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Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ September 20, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Politics.
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ikePolicy makers and the public may wish for the comfort of certainty in their climate science. But I fear that rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is “settled” (or is a “hoax”) demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences.

Society’s choices in the years ahead will necessarily be based on uncertain knowledge of future climates. That uncertainty need not be an excuse for inaction. There is well-justified prudence in accelerating the development of low-emissions technologies and in cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.

Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.

via Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ.

Our Sick Oceans June 20, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment.
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Life on Earth has gone through five “mass extinction events” caused by events such as asteroid impacts; and it is often said that humanity’s combined impact is causing a sixth such event. The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively. But the trends are such that it is likely to happen, they say – and far faster than any of the previous five.

“What we’re seeing at the moment is unprecedented in the fossil record – the environmental changes are much more rapid,” Professor Rogers told BBC News. “We’ve still got most of the world’s biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] – and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event.”

The report also notes that previous mass extinction events have been associated with trends being observed now – disturbances of the carbon cycle, and acidification and hypoxia (depletion of oxygen) of seawater. Levels of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans are already far greater than during the great extinction of marine species 55 million years ago (during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum), it concludes.

via BBC News – World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline.

Mending Ozone Hole May Worsen Climate Change June 14, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Environmental Catch-22?: Mending Ozone Hole May Worsen Climate Change: Scientific American
For decades, these winds have been speeding up near Antarctica; repairing the ozone would weaken the winds, he says, and shift them back toward the equator, affecting weather in the entire Southern Hemisphere, including Antarctica as well as Australia, parts of Africa and South America.

This also means Earth’s southernmost continent might experience even more warming in future as the winds continue to shift and allow relatively warmer air to cover it, potentially speeding the melting of ice shelves. In addition, if there were no hole, the replenished ozone would trap even more heat as greenhouse gas concentrations also rise, according to Polvani.

Atmospheric scientist Judith Perlwitz of the University of Colorado at Boulder and her colleagues reached a similar conclusion, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. No one has factored in the role that the ocean—critical to the regulation of Earth’s temperature—would play if the ozone hole is closed.

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