Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ancient Landscapes in Motion

This is the sequel to my Four Corners Free Press article:


Understanding "Ancient Landscapes" of the Colorado Plateau

http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/understanding-ancient-landscapes-of.html


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Back, in 1979, through a series of serendipitous cross-country hitch-hiking adventures I found myself driving down into Silverton, Colorado (elevation 9,318') and it was love at first sight, the setting, the town, the people, the community. Before I went to sleep that evening I knew it was going to be home for a long time. Indeed, I lived there for six years going strong, when a woman's love proved stronger and down to the "banana-belt" I scampered.

But, it's the mountains and geology I want to write about in this essay. Today I smile thinking back on that young buck looking down his nose at the jumbled mess of rocks that was the Rocky Mountains. Layers going this way and that way, hard layers on top of soft layers, cliff faces that seemed trustworthy, then crumbled and killed. I was unimpressed.

Back then, the Rocky's seemed no comparison to "my" Sierra Nevada Mountains, were I had lived in Yosemite National Park for nearly three years. How I'd rhapsodize about Yosemite Valley, the most magnificent granite cathedral in the world, nestled within California's incomparable "Range of Light."

But, there is a simple reason for the dramatic difference. The Sierra Nevada is the result of a single series of events during a, relatively speaking, single period of time and place.

What happened was that a couple hundred million years ago huge plumes of lava rose through the Earth's crust, but didn't have the oomph to reach the surface, instead they spread along fracture zones that had been created by the "Pacific Ocean Tectonic Plate" plowing into the "North American Tectonic Plate." The plumes clumped together to form a huge "batholith" of relatively homogeneous composition.

This batholith was like the biggest loaf of Challah bread ever, over 400 x 70 miles, but rather than flour, this dough was composed mainly of the elements oxygen and silicon with small percentages of six other elements and trace amounts of another eighty elements. Baked under tremendous pressure and heat, it then cooled and solidified while being slowly pushed towards the surface.

"Slowly" is a key concept here - because while this huge piece of magma dough was slowly cooling, mineral crystals had a chance to keep growing. The final result was a granite light in color with large crystals that reflect sun and moon light as no other mountain range. Add to that the rocks are hard, but between glaciers and weathering have been smoothed to a finish that can be downright sensuous, it's easy to imagine how they might entrance.

The Rockies on the other hand, were an old gnarly mess. You could find 1,800 million year old rock touching 400 million year old rock. The old stuff was once a chain of volcanic islands that billions of years ago traveled across the Pacific Ocean before slamming into our ancient continent, the young stuff forming at the bottom of an inland sea.

As I learned more about the stories each of the Rocky's fascinating rock types tell, it became a bewildering cacophony of countless stages of mountain building and erosion, first oceans, then seas coming and going, rivers flowing one direction only to get disrupted then flowing in an altogether different direction, land subsiding and being filled-in with the eroded remnants of great mountains accumulating to incredible depths only to once again get thrust upward and exposed to the erosional forces of high elevations... sun and temperature, wind, water and gravity.

Whereas the Sierra's tell a simple story that's easy to grasp, the Rocky Mountains are a mélange reflecting billions of years' worth of our continent's evolution through a bewildering variety of stages that I found next to impossible to get straight.

Then my daughter, knowing my fascination with geology, gave me her used and no longer needed geology text book: "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" GCA © 2008, by Professor's Ron Blakey and Wayne Ranney, master geology interpreter. It was like receiving the Rosetta Stone. Scattered lessons fell into place and I discovered a coherent understanding for what transpired in my new corner of the world.

The maps in this book are based on hundreds of studies over many decades, where professors and students have gone out to map and officially describe geologic horizons throughout the Colorado Plateau region. Whereas a fraction of such findings were enough to overwhelm me, Professor Blakey had the education, training and vision to know how to organize this cacophony of information.

After painstakingly organizing these studies from throughout the region, not just geographically, but also according to age, Blakey began to construct a new breed of geologic map. Instead of the traditional clinical color banding, loaded with tons of esoteric symbols, Blakey made use of Adobe Photoshop and GeoMap App to inventory and manipulate Earth Observation images.

Remaining true to the scientifically accepted descriptions of each landscape in its prescribed time period, Blakey combed images of modern landforms to find corresponding representative landscapes. Then he cut and pasted those images of rivers, deltas, sand dunes, mountains and prairies, savannas and forests, each in their rightful place.

When finished Blakey created a series of maps that offer a view of ancient landscapes as though taken from a Landsat satellite that had gone through a time-warp. It was amazing and for anyone who has ever wondered about the evolution of our planet and continents, as compelling as anything ever seen, like single frames of a time-lapse movie yearning to be made.

Even better, Blakey hasn't limited himself to 75 time slices of the Colorado Plateau. He's made three more time series of North America, one of Europe and a series of 30 time slices looking at the entire planet. You can find the list at http://cpgeosystems.com/products.html. A search on YouTube brings up a few rough animations based on Blakey's maps along with some excellent lectures by Wayne Ranney and Ron Blakey. 

And now my little story turns into a sales pitch. It seems the dream of getting these images transferred into a Pixar quality HD animation with narration has been stalled for years because of the lack of serious backing. Dr. Ron Blakey is a scientist, he has done his work, Wayne Ranney also a scientist, has done a superb job of explaining how these maps were made and what they are telling us. Now they need the missing producer... (Hello Telluride) to translate this knowledge into a sensational animation.


From my Earth loving perspective, it seems that such a high-quality time-lapse movie 'Ancient Landscapes in Motion' could have an impact, akin to Apollo's 'Whole Earth'... and Voyager's 'Pale Blue Dot' images. But, rather than a single image re-calibrating our sense of space and Earth's place in the Universe, this human achievement would recalibrate our sense of time and place - to better appreciate humanity's tenure on this planet. 

Dear Telluride, when can Professor's Blakey and Ranney expect your call?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In this lecture Wayne Ranney gives a nice introduction to the 
"Ancient Landscapes" map series.

Part One

Uploaded by the Grand Canyon Association, on Jul 23, 2009
Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories and Mystery.

The Grand Canyon is one of earth's most recognizable landscapes, yet a definitive answer for how or when it formed has proved elusive — even though geologists have studied the canyon for almost 150 years! The one thing that scientists do agree upon is that the Grand Canyon was carved by the erosive power of the Colorado River. This is known even though the river itself has carried away the evidence for its earliest history. 
Wayne Ranney explains in layman's terms the possible sequence of events that may have given rise to this stupendous landscape.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For more information, 
or to offer support, visit Professor Blakey's website:

"Reconstructing the planet's past"
Colorado Plateau Geosystems, Inc.
http://cpgeosystems.com/products.html



Wayne Ranney has a great website focusing on geology
Earthly Musings - Wayne Ranney's Geology Blog

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Essay Concerning Our Weather - 1995 and 2005

Here's an essay I first wrote back in 1995 for the Nov/Dec 1995 issue of 
 "The Humanist" magazine - a decade later I was invited to do a revision in 2005 which I'm reprinting here.  

Considering some of the comments I've written here and there in the blogosphere, I think it's time to bring it back to the top of stack.  

A non-scientist's appreciation: 

An Essay Concerning Our Weather

Printed in The Humanist,
Nov-Dec, 2005
“Katrina and Rita in Context”







There has been something missing from the recent news coverage in the aftermath of 
Hurricanes Katrina's and Rita. No one seems to be reporting on the real story ~ namely the 
weather.



These most recent storms should encourage U.S. citizens to recognize that we are facing a 
powerful entity that has only begun to barge into our American way. Look up into that 
beautiful sky overhead and consider its substance, dynamics and might. Our atmosphere is 
the product of more than four billion years of ongoing evolution ~ geological as well as 
biological. It's a tenuous veil of gases that lays upon the surface of our earth, thin as 
the finest silk upon your skin. This veil has a most interesting structure, one that's 
worth thinking about.



Our atmosphere is composed almost totally of nitrogen and oxygen. Interwoven into this 
medium is a gossamer thin admixture of everything else: thousands of different compounds 
that can be grouped into almost two hundred distinct families. Combined, these compounds 
make up less than one percent of our atmosphere's volume. Most of this volume is made up 
of inert compounds and noble gases, so called because they don't react with their 
surroundings very much, if at all. Within this matrix of nonreactive molecules is 
another, yet thinner community of reactive compounds. By volume, these reactive 
components total less than four hundred parts per million. This is where the action is. 
These chemicals are always reacting with each other: they combine, split up, mutate, 
affect neighboring molecules, change characteristics ~ and they do this at nonstop 
hypervelocities. This is the scaffolding over which energy, moisture, and heat perform 
their weather ballet.



What's new is that, over the past two hundred years or so, humanity has been injecting a 
third category of ingredients: human-made and human-generated. By volume, this new genre 
consists mainly of substances already present in the atmosphere, only now they are being 
added to in unfathomable quantities ~ and they belong to the reactive families. Then there 
are the "exotics": creations of science and industry that make up a small but usually 
highly reactive percentage. Many of these compounds are totally new to our atmosphere. 
All told, society has been injecting millions upon millions upon millions of tons of 
these gases and particulates into our atmosphere at ever-increasing rates. So much so 
that the very composition of our atmosphere ~ the weave of our atmospheric veil ~ has been 
significantly and verifiably altered.



This is cause for concern because our atmosphere is in actuality a heat engine. Its 
matrix of gaseous and particulate components are the valves and pistons. This engine is 
powered by the sun’s energetic rays and the result is our weather: the global 
distribution of energy, heat, and moisture. But each compound we've introduced interacts 
with the sun’s energy according to its own unique thermo-hygroscopic-chemical profile. 
Recent weather fluctuations are little more than a physical reflection of our 
atmosphere's composition.



Remember all those environmentalists whining about pollution, global warming, and 
all that? Well, it isn't mere delusion. Scientists have been discovering and recording 
these changes since the end of World War II. For more than forty years now, satellites 
have been visually recording the stains, rips, and acid burns that we continue to inflict 
upon the veil of our atmosphere. The increasingly sophisticated information they gather continues to have ominous implications for the future as well as the present.



While the media discusses global changes in terms of global averages, keep this in mind: 
there is no "average" patch of ground or water on this planet. Pollutants aren't added as 
amorphous averages. They are injected into the fabric of our atmosphere as ribbons of 
varying concentrations and volumes. It's true that today scientists have convincing 
evidence that some global areas are experiencing a warming trend, while others are 
experiencing a cooling trend. There is nothing reassuring about this.



Think about our atmosphere as the heat engine whose role it is to seek a globally 
balanced distribution of energy, heat and moisture. This engine has evolved to a delicate 
state of dynamic equilibrium. Remember, it is the profile of temperature gradients and 
barometric differentials that provide the throttle behind this engine's drive to maintain 
its equilibrium. Inject extremes and it will react in kind ~ it makes no difference to the 
engine. It does, however, make a difference to humans and the biosphere as we know it.



Science has consistently shown that nature is always vastly more complex, interwoven, and 
unpredictable than the human intellect is capable of imagining. Why won't we allow this 
lesson to sink in? Why be surprised when weather continues to become more chaotic? 
Admittedly, no one can accurately predict how weather will change. But who can deny that 
it will continue to change, and at an accelerated rate? We can kid ourselves, but we 
can't fool nature.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

{Note: A previous version of this article was printed in the November/December 1995 issue of The 
Humanist.}


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bonus supporting material

~ Our Global Heat Distribution Engine ~ 
Up close and personal,
from space and within the ocean.

A five star video by NASA


Earth From Space (HD)
Published on Aug 20, 2012 Playtime: 1:31:32 Earth Playlist-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG-rvR-q0ic
Posted by The Brain Power 

Venture on an epic quest to discover the invisible forces and occurrences that sustain life on this planet and - for the first time - see these processes in action in EARTH FROM SPACE.This sweeping two-hour {yippy 29 minutes of commercials we get to miss}  special reveals the Earth’s deepest mysteries, captured in breath-taking detail, and raises profound questions and challenges the old assumptions of how it all works. 
[. . .] 
In consultation with more than 220 scientific experts from 18 international Earth sciences research agencies and academic institutions, highlights from EARTH FROM SPACE reveal:
A hurricane - observed from the inside - is an intricately-organized structure. 
See how it bonds water to atmosphere, and releases heat into space, cooling parts of the Atlantic by 4C.
The Amazon produces 20% of the Earth’s fresh water.Where does all this water go and what is its effect on air circulating around the planet and life across the globe? 
See how solar storms puncturing great holes in the magnetic field raise new questions about the disruptive effect they have on life on a microscopic level. 
Data shows that the top three meters of the ocean stores more heat than the entire atmosphere - overturning the long-held assumptions about how the ocean controls weather and climate. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

You mean, Dr. Mann didn't invent global warming?


A walk down memory lane. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This morning I awoke to an interesting article over at HotWhopper.com, it's a reproduction of a 1884 newspaper article in the Australian newspaper "Border Watch" titled "Cold And Heat Near The Poles."  In it the author discusses the discovery of fossil traces of tropical flora in the Arctic and the implication that Earth's climate was variable.

It then went on to discuss Earth's early atmosphere, it's interaction with the lithosphere, and the ability of certain gases to retain heat trying to escape into the cold vacuum of space.  The article ends with:

"... Many ingenious hypotheses have been proposed to account for the warmer climate of earlier times, but are at best unsatisfactory; and it appears to me that the true solution of the problem may be found in the constitution of the early atmosphere, when considered in the light of Dr. Tyndall's beautiful researches on radiant heat. 

He has found that the presence of a few hundredths of carbonic acid gas in the atmosphere, while offering almost no obstacle to the passage of the solar rays, would suffice to prevent almost entirely the loss by radiation of obscure heat, so that the surface of the land beneath such an atmosphere would become like a vast orchid house, in which the conditions of climate necessary to a luxuriant vegetation would be extended even to the polar regions.

ALBERT K. VARLEY, F.R.S. Mount Gambier, June 12, 1884."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After the article there's a reference to "more flashbacks relating to climate and Earth science from the National Library of Australia," it leads to a section of her blog that links to a collection of articles going back in time.  These articles do a good job of putting the developing science of climate change into a historical perspective.  While also exposing the lie that all this global warming talk is some sort of conspiracy intend on undermining our freedoms.  That list is followed with another one of her posts looking at the mischief making of Anthony Watts and friends.

I'm happy to do my part to help spread this information, so with a big shout out to Sou for all the hard work she puts into her blog, here's a reproduction of her collection of historic newspaper articles that shine a light on the early history of the science of climate change.


http://blog.hotwhopper.com/p/blog-page_19.html


Climate history as gleaned from old Australian newspapers 

Flashback to 1884: A few hundredths of carbonic acid gas in the atmosphere...the surface...would become like a vast orchid house




Flashback to 1910 - the Indian Monsoon and ENSO - featuring Sir Gilbert Thomas Walker

Flashback to 1922 - World Growing Warmer - featuring The Weather Optimist from London's Daily Mail


featuring Gordon de Quetteville Robin



Flashback to 1967: The Weather and Air Pollution featuring J Murray Mitchell Jr, Robert A McCormick and John H Ludwig

Flashback to 1972 - Scientists Fear for Arctic Sea Ice - melt may bring irreversible climatic change 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty years and still mourning our loss.

Recollecting November 22nd, 1963, 
the assassination of our President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the loss of a nation… and of the world.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Up until I was eight years old, life was a scattered recollection of emerging awareness of the world around me.  Then, while climbing the stairs to the second floor of John J. Audubon Elementary school in Chicago, Illinois - I overheard an older guy descending the stairs telling his friend: "Did you hear?  The President's been shot!"

The news meant something big, then and there.  That feeling was reinforced within the minute it took to complete my trek to the classroom.  The somber teacher, the being sent home early, the stunned walk home through a hushed neighborhood.  Then the look of my mother and the tears she could not hide when we got home. 

The following day we drove to my grandparents and spent the subsequent days in a vigil around their TV trying to absorb what had happened until our President was laid to rest.  It's the earliest period of my young life where I remember a sequence of many days.  Sort of a brutal slap in the face letting me know that the outside world does make a difference to my own little world.

UK's Met Office reports on the recent "pause" in Global Warming



The following is a repost from the UK's Met Office Website.  It's about three scientific reports that take a closer look at the alleged "pause" in global surface temperatures - it's the story that certain media outlets and "free market think tanks" are relentlessly pushing, despite it's misleading nature.

For those who are curious about the full story behind claims of a pause in global warming this is must reading. 

Met Office 
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/recent-pause-in-warming 
(Last Updated: 30 September 2013 )

July 2013 - Global mean surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s, but have been relatively flat over the most recent 15 years to 2013. This has prompted speculation that human induced global warming is no longer happening, or at least will be much smaller than predicted. Others maintain that this is a temporary pause and that temperatures will again rise at rates seen previously.

The Met Office Hadley Centre has written three reports that address the recent pause in global warming and seek to answer the following questions:
  • What have been the recent trends in other indicators of climate over this period?
  • What are the potential drivers of the current pause?
  • How does the recent pause affect our projections of future climate?
The first paper shows that a wide range of observed climate indicators continue to show changes that are consistent with a globally warming world, and our understanding of how the climate system works. 
The second suggests that it is not possible to explain the recent lack of surface warming solely by reductions in the total energy received by the planet, i.e. the balance between the total solar energy entering the system and the thermal energy leaving it. Changes in the exchange of heat between the upper and deep ocean appear to have caused at least part of the pause in surface warming, and observations suggest that the Pacific Ocean may play a key role. 
The final paper shows that the recent pause in global surface temperature rise does not materially alter the risks of substantial warming of the Earth by the end of this century. Nor does it invalidate the fundamental physics of global warming, the scientific basis of climate models and their estimates of climate sensitivity.

Links to each of the three papers are below. 
Paper 1: Observing changes in the climate system (PDF, 2 MB) 
Contents
Executive summary

Our changing climate
Atmosphere 
Atmospheric composition – carbon dioxide  
Near surface air temperature  
Lower tropospheric temperature 
Stratospheric temperature 
Atmospheric water vapour 
Cryosphere 
Arctic sea-ice extent 
Glacier mass balance
Northern Hemisphere snow cover
Ocean
Ocean heat content
Sea level rise

Concluding remarks
Acknowledgements
References 
Paper 2: Recent pause in global warming (PDF, 1 MB) 
Contents
Executive summary 

1. Pauses in global warming: Is the current lack of warming unusual? 
2. Understanding potential cause of recent pause in global surface temperature rise 
2.1 Changes in incoming energy 
2.2 Redistribution of energy within the climate system – 
          Storing the heat below the surface 
2.3 What do we know about changes in the ocean heat budget? 

Concluding remarks
Acknowledgements
References
Paper 3: Implications for projections (PDF, 663 kB)
Contents
Executive summary

Context
Measures of climate sensitivity
Transient Climate Response
Estimates of Transient Climate Response from comprehensive climate models
Estimates of Transient Climate Response from observations
Estimates of Transient Climate Response - studies combining comprehensive climate models and observations
Summary of TCR estimates and the impact on warming to 2100
Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and stabilisation of climate change

Concluding remarks
Acknowledgements 
References 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dr. Michael Mann's Court Saga - Oct 2013 Update

It appears the witch-hunt for Dr. Michael Mann continues unabated, and though I'm trying to keep this blog away from the mud-fight that the public climate science dialogue has devolved into and stick to straight science and personal essays about more positive aspects of Earth observations, such as my article about the Grand Canyon's formation, I still want to link to a series of posts I put up yesterday at my "mud wrestling" blogspot WhatsUpWithThatWatts.  

The series was in reaction to the renewed attacked on Dr. Mann within the right-wing/libertarian blogosphere community.  For those who would like to learn about what's going on and about the scientific background, check it out.  It includes many links and reposting from more expert sources.



Thursday, October 10, 2013
Michael Mann's continuing saga, Virginia FOIA case continues
~ ~ ~

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Investigating Dr. Michael Mann... a supplement
~ ~ ~

Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Other Dr.Mann Court Case

Friday, September 27, 2013

IPCC Report Highlights - The Scientific Basis for Global Warming


The first of the long awaited IPCC's Fifth Assessment Reports (AR5) has been released today.  It's from the IPCC Working Group 1 (WG1) and focuses on the scientific basis of climate change and contains 14 chapters plus a lot of supplementary material.

In this post I will reprint highlights from the IPCC Working Group 1 report 
"Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Understanding "Ancient Landscapes" of the Colorado Plateau



Though my web presence is mainly about trying to help circulate facts about what we the people are doing to our life sustaining Global Heat Distribution Engine (aka Climate).  I do have many other interests, including a life long passion for learning about our planet's incredible four and a half billion year journey of creation.  

Recently I spent a few days at the Grand Canyon attending a geology course given by Wayne Ranney and it was such a wonderful experience I wrote a story for the September issue of the Four Corners Free Press out of Cortez, Colorado.  Since they allow me to retain the rights, I want share it here.  I also want to thank Gail Binkly, editor at the FCFP for helping me 'clean up' my writing. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A recipe for creating the Grand Canyon


http://www.planetware.com

At 58 I can honestly say that geology has fascinated me for nearly half a century. Those first National Geographic maps and Popular Science stories about Earth's tectonic plates and the Ring of Fire grabbed my young imagination. Within a few years I learned that the Plate Tectonic Revolution could explain the full spectrum of geological phenomena we witness on Earth, from earthquakes to mountain building to precious metals and oil formation and much more.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greenfyre's "Mr. Sinclair's Video collection" - manmade global warming education made easy


I came across this a few weeks back and think it's a first class concise index of Peter Sinclair's "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" series.  Best part is that he follows his list with the actual videos.  Heck, it's sort of a collector's edition.

Since the driving interest behind this here blogspot is to share serious information about Our Grand Geophysical Experiment. I feel honored to echo Greenfyre's list of videos over here. 


Though first I thought I'd share a little about the man behind this particular blog:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:

So much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those
Who age after age, perversely,
With no extraordinary power,
Reconstitute the world.

Quote by Adrienne Rich
Here are a some exerts from what he has to say for himself

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

American Meteorological Society report: State Of The Climate 2012


Here's yet another authoritative report driving home the reality that serious global warming is underway and that further avoidance of this issue will lead to destructive consequences for our society's continued health and well-being.

Copied from:

 http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130806_stateoftheclimate.html

2012 was one of the 10 warmest years on record globally

The end of weak La Niña, unprecedented Arctic warmth influenced 2012 climate conditions

August 6, 2013
State of the Climate in 2012 - report cover.
The 2012 State of the Climate report is available online.
(Credit: NOAA)
Worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record according to the 2012 State of the Climate report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The peer-reviewed report, with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., serving as lead editors, was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries (highlightsfull report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice, and sky. 
“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate — carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place," said Acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “This annual report is well-researched, well-respected, and well-used; it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment."
Conditions in the Arctic were a major story of 2012, with the region experiencing unprecedented change and breaking several records. Sea ice shrank to its smallest “summer minimum” extent since satellite records began 34 years ago. In addition, more than 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet showed some form of melt during the summer, four times greater than the 1981–2010 average melt extent.
Temperature in 2012 compared to the 1981-2010 average.
Temperature in 2012 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Credit: NOAA Climate.gov, based on NCDC data. See more.
The report used dozens of climate indicators to track and identify changes and overall trends to the global climate system. These indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, cloud cover, sea surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean salinity, sea ice extent and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.
Highlights:
  • Warm temperature trends continue near Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record, ranking either 8th or 9th, depending upon the dataset used. The United States and Argentina had their warmest year on record.
  • La Niña dissipates into neutral conditions:  A weak La Niña dissipated during spring 2012 and, for the first time in several years, neither El Niño nor La Niña, which can dominate regional weather and climate conditions around the globe, prevailed for the majority of the year. 
  • The Arctic continues to warm; sea ice extent reaches record low: The Arctic continued to warm at about twice the rate compared with lower latitudes. Minimum Arctic sea ice extent in September and Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in June each reached new record lows. Arctic sea ice minimum extent (1.32 million square miles, September 16) was the lowest of the satellite era. This is 18 percent lower than the previous record low extent of 1.61 million square miles that occurred in 2007 and 54 percent lower than the record high minimum ice extent of 2.90 million square miles that occurred in 1980. The temperature of permafrost, or permanently frozen land, reached record-high values in northernmost Alaska. A new melt extent record occurred July 11–12 on the Greenland ice sheet when 97 percent of the ice sheet showed some form of melt, four times greater than the average melt this time of year.
  • Antarctica sea ice extent reaches record high: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.51 million square miles on September 26. This is 0.5 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.47 million square miles that occurred in 2006 and seven percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986.
  • Sea surface temperatures increase: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2012 was among the 11 warmest on record.  After a 30-year period from 1970 to 1999 of rising global sea surface temperatures, the period 2000–2012 exhibited little trend. Part of this difference is linked to the prevalence of La Niña-like conditions during the 21st century, which typically lead to lower global sea surface temperatures.
  • Ocean heat content remains near record levels: Heat content in the upper 2,300 feet, or a little less than one-half mile, of the ocean remained near record high levels in 2012. Overall increases from 2011 to 2012 occurred between depths of 2,300 to 6,600 feet and even in the deep ocean.
  • Sea level reaches record high: Following sharp decreases in global sea level in the first half of 2011 that were linked to the effects of La Niña, sea levels rebounded to reach record highs in 2012. Globally, sea level has been increasing at an average rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.
  • Sea ice concentration reached a new record low in mid-September 2012.
    Sea ice concentration reached a new record low in mid-September 2012. Credit: NOAA Climate.gov, based on NSIDC data. See more
    Ocean salinity trends continue:Continuing a trend that began in 2004, oceans were saltier than average in areas of high evaporation, including the central tropical North Pacific, and fresher than average in areas of high precipitation, including the north central Indian Ocean, suggesting that precipitation is increasing in already rainy areas and evaporation is intensifying in drier locations.
  • Tropical cyclones near average: Global tropical cyclone activity during 2012 was near average, with a total of 84 storms, compared with the 1981–2010 average of 89. Similar to 2010 and 2011, the North Atlantic was the only hurricane basin that experienced above-normal activity.
  • Greenhouse gases climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2012. Following a slight decline in manmade emissions associated with the global economic downturn, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production reached a record high in 2011 of 9.5 ± 0.5 petagrams (1,000,000,000,000,000 grams) of carbon , and a new record of 9.7 ± 0.5 petagrams of carbon  is estimated for 2012. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.1 ppm in 2012, reaching a global average of 392.6 ppm for the year. In spring 2012, for the first time, the atmospheric CO2concentration exceeded 400 ppm at several Arctic observational sites.
  • Cool temperature trends continue in Earth’s lower stratosphere: The average lower stratospheric temperature, about six to ten miles above the Earth’s surface, for 2012 was record to near-record cold, depending on the dataset. Increasing greenhouse gases and decline of stratospheric ozone tend to cool the stratosphere while warming the planet near-surface layers.
The 2012 State of the Climate report is peer-reviewed and published annually as a special supplement to theBulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This year marks the 23rd edition of the report, which is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, the business sector, academia, and the public to support informed decision-making. The full report can be viewed online.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter and our other social media channels.

The Great March for Climate Action...



Sharing some information about a long March planned from L.A., California to Washington, DC, 2,980 miles, with the goal of raising public and political awareness and to help pressure our lawmakers to finally constructively address the climate change crisis in a proactive manner.  

Here's a short video and a message from the originator of this challenge, Iowa's Ed Fallon.  




MARCH!To march,
 click Marcher Application, Word version or Marcher Application, PDF version.
We are taking applications for full-time and part-time marchers.

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The goal of the Great March for Climate Action is to change the heart and mind of our fellow Americans and our elected leaders. On March 1, 2014, 1,000 climate patriots will set-out from Los Angeles, CA, walking 2,980 miles across America to Washington, DC, inspiring and motivating the general public and elected officials to act now to address the climate crisis. This will be the largest coast-to-coast march in American history.
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The Great March for Climate Action was launched on March 1, 2013 by former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon.  Here's a portion of his announcement speech:
“... I’ve been involved with a lot of campaigns over the years, both political campaigns and issue campaigns. It’s time for another. This campaign will be the most difficult. It will be the most expensive. And it will be one of the two longest campaigns I’ve ever run. 
“But it will not be a campaign for public office. 
“This is a campaign to mobilize 1,000 people to march coast-to-coast, demanding action on climate change – action from both the American people and from our public officials. The Great March for Climate Action will set-out from the west coast one year from today and arrive in Washington, DC the weekend before the mid-term election. It will be the largest coast-to-coast march in our nation’s history. 
“For a long time, I’ve recognized that climate change is not simply an issue. Climate change is a crisis, possibly the deadliest crisis humanity has ever faced. And it’s not a crisis that might happen somewhere in the future. It is a crisis that is happening NOW! 
“For the past six years, I’ve asked myself what I should do? What’s my duty, my responsibility in this crisis? What do I have to offer that can help avert the calamity barreling our way like a coal-fired freight train? 
“I discuss climate change on my talk show regularly, and I continue to live more and more sustainably in my personal life. But honestly, I don’t feel I’ve come close to doing enough, to doing my part. There are certainly people and organizations who have, like Bill McKibben, James Hansen, the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Iowa’s own State Senator Rob Hogg. 
“But it is past time for me to step up to the plate in a focused and significant way. Again, this is a CRISIS! 
“Two weeks ago, the idea of this March came to me, and as I thought about it and talked about it with a few close friends, I realized it was the campaign I needed to commit myself to. 
“Why a march? Throughout history, marches have been powerful tools to mobilize people – physically, spiritually, and politically. In 1913, the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington, DC numbered 5,000 strong. In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led the 240-mile Salt March to defy Britain’s imperial power. In 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr led the five-day march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery. And in 1986, the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament left Los Angeles on March 1st, traveling 3,700 miles to finish in Washington, DC on November 15th. ..."

For the entire speech link to: http://climatemarch.org 
also see: http://fallonforum.com