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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 24 declined, 30 accepted (54 total, 55.56% accepted)

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Submission + - Climate change contrarians lose big betting against global warming (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: Two members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation academic advisory board have each lost £1,000 betting that 2015 would not be warmer than 2008. The Guardian reports "Between 2008 and 2015 there would be more than 0.1C of human-caused global warming, so for 2015 to be cooler would have required a huge La Niña event, or big volcanic eruption, or perhaps the contrarians were banking on human-caused global warming being wrong. Whatever their reasoning, it was a foolish bet to make. 2015 was a record-breaking hot year, about 0.32C hotter than 2008. It wasn’t even close."

The winner of the bet, economist Chris Hope, also discussed the possibility of implementing climate betting markets, and noted: "they could offer a financial incentive for people who disagree about the likelihood of climate change to carefully assess the risks, instead of just shouting their disagreement across the void. If we do nothing, all the signs are that dangerous climate change is one of the safest bets around."

Submission + - Earth on track for hottest year afer14th straight month of record heat

Submission + - Pre-industrial skies may have been cloudier than we thought (home.cern)

Layzej writes: Our planet’s pre-industrial climate may have been cloudier than presently thought, shows CERN’s CLOUD experiment in two papers published today in Nature.
CLOUD shows that organic vapours emitted by trees produce lots of aerosol particles in the atmosphere when there’s no sulphuric acid – a main product of burning fossil fuels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers that the increase in aerosols and clouds since pre-industrial times represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change. The CLOUD experiment is designed to better understand such processes.
CLOUD has also found that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere.

Submission + - April 2016 Continues Streak of Record Warm Months (washingtonpost.com)

Layzej writes: Keeping a year-long string of record-warm months going, April 2016 was by far the planet's warmest April since record keeping began in 1880. According to NASA, The average temperature of the planet was 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.11 degrees Celsius) above the long-term average in April, shattering the old record from 2010 by 0.4 degrees (0.24 degrees Celsius). Arctic sea ice has responded by dwindling to its lowest extent on record for this time of year, for 48 straight days. In April’s second week, the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced its first major melting event, about a month ahead of the previous earliest dates on record. 2016’s average global temperature is so far out in front of any preceding year that climate scientists say there’s basically no way it won’t become the warmest ever recorded.

Submission + - Warmest March in Global Recordkeeping (wunderground.com)

Layzej writes: March 2016 was by far the planet's warmest March since record keeping began in 1880. In the NOAA database, March 2016 came in a full 1.22C (2.20F) warmer than the 20th-century average for March, as well as 0.32C (0.58F) above the previous record for March, set in 2010. This is a huge margin for breaking a monthly global temperature record, as they are typically broken by just a few hundredths of a degree. Global satellite-measured temperatures also found this March to be the warmest — the sixth consecutive monthly record in the UAH satellite data set. Gavin Schmidt, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has estimated that 2016 already has over a 99% chance of being the hottest year on record, based on the first three months alone.

Submission + - The Arctic sets yet another record low maximum extent (nsidc.org)

Layzej writes: Arctic sea ice was at a record low maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. This year’s maximum extent is 1.12 million square kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers. Ice extent increases through autumn and winter, and the maximum typically occurs in mid March. Sea ice then retreats through spring and summer and shrinks to its smallest or minimum extent typically by mid September.

Ice melt in the region is reducing the transport of warm southern waters brought north by the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). “Some studies suggest that decreased heat flux of warm Atlantic waters could lead to a recovery of all Arctic sea ice in the near future,” said NSIDC senior research scientist Julienne Stroeve. “I think it will have more of a winter impact and could lead to a temporary recovery of winter ice extent in the Barents and Kara seas.”

Submission + - Fastest Sea Rise in at Least 2800 Years (www.cbc.ca)

Layzej writes: A new study finds that sea levels on Earth are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years and are accelerating. Co-author Stefan Rahmstorf explains that the fact that the rise in the 20th century is so large is a logical physical consequence of man-made global warming. This is melting continental ice and thus adds extra water to the oceans. In addition, as the sea water warms up it expands. The data from the past can also be used for future projections, using a so-called semi-empirical model calibrated with the historically observed relationship between temperature and sea level. With the new data, this results in a projected increase in the 21st century of 24-131 cm, depending on our emissions and thus on the extent of global warming.

Submission + - Mainstream scientists cashing in on climate wagers (reuters.com)

Layzej writes: Climate contrarians have long predicted imminent global cooling, A few have been willing to place wagers that mainstream scientists have been quick to accept. Often acceptance of the bet is followed by immediate retraction, as was the case when "Bastardi's Wager" was accepted by Joseph Romm or when Maurice Newman's $10,000 bet was accepted by physicist Brian Schmidt. In some cases bets have been formalized and the terms of many of those wagers are coming to a close. It may not be surprising to learn that those who put their money on the side of mainstream science are the ones who are cashing in.

Reuters reports that British climate expert Chris Hope just won a 2,000 pound sterling ($2,830) wager made five years ago against two members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who had bet Hope that the Earth would be cooling by now. They also highlight a $10,000 bet made in 2005 between British climate modeller James Annan and two Russian solar physicists. The solar physicists had counted on waning solar output to halt warming. Annan will win if average global temperatures from 2013-17 are warmer than 2003-07. "Things are looking good for my bet," Annan said.

Keith Pickering reports on a series of three bets between Brian Schmidt and climate contrarian David Evans who also believed that diminishing solar output would dominate the temperatures of the last decade and beyond. The wagers pay out in 2019, 2024, and 2029. Pickering concludes "What Evans apparently doesn't realize is that because of the thermal inertia of the oceans, within narrow bounds we can already predict what global temperatures will be in 2019, 2024, and 2029. And David Evans is going to lose his shirt."

Submission + - Ocean absorption of man-made heat accelerates at colossal rate (www.cbc.ca)

Layzej writes: A colossal amount of man-made heat has been sucked up by the world's oceans in the past 18 years, and the rate at which that happens has been accelerating. The world's oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy in the 132 years between 1865 and 1997, and then another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The magnitude of the ocean heat uptake is quite large and is now equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second. But the study's authors and outside experts say it's not the raw numbers that bother them. It's how fast those numbers are increasing.

Submission + - Earth's Top Ten Weather/Climate Events of 2015 (wunderground.com)

Layzej writes: With only a few stations left to report, 2015 is virtually certain to beat 2014's record as the planet's warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. The new record was caused by the long-term warming of the planet due to human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, combined with a extra bump in temperature due to the strongest El Niño event ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific. Record warm ocean temperatures in the tropics in 2015 led to a global coral bleaching event, which is expected to cause a loss of 10 — 20% of all coral worldwide. Weather Underground recounts several other records that accompanied the heat including the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere, the ongoing agricultural fires in Indonesia — the most expensive disaster in Indonesia's history estimated at $16 billion in damages, flooding in America and India, and record central pacific hurricane activity.

Submission + - Academics-for-hire agree not to expose fossil fuel funding (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: An undercover sting by Greenpeace has revealed that two prominent climate sceptics were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming. The academics were happy to come up with ways to obscure the proposed corporate funding in their 'research', while admitting that the content likely wouldn’t make it through the peer-review process, so they’d have to handpick the reviewers themselves.

"Our research reveals that professors at prestigious universities can be sponsored by foreign fossil fuel companies to write reports that sow doubt about climate change and that this sponsorship will then be kept secret," John Sauven, the director of Greenpeace UK, told the press. "Down the years, how many scientific reports that sowed public doubt on climate change were actually funded by oil, coal and gas companies? This investigation shows how they do it, now we need to know when and where they did it."

Submission + - Global temperatures set to reach 1 C marker for first time (metoffice.gov.uk) 5

Layzej writes: Based on data from January to September, the HadCRUT dataset shows 2015 global mean temperature at 1.02 C (±0.11 C) above pre-industrial levels for the first time. The Copenhagen Accord recognizes "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius." Physics Ken Rice points out that the next degree Celsius may be closer than we think. "It’s taken us about 160 years to warm by about 1C. This is associated with emissions of about 550GtC (550 billion tonnes of carbon, or ~2000 billion tonnes of CO2). Current emissions are around 10GtC/year. If we continue emitting as we are, we will double our cumulative emissions in about 50 years. If we continue to increase our emissions, it will be even sooner.

Submission + - Muzzled Canadian scientists can now speak freely with public (thestar.com)

Layzej writes: Over the last 10 years, policies were put in place to prevent Canadian scientists from freely discussing taxpayer-funded science with the public. "media relations contacts" were enlisted to monitor and record interactions with the press. Interviews and often the questions to be asked were vetted ahead of time, and responses given by scientists frequently monitored or prohibited. The journal Nature, one of the world’s top science journals, called the policy a “Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge.”

The new government in Canada is lifting these restrictions. Scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were told Thursday they can now speak to the media. In a statement on Friday afternoon, Navdeep Bains, Canada's new minister of innovation, science and economic development said "Our government values science and will treat scientists with respect. This is why government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public,"

Submission + - Citi report: slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS), a division within Citibank (America’s third-largest bank), recently published a report looking at the economic costs and benefits of a low-carbon future. The report considered two scenarios: “Inaction,” which involves continuing on a business-as-usual path, and Action scenario which involves transitioning to a low-carbon energy mix.

One of the most interesting findings in the report is that the investment costs for the two scenarios are almost identical. In fact, because of savings due to reduced fuel costs and increased energy efficiency, the Action scenario is actually a bit cheaper than the Inaction scenario. Coupled with the fact the total spend is similar under both action and inaction, yet the potential liabilities of inaction are enormous, it is hard to argue against a path of action.

But there will be winners and losers: The biggest loser stands to be the coal industry, where we estimate cumulative spend under our Action scenario could be $11.6 trillion less than in our Inaction scenario over the next quarter century, with renewables, wind and nuclear (as well as energy efficiency) the main beneficiaries.

Submission + - Next Texas Energy Boom: Solar (wsj.com)

Layzej writes: The Wall Street Journal reports: "Solar power has gotten so cheap to produce—and so competitively priced in the electricity market—that it is taking hold even in a state that, unlike California, doesn’t offer incentives to utilities to buy or build sun-powered generation."

Falling cost is one factor driving investment. "Another reason for the boom: Texas recently wrapped up construction of $6.9 billion worth of new transmission lines, many connecting West Texas to the state’s large cities. These massive power lines enabled Texas to become, by far, the largest U.S. wind producer. Solar developers plan to move electricity on the same lines, taking advantage of a lull in wind generation during the heat of the day when solar output is at its highest.

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