Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Global warming could turn Middle East and Northern Africa into 'dead zones' for humans and force 500 million people to relocate

Indeed it could.  The guy below could fly too.  

The stuff below is just another prophecy from the worst prophets in history.  Even Jehovah's Witnesses did better at prophecy.  At least they rightly predicted 1914 as a turning-point year.  Every time Warmists give a specific year for something they goof hilariously.  The stuff below is just more modelling crap.  No new facts at all.

But even if by some miracle their prophecies are correct, why worry?  A big temperature rise would open up coastal Antarctica, Northern Canada and Siberia -- which could provide more human living space than ever

The academic journal article is "Strongly increasing heat extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 21st century"

A new study has warned that rising global temperatures could render large swathes of the Middle East and North Africa too hot for humans.

Experts say the future of humanity is these areas is 'in jepoardy' and say it could affect up to 500 million people.

Researchers found the number of extremely hot days in the region has doubled since 1970.

By the end of the century, midday temperatures on hot days could even climb to 50 degrees Celsius (approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another finding: Heat waves could occur ten times more often than they do now. By mid-century, 80 instead of 16 extremely hot days.

'In future, the climate in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa could change in such a manner that the very existence of its inhabitants is in jeopardy,' says Jos Lelieveld, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Professor at the Cyprus Institute.

Lelieveld and his team concluded that ven if Earth's temperature were to increase on average only by two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, the temperature in summer in these regions will increase more than twofold.

By mid-century, during the warmest periods, temperatures will not fall below 30 degrees at night, and during daytime they could rise to 46 degrees Celsius (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit).

By the end of the century, midday temperatures on hot days could even climb to 50 degrees Celsius (approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another finding: Heat waves could occur ten times more often than they do now. By mid-century, 80 instead of 16 extremely hot days

In addition, the duration of heat waves in North Africa and the Middle East will prolong dramatically.
Between 1986 and 2005, it was very hot for an average period of about 16 days, by mid-century it will be unusually hot for 80 days per year.

At the end of the century, up to 118 days could be unusually hot, even if greenhouse gas emissions decline again after 2040.

'If mankind continues to release carbon dioxide as it does now, people living in the Middle East and North Africa will have to expect about 200 unusually hot days, according to the model projections,' says Panos Hadjinicolaou, Associate Professor at the Cyprus Institute and climate change expert.

Atmospheric researcher Jos Lelieveld is convinced that climate change will have a major impact on the environment and the health of people in these regions. 'Climate change will significantly worsen the living conditions in the Middle East and in North Africa.

Prolonged heat waves and desert dust storms can render some regions uninhabitable, which will surely contribute to the pressure to migrate,' said Jos Lelieveld.


Some welcome doubts about the effects of methane

Methane has no climate effects at all.  All the wavelengths it absorbs are also absorbed -- and hence masked -- by the much more plentiful water vapour. Chris Mooney below has not yet got that far, though he is getting close

I might point out in passing that when Mooney claims below that CO2 lasts for thousands of years in the atmosphere, he is being conventional rather than scientific.  Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 average residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years.  The thousand-year figure was just dreamt up by Warmists to suit their models.

Even sly old John Cook admits the 5 year residence figure for CO2 but says its effects are more long-lasting than that because most of the loss of CO2 is due to dissolution into the oceans and the ocean promptly gives another CO2 molecule back when that happens.  But why would it?  If the ocean is absorbing CO2 from the air it is obviously not saturated for CO2 and would therefore have no impulse to release CO2

It’s perhaps the most contentious issue in U.S. climate change policy right now: How can we deal with emissions of methane, a powerful if short-lived greenhouse gas, which has many sources but appears to be leaking into the air in considerable volumes from U.S. oil and gas operations?

The Obama administration is expected to release new methane regulations for new sources of emissions soon, and the EPA recently revised upwards, considerably, its estimates of how much methane is leaking into the atmosphere from the U.S. energy industry. And yet at the same time, there remains considerable scientific uncertainty and debate over just how much methane the U.S. is emitting and how much that has changed due to the current oil and gas boom — and over what those emissions even mean.

A new study in Nature Climate Change, for instance, gets at why understanding the importance of methane can be such a difficult, confusing affair. In particular, it takes issue with some of the math that has often been used to compare the consequences of emitting methane with the impact of the chief, long-lived global warming gas, carbon dioxide. And it finds that really, we may not even know how important our methane emissions are in the first place until we also know how quickly we’re able to get carbon dioxide under control.

“People are placing too much emphasis on methane,” says Raymond Pierrehumbert, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford and one of the paper’s authors. “And really, people should prove that we can actually get the CO2 emissions down first, before worrying about whether we are doing enough to get methane emissions down.”

The study was led by Myles Allen, also of Oxford, with colleagues from several other UK universities as well as institutions in Norway and New Zealand.

The key problem addressed by the study is that greenhouse gases are all different, and yet nonetheless, policymakers and analysts have a tendency to pool them all together by using a common metric, “carbon dioxide equivalents.” Thus, according to the EPA, while in 2014 the U.S. emitted 5.556 billion tons of carbon dioxide, it emitted 6.871 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents — the number rises because of the inclusion of emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases.

But all of these gases are different — after a pulse of methane is emitted into the atmosphere, half of it is no longer there after 8.3 years, and then only a quarter is left after another 8.3 years, and so on. That’s very different from the behavior of a pulse emission of carbon dioxide, some of which remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

The usual way to convert emissions of methane, black carbon, and other so-called short lived climate pollutants into carbon dioxide equivalents involves calculating their “global warming potential” over 100 years — thus, according to EPA, methane has 28 to 36 times as much warming impact as the same amount of carbon dioxide over a century. But the new study in Nature Climate Change finds that because methane has a shorter atmospheric life than carbon dioxide, the truth is that this gas — along with black carbon and various hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs — really has an impact over 20 to 40 years, rather than 100. (The calculation is actually for all uses of the global warming potential approach, not just for methane.)

“The appearance of 100 years in the name of the metric really deceives a lot of people into thinking this is telling us something about temperature 100 years out, whereas it’s not,” says Pierrehumbert.

All of this may seem technical, but here’s why it matters. Governments are struggling to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages, and would prefer holding it to 1.5 degrees — which means eventually bringing carbon dioxide emissions to zero. If the temperature peaks soon, say by the year 2050, then controlling the warming caused by methane, and other short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon, would mean a lower total peak temperature, the new study finds. In that case, these emissions definitely matter.

But if we don’t get carbon dioxide under control and peak emissions by 2050, the new study suggests, then today’s methane emissions become irrelevant. They simply won’t be causing warming any longer. But a significant amount of the carbon dioxide we emit today will still be in the atmosphere.


Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’ (!)

There is a lachrymose story from the NYT  below that is big on "color" and very light on science.  You are supposed to believe that climate change has drowned the homes of a simple native people and Uncle Sam has stepped in to lend a hand.  But the problem concerned is nothing to do with climate change.  Subsidence is common in parts of the U.S. East coast and this is just one example of it.  It is a geophysical phenomenon, not a climate phenomenon.  No wonder the article was light on the science of it

Each morning at 3:30, when Joann Bourg leaves the mildewed and rusted house that her parents built on her grandfather’s property, she worries that the bridge connecting this spit of waterlogged land to Louisiana’s terra firma will again be flooded and she will miss another day’s work.

Ms. Bourg, a custodian at a sporting goods store on the mainland, lives with her two sisters, 82-year-old mother, son and niece on land where her ancestors, members of the Native American tribes of southeastern Louisiana, have lived for generations. That earth is now dying, drowning in salt and sinking into the sea, and she is ready to leave.

With a first-of-its-kind “climate resilience” grant to resettle the island’s native residents, Washington is ready to help.

“Yes, this is our grandpa’s land,” Ms. Bourg said. “But it’s going under one way or another.”

In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems.

One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.

“We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. “It’s all going to be history.”

Amiya Brunet, 3, on the bridge that leads to her home, which fills with up to a foot of mud during storms. Her parents, Keith Brunet and Keisha McGehee, would like to leave the island.

“The changes are underway and they are very rapid,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell warned last week in Ottawa. “We will have climate refugees.”

The Isle de Jean Charles resettlement plan is one of the first programs of its kind in the world, a test of how to respond to climate change in the most dramatic circumstances without tearing communities apart. Under the terms of the federal grant, the island’s residents are to be resettled to drier land and a community that as of now does not exist. All funds have to be spent by 2022.


Tiny plankton are big travelers, making them likely to ride out global warming

Drift in ocean currents impacts intergenerational microbial exposure to temperature

Martina A. Doblina and Erik van Sebille


Microbes are the foundation of marine ecosystems [Falkowski PG, Fenchel T, Delong EF (2008) Science 320(5879):1034–1039]. Until now, the analytical framework for understanding the implications of ocean warming on microbes has not considered thermal exposure during transport in dynamic seascapes, implying that our current view of change for these critical organisms may be inaccurate. Here we show that upper-ocean microbes experience along-trajectory temperature variability up to 10 °C greater than seasonal fluctuations estimated in a static frame, and that this variability depends strongly on location. These findings demonstrate that drift in ocean currents can increase the thermal exposure of microbes and suggests that microbial populations with broad thermal tolerance will survive transport to distant regions of the ocean and invade new habitats. Our findings also suggest that advection has the capacity to influence microbial community assemblies, such that regions with strong currents and large thermal fluctuations select for communities with greatest plasticity and evolvability, and communities with narrow thermal performance are found where ocean currents are weak or along-trajectory temperature variation is low. Given that fluctuating environments select for individual plasticity in microbial lineages, and that physiological plasticity of ancestors can predict the magnitude of evolutionary responses of subsequent generations to environmental change [Schaum CE, Collins S (2014) Proc Biol Soc 281(1793):20141486], our findings suggest that microbial populations in the sub-Antarctic (∼40°S), North Pacific, and North Atlantic will have the most capacity to adapt to contemporary ocean warming.

doi: 10.1073/pnas.1521093113

Twilight of the Climate Change Movement

The UN’s climate summit in Paris at the end of 2015 concluded with a bang. The world’s governments promised sweeping cuts in carbon emissions. Rich countries promised to help poor ones with $100 billion per year in climate assistance. President Obama quickly declared the agreement “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got.” The consensus quickly jelled that this was a major, historic achievement.

Then came the fizzle: The agreement is non-binding. Secretary of State John Kerry asserted on NBC’s Meet the Press that compliance would be enforced through the “powerful weapon” of public shaming, apparently implying a policy of verbal confrontation toward states that fall short.

The Danish scientist Bjørn Lomborg, a prominent critic of the top-down international conference approach to climate change, called the Paris agreement the “costliest in history” if implemented. According to Lomborg, the agreement would “reduce temperatures by 2100 by just 0.05 degrees Celsius (0.09 degrees Fahrenheit)…. This is simply cynical political theater, meant to convince us that our leaders are taking serious action…a phenomenally expensive but almost empty gesture.”

NASA scientist Jim Hansen, one of the earliest proponents of the idea that global warming is manmade, slammed the deal as “half-assed and half-baked,” a “fake,” and a “fraud.”

Hansen’s assessment is probably close to the mark—and he and his fellow alarmists have only themselves to blame. While those who flatly deny the possibility of any global warming can be readily brushed aside, the alarmists have been much too quick to dismiss legitimate questions about precisely what the evidence shows. Indeed, they have frequently treated such questions as heresies to be persecuted, adopting an even more virulently anti-scientific mindset than the one they accuse others of.

Meanwhile, on the policy side, the alarmists’ call for worldwide economic controls, including caps on fossil fuels, are largely recycled from previous scientific doomsday fads, such as the oil scarcity scare of the late 1970s.

Despite the enormous costs these policies would impose, especially on poor countries, they would do virtually nothing to stop anthropogenic climate change, let alone protect anyone from relentless natural climate change that is one of our planet’s most prominent and inescapable features.

They are also distracting attention both from investments that would make society less vulnerable to climate change, and from a more pressing crisis, namely the extinction of a large fraction of the world’s plant and animal species due to widespread modification of natural habitat.

Don’t be fooled by the fanfare in Paris: The climate change movement faces big trouble ahead. Its principal propositions contain two major fallacies that can only become more glaring with time. First, in stark contrast to popular belief and to the public statements of government officials and many scientists, the science on which the dire predictions of manmade climate change is based is nowhere near the level of understanding or certainty that popular discourse commonly ascribes to it.

Second, and relatedly, the movement’s embrace of an absolute form of the precautionary principle distorts rational cost-benefit analysis, or throws it out the window altogether.

As the costs of decarbonization start to hit home, and the public demands greater certainty about the benefits to be gained, the public—and particularly those industries that are hardest hit—will invest in scientific research, in the hopes of achieving a more granular cost-benefit analysis.

Something similar is happening to proposed listings under the Endangered Species Act—where major economic interests are threatened, they have responded with enormous investments in scientific research in order to show either that the species in question is not in danger, or that it can be protected by measures far short of the often draconian prohibitions imposed pursuant to the Act.

These factors will almost certainly produce a more nuanced and less messianic view of the climate problem, with solutions aimed to maximize “bang for the buck” at the margins, where climate threats are most grave, rather than reordering human society in order to “save” a planet that, in the grand scheme of things, is quite indifferent to the state of the climate at any given time.

All sides of the climate change debate have a huge incentive to generate more and better climate science: the alarmists and their more skeptical colleagues all want to prove their points. As our scientific understanding improves, many of the propositions we hear today will have to be modified, and many will be refuted, as has always happened in the history of science.

The scientific community may at times be powerfully resistant to revision of its received wisdoms; it took an entire generation for medical professionals to accept the germ theory of disease, despite the fact that the evidence in its favor generated by Pasteur and Koch was clear from the start. But better science wins out in the end.

The greater clarity that better science will bring will open up new opportunities to solve environmental problems both known and unknown, and not a moment too soon. The human race faces challenges that cannot effectively be met at a local or even a national level. These challenges will not be met by a wholesale reordering of human society from the top down, as many of the more authoritarian-minded environmentalists wish. Any attempt to impose command-economy solutions on a global scale will fall far short or outright fail, as the Paris agreement and its precursors show.

The right strategy for confronting environmental challenges will have to be based on rational market incentives, rational cost-benefit analysis, and a broad-based consensus about the vital importance of efficient markets. Strategies that distort rational cost-benefit analysis (or the science on which it is based) to suit an anti-market agenda will not work and can only maintain the illusion of legitimacy for so long before they are discredited.


Australia: Two carbon taxes in Labor's climate policy suite

Australia is having a Federal election this year too -- a couple of months before the American one

Labor will exempt the electricity sector from its broader emissions trading scheme hoping to limit the hit to the consumer wallet.

Instead, the sector will have its own ETS with an internal carbon market which Labor believes will reduce the impact on power prices.

The opposition's climate change policy - which it will take to the next election - also focuses on a transition away from coal-fired power stations.

Labor wants an orderly, structured phase out of high-polluting energy generators with a support program to transition workers into new industries.

Opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler insists the plan is not a reincarnated carbon tax, while maintaining it's necessary to get Australia's pollution levels under control.

"Labor heard a very clear message from the Australian people about the carbon tax," Mr Butler told reporters in south-west Queensland.

But Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Labor was kidding itself that its ETS was not a carbon tax - which the coalition scrapped upon coming into government.

The policy reaffirms Labor's commitment to 50 per cent of the nation's power coming from renewable sources by 2030 and an emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by the same year.

It focuses on reducing land clearing, while aiming to double energy productivity through measures such as smarter buildings.

The ETS would be implemented in two phases - with the first requiring heavy polluters to offset any emissions above a set cap.

From 2020, an ongoing scheme will be in place - but the details won't be sorted until the next term of government, should Labor be elected.

Labor says it wants to get Australia back to the renewable energy superpower it was in 2013. © AAP Image/Glenn Hunt Labor says it wants to get Australia back to the renewable energy superpower it was in 2013. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten warned of increased insurance premiums, inconsistent food supply and a loss of tourism and jobs if nothing is done to limit climate change.

"Australia is now pretty much the only advanced economy on earth where pollution is rising rather than coming down," Mr Shorten told reporters on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who supported the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in 2009 when he was opposition leader, said Labor's plan would raise energy prices.

However, he conceded the coalition's 26-28 per cent target by 2030 would have to rise over coming decades.

The plan has been broadly welcomed by climate groups who believe it could help Australia reach its international obligations under last year's United Nations climate agreement.

In December, 196 parties - including China, India and the United States - agreed to limit global warming to two degrees.

Energy market analysts Reputex modelling shows phasing out coal-fired power stations would have a negligible impact on electricity prices.

However, the peak mining body says the policy puts at risk Australia's export competitiveness by eliminating the "cheapest form" of domestic electricity.

"The inevitable consequences of these policy choices will be higher power prices," Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale questioned why Labor's policy was silent on coal exports, accusing all major parties of being beholden to the coal industry.

Labor has also promised to expand the investment mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, retain the Climate Change Authority and pump an extra $200 million into ARENA.



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