For those of you keeping score at home.
What if all the ice melted?
The ocean holds most of Earth’s water. After that, it’s ice. 5.7 million cubic miles of the stuff.
What if, thanks to natural and man-made climate change, it all melted? What if, by burning enough deep-Earth carbon (dead dinosaurs, prehistoric plants, or as we call it… fossil fuels) we raised Earth’s average temperature to around 80˚ F? What if that new normal caused the ocean’s now-warmer water to expand, rising even further?
Thanks to National Geographic we know: This is is what 216 feet (66 meters) of sea level change looks like.
Climate Change: There’s No Denying It’s Us
People in politics have this habit of releasing bad, uncomfortable, or otherwise challenging news on Fridays. They do this to either ruin your weekend, or in hopes that you aren’t paying attention.
That is why I didn’t post until today about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment (a long way of saying “The latest big climate report from the UN”) … because you need to really pay attention to this.
This new report is the work of hundreds of climate scientists from dozens of countries, and if you’ve ever tried to, say, order pizza for more than four people, you realize that if anything these alarming findings are on the conservative side, compromised down to just a few boring toppings. The future reality could be much worse.
The take-aways from the IPCC report are pretty simple. The climate is warming in a big way (are there really people who still deny this? I’m not sure), scientists are even more certain that humans are to blame, and it’s getting worse faster than we predicted.
I know what you’re thinking: Joe, I’m on your side, I get it, this is really bad … so what can I do when people get all climate denial-y up in my face?
Well in a world full of well-funded anti-science machinery and loads of people looking the other way because it’s uncomfortable, you have to take on an important job: Be a climate crusader in your world. Be a hero, not a Nero. Next time that one uncle sends you a BS chain email, next time a friend at school says “Yeah, but [insert economics mumbo jumbo they regurgitated from a textbook they don’t understand]”, or the next time you step up to the ballot box to decide if people like James Inhofe get to stay in office …here’s your ammo from the new climate report:
- RealClimate has a detailed scientific summary full of rising sea levels, extreme weather and drought, melting ice caps, warming oceans and best and worst-case scenarios.
- The Guardian has a whole page dedicated to coverage, especially recommend this digested read of the report
- Leading scientists weigh in at The Atlantic.
- NASA lays out some key points at Earth Observatory.
- Phil Plait says if you’re still denying that this is real, then GTFO.
- Colin Schultz reminds us that there are still uncertainties and things we don’t fully understand about the climate, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just how science works.
A warming climate is an unequivocal fact. The most highly trained climate scientists in the world say there is at least a 95% chance that we are to blame. Name me one thing, just one other thing (plumbing, car repair, defusing a nuclear weapon) ,that if 95% of experts said they were sure, you’d respond with “Nah, I don’t think so, but thanks anyway Person Who Knows A Lot More About This Than I Do.”
The bad stuff has already started. It’s time to change our ways and adapt to the future we’ve created before it gets any worse. Because like Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC says:
"We have five minutes before midnight."
(Artwork by J. Cayne/DeviantArt)
Climate Central has made it official. 2012 will be (almost positively certainly) the warmest year in the U.S. over the past 118 years of climate records. To put it more simply, the warmest year on record. Check it out:
We know that there is no debate in the scientific community about the existence and cause of global warming. We also know that it will likely be the defining issue in the next 50 years and beyond, and young people must join forces to fight for their future.
So if you’re young, if you’re old, if you want to do something … I dedicate this song to you. Children of all ages, "the world is burning down, and you’re the ones to lead."
Find out when your house will be overtaken by rising seas! There’s an interactive app for that.
Some quotes about climate change from a growing collection I keep.
If we don’t listen to the scientists, at least we can listen to the animals?!?
"Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Number"
Deniers of climate science are fond of the following wacky idea: That the scientific community does not agree on the cause of climate change. It’s time to bury that idea like a senile dog hiding a ham bone: Somewhere where we’ll forget about it forever.
According to some recent data-mining of the scientific literature, 0.17% is the percentage of peer-reviewed scientific papers in the past 21 years that offer a scientifically-viable alternative to human-caused global warming.
Only 24 of 13,950 articles (0.17%) try to make this case in a scientific manner. If any of them were right, they would have been cited hundreds of times, instead of forgotten forever.
Among the public, denying global warming is a very popular and very influential idea. Among scientists, it holds slightly less than no water.
With the average temperature on Earth in October becoming the 332nd consecutive month at a higher-than-normal mark, we’re defining the new normal for a whole generation.
And that’s not a “new normal” that we should be okay with. Because a warming Earth with frequent droughts and supercharged storms could make Hurricane Sandy look like an afternoon sprinkle.
This NASA animation of temperature data from 1880-2011 shows the shift upward in normal global temperatures. The more red you see, the higher the deviation from the historical average.
So much red.
Show this to anyone left that argues that this isn’t actually happening, which would be pretty hard to believe, actually. I think the real question some people have a problem with today is “Why?”
Well, science points to the cause being us. Here’s a great feature from New Scientist to answer some of your curious or skeptical questions, and to help you learn more about the causes of climate change.