New Blast of Cold Air Invades Midwest U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:31 PM GMT on February 26, 2014

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A frigid blast of Arctic air will bring some of the coldest late February temperatures seen in decades to the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. this week, with temperatures 15 - 30° below normal commonplace. The cold air isn't going anywhere fast, and will stick around through early next week. The cold blast is due to an extreme jet stream pattern we have seen before this winter--a sharp ridge of high pressure over California, and a large trough of low pressure over Eastern North America. This upper air pattern was described by the National Weather Service in Buffalo, New York on Tuesday as one that occurs less than once every 30 years in late February. The intense cold is already affecting the Upper Midwest this Wednesday morning. My vote for worst winter weather of the day goes to Central Minnesota at Alexandria, where a temperature of -8°F this morning combined with winds of 14 mph to make a wind chill of -28°. The winds are expected to increase to 25 - 30 mph Wednesday afternoon with higher gusts, creating blizzard conditions. In Chicago, the intense cold is expected to put the December - February average temperature for this winter below 19°, making the winter of 2013 - 2014 the 3rd coldest winter in the Windy City's history. Only the winters of 1978 - 1979 and 1903 - 1904 were colder.


Figure 1. Great Lake ice cover as seen on February 19, 2014, by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. Ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014—levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades. The lowest average ice extent occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Rain coming to California
Unlike previous versions of this extreme jet stream pattern, though, the ridge over the Western U.S. will not be very persistent. The ridge of high pressure over California, which brought numerous record high temperatures for the date on Tuesday, will get broken down by a weak low pressure system on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, a more intense storm system will smash through the ridge, bringing moderate to heavy rain to much of drought-parched California. This storm will then track eastwards, potentially bringing a major snowstorm and destructive ice storm on Monday to Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average at 2 meters (6.6') as diagnosed by the GFS model at 00 UTC February 26, 2014. A negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) created a sharp kink in the jet stream (Figure 3), which allowed cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic over the Eastern U.S. Compensating warm air flowed northwards into the Arctic underneath ridges of high pressure over Alaska and Europe. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.


Figure 3. Winds at a height where the pressure is 250 mb show the axis of the jet stream, seen here at 00 UTC February 26, 2014. A sharp trough of low pressure was present over the Eastern U.S., and unusually strong ridges of high pressure were over the Western U.S. and the North Atlantic. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

Wanted: professionals willing to speak about climate change to local groups
If you are a professional or graduate student with a strong background in climate science, the world needs you to reach out to local audiences at schools, retirement homes, the Chamber of Commerce, etc., and share your expertise. A new initiative by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the United Nations Foundation called climatevoices.org is launching a Science Speakers Network this spring, with the goal of bringing scientists and their local communities together for real dialogue on climate science that speaks to citizens’ current and future well-being and responsibility as members of a community and democracy. Materials for context-setting presentations will be offered as will coaching regarding how to begin conversations about climate change with fellow citizens. If you are interested in volunteering for this network, please go to climatevoices.org and create a profile.  Profiles will “go public” when the full web site is launched in April. Once you create a profile, you will be kept up to date on Climate Voices progress including construction of the full web site, availability of presentation materials, webinar coaching, and plans for project launch. For any questions, please contact: Cindy Schmidt (UCAR), cschmidt@ucar.edu. I have my own set of slides I use for such talks that anyone is welcome to borrow from, available at http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2013/climatetalk.ppt.

Jeff Masters

Snowy Friday (Beaker)
After a major winter storm in the Twin Cities area, I spent Friday afternoon capturing a glimpse of the beauty left in the aftermath of the storm.
Snowy Friday

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589. OCF
Someone upthread expressed wonderment at the notion that there were tornadoes on the West Coast. Well, admittedly, they're not that big of a hazard. But still: I spend the first 18 years of my life in Oklahoma and yet somehow the closest any tornado has ever come to a house I lived in happened in Southern California. Happened maybe 15 or 20 years ago, in January or February. The track of the tornado was less than half a mile from my house. Someone's backyard sheet metal shed was ripped up and deposited across utility wires and trees a block or two away. A fast-food place's standing sign had its flat surfaces shredded. A grocery store had a 10 foot or so hole punched in its flat roof. (They stayed open during repairs, just roping off the bad aisles.) The worst damage was a block or two further on, to the roof of a school library. All told, I suppose that sounds like EF0; maybe the school library was EF1. There was a power failure over several square miles.

Tonight: not raining where I am yet. Still waiting for it to start.
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Rain Finally Returns, Californians Rejoice?

February 26, 2014
The relief hasn't been enough to squash the drought, however. As of Wednesday's measurements, California's snow water equivalent is just 22 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Central portions of the Sierra are reporting 29 percent of normal, the highest snow water equivalent of any region in the mountain range.

Good news is on the way as a more active pattern of storm systems will begin rushing into California this week and is expected continue through the weekend. Rain will fall on most of the state, while much-needed snow will reach the higher elevations.

While the precipitation will be welcomed by a parched state that desperately needs it to keep the water supply flowing through the summer months, serious concerns remain about a lingering drought that will require far more rain to kill. If the rain doesn't come in the next few weeks, it would have to fall in months that are traditionally dry.
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Quoting JohnLonergan:
From Quark Soup:

The Pause That Ain't


Tamino has been making a strong case that the trend of surface temperatures isn't any different than it has been since 1975, except for some ordinary fluctuations about the trend. He's giving away his graphs for free, and they're worth reproducing.

Here, in 5 short steps, is his proof that there is no pause.

First, take the Cowtan & Way data for surface temperatures, which is HadCRUT4 infilled by kriging. (This has a nice introduction to kriging, if you 're looking for one.)

Plot the annual value from 1975 to 2000:



Determine the linear trend:




and the uncertainty of that trend:




In this chart, the first dashed line on either side of the trendline (which is the solid line) is the 1-standard deviation value, and the second dashed line outside it is the 2-standard deviation value.

Project these trend lines to the present:





Add in the annual Cowtan & Way anomalies up to 2013:





What you see is that the present (last) anomaly is not even one standard deviation below the 1975-2000 trend. No different than it's often before.

It's hard to make it more clear than this. By calculating the trend only "since 1998" or only "for the last 17 years" or the like, with nonkriged data, you're only presenting a piece of the picture -- a highly selected piece -- a picture where the early data is above the long-term trendline, and the later data is below the long-term trendline. (And not even below it by that much.) It's the SkS escalator graph but looking just at the last step.

By the way, the C&W trend since 1975 is 0.166 ± 0.017 °C/decade (1-sigma, OLS uncertainty, R2 = 0.83). Tamino's value for sigma includes autocorrelation, which is why it's larger than the one here.

As tamino wrote, "If that’s what you call a pause,' then it’s not a very impressive one."

Very impressive. Seriously. I've seen that chart progression before and it does a good job of explaining the "pause". I also minored in stat. Now, please come up with cogent explanation for someone who as no clue what kriging is and probably doesn't understand why one or two standard deviations are important. That's the challenge for science today.
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So glad to see California is getting some substantial rain. We received almost an inch at my location in Central Florida. Keep it coming all around.
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Quoting 583. nwobilderburg:

Just some hurricane hitting some place


What am I supposed to feel?
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There's something a happening here,
what it is, is perfectly clear.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702

Just some hurricane hitting some place
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From Quark Soup:

The Pause That Ain't


Tamino has been making a strong case that the trend of surface temperatures isn't any different than it has been since 1975, except for some ordinary fluctuations about the trend. He's giving away his graphs for free, and they're worth reproducing.

Here, in 5 short steps, is his proof that there is no pause.

First, take the Cowtan & Way data for surface temperatures, which is HadCRUT4 infilled by kriging. (This has a nice introduction to kriging, if you 're looking for one.)

Plot the annual value from 1975 to 2000:



Determine the linear trend:




and the uncertainty of that trend:




In this chart, the first dashed line on either side of the trendline (which is the solid line) is the 1-standard deviation value, and the second dashed line outside it is the 2-standard deviation value.

Project these trend lines to the present:





Add in the annual Cowtan & Way anomalies up to 2013:





What you see is that the present (last) anomaly is not even one standard deviation below the 1975-2000 trend. No different than it's often before.

It's hard to make it more clear than this. By calculating the trend only "since 1998" or only "for the last 17 years" or the like, with nonkriged data, you're only presenting a piece of the picture -- a highly selected piece -- a picture where the early data is above the long-term trendline, and the later data is below the long-term trendline. (And not even below it by that much.) It's the SkS escalator graph but looking just at the last step.

By the way, the C&W trend since 1975 is 0.166 ± 0.017 °C/decade (1-sigma, OLS uncertainty, R2 = 0.83). Tamino's value for sigma includes autocorrelation, which is why it's larger than the one here.

As tamino wrote, "If that’s what you call a pause,' then it’s not a very impressive one."
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Quoting 577. KoritheMan:

Wouldn't the daily seabreeze/thunderstorm largely mitigate the heat, though? Especially along coastal areas.


I must say, the daily thunderstorm over Nassau in the summer can be particularly INTENSE, and also photogenic.

One thing I noticed about Nassau-born thunderstorms is that 50-75% of them end up only producing 1-3 lightning strikes before they wash/rain themselves out.

Over Andros (the big island to the west of Nassau), the storms are MUCH MUCH larger and more intense. This is because of a larger and more effective sea breeze and its basically like the east-coast seabreeze in southeast Florida. One day I would love to be under one of those thunderstorms to see how hard it is raining and how much lightning is occurring, because at night, the lightning over there are non-stop.
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Wednesday 26 February 2014
Efforts to depoliticise climate change are welcome
There are those who claim climate change can somehow be seen as a political position


To the rational majority, climate change is not an article of faith but an unwelcome statement of fact. Not because of the anecdotal evidence of unprecedented “weather events” – Australian heatwaves, Philippines typhoons, European flooding – battering the globe with steadily increasing regularity. Rather, because scientific study after scientific study has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that not only is the Earth’s temperature rising, but those alterations are almost certainly the result of human activities. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded last year that it is now as sure that we are behind global warming as it is that cigarettes cause cancer.
Yet still there are those who claim climate change can somehow be seen as a political position, instead of the demonstrably measurable reality that it is. And even among policymakers who do not quibble with the evidence, there is a reluctance to face up to the expensive, unpopular choices that must be made to solve the problem. It is against such a backdrop that two of the world’s most august scientific institutions – the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society in London – today set out their summation of the proof that climate change exists and that human activities are the cause. The motivation could not be more explicit. “We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken,” Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, says. “It is now time for the public debate to move forward.”

How right he is. Yes, there are still any number of questions as to the scale and implications of a rising global temperature. But what is irrefutable is that atmospheric carbon dioxide in now at levels not seen for 800,000 years and, regardless of the recent pause, temperatures have been on the up since the mid-19th century. The politicisation of climate change is one of the more dangerous developments of recent years, with the potential to put a real check on our ability to tackle perhaps the trickiest problem that the human race has ever faced. It can only be hoped that the National Academy and the Royal Society can help tip the balance back towards science.
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Quoting 568. BahaHurican:
Bahamas'll give you the best of both worlds, though I don't know if we would be laid-back enough 4 u... also JA is more populated, which may or may not be to your liking....


We have better beaches. Enough said.
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Quoting 576. HurrMichaelOrl:


Wow, really? The year round heat might be a bit much, though I think one could get used to just about any climate. I remember checking the weather in the summer and seeing the forecast for Kingston like this: 86/97, 85/96, 86/96... The lows are particularly notable for a non-desert region, a result of the steaming bath water the island is surrounded by.
Wouldn't the daily seabreeze/thunderstorm largely mitigate the heat, though? Especially along coastal areas.
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Quoting 563. KoritheMan:

I used to contemplate moving to Jamaica a few years back. And tbh, I still think I'm more suited/adaptive to a tropical climate.


Wow, really? The year round heat might be a bit much, though I think one could get used to just about any climate. I remember checking the weather in the summer and seeing the forecast for Kingston like this: 86/97, 85/96, 86/96... The lows are particularly notable for a non-desert region, a result of the steaming bath water the island is surrounded by.
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Quoting 568. BahaHurican:
Bahamas'll give you the best of both worlds, though I don't know if we would be laid-back enough 4 u... also JA is more populated, which may or may not be to your liking....
The Bahamas are a bit milder than Jamaica during the winter, but hey, you guys are a notorious hurricane magnet, which is right up my alley.

Can we be neighbors if I move? :]
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Quoting 520. sar2401:

I think the problem is worse than that portrayed in the article. The response of many scientists was first to deny that a {pause, slowdown, flattening out, choose your poison} even happened. I've seen it here when Levi posted about the temperature flat lining and was immediately attacked because he didn't include ocean heat. That's not what he posted about, it was air temperature. That has been used in graphs for a long time to depict the warming of the globe. I'm absolutely certain that's what the public thinks about when it comes to global warming, not total heat. Same thing with the cold winter. People were falling all over themselves to prove it really wasn't cold. What climate scientist need to communicate is that a decrease in the rate of increase of global air temperature doesn't prove or disprove global warming. A cold winter doesn't prove or disprove global warming. It's the trend that matters. Climate predictions are never going to get every wiggle right when it comes to things like global air temperactures. If the pause continues long enough, we then have a different trend line. If the next 10 or so winters are this cold, something else is going on with climate other than what was predicted. None of the models are infallible but they are the best science we have now. Stop saying what happened didn't happen and concentrate on the point that the general trends are still intact.
So, we should discuss how the planet is heating up without actually discussing all the ways the planet is heating up, because to do otherwise might confuse the public? Gee, I have to tell you that the 'logic' escapes me. Care to elucidate?

You wrote, "if the next 10 or so winters are this cold, something else is going on with the climate other than what was predicted." As a look at any global temperature map will show, this winter has been anything but cold. In fact, with the exception of the eastern US and parts of. Siberia, February has followed in January'sfootsteps by being normal to above normal. So for your statement to have any chance at validity, you should rephrase it thusly: "if next winter and the ten or so that follow it somehow stop the long -term trend of increasing global temperatures, something else might be happening."
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Nice View Keeper, Storm is get closer....
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I am watching for a huge winter storm March 6 - 8 right now so will need to watch it closely.
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Quoting 561. hurricanes2018:
snow storm for the northeast here


The model is wrong on snow in nyc and philladelphia...ice in those areas snow confined to ny state/nw nj and ct/mass.
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It's raining on the Streets of San Francisco!!!

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Quoting 563. KoritheMan:

I used to contemplate moving to Jamaica a few years back. And tbh, I still think I'm more suited/adaptive to a tropical climate.
Bahamas'll give you the best of both worlds, though I don't know if we would be laid-back enough 4 u... also JA is more populated, which may or may not be to your liking....
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I can't believe how cold it has been in the north this winter! Lansing, MI, for example is supposed to reach -14F tomorrow night. Most winters in recent history the city does not get within several degrees of that in an entire winter. This must be close to a record cold winter as far as averages go for many areas. I admit, I am a bit jealous as I am a winter weather/sports enthusiast. The weather should be quite pleasant here for the next several days, as a front is now moving through.

Regarding the Great Lakes, why is Lake Michigan and Lake Huron almost entirely ice free (as a percentage of the total lake surface)? The other lakes are almost entirely covered. I could see the aforementioned two being a bit less covered than the others due to a combination of depth and geographic location, but why the stark difference? I would think Lake Michigan would be at least as ice covered as Lake Ontario.
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San Francisco, CA (KMUX) - Base Reflectivity (0.5)

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Here is the San Diego Offices take on it. Link
We are in the 1-00-1.50 range - that circle NW of Riverside.
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Quoting 559. Chucktown:
Wow, LA/Oxnard NWS serious about this weekend. El Nino starts early.

Link



Hey, What's up Chuck?
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Quoting 556. Bluestorm5:
I'm getting really tired of the cold... I used to be winter person back in Central NC annoyed with the warmth, but these mountains are teaching me a lesson that I should be better off a warm weather person :\

On additional note, NC State/UNC games are always fun to watch. One GREAT thing about living in NC is those Tobaaco Road Rivalry games (Duke, UNC, NC State) :)
I used to contemplate moving to Jamaica a few years back. And tbh, I still think I'm more suited/adaptive to a tropical climate.
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Quoting 560. ncstorm:
UNC Vs NC State game..that was the craziest last 2 minutes of regulation

State is taking names right now in overtime..
This might be the best UNC/NC State game I've ever seen in last few years...
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snow storm for the northeast here
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UNC Vs NC State game..that was the craziest last 2 minutes of regulation

State is taking names right now in overtime..
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Wow, LA/Oxnard NWS serious about this weekend. El Nino starts early.

Link
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Quoting 557. Dakster:
Going to need to move the docks.
naw just wait till the rains come
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Going to need to move the docks.
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I'm getting really tired of the cold... I used to be winter person back in Central NC annoyed with the warmth, but these mountains are teaching me a lesson that I should be better off a warm weather person :\

On additional note, NC State/UNC games are always fun to watch. One GREAT thing about living in NC is those Tobaaco Road Rivalry games (Duke, UNC, NC State) :)
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Quoting 553. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




Yikes...
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5704


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Quoting 550. Dakster:
Pedley - Is this the schoolnight slow down, now?


Watching the Krewe of Nyx parade.
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Nearby Airports its getting cold in the northeast to

New Haven | Clear | 19 °F
Chester | Clear | 18 °F
Meriden | Clear | 16 °F
Nearby Weather Stations

Bishops Orchards-Meadow Ridge | 17.4 °F
Orcutt | 14.2 °F
Bishops Orchards-LHR | 16.7 °F
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Pedley - Is this the schoolnight slow down, now?
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Quoting beell:


No. I got kicked out for being disagreeable.

Arf! You too,huh?
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Quoting 546. nwobilderburg:


Not mine... I'm central coast... Only light to moderate rain here
Half inch or less if I could guess


Have yet to see anything here. Friday should be good though.
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Quoting 544. Dakster:
Where did all that water go?

Link



Agriculture is 80% of the usage, bet it went there.
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Quoting 545. PedleyCA:


Your Storm is way meaner than mine.....


Not mine... I'm central coast... Only light to moderate rain here
Half inch or less if I could guess
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Quoting 538. nwobilderburg:


Tornado symbol in SF


Your Storm is way meaner than mine.....
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Where did all that water go?

Link

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Quoting 540. Dakster:


Doesn't look like you are going to get wet with that one.


Looks like maybe just the toes.....lol
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Quoting 537. tramp96:

Stay here awhile it sounds like they use common sense here and it's more relaxed. I can tell from this morning that you could use some of that,your BP was up.


No thanks. I was here earlier, contributing to the conversation, not throwing insults and making generalizations about groups of people I know nothing about.

Have fun storming the castle!
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Quoting 536. PedleyCA:


Here comes Storm #1 on stage left.


Doesn't look like you are going to get wet with that one.
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Is Jolly Good stuff !






Quoting 640. JohnLonergan:



Climate Change: Evidence & Causes

Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth's climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes.

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) absorb heat (infrared radiation) emitted from Earth's surface. Increases in the atmospheric concentrations of these gases cause Earth to warm by trapping more of this heat. Human activities - especially the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution - have increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations by about 40%, with more than half the increase occurring since 1970. Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 C (1.4 F). This has been accompanied by warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects. Much of this warming has occurred in the last four decades. Detailed analyses have shown that the warming during this period is mainly a result of the increased concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Continued emissions of these gases will cause further climate change, including substantial increases in global average surface temperature and important changes in regional climate. The magnitude and timing of these changes will depend on many factors, and slowdowns and accelerations in warming lasting a decade or more will continue to occur. However, long-term climate change over many decades will depend mainly on the total amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted as a result of human activities.

Project background

The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, with their similar missions to promote the use of science to benefit society and to inform critical policy debates, offer this new publication as a key reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative answers about the current state of climate change science. The publication makes clear what is well established, where consensus is growing, and where there is still uncertainty. It is written and reviewed by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists. It echoes and builds upon the long history of climate-related work from both national science academies, as well as the newest climate change assessment from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This work was kindly supported by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler US-UK Scientific Forum.

Link to the report:
Climate Change Evidence & Causes(PDF)
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.