The biggest state in America, home to more ocean coastline than all others combined, has just set another record. This one, however, is nothing to cheer.
For the first time in recorded history, temperatures in Anchorage did not drop below zero once in an entire calendar year. In comparison, Alaska's largest city had 14 days below zero in the 2013 calendar year and 32 days in 2012. The average is 29 days.
In a paper I just published with colleague Dr Ted Scambos from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, we highlight the impact of southern ice sheet loss, particularly the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, on sea-leve
During a recent hike in Washington State's Olympic National Park, I marveled at the delicate geometry of frost-covered ferns. White crystalline structures seemed to grow from the green leaves, encasing them in a frozen frame of temporary beauty.
Progressing further up into the mountains, I stopped to lunch and sip hot coffee from a thermos while gazing across a river valley at a snow-covered mountainside, sizing up a frozen waterfall for a possible ice climb in the future. Yet I found myself beginning to wonder how many more winters ice would continue to form there.
This paper published in the journal Nature has generated a great deal of attention in Canada, most of it centred on a single sentence in the paper: “85% of Cdn bitumen reserves remain unburnable if the 2C limit (for global temperature changes) is not to be exceeded.”
It was raining in San Francisco on the damp December morning that three scientists gathered at the offices of Climate Nexus to hold a press conference about the drought. It had been raining regularly for more than a week, in fact, and Stanford University had just recorded its rainiest day ever on campus.
These three drought experts had gathered to swim upstream against all that rain and evaporate any false optimism it might be washing into California.
A year-end report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US-based organization, indicates that the arctic air is warming up at a rate that is 200% of what is seen in other parts of the world. At the same time, other factors have combined to show the ice sheets in Greenland are melting at a rate that is negligible. In other words, the ice sheets appear to be holding steady at this time.
SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.
Tomorrow on December 4th, the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) will hold a press conference at the COP-20 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Lima, Peru. AMEG is a group that formed several years ago in response to the rapid decline of Arctic ice and concerns about rapidly releasing methane coming from the Arctic region.
Scientists, environmentalists and world leaders alike have generally agreed that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would prevent the worst effects of climate change — a cut-off touted again in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
But many experts in the field, including former IPCC leaders, have said that even if global warming is kept to that limit, such a rise could nevertheless devastate the environment and endanger humanity — the very effects that the latest study warns will happen if the 2 C ceiling is breached.