In 2007, the IPCC projected a maximum sea level rise of 59 centimetres by 2100. The IPCC acknowledged that this was likely to be an under-estimate because understanding of the processes happening on ice sheets was inadequate to enable reliable estimates to be made. A team of researchers led by Eric Rignot from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has now reported that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated over the last 20 years and the increase in sea levels will, indeed, be significantly higher than the 2007 estimate.
Until now, it had been thought that melting ice could form a slippy layer at the bottonm of the Greenland ice sheet causing it to slide rapidly into the sea. Now, a study by Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, has shown that this is not happening. Professor Shepherd’s team used satellite imagery to track the progress of the west Greenland ice sheet each summer, over five years. They found that, above a certain threshold, the slipping begins to slow. On-the-ground studies and work done on alpine glaciers suggests that higher volumes of meltwater actually forms channels under … Continue Reading
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center have all reported that 2010 was the warmest year (equally with 2005) since global records were begun in 1880. This is NASA‘s updated graph of global temperatures from 1880 to 2010.
Northern Europe and northern parts of the United States and Asia are currently experiencing extreme cold and, particularly, heavy snow falls. We have long been told that this sort of thing is just a weather variation that can happen even if the climate as a whole is getting warmer. But new research from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Science suggests that the cold is not just an anomaly but is actually the result of warming. The warming from climate change is greatest at Poles. This is causing Arctic ice to melt, so that the air above the Arctic is warmer … Continue Reading
For his fans, he’s more of the all-dancing, all-singing Richard Alley:
The UK Met Office has produced the first comprehensive review of climate change since the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. First the good news: According to the IPCC report, average ocean rises of up to 4 metres could occur by the end of the century. Further research has resulted in a projected likely rise of between 20 and 60 centimetres with the worst case being 2 metres. The IPCC reported a study by NASA which suggested that the Gulf Stream may be slowing down. The Gulf Stream brings warm water from the tropics and raises European … Continue Reading
Researchers at Bristol University are investigating the possibility that developing crop plants, such as wheat, with broad shiny leaves could reflect a substantial amount of sunlight and help to reduce global warming.
Although water vapour and clouds are the major contributors to Earth’s greenhouse effect, a new NASA atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet’s temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide. The study, conducted at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. The amount of water vapour and clouds is what actually controls the temperature by trapping radiation. But without non-condensing gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons, the water vapour would simply condense as rain. The non-consensing gases, particularly … Continue Reading
The Old Weather Project is looking for volunteers to extract data and weather observations from digital versions of handwritten historical ship log books, which are difficult for a computer to read. Covering 280 ships between 1905 and 1929, the information will enable scientists to reconstruct wind speed, weather, cloudiness, precipitation and pressure for a better understanding of the current and future climate. On the website, volunteers can track a specific ship, recording weather events or temperatures. "If we can correctly account for what the weather was doing in the past, then we can have more confidence in our predictions of … Continue Reading
The Tibetan plateau is being destroyed by rising temperatures, excess livestock and plagues of insects and rodents – and the changes are having a profound impact on the world’s ecology. Without its grasslands the high plateau is less able to absorb moisture and more likely to radiate heat and this is accelerating climate change. Partly because of this, the Tibetan mountains have warmed two to three times faster than the global average and the permafrost and glaciers are melting. To make matters worse, the towering Kunlun, Himalayan and Karakorum ranges that surround the plateau act as a chimney for water … Continue Reading