“A federal committee has published adraftof the nation’s third climate assessment report, a comprehensive analysis of the latest and best peer-reviewed science on the extent and impacts of global warming on the United States.
None of the body’s findings are entirely new, but the report suggests that evidence is now stronger and clearer than ever that the climate is rapidly changing — primarily as a result of human activities, including the copious burning of fossil fuels. Observed weather extremes are on the rise, and the possible connection between at least some of these events and human-induced climate change is also more strongly supported by the science.”
“New York City, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, will expand its evacuation zones, revise building codes and look for ways to better protect critical infrastructure like transportation and electrical networks from future natural disasters, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a speech on Thursday morning.
But while the mayor said he would aggressively pursue a rebuilding of the city’s hard-hit waterfront, he warned that “there are no panaceas or magic bullets” to fully protect the city, and he again dismissed the use of expensive experiments like sea gates stretching across New York harbor.
Mr. Bloomberg said the city would consider the construction of dunes, jetties, levees and berms along coastal areas to help reduce damage from future storm surges. Height restrictions on some residential homes will be relaxed so owners can elevate their houses above the flood plain, and the city will update its building code to require more stringent protection against floods.”
More than 50 percent of the United States is under drought conditions right now, putting 2012 in the same category with some of the worst droughts in the nation’s history. The 54.6 percent figure (not counting Alaska and Hawaii) makes this year’s drought the sixth worst on record in terms of area covered, behind only the brutal droughts of the mid-1950s and the “Dust Bowl” era of the 1930s. Other more recent droughts — such as 2000, 2002, and 1998 — saw a greater percentage of the country suffering from the “severe” or “extreme” drought categories. However, even by that standard, June 2012 still ranks among the top 10 worst droughts of all-time.
“What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like. It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster … This provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.”
Princeton University’s Michael Oppenheimer, a lead author for the UN’s climate science panel,
“When we were fighting AIDS, hunger, water shortages, global warming, and so on, there always seemed to be time to reflect, to postpone decisions (recall how the main conclusion of the last meeting of world leaders in Bali, hailed as a success, was that they would meet again in two years to continue their talks …). But with the financial meltdown, the urgency to act was unconditional; sums of an unimaginable magnitude had to be found immediately. Saving endangered species, saving the planet from global warming, saving AIDS patients and those dying for lack of funds for expensive treatments, saving the starving children … all this can wait a little bit. The call to “save the banks!” by contrast, is an unconditional imperative that must be met with immediate action. The panic was so absolute that a transnational and non-partisan unity was immediately established, all grudges between world leaders being momentarily forgotten in order to avert the catastrophe. But what the much praised “bi-partisan” approach effectively meant was that even democratic procedures were de facto suspended: there was no time to engage in proper debate, and those who opposed the plan in the US Congress were quickly made to fall in with the majority. Bush, McCain and Obama all quickly got together, explaining to confused congressmen and women that there was simply no time for discussion – we were in a state of emergency, and things simply had to be done fast … And let us also not forget that the sublimely enormous sums of money were spent not on some clear “real” or concrete problem, but essentially in order to restore confidence in the markets, that is, simply to change people’s beliefs! Do we need any further proof that Capital is the Real of our lives, a Real whose imperatives are much more absolute than even the most pressing demands of our social and natural reality?”
The world’s climate is not only continuing to warm, it’s adding heat-trapping greenhouse gases even faster than in the past, researchers said Tuesday.
Indeed, the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average every month for more than 25 years, they said at a teleconference.
“The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm,” Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, said in releasing the annual State of the Climate report for 2010.
“There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” added Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University.
The warmer conditions are consistent with events such as heat waves and extreme rainfall, Karl said at a teleconference. However, it is more difficult to make a direct connection with things like tornado outbreaks, he said.
“Any single weather event is driven by a number of factors, from local conditions to global climate patterns and trends. Climate change is one of these,” he said. “It is very likely that large-scale changes in climate, such as increased moisture in the atmosphere and warming temperatures, have influenced — and will continue to influence — many different types of extreme events, such as heavy rainfall, flooding, heat waves and droughts.
The report, being published by the American Meteorological Society, lists 2010 as tied with 2005 for the warmest year on record, according to studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. A separate analysis, done in Britain, lists 2010 as second warmest.