24 Global Warming News Articles
for January of 2016
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
1-29-16 Climate change: Does 2015 prove it’s real?
Climate change: Does 2015 prove it’s real?
“For those still unconvinced about the reality of climate change, the year that just ended should erase any doubt,” said Jason Samenow in The Washington Post. In a joint announcement, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed last week that 2015 was the warmest year on record for the planet. Not so fast, said Patrick Michaels in The Wall Street Journal. Until last summer, most scientists agreed that warming reached a peak in the late 1990s, and then plateaued in a “pause” or “hiatus.” That conspiracy theory is ridiculous, said Scott Johnson in ArsTechnica.com. Surface temperature data has to be adjusted to reflect the fact that different weather stations use different equipment and methods. (Webmaster's comment: Read the full article.)
1-29-16 Decades-long heatwaves may hit Europe as climate change bites
Decades-long heatwaves may hit Europe as climate change bites
A study of European climate over the past 2000 years suggests the continent faces a future of rollercoaster extremes. Buckle up. Europe is in for a bumpy ride as climate change gathers pace. The continent could in future swing between climate extremes, including bursts of super-heatwaves that last for decades, according to an analysis of temperature data from the past 2000 years. The study, which used tree ring data and other proxies for temperature, is the most detailed look at historical temperatures ever conducted for any continent.
1-29-16 Europe's recent summers were the 'warmest in 2,000 years'
Europe's recent summers were the 'warmest in 2,000 years'
The past 30 years in Europe have likely been the warmest in more than two millennia, according to new research. The study used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years. Scientists say that past natural variability in temperatures was greater than previously thought. As a result, climate models may be underestimating the frequency and severity of heat waves in the future. According to the study, Europe has seen an increase in summer warming of 1.3C between 1986 and 2015. In this period there has also been an increase in severe heat waves, most notably in 2003, 2010 and 2015.
1-28-16 How reality silenced the climate change deniers
How reality silenced the climate change deniers
The weather has done what reason could not. The data came in last week, and as had been expected, 2015 was measured as the hottest year ever recorded — whether you ask NASA, NOAA, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the UK's Hadley Centre, or Berkeley Earth — beating the previous record set only last year. A few days later, a gigantic blizzard smashed the eastern seaboard from New York to D.C., setting multiple snowfall and flooding records. The press and climate scientists gave these their typical examination, and came to the usual conclusion. The temperature record was certainly caused by humanity's release of greenhouse gases, while a decent circumstantial case can be made that the blizzard was partly caused by climate change-induced disruptions in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. One traditional part of this routine was missing, however: the usual chorus of climate deniers and trolls nitpicking the data and/or loudly accusing the entirety of the scientific establishment of fraud. Some were still there, but they were notably quiet, particularly compared to previous denier frenzies like the "Climategate" mess. It demonstrates that climate denial really can be subdued — but not through argument, through demonstration and sheer social trench warfare.
1-25-16 US east coast snowstorms linked to slowdown of Atlantic current
US east coast snowstorms linked to slowdown of Atlantic current
The record-breaking snowfall seen in the US over the weekend may become more common if Atlantic ocean current is slowing down as some suggest. The record snowfall that paralysed much of the east coast of the US on the weekend could be partly due to a slowing of the Atlantic currents that transport heat northwards towards Greenland and Europe. Winter storms like Jonas, as some are calling it, are caused when cold air from Canada collides with warm, moist air flowing up from the tropical Atlantic. Because the waters off the east coast are much warmer than normal for this time of year, the winds blowing onshore carried more moisture than usual, which is why the snowfalls were so high – breaking records in several places.
1-25-16 El Niño means glaciers in the Andes are melting at record rates
El Niño means glaciers in the Andes are melting at record rates
Many glaciers will soon be extinct, with huge knock-on effects on human water supplies and unique ecosystems. The race is on to sample them before they’re gone. Tropical glaciers in the Andes are melting at their fastest rate for 12 years, thanks to the record-breaking El Niño that is warming up the area, according to new data analysed for New Scientist. This is compounding the already high melting rates from global warming that will consign many glaciers to history within decades. “The lower-level glaciers in the Andes, below 5500 metres, are really endangered now and probably only have a couple of decades left,” says Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland. The organisation recently found that the first decade of the 21st century saw the greatest decadal loss of glacier ice ever measured, with melting rates two to three times higher than in the 20th century.
1-22-16 US snowmageddon: Why a warmer world can mean more snowfall
US snowmageddon: Why a warmer world can mean more snowfall
The east coast of the US is preparing for one of the region's biggest ever snowstorms. But shouldn't we be seeing less snow if the world is getting warmer? But what’s up with all the snow? If the world is getting warmer, shouldn’t there be less of it? Not in many places, is the surprising answer. Snow requires moist air, and a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. Although it also has to be cold to snow, it can’t be too cold. More than a few degrees below freezing, heavy snowfall becomes less likely because very cold air is drier and less likely to rise and form clouds.
1-20-16 Climate change: 2015 'shattered' global temperature record by wide margin
Climate change: 2015 'shattered' global temperature record by wide margin
Global temperatures in 2015 were the warmest on record, according to data published by meteorologists in the UK and US. The Met Office figures show that 2015 was 0.75C warmer than the long-term average between 1961-1990. US data suggests that 2015 "shattered" the temperature record by the widest margin ever recorded. Experts say the record temperatures were due to a combination of El Niño and human-induced warming.
1-20-16 How giant icebergs can help fight climate change
How giant icebergs can help fight climate change
Melting icebergs leave behind a trail of nutrients that seeds the growth of tiny, carbon-sequestering marine organisms. new research shows that giant icebergs — chunks that are more than 11 miles long — may increase oceans' ability to pull carbon from the atmosphere. The Southern Ocean encircles Antarctica and acts as a carbon sink, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all the carbon drawn out of the atmosphere by oceans around the globe. But the Southern Ocean is low on iron, a nutrient that bumps up the growth of tiny marine organisms, called phytoplankton, that take in carbon from the atmosphere. When icebergs calve away from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, they drift through the ocean, leaving behind a trail of iron-packed melt in their wake that can seed phytoplankton growth. The largest icebergs can survive for years before completely melting.
1-19-16 Davos: DiCaprio attacks 'corporate greed' of oil, gas and coal companies
Davos: DiCaprio attacks 'corporate greed' of oil, gas and coal companies
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and musician Will.i.am have been honoured for charitable works at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and Chinese actress Yao Chen were also recognised, and awarded a Crystal Award. DiCaprio was honoured for his work on climate change, but then launched a critical attack on the "corporate greed" of coal, oil and gas companies. The World Economic Forum's Crystal Award honours artists whose contributions are said to be improving the state of the world.
1-15-16 UK rains broke river flow record and climate change is to blame
UK rains broke river flow record and climate change is to blame
Record-breaking flows caused rivers to break their banks and landslides compounded subsequent flooding. Climate change, not El Niño, was behind the rainfall. More water flowed out of UK rivers into the ocean during one day last month than ever before. As Storm Desmond drenched northern England on 5 December, rivers across the country discharged a third more water than the previous maximum, according to new data released by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). The news comes a day after a study found that unusually high rainfall was made between 50 and 75 per cent more likely by climate change.
1-15-16 Energy: Plunging oil prices hammer industry
Energy: Plunging oil prices hammer industry
Oil prices briefly dipped below $30 a barrel this week, hitting lows not seen since 2003, said Matt Krantz in USA Today. While American drivers are cheering the price plunges, which have pushed the average national gas price below $2 per gallon, “energy companies are suffering to a staggering degree.” Oil and gas companies in the S&P 500 are expected to lose more than $28 billion this year, compared with a collective $95 billion in profits earned in 2008, when oil prices hit a 20-year peak. “And in a sign of the human toll” brought on by the slumping prices, BP said this week it will slash 4,000 jobs by 2018.
1-15-16 More solar-energy jobs
More solar-energy jobs
There are now more solar-energy jobs in the United States than oil and gas jobs, but the oil and gas industry still offers better pay. The solar industry had roughly 209,000 solar employees in November 2015, earning an average of $21 per hour. The oil and gas industry’s 185,000 employees earn an average of $44 per hour.
1-13-16 Carbon emissions 'postpone ice age'
Carbon emissions 'postpone ice age'
The next ice age may have been delayed by over 50,000 years because of the greenhouse gases put in the atmosphere by humans, scientists in Germany say. They analysed the trigger conditions for a glaciation, like the one that gripped Earth over 12,000 years ago. The shape of the planet's orbit around the Sun would be conducive now, they find, but the amount of carbon dioxide currently in the air is far too high. Earth is set for a prolonged warm phase, they tell the journal Nature. "In theory, the next ice age could be even further into the future, but there is no real practical importance in discussing whether it starts in 50,000 or 100,000 years from now," Andrey Ganopolski from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said. Earth has been through a cycle of ice ages and warm periods over the past 2.5 million years, referred to as the Quaternary Period.
1-12-16 California's massive methane leak prompts action to capture it
California's massive methane leak prompts action to capture it
The biggest known leak of a greenhouse gas has shut schools, led to evacuations and caused the state to propose new legislation to make gas wells safer. At least 80,000 tonnes of methane has escaped from the well since October, making it the biggest known leak of the greenhouse gas. “It’s massive,” says gas expert John Baldwin, of UK firm CNG Services. The leak has prompted concerns for the environment and public health, leading to school closures and the evacuation of 2300 people from the Porter Ranch neighbourhood. The gas contains benzene, a known carcinogen, and mercaptans, which are believed to be causing headaches and nausea. In November, SoCalGas’s measurements showed benzene air concentrations were six times higher than safe levels. Last week, the state governor declared a state of emergency and ordered SoCalGas to pay for a mitigation programme to offset the effects on the climate. On Monday, state senators announced legislation with stronger safeguards on gas storage sites.
1-12-16 Giant icebergs play 'major role' in ocean carbon cycle
Giant icebergs play 'major role' in ocean carbon cycle
Giant icebergs could be responsible for the processes that absorb up to 20% of the carbon in the Southern Ocean's carbon cycle, a study suggests. Researchers say meltwater from these vast blocks of ice release nutrients into the surrounding waters, triggering plankton blooms that absorb the carbon.
1-12-16 New development could lead to more effective lightbulbs
New development could lead to more effective lightbulbs
US researchers say they have developed a technique that can significantly improve the efficiency of the traditional incandescent lightbulb. These older bulbs have been phased out in many countries because they waste huge amounts of energy as heat. But scientists at MIT have found a way of recycling the waste energy and focussing it back on the filament where it is re-emitted as visible light.
1-11-16 Oil price plunge will be bad news for climate efforts
Oil price plunge will be bad news for climate efforts
Cheaper fossil fuels encourage us to use more of them – higher emissions and lower investment in renewable energy could be the result. The price of oil has plummeted since June 2014 and last week fell to its lowest level for 11 years. Natural gas prices, which are linked to oil prices, have been falling too. And in many countries, such as the US, the cost of coal has been dropping for a while. Many analysts think prices will remain low for some time, because supplies are plentiful while demand is falling due to China’s economic woes. This prospect has been widely welcomed, because low fuel prices will cut the cost of a big range of goods and services. But they could hinder efforts to minimise further climate change.
1-11-16 How many cars and burping cows equal the California gas leak?
How many cars and burping cows equal the California gas leak?
A state of emergency has been declared in California over a broken natural gas well that is leaking natural gas into the atmosphere and displacing thousands of families. How does the scale of the incident compare? The methane and other pollutants spewing from the well is invisible to the naked eye, making it hard to comprehend just how large the leak is. Fortunately, the California Air Resources Board (Carb) has been taking periodic measurements - the most recently available being from 22 December - which we can use to make some comparisons.
1-8-16 Why the gas leak in California no one is talking about is such a disaster
Why the gas leak in California no one is talking about is such a disaster
It has drawn remarkably little attention outside the West Coast, but a massive methane gas leak 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles is wreaking havoc with the community, displacing thousands of families, and posing arguably the worst environmental catastrophe since the 2010 BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast. The crisis began a little more than two months ago in the quiet community of Porter Ranch with the rupture of a huge underground containment system that holds methane-laden natural gas piped there from extractions hundreds of miles away in Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and the Midwest. Beleaguered Southern California utility officials say there is no way to staunch the rupture for at least another few months, and meanwhile the gas has been escaping into the air at a rate of nearly 1,300 metric tons a day. The leak already has forced the evacuation of 1,700 homes in nearby neighborhoods, the closing of two schools and widespread reports of residents being sickened by the stench of the gas.
1-8-16 Methane leak not a catastrophe, says gas company
Methane leak not a catastrophe, says gas company
The company behind a massive gas leak in California has denied it is responsible for an environmental catastrophe. SoCal Gas said it was deeply sorry for what happened and is working to stop the leak, though it could take weeks. It says the gas being pumped into the atmosphere, which includes methane, is not a threat to public safety. More than 10,000 people have been moved from their homes and many people have reported nausea and headaches. A further estimated 7,000 are now in the evacuation process, according to SoCal Gas. (Webmaster's comment: It's never the fault of the corporations. It's the fault of the executives running them. Their lack of concern for public safety is based on sheer greed!)
1-6-16 California state of emergency over methane leak
California state of emergency over methane leak
The governor of California has declared a state of emergency in a suburb of Los Angeles over the leaking of methane gas from an underground storage field. More than 2,000 families have been moved from their homes and many people have reported feeling ill because of the leakage, which began in October. It stems from a vast underground storage field in Porter Ranch, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Gas is spewing into the atmosphere at a rate so fast that the well now accounts for about a quarter of the state's total emissions of methane - an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The well is situated in a mountainous area more than a mile away from residential areas, but residents have complained of health effects like headaches, nausea, vomiting and trouble breathing.
1-6-16 UK’s carbon footprint from imported food revealed for first time
UK’s carbon footprint from imported food revealed for first time
Nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gases produced in feeding the UK are now released abroad, with 18 per cent released in South America. Not much is growing in the UK – except its carbon footprint. The global impact of feeding the country has been estimated for the first time, revealing that 64 per cent of associated greenhouse gases are emitted abroad. The UK now imports about half its food and feed. Between 1986 and 2009, the amount of land used to grow the country’s food increased by 23 per cent, with 70 per cent of it located overseas. Soya beans used for animal feed, cocoa and wheat take up the most foreign land, and fruit and vegetables are increasingly sourced from Spain and other countries. In 2008, 21.9 megatonnes of greenhouse gases were linked to UK food supply. Of this, 18 per cent was emitted in South America, and 15 per cent in the European Union.
1-5-16 Trees can help UK farming cut emissions, says study
Trees can help UK farming cut emissions, says study
Increasing yields produced in UK fields and using the spare farmland to plant trees and restore wetlands could greatly reduce emissions, says a study. Combining this approach with strategies to cut food waste and meat consumption could help the farming sector cut its emissions by 80% by 2050, it adds. Crop and livestock agriculture accounts for about 9% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions.