Atmospheric

A new analysis of 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it was projected under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Natural variability in surface temperatures - caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors - can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade and these "climate wiggles" can slow or speed the rate of warming from decade to decade, or accentuate or offset the effects of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.

A new review of existing studies suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

That sounds like bad news, and it is, but the good news is it actually means more time to adjust to ways to reduce emissions and prevent it from happening at all.  In the original global warming scenarios, climate scientists contended that as permafrost thawed, carbon would be released in a big “bomb” and significantly accelerate climate warming.  But a gradual case means more time to fix things. 

It isn't just the forests and tundra that can release climate warming and ozone-depleting chemicals, buildings can do it also, like when they crash into the ground following an earthquake and tsunami.  Emissions of these chemicals, called halocarbons, increased by 21 percent to 91 percent over typical levels,.

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake released thousands of tons of chemicals into the atmosphere, according to a new study which suggests that the thousands of buildings destroyed and damaged during the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan four years ago released 6,600 metric tons (7,275 U.S. tons) of gases stored in insulation, appliances and other equipment into the atmosphere. 


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The biggest challenge facing climate models is similar to those facing economic ones - predicting the past is relatively easy, but predicting the future is far more of a challenge. In the United States, predicting hurricanes is less accurate than NCAA tournament pools, forecasters did not come close to predicting 15 in 2005 or 2 in 2013, but a team from the University of Arizona write in an upcoming Weather and Forecasting article that they are 23 percent less error prone - at predicting the past, anyway.
Though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has asked science journalists and political writers wearing a scientific beard to not attribute every weather event to climate change, it is still common to have every storm, drought and temperature to be listed as proof of climate change.

But that isn't science.  Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ETH Zurich have instead shown that global warming actually tends to reduce temperature variability.

Australia’s CSIRO has come up with some pretty amazing inventions over the past 86 years of research, from polymer banknotes to insect repellent and the world-changing Wi-Fi. But we can also lay claim to something a little more esoteric – we actually invented a whole new word.

It is well established that particles emitted during major volcanic eruptions cool the atmosphere for two or three years  due to a 'parasol' effect that reflects sunlight.
A new study finds that in scenarios of increasing global temperatures, methane-generating microbes, found in thawing lake sediments may ramp up production.

Though methane stays in the atmosphere for far less time than CO2, it is 25X more potent during that period. Concerns about methane have risen because of concerns about possible leaks due to increased natural gas, which produces far less CO2 than coal, and that methane may be released as climate changes.
A new paper notes that the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption in Italy 40,000 years ago, one of the largest volcanic cataclysms in Europe and responsible for injecting a significant amount of sulfur-dioxide (SO2) into the stratosphere, coincided with the final decline of Neanderthals as well as with dramatic territorial and cultural advances among modern humans.  

Scientists have long debated if this eruption and the resulting volcanic sulfur cooling and acid deposition could have contributed to the final extinction of the Neanderthals more than climate change or hominin competition. 

A new paper tests this hypothesis using a climate model. 
A new study looked at the pattern of variation of the South Asian monsoon over time and compared it with the evolution of African mole rats and bamboo rats by evolutionary distribution in space and through time and found that weakening and strengthening monsoon rains played a key role in the evolution of these species.

Over a period of 24 million years, the changes observed in the teeth and head shape of the rodents examined, matched the varying strength of the monsoon.

Of the 38 species studied, six still exist today and the changing rains seem to have driven several species into extinction.

Nature is out to kill us, as always.