Science News: Humans found guilty in climate change
International panel's confidence increases that society is responsible for global warming
By Beth Mole
Web edition: September 27, 2013
Scientists are now 95 to 100 percent certain that humans are cranking up the global thermostat.As jamess on Daily Kos pointed out in Likely, Very Likely, Extremely Likely, 95+% confidence is the gold standard in science. Any scientist who says something is 95% likely is confident in their results.
The boosted confidence in humans' role in climate change comes from a distillation of thousands of scientific studies, by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released a summary of its findings September 27.
The IPCC, which produces such a report about every six years, had previously estimated only a 90 percent confidence level that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are contributing to the world's rising temperatures. A warmer climate threatens to raise sea level - drowning islands and coastlines - and dramatically alter agriculture and ecosystems around the world.
Follow over the jump as I make good on another promise from that entry and post two climate stories from the University of Alabama.
The other promise I made was that "NASA has at least one answer video that I'll post later this week or early next." It turns out they have two.
First, Ask a Climate Scientist: Food Production.
Will climate change drastically reduce our food production, or will it change what we produce?Next, Ask a Climate Scientist: CO2 and Temperature.
This question from Twitter was posed to Goddard Space Flight Center's Molly Brown as part of NASA's Ask A Climate Scientist campaign, #askclimate
Is there any merit to the studies that show that historical CO2 levels lag behind temperature, and not lead them?There aren't any more, but I expect more will be posted after the shutdown is over.
Yes, there's merit to those studies, says Peter Hildebrand, Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, responding to a question from Twitter...
In the pre-industrial age, the CO2 response to temperature was that the temperature would go up and CO2 would go up. Or if the temperature went down, CO2 would go down. Because when the temperature rose, the whole biosphere revved up and emitted CO2. So we understand that process.
In the post-industrial age, the opposite is true. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is leading to increased temperature. So two different things happened, one pre-industrial, where temperature was driving the CO2, and post-industrial, where CO2 was driving temperature. Which means a completely different physical-biological process is going on.
Finally, here are the two stories from the University of Alabama.
UA Engineering Student Selected for U.N. Climate Change Conference
September 26, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A chemical engineering student at The University of Alabama was selected to attend a United Nations climate change conference this fall.Polar Marine Biologist to Give UA’s Darden Lecture on Climate Change
Emily Bloomquist, a sophomore from Tucker, Ga., was chosen by the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 16-22.
She is one of only six students chosen nationally to represent ACS at the conference. Students were chosen under the criteria of demonstrating academic preparedness, awareness and enthusiasm in representing ACS.
September 23, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama at Birmingham author and polar marine biologist will present “Lost Antarctica – The Ecological Impacts of Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula” as the 14th Annual William Darden Lecture Thursday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Biology Building, room 127 on The University of Alabama campus.Stay tuned for more research from campuses on the campaign trail.
A book signing will follow in the auditorium foyer at 7 p.m. Dr. James B. McClintock’s lecture is free and open to the public.
McClintock, an endowed professor of polar and marine biology at UAB, will discuss the consequences of global climate change.The Antarctic Peninsula is considered by many to be the most rapidly warming region on the planet, and extensive research has been done there on shrinking sea ice, declining populations of sea creatures, and other signs of climate change.
McClintock has published more than 200 scientific publications and co-authored several books focusing on this region. His latest book, “Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land,” was published in 2012.