For the first time in about five years, it looks like El Niño has arrived, a climatic change involving atmospheric air pressure changes and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator. This could be a big deal in that the three hottest years on record, just behind 2014, were El Niño years, including 2005 and 2010. The strongest El Niño year in the last couple decades was 1998, the year some clowns claim, global warming stopped.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, “it is likely (50 to 60 percent chance) that El Niño conditions will continue through the summer.”
Joe Romm wrote, “If even a weak El Niño does persist through summer, 2015 will almost certainly top 2014 as the hottest year on record. But there is a good chance it will do so in any case (unless a La Niña forms). After all, 2014 was the hottest year on record even though there was no official El Niño during the year. It’s just hard to stop the march of human-caused global warming — without actually sharply cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”
Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide now sit at 400 parts per million, thanks to the fact we have been burning prodigious amounts of fossil fuels the last couple of a centuries. Human beings evolved on a planet with CO2 levels between 180 and 280 ppm, a critical factor in the maintenance of stable climate. That is all changing now. “Due to human activities, the present concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is the highest in the past 800,000 years, and likely the highest in the past 20 million years.”
And as we keep burning fossil fuels, the temperature of the planet keeps rising; “the globe has warmed about 1.6°F since 1880.
“Overlaying the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere shows a clear correlation with that rise in temperatures.
“…reams of peer-reviewed research, basic physics, the ability to track the specific chemical fingerprint of fossil fuel-driven carbon, and the fact that no models can replicate this century’s warming without pumping up carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere give scientists confidence that human carbon emissions are driving the globe’s temperature higher. Other indicators such as ocean acidification, increasing deep ocean heat, melting ice and permafrost, shrinking snow pack, and sea level rise further make the case that the additional carbon dioxide is affecting the global climate system.”
And as we keep burning fossil fuels and watch our world grow hotter, we should not be surprised that the frozen parts of Earth are rapidly melting.
Washington Post: “A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise.
“Meanwhile, 2015 could be the year of the double whammy — when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again. Northern Hemisphere residents and Americans in particular should take note — when the bottom of the world loses vast amounts of ice, those of us living closer to its top get more sea level rise than the rest of the planet, thanks to the law of gravity.
“The findings about East Antarctica emerge from a new paper just out in Nature Geoscience by an international team of scientists representing the United States, Britain, France and Australia. They flew a number of research flights over the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica — the fastest-thinning sector of the world’s largest ice sheet — and took a variety of measurements to try to figure out the reasons behind its retreat. And the news wasn’t good: It appears that Totten, too, is losing ice because warm ocean water is getting underneath it.”
Meanwhile Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently insisted that the fact there is “snow and ice everywhere” is evidence that our Earth is not growing warmer.
He said, “My view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science, and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up.
“Satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years there’s been zero warming — none whatsoever. It’s why, remember how it used to be called global warming? And then magically the theory changed to climate change? The reason is, it wasn’t warming, but the computer models still say it is, except the satellites show it’s not.”
According to Katie Valentine, “Both of Cruz’s claims against climate change are well-used by the senator, and both have been debunked by the science that Cruz claims should be at the forefront of climate change debate. Last year, Cruz also said in an interview with CNN that the Earth had experienced ‘no recorded warming’ over the last 15 years. That’s a claim that climate scientists have dismissed. The Earth has experienced warming over the last 17 years, but much of it has been going on in the oceans.
“Cruz’s comments about New Hampshire being cold are also an old standby for the senator. Cruz has joked multiple times about how cold weather must mean that Al Gore has been lying about climate change. Weather, of course, is not the same as climate: weather represents the day-to-day changes in the Earth’s atmospheric conditions, while climate represents long term trends in temperature, rainfall, and other weather events, and is something that 97 percent of climate scientists agree it is changing.
“The fact that seasonal weather events still occur doesn’t mean the climate isn’t changing, but climate change can contribute to these seasonal weather events, even the ones that bring freezing temperatures and piles of snow. Scientists have warned that climate change could bring more extreme rain and snowfall to parts of the Earth, particularly the northern U.S.”
By Doug Craig
Doug Craig was an Air Force brat born in Germany, grew up in L.A., Northern Virginia and Dayton, Ohio. Obtained a B.A. in Journalism and a Doctorate in Psychology. Employed as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Redding for 25 years.
Contact Doug: email@example.com