is less dense than salty water, this process can lead to a kind of stratification, in which the lighter freshwater gets stuck on the surface of the ocean and can’t sink to the bottom when it reaches the cooler north. When this happens, the overturning process that drives the current back down south again can’t occur.

“There is a critical point when this becomes an unstoppable vicious circle,” Rahmstorf wrote. “This is one of the classic tipping points in the climate system.”

The resulting climate consequences, compared to the uncorrected model, are also dramatic. Without the usual transport of warm water into the north, the corrected model predicts a marked cooling over the northern Atlantic, including in the United Kingdom, Iceland and northwestern Europe, as well as in the Arctic, where sea ice begins to expand.

Because the AMOC is part of a larger global conveyor system, which ferries warm and cold currents between the equator and both poles, the model predicts disruptions in other parts of the world as well. Without cold water moving back down south again, the corrected model indicates a stronger warming pattern south of the equator than what’s predicted by the uncorrected model, causing a polarization in precipitation patterns over the Americas — more rain for places like northeastern Brazil and less rain for Central America. The model also predicts a greater reduction in sea ice for the Antarctic.

All this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we thought we knew about the future climate is wrong. For one thing, most modern climate projections focus on the next few decades or so, noted Thomas Haine, an expert on ocean circulation at Johns Hopkins University. And within 50 years or so, both the uncorrected and corrected models in the new study produce similar results. It is only after that, under extreme warming, that the current shifts.

Liu also cautioned that certain aspects of the experiment can’t exactly be considered realistic — for instance, instantaneously doubling the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Current climate efforts are aimed at keeping us from ever getting to such a point — but even if we did, the process would happen gradually, not overnight. So the model’s outcome might have been different if the researchers had adopted a more realistic scenario.

Haine also suggested that the correction in the new study may have actually been a bit too strong, compared to actual observations — in other words, the modeled AMOC is “probably more unstable than the real system,” he said.

Rahmstorf also pointed out this issue in his commentary — but he added that the climate model used also did not account for an influx of meltwater from Greenland under future climate change, an event that recent research suggests could substantially speed the AMOC’s weakening.

“With unmitigated emissions . . . the Gulf Stream System weakens on average by 37 percent by the year 2300 without Greenland melt,” he notes. “With Greenland meltwater this doubles to 74 percent. And a few months ago, a study with a high-resolution ocean model appeared, suggesting that the meltwater from Greenland is likely to weaken the AMOC considerably within a few decades.”

The fact that current models don’t take this melting into account is further support for the idea that scientists have been underestimating the risk of a future AMOC collapse, he suggested.

According to Liu, the new study serves to make a point about the dramatic effects that can occur when corrections are made in climate models, as well as the AMOC’s major role in the global climate. By tweaking a climate model to make it more consistent with real-life observations, very different outcomes may be observed, Liu noted.

“I would say that it is reasonably well-accepted that a current generation of climate models [is] missing the essential physics in representing the AMOC,” said Haine. And he added that the new study “points to the need to fix these biases in the climate models.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/04/scientists-say-the-global-ocean-circulation-may-be-more-vulnerable-to-shutdown-than-we-thought

Faced with the threat of global climate disruption we’re making big changes right?

cute kittens

Most people in this country are secure in their little social media cocoons and just assume that somebody, somewhere is taking care of the big problems.
Well if you’re one of those folks, excuse the interruption of your blissful ignorance, but:

Coal’s share of energy market is at highest level since 1970.

Use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel.

Coal has reached its highest market share of global energy consumption for more than 40 years, figures reveal, despite fears that its high carbon emissions make it a prime cause of climate change.

The use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel – while its share of the market breached 30% for the first time since 1970, the BP Statistical Review reports.

The figures were published as Prof Nick Stern, author of the influential climate change report the Stern Review.  He said his latest research indicated the economic risks of unchecked climate change were bigger than previously estimated.
The campaign for “clean coal” has been successful, and most American’s don’t understand the pollution that burning coal produces.

Oh well, never mind.  Go back to your facebook/twitter dreams.  Look at the funny cats on youtube and act surprised when you hear that there was an election recently.  It will all work it’s way out, one way or another.

Don’t worry about global climate disruption; you should be really worried about ISIL

Don’t worry about Global Climate Disruption; you should be really worried about ISIL