Accelerating Global Warming? NASA Shows February of 2015 was Second Hottest on Record

The Earth started out 2015 very hot. A record hot range that some researchers are now saying may be the beginning of a period of accelerated global warming.

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For the global temperature measure, February of 2015 was another extraordinarily warm month. One more hot month in an unbroken chain stretching all the way back to the mid 1980s. The second hottest February in the whole of the NASA record ever since temperature monitoring began in 1880.

In total, NASA GISS shows February of 2015 topping out as the warmest February of the new millennium at 0.79 degrees Celsius above the 20th Century average. A reading 1.06 C above temperatures measured during 1880. Only February of 1998 was hotter (Of all of the super El Nino year of 1998, only February and June still hold records as hottest months in the NASA measure).

But perhaps most importantly, the average of 2015’s first two months is 0.77 C above the 20th Century. This is just behind 2007 (by just 0.02 C) as the hottest two-month start of any year during the past 135, and likely hotter than at any time during the Holocene and possibly in the past 120,000 years altogether.

Temperature Map February NASA

(Global temperature anomaly map. Image source: NASA.)

Global temperature anomaly analysis by NASA shows extraordinary warmth for much of the Northern Hemisphere. In particular, most of the land mass of Asia experienced far above average readings. Temperatures in this zone measured as high as 8.4 degrees Celsius above average for the entire month — yet one more extraordinary period of departure for a rapidly warming region.

The North American West Coast through to Alaska also showed much warmer than normal readings. A pattern coincident with both a vast pool of warm water in the Northeastern Pacific and a ridiculously resilient ridge of high pressure (and coincident high amplitude wave in the Jet Stream) that has formed for seasonal periods over the region since the winter of 2012-2013.

Abnormal warmth was also pervasive through the tropics, the Arctic, Africa, Australia, sections of East and West Antarctica, and over most Oceanic zones. The only region experiencing colder than normal readings was the Eastern Half of North America. An area in the downward sloping trough of the prevalent Rossby Wave and associated hot-cold dipole pattern that has been so common for North America during recent winters.

Zonal Anomalies Feb 2015

(Temperature anomaly by Latitudinal Zone for February of 2015. Image source: NASA.)

NASA’s zonal anomalies measure shows very strong polar heat amplification, which is a tell-tale of the human greenhouse gas heat forcing, at the Arctic Circle line (66 North Latitude) and continuing on northward. Zonal anomalies peaked at around the 66 degrees North Latitude line in the range of 2.8 C above average for the entire month. Anomalies declined poleward but still maintained 1.5 to 2.5 C above average ratings.

Though somewhat cooler than the Northern Polar Region, the rest of the global also showed above average temperatures in almost all zones. 30-60 North showed readings ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 C above average, the tropics maintained about a +0.6 C above average range, 30-60 South ranged between 0 and 0.6 C above average with a dip in the heat sink and high wind region of the Southern Ocean. The Southern Polar Region showed the only zonal below average reading with -0.2 C between 85 and 90 South, but the entire region of 60-90 South ranged about 0.15 C hotter than average.

Conditions in Context

The main features of the current globally hot February are a weak El Nino in the Central Pacific (declared by NOAA in early March), a strong positive PDO pattern of very warm sea surface temperatures throughout the Pacific and an extreme polar amplification in the region of 60-90 North Latitude.

According to IPCC forecasts and Pacific Ocean warming impact studies, both the El Nino, which has tended to shift more toward the Central Pacific, and the amazing polar amplification are indications of what was expected in a world seeing a rapid accumulation of greenhouse gasses through the mechanism of human fossil fuel emission. The North American Rossby Wave pattern combined with extremely warm temperatures in the West and cold, stormy and snowy conditions in the East, was also predicted as a potential upshot of warmer than normal readings at the pole reducing temperature differentials from North to South and encouraging weakness and waviness in the Jet Stream (Francis). PDO intensification, contributing to a warm water pool off the North American West Coast and coincident mid Pacific El Nino may also have a teleconnection-type (Where large weather patterns reinforce and enhance the formation of other large weather patterns that may be hundreds or thousands of miles removed from the first. Some have poetically referred to teleconnection as an atmospheric dance.) influence with the ridging pattern in the west and the related troughing pattern in the east.

In global climate models, cool pools of water near Greenland and West Antarctica are also implicated in potential trough/Rossby Wave type patterns (severe frontal storms) which may also be influencing the extreme weather seen in the Northeastern US during February. These pools are associated with glacial melt and coincident fresh water outflow. In the North Atlantic, this has implications for global thermohaline circulation. A strong thermohaline circulation is essential for ocean mixing and related ocean health.

Overall, the global temperature disposition, extreme temperature anomaly, and related strange weather patterns are anything but a normal. They are instead indicative of the kinds of extraordinary climates and extreme weather both computer models and researchers have predicted as a direct result of human-caused warming.

Entering a Rapidly Warming World

entering a rapidly warming world

(Even with a rapid draw down in human emissions to RCP 4.5 levels, computer model essays show 40 year average rates of warming will likely accelerate over the next few decades. Image source: Near-Term Acceleration in the Rate of Temperature Change.)

To this point, it appears that some climate models are in agreement that the period of the next few decades are likely to see an accelerated warming trend. Decadal rates of warming, during this time, are expected to accelerate to between 0.2 and 0.25 C per ten years, even if human greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly drawn down. The result would be about 1.4 to 1.6 C worth of warming above 1880s levels by or before 2040. Without a rapid draw-down, and a continuation on the current catastrophic path of fossil fuel burning, recent model essays from Dr. Michael Mann indicate that humans could exceed the 2 C warming threshold by the mid 2030s.

Links:

Near-Term Acceleration in the Rate of Temperature Change

GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

Paleoclimate Implications For Human-Made Climate Change

Warming Arctic May be Causing Heatwaves Elsewhere in the World

The California Weather Blog

Increasing Intensity of El Nino in the Central Equatorial Pacific

Evidence Linking Arctic Amplification to Extreme Weather in the Mid-Latitudes

Greenland Melt — Exponential?

Far Worse than Being Beaten With a Hockey Stick

Earth Entering a New Period of Rapid Temperature Change

Hat tip to Bassman

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84 Comments

  1. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Thank you for this very timely piece, Robert. As if on cue, arriving with the news of record-shattering temperatures throughout drought-stricken Southern California.

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/SoCal-Winter-March-Heat-Wave-Expected-to-Continue-Breaking-Records-Sunday-296370821.html
    On Saturday, records fell across the region.
    The downtown L.A. high of 93 degrees, hit just before 1 p.m. Saturday, far surpassed the previous record of 88, set in 1951, the NWS said.
    Other Los Angeles locales that set record temperatures were LAX at 90, topping the 86 mark of 1951, and UCLA at 92, way ahead of the 84 registered in 1994, the weather service said.

    Long Beach’s afternoon high rose to a record 94, nine degrees beyond the previous record 85 also set in 1994, according to the NWS.

    In Orange County, Santa Ana at 94 and Newport Beach at 85 experienced record highs, passing the 91 and 76 totals, respectively marked in 1926.
    Those two cities also set records for the highest low temperature for March 14. In Santa Ana, Saturday’s overnight low of 65 exceeded the previous mark of 60 in 1993. In Newport Beach, the low of 63 rose above the 60 of 2003.

    The same conditions that caused Saturday’s record heat — a high pressure system hovering over the Southland that is drawing hot desert air into the Los Angeles Basin — likely will thrust temperatures toward record levels today, the NWS said.

    Reply
  2. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Debunking the myth of growing grapes in Greenland March 14, 2015
    http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/03/14/3538225/debunking-the-myth-of-growing.html
    One intriguing inquiry that I’ve been asked is: “Vikings grew grapes in Greenland and shipped wines back to the Olde Country about 1,000 years ago. Consequently, it must have been much warmer then, than today, so climate change has nothing to do with fossil fuels or C02.”

    I decided to asked my friend Dr. Ray Weymann to research this topic and here is what he sent me:
    “There were two Norse Greenland settlements, both on the coast, one at latitude 64 degrees on the west coast and one at latitude 60 degrees on the southern tip — about the same as Oslo, Norway. But you see, most of Greenland is covered with two miles of ice and has been that way for at least 100,000 years.

    “Evidence from archeologists points to subsistence farming in these settlements. Sheep and cows were raised, kept outside in summer and in barns in winter. Some barley was grown, but the growing season was short and the fjords froze early. They also relied on seals and other sea life for food. Exports were walrus ivory tusks, some furs, and dairy products, while imports were iron tools, timber and wine….

    What about the wine? Danish geologist Svend Fundor, who is an expert in this region, emailed Dr. Weymann and said: “Let me … assure you that the last wine plants to grow in Greenland were those that grew …60 million years ago….

    He went on to say “I don’t think the Norse settlers in Greenland should be used as an excuse for keeping on with polluting the atmosphere.

    Reply
    • They also eventually starved to death due to the fact that European farming practices were only marginally suitable in Greenland during the warmest years. During normal years, they suffered.

      We are well warmer than the Mideval warm period. We are within 0.5 to 0.6 C of beating out the warmest period during the Eemian. 1-3 decades…

      Reply
    • Andrew Dodds

       /  March 16, 2015

      I think that it’s just two talking points being conflated – Grapes growing in the UK in Roman times, and marginal settlement in Greenland by the vikings.

      (The general idea is that if the WMP was warm, then somehow AGW is wrong. This is completely wrong headed – a warm MWP implies high climate sensitivity and that AGW is even more serious – but it doesn’t stop thew denialiti claiming it)

      Although it’s worth considering that Scottish vineyards exist today, and the southern tip of Greenland is only just north of Scotland. A global warming of 3 degrees – with consequent loss of much of the Greenland ice sheet – would make growing grapes in Greenland possible, it seems.

      Reply
    • Aldous

       /  March 16, 2015

      It looks to me like modern day marketing and advertising can be traced back to the Norse Greenland settlements :p. It would be a mighty tough sell to get settlers if the actual conditions of Greenland were to be described.

      Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 16, 2015

      Wow, nice catch! According to the site’s counter, tweeted 0 times. Tweet scheduled.🙂

      Reply
  3. bassman

     /  March 16, 2015

    Great post Robert. Its good that you linked to those Nature studies. One small correction:

    “But perhaps most importantly, the average of 2015’s first two months is 0.77 C above the 20th Century. The hottest start of any year during the past 135, and likely hotter than at any time during the Holocene and possibly in the past 120,000 years altogether.”

    2007 started off at .79 for Jan and Feb, not that it matters because 2007 wasn’t as warm during the 2nd part of the year.

    Also, I don’t think we really have seen much of the el nino influence yet that I think we are about to see in a few months. That is if the atmosphere responds and we get a moderate el nino this summer as forcasted.

    Reply
  4. Currently trying to get something done for Monday. However, for those who are interested, a link to a open (token-) access copy of:

    Smith, Steven J., et al. “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change.” Nature Climate Change (2015)

    is available at:

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / Newsmakers / 2015
    http://www.pnnl.gov/science/newsmakers.asp

    Reply
  5. Vanuatu president says climate change ‘contributed’ to Cyclone Pam

    Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale has said climate change was a key factor in the devastation wrought on the Pacific nation by Super Cyclone Pam, which left six dead and 30 injured in the capital Port Vila alone.

    Super Cyclone Pam smashed into the island archipelago late Friday, bringing sustained winds of more than 155 miles per hour and causing widespread damage.

    “Climate change is contributing to the disaster in Vanuatu,” he said in comments carried on Australian television ahead of his departure from Japan to Sydney.

    Pacific island nations regard themselves as the frontline of climate change, given that as low-lying islands they are dangerously exposed to rising sea levels which they say threaten their very existence.

    “This is a very devastating cyclone that has crossed Vanuatu,” Lonsdale said from Sendai, where he had been attending a United Nations conference.

    “I term it as a monster. It’s a monster that has hit the republic of Vanuatu,” he said as he called for humanitarian assistance ahead of his departure for Sydney, from where he will travel to Vanuatu.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/vanuatu/11474167/Vanuatu-president-says-climate-change-contributed-to-Cyclone-Pam.html

    Reply
  6. wili

     /  March 16, 2015

    Here’s a related piece by “New Minas” at DailyKos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/15/1370965/-The-World-is-Set-for-Rapid-Warming

    Reply
  7. Another great post Robert! You’re really cranking out the articles as of late. I’m worried that the next time your schedule causes a drought in posts I might suffer withdrawals😉

    A tiny piece of info that is relevant to this: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/15/3630404/nasa-hottest-12-months-record/

    It seems like we really are ready for a burst of accelerated atmospheric warming. All signs seem to point in that direction. Every month seems to give us a new hottest-twelve-months record. There’s just so much heat that’s been building in the ocean, the cryosphere, the atmosphere…there’s nowhere left for it to hide. All that’s left is for the energy to manifest itself in various ways, all of which are challenging for humanity.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  March 16, 2015

      Nowhere left to hide. That applies to us as much as it does the heat I suppose.

      Reply
  8. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    So much going on in temporal and spatial scales. Perhaps the largest and most immediate is this: Roughly 90% of Earths land is and 90% of humans live in the Northern Hemisphere. It follows that this is where the food is mostly produced. The jetstreams’ increasingly erratic behavior….prolonging droughts/floods….unseasonal cold snaps/fierce heat waves..bode ill for a smooth continuance of grub from factory farm to urban plate. Soon.

    Reply
    • Nancy

       /  March 16, 2015

      A very good reason to teach your children how to grow and store food. I wonder if it makes sense to send your child to farm school rather than college. Who will be better off in the future – someone with a degree in marketing or someone who can grow food? You can’t feed the world from a small garden in your back yard, but you’ll have some tasty canned tomatoes for your family if the grocery shelves are empty in January.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  March 16, 2015

        Very good point Nancy. It is certainly time for parents to reevaluate priorities for a changing future. It is one of the challenges we face in realizing that everything is different now.

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  March 16, 2015

        Skills long lost to the bulk of the population. If you shut off water & electricity cities would become tribal cannibal grounds.

        Life boils down to the 3 most important currencies. Water, Food, Shelter.

        Great point Nancy.

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  March 16, 2015

        1) In Vermont, quite a few supermarkets make a point of encouraging local food production by buying from local farmers. It’s my impression (from watching an investment program!) that this is a (small, but) growing national trend. Something to watch for when you are buying groceries.

        2) We also buy a chunk of our food annually directly from a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) farm. This is a scheme in which you pay $X for produce (usually vegetables, but there are also meat CSAs) for pickup or delivery throughout the growing season. We’ve been doing this for many years, very simple process.

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  March 16, 2015

        Hmmm, I wasn’t quite as clear as I’d like to be. On the CSA, you pay a lump sum up front (in the early spring). This reduces the gamble for the farmer, by providing cash in advance for a certain quantity of produce to be provided during the year.

        Reply
  9. Tom

     /  March 16, 2015

    Great job Mr. Scribbler. i think this [Australian] effect will be extended to everywhere before long as a result:

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/hotter-harder-times-forecast-for-the-farm-as-climate-changes-food-production-20150314-143xai.html

    Hotter, harder times forecast for the farm as climate changes food production
    [quote]
    Dairy cows are known to produce less milk in hot temperatures with their “pant rate” rising as animals try to lose heat, leaving them less time to eat.

    For beef cattle, Mr Blomfield has observed his animals head for shade and begin ruminating earlier in the day during hot stints, cutting grazing and delaying the time it takes them to reach target weights.

    Warmer nights, another trend already widely observed across Australia, can also affect pasture and crop growth. “If it’s warmer at night, those plants don’t get to recover fully ahead of the next day’s growth,” Mr Blomfield said.

    Factor in Gail Z’s (increasing) ozone pollution and its effect on trees and plants and the future looks bright . . . and hot.

    Reply
    • “If it’s warmer at night, those plants don’t get to recover fully ahead of the next day’s growth,” — right, Tom.
      This applies to plants in urban areas as well — in urban heat islands. And especially to the flora suffering the effects of air pollution.
      Gail Z is on target too.

      Reply
  10. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 16, 2015
    Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  March 16, 2015

      One conclusion we could reach from this SciAm article is that another mass die-off of humans is going to be necessary to bring on another cooling down of the planet. Definitely food for thought.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 16, 2015

      Fair trade?

      Reply
  11. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 16, 2015
    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  March 16, 2015

      In honor of Dr. Jennifer Francis, I’ll be hosting a banquet for her detractors. Crow will be the main dish.

      Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 16, 2015

      Thanks, tweet scheduled on this.

      Reply
  12. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    Very good SciAm piece Andy. Thanks. 1492? 1610? 1714(Newcomens’ steam engine). 1945? What an assortment of choices!

    Reply
  13. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    Robert. I noticed in your text above: “February…at 0.79 degrees Celsius above 20th century average…” I believe that’s above their Base Period of 1951-1980 which prompted me to tally up the 10 decades averages from 1901-2000 provided on Hansen’s site: -.032 compared to Base Period. So Feb ’15 is .82C above 20th century avg. Not quibbling at all. Just thought interesting. Keep on truckin’!

    Reply
  14. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    …February ’15 at .79 above 1951-1980 Base Period is +1.15C above decade of 1901-1910….. ( -.36C.) GISS data Global Land /Sea (air) Temperature.

    Reply
  15. Mark from New England

     /  March 16, 2015

    Excellent article Robert. I wonder what the average rate of warming graph looks like for the RCP 8.5 scenario, which is the one we’re on, correct?

    I’ll be printing out the Feb. 2015 temperature anomaly map to show people who believe there’s no global warming because it was so abnormally cold in New England this winter.

    Reply
    • It looks like this…

      Reply
    • TDG beat me to it🙂

      Notice how RCP 8.5 peaks at about 0.5 C per decade which is ridiculously fast (you end an ice age in 80 years).

      Also, these figures do not include major ice sheet response, albedo change, or carbon systems feedback.

      And, yes, we are currently on a RCP 8.5 emissions track. It’s worth noting that there is no way we hit RCP 2.9 now…

      The NASA graphics are a good reference to fight climate change denial. Of course, sometimes you also have to counter willful blindness and or a simple failure of brain to interpret data coming in through eyes.

      Reply
  16. wili

     /  March 16, 2015

    Perspective on recent claims about China and coal (Thanks to ASLR):

    “China has already exceeded its 2015 “cap” on energy consumption” shows that China’s emissions statistic cannot always be relied upon and are subject to revision subject to the objectives of the Communist Party:

    https://carboncounter.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/china-has-already-exceeded-its-2015-cap-on-coal-production/

    Extract: “China has put in place plans to “cap” coal consumption and production in 2020. For whatever reason, this is regularly rendered as ‘China has plans to peak coal consumption by 2020.’ This is not exactly correct. The cap itself can, and probably will, simply increase after 2020.

    China has already exceeded its 2015 cap on coal production, and it did so two years ago. You won’t know this if you read the BP Statistical Review of World Energy or any other set of published statistics. They still tell you that China produced 3.68 billion tonnes of coal in 2013.
    However, buried in a recently published statistical communique from China is the following important note, data have been revised based on the results of the Third National Economic Census. The output of coal in 2013 has been revised from 3.68 billion tons to 3.97 billion tons.
    In other words, coal production in 2013 was revised upwards by 7.9%, and by 0.29 billion tonnes. This revision is the equivalent of 1/3 of the annual coal production of America.
    And this raises another problem. There is a long history of official manipulation of statistics in China.”

    Reply
  17. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Keeling Curve at 403.10 yesterday, March 15:

    NOAA:
    March 15 – Unavailable
    March 14 – 402.28
    March 13 – 401.87
    March 12 – 401.26
    March 11 – Unavailable

    Reply
    • Very early for this.. Might have expected it by April.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 17, 2015

        Every aspect of climate change seems to be accelerating this year and we’re only 10+ weeks into it. Sensing some very dramatic, intense event or events this summer, much more intense than Pam. Hope not, though, of course; would like to be incorrect.

        Reply
  18. Ouse M.D.

     /  March 16, 2015

    So, let me summarize my thoughts for You:

    1) We are currently in hotter World than the last 125.000 yrs
    2) The CO2 that is locked in, takes us back 3- 5 million years
    3) The CO2 equivalent that is locked in, takes us back 25 million years ago before present

    The only question is, in what timeframe will be 2) or 3) equilibrium reached?

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  March 16, 2015

      Ouse M.D. That’s what the science says that I hear and see….mind boggling.

      Reply
  19. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Humans adapted to living in rainforests much sooner than thought 12-Mar-2015
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/uoo-hat030915.php
    ….The researchers studied the fossilised teeth of 26 humans of a range of dates – from 20,000 to 3,000 years ago. All of the teeth were excavated from three archaeological sites in Sri Lanka, which are today surrounded by either dense rainforest or more open terrain. The analysis of the teeth showed that all of the humans had a diet sourced from slightly open ‘intermediate rainforest’ environments. Only two of them showed a recognisable signature of a diet found in open grassland. However, these two teeth were dated to around 3,000 years, the start of the Iron Age, when agriculture developed in the region. The new evidence published in this paper argues this shows just how adaptable our earliest ancestors were.

    Lead author, Patrick Roberts, a doctoral student specialising in the investigation of early human adaptations from Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, said: ‘This is the first study to directly test how much early human forest foragers depended on the rainforest for their diet. The results are significant in showing that early humans in Sri Lanka were able to live almost entirely on food found in the rainforest without the need to move into other environments. Our earliest human ancestors were clearly able to successfully adapt to different extreme environments.’ …

    ‘Our research provides a clear timeline showing the deep level of interaction that early humans had with the rainforest in South Asia. We need further research to see if this pattern was also followed in other similar environments in Southeast Asia, Melanesia, Australasia and Africa.’ …

    Reply
  20. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Rare, threatened coral species bred and raised in the lab March 16, 2015
    http://www.sciencecodex.com/rare_glimpse_into_how_coral_procreates_could_aid_future_conservation-152865
    …The species is one of very few corals in the Caribbean that forms large branches, which can provide shelter for important fish species and reduce the energy of storm surge as it approaches shore….

    “Now that we’ve successfully reared juvenile Pillar Corals in the lab, not only can we study them in more detail to find out what factors could be threatening their survival in the wild, but it also means that we can try to out-plant a small number back to the reef. We don’t know if this will work and it is certainly not a cure-all for the reef. But especially in such a rare coral species, a tiny boost of a few new individuals could make a big difference in their genetic diversity, allowing their populations to adapt and become more resilient to the changing environment in the oceans.” …

    Reply
  21. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    Cruz Presses NASA to Ignore Climate Change and go Back to its Roots: Space Exploration March 16, 2015
    http://www.esbtrib.com/2015/03/16/7628/cruz-presses-nasa-to-ignore-climate-change-and-go-back-to-its-roots-space-exploration/
    …Cruz was appointed chairman of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee this year, and Cruz’s selection as chair of this particular subcommittee raised eyebrows due to his long history of being opposed to NASA’s work.
    Cruz leadership in the committee seems very at odds with NASA’s dozens of climate change focused programs and missions. And ever since his appointment to committee chair, Cruz has pushed for NASA to focus more on space and less on Earth. By not concentrating research and funding on space exploration, Cruz argues that the government is neglecting NASA’s core mission…

    At some point in the hearing on President Obama’s $18.5 billion budget request for NASA for fiscal 2016, he started out by asking NASA Administrator Charles Bolden what the core mission of NASA is. Bolden replied that the core mission from the very beginning has been to investigate, explore space and the Earth environment.

    Cruz apparently didn’t appear to agree with “Earth Environment” part, adding that most Americans see its mission as to explore space, which is “what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.” He said he was “concerned” that NASA has lost touch with that focus, and began referring to charts showing that since 2009, NASA’s budget has seen a 41% increase in funding toward Earth science, while space exploration and operations has seen a 7.6% decrease.

    Bolden argued that Earth-science research had allowed NASA to better understand the Earth than ever before.

    The agency has good reason to be worried about climate change because NASA has spent $1 billion each year on Earth science, as the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is in danger of being flooded if sea levels rise. Already, 100 feet of beach next to the launch pads have been lost to rising sea levels since 2003, prompting the agency to spend nearly $3 million on a mile-long dune to protect the launch pads, with more dunes planned.

    Reply
  22. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    The Whole Earth Disk: An Iconic Image of the Space Age December 23, 2009
    http://blog.nasm.si.edu/history/the-whole-earth-disk-an-iconic-image-of-the-space-age/
    …As early as 1966, environmental activist Stewart Brand began a campaign for NASA to release an image of the whole Earth in space. Brand even made up buttons that asked, “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the Whole Earth yet?” He sold them on college campuses and mailed them to prominent scientists, futurists, and legislators. Not until the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, however, did “Whole Earth” become a reality. As Brand recalled: “I was a big fan of NASA and of then ten years of space exploration that had gone up to that point, and there we were in 1966, having seen a lot of the moon and a lot of hunks of the Earth, but never the complete mandala… it was a bit odd that for ten years, with all the photographic apparatus in the world, we hadn’t turned the cameras that 180 degrees to look back.”…

    Stewart Brand put the photograph on the cover of his Whole Earth Catalog. This image, and the other stunning photographs of the Earth taken from space, inspired a reconsideration of our place in the universe. It became the rallying cry of environmental activists, politicians, and scientists during the annual Earth Day celebrations. They used it as an object lesson of the Earth as a small, vulnerable, lonely, and fragile body teeming with life in a dull, black, lifeless void. While self-regulating and ancient, humanity proved a threat to this place. According to Brand and other ecologists, the Earth required human protection and the Whole Earth disk signaled its fragility.

    Thank you, Stewart, and thank you, NASA.

    Reply
  23. eleggua

     /  March 16, 2015

    “…as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one…”

    Reply
    • Yeah, a dark day if there ever was one.
      Neil and Buzz were prancing about the lunar landscape via of tons of toxicity spacecraft and propellant.
      This while Uncle Sam was raining death and destruction in SE Asia.
      The many Americans watching this homo sap on the moon event were also turning their backs on the many draftees and others bleeding and killing in their name. This applies to Walter Cronkite too.
      I cursed them on that July day in 1969 — and I still curse them as our home planet dies from all of the toxic enterprises since then.

      OUT

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        There are positives that we can take from it, though. No photo from space, no Whole Earth Catalog. No Whole Earth Catalog,,,,,,,(fill in the blanks; many, many positives generated via the Whole Earth Catalog).

        Reply
  24. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    To remember Nixon almost fondly, the Prosecutor of our South East Asia geno/ecocide. The man who ordered me to participate in that obscenity…..What a long strange (sad) trip these brief decades have been.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 16, 2015

      No fond memories of Nixon here, however that quote serves well despite the sour source.
      Bizarre, Nixon making that phone call to the moon; several years later other phone calls helping bring about his downfall.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  March 16, 2015

        eleggua: When I wrote 1493 below your Columbia Exchange chart I was meaning the great book of that title. Full of the history of that. Cheers!

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        Charles Mann book? Just checking out that one now as per your comment.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/81f6e04c-dec6-11e0-a228-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3UZeG11eA
        …While Columbian Exchange can produce harmony and diversity in a Filipino garden, its effects are more often like those of Columbus himself: colossally disruptive, overwhelming, unpredictable and uncontrollable. Microbes devastate populations whose immune systems are unprepared for them; pests irrupt into habitats that contain nothing to check or balance them. Mann calls the post-Columbian era the “Homogenocene”, which conjures visions of the world as one immense golf course, interspersed by parking lots. But the world will never be homogenous. It will always have different landscapes and climates – indeed, it is likely to gain a range of new climates in the relatively near future. Genes mutate and, as Mann demonstrates so vividly in his survey of the Columbian mayhem, humans are always coming up with new ways to upset the balance of nature inadvertently. The planet is in for continuing disruption rather than homogenisation…

        Reply
  25. Peruvian farmer demands climate compensation from German company

    RWE asked to pay for costs of protecting home lying in the floodpath of a glacial lake as its historical emissions are linked to glacial retreat in the Andes

    A Peruvian farmer is demanding that a German energy company pay him compensation for its role in causing historical climate change which, he claims, leaves his home “acutely threatened” by a glacial lake which could burst its banks.

    In an unprecedented legal claim in Europe, Saul Luciano Lliuya demands that RWE pay part of the costs for urgent protective measures as his home lies in the floodpath of the Palcacocha lake which is damming glacial melt-water upstream of his home in the town of Huaraz, in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, or white mountain range.

    “Two glaciers could collapse into the lake, that would cause a big flood wave which would destroy the house of my family and many other houses in Huaraz. This is an unacceptable risk,” he told the Guardian.

    “For a long time, my father and I have thought that those who cause climate change should help solve the problems it causes. Peru is a poor and vulnerable country. The big polluters who have contributed to climate change should now contribute to the solutions of our problems,” Lliuya said.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/16/peruvian-farmer-demands-climate-compensation-from-german-company

    Reply
    • Glacial outburst flood is a global hazard due to fossil fuel burning. In my view, they should be going after all FF emitters for current and rising likelihood of climate change related harm.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        Bring Climate Change Criminals To Justice
        http://www.climatecriminals.co.uk/
        BCCJ aim

        To establish a legal process in the UK and abroad to facilitate the criminal prosecution of Government Ministers and key business leaders whose policies and activities contribute to the mass loss of life which Climate Change is certain to now cause.

        Reply
      • Defintely.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        This crime is so unique, so extreme, so bestial, both in terms of its callous disregard for life and the unprecedented numbers that will be killed, that it warrants exceptional penalties for those convicted. Different nations should decide their own penalties but in the UK we advocate: –

        – Mandatory life imprisonment
        – Confiscation Orders of all personal assets.
        – Confiscation Orders permitting the seizure of all assets transferred/bequeathed to others.
        – Retrospective legislation which permits the seizure of all assets bequeathed to others after the death of a Climate Criminal.

        It is important that those carrying out their crimes today know that all personal wealth accumulated and passed on to others after their death will be traced and forfeited.
        The seizure of personal assets is important because so many Climate Criminals are motivated by greed and money.

        Reply
      • At least they are fighting back in public. I hope others start feeling empowered too.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 16, 2015

        http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/5231-global-week-of-actions-against-gmo-trees-in-brazil-ends-in-success
        <em…Earlier this morning, 1,000 women of the Brazil Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) from the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais occupied the operations of FuturaGene Technology Brazil Ltda, a subsidiary of Suzano timber corporation, in the municipality of Itapetininga, in São Paulo. This location is where transgenic eucalyptus, known as H421 is being developed and tested. During the protest, the MST destroyed the seedlings of transgenic eucalyptus trees there and denounced the potential impacts that would be caused by the release of transgenic eucalyptus if approved by CTNBio.

        Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 16, 2015

      Thanks, tweet scheduled. Fits nicely with theme of fossil fuels becoming increasingly risky investments, though I doubt this approach is going to succeed.

      Reply
  26. Kevin Jones

     /  March 16, 2015

    Yes, eleggua, Charles Mann. His 1491 is equally great.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 16, 2015

      Thanks, Kevin. Just looking at that one now, too. Thanks so much.

      Reply
    • Kevin and eleggua,
      Alfred Crosby had what many consider the classic on the effects of the meeting of the “new” and “old” world. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, it’s excellent. Crosby is a great author and historian. Some others worth reading are: Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity’s Unappeasable Appetite For Energy, Germs, Seeds and Animals: Studies in Ecological History, and Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. Any of his books are likely great, I’m only recommending the above because I have them and loved all of them.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 17, 2015

        Thanks for the tips, oldmarsguy. Read some reviews; intriguing, particulary ‘Columbian Exchange’, ‘Germs, Seed & Animals, and ‘Ecological Imperialism’. Added to the list. Thanks again.

        Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  March 18, 2015

        Thanks. Will take a look.

        Reply
  27. Say it isn’t so!😦

    East Antarctica Melting Could be Explained by Oceanic Gateways

    “We’ve basically shown that the submarine basins of East Antarctica have similar configurations and coastal vulnerabilities to the submarine basins of West Antarctica that we’re so worried about, and that warm ocean water, which is having a huge impact in West Antarctica, is affecting East Antarctica, as well,” Blankenship said.

    http://www.utexas.edu/news/2015/03/16/east-antarctica-melting-could-be-explained-by-oceanic-gateways/

    Reply
    • To me, this is kind of a ‘well, duh’ moment. We have quite a few submerged ice shelves in East Antarctica. We have a similar heat forcing impacting all of the bottom water zones in and near the Southern Ocean…

      Reply
      • The paywalled article is at:

        Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier in East Antarctica
        http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2388.html

        According to the authors, the water that reaches the shelves of most East Antarctica is colder so they pose less of a threat:

        Warm modified Circumpolar Deep Water (MCDW) observed on the Sabrina Coast continental shelf occupies the bottom layers of the water column, indicating that it will fill deep topography as it flows according to isobaths. This is not the case in most other coastal areas of East Antarctica, where colder, denser Shelf Water occupies the lowest layers.

        However, the Totten Glacier could lock in five meters (sixteen feet) of sea level rise, or roughly as much as all of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet combined:

        The global sea level potential of 3.5 m flowing through Totten Glacier alone is of similar magnitude to the entire probable contribution of the WAIS (ref. 29). As with the WAIS, much of the broader drainage basin accessible to a retreating Totten Glacier is grounded below sea level, with a potential contribution of 5.1 m (Supplementary Information), so instabilities from ice–ocean interaction in East Antarctica could have significant global consequences.

        Reply
    • Or maybe Ooops, is a better catch phrase for this particular revelation…

      Reply
  28. – On the curious question of air in Minnesota:

    MN House Coal Caucus votes to keep bill about air pollution away from environment committee

    … Bill author, Becker Republican Jim Newberger, opposed Hansen’s motion–prompting a remarkable line of questioning from Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley).

    Newberger: . . .this is not a pollution control bill. Members please vote no on this motion.

    Winkler: Representative Newberger, is air part of the environment?

    Newberger: Thank you Representative Winkler. That’s a complex question and one that you obviously know the answer to. Of course it is.

    Winkler: Well, Representative Newberger, you said that the air is part of the environment and this is an air pollution bill, this is a bill about polluting the environment. I think that Representative McNamara’s committee is based on some regulation or deregulation of pollution of the environment. I don’t quite understand how anyone could stand up with a straight face, on the floor, and say that a bill that deals with air pollution, doesn’t have to go to the Environment Committee since air is part of the environment.

    And so members, I guess it kind of begs the question.

    I understand that the coal industry favors the bill, and the coal industry doesn’t think that burning coal has an effect on the environment, but I think most Minnesotans do, so the question recurs once again to the body: do you want to follow the demands of an industry who has money to be made by moving a bill away from the Environment Committee, or do you want to do what’s right for the state and follow basic common sense about environmental impacts of burning coal? …

    http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2015/03/16/mn-house-coal-caucus-votes-keep-bill-about-air-pollution-away-environment-committee

    Reply
  29. wili

     /  March 17, 2015

    Mauna Loa readings for March 15th are over 403 again. I’m starting to freak out!

    Reply
  30. ‘Accelerated’ is the operative term here, for sure.
    Judging by the warm, and very short winter (3 to 5 days), we’ve had here in Portland I would add ‘rapid’ to accelerated. It’s impossible to compare this winter with last. They’re not even close. This likely applies to all of western North America.

    I’m sure glad Rapid Fingers Robert is a fast typist. His thinking is pretty quick too.

    -Thinking & time
    Until I wore it out, my favorite t-shirt was a promo from a book signing that had the words of the late physicist Richard Feynman on it:
    “Don’t you have time to think?”

    Thanks to all here that take the time to think about things which are of great import.

    Reply
    • What glitch?😉

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 17, 2015

        Yeah, what GLITCH ABOVE? 😉

        By the way, when we were discussing something a couple of days ago, Robert, noted that you were reading and typing at least as fast as here. Any idea of your WPM? 😉 🙂
        So glad you’ve those gifts; thanks again for all that you do. Said it before, one of your posts in 2013 really helped kick things here into much higher gear.

        Reply
        • Have no clue what my WPM is these days. But it has certainly gotten faster over the years.

          Curious which 2013 post?

      • eleggua

         /  March 17, 2015

        Can’t recall which exactly. You’d called what was going to happen with the warped jet stream and the crazy winter weather that would be experienced from the Midwest US to the British Isles and you were spot on. Scanned through the posts from Dec and Nov and cannot locate the specific post. That call and a first watching of “The Life of Pi” coincided.
        Too much to explain here; perhaps another time, another venue. I value synchronicity in my life.

        “The rate of synchronicity exponentially increases when there is honesty between equals.”

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 17, 2015

      “Thanks to all here that take the time to think about things which are of great import.”

      Yes, echoing that sentiment. Thank you all for contributing incredibly valuable information and perspectives. Let’s keep our spirits up and encourage – courage being the operative syllable – others to do the same.

      Pinch yourself; still kickin’; endure. Blessings to all.

      Reply

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