Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Science As Evidence

"Our  (Environment Canada) model, in isolation, produces results that are in roughly the two-degree warming range in the mid-century. But if you look at all the models together, which is the important thing to do, there is a range and that range is important."
senior Environment Canada scientist, Greg Flato
"So when we talk about global warming as scientists and as a community of citizens, (and focus on air temperatures) we're making a fuss about what is really just a side show. Nearly all of what we have done has gone into the oceans ... and the oceans are going to hit back."
Graham Cogley, professor emiritus, geography, Trent University, Peterborough
The recognized "hiatus" of warming observed over the past 15 years notwithstanding, long-term trends still show to scientists that the warming over the past three decades is progressing. Their considered, professional scientific opinion is fairly universally held that global warming is a fact of our presence on Earth, and it is "unequivocal".

Dr. Graham Cogley has noted that the most recent assessment coming out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms the research holding that 93% of excess heat in the planet's climate is absorbed by oceans, while roughly 3% hastens melting ice, and an additional 3% sinks into the ground, while a mere one percent ends up in the atmosphere.

That excess heat sinking into the oceans of the world means sea levels will continue rising for two millennia, simply because it takes that long a period of time for oceans to respond to such changing conditions. Evidence is also on the rise linking trends to climate change, such as warming temperatures in the air, along with water, according to Xuebin Zhang, Environment Canada research scientist.

Data and links between levels of carbon emissions from human activity resulting in rising temperature levels could prove valuable in providing governments with information to aid in decision making surrounding how much fossil fuels should be left in the ground; what's more what will occur to temperatures if that energy is consumed.

"That's a new concept and a new result and it's described in this report" said Dr. Flato. "And that does provide a way to very simply look at the amount of emissions that could be accepted by the atmosphere for any particular temperature level." 

Dr. Flato praised the IPCC process, in that its mandate is being fulfilled, to take a collection of different scientific research, and reach consensus. The IPCC report points in the direction of research identifying links between carbon emission levels from human activity and the temperature levels that result from it.

Warming over the past 15 years has been seen at a rate of about 0.05C each decade; an estimated one-quarter of the previous short-term warming trend estimated in 2007. Numbers that do not affect the long-term trend illustrating that the three decades previous have been warmer than the last. The 1983 to 2012 period appears the warmest 30-year period in the last 1,400 years.

Since 1998, Earth has been building up heat at a rate similar to that which would be produced by four Hiroshima-grade atomic bombs being detonated every second; a measurement impossible for the normal human mind to lock into. Research has validated the presence of greenhouse warming with its distinct signature of upper atmosphere cooling and lower atmosphere warming.

BLUE MARBLEFile:The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
National Academies of Science representing 80 different countries of the world all endorse the consensus opinion. Supported by leading scientific organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

IPCC report: It is clear that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed in recent decades, reducing average snow and ice cover, and increasing sea levels, corresponding to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions to levels unprecedented for nearly 800,000 years.

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