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February 23 2013

January 22 2013


Thus is the power of graphic representation

Do I understand the graph well - the red written explication is related to the whole black line, which has no relation to the x and y scales? - then it should presumingly only show the relative development between carbon dioxide incl. volcanism and the yearly temperature, which is in MHO hardly convincing, if I try to to understand the obvious down drops in the years of strong volcanic activities. But to interpret the black graph as an average temperature isn't nether very helpful comparing the line with the yearly temperature amplitudes.

Also: 1956 seems for me a pretty late starting point "attributed to human activities" - but there is certainly something like proofing ability or disability by statistics to consider, and we know that the winters during WW2 and especially in the second half of the 1940 were in Europe relatively cold. The graphic as a whole seems to have its flaws - it is lacking a contextual explication.

Next time you hear that vulcanoes are cause of global warming
Reposted fromscience science

January 31 2012

Little Ice Age was caused by volcanism

Some of the iconic winter landscapes by Pieter Bruegel the Elder are more than just fine examples of sixteenth-century Dutch art. Paintings such as Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow (1565) also serve as vivid evidence for the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period of cold climate conditions and glacier advances in Europe and elsewhere that lasted from the late Middle Ages until the nineteenth century.

There has been quite some debate over the years about the precise onset and the physical causes of this extended cold spell, with one school of thought favouring low solar activity during the ‘Maunder Minimum’ and another the cooling effect of big volcanic eruptions.

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters may put the solar-trigger hypothesis at rest. Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado in Boulder and his colleagues suggest that the Little Ice Age began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD following four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, most likely in the tropics, over a mere 50-year period.

Sulfate particles hurled high up into the atmosphere by the massive eruptions would have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the ground and caused a series of cold summers. The found that ice-growth records from Baffin Island and Iceland indicate that glaciers and Arctic sea ice did advance abruptly at the time.  The resulting climate feedbacks seem to have maintained cold conditions for centuries.

“What is new in this study is that the authors have data on the growth of small icecaps in Canada and Iceland, showing a rapid increase in ice volume at the end of the thirteenth and close to the middle of the fifteenth century,” says Georg Feulner, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany.

“These periods coincide with phases of strong volcanic eruptions, but a mechanism is required to produce cooling on longer timescales as the temperature drop after volcanic eruptions typically last only for a few years. In climate model simulations, the authors find that the persistent cooling observed in the climate records can be explained by expanded sea ice resulting in cooling by the ice-albedo feedback mechanism, and cooling in large parts of the North Atlantic by sea-ice export from the Arctic.”

Over at the New York Times DotEarth blog, Jennifer Francis, a climate and sea-ice researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, comments on the importance of the findings:

During the past several decades we have seen the enhanced warming of the Arctic owing to a variety of feedbacks involving snow, sea ice, and water vapor, but Arctic Amplification also works in the reverse direction, as in the case of the little ice age.

If a similar series of strong volcanic eruptions were to happen in the next few decades, we would likely experience global cooling with an amplified response at high latitudes. As long as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, however, the cooling can only be temporary.

Reposted fromSigalontech Sigalontech

October 11 2011


March 02 2011


Global Warming and Snowstorms: Communication Nightmare, or Opportunity?

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group I greatly admire, has held a press conference (with attendant media coverage) to air an argument that is already quite intuitive to me, but is probably precisely the opposite for others: Namely, that global warming could mean more mega-snowstorms, of the sort North America has seen in the past several years.

On a physical level, the case is sublimely simple. One of the fundamental aspects of global warming is that it increases the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, because warmer air holds more water vapor. From there, it’s a piece of cake—more snow can fall in snowstorms than before. In making this case, the UCS drew in part on the awesome weather blogger Jeff Masters:



complete article on, here.


January 10 2011


Abandon all hope, ye who read this | Watts Up With That? 20110110

New paper in Nature Geoscience examines inertia of carbon dioxide emissions

New research indicates the impact of rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years, causing researchers to estimate a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet by the year 3000, and an eventual rise in the global sea level of at least four metres.


The paper “Ongoing climate change following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions” by Nathan P. Gillett, Vivek K. Arora, Kirsten Zickfeld, Shawn J. Marshall and William J. Merryfield will be available online at

May 30 2010

India: Records Reached, Temperatures to Touch 50C -- Hundreds Dead

Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

Appalling stuff from the Guardian:

india Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat...

Reposted fromdave dave

May 21 2010

Open space data can improve lives (and save birds)

BlackwaterThe spectacle of thousands of migratory birds is among the natural world's wonders. And the images of the Earth generated by NASA's network of weather satellites are among humanity's most breathtaking creations.

What happens when bird migrations are tracked using that advanced imaging technology and then mapped onto flight paths? Open government data leads to fewer bird strikes. That's of major interest to anyone who operates, flies on, or is otherwise associated with European air travel, given that the cost of bird strikes due to damage and delays for civilian aviation is estimated to be €1-2 billion.

I learned about this application of open data from Jeanne Holm, the former chief knowledge architect at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (she's since left to be communications and collaborations lead for Holm told me about FlySafe, a European Union initiative that's primarily led through ESA, the space agency.

"Space data is meant to help us understand the world around us," said Holm. "We share because people are asking for it and making a difference with it."

An international ontology for space data

Organizing space data -- such as that used to track bird migrations -- makes it more useful for all users, whether it's in military, scientific, commercial or academic use cases. A global community can collaborate and work more efficiently.

In the video embedded below, Holm told me about her work with the United Nations to create an "international ontology for space," which lets the global science community share open, linked data gathered from space missions.

Next week, Holm will be participating in the "Real Government in Virtual Worlds" discussion at the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, D.C.

April 08 2010

Soziale Gerechtigkeit in der Klimapolitik

Von Tilman Santarius | Klima der Gerechtigkeit |- Endlich wieder ein gründlicher Versuch, soziale Gerechtigkeit in der Klimapolitik in nationaler wie internationaler Sicht zu untersuchen!

Felix Ekardt liefert in seiner Studie für die Böckler Stiftung einen beeindruckenden Rundumschlag, der sich sowohl den ethisch-normativen Grundfragen wie der ganzen Palette der konkreten nationalen Klimaschutzgesetze in Deutschland als auch den Grundzügen des internationalen Klimaregimes widmet.

Insbesondere bei den Ausführungen zum Gebäudebereich liefert die Studie eine Reihe von sehr interessanten Anregungen.

Vor dem Hintergrund der wachsenden Besorgnis um €œEnergiearmut€ in Deutschland, die in Großbritannien von je Realität ist aber hierzulande erst aufgrund der deutlich gestiegenen Energiepreise (und zunehmenden sozialen Prekarisierung) ins öffentliche Bewusstsein getreten ist, ist Ekardts Abhandlung über das “Recht auf Raumwärme” ein richtungsweisender Einstieg in die Diskussion über Lösungen, die Klimaschutz und gesellschaftliche Integration miteinander verbinden. Unbedingt lesenswert!

Bei den Ausführungen über die internationale Gerechtigkeit allerdings überzeugt der Vorschlag €œone human, one emissions right€ mit globalem Emissionshandel wenig; hierzu habe ich ja bereits an vielen Stellen aufgezeigt, warum gleiche pro-Kopf-Rechte letztlich nicht gerecht sondern ungerecht und ein Lösen der Entwicklungskrise durch riesige Finanztransfers über den Emissionshandel keine gute Lösung darstellen (siehe z.B. hier).

Nichts desto trotz: dann folgen wiederum sehr sympatische Ausführungen über Freihandel versus regulierter Handel. Also: nichts wie runterladen und lesen!

Felix Ekardt: Soziale Gerechtigkeit in der Klimapolitik (pdf) Edition der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Nr. 249.

Quelle: Klima der Gerechtigkeit - Dieser Beitrag steht unter einer CC-Lizenz. Bitte verlinke bei einer Nutzung immer auf den Originalartikel. Danke!

Reposted fromZaphod Zaphod
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