Atmospheric

Global warming is currently taking a break. Global temperatures seemed to have risen drastically into the late 1990s but the global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 – surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore said by 2016 it would be too late if we did not stop CO2 immediately.

Climate skeptics use this contradiction to question climate change as well as the validity of climate models. Meanwhile, the majority of climate researchers continued to emphasize that a short-term 'warming hiatus' can largely be explained on the basis of current scientific understanding and did not contradict longer term warming.


American CO2 emissions have plummeted thanks to natural gas and energy emissions from coal have not been this low since the early 1980s, but a decades long war against energy science meant nuclear power - a truly viable emissions-free source - was scuttled and that meant more coal plants starting in the early 1990s, which meant more CO2.


Transport accounts for an up to 30% of CO2 emissions in the EU, with estimates claiming that emissions from that sector rose 36% between 1990 and 2007. 

A new analysis conducted by Lund University and the University of Surrey takes on the widely-held view that new technologies, such as biofuel and improved aircraft design, will result in carbon reduction targets being met. 


Dusty air blowing across the Pacific from Asia and Africa is playing a critical role in precipitation patterns throughout the drought-stricken western U.S.

The exact chemical make-up of that dust, including microbes found in it, is the key to how much rain and snow falls from clouds throughout the region and knowing this could help better predict rain events, as well as explain how air pollution from a variety of sources influences regional climate in general.


Weather extremes have been linked to a recently discovered mechanism: the trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere.

A new data analysis now shows that such wave-trapping events are indeed on the rise.  One reason could be changes in circulation patterns in the atmosphere. By analyzing large sets of global weather data, the researchers found an intriguing connection.  


Rossby Waves: meandering airstreams


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations geographically-chosen group of climate researchers, is the most high-profile science body in the world. Publicly they state that short-term weather events not be linked to climate change, since if every heat wave is called proof of global warming, every snowstorm will be called proof against it.

Despite UN cautions, numerous papers still link short-term weather events to climate change. In Climate Dynamics,
Florida State University geography professor


In California, wildfires happen thousands of times per year, even in non-drought years. They happened long before climate change concerns but not factoring wildfires into simplistic parameter-based models of climate change meant we were not getting an accurate picture of the atmospheric reality.


NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM flew directly over the eye of powerful Hurricane Iselle and found extremely heavy rainfall rates occurring there.


Sulfur signals in the Antarctic snow have revealed the importance of overlooked atmospheric chemistry for understanding climate, past and future.

The element sulfur is everywhere and occurs in four stable forms, or isotopes, each with a slightly different mass. Ordinary reactions incorporate sulfur isotopes into molecules according to mass. But sometimes sulfur divvies up differently so that the relative ratios of the different isotopes is anomalous. The authors of a new paper measured the direction and degree of that anomaly for individual layers of snow representing a single season's snowfall.


Climate models predicted that the equatorial Pacific trade winds should weaken with increasing greenhouse gases, yet satellites and climate stations have instead revealed a rapid and unprecedented strengthening of the Pacific trade winds since the 1990s.