Aug 31, 2016

NASA Climate Scientist: Earth Warming at Highest Rate in Recorded History

Various social crises of the 1970s were met with the
confident expectation human beings acting could
meet planetary challenges and create a better world.
Jackie Captain of Madison and Fitchburg, Wisc
is pictured in Wisconsin Rapids, circa 1978

Massive cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and coordinated geo-engineering needed on Earth; high-profile scientist writes off planetary target warming

Update - Emailed Dr. Hansen's web-team. No reply from what a busy office, but a subsequent post answers the question, 'is it fair to infer that the first and second-order effects of climate change are baked-in and irreversible?' The post entitled, A Better Graph, shows data of Global surface temperature-increase anomalies. Bottom line, we have left a planet to the next two generations that we would not recognize today, as coastlines will be covered with Ocean water.

Really going to have contact our friend, Dr. James Hansen at Columbia, and ask, 'is it fair to infer that the first and second-order effects of climate change are baked-in and irreversible?'

Oliver Milman at the Guardian has a piece out with the head, Nasa: Earth is warming at a pace 'unprecedented in 1,000 years. Writes Milman:

The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it 'very unlikely' that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.

This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.

But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium. ...

'In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,' Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. 'It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).'

'Maintaining temperatures below the 1.5C guardrail requires significant and very rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions or co-ordinated geo-engineering. That is very unlikely. We are not even yet making emissions cuts commensurate with keeping warming below 2C.' ...

Lingering carbon dioxide already emitted from power generation, transport and agriculture is already likely to raise sea levels by around three feet by the end of the century, and potentially by 70 feet in the centuries to come. Increasing temperatures will shrink the polar ice caps, make large areas of the Middle East and North Africa unbearable to live in and accelerate what’s known as Earth’s 'sixth mass extinction' of animal species. ...

[Nasa's] Schmidt is the highest-profile scientist to effectively write-off the 1.5C target, which was adopted at December’s UN summit after heavy lobbying from island nations that risk being inundated by rising seas if temperatures exceed this level. Recent research found that just five more years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels will virtually wipe out any chance of restraining temperatures to a 1.5C increase and avoid runaway climate change.

I'll ask Dr. Hansen a second question, 'is it even inferential at this point that catastrophic climate change is unavoidable?'

Proxy-based temperature reconstruction. Photograph Nasa Earth Observatory

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