11 February 2013

Effective climate communication: 140 characters at a time

Jeff Nesbitt (@jeffnesbit), the Executive Director of Climate Nexus, shows how powerful a tool Twitter can be in communicating the global warming story.
     Here's how it started. Nesbitt had tweeted:
Record snow in a warming world? The climate science is clear.bit.ly/WXOLUB
Nesbitt was challenged by a leading Christian pastor and popular southern California radio talk show, David Housholder (@LibertyHous):
@jeffnesbit Dude. Weather is complex. Climate has never been stable. Can you name a more random set of data? davidhousholder.com
What did Nesbitt did next is really compelling. He told the real climate story in 140 character (the size limit for the Twitter uninitiated) bursts:
@LibertyHous Yes, weather is complex. So is God. Scientists, and theologians, study complex sets of data in order to understand patterns.

@LibertyHous Let's start. Pattern #1. 13,950 climate science studies in past 20 years. Only 24 deny a CO2 connection. http://www.jamespowell.org

@LibertyHous Pattern #2. NASA satellites 2003-2010 show 1,000 cubic miles (4.3 trillion tons) of ice melt worldwide. http://1.usa.gov/z9pj26

@LibertyHous More Pattern #2. 1K cubic miles of ice lost in last 10 years caused half inch of global sea level rise. http://1.usa.gov/z9pj26

@LibertyHous More Pattern #2. 1K cubic miles of ice lost in 10 years is enough ice to cover the U.S. 1.5 feet deep. http://1.usa.gov/z9pj26

@LibertyHous Pattern #3. 1,700 different species worldwide migrating either north or south to avoid global warming. http://bit.ly/S2IhqV

@LibertyHous Pattern #4. Keeling curve shows atmospheric CO2 growth rate has more than doubled annually since 1950. http://bit.ly/V1WgL6

@LibertyHous Pattern #5. Arctic ice volume minimums drop 75% since 1986, on track for ice-free summers by 2020. http://bit.ly/Qul5Ks

@LibertyHous Pattern #6. Greenland's ice sheet ability to reflect sun (albedo effect) dropped every year since 2000. http://bit.ly/11yT4xv

@LibertyHous Pattern #7. Atmospheric methane (another GHG) two and a half times pre-Industrial Revolution levels. http://nyti.ms/sqpKZO

@LibertyHous Pattern #8. The number of dry areas in the world doubled in the last 50 years due to climate change. http://bit.ly/GTyGeC

@LibertyHous Pattern #9. Total number of floods (due to more climate-driven precipitation) has tripled in 15 years. http://bit.ly/WPee4x

@LibertyHous Pattern #10. Record high temperatures in the U.S. are now twice that of record lows. http://bit.ly/LfM0hv

@LibertyHous Pattern #11. Seven times more wildfires in western U.S. greater than 10,000 acres compared to 1970s. http://bit.ly/OC5vlM

@LibertyHous Pattern #12. The number of climate-driven natural catastrophes has doubled in the past 30 years. http://buswk.co/PIUNuI

@LibertyHous Pattern #13. 20 warmest years occurred since 1981; all 10 of the warmest years in the past 12 years. http://1.usa.gov/Z3box0

@LibertyHous Pattern #14. Rate of global sea level rise in past decade double that of the past century. http://1.usa.gov/14LkaiE

@LibertyHous Pattern #15. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, ocean acidification increased 30 percent. http://1.usa.gov/12gBaKD

@LibertyHous Pattern #16. Extremely hot temps covered 0.2 percent of the planet in 1951; extreme temps now cover 10%. http://bit.ly/V1Da8Z
Nice work!


  1. co2 effect ?
    If all anthropogenic co2 production stopped globally today, how long before we would notice a climatic change?
    Answer, about 1000 years!

    1. If anthropogenic CO2 production is NOT stopped globally, how long before 70% of ALL land life on Earth go extinct?

      Answer: 100 years...AT MOST

      PS: After each global catastrophe, the dominant species had been wiped out.

      PPS: We ARE the dominant specie on Earth right now.


    2. The scientists tell us that global failure to control greenhouse gas emissions means the world is heading towards 4 degrees Celsius of warming by century’s end.
      They say that the carrying capacity of the planet will likely be under a billion people,
      and that a four-degree future is incompatible with an organised global community.
      From that perspective pumping MORE greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for decades to come sounds more like a death-wish than a care for life.

    3. If we continue to allow superpower rivalry to override the need of emissions control & carbon recovery & albedo restoration - and thereby cause the collapse and loss of our global culture, then it might well be 1,000 years or more before airborne CO2e starts to decline and so cool the planet.

      Then again, if we apply the necessary triple mitigation strategy, then we start cooling the planet within a few years and we've a good chance of restoring the pre-industrial atmosphere by the end of the century.

      People certainly need to acknowledge the threat that inaction poses, but we need to focus on the solutions if they are to find the courage to face that threat.



  2. and abbott wants to populate the tropics?


    1. It's one way to get small government.

    2. Buts seriously, "If warmings of 10 °C were really to occur in next three centuries, the area of land likely rendered uninhabitable by heat stress would dwarf that affected by rising sea level. Heat stress
      thus deserves more attention as a climate-change impact." is dead right.

    3. It only takes a 3°C as an average for everything to change. A drop will lead to another ice age, a rise??? who knows where that will lead!! a parched Earth? STOP POLLUTION IT IS NOW TIME LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW

  3. Great work.
    Might be worth noting that the "Pattern #6" tweet contains a hyperlink to an incredibly NSFW video. It seems the last character has not been included in the link itself; when added back onto the URL it directs to the intended site, but quite the surprise when clicked as-is. Hopefully no more than an unfortunate coincidence!

  4. Here is an animated graph of the catastrophic decline in Arctic Sea Ice, and catastrophic is not an exaggeration.

    PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume 1979-2012

  5. What goes up must come down.
    The the water from the melting glaciers and ice caps must go somewhere. Water has a cycle, the increasing uptake of water into the system is resulting in floods, severe snow and other freak weather phenomenon