Lake Maggiore in Italy is an example of a lake already feeling the effects of climate change. In the 1990s, the population of coldwater fish species such as trout and whitefish declined dramatically. Photo Credit: mbdortmund, Wikimedia Commons.
For perspective on how climate change is affecting lakes, those of us here in the U.S. can just look across the pond, where scientists and the agencies involved in meeting the European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic.
Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts and intense rainstorms becoming more common, climate warming is leading to increased algal growth and more frequent toxic algal blooms. It also affects the entire aquatic food web, including the number, size and distribution of freshwater fish species, according to the latest research.
New evidence from studies in Europe shows that a warming climate, in particular, is already having a profound impact on lakes, according to Dr. Erik Jeppesen at Aarhus University in Denmark. As I have noted in earlier posts, this is an important issue because other studies show that lake temperatures are on the rise throughout the world.
The world’s heat record was broken for a second consecutive month. With the exception of Antarctica, new temperature highs were recorded on every continent.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released June’s results Monday, revealing an average global temperature of 61.2 degrees for the period. The result is 1.30 degrees higher than the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees, making this June the warmest in more than 130 years.
The same trend was seen in May, which experienced a 1.33 degree increase from the the average 58.6 degrees. Increases were most prominent in northern South America, Greenland, New Zealand, central Africa and southern Asia.
Derek Arndt, NOAA climate monitoring chief, attributes the warming to hotter oceans. His colleague, NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, relays the role of a developing El Nino — the warming of Pacific Ocean — to June’s record heat.
The U.S. was not dramatically warm due to high levels of precipitation. Although it experienced its 33rd warmest June on record, the month was the wettest since 1989.
A common refrain by climate sceptics that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years, implying climate models predicting otherwise are unreliable, has been refuted by new research led by James Risbey, a senior CSIRO researcher.
Setting aside the fact the equal hottest years on record 2005 and 2010 fall well within the past 17 years, Dr Risbey and fellow researchers examined claims – including by some members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – that models overestimated global warming.
In a study published on Monday in Nature Climate Change, the team found that models actually generate good estimates of recent and past trends provided they also took into account natural variability, particularly the key El Nino–La Nina phases in the Pacific. (...)
Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2 threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.
Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.
Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.
Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.
The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.
Antarctic sea ice extent reached record high for second year in a row; South Pole station set record high temperature: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.56 million square miles on October 1. This is 0.7 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.51 million square miles that occurred in 2012 and 8.6 percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986. Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.
Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994. However, in the Western North Pacific Basin, Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.
State of the Climate in 2013 is the 24th edition in a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report openly available online.
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity
Location: At Sea Gender: Zodiac: Chinese Yr:
Jul 8, 2014 - 9:02am
An interesting perspective. I suppose you could say that anthropogenic climate change deniers/minimizers are all geologists at heart? All the Time in the World
For many years, the US National Science Foundation, more recently with the help of the General Social Survey, has asked the public the same true or false question about evolution:"Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." And for many years, the responses to this question have been dismal. In 2006, 2008, and 2010, for instance, less than halfof the public correctly answered "true."
In 2012, however, the NSF and GSS conducted an experiment to try to better understand why people fare so badly on this evolution question. For half of survey respondents, the words "according to the theory of evolution" were added to the beginning of the statement above. And while only 48 percent gave the correct answer to the unaltered question, an impressive 72 percent correctly answered the new, prefaced version.
So why such a huge gap? Perhaps the original question wasn't tapping into scientific knowledge at all; rather, it was challenging the religious identity of creationists who think the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Presented with the new phrasing, however, even many creationists know what the theory of evolution states; they just deny that it is true. So are these people really "scientifically illiterate," as many in the science world might claim, or are they instead…something else?
This is a vital question in the field of science communication, because at its core is the issue of whether we are dealing with mass public scientific illiteracy on the one hand (which presumably could be fixed by education), or with something much deeper and more intractable. What's more, this problem isn't confined to evolution. The issue of climate change may be very similar in this respect. Ask a polling question about climate change in one way, and you may cause conservatives to reassert their ideological identities, and reject the most important finding of climate science (that humans are causing global warming). But ask it in another way and, well, it may turn out that they know what the science says after all (even if they don't personally believe it).
Such is the finding of a new paper by Yale law professor and communication researcher Dan Kahan, recently profiled in depth by Ezra Klein in a much read Vox article aptly titled "How politics makes us stupid." Kahan is becoming widely known for his research showing that political ideology interferes with our most basic reasoning abilities; even our math skills, it seems, go right out the window when political passions come into play. In this new paper, though, Kahan isn't showing how dumb we are. Rather, he's doing the opposite: Showing that if you ask the questions the right way, Americans know a lot more about climate science than you might think. (Even conservatives.) (...)