Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2009

Antarctica joins rest of globe in warming

January 22, 2009

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— Antarctica, the only place that had oddly seemed immune from climate change, is warming after all, according to a new study.

For years, Antarctica was an enigma to scientists who track the effects of global warming. Temperatures on much of the continent at the bottom of the world were staying the same or slightly cooling, previous research indicated.

The new study went back further than earlier work and filled in a massive gap in data with satellite information to find that Antarctica too is getting warmer, like the Earth’s other six continents.

The findings were published in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

Comments

gr 6 years, 7 months ago

"The new study went back further than earlier work and filled in a massive gap in data with satellite information "Guess we can stop now since we searched long enough and found what we wanted.I hear things about the poles warming, the poles cooling, and this says it depends on what data you look at. What about the equator? Wouldn't it make sense that the equator would be getting warmer, too? I mean, if all this warming is going to kill off life that has been going on for years, wouldn't the equator be the first for things to start dying off from these future escalating temperatures?If not, why not?

Kirk Larson 6 years, 7 months ago

gr,You still don't understand the issue. It's not that we're all going to die or that the planet is going to burst into flame. But, effects of climate change will likely make life very difficult in many respects, some of which we haven't even imagined yet. Do you have a 401(k)? No doubt a lot of it is tied up in real estate on the coasts. If sea levels rise just a few feet, much of that will be worthless. There are small islands in the Pacific that are almost gone (they were only a couple feet above sea level to start with). Look at the North polar ice cap; there will be a Northwest passage soon. Local climates will change faster than farmers will be able to compensate. There are all sorts of effects that add up to a planet-wide flustercluck if we don't start reducing our emissions and restoring carbon sinks.

gr 6 years, 7 months ago

Cappy, you must be the one who thinks water piles up around islands."There are small islands in the Pacific that are almost gone (they were only a couple feet above sea level to start with)."Really? And how does the water not flood the coasts of the mainlands the same amount?"But, effects of climate change will likely make life very difficult in many respects, some of which we haven't even imagined yet."That's the problem. It's ALL speculation! No evidence. Not even islands "almost gone" because of rising sea levels."Local climates will change faster than farmers will be able to compensate. "That's what I'm asking for - evidence. Where do you think those local climates will be first? Or do you think the weather will vary from place to place from year to year?"There are all sorts of effects that add up to a planet-wide flustercluck if we don't start reducing our emissions and restoring carbon sinks."Evidence? Or speculation without evidence.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 7 months ago

Who woulda thunk that gr would see this article and begin posting crazy caveman nonsense? Wonders never cease.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Really? And how does the water not flood the coasts of the mainlands the same amount?"It does, and it will. But islands that are only a few feet above sea level, on all sides, with no sea walls, are the first to experience it."That's the problem. It's ALL speculation! No evidence. Not even islands “almost gone” because of rising sea levels."There's plenty of evidence-- enough to convince 90% plus of all climate scientists. You just prefer to disregard it by making a sweeping assertion, apparently based on no evidence."That's what I'm asking for - evidence. Where do you think those local climates will be first? Or do you think the weather will vary from place to place from year to year?"This is precisely the problem that global climate change presents-- unpredictability. When climate patterns become less predictable, we don't know where to plant crops, or which ones to plant, because we don't know what the temperatures or rainfall patterns will be; half of the world's population lives in coastal areas-- where do they go when their current homes, and jobs and farms, become flooded out? Think Katrina times 1000.

Trobs 6 years, 7 months ago

I hate this story. For the past 30 years Antarctica has been cooling. Satellite data confirms this. It has been a bane on the AGW idea. If the south pole isn't warming then it's hard to prove. This is no joke and I'm sure Bozo among others will scream and shout. The study that found Antarctica is warming went back and looked at 50 years of data. Only then do they find warming. Now. Fifty years ago there were far fewer stations monitoring temps and the majority of those were on the western part of the continent. This part of the continent is sepearated from the east by a mountain range that results is milder temps for the western edge. This is all true, google it. While the rest of the continent is stable or cooling the west has been heating up. This is possibly tied to volcanoes located on the western edge or even to actual global warming. The likely scenario is the volcanoes due to the rest of the continent maintaining temps.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"This is all true, google it."Google can lead to millions of results. If you are so convinced, why not provide the link that proves your contention?

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

"There are all sorts of effects that add up to a planet-wide flustercluck if we don't start reducing our emissions and restoring carbon sinks."I have little doubt the Earth is experiencing a fluctuation in climate as it has repeatedly through the millenia. I find it the height of human arrogance to believe 1) that in 150 years since the Industrial Revolution we've completely altered the world's weather patterns, AND 2) that we can again alter the climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Give me a break!That being said, I believe going green is an idea long past due and see no reasons not to pursue living cleaner. Makes good sense. But as long as we can get to oil and gas we'll be using it, don't kid yourselves.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

Trobs (Anonymous) says… Now. Fifty years ago there were far fewer stations monitoring temps and the majority of those were on the western part of the continent.Umm, yeah, which is why the study went through records of satellite data. Also, surprise, but the people who did the research also know a little about the mountain range and other aspects of Antarctica. Granted, different studies can find different results and I'd like to see this one replicated independently before putting stock in it, but please try to understand the methods used before criticizing them.Not sure if I can link the Nature article, but here is a bit more information if you are interested.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121144049.htmOK, first postulate: CO2 is a greenhouse gas. More of it leads to more heat retention. Who disagrees?

Trobs 6 years, 7 months ago

Taken from the press release from the University of Washington. They released the study. "The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations."They deduced the temperature. They did not actually record it. They guessed. Also. "But new research shows that for the last 50 years, much of Antarctica has been warming at a rate comparable to the rest of the world. In fact, the warming in West Antarctica is greater than the cooling in East Antarctica, meaning that on average the continent has gotten warmer, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Quaternary Research Center at the UW."That supports exactly what I said. They do not even consider the fact that volcano eruptions were found earlier this month under the ice in the western half, and they estimate the eruptions have been going on for 2,000 years. "West Antarctica is a very different place than East Antarctica, and there is a physical barrier, the Transantarctic Mountains, that separates the two," said Steig, lead author of a paper documenting the warming published in the Jan. 22 edition of Nature."Again, supporting my statement. http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=46448Exact link to the press release. They say exactly what I did, but they left out the part about volcanic activity

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"I find it the height of human arrogance to believe 1) that in 150 years since the Industrial Revolution we've completely altered the world's weather patterns, AND 2) that we can again alter the climate change by reducing carbon emissions."1) It doesn't take a "complete alteration" of the world's weather patterns (climate?) to have dramatic effects on the ability of humans and other species to continue to survive, especially in our current and increasing numbers. Regardless of what we do, the earth will continue to exist for many billions of years-- we just might not be here to witness it.2) If there is a cause to an effect, removing the cause can eliminate the effect. No so difficult a concept, really.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"They deduced the temperature. They did not actually record it. They guessed."There is a difference between deducing and guessing. I'd say this is fundamental flaw in your understanding of how science works.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

What's sad is that you likely believe that little fairy tale, SM.

Trobs 6 years, 7 months ago

Deduction is not recording a fact. I can deduce from facts how something happens. Like figuring out who killed who in Clue. You cannot deduce a temperature. Temperatures vary from place to place due to a multitude of variables. Especially at the south pole. Any deduction made is open to a huge amount of scrutiny. You could choose to make it go any direction. Without actual record of the temperature it is ultimately, a guess. You can argue this all day, but studying changes in the climate are done by monitoring factual data. Not guessing at what the numbers are. Thank you for the insult Bozo. I know it's not a conversation with you until you insult my intelligence.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

Trobs (Anonymous) says... They say exactly what I did, but they left out the part about volcanic activityYes, they did. They considered other factors as well. And they came to different conclusions. Hmmm.We both linked to press releases; press releases are not the research paper itself."They deduced the temperature. " Yes. Because the instrumental record is sparse, they mined satellite data that covered the whole continent. That involved some math interpolation because satellites do not directly measure ground temperature; they can't because there is this thing called an atmosphere between the ground and the satellite. To see if their math was any good, they compared their results with measurements taken directly. Their results matched closely enough to give validity to their information about places and times where there were no instruments.How much heat is given off by these volcanoes of yours and what indications do we have that their activity has increased in the last 100 years or so? How does the amount of increased heat output compare with the increase in heat observed.Let's go back to the first postulate.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Brilliant as ever, bozo. A poster backs up a statement with an article from NASA, and you call it a fairy tale. "2) If there is a cause to an effect, removing the cause can eliminate the effect. No so difficult a concept, really."Thank you, Mr. Wizard. Now can you explain why 1 + 1 = 2? The "If" and the "can" in your complex theorem are both highly arguable. Your "90% of climate scientists" is a load of crappola from this standpoint, by the way. It may be 90% that feel there's a climate shift underway, but it's a split on whether it's 'man-made'. And to all who, like the bozo here, believe we can effect the world's weather patterns by cutting back on emissions, just remember we don't control everyone else. India, China, Brazil, and a slew of developing Third World nations are booming (largely due to our influence on global free trade) and they're not gonna go back to their previous status, regardless of the reasons. I realize the U.S. is the biggest user and emitter of fossil fuels, but that still leaves 75% of the 'effect'. Do what we might, we ain't reversing the melting of the polar caps. It is the absolute pinnacle of arrogance to think we can adjust world ocean temps. Akin to believing a few guys with sandbags could've held back Katrina. Hell, a million with sandbags would've had the same effect as shootin' BB's at a tank. And Katrina is repeatedly held up as a 'result of global warming', like if we didn't use gas New Orleans may not have flooded. The city's 18' below sea level, for cryin' out loud!!!

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

Jaywalker,You are at least partly correct; it is a commons problem. It isn't in any individual's best interest to change what they are doing unless the majority changes their behavior. No one believes that everyone else will change; so, we all keep crapping in the river.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

The climate is an exceedingly difficult thing to measure, especially in Antarctica, where in most areas measuring stations have only been established over the last couple of decades.In the absence of direct measurements, scientists have gone to the next best tools available, from which they have deduced what the record has been. This is not just a "guess," although clearly you believe choosing a somewhat similar but inaccurate term makes it easier for you to make your unsupported assertions.Simply because you don't like their result does not mean that your favored conclusion, based on zero data, is better than theirs, which was based on the best data available.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

XD40, let's go back to the first postulate.

Trobs 6 years, 7 months ago

The Volcano was discovered just a few days before the release of the antarctic warming release. Odds are they didn't know about it or omitted it. I'm not going to make assumptions. The volcano in question has been assumed to be causing melting around it locale. However due to its recent discovery little has been found about it. When dealing with a record based science I do not put a lot of trust into deductions of records. Even with plenty of data from other sources you deductions can be wrong. To then use these deductions to make the statement that the continent is warming, that's a big risk. I agree that an independent study should be done to replicate the findings as well as look into the volcanic activity on surface temps. Many of the antarctic volcanoes are under ice and could easily raise the temps. As for CO2, I cannot disagree. I am not against cleaning up our act. However, we need to maintain a balance with "going green." Hopefully we can listen less to hypocrites like all Gore and build a renewable network without all the doom and gloom.

Trobs 6 years, 7 months ago

I didn't realize that XD40. Now I truly question the deductions with him having anything to do with it.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

cg,I agree that sentiment is popular, but that's not what I advocate. I do believe every little bit helps, especially considering the reduction of all sorts of U.S. residents 'waste' or trash. And I certainly love the idea of going 'greener', I mean, who wouldn't? It's just the common 'goal' of saving the world is such an American ideal these days and I find it misguided, although noble.Do our part, don't preach, and don't expect sweeping, world-changing results. Funny that as I write that it makes me think of President Obama as well! I look at it all in the same context as teaching children about character and humility. Character is what you do when noone's looking, humility is not expecting nor seeking attention for good acts. As Americans we can set the bar and strive for the ideal. You do it 'cuz it makes sense, it can't be anything but good for everybody, and you don't do it for recognition or respect. Going green because the 'sky is falling' just seems like another in a long line of "What can American's be afraid of now".

gr 6 years, 7 months ago

gr: “Really? And how does the water not flood the coasts of the mainlands the same amount?”bozo: "It does, and it will. But islands that are only a few feet above sea level, on all sides, with no sea walls, are the first to experience it."Cappy implied that islands are currently being affected by the rise. Saying "it will" does not answer how islands are currently and how they will be the first to experience it."There's plenty of evidence— enough to convince 90% plus of all climate scientists."So you don't really know, yourself. You have to read what the media tells you to think."where do they go when their current homes, and jobs and farms, become flooded out? Think Katrina times 1000."Ummm, bozo. How about above sea level, unlike New Orleans?"1) It doesn't take a “complete alteration” of the world's weather patterns (climate?) to have dramatic effects on the ability of humans and other species to continue to survive,"And the last ice age...? bozo, when has the climate not been changing?"2) If there is a cause to an effect, removing the cause can eliminate the effect. No so difficult a concept, really."What is the cause, what is the effect? That has not been shown.cg: "OK, first postulate: CO2 is a greenhouse gas. More of it leads to more heat retention. Who disagrees?"Ok, first you made the assumption that there are greenhouse gases which affect the earth's temperature. Second, which of these so called greenhouse gases are most abundant?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Ummm, bozo. How about above sea level, unlike New Orleans?"Sea level is simply the level at which the sea, or seas, are, on average (low tides and high tides making this an inexact measurement.) As glaciers melt, worldwide, but particularly in Greenland and Antarctica, sea level will rise, meaning that many places now above sea level will become below sea level, just like NO."Hopefully we can listen less to hypocrites like all Gore and build a renewable network without all the doom and gloom."Regardless of what you think of Al Gore, there either will or won't be consequences from global climate change. The best data and tools of analysis currently available tell us what those consequences could be very, very bad. Are you advocating censorship of this information?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Going green because the 'sky is falling' just seems like another in a long line of “What can American's be afraid of now”."How naive. Do you really think that people are going to make dramatic changes in their lifestyles for no reason at all? The only reason there is a "green" movement is because we have discovered that many of our technologies have serious negative side effects, global climate change being one of them. And yet you think we should all do the right think out of some pointless, arbitrary sense of altruism. With reasoning like that, I bet you made a perfect chairman for your high school prom's theme committee.

JSpizias 6 years, 7 months ago

JSpizias (Anonymous) says…Below are excerpts of the comments of Roger Pielke Sr. regarding this report.http://climatesci.org/2009/01/21/foll…Also check out the lecture given by another Colorado Climate Scientist, Dr. Richard Keen that presents some data on climate and “global warming”http://climatesci.org/2008/10/14/dr-r…Most will find it highly educational.Pielke's point 2 is especially relevant since we don't have good data regarding any change in temperature of our planet. See:http://www.surfacestations.org/Anthony Watts has an ongoing research effort to measure the quality of the thousand or more stations used to determine an “average” temperature for the US.“Follow Up On Today’s AP Article By Seth Bornenstein Entitled “Study: Antarctica Joins Rest Of Globe In Warming.….. I was asked by Seth Borenstein to comment on the paper (which he sent to me). ……I have read the paper and have the following comments/questions……………..2. Since the authors use data from 42 occupied stations and 65 AWSs sites, they should provide photographs of the locations (e.g. as provided inhttp://gallery.surfacestations.or/mai…) in order to ascertain how well they are sited. This photographs presumably exist. Do any of the surface observing sites produce a possible bias because they are poorly sited at locations with significant local human microclimate modifications?3. How do the authors reconcile the conclusions in their paper with the cooler than average long term sea surface temperature anomalies off of the coast of Antarctica? [seehttp://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/psb/eps/sst…. These cool anomalies have been there for at least several years. This cool region is also undoubtedly related to the above average Antarcticsea ice areal coverage that has been monitored over recent years; seehttp://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphe….4. In Figure 2 of their paper, much of their analyzed warming took place prior to 1980. For East Antarctica, the trend is essentially flat since1980. The use of a linear fit for the entire period of the record produces a larger trend than has been seen in more recent years. …. In the abstract they write,…“West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years”.However, even a cursory view of Figure 2 shows that since the late 1990s, the region has been cooling in their analysis in this region. The paper would be more balanced if they presented this result, even if they cannot explain why.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who thinks that climate change should result in a net homogeneous temperature increase across the planet's surface needs to do some more reading about climate change events in the past. If only it were that simple...

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

gr (Anonymous) says… "Ok, first you made the assumption that there are greenhouse gases which affect the earth's temperature."It isn't really an assumption, but let me explain.The earth is a kind of black body and black bodies absorb and emit radiation across all frequencies.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_radiationGasses like CO2 absorb and emit radiant energy within specific bands.http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/quantumzone/fraunhofer.htmlThe sun is a lot hotter than the earth; so, most of the energy it radiates is at a higher frequency than most of the energy that the earth radiates. CO2 has an absorption band that is outside of the fat part of the sun's radiant energy curve. So, most of the sun's energy passes through the CO2 unaffected. Some of what passes though is reflected by the surface and some is absorbed. Whatever energy is absorbed by earth is balanced (in time) by what is emitted. Since the earth is cooler than the sun, it emits most of its energy in the IR portion of the spectrum, which is lower in frequency and energy than the visible light we use to see. It happens that CO2's absorption band is smack in the fat part of earth's radiant energy curve. The energy that is absorbed by the CO2 is also emitted, and at the same frequency. What is emitted is emitted in a random direction; about 50% goes up and about 50% goes down. What goes down has the effect of rising the temperature of things below it.If there is some part of that which doesn't make sense, I can explain again.

TheOriginalCA 6 years, 7 months ago

In the 1970's it was global cooling and everyone who did not jump on the political bandwagon and subscribe to it was considered to ne whacko.. Then it was global warming and everyone who did not jump on the political bandwagon and subscribe to it was considered to ne whacko. Now that the politization of global warming is losing credibility, it has been changed to Climate Change, which is the new scare tactic buzz word. The only thing that is truly definitive and exact is that we need to reduce polution as much as possible. The atmosphere is remarkably effective at self mending as long as we don't pollute the environment more than we already do.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

As I said, based upon previous climatic shifts in the Earth's history, we cannot say that warming will result in overall warmer temperatures across the globe. It is my view that people are mistakenly putting the cart before the horse in this debate. By that, I mean that the last time global temperatures changed significantly (Pleistocene/Holocene transition), the winters became colder and the summers became hotter. Global warming was the cause, but "climate change" was the result. Many people are mistaking "global warming" as the result, when, in fact, it is the cause. Clear as mud?

jonas_opines 6 years, 7 months ago

jaywalker: "And I certainly love the idea of going 'greener', I mean, who wouldn't?"I could give you a list, but a lot of them get booted and come back under different names with great frequency.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

Solomon,Wrong on so many points I don't think I can cover them all; I'll just pick a couple."About 325,000 years ago, at the peak of a warm interglacial, global temperature and CO2 levels were higher than they are today. "http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/vostok.co2.gifHighest mark on this graph is around 295 ppm; today we are pushing 390 ppm."The reason that global CO2 levels rise and fall in response to the global temperature is because cold water is capable of retaining more CO2 than warm water. "So, I guess you'll agree that as the ocean temperature increases, which it is doing, the ocean will slow down its absorption of CO2. That should accelerate the increase in atmospheric CO2 we've been seeing."The ‘hockey stick’ graph shows an acute upward spike in global temperatures which began during the 1970s and continued through the winter of 2006/07. However, this warming trend was interrupted when the winter of 2007/8 delivered the deepest snow cover to the Northern Hemisphere since 1966 and the coldest temperatures since 2001."Not really, here is a composition of ~10 independent studies; something unusual seems to start happening between 1850 and 1900.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.pngLooking at more recent historyhttp://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/Yeap, the last year or two have dipped in comparison to the other recent years, but the larger trend is still going up. Judging by this graph, and using your logic that the recent years mark an end to the warming trend, global warming was over around 1950, over again around 1957, again 1965, 1976, mid 1980s, about 1992, in 2000-2001, and lastly, finally over in 2008. Whooh, I'm glad we can all relax now.Let's go back to my first postulate, above. What part of my 1:38 post did not make sense to you?

Chris Golledge 6 years, 7 months ago

Jeez Solomon, I'd given you credit for all that writing work above; I thought you had just sited a reference, not copied the whole article verbatim. Next time please just summarize for us.So, on the article, when do the authors predict it will start getting colder? Ten years from now? 100? 1,000? 10,000?

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