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OKIsItJustMe

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New Studies Increase Confidence in NASA's Measure of Earth's Temperature

(Please note: Story from NASA — copyright concerns are nil.)

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2876/
Features | May 23, 2019
New Studies Increase Confidence in NASA's Measure of Earth's Temperature

By Jessica Merzdorf,
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record, which shows how the planet’s temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. The record is shown as a running five-year average. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann. Download related visualizations here.



A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values are likely accurate to within 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) in recent decades, and 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit (0.15 degrees C) at the beginning of the nearly 140-year record.

This data record, maintained by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, is one of a handful kept by major science institutions around the world that track Earth's temperature and how it has risen in recent decades. This global temperature record has provided one of the most direct benchmarks of how our home planet's climate has changed as greenhouse gas concentrations rise.

The study also confirms what researchers have been saying for some time now: that Earth's global temperature increase since 1880 – about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, or a little more than 1 degree Celsius – cannot be explained by any uncertainty or error in the data. Going forward, this assessment will give scientists the tools to explain their results with greater confidence.

GISTEMP is a widely used index of global mean surface temperature anomaly — it shows how much warmer or cooler than normal Earth’s surface is in a given year. "Normal" is defined as the average during a baseline period of 1951-80.

NASA uses GISTEMP in its annual global temperature update, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (In 2019, NASA and NOAA found that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with 2016 holding the top spot.) The index includes land and sea surface temperature data back to 1880, and today incorporates measurements from 6,300 weather stations, research stations, ships and buoys around the world.

Previously, GISTEMP provided an estimate of uncertainty accounting for the spatial gaps between weather stations. Like other surface temperature records, GISTEMP estimates the temperatures between weather stations using data from the closest stations, a process called interpolation. Quantifying the statistical uncertainty present in those estimates helped researchers to be confident that the interpolation was accurate.

“Uncertainty is important to understand because we know that in the real world we don’t know everything perfectly,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS and a co-author on the study. “All science is based on knowing the limitations of the numbers that you come up with, and those uncertainties can determine whether what you’re seeing is a shift or a change that is actually important.”

The study found that individual and systematic changes in measuring temperature over time were the most significant source of uncertainty. Also contributing was the degree of weather station coverage. Data interpolation between stations contributed some uncertainty, as did the process of standardizing data that was collected with different methods at different points in history.

After adding these components together, GISTEMP’s uncertainty value in recent years was still less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, which is “very small,” Schmidt said.

The team used the updated model to reaffirm that 2016 was very probably the warmest year in the record, with an 86.2 percent likelihood. The next most likely candidate for warmest year on record was 2017, with a 12.5 percent probability.

“We’ve made the uncertainty quantification more rigorous, and the conclusion to come out of the study was that we can have confidence in the accuracy of our global temperature series,” said lead author Nathan Lenssen, a doctoral student at Columbia University. “We don’t have to restate any conclusions based on this analysis.”

Another recent study evaluated GISTEMP in a different way that also added confidence to its estimate of long-term warming. A paper published in March 2019, led by Joel Susskind of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, compared GISTEMP data with that of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), onboard NASA's Aqua satellite.

GISTEMP uses air temperature recorded with thermometers slightly above the ground or sea, while AIRS uses infrared sensing to measure the temperature right at the Earth's surface (or “skin temperature”) from space. The AIRS record of temperature change since 2003 (which begins when Aqua launched) closely matched the GISTEMP record.

Comparing two measurements that were similar but recorded in very different ways ensured that they were independent of each other, Schmidt said. One difference was that AIRS showed more warming in the northernmost latitudes.

“The Arctic is one of the places we already detected was warming the most. The AIRS data suggests that it’s warming even faster than we thought,” said Schmidt, who was also a co-author on the Susskind paper.

Taken together, Schmidt said, the two studies help establish GISTEMP as a reliable index for current and future climate research.

“Each of those is a way in which you can try and provide evidence that what you’re doing is real,” Schmidt said. “We’re testing the robustness of the method itself, the robustness of the assumptions, and of the final result against a totally independent data set.”

In all cases, he said, the resulting trends are more robust than what can be accounted for by any uncertainty in the data or methods.

Access the paper here.

Energy Flow Diagrams

https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/commodities/energy

2018: United-States

2018 Fourth Warmest Year in Continued Warming Trend, According to NASA, NOAA

(Please note, NASA press release—Copyright concerns are nil.)
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/2018-fourth-warmest-year-in-continued-warming-trend-according-to-nasa-noaa
Feb. 6, 2019
RELEASE 19-002
2018 Fourth Warmest Year in Continued Warming Trend, According to NASA, NOAA

Earth's global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018's temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities, according to Schmidt.



Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record, which shows how the planet’s temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. The record is shown as a running five-year average.
Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann
Download high-definition video and still imagery here.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2018 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 14th warmest on record.

Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, where 2018 saw the continued loss of sea ice. In addition, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continued to contribute to sea level rise. Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events, according to Schmidt.

“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Schmidt.

NASA’s temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.


This line plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2018, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK). Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest.
Credits: NASA’s Earth Observatory


These raw measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heat island effects that could skew the conclusions. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences has some uncertainties. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2018’s global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degree Fahrenheit, with a 95 percent certainty level.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different baseline period and different interpolation into the Earth’s polar and other data poor regions. NOAA’s analysis found 2018 global temperatures were 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit (0.79 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA’s full 2018 surface temperature data set — and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculation — are available at:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

GISS is a laboratory within the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.

NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to better understand Earth as an interconnected system. The agency also uses airborne and ground-based monitoring, and develops new ways to observe and study Earth with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. NASA shares this knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA’s Earth science missions, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/earth

The slides for the Feb. 6 news conference are available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/noaa-nasa_global_analysis-2018-final_feb6.pdf
NOAA’s Global Report is available at:


http://bit.ly/Global201812

-end-

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
Last Updated: Feb. 6, 2019
Editor: Sean Potter
Posted by OKIsItJustMe | Wed Feb 6, 2019, 02:14 PM (0 replies)

Diffusing the methane bomb: We can still make a difference

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/190206-Tundra-methane.html
06 February 2019

Diffusing the methane bomb: We can still make a difference

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, causing the carbon containing permafrost that has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years to thaw and release methane into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming. The findings of a study that included researchers from IIASA, however, suggest that it is still possible to neutralize this threat



In their analysis, the researchers quantified the upper range value for natural methane emissions that can be released from the Arctic tundra, as it allows it to be put in relation to the much larger release of methane emissions from human activities. Although estimates of the release of methane from natural sources in the Arctic and estimates of methane from human activity have been presented separately in previous studies, this is the first time that the relative contribution of the two sources to global warming has been quantified and compared.



According to the researchers, their findings confirm the urgency of a transition away from a fossil fuel based society as well as the importance of reducing methane emissions from other sources, in particular livestock and waste. The results indicate that man-made emissions can be reduced sufficiently to limit methane-caused climate warming by 2100 even in the case of an uncontrolled natural Arctic methane emission feedback. This will however require a committed, global effort towards substantial, but feasible reductions.

“In essence, we want to convey the message that the release of methane from human activities is something we can do something about, especially since the technology for drastic reductions is readily available - often even at a low cost. If we can only get the human emissions under control, the natural emissions should not have to be of major concern,” concludes Höglund-Isaksson.

https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-37719-9
Posted by OKIsItJustMe | Wed Feb 6, 2019, 02:03 PM (0 replies)

An inevitable warm-up for Earth

http://www.colorado.edu/today/2017/07/31/inevitable-warm-earth

An inevitable warm-up for Earth

Published: July 31, 2017

Even if humans could instantly turn off all emissions of greenhouse gases, Earth would continue to heat up about two more degrees Fahrenheit by the turn of the century, according to a sophisticated new analysis published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

If current emission rates continue for 15 years, the research shows, odds are good that the planet will see nearly three degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 Celsius) of warming by then.

“This ‘committed warming’ is critical to understand because it can tell us and policymakers how long we have, at current emission rates, before the planet will warm to certain thresholds,” said Robert Pincus, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a partnership of the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA. “The window of opportunity on a 1.5-degree [C] target is closing.”

During United Nations meetings in Paris last year, 195 countries including the United States signed an agreement to keep global temperature rise less than 3.5 degrees F (2 C) above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts that would limit it further, to less than 3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 C) by 2100.



http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE3357
Posted by OKIsItJustMe | Tue Aug 1, 2017, 11:50 AM (4 replies)

Methane-eating microbes found beneath Antarctica's melting ice sheets

http://news.ufl.edu/articles/2017/07/methane-eating-microbes-found-beneath-antarcticas-melting-ice-sheets-.php

Methane-eating microbes found beneath Antarctica's melting ice sheets

July 31, 2017
Rachel Damiani
photographer: Reed Scherer

Lurking in a lake half a mile beneath Antarctica’s icy surface, methane-eating microbes may mitigate the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as ice sheets retreat.

A new study published today in Nature Geoscience traces methane’s previously unknown path below the ice in a spot that was once thought to be inhospitable to life. Study researchers sampled the water and sediment in Antarctica’s subglacial Whillans Lake by drilling 800 meters through ice for the first time ever. Next they measured methane amounts and used genomic analyses to find that 99 percent of methane released into the lake is gobbled up by microbes.

These tiny microorganisms may have a big impact on a warming world by preventing methane from seeping into the atmosphere when ice sheets melt, said Brent Christner, a University of Florida microbiologist and co-author on the study.

“This is an environment that most people look at and don’t think it could ever really directly impact us,” Christner said. “But this is a process that could have climatic implications.”



http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2992
Posted by OKIsItJustMe | Tue Aug 1, 2017, 11:41 AM (5 replies)

Methane not escaping into the atmosphere from Arctic Ocean

https://cage.uit.no/news/methane-not-escaping-into-the-atmosphere-arctic-ocean/
[font face=Serif]27/05/2016

[font size=5]Methane not escaping into the atmosphere from Arctic Ocean[/font]

[font size=4]Methane gas released from the Arctic seabed during the summer months leads to an increased methane concentration in the ocean. But surprisingly, very little of the climate gas rising up through the sea reaches the atmosphere.[/font]

[font size=3]“Our results are exciting and controversial”, says senior scientist Cathrine Lund Myhre from NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, who is cooperating with CAGE through MOCA project.

The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The scientist performed simultaneous measurements close to seabed, in the ocean and in the atmosphere during an extensive ship and air campaign offshore Svalbard Archipelago in summer 2014. As of today, three independent models employing the marine and atmospheric measurements show that the methane emissions from the sea bed in the area did not significantly affect the atmosphere.

…[/font][/font]


http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016GL068999.

Why Has a Drop in Global CO2 Emissions Not Caused CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere to Stabilize?

This comes from the keepers of the Keeling Curve (note this is a “blog” post from 2016.)

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2016/05/23/why-has-a-drop-in-global-co2-emissions-not-caused-co2-levels-in-the-atmosphere-to-stabilize/
[font face=Serif][font size=5]Why Has a Drop in Global CO2 Emissions Not Caused CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere to Stabilize?[/font]

May 23, 2016 | Rob Monroe



[font size=3]Note: Readers have asked why there has been no stabilization in the measured levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when reported emissions of CO₂ have fallen. Scripps CO₂ Group Director Ralph Keeling gave this response:

There’s a pretty simple reason why the recent stabilization in global emissions hasn’t caused CO₂ levels to stabilize. The ocean and land sinks for CO₂ currently offset only about 50 percent of the emissions. So the equivalent of 50 percent of the emissions is still accumulating in the atmosphere, even with stable emissions. To stabilize CO₂ levels would require roughly an immediate roughly 50 percent cut in emissions, at which point the remaining emissions would be fully offset by the sinks, at least for a while.

Eventually, additional emissions cuts would be required because the sinks will slowly lose their efficiency as the land and ocean start to saturate. A permanent stabilization at current levels therefore requires both an immediate 50-percent cut as well as a slow tapering thereafter, eventually approaching zero emissions. The recent stabilization in emissions might be viewed as a very small first step toward the required cuts.

­– Robert Monroe[/font][/font]

We're on the brink of mass extinction -- but there's still time to pull back

http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/were-brink-mass-extinction-theres-still-time-pull-back-268427
[font face=Serif][font size=5]We’re on the brink of mass extinction — but there’s still time to pull back[/font]

[font size=4]News

Both ominous and hopeful, a new report paints a picture of the value of biodiversity, the threats it faces and the window of opportunity we have to save species before it’s too late[/font]

Published: 31 May 2017

[font size=3]Imagine being a scuba diver and leaving your oxygen tank behind you on a dive. Or a mountain climber and abandoning your ropes. Or a skydiver and shedding your parachute. That’s essentially what humans are doing as we expand our footprint on the planet without paying adequate attention to impacts on other living things, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University. Because we depend on plants and animals for food, shelter, clean air and water and more, anything we do that makes life harder for them eventually comes around to make life harder for us as well.

But, reporting with colleagues from around the world in this week’s special biodiversity issue of the scientific journal Nature, the researchers also note that all is not lost, and offer specific strategies for turning that tide before it’s too late.

Forest Isbell, of University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, McGill biologist Andrew Gonzalez and coauthors from eight countries on four continents provided an overview of what we know and still need to learn about the impacts of habitat destruction, overhunting, the introduction of nonnative species, and other human activities on biodiversity. In addition, they summarized previous research on how biodiversity loss affects nature and the benefits nature provides — for example, a recent study showing that reduced diversity in tree species in forests is linked to reduced wood production. Synthesizing findings of other studies, they estimated that the value humans derive from biodiversity is 10 times what every country in the world put together spends on conservation today — suggesting that additional investments in protecting species would not only reduce biodiversity loss but provide economic benefit, too.

“Human activities are driving the sixth mass extinction in the history of life on Earth, despite the fact that diversity of life enhances many benefits people reap from nature, such as wood from forests, livestock forage from grasslands, and fish from oceans and streams,” said Isbell, who served as lead author the paper. “It would be wise to invest much more in conserving biodiversity.”

…[/font][/font]

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature22899

James Hansen -- Carbon Tax and 100% Dividend -- No Alligator Shoes!

This comes from 2008: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2008/20080604_TaxAndDividend.pdf
[font face=Serif][font size=5][center]Carbon Tax and 100% Dividend – No Alligator Shoes![/center][/font]

[font size=3]The charts for my talk (Climate Threat to the Planet: Implications for Energy Policy) on 3 June 2008 at the PACON 2008 conference (Energy and Climate Change: Innovative Approaches to Solving Today’s Problems) are available as a pdf http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/HawaiiPACON_20080603.pdf
or powerpoint http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/HawaiiPACON_20080603.ppt

The “Carbon Tax and 100% Dividend” chart warrants discussion. Tax and dividend is the policy complement that must accompany recognition of fossil carbon reservoir sizes for strategic solution of global warming (the physics: reservoir sizes imply the need to phase-out coal emissions promptly and quash unconventional fossil fuels).

Tax and 100% dividend can drive innovation and economic growth with a snowballing effect. Carbon emissions will plummet far faster than in top-down or Manhattan projects. A clean environment that supports all life on the planet can be restored.

“Carbon tax and 100% dividend” is spurred by the recent “carbon cap” discussion of Peter Barnes and others. Principles must be crystal clear and adhered to rigorously. A tax on coal, oil and gas is simple. It can be collected at the first point of sale within the country or at the last (e.g., at the gas pump), but it can be collected easily and reliably. You cannot hide coal in your purse; it travels in railroad cars that are easy to spot. “Cap”, in addition, is a euphemism that may do as much harm as good. The public is not stupid.

…[/font][/font]
Posted by OKIsItJustMe | Wed May 3, 2017, 07:56 PM (1 replies)
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