The One Page I Will Read – IPCC Working Group II

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 4:35 PM GMT on April 29, 2014

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The One Page I Will Read – IPCC Working Group II

A program manager friend of mine in D.C. used to ask me for the one page that he would read, the two pages he would read if the project was interesting and the five pages he would read if he needed to know the details. We often hear about the elevator speech, when you get the length of an elevator ride to pitch a program or sell your project. These are frightfully small amounts of time and words to convey large amounts of complex information.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed the state of our knowledge about climate change at regular intervals since 1988. There are three reports at each assessment release, The Physical Science Basis (Working Group I), Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Working Group II) and The Mitigation of Climate Change (Working Group III). Maybe it’s just my prejudice, but it has always seemed to me that the Working Group I report got the most attention. I want to write a little bit about Working Group II. I know that I am late compared to the press releases and other blogs, but that’s my style. I don’t really have much to add during the big flurry of activity, but if the document is important, then I hope to maybe keep it alive a bit after it has run its news cycle. It’s an awfully long document; just picking one out, Chapter 30 of the Working Group II Report has 138 pages. It does not meet that standard of the one page I will read.

The IPCC has made great efforts to provide more communicative documents. There is a Summary for Policy Makers, a set of Frequently Asked Questions, a video and aGlossary. The glossary is especially valuable, as there is an ongoing effort to make the vocabulary common and precise across many fields and many languages.

I was delighted to see that a former student of my class, Ilissa Ocko, was not only gainfully employed, but she had written a summary blog of the Working Group II report. The now Dr. Ocko listed six key findings (see one of her graphics below):

1) Climate change is now everywhere

2) Humans and ecosystems are both vulnerable

3) Food security, water resources, human health, ecosystems, and the economy are all at stake

4) Many global risks of climate change are concentrated in urban efforts

5) Building resilience is critical to limiting risks …

6) … but cutting heat-trapping gas emissions is essential.


If you review the current set of IPCC reports and compare the messages to the previous reports in 2007 and 2001, then there is remarkable consistency of message. This consistency of message is a measure of the certitude of the knowledge that we have about climate change. This report documents with “high confidence” changes in natural systems such as migration patterns and shifts in geographical ranges. There is also an emerging climate-change signal of an increase in species extinction. Climate change is not the only stress at play in species extinction, which is a consequence of the domination of the Earth’s environment by humans.

With degrees of confidence ranging from “medium” to “high,” the assessment report documents changes in the supply and distribution of fresh water. The changes that involve melting of glaciers, ice sheets and permafrost are essentially permanent – they will not be reversed in our lifetime or the lifetimes of our children and their children. In Chapter 28, the melting of permafrost is given “very high confidence,” with impacts on both ecosystems and infrastructure. The threats to infrastructure include specific mention of that which we have built to manage hazardous materials, such as oil. (Angela Fritz’s blog on permafrost and carbon dioxide emissions)

The intersections between melting permafrost, ecosystems and human infrastructure are a concrete example of the integrated risk. When we talk about integrated risk, some take the position that the risk is not due to climate change, but due to bad decisions by people – perhaps building in places that are vulnerable. This form of argument, removing climate change as a factor, is increasingly less convincing, which is especially obvious in the Arctic. It will become more obvious as the melting of sea ice opens up offshore oil drilling, which would be too costly, largely impossible, without climate change. This becomes linked to roads and pipelines whose underpinnings are weakened by melting permafrost. The threats of oil spills at drilling sites and from oceanic shipping all become possible, fundamentally, because of climate change – followed by the decisions that we will make to build in vulnerable zones.

The Working Group II report also reviews efforts around the world to take on the challenges of adaptation. A hopeful sign is taking climate change into account in planning exercises. Though implementation of specific adaptation actions remains limited, there is increasing evaluation of vulnerability and risk. It is especially notable that economic development plans increasingly incorporate consideration of climate and climate change. Especially in cases where changes in water supply are already being observed or where sea level is a threat, climate change is prominent in the planning discussion.

The IPCC reports are daunting in their scope and in their size. The information and knowledge in the reports is complex, and it is a continual challenge on how to communicate complex knowledge. There has been significant effort to improve the communication of the material in these reports. The complete reports can be downloaded as searchable PDFs. The reports are a snapshot of the literature and knowledge of the recent past. With the emergence of verifiable signals of climate change, the reports offer many case studies to help us think about the future and our responses.

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Figure 1: Global Observed Impacts of climate change. See more of Ilissa Ocko's graphics

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144. AmysDad
1:12 PM GMT on May 25, 2014
Lennart Bengtsson.
Member Since: July 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 4
143. yoboi
2:09 AM GMT on May 03, 2014
Quoting 142. riverat544:

The only geoengineering that's worth a damn is to stop increasing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Anything else is putting bandaids on compound fracture.




Not according to CB..........
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
142. riverat544
1:49 AM GMT on May 03, 2014
Quoting 137. cyclonebuster:



Bottom line it is now cheaper to take action than not taking action... Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer........

The only geoengineering that's worth a damn is to stop increasing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Anything else is putting bandaids on compound fracture.
Member Since: March 29, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 85
141. FLwolverine
5:58 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
139 - Who was saying "worst drought ever", other than you?

But it's an interesting article comparing 20th century drought to historical drought:

We present a 576-year tree-ring-based reconstruction of streamflow for northern Utah's Weber River that exhibits considerable interannual and decadal-scale variability. While the 20th Century instrumental period includes several extreme individual dry years, it was the century with the fewest such years of the entire reconstruction. Extended droughts were more severe in duration, magnitude, and intensity prior to the instrumental record, including the most protracted drought of the record, which spanned 16 years from 1703 to 1718. Extreme wet years and periods are also a regular feature of the reconstruction. A strong early 17th Century pluvial exceeds the early 20th Century pluvial in magnitude, duration, and intensity, and dwarfs the 1980s wet period that caused significant flooding along the Wasatch Front. The long-term hydroclimatology of northern Utah is marked by considerable uncertainty; hence, our reconstruction provides water managers with a more complete record of water resource variability for assessment of the risk of droughts and floods for one of the largest and most rapidly growing population centers in the Intermountain West.

Link - A 576-Year Weber River Streamflow Reconstruction from Tree Rings for Water Resource Risk Assessment in the Wasatch Front, Utah

Interesting that the analysis is based on tree rings. How will the denialati spin that?


Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2362
140. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
5:48 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
RickyRood has created a new entry.
139. Cochise111
5:46 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
All of this hyperbole (and error) about the Western US being in the worst drought ever gets very old, especially according to this new paper demonstrating that our current "drought" doesn't compare to past droughts even in recorded history. Wonder how the alarmists will spin this one:

Link
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 331
138. JohnLonergan
5:00 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Geoscientists get all ethical about climate change



The Geoscientist is the Fellowship magazine of the Geological Society of London. With the Permission of the Editor of the magazine, I hereby republish extracts from three items in the most recent issue (cover image shown here) of the magazine:

(1) The Soapbox item (i.e. guest op-ed) by Roger Dunshea;
plus Book Reviews of:
(2) William Hay’s Experimenting on a Small Planet; and
(3) Jermemy Leggett’s The Energy of Nations.

There will, no doubt, be howls of protest from all the ‘climate ostriches’ within the Geological Society – those who dispute the problematic nature of the reality that:

(a) the Earth’s fossil fuel resources are non-renewable and finite;
(b) burning them is the primary cause of ongoing climate disruption; and
(c) feeding 10 billion humans will be very hard without fossil fuels.

Sadly, however, reality is not altered by our refusal to face it!

Read more ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3269
137. cyclonebuster
4:48 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 133. JohnLonergan:

Michael Mann — Costs Of Climate Change(VIDEO)

In this interview Michael Mann stresses some major observations he’s made about the anthropogenic climate change we’re experiencing now and its projected near-term challenges. He also repeats the caution that we are approaching a whole new level of climate risk, one in which we may not be able to reverse some of the damaging consequences.

Lang asks Professor Mann point-blank what he thinks will be the tipping point in the climate change crisis. Watch the interview for his pointed reply. You’ll also gain insight into why Michael Mann says the costs to us of existing climate change (1% of global GDP) have begun to exceed the costs of taking action against greenhouse gases and other effects of cheap but ultimately dangerous fossil fuel consumption.

More ...


Bottom line it is now cheaper to take action than not taking action... Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer, Geo-Engineer........
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
136. cyclonebuster
4:45 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 129. Creideiki:



I recommend shifting the primary energy source from sunlight from millions of years ago to sunlight from now. Radical, I know.
Not fast enough..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
135. schwankmoe
4:30 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 118. FLwolverine:

In the real world, even the most perfect geo- engineering solution (if there were one) will not be built because there is no will in the government or business or the American people to do it. So there will be NO geo-engineering solution to climate change until it's too late - and then govt/business will probably try a bunch of useless expensive "fixes" that do little or no good except to make somebody a lot of money.

Fresca, anyone?


"i know how to get out of this hole i dug myself in! i'll get a different shovel!"
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 678
134. schwankmoe
4:28 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 113. iceagecoming:



Bill Ayers


isn't he related to that guy Ben Ghazi? i keep hearing about that guy too. apparently, not only is the ice age totally coming any day now, the commies are coming with it.

the commies are originally from a really cold area, aren't they? oh my god, i think i'm on to something. let me break out the chalkboard and the abacus, i'll be back in 5...
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 678
133. JohnLonergan
4:13 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Michael Mann — Costs Of Climate Change(VIDEO)

In this interview Michael Mann stresses some major observations he’s made about the anthropogenic climate change we’re experiencing now and its projected near-term challenges. He also repeats the caution that we are approaching a whole new level of climate risk, one in which we may not be able to reverse some of the damaging consequences.

Lang asks Professor Mann point-blank what he thinks will be the tipping point in the climate change crisis. Watch the interview for his pointed reply. You’ll also gain insight into why Michael Mann says the costs to us of existing climate change (1% of global GDP) have begun to exceed the costs of taking action against greenhouse gases and other effects of cheap but ultimately dangerous fossil fuel consumption.

More ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3269
132. FLwolverine
3:22 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 130. Creideiki:



Laws protecting oil and natural gas extraction companies from civil suits coming in 3...2...
Yes, although the lobbyists may wait for the appeals process so they can figure out just how to write the law. This will most likely be at the state level. If the state tries to redefine "nuisance" as it applies to fracking operations, I can think of a couple of interesting constitutional challenges to such a law. A better way (from the fracking companies standpoint) would be to put a cap on damages and allow the defendant company to recover costs for "frivolous" lawsuits; that could have a real chilling effect on future plaintiffs.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2362
131. indianrivguy
2:46 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 130. Creideiki:



Laws protecting oil and natural gas extraction companies from civil suits coming in 3...2...


maybe not.. THIS administration doesn't have 11 of 15, including the Prez and Vice Prez former oil officials...
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2536
130. Creideiki
12:42 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 127. FLwolverine:

This is one way to fight fracking. Too bad Mother Nature doesn't have standing to sue. (Waiting for the Gaia accusation .........)

"A Dallas jury recently awarded nearly $3 million to a family that said they were poisoned by natural gas drilling operation near their North Texas ranch. The verdict, reached on April 22, is being called a landmark by opponents of the drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."


Laws protecting oil and natural gas extraction companies from civil suits coming in 3...2...
Member Since: July 10, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 162
129. Creideiki
12:41 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 115. cyclonebuster:



Yes we need to geo-engineer a solution to this most critical problem.


I recommend shifting the primary energy source from sunlight from millions of years ago to sunlight from now. Radical, I know.
Member Since: July 10, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 162
128. tramp96
12:07 PM GMT on May 02, 2014
#123

You should have posted a pic
of Obama bowing to the
Saudi Prince.
Member Since: August 15, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1555
127. FLwolverine
11:50 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
This is one way to fight fracking. Too bad Mother Nature doesn't have standing to sue. (Waiting for the Gaia accusation .........)

"A Dallas jury recently awarded nearly $3 million to a family that said they were poisoned by natural gas drilling operation near their North Texas ranch. The verdict, reached on April 22, is being called a landmark by opponents of the drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2362
126. FLwolverine
11:42 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
From Peter Sinclair, quoting Policy Mic - Link


We need to step up: And top naval commanders, such as retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley, think it’s important for the military to meet the challenges of global climate change. The former admiral told Slate‘s Eric Holthaus that the military establishment thinks it’s one of the biggest long-term planning issues that needs to be handled.

“Climate change did not cause the Arab spring, but could it have been a contributing factor? I think that seems pretty reasonable,” Titley comments.

“Let me give you a few examples of how [climate change] might play out … [Here's one:] We basically do nothing on emissions. Sea level keeps rising, three to six feet by the end of the century. Then, you get a series of super-typhoons into Shanghai and millions of people die. Does the population there lose faith in Chinese government? Does China start to fissure? I’d prefer to deal with a rising, dominant China any day.”

Recognize: Titley also has a few choice words for the majority of Americans who aren’t concerned about climate change — which is about 65% of the country — saying they’re being misled by a “libertarian agenda that tried to convince the public the science was uncertain.”

“Where are the free-market, conservative ideas?” he asks. “The science is settled. Instead, we should have a legitimate policy debate between the center-right and the center-left on what to do about climate change. If you’re a conservative — half of America — why would you take yourself out of the debate? C’mon, don’t be stupid. Conservative people want to conserve things. Preserving the climate should be high on that list.”
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2362
125. JohnLonergan
10:39 AM GMT on May 02, 2014


...Apply a stimulus (for example, show them some scientific evidence) and they collapse into one of the three states of denial. This enables a denier to exist in one state of denial, then transition to a contradictory state, then jump back into the first state of denial again.

Just like quantum theory in general, the quantum theory of climate denial flies in the face of common sense. There is an expectation that over time, deniers will gradually move from "climate change is not happening" toward the "climate change is not going to be bad" end of the spectrum. But in the case of those producing climate misinformation, the data say otherwise.

Read more at SkS .
..
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3269
123. Patrap
2:36 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Greed got us to this point.

Old White Men & Arabs with bad Hair and Mustache dyes as well

Talk amongst yerselves, it is entertaining.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863
122. yoboi
2:30 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 120. cyclonebuster:
What you talking about? Geo-Engineering got us to this point and it can get us out of it.



Maybe paprap can help you.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
121. Patrap
2:25 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Extreme Weather can bring chaos in a day.

Lessons learned,

Will not be the norm...,as the learning curve has to follow the Keeling curve if we are to save lives, and protect property in the long run.

Like Now.

The CO2 spill's out into the Biosphere 24/7/365.





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863
120. cyclonebuster
2:20 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 118. FLwolverine:

In the real world, even the most perfect geo- engineering solution (if there were one) will not be built because there is no will in the government or business or the American people to do it. So there will be NO geo-engineering solution to climate change until it's too late - and then govt/business will probably try a bunch of useless expensive "fixes" that do little or no good except to make somebody a lot of money.

Fresca, anyone?
What you talking about? Geo-Engineering got us to this point and it can get us out of it.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
119. tramp96
2:03 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 107. indianrivguy:

My spidey sense senses a turbine in our future....

Did you swallow the spider to get rid of the fly?
I bet you did indianrivguy.
I could go on but it would be a banable offense.
Member Since: August 15, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1555
118. FLwolverine
1:44 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Quoting 115. cyclonebuster:



Yes we need to geo-engineer a solution to this most critical problem.
In the real world, even the most perfect geo- engineering solution (if there were one) will not be built because there is no will in the government or business or the American people to do it. So there will be NO geo-engineering solution to climate change until it's too late - and then govt/business will probably try a bunch of useless expensive "fixes" that do little or no good except to make somebody a lot of money.

Fresca, anyone?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2362
117. JohnLonergan
12:55 AM GMT on May 02, 2014
Gavin Schmidt's TED talk on climate modelling: The emergent patterns of climate change



How do you explain climate modelling in just 12 minutes? Gavin Schmidt, global climate modeller at NASA GISS, manages to do so. A beautiful talk, I would have been proud to have given it.

As a variability kind of guy, I especially like the introduction. The fundamental problem of climate science is that we have so many orders of magnitude in scale to cover. Spatially the scales go from microscopic dust particle (aerosols) to the size of the Earth; 14 orders of magnitude. In time a similar range is important from fast chemical reaction times to the millennia during which climate is changing. You could easily claim even more orders of magnitude. The chemical composition of the aerosols is, for example, also important for how quickly clouds develop and rain out. The variability over all these scales and how it changes with scale is one of the fascinating aspects of the climate system.

All the scales and all the processes dependent on each other. The aerosols are needed to build clouds. If there are a lot, you get many cloud droplets, which together have a huge surface and the cloud will be very white. If there are only little aerosols, you get less and bigger cloud droplets. To produce rain, less of these large drops need to collide together and rain can builds easier. These clouds, especially the huge shower systems in the tropics, again drive the circulation of the atmosphere, which determines which kinds of vegetation grows where, which again influences ... As Gavin Schmidt states: "You can't understand climate change in pieces. It's the whole, or it's nothing."

More at Variable Variability ...

Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3269
116. Naga5000
11:41 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
When people refer to the president as a communist it tells us two things. 1) they do not understand what communism is 2) they are full of it to the point that they believe in silly right wing fairy tales

Those two points go a long way in addressing credibility in the real world.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3372
115. cyclonebuster
11:10 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 114. Patrap:



Extreme Rainfall Events Like Pensacola, Florida Storm On The Rise

Climate Central | by Andrea Thompson
Posted: 05/01/2014 12:45 pm EDT

This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

Tornadoes have a tendency to grab the headlines, but the torrential rains that can accompany severe storms can do just as much damage or worse, as photos of washed out roadways and homes from Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., have made clear. And as Earth’s temperature warms and its climate changes unabated, these kinds of extreme precipitation events are on the rise.

The same widespread storm system that set tornadoes spinning across the landscape from Arkansas to North Carolina this week also deluged the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Pensacola with more rain falling in a single day than both locations usually see in March and April combined. An estimated 10 to 15 inches of rain fell in the area in just 24 hours, with rates in Pensacola at one point on Tuesday night reaching an incredible 6 inches in one hour.

The atmosphere over the area was soaked with moisture, which the storm system pulled from over the warm Gulf of Mexico, fueling the barrage of rain. It is this very issue that will cause more such heavy downpours in the future.

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are of course accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere — in fact, concentrations of carbon dioxide averaged over 400 parts per million for all of April, the first time in human history that has happened. As they do so, the planet’s average temperature is warming; it has already rise 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century, and could rise as high as 8.64°F above 1986-2005 levels, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. As temperatures rise, “the other thing that kind of goes right along with that is the increase in atmospheric water vapor content,” said Kenneth Kunkel, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center. “We have an atmosphere that essentially has more juice in it.”

That extra “juice” weights the dice toward these extreme precipitation events, even in places that are expected to dry out over the next century, such as the Southwest. Though those places may see fewer rainstorms on average, the ones they do receive will feature more concentrated bursts of rain because they “will have more water vapor to work with,” Kunkel said.

“There’s no place for the U.S. where the models aren’t, on average, showing an increase in extreme precipitation,” Kunkel told Climate Central.

And the trend isn’t just something expected in the future — it has already been observed in the U.S., especially over the past 30 to 50 years, according to the draft report of the National Climate Assessment, of which Kunkel is an author. (The final version of the report, put out by the U.S. government, will be released on May 6.)

Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in heavy events has increased in every part of the country except Hawaii, the report says, with the greatest increases seen in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains.

Other examples of recent deluges include a 1-in-1,000 year event that caused major flooding in Boulder, Colo., in September 2013, and rains that soaked Calgary, Alberta, in June of that year.

Linking those events or this week’s rainfall, like any specific weather event, to climate change is of course problematic, and as Kunkel said, these events do happen naturally. “We’ve seen these kinds of things in the past; we’ll see these things in the future with or without global warming,” he said.

But measurements show there is more water vapor in the atmosphere than there used to be, and that is probably causing systems like this to produce a little more rainfall, Kunkel said.

The issue of increasing extreme precipitation brings with it a host of other problems, because such a large amount of rain falling in such a short timespan can overwhelm storm sewers and other infrastructure and saturates the ground so that it can’t absorb any more of the excess.

That happened in Pensacola and Mobile as rain-swollen waterways overwhelmed their banks — the Fish River in Alabama crested at a record 23 feet — and pooled on impermeable paved surfaces. The huge mass of water washed away roads and the ground underneath houses, as well as flooding many buildings.


Radar-estimated rainfall totals (measured in inches) on the Florida Panhandle between 9 a.m. CDT on April 28, 2014, and 9 a.m. CDT on April 29. Click image to enlarge. Credit: NWS

Flooding events in the Midwest and Northeast have increased in recent decades, the NCA report notes, and those increases are happening where the largest rises in heavy downpours are being seen.

The effect on infrastructure is something that communities will have to take into account as they continue to develop, particularly with the sewers, dams and other public works intended to divert floodwaters and keep people safe.

“If we increase the amount of rainfall in these heavy events, they may no longer protect us as much, and that’s probably something that should be considered as cities put in new infrastructure,” Kunkel said.


Yes we need to geo-engineer a solution to this most critical problem.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
114. Patrap
11:04 PM GMT on May 01, 2014


Extreme Rainfall Events Like Pensacola, Florida Storm On The Rise

Climate Central | by Andrea Thompson
Posted: 05/01/2014 12:45 pm EDT

This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

Tornadoes have a tendency to grab the headlines, but the torrential rains that can accompany severe storms can do just as much damage or worse, as photos of washed out roadways and homes from Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., have made clear. And as Earth’s temperature warms and its climate changes unabated, these kinds of extreme precipitation events are on the rise.

The same widespread storm system that set tornadoes spinning across the landscape from Arkansas to North Carolina this week also deluged the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Pensacola with more rain falling in a single day than both locations usually see in March and April combined. An estimated 10 to 15 inches of rain fell in the area in just 24 hours, with rates in Pensacola at one point on Tuesday night reaching an incredible 6 inches in one hour.

The atmosphere over the area was soaked with moisture, which the storm system pulled from over the warm Gulf of Mexico, fueling the barrage of rain. It is this very issue that will cause more such heavy downpours in the future.

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are of course accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere — in fact, concentrations of carbon dioxide averaged over 400 parts per million for all of April, the first time in human history that has happened. As they do so, the planet’s average temperature is warming; it has already rise 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century, and could rise as high as 8.64°F above 1986-2005 levels, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. As temperatures rise, “the other thing that kind of goes right along with that is the increase in atmospheric water vapor content,” said Kenneth Kunkel, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center. “We have an atmosphere that essentially has more juice in it.”

That extra “juice” weights the dice toward these extreme precipitation events, even in places that are expected to dry out over the next century, such as the Southwest. Though those places may see fewer rainstorms on average, the ones they do receive will feature more concentrated bursts of rain because they “will have more water vapor to work with,” Kunkel said.

“There’s no place for the U.S. where the models aren’t, on average, showing an increase in extreme precipitation,” Kunkel told Climate Central.

And the trend isn’t just something expected in the future — it has already been observed in the U.S., especially over the past 30 to 50 years, according to the draft report of the National Climate Assessment, of which Kunkel is an author. (The final version of the report, put out by the U.S. government, will be released on May 6.)

Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in heavy events has increased in every part of the country except Hawaii, the report says, with the greatest increases seen in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains.

Other examples of recent deluges include a 1-in-1,000 year event that caused major flooding in Boulder, Colo., in September 2013, and rains that soaked Calgary, Alberta, in June of that year.

Linking those events or this week’s rainfall, like any specific weather event, to climate change is of course problematic, and as Kunkel said, these events do happen naturally. “We’ve seen these kinds of things in the past; we’ll see these things in the future with or without global warming,” he said.

But measurements show there is more water vapor in the atmosphere than there used to be, and that is probably causing systems like this to produce a little more rainfall, Kunkel said.

The issue of increasing extreme precipitation brings with it a host of other problems, because such a large amount of rain falling in such a short timespan can overwhelm storm sewers and other infrastructure and saturates the ground so that it can’t absorb any more of the excess.

That happened in Pensacola and Mobile as rain-swollen waterways overwhelmed their banks — the Fish River in Alabama crested at a record 23 feet — and pooled on impermeable paved surfaces. The huge mass of water washed away roads and the ground underneath houses, as well as flooding many buildings.


Radar-estimated rainfall totals (measured in inches) on the Florida Panhandle between 9 a.m. CDT on April 28, 2014, and 9 a.m. CDT on April 29. Click image to enlarge. Credit: NWS

Flooding events in the Midwest and Northeast have increased in recent decades, the NCA report notes, and those increases are happening where the largest rises in heavy downpours are being seen.

The effect on infrastructure is something that communities will have to take into account as they continue to develop, particularly with the sewers, dams and other public works intended to divert floodwaters and keep people safe.

“If we increase the amount of rainfall in these heavy events, they may no longer protect us as much, and that’s probably something that should be considered as cities put in new infrastructure,” Kunkel said.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863
113. iceagecoming
10:55 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 27. ColoradoBob1:

If Obama is a rotten commie pig ? Why is Exxon cutting a 600 million dollar deal with Putin ?




Possible headliner:

30 April 2014 Last updated at 19:24 ET
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The curious survival of the US Communist Party
By Aidan LewisBBC News, New York

Obama mentor Bill Ayers – I get up every morning and think…today I’m going to end capitalism

Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1061
112. cyclonebuster
10:51 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 111. yoboi:




I am not understanding what the solution is.....


That's OK neither does academia..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
111. yoboi
10:31 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 106. cyclonebuster:
So if we do that all we get is another 5K years of warming then. Not good enough. Sorry. BTW that's if we stopped now and stopped ALL burning of fossil fuels...



I am not understanding what the solution is.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
110. cyclonebuster
10:29 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 109. ColoradoBob1:


The last 11 months -

Flooding worst in 500 years in parts of Europe
June 3, 2013

In the days leading up to June 20, 2013, Alberta, Canada, experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding described by the provincial government as the worst in Alberta's history.

From the afternoon of September 9 through midday on September 13, 14.62 inches of rain had fallen in Boulder, Colo. This included an incredible 9.08 inches of rain on September 12, alone!

27 February 2014 - Early Met Office statistics for Winter 2014 show that England and Wales has already had its wettest winter in almost 250 years.
So how do stop that? Geo-Engineering is the only solution to this. What we have now is to much oceanic vaporization...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
109. ColoradoBob1
9:51 PM GMT on May 01, 2014

The last 11 months -

Flooding worst in 500 years in parts of Europe
June 3, 2013

In the days leading up to June 20, 2013, Alberta, Canada, experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding described by the provincial government as the worst in Alberta's history.

From the afternoon of September 9 through midday on September 13, 14.62 inches of rain had fallen in Boulder, Colo. This included an incredible 9.08 inches of rain on September 12, alone!

27 February 2014 - Early Met Office statistics for Winter 2014 show that England and Wales has already had its wettest winter in almost 250 years.
Member Since: August 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2388
108. Patrap
9:48 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 102. indianrivguy:



and Fresca...


..no doubt.

"Sppfftthhh'.....Fizzzzzzz'


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863
107. indianrivguy
9:46 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
My spidey sense senses a turbine in our future....
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2536
106. cyclonebuster
9:40 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 104. yoboi:




That's easy.....Just stop using fossil fuels.......
So if we do that all we get is another 5K years of warming then. Not good enough. Sorry. BTW that's if we stopped now and stopped ALL burning of fossil fuels...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
105. Birthmark
9:38 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 98. cyclonebuster:



So what Geo-Engineering technique are we going to do to take care of it?

Deploying spam on blogs isn't geo-engineering, unless I'm all turned around on that term.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
104. yoboi
9:31 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 103. cyclonebuster:
High levels of Co2 and other Fossil fuel GHG's....



That's easy.....Just stop using fossil fuels.......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
103. cyclonebuster
9:25 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 100. yoboi:




Take care of what???????
High levels of Co2 and other Fossil fuel GHG's....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
102. indianrivguy
9:21 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 101. Patrap:

O Snap,

..this iz gonna require popcorn to watch.







and Fresca...
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2536
101. Patrap
9:10 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
O Snap,

..this iz gonna require popcorn to watch.




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863
100. yoboi
9:06 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 98. cyclonebuster:


So what Geo-Engineering technique are we going to do to take care of it?



Take care of what???????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
99. cyclonebuster
8:54 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
More fossil fuel mayhem... Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
98. cyclonebuster
8:44 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 95. Xandra:

April 2014 average CO2 value was 401.33 ppm, the first monthly average over 400ppm in human history.


(Click for larger image)

Source


So what Geo-Engineering technique are we going to do to take care of it?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
97. cyclonebuster
8:43 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 94. Patrap:



Gas Explosion At Florida Jail Kills 2, Injures More Than 100 Inmates And Guards
Reuters | by Eric M. Johnson


May 1 (Reuters) - Two inmates were killed and between 100 and 150 prisoners and guards injured in an apparent gas explosion at a jail in northern Florida late on Wednesday, a county official said.

The blast partly leveled the four-story Escambia County Jail's central booking facility, which held roughly 600 inmates, at about 11 p.m., county spokeswoman Kathleen Castro said. No escapees were reported.

"The building is still standing, its just unstable and partially collapsed," Castro told Reuters, describing the incident as an "apparent gas explosion".

"We have reports people heard an explosion and smelled gas. There was no fire," she said, adding that the blast may have been related to severe storms that have hit the southern United States.

"The facility did receive extensive flooding as a result of the rains yesterday," Castro said.


She said two inmates were killed and between 100 and 150 of those present were injured, adding it was unclear how the inmates died or the breakdown of injured inmates and guards.

A statement on the Escambia County website made no mention of gas, saying only it was an "apparent explosion" after earlier reporting it was "an apparent gas explosion".

The facility, holds about 400 men and 200 women. Injured prisoners were being transported to hospital, with those uninjured being sent to other detention centers in Escambia County and neighboring Santa Rosa County, Castro said.

Castro described a frenetic scene where officials were scrambling to get people out of the building, provide medical care, and working to make sure inmates were detained and routed to other facilities. The search and rescue operation was ongoing, though the building had been secured.

Escambia County is located in the northwestern part of Florida, in the southern United States.

About 100 inmates were being transferred to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office jail, though the exact number was not known, office spokesman Rich Aloy said. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Alison Williams)
That's old hat see post 89...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
96. cyclonebuster
8:41 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
Quoting 91. ColoradoBob1:

CO2 Levels Stay Above 400 PPM Throughout April, First Time Ever in Human History

The end of April has arrived, and with it, the record for the first month in human history with an average carbon dioxide level in Earth%u2019s atmosphere above 400 parts per million has been set.

With a little more than 24 hours left in the month, the average for April can't slip below 400 ppm. %u201CEvery day in April has been over 400 ppm,%u201D said Pieter Tans, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Link So what geo-engineering we gonna do about it?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
95. Xandra
6:36 PM GMT on May 01, 2014
April 2014 average CO2 value was 401.33 ppm, the first monthly average over 400ppm in human history.


(Click for larger image)

Source
Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
94. Patrap
3:28 PM GMT on May 01, 2014


Gas Explosion At Florida Jail Kills 2, Injures More Than 100 Inmates And Guards
Reuters | by Eric M. Johnson


May 1 (Reuters) - Two inmates were killed and between 100 and 150 prisoners and guards injured in an apparent gas explosion at a jail in northern Florida late on Wednesday, a county official said.

The blast partly leveled the four-story Escambia County Jail's central booking facility, which held roughly 600 inmates, at about 11 p.m., county spokeswoman Kathleen Castro said. No escapees were reported.

"The building is still standing, its just unstable and partially collapsed," Castro told Reuters, describing the incident as an "apparent gas explosion".

"We have reports people heard an explosion and smelled gas. There was no fire," she said, adding that the blast may have been related to severe storms that have hit the southern United States.

"The facility did receive extensive flooding as a result of the rains yesterday," Castro said.


She said two inmates were killed and between 100 and 150 of those present were injured, adding it was unclear how the inmates died or the breakdown of injured inmates and guards.

A statement on the Escambia County website made no mention of gas, saying only it was an "apparent explosion" after earlier reporting it was "an apparent gas explosion".

The facility, holds about 400 men and 200 women. Injured prisoners were being transported to hospital, with those uninjured being sent to other detention centers in Escambia County and neighboring Santa Rosa County, Castro said.

Castro described a frenetic scene where officials were scrambling to get people out of the building, provide medical care, and working to make sure inmates were detained and routed to other facilities. The search and rescue operation was ongoing, though the building had been secured.

Escambia County is located in the northwestern part of Florida, in the southern United States.

About 100 inmates were being transferred to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office jail, though the exact number was not known, office spokesman Rich Aloy said. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Alison Williams)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127863

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.