Science update

A selection of some the most significant recent peer-reviewed science on climate change: The poles, permafrost and sea levels | Attribution | Ecosystems | Energy transitions | Extreme weather and climate | Emissions and T projections | Oceans | State of the climate/observations


Just reading about the government’s massive new report outlining what climate change has in store for the U.S. is sobering. In brief: temperature spikes, drought, flooding, less snow, less permafrost. But if you really want to freak out, you should check out the graphs, charts, and maps.
16 January 2013

Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica, permafrost and sea levels
Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted
New satellite images show polar ice coverage dwindling in extent and thickness 
11 August 2012

The whole story behind Greenland’s record ice loss
The news that an unusually widespread melt occurred in Greenland during mid-July, when 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet – including normally frigid high-elevation areas – experienced some degree of melting, has made international headlines, and for good reason.
26 July 2012

Record warmth at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet
The coldest place in Greenland, and often the entire Northern Hemisphere, is commonly the Summit Station.
July 18, 2012

Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’
The Greenland ice sheet is poised for another record melt this year, and is approaching a "tipping point" into a new and more dangerous melt regime in which the summer melt area covers the entire land mass,  according to new findings from polar researchers.
29 June 2012

Past extreme warming events linked to massive carbon release from thawing permafrost
Climate–ecosystem–soil simulations accounting for rising concentrations of background greenhouse gases and orbital forcing show that the magnitude and timing of the PETM can be explained by the orbitally triggered decomposition of soil organic carbon in circum-Arctic and Antarctic terrestrial permafrost. 
5 April 2012

Arctic sea ice may have passed crucial tipping point
The disappearance of Arctic sea ice has crossed a "tipping point" that could soon make ice-free summers a  regular feature across most of the Arctic Ocean, says a British climate scientist who is setting up an early warning system for dangerous climate tipping points.
27 March 2012

Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet for Future Generations
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.
March 19, 2012

Multistability and critical thresholds of the Greenland ice sheet
The complete melt of the Greenland ice sheet could occur at lower global temperatures (in the range of 0.8–3.2°C, with a best estimate of 1.6 °C.) than previously thought, increasing the threat and severity of a rise in sea level.
March 11, 2012 

Attribution
New climate record shows last ice age ended by temperature rise driven by increased atmospheric CO2
A new, detailed record of past climate change provides compelling evidence that the last ice age was ended by a rise in temperature driven by an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Ecosystems 
Extinctions Just as Damaging as Climate Change
A new paper in the prestigious science journal Nature assesses one of the big questions in ecology today: How do species extinctions rack up compared to other global change issues like global warming, ozone holes, acid rain, and nutrient pollution (overfertilization)?
2 May 2012

Energy transitions: emissions and temperature implications
Climate response to zeroed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols
Study finds zeroed emissions will add 0.25-0.5C of warming as aerosol cooling is lost., but waiting to reduce emissions is worse in the long run.
March 4, 2012

Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity
We show that rapid deployment of low-emission energy systems can do little to diminish the climate impacts in the first half of this century. Conservation, wind, solar, nuclear power, and possibly carbon capture and storage appear to be able to achieve substantial climate benefits in the second half of this century; however, natural gas cannot.
February 16, 2012

Extreme weather and climate: new peer-reviewed papers...
Public Perception of Climate Change and the New Climate Dice
An important cliamte change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations warmer than climatology. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth's surface in the period of climatology, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. .
5 April  2012

A decade of weather extremes
The ostensibly large number of recent extreme weather events has triggered intensive discussions, both in- and outside the scientific community, on whether they are related to global warming. Here, we review the evidence and argue that for some types of extreme — notably heatwaves, but also precipitation extremes — there is now strong evidence linking specific events or an increase in their numbers to the human influence on climate.
25 March 2012

Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change
 The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.   
21 March 2012

Extreme Summer Temperatures Occur More Frequently in U.S. Now 
Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business as usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases.
February 15, 2012
Global emissions and predicted temperatures

Soot is No. 2 global-warming culprit, study finds From diesel engines to cow-dung cook fires, soot from inefficiently burned fuel has supplanted methane as the second most significant global-warming agent that humans are pumping into the air, according to an exhaustive review of more than a decade's worth of research on black-carbon soot emissions.   
15 January 2013

Global carbon emissions rise is far bigger than previous estimates
New analysis by the Guardian shows the world emitted a record 31.8bn tonnes of carbon from energy consumption in 2010
21 June 2012

An Influential Global Voice Warns of Runaway Emissions
Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency explains why the situation is worsening and what needs to be done to significantly slow emissions.
11 June 2012

Global carbon-dioxide emissions increase by 1.0 Gt in 2011 to record high
Global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of  31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This represents an increase of 1.0 Gt on 2010, or 3.2%. Coal accounted for 45% of total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011, followed by oil (35%) and natural gas (20%).
24 May 2012 

Climate scientists say warming could exceed 3.5 C
Climate researchers said Thursday the planet could warm by more than 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit), boosting the risk of drought, flood and rising seas.
25 May 2012 

Oceans
The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification
 The world's oceans are turning acidic at what could be the fastest pace of any time in the past 300 million years, even more rapidly than during a monster emission of planet-warming carbon 56 million years ago
2 March 2012
State of the climate
NOAA releases comprehensive 2011 State of the Climate report
Major cooling factor globally in 2011 was La Nina. At the same time, the report identified “human fingerprints” in more than two dozen climate indicators. Report here.
12 July 2012

Annual Statement on the Status of the Global Climate
World Meteorological Organization: The global temperature increase rate has been “remarkable” during the previous four decades, according to the preliminary summary. The global temperature has increased since 1971 at an average estimated rate of 0.166°C per decade compared to the average rate of 0.06 °C per decade computed over the full period 1881-2010.
March 2012

UK Met Office Says 2010, 2005 Hottest Years on Record, World Warming Faster Than Thought
Between 1998 and 2010, temperatures rose by 0.11C, 0.04C more than previously estimated. Before it was thought the hottest years were 1998 followed by 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2002. The updated series puts 2010 as the hottest year on record followed by 2005, 1998, 2003 and 2006.
19 March 2012 


State of the Climate - 2012
This State of the Climate is the second paper produced by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It provides a summary of observations of Australia’s climate and analysis of the factors that influence it.
March 13, 2012