Daily Archives: July 24, 2016

2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records | NASA


For January 2012, brown shades show the decrease in water storage from the 2002-2015 average in the Mediterranean region. Units in centimeters. The data is from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites, a joint mission of NASA and the German space agency.
Credits: NASA/ Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio

March 1, 2016

A new NASA study finds that the recent drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant region, which comprises Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, is likely the worst drought of the past nine centuries.

Scientists reconstructed the Mediterranean’s drought history by studying tree rings as part of an effort to understand the region’s climate and what shifts water to or from the area. Thin rings indicate dry years while thick rings show years when water was plentiful.

In addition to identifying the driest years, the science team discovered patterns in the geographic distribution of droughts that provides a “fingerprint” for identifying the underlying causes. Together, these data show the range of natural variation in Mediterranean drought occurrence, which will allow scientists to differentiate droughts made worse by human-induced global warming. The research is part of NASA’s ongoing work to improve the computer models that simulate climate now and in the future.

“The magnitude and significance of human climate change requires us to really understand the full range of natural climate variability,” said Ben Cook, lead author and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City.

“If we look at recent events and we start to see anomalies that are outside this range of natural variability, then we can say with some confidence that it looks like this particular event or this series of events had some kind of human caused climate change contribution,” he said.

Cook and his colleagues used the tree-ring record called the Old World Drought Atlas to better understand how frequently and how severe Mediterranean droughts have been in the past. Rings of trees both living and dead were sampled all over the region, from northern Africa, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Combined with existing tree-ring records from Spain, southern France, and Italy, these data were used to reconstruct patterns of drought geographically and through time over the past millennium. The results were accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Between the years 1100 and 2012, the team found droughts in the tree-ring record that corresponded to those described in historical documents written at the time. According to Cook, the range of how extreme wet or dry periods were is quite broad, but the recent drought in the Levant region, from 1998 to 2012, stands out as about 50 percent drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20 percent drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years.

Having such a large area covered allowed the science team not only to see variations in time, but also geographic changes across the region.

In other words, when the eastern Mediterranean is in drought, is there also drought in the west? The answer is yes, in most cases, said Kevin Anchukaitis, co-author and climate scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Both for modern society and certainly ancient civilizations, it means that if one region was suffering the consequences of the drought, those conditions are likely to exist throughout the Mediterranean basin,” he said. “It’s not necessarily possible to rely on finding better climate conditions in one region than another, so you have the potential for large-scale disruption of food systems as well as potential conflict over water resources.”

…(read more)

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NASA Sees Temperatures Rise and Sea Ice Shrink – Climate Trends 2016


NASA Goddard

Published on Jul 19, 2016

Two key climate change indicators have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. Meanwhile, five of the first six months set records for the smallest monthly Arctic sea ice extent since consistent satellite records began in 1979. NASA researchers are in the field this summer, collecting data to better understand our changing climate.

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2…

Download this video at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12306

Music: Hidden Files by Sam Dodson

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Sustainable Development Diplomacy: Diagnostics for the Negotiation and Implementation of Sustainable Development

Achieving sustainable development and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals requires that there be an effective process of negotiating and implementing sustainable development policies and practices. This paper characterizes an evolving approach that we define as sustainable development diplomacy.

Based on an analysis of the history of climate governance as a case study of sustainable development diplomacy and drawing on a diverse range of literatures including international negotiations, global environmental governance, and socio-ecological systems, it identifies seven diagnostics that can be used to evaluate the negotiation and implementation of sustainable development goals.

We argue for a needs-based approach that brings together diverse stakeholders to devise flexible solutions that fit the complexity and scale of sustainable development challenges. We illustrate the diagnostic elements with examples from our case study of climate change, as one of the major global sustainable development challenges, but the diagnostics have wider applicability to sustainable development diplomacy and practice more generally.

….(read more).

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Living on Earth: The Value of National Parks

The view from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. As of June 30th of this year, attendance was up by 3 million from that time last year. (Photo: Taylor Davis, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Research from Harvard and Colorado State finds that Americans value maintaining the National Parks system through their taxes at over 30 times its annual appropriations. Host Steve Curwood sat down with Harvard professor Linda Bilmes to discuss why Americans care so deeply for these iconic places and how to put their future and protection on a sustainable financial footing.

Transcript

CURWOOD: How much would taxpayers like to spend to support America’s National Parks? To answer that question Linda Bilmes of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, along with colleagues from Colorado State University carefully surveyed taxpayers in a recent study. And according to their research, the public would pay more than $90 billion a year to preserve and protect iconic places from Acadia to Zion. Yet the US National Park system currently receives less than $3 billion a year from Congress and suffers from a multi-billion dollar backlog of corroded or broken infrastructure. Professor Linda Bilmes is also a former US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration and Budget, and we joined her in her office at Harvard. Welcome to the Living on Earth.

BILMES: Thank you very much.

CURWOOD: What prompted you to do this study?

BILMES: I was lucky enough to serve on the Second Century Commission. It was a group of prominent Americans including Sandra Day O’Connor. Sylvia Earle, Rita Colwell, James McPherson of Princeton, and a number of senators and congressmen, and we were thinking about how to protect the National Parks over the next 100 years. And one of the conclusions that we reached was that the financial picture was not sustainable given the way the National Parks are funded at the moment. So in order to begin thinking about creating a more sustainable financial structure for the national parks, we needed to establish a baseline for what the parks were actually worth, and actually no one had done this before. So this led me to begin thinking about how one could estimate the total economic value of the National Park Service and to do it in time for the centennial.

…(read more).

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So far, 2016 has broken multiple global temperature records


Understanding Climate Change

Published on Jul 20, 2016

Fair Use: Educational

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Compton Tucker (NASA) on the 2016 global temperature trends


Understanding Climate Change

Published on Jul 20, 2016

Fair Use: Educational

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Underground methane bubbles in Siberia (July 2016)


Understanding Climate Change

Published on Jul 20, 2016

Fair Use: Educational

Global Climate Change
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