More than a year after Bush's Pentagon reported that climate change threatened national security, another liberal, anti-growth government body, NASA, along with Columbia U. and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has concluded that we're...toast.
Using satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth's oceans, scientists have concluded that more energy is being absorbed from the Sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth's energy "out of balance" and warming the planet.And because "radiation takes longer to manifest in the world's oceans longer than it does on land," even if there "were no further increase of human-induced gases in the air, climate would continue to warm about" one degree Farenheit "over the next century." (Read the article here. Via dKos.)
"This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for," says James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the lead author of the study. "It shows that our estimates of the human-made and natural climate forcing agents are about right, and they are driving the Earth toward a warmer climate."
But that's nothing to worry about. It only means ice melts faster, which only affects, say, whether there's a Gulf Stream to warm Europe. Which brings to mind the results of a study reported in February:
The present trend of warmer sea temperatures, which have risen by an average of half a degree Celsius (0.9F) over the past 40 years, can be explained only if greenhouse gas emissions are responsible, new research has revealed.(Read the rest here.)
The results are so compelling that they should end controversy about the causes of climate change, one of the scientists who led the study said yesterday.
"The debate about whether there is a global warming signal now is over, at least for rational people," said Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. "The models got it right. If a politician stands up and says the uncertainty is too great to believe these models, that is no longer tenable."
In the study, Dr Barnett's team examined more than seven million observations of temperature, salinity and other variables in the world's oceans, collected by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and compared the patterns with those that are predicted by computer models of various potential causes of climate change.
It found that natural variation in the Earth's climate, or changes in solar activity or volcanic eruptions, which have been suggested as alternative explanations for rising temperatures, could not explain the data collected in the real world. Models based on man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, however, matched the observations almost precisely.
"What absolutely nailed it was the greenhouse model," Dr Barnett told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington. Two models, one designed in Britain and one here in the US, got it almost exactly. We were stunned. They did it so well it was almost unbelieveable."
To put the warming planet and its warming oceans into perspective for the Western world, consider the following fun facts from Columbia University's Earth Institute:
- Coastal environments have much higher concentrations of urban land area (10%) and urban populations (65%) than other ecosystems.
- Far fewer Asian and African urban residents live in coastal and cultivated areas than residents of the Americas, Europe and Oceania, however, population densities in coastal cities of Asia and Africa are much greater than those on other continents.
BONUS FEATURE: Global dimming.