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.)

Popular Posts

Wednesday 28 November 2012


The worst effect of manmade climate-change has begun and is unstoppable. The world is on the cusp of a 'tipping-point into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.

'The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales,' says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. 'Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started.'

While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.

'Lift your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath: the heavens grow murky as smoke; the earth wears into tatters like a garment, and those who live on it die like maggots; but the deliverance of the LORD God is everlasting and his saving power shall never wane.' Isaiah 51:6 (New English Bible).

Full story here.

Saturday 3 November 2012


Estimates of the rate at which the sea will rise may be too low, because it is rising faster than expected from global warming. The last official IPCC report in 2007 projected a global sea level rise between 0.2 and 0.5 metres by 2100, but current measurements meet or exceed the high end of that range and suggest a rise of one metre or more by the end of the century.

'What's missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up,' says Bill Hay, a geologist at the University of Colorado.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

This blog has said all along that the seas will be at least a metre and half higher in 2100. Now science is beginning to agree.

Friday 27 July 2012


For decades, scientists have known that the effects of global climate change could have a potentially devastating impact across the globe, but Harvard researchers say there is now evidence that it may also have a dramatic impact on public health, reports ScienceDaily.

In a paper published in the July 27 issue of <i>Science,</i> a team of researchers led by James G. Anderson, the Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, warn that a newly-discovered connection between climate change and depletion of the ozone layer over the U.S. could allow more damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth's surface, leading to increased incidence of skin cancer, because of the effects of the lightning generated by powerful storms on the chlorine and bromine high in the atmosphere, which in turn reduces the level of ozone.

Wednesday 25 July 2012


In early-to-mid July 2012 satellites saw unprecedented melting in Greenland--reaching up to 97% of the surface.
Full story on this NASA site.

Tuesday 24 July 2012


New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric CO2 follow each other closely in terms of time. The results have been published in the scientific journal, Climate of the Past, reports ScienceDaily.

'What we are observing in the present day is the mankind has caused the CO2 content in the atmosphere to rise as much in just 150 years as it rose over 8,000 years during the transition from the last ice age to the current interglacial period and that can bring the Earth's climate out of balance,'says Sune Olander Rasmussen, Associate Professor and centre coordinator at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute.

The research, which was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia, is based on measurements of ice cores from five boreholes through the ice sheet in Antarctica. The ice-sheet is formed by snow that doesn't melt, but remains year after year and is gradually compressed into kilometers thick ice. During the compression, air is trapped between the snowflakes and as a result the ice contains tiny samples of ancient atmospheres. The composition of the ice also shows what the temperature was when the snow fell, so it is an archive of past climate and atmospheric composition.

Monday 16 July 2012


Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30-year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online on July 10, 2012 by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. It was reported on ScienceDaily.

The Arctic continued to show more rapid changes than the rest of the planet. Sea-ice shrank to its second smallest 'summer minimum' extent on record during 2011, as older ice (four to five years old) reached a new record minimum at more than 80% below average. Overall, glaciers around the world continued to lose mass. Loss from Canadian Arctic glaciers and ice caps were the greatest since measurements began in 2002.

The report used forty-three climate-indicators to track and identify changes and overall trends to the global climate system, including greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, cloud cover, sea-surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean salinity, sea-ice extent and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.

Four independent datasets show 2011 among the 15 warmest since records began in the late 19th century, with annually-averaged temperatures above the 1981-2010 average. The Arctic continued to warm at about twice the rate compared with lower latitudes. On the opposite pole, the South Pole station recorded its all-time highest temperature of -22.1°C (9.9°F) on December 25, breaking the previous record by over 1 degree Celsius (over 2 degrees Fahrenheit).

Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, continued to rise. Carbon dioxide steadily increased in 2011 and the yearly global average exceeded 390 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since instrumental records began.

The extent of Arctic sea-ice was below average for all of 2011 and has been since June 2001, a span of 127 consecutive months.

The ozone-level over the Arctic was the lowest since records began in 1979.

Even with La Niña conditions occurring during most of the year, the 2011 global sea-surface temperature was among the twelve highest years on record. Ocean heat content, measured from the surface to 700 metres deep (2,300 feet), continued to rise since records began in 1993 and was a record high.

La Niña-related heat waves, like that experienced in Texas in 2011, are now twenty times more likely to occur during La Niña years today than La Niña years fifty years ago.

The UK experienced a very warm November 2011 and a very cold December 2010. In analyzing these two very different events, UK scientists uncovered interesting changes in the odds. Cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur now versus fifty years ago, whereas warm Novembers are now sixty-two times more likely.

Saturday 30 June 2012


This brilliant video from NASA  shows the change in temperature across the globe from 1880 to 2011. The colours show the amount of deviation from the 1951-1980 average. The animation clearly shows the warming trend, particularly since the mid-1970s, and the differences in different parts of the world so you can see how your part of the world has changed. 2011 was the ninth warmest year since 1880.

Monday 25 June 2012


Sea-levels round the world can be expected to rise by several metres in coming centuries, if global warming carries on. Even if it is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, the global mean could continue to rise to 1.5-4m above present levels by 2300, with the best estimate being 2.7m, says a study just published in <i>Nature Climate Change.</i>

Reductions in emissions that allow warming to drop below 1.5 degrees Celsius could limit the rise strongly.

Full report in  ScienceDaily.

Thursday 7 June 2012


The world recently passed the point where carbon-dioxide emissions have raised the level of that gas in the atmosphere to 400 parts per million.

By no coincidence a group of scientists around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate-change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a global tipping-point that would have destructive consequences unless we do something.

'It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,' warns Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of a review paper appearing in the June 7 issue of the journal <i>Nature.</i> 'The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.'

Full story onScienceDaily.

America's winters have already been tipped into a new era. The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea-ice due to climate-change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think, because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect that leads to greater odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere's middle latitudes -- such as the 'Snowmageddon' storm that hamstrung Washington, D.C. in February 2010.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

And Arctic tundra is being replaced by trees. In just a few decades shrubs have turned into trees as a result of the warming Arctic climate, creating patches of forest which, if replicated across the tundra, would significantly accelerate global warming.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

Saturday 5 May 2012


A layer the densest seawater in the world, deep in the Antarctic's Southern Ocean, is getting thinner, with as-yet-unknown consequences for the global climate. Scientists say the change is being driven by climate-change, but more study is needed to find out what is happening, why, and what the implications will be.

Transcript of the TV story here.

Monday 9 April 2012


Many scientists have long suspected that rising levels of carbon-dioxide and the global warming that ended the last Ice Age were somehow linked, but establishing a clear cause-and-effect relationship between CO2 and global warming from the geologic record has remained difficult.

A new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Nature, identifies that relationship and provides compelling evidence that rising CO2 caused much of the global warming.

'CO2 was a big part of bringing the world out of the last Ice Age," says the lead author, Jeremy Shakun, 'and it took about 10,000 years to do it. Now CO2 levels are rising again, but this time an equivalent increase in CO2 has occurred in only about 200 years, and there are clear signs that the planet is already beginning to respond.'

The question now, say the researchers, is how carbon-dioxide generated by humans will affect the planet when there is no ice-age.

Full story on ScienceDaily

Wednesday 4 April 2012


Actually the worst-case temperatures they predicted 30 years ago were a bit lower than what we now getting, Which underlines the fact that the scientists are right and the liars and deniers are dead wrong.

Full story and graphs at The Register.

Thursday 29 March 2012


A new study shows that the collapse of an ice sheet in Antarctica up to 14,650 years ago may have caused sea levels to rise between 14 and 18 metres, data which could help make more accurate climate-change predictions.

The melting of polar ice could contribute to long-term sea level rise, threatening the lives of millions, scientists say. Sea levels have increased on average about 18 centimetres since 1900 and rapid global warming will accelerate the increase, putting coastlines at risk and forcing low-lying cities to build costly sea defences.

A rise of 2 metres by 2100 is predicted.

Full report on NewsDaily

Wednesday 28 March 2012


Even in so-called 'clean green New Zealand' the dirty old man, King Coal, wants to keep on wrecking the planet.

Why let that get in the way of making a very grubby dollar?

Full report here.


By 2050, global average temperature could be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than it was just a couple of decades ago, according to a new British study that seeks to address the largest sources of uncertainty in current climate models. That's substantially higher than estimates produced by other climate analyses, suggesting that Earth's climate could warm much more quickly than previously thought.

Full story at Science Magazine

Wednesday 21 March 2012


Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology and reported in ScienceDaily

Friday 2 March 2012


The world's oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science. The study is the first of its kind to survey the geologic record for evidence of ocean acidification over this vast time period.

If industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about -- coral reefs, oysters, salmon...

Full story on ScienceDaily

Monday 20 February 2012


Damn the scientific truth, full ahead with our spin, is in effect the catch-cry of those who deny that we messing up the planet. Let lies reign!

Full story in the Montreal Gazette


Burn all the coal and the global average temperature will be 15 degrees higher. Burn all the gas and oil and it will make a significant difference, but is nowhere near as damaging as coal. The message: stop using fossils ASAP.

Full story in the Globe and Mail

Thursday 16 February 2012


Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business as usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases, says a study led by Phil Duffy of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It showed that previously rare high summertime (June, July and August) temperatures are already occurring more frequently in some regions of the 48 contiguous United States.

'The observed increase in the frequency of previously rare summertime-average temperatures is more consistent with the consequences of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations than with the effects of natural climate variability, said Duffy. 'It is extremely unlikely that the observed increase has happened through chance alone.'

The team also modelled the period 2035-2064.

'What was historically a one in 20-year occurrence will occur with at least a 70 percent chance every year,' said Duffy 'This work shows an example of how climate change can affect weather extremes, as well as averages.'

Full report on ScienceDaily

Wednesday 15 February 2012


When Hurricane Irene spun through the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States in August 2011 it generated storm-surges that swept over seawalls and flooded seaside and inland communities. Many hurricane analysts suggested that Irene was a '100-year event', a storm that only comes only once a century.
But researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that with climate-change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every 3 to 20 years.

The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, and also found that today’s '500-year floods' could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years.

They published their results in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.

Reported on PhysOrg.

Friday 3 February 2012


Two decades after the United Nations established the Framework Convention on Climate Change to 'prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,' the Arctic shows the first signs of a dangerous climate-change, says a team of researchers in an article published recently in iNature Climate Change.

They say the Arctic is already suffering some of the effects that, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), correspond with a 'dangerous climate change.' The rate of climatic warming now exceeds the rate of natural adaptation in arctic ecosystems.

Full report in ScienceDaily.

Wednesday 1 February 2012


A study by NASA reported in ScienceDaily, shows that even during the unusually low period of solar activity between 2005 and 2010 the planet still absorbed more energy than it sent back into space--by 0.58 watts per square metre.

The imbalance of 0.58 watts per square metre is more than twice the reduction in energy from the sun during periods of reduced activity, which is 0.25 watts per square metre.

NASA says that is unequivocal evidence that human activity, not solar variance, is the dominant driver of global warming.

Monday 23 January 2012


A huge pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean is expanding and could lower the temperature of Europe by causing an ocean current to slow down, say scientists from University College London and Britain's National Oceanography Centre.

Using satellites to measure sea surface height from 1995 to 2010, they found that the western Arctic's sea surface has risen by about 15 cms since 2002. The volume of fresh water has increased by at least 8,000 cubic km, or about 10 percent of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water comes from melting ice and river run-off.

If the wind changes direction, which happened between the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, the pool of fresh water could spill out into the rest of the Arctic Ocean and even into the north Atlantic Ocean, which could cool Europe by slowing down an ocean current coming from the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe relatively mild compared with countries at similar latitudes.

Full report in NewsDaily.

Friday 13 January 2012


This report on <a href="">ScienceDaily</a> on research that shows neurological damage is caused by messing about with biological clocks should give pause to those who love 'daylight-saving.' Russia has already dumped it because of the known effects on health, including increases in the incidence of heart-attacks in the weeks immediately after the clocks are changed.

Saturday 7 January 2012


From page 1330, volume 334 of Science magazine:

9.1 billion tons. Total global carbon-emissions in 2010, an all-time high, up from 8.6 billion tons in 2009, according to the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.