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Archive for February, 2010

New Evidence Confirms Land Warming Record

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on February 26, 2010

State of the World Forum’s Paul Ray forwards this piece and reminds us of this a key social-political point: The anti-science climate denial campaign is being coordinated by the same PR firms that coordinated the cancer-denial campaign for the tobacco companies. This time they’re doing it for the oil and coal companies. And for the Saudi Arabian government. For those of us with long memories, that’s why there’s a sort of familiar ring to their attempt to create confusion about what the science says, and to employ anti-science ideologues.

Joe Romm ClimateProgress.org

Everybody but the anti-science disinformers has known for a long time that the Hadley/CRU (Climatic Research Unit) temperature data UNDERestimates — not OVERestimates — the recent global temperature rise.  Why?

“There are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest,” as New Scientist explained (see here and here). “The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations.” Thus it is almost certainly the case that the planet has warmed up more this decade than NASA says, and especially more than the UK’s Hadley Center says.

I’ve repeatedly written about this (see “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?“ and here).   So has NASA’s James Hansen (see below).

Mean temperature difference between the periods  2004-2008 and 1999-2003 RealClimate has an excellent post on this very subject — “the ‘hole in the Arctic’ in the Hadley data, just where recent warming has been greatest” — with this great figure (and caption):

Figure. The animated graph shows the temperature difference between the two 5-year periods 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. The largest warming has occurred over the Arctic in the past decade and is missing in the Hadley data.

See also “Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds.”

Thus contrary to what the global warming disinformers say about the recent temperature record, it is almost certainly the case that the planet has warmed up more this decade than NASA says, and especially more than the UK’s Hadley Center says.

In December, the Met Office admitted as much with a new analysis published on their website:

New evidence confirms land warming record

18 December 2009

New analysis released today has shown the global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming. The study, carried out by ECMWF (the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) with input from the Met Office, performs a new calculation of global temperature rise. This independent analysis is based on information from a wide range of sources. It  uses all available surface temperature measurements, together with data from sources such as satellites, radiosondes, ships and buoys.

The new analysis estimates the warming to be higher than that shown from HadCRUT’s more limited direct observations. This is because HadCRUT is sampling regions that have exhibited less change, on average, than the entire globe over this particular period. This provides strong evidence that recent temperature change is at least as large as estimated by HadCRUT. This conclusion is in contrast to a recently released study by the Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) think tank based in Moscow. The IEA’s output is consistent with HadCRUT as they both confirm the global warming signal in this region since 1950, which we see in many other variables and has been consistently attributed to human activities

Increase in mean near-surface temperature (°C) from (1989-98) to (1999-2008)

Increase in mean near-surface temperature (°C) from (1989-98) to (1999-2008)
The lower figure is the ECMWF analysis which uses all available observations, including satellite and weather balloon records, synthesised in a physically- and meteorologically-consistent way, and the upper figure represents the same period from our HadCRUT record. The ECMWF analysis shows that in data-sparse regions such as Russia, Africa and Canada, warming over land is more extreme than in regions sampled by HadCRUT. If we take this into account, the last decade shows a global-mean trend of 0.1 °C to 0.2 °C per decade. We therefore infer with high confidence that the HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.

I would say, “Duh” but apparently even stuff that has been obvious in the scientific literature is missed by the media and ignored by the antiscience crowd.

How far back was this known in the literature?  As Hansen explained (again) — see NASA reports hottest November on record, 2009 poised to be second hottest year, Hansen predicts better than 50% chance 2010 will set new record:

As discussed by Hansen et al. (2006) the main difference between these analyses is probably due to the fact that British analysis excludes large areas in the Arctic and Antarctic where observations are sparse. The GISS analysis, which extrapolates temperature anomalies as far as 1200 km, has more complete coverage of the polar areas. The extrapolation introduces uncertainty, but there is independent information, including satellite infrared measurements and reduced Arctic sea ice cover, which supports the existence of substantial positive temperature anomalies in those regions.

If you want a debunking of the anti-science spin on the IEA’s work (by Delingpole!), see Deltoid’s 12/17 post, “Russian analysis confirms 20th century CRU temperatures.”

Here is the Met Office’s “Proposal for a New International Analysis of Land Surface Air Temperature Data.

Bottom Line:  I applaud the Met Office’s efforts to be more transparent about the temperature record — but even more important is for the Met Office to be more accurate.

Posted in Digital Earth | Leave a Comment »

Great Coverage from Partners 1Sky

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on February 16, 2010

NextNow Collaboratory is a 1Sky Ally (under Media, although we perhaps belong under Civil Society).

1Sky Policy Update 2/15/10 – Extreme Weather Shuts Down Capitol Hill

Everything in the nation’s capitol took a backseat to two major snowstorms that dumped over 32 inches of snow on DC last week. Congress fell behind and climate deniers took advantage of the storm to stir up baseless controversy. Momentum is still building behind a much-anticipated senate jobs bill, but members of Congress are home this week for the President’s Day Recess, and won’t take it up until February 22. Throughout this week 1Sky organizers and volunteers will be out in force talking face-to-face with their reps and senators about protecting the Clean Air Act and passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill this year.
Snow storms break records, stall progress on the Hill

  • Washington, DC received over 32 inches of snow over the past week, breaking records, shutting down much of the city, and giving us a taste of the impacts of new weather patterns and extreme weather events driven by climate change http://mediamattersaction.org/blog/201002100002
  • All House votes were canceled for the entire week; the Senate was closed on Wednesday, with limited business taking place Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Climate deniers are using the storm to perpetuate myths about global warming and the fate of the climate bill
  • Those familiar with climate science however, have noted that the extreme amount of moisture in last weeks’ storms is in fact directly in line with predictions made by climate scientists.

Senate Jobs Bill delayed, vote postponed until after recess

  • The first of at least two jobs bills was expected to be introduced in the Senate early last week, and passed before the recess, but was delayed due to the snow storms as well as difficulties in resolving disagreements among key senators
  • On Thursday, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) unveiled a long-awaited jobs bill with a price tag of $85 billion http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2010/02/09/2/ (subs. req’d)
    • The bill included a number of energy tax credits for biofuels, energy-efficient home improvements, and other measures as well as an extension of the current highway and transit law
  • Just hours after the bill was introduced, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) quickly asserted (to the surprise of many) that he would scale it back to simpler, $15 billion version without most of the energy-related provisions http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/32878.html
  • The bill will now be considered after the President’s Day Recess, but no deadline has been set for its passage
  • The New York Times editorial board published this harsh critique of the Jobs bill and process surrounding it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/opinion/12fri1.html

Climate Bill Still On the Table

  • Key players in the senate released additional statements last week reaffirming that they are moving forward on a bill

Defending The Clean Air Act from House and Senate Attacks

  • Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution of disapproval aimed at preventing the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is still expected to be brought to the senate floor next month
  • Three similar attacks in the House are being spearheaded by Representatives Ike Skelton (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). Some co-sponsors of these efforts include members who voted in favor of comprehensive climate and energy legislation last June.
  • Over the recess, 1Sky organizers and volunteers will show members of Congress that it is unacceptable to protect the profits of big polluters like Big Oil and Dirty Coal at the expense of our health and much-needed clean energy jobs. http://local.1sky.org/

1Sky Follows Up On Obama Rope Line Debate

Last week, we noted that 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell took an opportunistic moment to talk to President Obama on a rope line about “clean coal” and federal priorities. Videotape of the exchange and a blog and follow up letter can be found at the URLs below.

If you missed it, here is the Video of President Obama and Gillian Caldwell talking with a related blog


And here is the new follow up 1Sky letter to President Obama which was delivered last week and copied to several members of his cabinet


Prepared by Julie Erickson and Jason Kowalski from the 1Sky’s policy team. Please direct questions or comments to jason@1sky.org.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this weekly policy update, please email Adi at adi@1sky.org

Posted in Democracy, Sustainability | 1 Comment »

The Emotional Power of Visualization: Bella Gaia

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on February 6, 2010

“The first day or so, we all pointed to our countries.  The third or fourth day, we were pointing to our continents.  By the fifth day, we were aware of only one Earth.” Astronaut Bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia, Reflections from Space, The Foundation for Global Community (2008)

The vision of BELLA GAIA is to bring the power of art, technology, space science, and real scientific data visualizations together, into a context that is both entertaining and educational, fused with a common goal of raising the awareness and appreciation of our home planet. BELLA GAIA can actually visually display how we humans are affecting the planet, and how each element affects the other, allowing the audience to easily understand the delicate interconnected balance of our planet.

(Thanks to NextNower Manuel Maqueda (Trash Island, Plastic Pollution Coalition) for sharing this beautiful piece.)

Posted in Digital Earth, Ecological Footprint, Social Tech | 1 Comment »

NextNow Collab Joins World Resources Simulation Center and Save the Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on February 3, 2010

NextNow Collab has become an institutional partner of the World Resources Simulation Center (WRSC) to help create powerful community around the use of information visualization tools to globally “visualize our resources, assess our needs, compare strategies and choose the best course of action.”  Anyone familiar with the goals of NextNow Collab will immediately recognize the synergy between the two organizations.

On Wednesday, March 31 from 6-7:30 p.m., Natural Logic (NextNower Gil Friend) and NextNow Collaboratory will host an event for WRSC at our collaboration space at the Strawberry Creek Design Center in Berkeley to introduce this critical work to our broader community and to help raise funds to support the work. Details will be posted here as they become available.  Please save the date so you can join us.

For more information on joining this collaboration see the World Resources Simulation Center page and visit their website, which has great links to examples of visualization technologies and new technology demonstrations on their homepage.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


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