Atmospheric

The rate at which carbon emissions might be warm Earth's climate today are a lot like the past. 56 million years in the past.

The authors of a new paper believe the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, can provide clues to the future of modern climate change. The good news: Earth and most species survived warming that was a lot more pronounced  -  up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit - than even the most dour predictions being made now. The bad news: It took 200,000 years to get back to what we now consider normal.


A new analysis to be presented next week at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting in San Francisco says that extreme climate and weather events such as record high temperatures, intense downpours and severe storm surges are more common in many parts of the world.

It's hard to be sure. High quality weather records only go back about 30 years and even suspect quality records only go back 100, so there is inference between modern record-keeping and the data trapped in tree rings and ice cores from ancient times.



Braving the eye of the bomb. Danny Lawson/PA

By Edward Hanna, University of Sheffield

A dramatically-named “weather bomb” exploded across the UK in the past week, bringing winds gusting up to 144 mph on outlying islands.

But despite the cool name these “bombs” are more common than you might think.

Ten years after carbon emissions happen, the warming effect is maximized. Methane is even quicker, and far more potent, though it also disappears much more rapidly.


Each year, the biosphere balances its atmospheric budget: The carbon dioxide absorbed by plants in the spring and summer as they convert solar energy into food is released back to the atmosphere in autumn and winter. Levels of the greenhouse gas fall and rise with growth and harvesting.


Iowa corn farmers have a lot of clout during the political cycle in America. Former US Vice-President Al Gore even sided with environmentalists and embraced ethanol - which all of science said was a bad idea - and later acknowledged it was just to appeal to Iowa. They help pick presidents and now it turns out that their 2.2 billion bushels of corn are helping to save the planet too.


The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible picture of Tropical Storm Adjali on Nov. 19th at 9:05 UTC (1:05 A.M. Pacific) curving to the southwest on its trek through the Southern Indian Ocean.

The MODIS image showed that the storm began curving to the southwest, and despite slight weakening, thunderstorms circled around the low-level center.


Volcanoes have long been known to have an impact on climate - the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption is famous for its impact on climate worldwide, making 1816 the 'Year Without a Summer'.

Maybe they are the reason global warming has not taken off the way climate researchers estimated it would. Sulfur dioxide gas that eruptions expel might be cooling the atmosphere more than previously thought, contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.



Nationals MP George Christensen told Parliament that the hot temperatures of 1896 have been "wiped from the official record". It's a bit more complicated than that. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

By Neville Nicholls, Monash University

A new index to measure the magnitude of heat waves finds that under the worst climate scenario of temperature rise, estimated to be as much as 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit, extreme heat waves might become the norm by the end of the century.

They project that heat waves like the one that hit Russia in summer 2010, the strongest in recent decades, could occur as often as every two years.