Fiddling while the planet warms. Latest news on the eve of Copenhagen.

Whether you believe that we are heating up the planet, or you believe that this is all ‘natural’, the facts are continuing to come in that we, globally and locally, are going to have to deal with the effects of global warming. Here’s the latest scorecard, and you better get out your tropical gear.  But to be clear, as ocean currents stall out due to the heating of the poles (which is one possible effect, and was seen on the east coast this summer), we are probably going to see colder winters that last a shorter period of time. So don’t assume that more snow means less global warming!  We are going to be paying for global warming whether we like it or not, because insurers are going to raise rates to deal with the increase in natural disasters. And if the U.S. can no longer grow wheat and corn, due to drought, there will be nowhere to hide.  What can you do? Get involved. Work to cut your emissions down, and demand that the politicians do more.

Here’s the story, edited for brevity. The whole story is linked at the bottom.

Warming’s impacts sped up, worsened since Kyoto

By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP) – 1 day ago WASHINGTON – Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated – beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.

And it’s not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the dozen years leading up to next month’s climate summit in Copenhagen:

_The world’s oceans have risen by about an inch and a half.

_Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe worldwide, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.

_Species now in trouble because of changing climate include, not just the lumbering polar bear which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.

_Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 of a degree warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.

Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn’t forecast results quite this bad so fast.

“The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought,” said Janos Pasztor, climate adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Officials from across the world will convene in Copenhagen next month to seek a follow-up pact, one that President Barack Obama says “has immediate operational effect … an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution.”

The last effort didn’t quite get the anticipated results.The changes in the last 12 years that have the scientists most alarmed are happening in the Arctic with melting summer sea ice and around the world with the loss of key land-based ice masses.

It’s all happening far faster than predicted.  Back in 1997 “nobody in their wildest expectations,” would have forecast the dramatic sudden loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic that started about five years ago, Weaver said. From 1993 to 1997, sea ice would shrink on average in the summer to about 2.7 million square miles. The average for the last five years is less than 2 million square miles. What’s been lost is the size of Alaska.

The Colorado River reservoirs, major water suppliers for the U.S. West, were nearly full in 1999, but by 2007 half the water was gone after the region endured the worst multiyear drought in 100 years of record-keeping.

Insurance losses and blackouts have soared and experts say global warming is partly to blame.

The number of major U.S. weather-related blackouts from 2004-2008 were more than seven times higher than from 1993-1997, said Evan Mills, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

“The message on the science is that we know a lot more than we did in 1997 and it’s all negative,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “Things are much worse than the models predicted.”

On the Net:

*     U.S. government’s 2009 report on

climate change impacts:

http://tinyurl.com/usimpacts

*     Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change 2007 report on changes already

observed: http://tinyurl.com/worldimpacts

*     United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate change: http://unfccc.int Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Whole story at:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hjrkevVWHdM8rWorsC2E8mUvBPzgD9C4NKU80

6 Responses

  1. Thought provoking post. Very interesting items and have enjoyed immensely.

  2. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”-Rahm Emanuel, White Chief of Staff.
    On (Last) Tuesday, ABCNews.com’s top story was, “Worse Than the Worst: Climate Report Says Even Most Dire Predictions Too Tame”
    It’s settled, alright, the Religion of Global Warming is certainly not going to commit heresy.
    We Need Heresy.
    We Need Truth.
    Not Politics.

    • Detractors of the current administration (I myself remain politically neutral as much as anyone can anymore), love to quote Ram E. as some kind of proof that there is a maninulation of every situation. The previous administration’s COS did the same thing. That notion is just a neutral no -go issue.

      To paraphrase a sports analogy, “Show some proof or go home.” In my post, I lay out today’s evidence, and it is almost universally accepted. I’ve talked to scientists who have been studying this for decades, literally. You can deny it all you want, I don’t intend to change your mind. The issue here is that people in positions of power throughout the world are making changes, today, for the next few decades. It’s what’s happening, regardless if you or I do anything at all to try and change it. Thanks for your contributions.

      • alberg: To paraphrase a sports analogy, “Show some proof or go home.” In my post, I lay out today’s evidence, and it is almost universally accepted.
        And in one of my first post I layed out evidence that refutes “the glaciers are melting”. But since it is, as you say, “universally accepted” and the “consensus” is in and no debate is possible because “it is universally accepted” how do you suggest I prove something you’re not even open to??
        And how do suggest I “show some proof” if your attitude is “You can deny it all you want, I don’t intend to change your mind”
        In a debate their has to be two sides willing to listen to each other.
        I’d say at least your side is missing.
        So how do you suggest I “show some proof” when you’re not even interested in the results and unwilling to change your mind or be swayed by evidence??
        This is the close-minded attitude I find most distressing.
        (now we are likely to get the childish- well, since you refused to answer you haven’t got anything).
        “There are none so blind as those who will not see?”
        “None so blind as those who will not see.”
        “None so deaf as those who will not hear”
        and if you “I don’t intend to change your mind” then how exactly should I “show proof”???

  3. Perhaps you should read the whole article again, as it seems you have missed the point of it. I have NO doubt that as the planet heats, there will be unexpected issues, like that some glaciers will recieve more snow, due to increased snowfall with more evaporated water in the atmosphere. Your quoted article clearly states that it’s one of the few glaciers experiencing this.

    A clue to the expansion of some glaciers could be as I mentioned. The slowing of the currents, due to warming of the poles, can actually cause more snowfall. But the warming will melt this snow in most cases as well as lower the overall snowline earlier in the year, and in most cases, that’s happening. There are exceptions in some locations,in some years. But the trends have been for less snowpack, higher up, and for shorter periods of the year. The flip side of that is more flooding, and that’s happening too.

    I visited Glacier Bay this summer, and even there, the majority of glanciers have retreated DRAMATICALLY in the last 100 (even 200) years, but a few are seeming to exapnd. Glacier science is pretty new, but the maps that Vancouver and others who explored this region in the last hundreds of years clearly show the retreat of the glaciers, when taken in a whole view. Our drinking water is dependent on snow pack and glaciers, in many locaitons in the west. As goes the snowpack, so goes our water.

    Scientists are trying to understand the models, all of which are showing an acceleration from the 1999 models worse case scenarios.

    Whether you believe in global warming or not, as the article I quoted shows, other people who affect your life, like insurance companies, farmers etc. are taking actions based on the science. You, and I will pay very directly in higher costs to offset the increasing issues that are caused by this heating process. There’s no escaping this. I’m not arguing here that *we* are the cause, but that *we* will have to deal with the reality that the earth is warming, and will have dramatic consequences. You can choose to believe that or not. It’s really of no concequence whether we agree or disagree. It’s beyond that point already. People in positions of power, both governments and industry, aren’t waiting to ‘settle’ the issue. It’s settled. The issue now is what we can do or not to stop it. Most governments are actually siding with your POV and doing nothing.

    As to “religion”, it’s always puzzled me that critics of human based global warming are calling those of us who believe the science as it exists, are ‘religious’. The name calling and childish behavior of people like Rush Limbaugh, and many Fox news readers, does nothing to solve problems. If the science totally changed tomorrow (and there are no indications that it’s turning around over the last twenty years), then I’d adjust my POV. Funny how the people out there that claim to be free thinkers on these shows shut down when confronted with science that doesn’t fit their point of view. I usually equate that to the Church saying that the earth was flat, and that was that. Rigid points of view are religious. If the rest of Europe would have accepted the Church’s POV, there would have been no exploration of the world. Perhaps that would have been a better thing, but wouldn’t have changed the fact that the earth is round!

  4. BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier is one of only a few ice fields worldwide that have withstood rising global temperatures.

    Nourished by Andean snowmelt, the glacier constantly grows even as it spawns icebergs the size of apartment buildings into a frigid lake, maintaining a nearly perfect equilibrium since measurements began more than a century ago.

    “We’re not sure why this happens,” said Andres Rivera, a glacialist with the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile. “But not all glaciers respond equally to climate change.” (Newsmax)

    or In the Western Himalayas, a group of some 230 glaciers are bucking the global warming trend. (Discovery.com 5/5/2009)

    MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — Global warming is shrinking glaciers all over the world, but the seven tongues of ice creeping down Mount Shasta’s flanks are a rare exception: They are the only known glaciers in the continental U.S. that are growing.(Fox 2008)

    Or won’t that be “reviewed”. 🙂

    Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who have recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame.

    A new study of the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Western Himalaya mountain ranges by researchers at England’s Newcastle University shows consistent recent growth among the region’s glaciers.

    Researchers found cooler summers are failing to melt winter snows, which are themselves becoming more frequent, resulting in advancing ice sheets.

    The study was published in the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

    Oh, look it was.

    But the Religion rolls on.

    Nothing to see here.

    A March 14, 2005 report from the activist group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claimed, “Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest retreating glaciers globally due to effects of global warming.”

    The WWF said its report “reveals the rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers accelerating as global warming increases.”

    National Geographic, for example, reported on March 10,2006 that glaciers were shrinking throughout the Himalayas and that “these water supplies could eventually dry up as the glaciers melt due to global warming.”

    But not if they are growing.

    Whoops.

    Guess we better just ignore that Inconvenient Truth. 🙂

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