Climate Change Is Here
All too often, global warming is discussed as something that will affect future generations of people, penguins and polar bears.
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#1 Oct 16, 2013
It certainly is. Excellent read, five stars out of five.
Ends with: In 50 years, Americans are far less likely to be talking about this month's budget follies in Washington than they are to be asking why this generation was warned about the risks of man-made climate change and didn't do more about them.
#2 Oct 16, 2013
Human-caused global warming is the inevitable consequence of this [conservation of energy] law of physics, because greenhouse gas pollution is causing more energy to come in than go out.
If the average surface temperature - which is only one way to measure global warming - doesn't go up every year, it's because the "blocks" are being hidden somewhere else, for now.
But energy changes forms, and sloshes back and forth between sub-systems. Ice will continue to melt and sea level will continue to rise as the water warms. A slowdown in one rate is compensated by a speedup in another until the cycle of natural variability reverses.
Scientists know that more energy is coming in than going out. We can measure it and there is no dispute.
Because of carbon pollution, the Earth is gaining energy at the rate of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day of every year. And that rate is going up.
Not knowing exactly how energy is "partitioned" into its various forms at any given time is like not knowing how much melting an asteroid will cause, how small the pieces will be when a boiler explodes, how the victims of a drunk driver will die, or how many minutes it will take for the Titanic to sink.
Uncertainty in exactly how something happens does not translate into uncertainty that it is happening. There is no rational basis for denial of the reality, or the risks, of global warming.
And there is no excuse for ignoring it.[Mark Boslough]
#3 Oct 16, 2013
By 2100, global averages for the upper layer of the ocean could experience a temperature increase of 1.2 to 2.6° C, a dissolved oxygen concentration reduction of ~2% to 4% of current values, a pH decline of 0.15 to 0.31, and diminished phytoplankton production by ~4% to 10% from current values. The seafloor was projected to experience smaller changes in temperature and pH, and similar reductions in dissolved oxygen.
Of the many marine habitats analyzed in the study, researchers found that coral reefs, seagrass beds, and shallow soft-bottom benthic habitats would experience the largest absolute changes in ocean biogeochemistry, while deep-sea habitats would experience the smallest changes.
Co-author Lisa Levin, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, notes: "Because many deep-sea ecosystems are so stable, even small changes in temperature, oxygen, and pH may lower the resilience of deep-sea communities. This is a growing concern as humans extract more resources and create more disturbances in the deep ocean."
"The deep-sea floor covers most of the Earth's surface and provides a whole host of important ecosystem services including carbon sequestration in seafloor sediments, buffering of ocean acidity, and providing an enormous reservoir of biodiversity," said Smith. "Nonetheless, very little attention has been paid to modeling the effects of climate change on these truly vast ecosystems. Perhaps not surprisingly, many deep seafloor ecosystems appear susceptible to the effects of climate warming over the next century."
"The impacts of climate change will be felt from the ocean surface to the seafloor. It is truly scary to consider how vast these impacts will be," said co-author Andrew K. Sweetman, who helped to convene the original team of investigators and now leads the deep-sea ecosystem research group at the International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway. "This is one legacy that we as humans should not be allowed to ignore."[eurekalert]
#4 Oct 16, 2013
The world's oceans are vast, containing massive amounts of water. Oceanic water is thought by some to be so vast that it can't be seriously impacted by man or by climate change.
But a new study looking at the impacts of climate change on the world’s ocean systems concludes that by the year 2100, about 98 percent of the oceans will be affected by acidification, warming temperatures, low oxygen, or lack of biological productivity — and most areas will be stricken by a multitude of these stressors.
These biogeochemical changes triggered by human-generated greenhouse gas emissions will not only affect marine habitats and organisms, the researchers say, but will often co-occur in areas that are heavily used by humans.
Results of the study are being published this week in the journal PLoS Biology. It was funding by the Norwegian Research Council and Foundation through its support of the International Network for Scientific investigation of deep-sea ecosystems (INDEEP).
"While we estimated that 2 billion people would be impacted by these changes, the most troubling aspect of our results was that we found that many of the environmental stressors will co-occur in areas inhabited by people who can least afford it," said Andrew Thurber, an Oregon State University oceanographer and co-author on the study.
"If we look on a global scale, between 400 million and 800 million people are both dependent on the ocean for their livelihood and also make less than $4,000 annually," Thurber pointed out. "Adapting to climate change is a costly endeavor, whether it is retooling a fishing fleet to target a changing fish stock, or moving to a new area or occupation."
The researchers say the effect on oceans will also create a burden in higher income areas, though "it is a much larger problem for people who simply do not have the financial resources to adapt."[Roger Greenway]
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