Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet


The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Wednesday 30 December 2009


Climate Wizard, makes rapid visual sense of climate models or a combination of some of all of sixteen of the leading ones.

Read the report on ScienceDaily.

Friday 18 December 2009


Those who say that the changes in climate, average global-temperature, and weather are not man-made are dead wrong. The facts are irrefutable, the reasoning from them is irrefutable, and therfore the conclusion is irrefutable. The argument is so simple it is beyond denial, even for the worst prat-headed denial-addict on the planet.

A mixture has the characteristics of its components. The behaviour of a mixture is determined by its components and their proportions. Every cook on the planet knows that. Change the ingredients or change the proportions of the ingredients and the outcome will be different. The mixture will behave differently; its internal activity will be different.

The atmosphere is a mixture. That is undeniable. We have changed the characteristics of the mixture by putting in components that were not there before and changing the proportions of existing components, in particular carbon-dioxide. That is undeniable. For two hundred years we have been busily putting back into the sky massive amounts of carbon that were taken out of it many millions of years ago and put deep into the ground in the form of nice safe coal and oil. That is undeniable. We know how much carbon-dioxide we are pumping into the sky; it is a simple calculation--at present over 9 billion tonnes a year. That is undeniable. Before we started using the sky as an open sewer for the waste gases from coal and oil, carbon-dioxide was 280 parts per million. Now it is 390ppm. That is undeniable. That is a massive change--about 40%--in the proportions of a very important ingredient. That is undeniable. The ingredient we have increased is one that traps heat, like the glass of a greenhouse. That is undeniable. After 4.5 billion years the Earth had reached a perfect equilibrium, and for the past 10,000 years it had not gone outside a one-degree band. Now it has. Before we changed the atmosphere the same amount of heat was being reflected back into space as was being received from the Sun. Now ~0.8 watts per square metre more is coming in than going out. Therefore the atmosphere is warming up, the average global temperature is rising, the polar ice is melting. That is all undeniable. The rise in temperature has been compounding at 1.5% per annum; the rise in carbon-dioxide has been compounding at 1.5% per annum. The correlation is no accident. That is undeniable.

In short, it is undeniable that human beings have changed the mixture called the atmosphere. We have therefore changed its characteristics and its behaviour, its internal activity. Weather is the short-term behaviour of the atmosphere; global climate is its long-term behaviour. We have caused a fundamental change in those behaviours.

That is undeniable.


For the latest data off the satellites, and records going back to 1880, click here.

Thursday 17 December 2009


The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite is proving a precise and sophisticated tool for tracking carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, and its effect on climate in conjunction with water vapour, reports ScienceDaily.

The new data, which span the seven-plus years of the AIRS mission, measure the concentration and distribution of carbon-dioxide in the mid-troposphere--the region of Earth's atmosphere located between 5-12 kilometers (3-7 miles), above Earth's surface. They also track its global transport. The product represents the first-ever release of global carbon-dioxide data based solely on observations. The data have been extensively validated against both aircraft and ground-based observations.

In another major finding, scientists using AIRS data have removed most of the uncertainty about the role of water vapour in atmospheric models. The data are the strongest observational evidence to date for how water vapour responds to a warming climate.

"AIRS temperature and water vapour observations have corroborated climate model predictions that the warming of our climate produced as carbon-dioxide levels rise will be greatly exacerbated--in fact, more than doubled--by water vapour," said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

He explained that most of the warming caused by carbon-dioxide does not come directly from it but from effects known as feedbacks. Water vapour is a particularly important feedback. As the climate warms, the atmosphere becomes more humid. Since water is a greenhouse gas, it serves as a powerful positive feedback to the climate system, amplifying the initial warming. AIRS measurements of water vapour reveal that water greatly amplifies warming caused by increased levels of carbon-dioxide. Comparisons of AIRS data with models and re-analyses are in excellent agreement.

"The implication of these studies is that, should greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current course of increase, we are virtually certain to see Earth's climate warm by several degrees Celsius in the next century, unless some strong negative feedback mechanism emerges elsewhere in Earth's climate system," said Dressler.

Friday 11 December 2009


A new index prepared by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which reduces solid climate-change data to a simple index, rather like a stock-market index, once again proves that human activity is the cause. Full report in ScienceDaily.

Wednesday 9 December 2009


A careful new study shows that the global oceans will rise may rise anywhere between 0.75 metres and 1.9 metres, reports ScienceDaily. ~The latter figure is consistent with another study that predicted up to 2.0 metres.

Tuesday 8 December 2009


A detailed study of paleoclimatological data, reported by ScienceDaily, shows that the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to the carbon-dioxide than previously thought. There are facts not factored into our models.

Oh dear!