Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty years and still mourning our loss.

Reflecting on November 22nd, 1963 and the assassination of our President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the loss of a nation… and of the world.
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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 
(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) 
Executive summary

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

Concluding remarks
Paper 2: Recent pause in global warming (PDF, 1 MB) 
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
Paper 3: Implications for projections (PDF, 663 kB)
Executive summary

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
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