Friday, March 27, 2009

climate review March

-- updated, cleaned 3/30, 4/1, 4/2 --
-- thanks for all your links --

Global weather is being pushed farther out of whack. Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. N2O and CH4 are joining the greenhouse fray. In climatology, event of the month was the Copenhagen congress. Consensus was that the AR4 is dated; it had been too conservative, too optimistic. The window of 2 C warming has now slammed shut. New best prospects are 3 to 8 C. Droughts are the new fact of life.
In policy, in the world, communities are stating readiness to become carbon neutral. In the US, the Obama admin continues to reverse Bush's criminal acts. Still, the Bushists are not yet on trial. At USF, which still hasn't rehabilitated Professor Sami Al-Arian, my 2008 proposal of a School of Sustainability is being heard in the Provost's office, hopefully not too little, not too late. Tampa remains without trains, subways, wind mills, and solar cells. Everybody drives. Nobody bikes. Florida enters the third year of SUV-induced drought. Roadsigns flash: "conserve water".

Climate tells US philosophers that they've bet on the wrong horses. For one thing, climate change kills off the skepticist paradigm shared by Postmoderns and many late 20th century Analytic thinkers. The climatologist in Nature Geoscience quoted below put it this way: climate change is simply wrong. For the first time since Wolff and the early German Enlightenment, moral absolutes are back, in perfectly rational and secular form.
R.I.P. Postmodern relativism.

For another, climatology kills off the reductionist paradigm shared by Analytics and at least tacitly supported by many Postmoderns. Climatology is science of wholes. Climate is examined as a gestalt. Standard science states what nonstandard philosophy claims: wholes are more than sums of parts; they're functional systems of interplay. The cognitive stance of reductionism, that information is to be deconstructed a la Postmodernity or to be dissected a la Analyticity, turns out to be one-sided. For the first time since Hegelian hippies, emergent systems are back, in perfectly empirical and rigorous form.
R.I.P. Analytic reductionism.

Welcome to the new paradigm.


N Dakota flood 3.27.
Florida drought worsens 3.26.
Colorado drought worsens 3.26.
N Carolina drought eases, continues 3.26.
Texas drought worsens 3.25.
California drought worsens 3.18.
Australia still affected by drought 3.30.
West Australia drought reduces wool clip 3.30.
Argentina/Brazil drought imperils crop 3.26.
Somalia drought imperils humans 3.25.
Namibia flood is catastrophic 3.20.
Antarctica new wind patterns imperil plankton 3.12.
Carbon emissions create acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs 3.10.
Marine plankton shells are weakening 3.8.
Arctic tundra releases large N2O emissions 2.15.


Bonn Climate Change Talks start 3.29.
... asks for help
China demands carbon pledge from US 3.30.
Boston climate action plan 3.30.
US 'fully committed to UN climate talks' 3.29.
US wants international meetings on energy and climate 3.28.
Florida will get toughest water restrictions in state history 3.27.
Maldives go carbon-neutral 3.23.
Spain's electric car grid (project movele) 3.19.
Sweden goes carbon-neutral 3.11.
US federal money for electric cars 3.19.
US fuel-efficient GenSet trains 3.18.
US public transit reductions 3.18.
US offshore wind farms delayed 3.16.
US poll: more gringos think global warming exaggerated 3.11.
US climate deniers protest 3.9.
... Realclimate's take on skeptics 4.1.
... Desmog's take on skeptics 3.9.


Nat'l Academies: America's climate choices summit 3.30-31
Nat'l Resarch Council: America unprepared for climate change 3.13.
Greenpeace: forest credits would crash carbon markets 3.30.
black carbon, driving half of Arctic warming, can be mitigated 3.30.
ocean iron fertilization research suspended 3.30.
Earth Hour 2009 3.29.
solar panel maker profits up 3.19.
Baghdad water still undrinkable six years after Bushist invasion 3.18.
biofuels do more harm than good 3.5.
Barcelona bank starts giving out eco-mortgages 3.5.
US workers retrain for wind-energy jobs 3.5.


half of Arctic warming due to soot (black carbon)
... cf. D Shindell, "regional aerosol forcing" Nat Geosci 2:294-300

climatology's issue with tipping points
... cf. A Revkin: dotearth 3.28. and NYT 3.29

climate change will dry up UK's rivers 3.28.
... cf. UK Enviro Agency: Water Resources Strategy 2009

climate change to blame for 1/3 of droughts 3.26.
... cf. Peter Baines, Melbourne U, @ Perth Conference

northeastern US to suffer most from sea rise 3.15.
... cf. J Yin, "rapid sea-level rise on the NE coast" Nat Geosci link

Copenagen climate meeting at dotearth 3.12.

Europe 'will be hit by severe drought'
... cf. Rachel Warren, U East Anglia, @ Copenhagen Conference 3.12.

half world's inhabited areas risk to become unliveable 3.12.
... cf. Steven Sherwood, Yale U, @ Copenhagen Conference

Amazon may be ruined by drought 3.12.
... cf. Met Office/Hadley Centre, @ Copenhagen Conference

Amazon 85 percent at risk of destruction 3.11.
... cf. Met Office/Hadley Centre, @ Copenhagen Conference

sea levels are rising twice as fast as predicted 3.11.
... cf. K Steffen, U Colorado/S Rahmsdorf, PIK Potsdam

sea level rise could bust IPCC estimate 3.10.
... J. Church, Australian Weather Center, via New Scientist

likely source for Eocene blistered orb event identified
... cf. G. Nisbet, "kick-starting warming" Nat Geosci 2:156-159

current plankton shells 50% thinner than in the past,
could affect oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO2
... cf. A. Moy, "reduced plankton calcification" Nat Geosci 2:276-280

more greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost
... cf. M. Repo, "N20 emissions from peat" Nat Geosci 2:189-192

CO2 emissions will suffocate oceans for 100,000 years
... cf. G Shaffer, "long-term oxygen depletion" Nat Geosci 2:105-109


"And it is only by investing in environmental techology that we can end the dictatorship of oil, and it is only by tackling climate change that we create the millions of new green jobs we need."
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech to US Congress 3.4.

"After all is said and done about the science and the economics of global warming, the issue may come down to a matter of ethics, as Archer suggests by using an analogy to slavery in the US and its abolishment: 'Ultimately it didn't matter whether it was economically beneficial or costly to give up. It was simply wrong.'"
F. Mackenzie, review of Archer, Long Thaw (Princeton 2008), Nat Geoscience 2 (09) 85

"Climate Change has provoked a war between the generations."
Josh Garman, The Guardian, 3.8.


"global weirding"
J Waldman, "with temperatures rising, here comes 'global weirding'" environment360 3.19.

We have ninety-two months left.