Summary for Policymakers.,
An Assessment of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This summary, approved in detail at IPCC Plenary XXVII
Spain, 12-17 November 2007), represents the formally agreed statement
of the IPCC concerning key findings and uncertainties contained in the
Working Group contributions to the Fourth Assessment Report. Al's Note:
IPCC reports are the most authoritive documents of climate change
in existence as of 2007. At least this is according
major science organizations whose work relates to
climate change. The following gives a summary of the four IPCC reports as well as other major assessments. Al's
second note: The Copenhagen Diagnosis gives an excellent summary
of the state of the scientific knowledge of the earth's climate as of
November 2009. It was prepared for use in the December 2009 UN
Climate Change Conference.
- IPCC Overview
- IPCC First Assessment Report (1990)
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (June 1 to June 14, 1992)
- IPCC Supplementary Report (1992)
- IPCC Second Assessment Report (1995)
- IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001)
- IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007)
- Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (June 16, 2009)
- Copenhagen Climate Report (June 18, 2009)
- United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC, August 2009)
- The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Climate Science Report (November 2009)
- United Nations Climate Change Conference (Dec 7 - Dec 18, 2009)
- IPPC Fifth Assessment Report also see here (due 2013-2014)
-- This article was
published by the American Institute of
Physics and Spencer
The original version contains detailed references and links to
additional information on the history of climate change science.
In addition at Manicore.com there is a "chronology of climate change" that contains additional information. And at CO2Now.org is found another timeline, the Global Warming Chronology . Some important individuals in these timelines are listed here:
- Horace Bénédict de Saussure (1740-1799) -- in 1767 Saussure, a Swiss physicist, geologist,
and early Alpine explorer, invented the heliothermometer, an
instrument for measuring solar radiation.
This instrument was an early forerunner to modern solar radiation
measurement devices. De Saussure also built numerous “hot boxes”,
miniature greenhouses made of wood with glass covers that trapped the
sun’s energy. Studies based on the hot box led de Saussure to
hypothesize that it was cooler in the mountains than in lower-lying
regions because, although the same amount of sunlight strikes the
mountains as the flat lands, because the air in the mountains is more
transparent it cannot trap as much solar heat. For more information on Saussure see here.
Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) Fourier is also credited with the discovery in 1824 that gases in the
atmosphere might increase the surface temperature of the Earth. This was the effect that would later be called the greenhouse effect. He described the phenomenon in 1824 and then again in a very similar paper in 1827 whereby an atmosphere serves to warm a planet.
This established the concept of planetary energy balance — that planets
obtain energy from a number of sources that cause temperature increase.
Planets also lose energy by infrared radiation (that Fourier called "chaleur obscure"
or "dark heat") with the rate increasing with temperature. A balance is
reached between heat gain and heat loss; the atmosphere shifts the
balance toward the higher temperatures by slowing the heat loss.
Although Fourier understood that the rate of infrared radiation
increased with temperature, the Stefan–Boltzmann law
which gives the exact form of this dependency (a fourth-power law) was
discovered fifty years later.. For more information on Fourier
see here, here, and here.
- Claude Pouillet (1791 - 1868) -- 1838 Pouillet, a french physicist, attributes
the natural greenhouse effect to water
vapour and carbon dioxide. He concludes that any variation
in the quantity of water vapour or of carbon dioxide in the atmopshere
should result in a climate change. For more information on Pouillet see here, and here.
-- in 1859 Tyndall, an Irish physicist, discovered that some gases
radiation. Tyndall explained the heat in the Earth's atmosphere in
terms of the capacities of the various gases in the air to absorb radiant heat, a.k.a. infrared radiation. His measuring device, which used thermopile technology, is an early landmark in the history of absorption spectroscopy of gases.
He was the first to correctly measure the relative infrared absorptive
powers of the gases nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, carbon dioxide,
ozone, methane, etc. He concluded that water vapour
is the strongest absorber of radiant heat in the atmosphere and is the
principal gas controlling air temperature. Absorption by the other gases
is not negligible but relatively small. Prior to Tyndall it was widely
surmised that the Earth's atmosphere has a Greenhouse Effect,
but he was the first to prove it. The proof was that water vapor
strongly absorbed infrared radiation For more information on
Tyndall see here, here, and here.
- Joseph Stefan (1835 - 1893) is best known for originating a physical power law in 1879 stating that the total radiation from a black body j* is proportional to the fourth power of its thermodynamic temperature T. Stefan deduced the law from experimental measurements made by the Irish physicist John Tyndall. In 1884 the law was derived theoretically in the framework of thermodynamics by Stefan's student Ludwig Boltzmann and hence is known as the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Boltzmann treated a heat engine with light as a working matter. This law is the only physical law of nature named after a Slovene physicist.
- James Croll (1821-1890) was a Scottish physical scientist who was the
leading proponent of an astronomical theory of climate change in the
nineteenth century. In 1864, Croll published an article in the Philosophical Magazine “On the Physical Cause of the Change of Climate During Geological Epochs.”
In this paper Croll introduced changes in the earth's orbital elements
as likely periodic and extraterrestrial mechanisms for initiating
multiple glacial epochs. For more on Croll see here.
(1859–1927) -- in 1896 publishes first
calculation of global
warming from human emissions of
CO2. He comes by calculation to the conclusion that a doubling of CO2 in the air will lead to a global increase
of 4°C of the ground temperature, and predicts as a consequence
that the industrial age will generate a global warming. For more information on Arrhenius see here, here, and here.
(1843-1928) -- in 1897 Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon
including feedbacks. Chamberlin developed a theory of climate change and was one of the
first to emphasize carbon dioxide as a major regulator of Earth's
temperature, thus anticipating modern global warming.
Chamberlin was the first to demonstrate that the only way to understand
climate was to understand almost everything about the planet together —
not just the air but the oceans, the volcanoes bringing gases from the deep interior, the chemistry of weathered minerals, and more. For more information on Chamberlin see here, here, and here.
Milankovitch (1879-1958) -- in
the 1930s Milutin Milankovitch, a Serbian astrophysicist and
geophysicist best known for his theory of ice ages, relating variations
of the Earth's orbit and long-term climate change, now known as Milankovitch cycles.
These ideas were derived from improved methods of calculating
variations in Earth's eccentricity, precession, and tilt through time
and determining their combined effects on long term climate change Note: James Croll did
earlier work, 1864, on orbital changes as the cause of ice ages. For more information on Milankovitch see here, here, here, and here.
Stewart Callendar (1897-1964) a British steam engineer, was the first scientist to study climate
change in a rigorous and systematic way and the first to empirically
connect rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere with the increase in the Earth’s temperature. In 1938, Callendar published a paper titled The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Temperature,
the first of many articles on the subject. He noted a significant
upward trend in temperatures for the first four decades of the 20th
century and a continuously rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 since post-industrial times. He linked these trends to the combustion of fossil fuels, describing it as an enhanced "greenhouse effect" where infrared radiation is both absorbed and emitted by the extra CO2, causing warming at the Earth's surface. For more on Callendar see here, here, and here.
- Cesare Emiliani (1922-1995), an Italian paleoceanographer who used Urey's oxygen isotope to discover that the temperature of the ocean
and the ice masses on Earth changed through time in cycles and showed
that these cycles could be recognized and correlated throughout the Atlantic. He is widely regarded as the father of paleoceanography. For more on Emiliani see here.
Plass (1921-2004) was a Canadian-born physicist who made important early contributions to the carbon dioxidetheory
of climate change. He graduated from Harvard University in 1941,
received a Ph.D in physics from Princeton University in 1947, and
eventually became a professor at Texas A&M University. Between 1953
and 1959, Plass developed an early computer model of infrared radiative
transfer and published a number of articles on carbon dioxide and
climate. Plass used new detailed measurements of the infrared
absorption bands and newly available digital computers to replace the
older graphical methods. In a seminal article in 1956, Plass calculated
a 3.6 °C surface temperature increase for a doubling of atmospheric
CO2 and thus adding CO2
to the atmosphere will have a significant effect on the radiation
balance. For more information on Plass see here and here.
Randall Dougan Revelle
(1909-1991) an American oceanographer best known for his pioneering studies of carbon dioxide balance in the oceans and its effect on climate change. In a seminal paper published in 1957, Revelle and Hans Suess
argued that humankind was performing "a great geophysical experiment"
and called on the scientific community to monitor changes in the carbon
dioxide content of waters and the atmosphere as well as production rates of plants and animals. Revelle finds
produced by humans will not be readily absorbed by
the oceans. For more information on Revelle see here, here, here, and here.
N. Lorenz(1917-2008) an
American meteorologist noted for his pathbreaking descriptions of the
transfer of energy in the general circulation of the atmosphere.
In 1965 Lorenz with others point out the chaotic nature
of climate system and the possibility of sudden shifts. He
formally introduced the notion of uncertainty and chaos into weather
forecasting. In that regard, Lorenz is famous for his statement of the
butterfly effect. Lorenz's theory was that an event as small as a
butterfly flapping its wings in China could change the weather in the
United States a few days later. This effect was possible because the
butterfly moved a little bit of air, that moved more air, and so on,
until the moving air reached the other side of the world. The butterfly
effect, or the "sensitive dependence on initial conditions", is the
essence of chaos. For more information on Lorenz see here, here, and here.
Keeling (1928-2005), an American pioneer in the monitoring of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
Widely recognized as the "Keeling curve", the atmospheric carbon
dioxide concentration measurements, taken since 1958 at the Mauna Loa
Observatory in Hawaii, constitute the longest, continuous record of
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration recordings available in the
world. These measurements are recognized as a reliable indicator of the
regional trend in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in
the middle layers of the troposphere. In 1960
Keeling accurately measures CO2 in the Earth's
detects an annual rise. The level is 315 ppm. Mean global temperature
(five-year average) is 13.9°C. For more information on Keeling see here, here, and here.
- Wallace Smith Broecker (1931 - )In 1975, Broecker inadvertently coined the phrase global warming
when he published a paper titled: “Climate Change: Are we on the
Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” He is perhaps best
known for his discovery of the role played by the ocean in triggering
the abrupt climate changes which punctuated glacial time- in particular, the development and popularization of the idea of a global "conveyor belt" linking the circulation of the global ocean. For more information on Broecker see "Happy 35th birthday, global warming"
(1920-2008) -- Aerosols
from human activity are shown to be increasing swiftly. Bryson claims
they counteract global
warming and may bring serious
- Hans E. Suess (1909-1993), an American chemist who developed an
improved method of carbon-14 dating, which he used to document the
profound effect that the combustion of fossil fuels had had on the Earth’s stocks and flows of carbon (1955). Fossil fuels are so ancient that they contain no carbon-14, so when combusted, the carbon dioxide (CO2) they release dilutes the carbon-14 content of both atmosphere and plants. This dilution is now known as the "Suess effect", and it unequivocally proved that the increase in atmospheric CO2 was due to the combustion of fossil fuels.
- Tom M. L. Wigley (1940-) is an Australian mathematical physicist and
climatologist who made many important contributions to climate and carbon-cycle
modeling and to climate data analysis. He made important contributions
to a diverse collection of topics in climatology including data
analysis; climate impacts on agriculture and water resources; paleoclimatology; and modeling of climate, sea level, and the carbon cycle.
Hansen (1941- ) is an American physicist known for his research in the field of
climatology and his testimony on climate change to congressional
committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the
climate change issue. Hansen heads the NASA Institute for Space Studies
in New York City, which is a division of Goddard Space Flight Center's
(Greenbelt, MD), Earth Sciences Directorate. He is currently an adjunct
professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at
Columbia University, and also serves as Al Gore's science advisor. In 1981
Hansen and others show that sulfate
aerosols can significantly cool the
climate, raising confidence in models showing future greenhouse warming. For more information on Hansen see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
- Cesare Marchetti (1927-), an Italian physicist and systems analyst
noted for his pathbreaking work in modeling long run patterns of energy
substitution, carbon dioxide sequestration, and the production of
energy from hydrogen.
As a senior scientist at the International Institute for Applied
Systems Analysis (IIASA), Marchetti developed the first mathematical
models of the long run pattern of energy substitution in industrial
economies, For more information about Marchetti see here and here.
- Stephen H. Schneider (1945-), an American climatologist who pioneered
three-dimensional climate modeling. Schneider is known for his ability
to integrate and interpret the results of global climate research
through public lectures, seminars, classroom teaching, environmental
assessment committees, media appearances, and Congressional testimony.
He is the founding editor of Climatic Change, among the first
journals to foster interdisciplinary inquiry into the totality of the
problem of climatic variability and change, as well as its
descriptions, causes, implications and interactions. For more on Schneider see here, here, and here.
- Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast is a
comprehensive introduction to all aspects of global warming. Written in
an accessible way, and assuming no specialist prior knowledge, this
book examines the processes that control climate change and climate
stability, from the distant past to the distant future. On-line interactive computer models allow you to play with the physics and chemistry behind the global warming forecast. We are now posting video lectures by David Archer from a core class for non-science majors, Fall Quarter, 2009, University of Chicago.
CRU Emails - Searchable. On 20 November 2009, emails and other documents,
apparently originating from with the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the
University of East Anglia. If real, these emails contain some quite surprising
and even disappointing insights into what has been happening within the
climate change scientific establishment. Worryingly this same group of
scientists are very influential in terms of economic and social policy
formation around the subject of climate change. As these emails are already in the public domain, I
think it is important that people are able to look through them and
judge for themselves. As of today, Saturday 21 November, there have been no statements that I
have seen doubting the authenticity of these texts. It is here just as a curiosity!
Climate Change Portal
(Publications). This website
contains information on the impacts of climate change on
California and the state's policies relating to global warming. It is
also the home of the California Climate Change Center, a "virtual"
research and information website operated by the California Energy
Commission through its Public Interest Energy Research (PIER)
- The greenhouse effect
the change in the steady state
temperature of a planet or moon
by the presence of an atmosphere
containing gas that absorbs and
which include water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, warm the
atmosphere by efficiently absorbing thermal infrared radiation emitted
by the Earth’s
surface, by the atmosphere itself, and by clouds.
As a result of its warmth, the atmosphere also radiates thermal
infrared in all directions, including downward to the Earth’s
Thus, greenhouse gases trap heat within the surface-troposphere system.
This mechanism is
fundamentally different from the mechanism of an actual greenhouse,
isolates air inside the structure so that the heat is not lost by convection
as discussed below. The
greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier
in 1824, first reliably
experimented on by John Tyndall
in the year 1858 and first
reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius
in his 1896 paper.
sulfide (or hydrogen
is the chemical compound
with the formula H2S.
and flammable gas
partially responsible for the foul odor of rotten eggs
It often results from the bacterial
break down of sulfates
in organic matter in the absence of oxygen,
such as in swamps
and sewers (anaerobic digestion).
It also occurs
gases, natural gas
and some well waters. The odor of H2S
is commonly misattributed to elemental sulfur,
which is in fact odorless. Hydrogen sulfide has numerous names, some of
which are archaic (see table). Hydrogen
sulfide has been implicated in some of the several mass extinctions
that have occurred in the Earth's past. The Permian
(sometimes known as the "Great Dying") may have been caused by hydrogen
sulfide. Organic residues from these extinction boundaries indicate
that the oceans were anoxic (oxygen depleted) and had species of
shallow plankton that metabolized H2S.
- The Permian–Triassic
(P–Tr) extinction event,
informally known as the Great
Dying, was an extinction event
that occurred 251.4
million years ago,
forming the boundary
between the Permian
was the Earth's most severe extinction event, with up to 96 percent of
all marine species
and 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrate
species becoming extinct;
it is the only known mass extinction
57% of all families and 83% of all genera were killed off. Because so
much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on earth took
significantly longer than after other extinction events.
This event has been
described as the "mother of all mass extinctions".
The pattern of
extinction is still disputed,
as different studies
different pulses. There are several proposed mechanisms for the
extinctions; the earlier peak was likely due to gradualistic
environmental change, while the latter was probably due to a
catastrophic event. Possible mechanisms for the latter include large or
multiple bolide impact
events, increased volcanism,
or sudden release
the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia,
and a shift in ocean
circulation driven by climate change.
-- From the University of
View images and charts about the
current (and past) state of the cryosphere. To compare images
artic sea ice for any two dates from 1980 to the present click
- Arctic Climate Research at the University
of Illinois -- This website is a
portal to recent research related to Arctic
climate and climate change at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at
the University of Illinois. Global climate models (GCMs) are
being used more and more to diagnose and project future climate changes
in the Arctic. We are currently producing a set of animations
illustrating the use of GCMs in addressing some of the most pressing questions
related to Arctic climate change.
- Climate4You -- The
objective of the present web site is to provide information on meteorological
and climatologically issues of general and specific interest. The purpose is not
to provide a forum for discussions. Many fine web sites take care of this. Some
recent debates, books and other initiatives relating to global climatic changes,
however, apparently are frustrated by a certain lack of knowledge on updated
meteorological conditions and their variations in time and space. Also when
it comes to the likely effects of climate change, the lessons of history often
appear to be unknown or forgotten.
- An Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System (Arctic
ROOS) has been established by a group of 14 member institutions from
nine European countries working actively with ocean observation and
modelling systems for the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. Arctic ROOS will promote, develop and maintain
operational monitoring and forecasting of ocean circulation, water
masses, ocean surface conditions, sea ice and biological/chemical
constituents. One of the goals of Arctic ROOS is to contribute to the
legacy of IPY, maintaining cost-effective and useful observing systems
after the end of IPY. Arctic ROOS intends to include more members from
countries outside of Europe and become a GOOS Regional Alliance for the
Arctic. Arctic ROOS has established a secretariat at the Nansen
Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway.
Daily sea ice area and extent can be found here.
The IARC-JAXA Information System (IJIS) is a geoinformatics facility
for satellite image analysis and computational modeling/visualization
in support of international collaboration in Arctic and global change
research at the International Arctic Research Center in corporation
with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The
use of the IJIS is limited to the researchers authorized by JAXA (IJIS
Users). If you are interested in using IJIS, please read "Qualification for IJIS Users." A daily chart of sea ice extent with all years plotted from 2002 may be found here.
- Archive of sea ice
concentrations and extents --at the University of
Illinois Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
- Climate Change Glossary
-- A glossary of climate change terms from the 2001 IPCC Working Group
The uncertainty in
-- Simulating the global ecosystem is complex, potentially
infinite variables that describe and relate nature's chemical,
physical, and biological processes. The resulting range of possible
climate scenarios has led to public confusion about the validity of
climate prediction--and, more urgently, to delays in appropriate
action. To better understand how climate scientists make their global
weather forecasts (and why their predictions don't always agree),
below, our four discussants explain the theory and practice of climate
modeling and discuss how climate predictions should be interpreted and
The Physics of Climate
-- Climate is a large-scale phenomenon that emerges from
interactions among small-scale physical systems. Yet despite the
phenomenon's complexity, climate models have demonstrated some
impressive successes. The task climate modelers have set for
themselves is to take their
knowledge of the local interactions of air masses, water, energy, and
momentum and from that knowledge explain the climate system's
large-scale features, variability, and response to external pressures,
- The carbon
is the biogeochemical cycle
by which carbon
is exchanged between the biosphere,
of the Earth.
For the Met Office Hadley Centre discussion of the carbon
cycle click here.
For the Wikipedia Encyclopedia version click here.
- Climate Change and the
A briefing from the Hadley Centre, December 2005. A
detailed briefing (71 pages) of the greenhouse effect, its causes, and
its consequences for the future.
- Royal Meteorological
"background on climate change".
A fairly large number of Society members present
clips giving their answers about questions concerning the climate and
what we can do about it.
Consensus on Global Warming
-- A paper
from LogicalScience that demonstrates the fact that there is indeed a
consensus on Global Warming.
Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics
-- a list of arguments that skeptics use then links to reasons their
arguments are incorrect. Also one might be interested in
"How to Talk to a Climate
a series by Coby Beck containing
responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming.
Another website that takes on the skeptic arguments is SkepticalScience.
- Fraudulent Global Warming
-- the organizers of this project have worked very hard to obtain
signatures on a petition rejecting global warming from a large number
of people who have degrees in some area of science of at least a
bachelors degree. While they have collected over 30,000
signatures almost none of these have a background in climate
science, only a few have PhD's, almost none are scientists at all, and
even fewer have published in the area of climate science.
Furthermore, a letter from Professor Frederick Seitz is
circulated with the petition. Physicist Frederick Seitz was President
of the US National Academy of Sciences and of Rockefeller University.
But what they did not say is that Prof. Seitz spent years
for the tobacco industry "debunking" the fact that smoking is harmful
for your health. They also "forget" to mention that Prof.
was declared mentally incapable several years prior to his involvement
with this project. And they also forget to say that he has
absolutely no expertise in the area of climate science. For
video debunking this project click
commonly referred to as simply El
is a global coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon. The Pacific ocean
signatures, El Niño
Niña are important
temperature fluctuations in
surface waters of the tropical Eastern
- Frequently asked questions
Niño and La Niña --
Form NOAA. El
Niño happens when tropical Pacific Ocean trade
winds die out and ocean temperatures become unusually warm.
is a flip side to El Nino called La
which occurs when the trade winds blow unusually hard and the sea
temperature become colder than normal. El Nino and La Nina are the warm
and cold phases of an oscillation we refer to as El Nino/Southern
Oscillation, or ENSO, which has a period of roughly 3-7 years.
NOAA also has a page of Occasionally Asked
Questions about El Nino.
- The Pacific
is a pattern of Pacific climate
that shifts phases on at least inter-decadal time scale, usually about
20 to 30 years. The PDO is detected as warm or cool surface waters in
the Pacific Ocean,
north of 20° N. During a "warm", or "positive", phase,
the west Pacific
becomes cool and part of the eastern ocean warms; during a "cool" or
"negative" phase, the opposite pattern occurs. For more from
JISAO check this
- The Madden-Julian
is an equatorial
traveling pattern of anomalous rainfall that is planetary in scale. The
mechanism and cause of the MJO is as yet not well-understood and is a
subject of ongoing study. The MJO is characterized by an
progression of large regions of
both enhanced and suppressed tropical rainfall, observed mainly over
the Indian Ocean
The anomalous rainfall is usually first evident over the western Indian
Ocean, and remains evident as it propagates over the very warm ocean
waters of the western and central tropical Pacific. The MJO
also known as the 30-60 day
or intraseasonal oscillation.
- The Western
Hemisphere Warm Pool (WHWP)
is a region of sea surface
warmer than 28.5°C that develops west of Central America
in the spring, then
expands to the tropical
waters to the east. The WHWP
includes the tropical Atlantic Ocean
(TNA) east of the Lesser Antilles, Caribbean
Sea, Gulf of Mexico,
and eastern north Pacific
(NAO) is a climatic
phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean
fluctuations in the difference of sea-level
pressure between the Icelandic
Low and the Azores
Through east-west rocking motions of the Icelandic
Low and the Azores
it controls the strength and direction of westerly winds
tracks across the North
Atlantic. It is highly correlated with the Arctic oscillation,
(also see here
for more on Artic oscilation) as
it is a part of it.
Also check out AccuWeather.com's version of the NAO at
- The Atlantic
multidecadal oscillation (AMO)
is a hypothesised
mode of natural variability occurring in the North
Atlantic Ocean and which has its
principle expression in the sea surface
(SST) field. See also
this link for more on AMO.
And even more from NOAA
on AMO at this
link and for graphs this
are changes in the amount of
radiant energy emitted by the Sun.
There are periodic components to these variations, the principal one
being the 11-year solar cycle
cycle), as well as
aperiodic fluctuations. See also Sunspot
and Sunspot Cycle.
Also Google "sunspot cycle and climate
For a different take check out LogicalScience's page
on the sun and global warming.
- The Maunder
is the name given to the period roughly from 1645
became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time. It is
named after the solar astronomer Edward
(1851–1928) who studied changes of sunspots latitudes in
times and also during second part of 17th Century. Edward Maunder
published two papers in 1890 and 1894 and he mentioned about earlier
papers written by G.
The time of Minimum duration was taken from Sporer article.
Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle — and coldest part
— of the Little Ice Age,
during which Europe
and North America,
and perhaps much of the rest of the world, were subjected to bitterly
cold winters. Whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot
activity and cold winters is the subject of ongoing debate (e.g., see Global
A paper on simulating the Maunder Minimum is found
at this link.
are the collective effect of
changes in the Earth's
movements upon its climate,
named after Serbian civil engineer
and mathematician Milutin Milanković.
The eccentricity, axial
tilt, and precession
of the Earth's orbit
vary in several patterns, resulting in 100,000-year ice
age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation
over the last few million years. During one 30-year period
within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers
observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical
40,000–50,000 spots in modern times.
- An ice
is a period of long-term reduction in the temperature
of the Earth's
surface and atmosphere, resulting in an expansion of continental ice
sheets, polar ice sheets and
is often used to mean a period of ice sheets in the northern and
southern hemispheres; by this definition we are still in an ice age
(because the Greenland
and Antarctic ice sheets
still exist). More colloquially, when speaking of the last few million
years, ice age
is used to refer to colder periods
with extensive ice sheets over the North
American and Eurasian
continents: in this sense, the most recent ice age
ended about 11,000 years ago. This article will use the term ice
age in the former,
glaciological, sense: glacials
colder periods during ice ages and interglacials
for the warmer periods. For images see Image:Vostok-ice-core-petit.png
- What can climate
us about the future?
Climate change is
perhaps the most pressing problem facing the world
today and it will remain a challenge for decades, if not centuries, to
come. Like any 'expert' trying to project into the
future, scientists cannot
give precise predictions of what will happen in 100 years, or even in
the next 10 years. If we could, we would all have made our
fortunes! However, we are able to give a range of possible
the world's actions and to assign probabilities to these.
The methodology is discussed here.
- An Inconvenient Truth: The
Earlier this year judicial review proceedings were issued in
High Court challenging the decision by the Government’s
department (DFES) to distribute copies of An Inconvenient Truth to
secondary schools. This guidance has been prepared following
High Court ruling and the subsequent announcement by campaigners behind
the court case that they intend to send copies of the Great Global
Warming Swindle to schools to ‘counter’ the
An Inconvenient Truth by the DFES.
- Climate Change In Our
Explore and learn about
the impacts of climate change and find out how
you can make a difference with Climate Change in our World. The Met
Office Hadley Centre, British Antarctic Survey and UK Government have
harnessed Google Earth technology to present you with an interactive
animation showing the retreat of Antarctic ice shelves over time.
Note: To view these you must install Google Earth
on your system. Also check out Google Earth Outreach
to customize your website.
- All About the Cryosphere.
Some places on Earth are so cold that water is a
or snow. Scientists call these frozen places of our planet the
"cryosphere." The word "cryosphere" comes from the Greek word for cold,
"kryos." The cold regions of our planet influence our entire
world’s climate. Plus, the cryosphere is central to the daily
lives of the people, plants, and animals that have made it their home.
When scientists talk about the cryosphere, they mean the
where water is in its solid form, where low temperatures freeze water
and turn it into ice.
State of the Cryosphere
provides an overview of the status of
snow, ice, and permafrost as indicators of climate change.
This site provides time-series data for Northern Hemisphere snow
cover, mountain glacier fluctuations, sea ice extent and concentration,
changes in ice shelves, and global sea level. It also provides a
snapshot of current permafrost conditions.
- NOAA's Arctic Theme Page.
The Arctic is a
vast, ice-covered ocean,
surrounded by tree-less, frozen ground, that teems with life, including
organisms living in the ice, fish and marine mammals, birds, land
animals and human societies. NOAA
provides Arctic infomation and a set of reputable indicators that
describe the present state of the Arctic ecosystem and climate.
- Live from the North Pole!
Web Cam 3 is a fish eye view showing sky and cloud cover.
by the radiometer triggers Web Cam 3 to take a photograph. Images are
taken every 2 hours, allowing visual verification and comparison
between sky conditions and radiometer measurements. Provided
Global Temperatures Rising?
In 2007, in
its Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change reported that 11 of the 12 warmest years on in the
instrumental record since 1850 fell between 1995 and 2006 (IPCC
The updated 100-year trend, from 1996 to 2005 of 0.74°C
± 0.18°C, was
greater than the 100-year warming trend at the time of the IPCC's Third
- Climate Change and
Cyclones (Yet Again)
This is a discussion of hurricanes and the effect of global
warming on them in RealClimate. It is in response to a paper
reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century
by Thomas R. Knutson, et al,
in the journal Nature
which indicates that global warming might decrease the frequency of
tropical cyclones (hurricanes.) For a list of all RealClimate
postings on hurricanes check here.
- The lag between
temperature and CO2.
(Gore’s got it right.)
“Doesn’t the relationship between CO2
and temperature in the ice core record show that temperature drives CO2,
not the other way round?" This has been a common argument by
climate deniers. This if from Eric Steig of RealClimate "Of
course, those who've been paying attention will recognize that Gore
is not wrong at all. This subject has been very well addressed in
numerous places. Indeed, guest contributor Jeff Severinghaus addressed
this in one
of our very first RealClimate posts,
way back in 2004. Still, the question does keep coming up, and Jeff
recently received a letter asking about this. His exchange with the
letter writer is reproduced in full at the end of this post. Below is
my own take on the subject."
- Positive feedbacks from
papers appeared in Geophysical Research Letters today (May 27, 2006)
claiming that the
warming forecast for the coming century may be underestimated, because
of positive feedbacks in the carbon cycle. One comes from Torn and
Harte, and the other from Scheffer, Brovkin, and Cox. Both papers
conclude that warming in the coming century could be increased by
carbon cycle feedbacks, by 25-75% or so. Do we think it's time to push
the big red Stop the Press button down at IPCC?
- Is the ocean carbon sink
past few weeks and years have seen a bushel of papers finding that the
natural world, in particular perhaps the ocean, is getting fed up with
absorbing our CO2.
There are uncertainties and
associated with each study, but taken as a whole, they provide
convincing evidence that the hypothesized carbon
cycle positive feedback has
begun. This was posted
on RealClimate on November 1, 2007, and is closely related to the
of Global Warming
scientific data confirm that the earth's climate is rapidly changing.
Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the
course of the last century, and will likely rise even more rapidly in
coming decades. The cause? A thickening layer of carbon dioxide
pollution and other greenhouse gases, mostly from power plants and
automobiles, which traps heat in the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of the world's leading climate
researchers, sees a greater than 90 percent likelihood that most
warming over the last 50 years has occurred because of human-caused
emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Scientists say that
the earth could warm by an additional 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit during the
21st century if we fail to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels.
- U.N. climate chief: Global
From USA Today. May 24,
KOBE, Japan (AP) —
The world is losing
momentum in the battle against global warming, the U.N. climate chief
warned on Saturday, urging environmental ministers from wealthy nations
to revive the effort by setting clear targets for reducing greenhouse
The ministers gathered in the western Japanese
city of Kobe for a three-day meeting as evidence mounted that rising
world temperatures have been taking a toll on the earth at a faster
rate than previously forecast ....
- The Economics of Climate
Why the Hurry?
by Michael Hanemann, University of
California, Berkeley. This is notes from a talk given at the 9th Swiss Global Change Day,
April 1, 2008, in Bern. *"I do believe there is a sound
argument for strong action now to reduced GHG emissions.", *" But this
is not the mainstream view of economists in the United States.", *"In
this talk, I will explain the reasons for the difference in perceptions
about the economic case for climate action."
is a fine-grained charcoal high in
organic carbon and largely resistant to decomposition.
is produced from pyrolysis of plant and waste feedstocks.
a soil amendment, biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that
is carbon-negative, serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon
dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks.
enhanced nutrient retention capacity of biochar-amended soil not only
reduces the total fertilizer requirements but also the climate and
environmental impact of croplands. Also check out Biochar Offers Answer for
Healthy Soil and
Wikipedia has an explaination of pyrolysis
And a special report
of Scientific American on Biochar is found here.
of fossil fuel CO2 in geologic time"
by David Archer,
Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of
Chicago, Illinois, USA.
The idea that anthropogenic CO2 release may affect the
the earth for hundreds of thousands of years has not reached general
public awareness. Goodstein  reports that fossil fuel CO2 will
disappear after a millennium. This misconception is widespread in
scientific and public discussion. It certainly makes sense to focus our
attention on the century timescale within which we live out our lives,
and within which most of the CO2 will be absorbed by the natural carbon
cycle. See also "Long term fate of
- The Economist Has No
From Scientific American. The 19th-century creators
neoclassical economics—the theory that now
serves as the basis for coordinating activities in the global market
system—are credited with transforming their field into a
discipline. But what is not widely known is that these now legendary
economists—William Stanley Jevons, Léon Walras,
Vilfredo Pareto—developed their theories by adapting
19th-century physics that eventually became obsolete. Unfortunately, it
is clear that neoclassical economics has also become outdated. The
theory is based on unscientific assumptions that are hindering the
implementation of viable economic solutions for global warming and
other menacing environmental problems.`
- South Eastern Australian
(SEACI), launched in 2006, is a three year $7m research program
involving government and industry investigating the causes and impacts
of climate change and climate variability across south eastern
Australia, home of the Murray-Darling Basin.
The initiative is a collaboration of the Murray-Darling
Commission (MDBC), the Victorian
Department of Sustainability and Environment, The
Australian Greenhouse Office
within the Department of the
Environment and Water Resources, and Australia's Managing
Climate Variability program, CSIRO
and the Bureau of
MDBC is the managing
agency, with the research being carried out by initiative partners CSIRO
and BoM. SEACI fact sheet-overview
- Future Scenarios
simultaneous onset of climate change and the peaking of global oil
supply represent unprecedented challenges for human civilisation.
Global oil peak has the potential to shake if not destroy the
foundations of global industrial economy and culture. Climate change
has the potential to rearrange the biosphere more radically than the
last ice age. Each limits the effective options for responses to the
The strategies for mitigating the adverse effects and/or
adapting to the consequences of Climate Change have mostly been
considered and discussed in isolation from those relevant to Peak
Oil. While awareness of Peak Oil, or at least energy crisis, is
increasing, understanding of how these two problems might interact to
generate quite different futures, is still at an early state.
FutureScenarios.org presents an
integrated approach to understanding the potential interaction
between Climate Change and Peak Oil using a scenario planning model.
In the process I introduce permaculture as a design system
specifically evolved over the last 30 years to creatively respond to
futures that involve progressively less and less available energy.
-- David Holmgren, co-originator of the
concept. May 2008
- Changing Sun, Changing
Since it is the
Sun's energy that drives the weather system,
scientists naturally wondered whether they might connect climate
changes with solar variations. Yet the Sun seemed to be stable over the
timescale of human lifetimes. Attempts to discover cyclic variations in
weather and connect them with the 11-year sunspot cycle, or other
possible solar cycles ranging up to a few centuries long, gave results
that were ambiguous at best. These attempts got a well-deserved bad
reputation. Jack Eddy overcame this with a 1976 study that demonstrated
that irregular variations in solar surface activity, a few centuries
long, were connected with major climate shifts. The mechanism remained
uncertain, but plausible candidates emerged. The next crucial question
was whether a rise in the Sun's activity could explain the global
warming seen in the 20th century? By the 1990s, there was a tentative
answer: minor solar variations could indeed have been partly
responsible for some past fluctuations... but future warming from the
rise in greenhouse gases would far outweigh any solar effects.
For a related article see Stalking
the Elusive Solar-cycle/Temperature Connection
- Rapid ice retreat
threatens Arctic interior
rapid decline of sea ice
could accelerate inland warming
over the Arctic region, radically transforming the landscape. Hannah
- Marine Organisms
Threatened By Increasingly
-- Corals and
Plankton May Have
Difficulty Making Shells . Every
day, the average person on
the planet burns enough fossil fuel to
emit 24 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, out of which about
nine pounds is
then taken up by the ocean. As this CO2 combines
with seawater, it forms an acid in a process known as ocean
- What do we know about
organisms that thrive
in Arctic sea ice?
life within the briny habitat of sea ice.
The ice-specific ecosystem includes bacteria, viruses, unicellular
algae, diatom chains, worms and crustaceans. Click on the image to see
a magnified view of the brine channels containing these organisms.
- Fire under the ice, the Gakkel Ridge
International expedition discovers gigantic volcanic eruption
the Arctic Ocean An international team of researchers was
to provide evidence of
explosive volcanism in the deeps of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean for
the first time. Researchers from an expedition to the Gakkel Ridge, led
by the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), report in
the current issue of the journal Nature
that they discovered,
with a specially developed camera, extensive layers of volcanic ash on
the seafloor, which indicates a gigantic volcanic eruption.
- Evidence of Recent
Volcanic Activity Found
along the Slow Spreading Gakkel Ridge.
working under the ice canopy in the Arctic Basin, the
last of Earth's oceanic frontiers, have confirmed that volcanoes and
other tectonic processes often accompany seafloor spreading along the
global mid-ocean ridge (MOR) system.
A team of researchers from Columbia, the University of Hawaii at
Manoa and Tulane collected data along the Gakkel Ridge, the Earth's
slowest spreading MOR, which was thought to be non-volcanic.
- What drove the dramatic
retreat of arctic
sea ice during summer 2007?
A model study has been
conducted of the unprecedented retreat of arctic
sea ice in the summer of 2007. It is found that preconditioning,
anomalous winds, and ice-albedo feedback are mainly responsible for the
retreat. Arctic sea ice in 2007 was preconditioned to radical changes
after years of shrinking and thinning in a warm climate. During summer
2007 atmospheric changes strengthened the transpolar drift of sea ice,
causing more ice to move out of the Pacific sector and the central
Arctic Ocean where the reduction in ice thickness due to ice advection
is up to 1.5 m more than usual. Some of the ice exited Fram Strait and
some piled up in part of the Canada Basin and along the coast of
northern Greenland, leaving behind an unusually large area of thin ice
and open water. Thin ice and open water allow more surface solar
heating because of a much reduced surface albedo, leading to amplified
ice melting. The Arctic Ocean lost additional 10% of its total ice mass
in which 70% is due directly to the amplified melting and 30% to the
unusual ice advection, causing the unprecedented ice retreat. Arctic
sea ice has entered a state of being particularly vulnerable to
anomalous atmospheric forcing.
- The Big Thaw.
blogosphere is buzzing with discussion of new
research soon to be published in
Geophysical Research Letters, Accelerated
Arctic land warming and permafrost degradation during rapid sea ice loss
(Lawrence et al. 2008, GRL, in press, scheduled for publication
tomorrow), a collaboration between researchers from NCAR
(National Center for
Atmospheric Research) and NSIDC
(National Snow and Ice Data Center). Their research indicates that, in
large part due to the rapid reduction of summer sea ice in the arctic,
land areas in the far north will warm much faster than the rest of the
globe. This would lead to rapid melting of permafrost, which in turn
could release massive stores of CO2 trapped in the permafrost.
- Under-Ice Volcano Eruption
Spewed Ash Over
21 January 2008, for National
A rare volcanic eruption punched
ice sheet more than 2,000 years ago, scattering ash across the frozen
landscape, a radar survey has revealed.
The eruption was the biggest in Antarctica in the past
years, researchers estimate. The volcano's continuous output
heat may still be melting the
base of the ice sheet, and could be partially responsible for the fast
flow of a nearby glacier.
- Powered by China and
world energy demand seen growing 50 percent by 2030.
WASHINGTON - World energy demand will grow 50 percent over
two decades, oil prices could rise to $186 a barrel and coal will
remain the biggest source of electricity despite its effect on global
warming, government experts predict.
The Energy Information Administration's long-range forecast
said the world is not close to abandoning fossil fuels. They will
continue to be at the core of energy production in transportation and
electricity generation, according to the report released Wednesday.
See also Fossil
Fuel Use, Price To Only Increase By 2030.
- Understanding and
Responding to Climate
Change (pdf format).
There is a growing concern about global warming and the
will have on people and the ecosystems on which they depend.
Temperatures have already risen 1.4°F since the start of the
century—with much of this warming occurring in just the last
years—and temperatures will likely rise at least another
and possibly more than 11°F, over the next 100 years. This
will cause significant changes in sea level, ecosystems, and ice cover,
among other impacts. In the Arctic, where temperatures have increased
almost twice as much as the global average, the landscape and
ecosystems are already changing rapidly. Most scientists agree that the
warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities
that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, have increased significantly
since the Industrial Revolution, mostly from the burning of fossil
fuels for energy, industrial processes, and transportation. Carbon
dioxide levels are at their highest in at least
650,000 years and continue to rise.
-- Immerse, Connect, Understand, Excel.
iCue is a set of courses produced by NBC News. This
to the Environmental Science course. For other courses go
directly to iCue.com.
- Arctic Submarine
is the "center of excellence" for arctic matters for the U.S. Submarine
Force and is responsible for developing and maintaining expertise in
arctic specific skills, knowledge, equipment, and procedures to enable
its force to safely and effectively operate in the unique Arctic Ocean
- Images of submarines at
the North Pole:
The North Pole has a chance of being "ice free" for the first
time in the past hundreds of thousands of years. Climate
point to photos of U.S. submarines that surfaced at the north pole as
evidence that it has been ice free before. This, however, is
true. First -- "ice free" in scientific terms means the area
cannot have more than 15% ice. As the photos show, this was
true. Second -- the subsmarines in the photos all surfaced by
breaking through ice. That is not exactly "ice free".
photos of submarines in the artic are found here.
- The Top of the World: Is
the North Pole
Turning to Water?
by John L. Daly. The
a general term applied to all the lands, ocean, and ice north of the
Arctic Circle at 67°N. It includes the northern Canadian
most of Greenland, the Norwegian Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the
northern coastlines of Russia, Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska.
The ebb and flow of Arctic ice extent and mass is nothing
can be expected from such a dynamic and changing ocean/ice environment.
This is also the region which climate models indicate will
much larger warming from an enhanced greenhouse effect than would occur
in lower latitudes. `Global Warming' is
therefore not expected by greenhouse models to be evenly distributed
around the globe as the term would suggest. Rather it is heavily biased
toward the high latitude and polar regions.
- The Discovery of Global
-- A hypertext
history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are
doing to cause climate change. This
Website created by Spencer
supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate
change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more
complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, updated
-- An introduction to the concept of climate
- In June, 2009, there were three
major reports released that indicate that if nothing is done to stop
GHG emissions then things will be much worse than had been previously
been reported. And each gave hope in that all three indicated
that if major actions were taken very quickly then the worst of the
effects of global warming can be averted.
- Global Climate Change Impacts in the United
States -- U.S. Global Change Research Program
presented on June 16, 2009 to the President and the Congress a state of
knowledge report: “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United
States.” This report summarizes the science of climate change and
the impacts of climate change on the United States, both now and in the
future. The key findings of the report can be viewed
here. The full report can be viewed here
or the 196 pdf version can be downloaded here.
- Climate change odds much worse than thought
-- The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of
how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that
without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as
severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse
than that. The study uses the MIT Integrated Global Systems
Model, a detailed
computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes
that has been developed and refined by the Joint Program on the Science
and Policy of Global Change since the early 1990s. Another view
of this paper can be found at Science Daily here.
Climate Report -- 18 June 2009 - Key
climate indicators such as global mean surface temperature, sea-level
rise and extreme climatic events are already moving beyond the patterns
of natural variability within which contemporary society and economy
have developed. This is one of the key messages of a report presented
by leading scientists in Brussels in preparation for the United
Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, 2009. The
up-to-date overview of research relevant to climate change was handed
over to the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the host
conference. The Synthesis Report summarizes new
knowledge that was presented at the congress “Climate
Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions” at the
Copenhagen in March this year. It may be downloaded here.
- "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet"
by Mark Lynas -- Possibly
the most graphic treatment of global warming that has yet been
published. This highly relevant and compelling book uses
prose to distill what environmental scientists portend about the
consequences of human pollution for the next hundred years. In
2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released
a landmark report projecting average global surface temperatures to
rise between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (roughly 2 to 10
degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. Based on this forecast,
author Mark Lynas outlines what to expect from a warming world, degree
by degree. Based on authoritative scientific articles, the latest
and information about past warm events in Earth history, Six Degrees
promises to be an eye-opening warning that humanity will ignore at its
-- What the world neets to Watch. Global warming is mainly the
result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both
atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate
scientists say we have years, not decades, to
stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases. To help the
world succeed, CO2Now.org makes it easy to see the most
current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and
keep an eye on CO2. Invite others to do the same. Then
we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.
- The Encyclopedia of Earth -- For this website the section on Climate Change is most important. Welcome to the Encyclopedia of Earth, a new electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Encyclopedia
is a free, fully searchable collection of articles written by scholars,
professionals, educators, and experts who collaborate and review each
other's work. The articles are written in non-technical language and
will be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well
as to the general public.
- Climate Data Information -- A lot of data on
climate and climate change are available on the
internet but they are not presented in a way which
makes them easy to understand. Where climate data are
available in a digestible form they are often being
used to support one side or the other of highly
polarised positions. We are trying to prove only one
thing: rational debate is possible when participants
have access to the facts.
On this site you will find graphs, explanation and
data related to essential aspects of climate change. Everything can be downloaded for free and the data
files can be input directly to spreadsheets on
Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating
- Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
-- 1981 paper by J. Hansen, eta, about the impact to the climate of
carbon dioxide . Includes predictions of global tempretures