Atmospheric

For at least a billion years of the distant past, planet Earth should have been frozen over but wasn’t, and one popular notion was that methane, with 23-34 times (yes, it is unclear) the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide, could have reigned supreme for most of the first 3.5 billion years of Earth history, when oxygen was absent initially. 

Environmentalists today are in a panic about greenhouse gases, but between 1.8 billion and 800 million years ago, microscopic ocean dwellers really needed them. The sun was 10 to 15 percent dimmer than it is today—too weak to warm the planet on its own. Earth required a potent mix of heat-trapping gases to keep the oceans liquid and livable.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law demanding that dairy cows stop producing so much methane. They are basically giant fracking wells on four legs, after all. 

Atmospheric scientists overwhelmingly deny the existence of a secret, elite-driven plot to release harmful chemicals into the air from high-flying aircraft, according to the first peer-reviewed journal paper to address the "chemtrails" conspiracy theory.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the nonprofit Near Zero organization asked 77 atmospheric chemists and geochemists if they had come across evidence of such a large-scale spraying program, and 76 responded that they had not. The survey results were published Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters.

If man-made greenhouse gas emissions are going to cause more droughts and storm surges on a persistent basis, why did it take so long? And why is it only a concern in the last 25 years, rather than in the 1930s, when things were really hot?

A new estimate claims it's because the natural atmosphere already contained carbon dioxide  that human-induced changes were relatively small. Had these natural concentrations been lower, the effects of the emission of harmful greenhouse gases would have been felt much earlier.

New work suggests Earth's ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two. 

Earth generates a strong magnetic field extending from the core out into space that shields the atmosphere and deflects harmful high-energy particles from the Sun and the cosmos. Without it, our planet would be bombarded by cosmic radiation, and life on Earth's surface might not exist. The motion of liquid iron in Earth's outer core drives a phenomenon called the geodynamo, which creates Earth's magnetic field. This motion is driven by the loss of heat from the core and the solidification of the inner core.

Greenland's glaciers are melting, but they do that every year. However, a recent computer simulation sounds the alarm about a 50 percent increase in the freshwater flux since 1990, which is too narrow a timeframe for scientific purposes, it is the target date for the original Kyoto treaty on global warming, but will be a clarion for policy makers. 

In the 1970s, current Obama administration science czar Dr. John Holdren wrote a book advocating various measures to stop global starvation, including a world government and mandatory birth control.

Food is no longer an issue, science took care of that despite the protestations of Holdren and fellow doomsday prophet Professor Paul Ehrlich, so culture moved onto something new that would require social engineering and selecting who gets to give birth: global warming.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Energy Information released a report projecting that by 2040, world energy consumption will have grown by 48% from 2012 levels.  

That sounds like a terrific advancement for developing nations.  We worry about water in other countries, we worry about food, we worry about education and culture. Every single one of those is resolved with affordable energy. Energy is the great equalizer and America's second most important strategic resource after, obviously, food. 
We’re not even halfway through the year but already you may have heard talk of 2016 being the hottest on record. But how can scientists be so sure we’re going to beat the previous record, set just last year?

In the wake of the damaging Alberta fires, there has been a lot of attention paid to what role climate change plays in wildfires. Yet 2016 is also a powerful El Niño year, which has created ideal conditions for the extraordinary fires in Alberta.

So what climate phenomena could have led to the persistent warm, dry conditions and the extreme fire events?

I have analyzed weather trend data and found that higher temperatures and lower precipitation created the conditions for the extensive fires. It is by looking at exactly when those warmer months occur that we can begin to sort out the role of El Niño versus climate change.