Click to Translate to English Click to Translate to French  Click to Translate to Spanish  Click to Translate to German  Click to Translate to Italian  Click to Translate to Japanese  Click to Translate to Chinese Simplified  Click to Translate to Korean  Click to Translate to Arabic  Click to Translate to Russian  Click to Translate to Portuguese


Forum Home Forum Home > General Discussion > General Discussion
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Global Climate Change (Temperature Puzzle)
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Aussie Flu.

Global Climate Change (Temperature Puzzle)

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 7891011 16>
Author
Message
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2010 at 11:39am
New Study Finds Ocean Warmed Significantly Since 1993
05.19.10
 
Map%20of%20Argo%20free-floating%20profiling%20floats The international science team analyzed nine different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean, based on ocean temperature data from a global array of more than 3,200 Argo free-floating profiling floats and longer data records from expendable bathythermographs dropped from ships. Image credit: International Argo Project
� Full image

The upper layer of Earth's ocean has warmed since 1993, indicating a strong climate change signal, according to a new international study co-authored by oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs for each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet.

"We are seeing the global ocean store more heat than it gives off," said John Lyman, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, who led the study that analyzed nine different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean from 1993 to 2008.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NASA, NOAA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.

"The ocean is the biggest reservoir for heat in the climate system," said Willis. "So as the planet warms, we're finding that 80 to 90 percent of the increased heat ends up in the ocean."

A warming ocean is a direct cause of global sea level rise, since seawater expands and takes up more space as it heats up. The scientists say that this expansion accounts for about one-third to one-half of global sea level rise.

Combining multiple estimates of heat in the upper ocean - from the surface to about 610 meters (2,000 feet) down - the team found a strong multi-year warming trend throughout the world's ocean. According to measurements by an array of autonomous free-floating ocean floats called Argo, as well as by earlier devices called expendable bathythermographs, or XBTs, that were dropped from ships to obtain temperature data, ocean heat content has increased over the last 16 years.

The team notes that there are still some uncertainties and some biases.

"The XBT data give us vital information about past changes in the ocean, but they are not as accurate as the more recent Argo data," said Gregory Johnson, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. "However, our analysis of these data gives us confidence that on average, the ocean has warmed over the past decade and a half, signaling a climate imbalance."

Data from the array of Argo floats -- deployed by NOAA and other U.S. and international partners -- greatly reduce the uncertainties in estimates of ocean heat content over the past several years, the team said. There are now more than 3,200 Argo floats distributed throughout the world's ocean sending back information via satellite on temperature, salinity, currents and other ocean properties.

Read more at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100519_ocean.html.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2010 at 6:14pm

Certainty vs. Uncertainty

Understanding Scientific Terms About Climate Change

Uncertainty is ubiquitous in our daily lives. We are uncertain about where to go to college, when and if to get married, who will play in the World Series, and so on.

To most of us, uncertainty means not knowing. To scientists, however, uncertainty is how well something is known. And, therein lies an important difference, especially when trying to understand what is known about climate change.

In science, there's often not absolute certainty. But, research reduces uncertainty. In many cases, theories have been tested and analyzed and examined so thoroughly that their chance of being wrong is infinitesimal. Other times, uncertainties linger despite lengthy research. In those cases, scientists make it their job to explain how well something is known. When gaps in knowledge exist, scientists qualify the evidence to ensure others don't form conclusions that go beyond what is known.

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, scientists like to point out the level of uncertainty. Why? Because they want to be as transparent as possible and it shows how well certain phenomena are understood.

Decision makers in our society use scientific input all the time. But they could make a critically wrong choice if the unknowns aren't taken into account. For instance, city planners could build a levee too low or not evacuate enough coastal communities along an expected landfall zone of a hurricane if uncertainty is understated. For these reasons, uncertainty plays a key role in informing public policy.

Taking into account the many sources of scientific understanding, climate scientists have sought to provide decision-makers with careful language regarding uncertainty. A "very likely" outcome, for example, is one that has a greater than 90 percent chance of occurring. Climate data or model projections in which we have "very high confidence" have at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct.

However, in this culture of transparency where climate scientists describe degrees of certainty and confidence in their findings, climate change deniers have linked less than complete certainty with not knowing anything. The truth is, scientists know a great deal about climate change. We have learned, for example, that the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. There is no uncertainty about this. We have learned that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat through the greenhouse effect. Again, there is no uncertainty about this. Earth is warming because these gasses are being released faster than they can be absorbed by natural processes. It is very likely (greater than 90 percent probability) that human activities are the main reason for the world's temperature increase in the past 50 years.

Scientists know with very high confidence, or even greater certainty, that:

  • Human-induced warming influences physical and biological systems throughout the world
  • Sea levels are rising
  • Glaciers and permafrost are shrinking
  • Oceans are becoming more acidic
  • Ranges of plants and animals are shifting

Scientists are uncertain, however, about how much global warming will occur in the future (between 2.1 degrees and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100). They are also uncertain how soon the summer sea ice habitat where the ringed seal lives will disappear. Curiously, much of this uncertainty has to do with—are you ready?—humans. The choices we make in the next decade, or so, to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses could prevent catastrophic climate change.

So, what's the bottom line? Science has learned much about climate change. Science tells us what is more or less likely to be true.  We know that acting now to deeply reduce heat-trapping emissions will limit the scope and severity of further impacts – and that is virtually certain.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 9:26am
RELEASE : 10-127
 
 
NASA Takes To The Air With New 'Earth Venture' Research Projects
 
 
WASHINGTON -- Hurricanes, air quality, and Arctic ecosystems are among the research areas to be investigated during the next five years by new NASA airborne science missions announced today.

The five competitively-selected proposals are the first investigations in the new Venture-class series of low-to-moderate cost projects established last year.

The Earth Venture missions are part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program. The small, targeted science investigations complement NASA's larger research missions. In 2007, the National Research Council recommended that NASA undertake these types of regularly solicited, quick-turnaround projects.

This year's selections are all airborne investigations. Future Venture proposals may include small, dedicated spacecraft and instruments flown on other spacecraft.

"I'm thrilled to be able to welcome these new principal investigators into NASA's Earth Venture series," said Edward Weiler, associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "These missions are considered a 'tier 1' priority in the National Research Council's Earth Science decadal survey. With this selection, NASA moves ahead into this exciting type of scientific endeavor."

The missions will be funded during the next five years at a total cost of not more than $30 million each. The cost includes initial development and deployment through analysis of data. Approximately $10 million was provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act toward the maximum $150 million funding ceiling for the missions.

Six NASA centers, 22 educational institutions, nine U.S. or international government agencies and three industrial partners are involved in these missions. The five missions were selected from 35 proposals.

The selected missions are:

1. Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface. Principal Investigator Mahta Moghaddam, University of Michigan
North American ecosystems are critical components of the global exchange of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and other gases within the atmosphere. To better understand the size of this exchange on a continental scale, this investigation addresses the uncertainties in existing estimates by measuring soil moisture in the root zone of representative regions of major North American ecosystems. Investigators will use NASA's Gulfstream-III aircraft to fly synthetic aperture radar that can penetrate vegetation and soil to depths of several feet.

2. Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment. Principal Investigator Eric Jensen, NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
Water vapor in the stratosphere has a large impact on Earth's climate, the ozone layer and how much solar energy the Earth retains. To improve our understanding of the processes that control the flow of atmospheric gases into this region, investigators will launch four airborne campaigns with NASA's Global Hawk remotely piloted aerial systems. The flights will study chemical and physical processes at different times of year from bases in California, Guam, Hawaii and Australia.

3. Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment. Principal Investigator Charles Miller, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The release and absorption of carbon from Arctic ecosystems and its response to climate change are not well known because of a lack of detailed measurements. This investigation will collect an integrated set of data that will provide unprecedented experimental insights into Arctic carbon cycling, especially the release of the important greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Instruments will be flown on a Twin Otter aircraft to produce the first simultaneous measurements of surface characteristics that control carbon emissions and key atmospheric gases.

4. Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. Principal Investigator James Crawford, NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
Satellites can measure air quality factors like aerosols and ozone-producing gases in an entire column of atmosphere below the spacecraft, but distinguishing the concentrations at the level where people live is a challenge.

This investigation will provide integrated data of airborne, surface and satellite observations taken at the same time to study air quality as it evolves throughout the day. NASA's B-200 and P-3B research aircraft will fly together to sample a column of the atmosphere over instrumented ground stations.

5. Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel. Principal Investigator Scott Braun, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The prediction of the intensity of hurricanes is not as reliable as predictions of the location of hurricane landfall, in large part because of our poor understanding of the processes involved in intensity change. This investigation focuses on studying hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean basin using two NASA Global Hawks flying high above the storms for up to 30 hours. The Hawks will deploy from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during the 2012-14 Atlantic hurricane seasons.

"These new investigations, in concert with NASA's Earth-observing satellite capabilities, will provide unique new data sets that identify and characterize important phenomena, detect changes in the Earth system and lead to improvements in computer modeling of the Earth system," said Jack Kaye, associate director for research of NASA's Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate.
Langley manages the Earth System Pathfinder program for the Science Mission Directorate. The missions in this program provide an innovative approach to address Earth science research with periodic windows of opportunity to accommodate new scientific priorities.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 10:52am
NASA Orbiter Penetrates Mysteries of Martian Ice Cap
05.26.10
 
Northern%20Ice%20Cap%20of%20Mars This image, combining data from two instruments aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, depicts an orbital view of the north polar region of Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
� Full image and caption

North%20Polar%20Cap%20Cross%20Section This image shows a cross-section of a portion of the north polar ice cap of Mars, derived from data acquired by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Shallow Radar (SHARAD), one of six instruments on the spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/UT
� Full image and caption

PASADENA, Calif. -- Data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have helped scientists solve a pair of mysteries dating back four decades and provided new information about climate change on the Red Planet.

The Shallow Radar, or SHARAD, instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed subsurface geology allowing scientists to reconstruct the formation of a large chasm and a series of spiral troughs on the northern ice cap of Mars. The findings appear in two papers in the May 27 issue of the journal Nature.

"SHARAD is giving us a beautifully detailed view of ice deposits, whether at the poles or buried in mid-latitudes, as they changed on Mars over the last few million years," said Rich Zurek, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

On Earth, large ice sheets are shaped mainly by ice flow. According to this latest research, other forces have shaped, and continue to shape, polar ice caps on Mars. The northern ice cap is a stack of ice and dust layers up to two miles deep, covering an area slightly larger than Texas. Analyzing radar data on a computer, scientists can peel back the layers like an onion to reveal how the ice cap evolved over time.

One of the most distinctive features of the northern ice cap is Chasma Boreale, a canyon about as long as Earth's Grand Canyon but deeper and wider. Some scientists believe Chasma Boreale was created when volcanic heat melted the bottom of the ice sheet and triggered a catastrophic flood. Others suggest strong polar winds carved the canyon out of a dome of ice.

Other enigmatic features of the ice cap are troughs that spiral outward from the center like a gigantic pinwheel. Since the troughs were discovered in 1972, scientists have proposed several hypotheses about how they formed. Perhaps as Mars spins, ice closer to the poles moves slower than ice farther away, causing the semi-fluid ice to crack. Perhaps, as one mathematical model suggests, increased solar heating in certain areas and lateral heat conduction could cause the troughs to assemble.

Data from Mars now points to both the canyon and spiral troughs being created and shaped primarily by wind. Rather than being cut into existing ice very recently, the features formed over millions of years as the ice sheet grew. By influencing wind patterns, the shape of underlying, older ice controlled where and how the features grew.

"Nobody realized that there would be such complex structures in the layers," said Jack Holt, of the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics. Holt is the lead author of the paper focusing on Chasma Boreale. "The layers record a history of ice accumulation, erosion and wind transport. From that, we can recover a history of climate that's much more detailed than anybody expected."

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched on Aug. 12, 2005. SHARAD and the spacecraft's five other instruments began science operations in November 2006.

"These anomalous features have gone unexplained for 40 years because we have not been able to see what lies beneath the surface," said Roberto Seu, Shallow Radar team leader at the University of Rome. "It is gratifying to me that with this new instrument we can finally explain them."

The MRO mission is managed by JPL for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Headquarters in Washington. The Shallow Radar instrument was provided by the Italian Space Agency, and its operations are led by the InfoCom Department, University of Rome. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

To view images and learn more about MRO, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mro.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mary008 View Drop Down
V.I.P. Member
V.I.P. Member
Avatar

Joined: June 22 2009
Status: Offline
Points: 5769
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mary008 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 30 2010 at 3:14pm
flyWays_lores

Bird migration flyways of North America.

 
 
This flyway map you put up is interesting... it shows the middle of the country known to be very windy, where T.Boone wanted to set up wind power all along it, not good.  Imagine what it would do to birds migration patterns  :(   and... they also want to use wind power off shore...another route.  I want to know if they can get together one more gang of 15 ... to look after mother nature.
 
...............
 
 
Mary008
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2010 at 7:38am
MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-088
 
 
NASA Briefs Media About First Arctic Oceanographic Voyage
 
 
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 8 to preview the agency's first dedicated oceanographic research voyage. During the mission, scientists will study changing Arctic climate and ice conditions affecting ocean ecosystems.

The "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment" mission, or ICESCAPE, will investigate how climate change in the Arctic may be altering the ocean's ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. The voyage will collect critical observations to compare to NASA's satellite views of ocean biology and sea ice. The data will improve scientists' understanding of this key component of Earth's climate system.

The five-week voyage begins June 15, departing from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. The ship will sail through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the northern coast of Alaska. More than 40 scientists will use an array of instruments to sample the physical and chemical characteristics of the ocean and sea ice, as well as the biological characteristics of the microscopic plant and animal life that regulate the flow of carbon into and out of the sea. A second voyage is planned for 2011.
 
 
______________________________________________________________________ 
 

ICESCAPE

Impacts of Climate change on the Eco-Systems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment (ICESCAPE) is a multi-year NASA shipborne project. The bulk of the research will take place in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea’s in summer of 2010 and fall of 2011.

The Arctic sea ice cover is in decline. The retreat of the summer ice cover, a general thinning, and a transition to a younger, a more vulnerable ice pack have been well documented. Melt seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer. These changes can profoundly impact the physical, biological, and geochemical state of the Arctic Ocean region. Climate models project that changes in the ice cover may accelerate in the future, with a possible transition to ice free summers later this century. These changes are quite pronounced in the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea and have consequences for the Arctic Ocean ecosystem, potentially affecting everything from sea ice algae to polar bears.

The central science question of this program is, “What is the impact of climate change (natural and anthropogenic) on the biogeochemistry and ecology of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas?” While both of these regions are experiencing significant changes in the ice cover, their biogeochemical response will likely be quite different due to their distinct physical, chemical, and biological differences.

ICESCAPE will pursue the above central science question and associated issues through an interdisciplinary, cross cutting approach integrating field expeditions, modeling, and satellite remote sensing. Central to the success of this program is a quantitative and reliable determination of chemical and biological fluxes to and from open water, ice and snow surfaces, as a function of relevant environmental conditions such as the nature of the surfaces. This will be pursued in ways that couple remotely sensed information to that obtained via state-of-the-art chemical, physical and biological sensors located in water, on or under ice, and in the atmosphere. Assimilation and synthesis of data will benefit from coupled atmosphere, biology/ecology, ocean, and sea ice linked modeling.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2010 at 8:38am

PV Global Outlook: A Bright Future Shines on PV

7.2 GW of new PV capacity installed in 2009
Published: June 4, 2010

London, UK -- The PV sector has seen its share of market turbulence over the past years with the impacts of the global downturn, the over-supplied silicon market and the impact of revisions to feed-in tariffs all taking their toll. However, despite this, the sector appears to have emerged relatively unscathed. David Appleyard reports.

According to the latest market analysis, the global solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity market saw about 7.2 GW of new capacity installed in 2009, bringing the total global installed capacity to more than 22 GW worldwide.

Crucially, the industry itself, through the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), identifies this growth as 'the most important annual capacity increase ever' which it says is particularly impressive in light of the difficult financial circumstances seen over the past year.

Furthermore, in 2010, global cumulative installed PV capacity is expected to grow by at least 40%, while the annual growth is expected to increase by more than 15%. Much of this growth is anticipated to be seen in Europe, which remains the leading market for PV technology.

Indeed, during 2009, Germany remained the largest market globally – with Italy ranking second – and will most likely remain the largest market in 2010, EPIA believes, with a cumulative installed capacity of almost 10 GW, including around 3.8 GW installed in 2009, according to the numbers given by the German Bundesnetzagentur. This represents almost a doubling of the 2002 MW installed in 2008 and is attributable, in part, to the improved project economics resulting from the decline in module prices. However, this growth has caused the German government to pursue an additional mid-year cut in incentives in 2010 above and beyond what was already scheduled and these recently announced feed-in tariff cuts are expected to significantly affect the development of Germany's national industry in the longer term. The country is nonetheless expected to remain the single largest market for PV in 2010.

Meanwhile, in the medium term, Italy appears as one of the most promising markets with an additional capacity of some 730 MW installed in 2009, more than doubling from 2008's 338 MW. The country's strong incentives and good solar resources should help the market stay strong in 2010, US trade group the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) says, referring to both the high levels of solar irradiation, and the new Conto Energia law, which is due to be announced as REW goes to press, and which is expected to support strong momentum in the Italian market.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Czech Republic shows significant growth in 2009, with 411 MW installed. Though the country ranked fifth in installations, it installed more new PV per capita (roughly 40 watts per person) than any country except Germany in 2009. The massive growth, from just over 50 MW in 2008, was due to the country's generous US$0.63/kWh solar incentives. However, this rapid ramp-up in solar capacity has, like Germany, prompted a reduction in its feed-in tariff payments – which are seen as overly generous – and the market is expected to shrink significantly in 2011 after another year of strong growth in 2010.

'This underlines the imperative need for support mechanisms to be designed in a way to ensure a long term, predictable and sustainable development of the market and avoid instability and discontinuity in market evolution,' explained Adel El Gammal, secretary general of EPIA.

Belgium also made its entry into the top 10 markets in 2009, with 292 MW of new PV capacity installed over the year. Due to a revision of the financial support scheme early 2010, the market is, however, expected to slow down slightly in 2010. France follows with 185 MW installed in 2009, with an additional 100 MW installed but not connected to the grid yet. In spite of a huge potential, this clearly demonstrates the importance for France to solve grid connection issues in order to allow the market to develop, EPIA believes.

In Spain, after rocketing past Germany to become the largest PV market in 2008, a drastic reduction in incentives pushed installations down to 180 MW in new PV and CSP capacity for 2009, compared to 2710 MW in 2008. Even so, PV accounted for about 3% of the electricity production in the country in 2009.

Finally, Greece, Portugal and the UK are showing interesting potential for growth in 2010 and beyond, EPIA says.

Asia Could Become a Major Demand Centre

Outside Europe, Japan has succeeded in positioning itself as the third largest market with 484 MW installed in 2009. While edging out the US for third place in annual capacity additions, the Japanese market also shows an important growth potential thanks to favourable political support, the industry believes. Certainly, after two stagnant years, Japan has recovered to have its best year ever with the resurgence driven in part by falling equipment costs and in part by new incentives (roughly US$0.80 per watt) that went into effect in January 2009.

EPIA expects Japan to become a GW market in 2010 under a policy-driven scenario and by 2012 even in the moderate scenario, with ambitious objectives to reach 28 GW of installed PV power by 2020 and 53 GW by 2030.

Both China and India also made headlines in 2009 when they independently announced plans to expand their solar power capacities to 20 GW each by 2020.

A major PV manufacturer, China was until recently almost totally absent from the world PV market, but with more than 12 GW of large projects in the pipeline, it could rapidly become a major market. With high irradiation levels and a surge in the electricity demand, the potential for PV in China is huge and depends mainly on government's decisions. According to the national energy plan of 2009, cumulative installed PV power is forecast to reach 20 GW at least in 2020.

Meanwhile, with India's increasing electricity demand and high irradiation levels, the country has definitively a huge potential for PV. Starting from a low 30 MW installed in 2009, it could grow to 1.5 GW in 2014 under a policy-driven scenario, EPIA believes, and probably well beyond afterwards. The market size in 2010 will clearly depend on the political choices to possibly reach between 50 MW and 300 MW.

If these plans move forward, Asia will become a major demand centre for solar energy equipment after several years of expanding manufacturing capacity and both markets are expected to boom in the next five years.

Canada and Australia also showed significant market development in 2009 and are expected to open the way to the development of new markets. Brazil, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa are also seen as promising countries, the trade groups suggest.

The US Sector Takes Off and Looks Set to Grow

In the US, the market has finally taken off, with around 475 MW installed in 2009, and appears as a potentially leading market for the coming years. Both new installations and employment figures rose, with the total US capacity from both PV and CSP technologies climbing past 2 GW during 2009. Solar industry revenues also surged despite the economy, says the SEIA, climbing 36% in 2009 with a doubling in size of the residential PV market.

In another sign of continued optimism identified by the SEIA, venture capitalists invested more in solar technologies than any other clean technology in 2009. In total, $1.4 billion in venture capital flowed to solar companies in 2009. For an industry that had a total US volume of roughly $4 billion, this signals huge optimism about near-term growth, the trade group says.

This investment is supported by the solar provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which got off to a slow start but continues to ease the pressures of the credit crisis. As of early February 2010, more than 46 MW of solar capacity has been deployed with the help of Treasury grants totaling $81 million in lieu of the investment tax credit (ITC). Representing more than $271 million in solar energy investment, the 13 solar thermal and 169 solar electric projects receiving the grant are spread over 30 states.

Solar equipment manufacturers have also been awarded $600 million in manufacturing tax credits under ARRA, representing investments in new and upgraded factories of more than $2 billion. The grant created by ARRA reduces the need for tax equity partners and significantly lowers the transaction costs for a solar project.

The PV industry managed to maintain growth in 2009 despite difficulties in the housing and construction sectors and cumulative grid-tied capacity sailed past the 1 GW mark by installing 429 MW. An estimated 40 MW of off-grid capacity was also added. However, year-over-year growth in annual grid-tied capacity additions of 38% fell short of the 84% growth seen in 2008, SEIA says. Notable growth came in the utility sector which nearly tripled from 22 MW in 2008 to 66 MW in 2009. Residential installations were also buoyed by the removal of the $2000 cap on the ITC, more than doubling volume from 78 MW in 2008 to 156 MW in 2009.

However, 2009 marked a second year of major price declines for PV modules, with US prices falling to $1.85–$2.25 per watt from $3.50–$4.00 per watt in mid-2008, a drop of over 40%, the SEIA observes. With module prices accounting for up to half of the installed cost of a PV system, these prices are beginning to put downward pressure on system prices. Indeed, average installed cost fell roughly 10% from 2008 to 2009, despite the large shift to the more labour-intensive residential installations.

In the US, residential and commercial rooftop installations are expected to remain strong and utility-scale PV is expected to grow significantly, with more than 6000 MW in announced projects in the pipeline. And, although solar energy continues to account for less than 1% of US energy supply, its contribution is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years as costs continue to decline making it more competitive in more states. National requirements will effectively mandate some 9 GW of solar capacity by 2025, the SEIA reports. Furthermore, when compared to the high cost of generation in places like Hawaii, where most electricity is generated with oil, solar energy is looking increasingly attractive.

A Bright Future for PV?

Given the economic turmoil of the previous year or so, it is perhaps surprising to see analysis firms such as iSuppli Corp, dramatically upgrade forecasts for installations of PV systems in 2010.

A surge of sales in Germany combined with plunging prices are set to boost solar demand in 2010, iSuppli predicts, arguing that solar installations will rise to 13.6 GW in 2010, up 93.6% from 7 GW in 2009. The company's previous forecast, released in February, outlined its expectations for 8.3 GW worth of installations in 2010, up 64% from 2009. The strong rise in PV installations in 2010 will be driven by robust market conditions in the second and fourth quarters, which will more than compensate for slower performances in the first and third quarters, iSuppli predicts.

'This will be an up and down year for PV installations', said Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst for PV at iSuppli. 'The first quarter of 2010 was negatively affected by winter conditions, likely causing a decline in installations compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. However, the second quarter is expected to be a blockbuster for the global PV industry', Wicht added, explaining: 'Reduced feed-in tariffs in Germany are coming in July and consumers in that country will rush to install PV systems before that incentive becomes less compelling. A market correction will happen in the third quarter, leading to a huge fourth quarter due to the approach of other countries' FIT deadlines in January 2011.'

In addition to the FIT deadlines, growth in the second half of the year will be driven by reductions in the cost of solar installations. 'Plummeting prices for solar panels during 2009 now are being reflected in system prices', Wicht observed, noting: 'These price declines will compensate for the FIT reductions, resulting in a favourable return on investment (ROI) for homeowners and project developers. In some cases, the ROI will remain higher than 10%.'

'Needless to say, these quarterly ups and downs in 2010 will result in a difficult year for the PV supply chain and production planners as they struggle to figure out how much is needed, where it is needed and when is it needed,' Wicht concluded, saying: 'Because of this, there could be material supply constraints during the year. Spot shortages of inverters, and perhaps panels, could curtail growth to some degree.'

According to EPIA, the global PV market could reach between 8.2 GW and 12.7 GW of new installations assuming a moderate scenario and a policy driven scenario, respectively, and would represent a growth of 40% and 60% of the overall cumulative installed capacity compared to 2009 for the two scenarios. In a policy-driven scenario, the global annual PV market could reach up to 30 GW in 2014 – based on favourable conditions established by policy makers, regulators and the energy sector at large, the group contends. Announced worldwide PV production capacity would also be sufficient to cover the expected evolution of the market in the coming five years, EPIA says.

As evidenced in the EPIA SET For 2020 study, PV could provide up to 12% of the EU's electricity demand by 2020, provided specific boundary conditions are met, and could be competitive with other electricity sources in as much as 76% of the EU electricity market by 2020, even in the absence of any form of external price support or subsidy.

In the current pre-competitive phase, PV market deployment is, to a large extent, dependent on the political framework of any given country. Support mechanisms are defined in national laws. The introduction, modification or fading out of such support schemes have profound consequences on PV markets and industries.

'In addition to the ramp-up of many markets in Europe, the development and opening of new markets in Asia, the Americas and Africa is paving the way to a strong and sustainable momentum of PV powered supply solutions all around the world', concluded Ingmar Wilhelm, the newly appointed president of EPIA.

However, looking ahead to 2011, there could be more supply constraints, according to iSuppli's analysis of capacity announcements. The company believes that unless additional expansions take place, crystalline-Silicon (c-Si) modules could encounter constraints in 2011 with utilization rates for c-Si module production facilities anticipated to climb to more than 90% in 2010. Nonetheless, iSuppli also believes that despite the short-term supply challenges, the outlook for global PV installations remains bright. By 2011, global PV installations will rise to 20.3 GW, nearly triple the 7 GW in 2009.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 12 2010 at 7:36am
RELEASE : 10-138
 
 
NASA And DLR Sign Agreement To Continue GRACE Mission Through 2015
 
 
WASHINGTON -- NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and German Aerospace Center (DLR) Executive Board Chairman Johann-Dietrich Worner signed an agreement Thursday during a bilateral meeting in Berlin to extend the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission through the end of its on-orbit life, which is expected in 2015.

Launched in March 2002, GRACE tracks changes in Earth's gravity field by noting minute changes in gravitational pull from local changes in Earth's mass. It does this by measuring changes in the distance between its two identical spacecraft to one-hundredth the width of a human hair. These spacecraft are in the same orbit approximately 137 miles apart.

"The extension of this successful cooperative mission demonstrates the strength of the NASA-DLR partnership and our commitment to continue working together in this very important area of Earth science," Garver said.

NASA and DLR signed the original agreement in 1998. The two agencies jointly developed the GRACE mission and have cooperated on its operational phase since its launch. For the twin satellite mission, NASA provided the instruments and selected satellite components, plus data validation and archiving. DLR provided the primary satellite components, launch services and operations.

GRACE maps gravity-field variations from month to month, recording changes caused by the seasons, weather patterns and short-term climate change.

"The extension of this successful mission will deliver more valuable data to help us understand how Earth's mass and gravity varies over time," Worner said. "This is an important component necessary to study changes in global sea level, polar ice mass, deep ocean currents, and depletion and recharge of continental aquifers. We appreciate the strong cooperation with our partner NASA."

GRACE's monthly maps are up to 100 times more accurate than existing maps, substantially improving the accuracy of techniques used by oceanographers, hydrologists, glaciologists, geologists and climate scientists.

Data from the GRACE mission have been used to measure the amount of water lost in recent years from the aquifers for California's primary agricultural region in the state's Central Valley. An international study recently used GRACE data to show that ice losses from Greenland's ice sheet now are rapidly spreading up its northwest coast.
 
 
 
 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 13 2010 at 3:07pm

NOAA: Near-Normal U.S. Temperatures and Above-Normal U.S. Precipitation in May

June 8 , 2010

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the May 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 60.8 degrees F, which is 0.2 degrees F below the long-term (1901-2000) average. May’s average precipitation was 3.10 inches, 0.23 inch above the 1901-2000 average.

Based on a 116-year record dating back to 1895, this monthly analysis prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

U.S. Temperature Highlights 

  • May 2010 Statewide Temperature Ranks
    (Credit: NOAA)

 

  • Warmer-than-normal temperatures in the eastern U.S. were offset by cooler-than-normal temperatures in the west, creating a national temperature near the long-term average.
  • The Northeast and Southeast regions had their 10th warmest May on record, while the Northwest and West had their fifth and 10th coolest May, respectively.  
  • On the state-to-state level, Rhode Island and Florida (tied) each experienced their second warmest May on record. Louisiana experienced its fourth warmest, Massachusetts its fifth warmest, Connecticut its sixth warmest, New Hampshire its seventh warmest, Mississippi and New York their eighth warmest and New Jersey its ninth warmest May.
  • By state, several experienced cooler average temperatures. This was Idaho’s second coolest May on record, Montana’s fourth, Wyoming and Oregon’s seventh coolest, Utah’s eighth, California’s ninth and Nevada’s 10th.
  • The spring season (March-May) brought record warmth to the Northeast. Eight northeastern states experienced their warmest March-May period on record: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Michigan also had its warmest spring period of the 116-year record.
  • The profound warmth in the Northeast has dominated throughout 2010 so far. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont each averaged their warmest January-May on record. Warm conditions also prevailed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island which had their second warmest January-May period. The year-to-date has been significantly warm in other states, including: New York (third warmest), Connecticut and Michigan (fourth warmest), Wisconsin (fifth warmest) and New Jersey (eighth warmest). Conversely, January-May 2010 has been among the 10 coolest for Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights 

  • May 2010 Statewide Precipitation Ranks  (Credit: NOAA)

 

May precipitation was variable across the contiguous U.S., averaging slightly above normal. The state of Washington had its third wettest May on record, Kentucky its seventh and North Dakota its 10th wettest. Extreme precipitation events in Tennessee led to its sixth wettest May on record. Louisiana had its fifth driest March-May period on record. Rhode Island had its second wettest spring and Massachusetts its 10th wettest.

  • The spring season (March-May) brought the fifth driest period on record for Louisiana, while Rhode Island had its second wettest and Massachusetts its 10th wettest.
  • Dryness in Michigan and Louisiana has persisted throughout 2010, becoming the fifth driest January-May on record for both states. The year-to-date period was also the sixth driest for Wisconsin. Conversely, very high precipitation during February and March contributed to Rhode Island’s fifth wettest year-to-date period. Massachusetts also averaged much above normal precipitation, with its 10th wettest such period.
  • A storm system that stagnated over the Lower Mississippi Valley May 1-2 killed 29 people and flooded thousands of homes and businesses. The storms spawned dozens of tornadoes and brought record amounts of rain to numerous locations in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. Preliminary reports indicated that more than 200 daily, monthly and all-time precipitation records were broken across the three states. More details can be found within NCDC's Global Hazards page.

Other Highlights

  • For the second consecutive month, the snowcover footprint over North America was the smallest on record for the month. A record-small snow footprint was also observed over Eurasia and the Northern Hemisphere as a whole.
  • NCDC’s Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for spring (March-May) was about 5 percent higher than average. The CEI measures the occurrence of several types of climate extremes (like record or near-record warmth, dry spells, or rainy periods). Factors contributing to spring’s elevated values include: widespread (up to three times larger than average) coverage of anomalously warm high and low temperatures and above-average extent of extreme one-day precipitation events.
  • According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, tornadic activity in May was near normal with 290 preliminary tornado reports.
  • Drought coverage decreased slightly in May. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported 8.6 percent of the United States was affected by drought at the end of May, a decrease from April. Slight improvements were seen in the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys, while conditions deteriorated in Louisiana and Michigan.
  • The cool conditions across the western U.S. contributed to the low numbers of new wildfires during May. Only 5,159 new wildfires were reported during the month – the lowest May number in 11 years.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100608_maystats.html

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2010 at 11:06am
Press Release 10-103
Carbon Dioxide Has Played Leading Role in Dictating Global Climate Patterns

CO2 levels explain why temperatures in tropical and arctic waters have risen and fallen together for the past 2.7 million years

 
Increasingly, the Earth's climate appears to be more connected than anyone would have imagined. El Ni�o, the weather pattern that originates in a patch of the equatorial Pacific, can spawn heat waves and droughts as far away as Africa.

Now, a research team led by Brown University has established that the climate in the tropics over at least the last 2.7 million years changed in lockstep with the cyclical spread and retreat of ice sheets thousands of miles away in the Northern Hemisphere. The findings appear to cement the link between the recent Ice Ages and temperature changes in tropical oceans. Based on that new link, the scientists conclude that carbon dioxide has played the lead role in dictating global climate patterns, beginning with the Ice Ages and continuing today.

Entire Article Here
 
________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
Video Interview With Brown University Scientist
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2010 at 4:40pm
Methane from BP oil spill threatens Gulfs ecosystem
 
This%20image%20from%20Wednesday,%20June%202,%202010%20shows%20the%20site%20of%20the%20Deepwater%20Horizon%20oil%20spill.
This image from Wednesday, June 2, 2010 shows the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
AP Photo/BP PLC

Gulf of Mexico - The oil spewing into Gulf due to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and sinking may be only a fraction of the devastation to the Gulf of Mexico as methane gas continues to pour into the Gulf at levels eight times or more of those normally encountered during oil drilling operations. Such a release threatens to create 'dead zones' where life cannot exist throughout the Gulf of Mexico for years to come.

The Associated Press reported that according to John Kessler, a chemical oceanographer from Texas A&M University, so far approximately 4.5 billion cubic feet of methane gas has been released by BP's uncontrolled well. BP states that as it works
to contain oil from the spill, it has burned off about 450 million cubic feet of methane gas. Even so, over 4 billion cubic feet has entered the Gulf waters.

Kessler told Xinhua in an interview, "The mixture coming up is now about 40 percent methane and 60 percent oil from undersea of the Gulf of Mexico. This means there are immense amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, being input into the Gulf."  The normal proportion of methane gas encountered in such drilling is around 5%.

Methane is a more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and its release has been attributed to extreme increases in climatic temperatures in the past.

"We know that millions of years ago, there were vast undersea eruptions where methane gas escaped just like it is doing right now,� Kessler told Xinhua. �It is thought that this methane eventually contributed to climate change millions of years ago, so this gives us a chance to study the methane from that perspective as we measure how much is entering the atmosphere today."

Though the BP's impact on climate change is completely unknown at this time, a more immediate threat to the ecosystem may already be occurring. In June Dr. Samantha Joye of the Institute of Undersea Research and Technology at the University of Georgia found large areas of the Gulf where
the oxygen levels have become depleted by 40%. Such dead zones make it difficult for sea life to survive should it enter the area. Recently, Kessler found similar results in areas that he had tested.

Dr. Kessler's team has a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the spill's effects on the Gulf�s ecosystem. In regard to the oxygen depletion process, Kessler explained, "While some of the methane is emitted to the Earth's atmosphere, other parts of it dissolve in the Gulf waters and are literally eaten by living microorganisms, a process which consumes oxygen. We know that there are large areas of the Gulf that have oxygen-depleted waters that occur annually, and these are known as 'the dead zone." But will these large amounts of methane make the dead zone areas even larger or the oxygen-depletion more severe? What are the links between methane and oxygen down there? We hope to find out."

The Associated Press reported that BP denies that methane is creating dead zones in the Gulf, stating that rather the methane gas is going to the surface and entering the atmosphere.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Hotair View Drop Down
Valued Member
Valued Member
Avatar

Joined: March 17 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 667
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hotair Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2010 at 5:05pm
Either way, this seems to just be getting worse and worse. Not that BP has a choice but, which is worse, dead zones in the ocean or accelerated climate change? Idiots.
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 22 2010 at 8:11am
Originally posted by Hotair Hotair wrote:

Either way, this seems to just be getting worse and worse. Not that BP has a choice but, which is worse, dead zones in the ocean or accelerated climate change? Idiots.
 
Totally agree
 
Our current direction (Fossil Fuels) has given us some ugly choices if you could even call them choices!!
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 23 2010 at 9:04pm
Adios El Nino, Hello La Nina?
06.22.10
 
latest%20data%20from%20the%20NASA/European%20Ocean%20Surface%20Topography%20Mission/Jason-2%20satellite
 
The latest data from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite show that the tropical Pacific has switched from warm, or higher-than-normal sea surface heights (shown in red) to cold, or lower-than-normal sea surface heights (shown in blue) during the last few months. Image Credit: NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team

The latest image of Pacific Ocean sea surface heights from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 oceanography satellite, dated June 11, 2010, shows that the tropical Pacific has switched from warm (red) to cold (blue) during the last few months. The blue area in the center of the image depicts the recent appearance of cold water hugging the equator, which the satellite measures as a region of lower-than-normal sea level. Remnants of the El Ni�o warm water pool, shown here in red and yellow, still linger north and south of the equator in the center of the image.

The image shows sea surface height relative to normal ocean conditions. Red (warmer) areas are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) above normal. Green areas indicate near-normal conditions. Purple (cooler) areas are 14 to 18 centimeters (6 to 7 inches) below normal. Blue areas are 5 to 13 centimeters (2 to 5 inches) below normal.

"The central equatorial Pacific Ocean could stay colder than normal into summer and beyond. That's because sea level is already about 10 centimeters (4 inches) below normal, creating a significant deficit of the heat stored in the upper ocean," said JPL oceanographer and climatologist Bill Patzert. "The next few months will reveal if the current cooling trend will eventually evolve into a long-lasting La Ni�a situation."

A La Nina is essentially the opposite of an El Ni�o. During a La Nina, trade winds in the western equatorial Pacific are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Ni�as change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air, resulting in less rain along the coasts of North and South America. They also tend to increase the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.

"For the American Southwest, La Ninas usually bring a dry winter, not good news for a region that has experienced normal rain and snowpack only once in the past five winters," said Patzert.

For more information on El Nino, La Nina and Jason-2, visit: http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov

latest%20data%20from%20the%20NASA/European%20Ocean%20Surface%20Topography%20Mission/Jason-2%20satellite
 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 23 2010 at 9:33pm

NOAA: May Global Temperature is Warmest on Record

Spring and January-May also post record breaking temps

June 15, 2010

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for May, March-May (Northern Hemisphere spring-Southern Hemisphere autumn), and the period January-May according to NOAA. Worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record while the global ocean surface temperatures for both May and March-May were second warmest on record, behind 1998.

The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.

Global Highlights – May 2010


 (Credit: NOAA)

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for May was the warmest on record, at 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average of 58.6°F (14.8°C).
  • The global land surface temperature for May was 1.87°F (1.04°C) above the 20th century average of 52.0°F (11.1°C) — the warmest on record.
  • The May worldwide ocean temperature was the second warmest on record, behind 1998. The temperature anomaly was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 20th century average of 61.3°F (16.3°C).
  • Warm temperatures were present over most of the globe’s land areas. The warmest temperature anomalies occurred in eastern North America, eastern Brazil, Eastern Europe, southern Asia, eastern Russia, and equatorial Africa. The Chinese province of Yunnan had its warmest May since 1951. Numerous locations in Ontario, Canada had their warmest May on record.  
  • Anomalously cool conditions were present across western North America, northern Argentina, interior Asia, and Western Europe. Germany had its coolest May since 1991 and its 12th coolest May on record.

Global Highlights – March-May 2010


 (Credit: NOAA)

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the March-May season was 58.0°F (14.4°C), which is the warmest such period on record and 1.31°F (0.73°C) above the 20th century average of 56.7°F (13.7°C).
  • The worldwide land surface temperature for March-May was 2.20°F (1.22°C) above the 20th century average of 46.4 °F (8.1°C) — the warmest on record.
  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 20th century average of 61.0°F (16.1°C) and the second warmest March-May on record, behind 1998.
  • Very warm temperatures were present across eastern and northern North America, northern Africa, Eastern Europe, southern Asia, and parts of Australia. Tasmania tied its warmest March-May period on record. The Northeastern U.S. also had its warmest March-May period on record. Conversely, cool temperatures enveloped the western U.S. and eastern Asia.
  • Western Europe was particularly dry for its spring season. For the United Kingdom, it was the driest spring since 1984, and the twelfth driest since the UK record began in 1910.

Other Highlights

  • Arctic sea ice covered an average of 5.06 million square miles (13.1 million square kilometers) during May. This is 3.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the ninth-smallest May footprint since records began in 1979. During May 2010, Arctic sea ice melted 50 percent faster than the average May melting rate, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
  • Antarctic sea ice extent in May was 7.3 percent above the 1979-2000 average, resulting in the fourth largest May extent on record.
  • Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during May 2010 was a record low at 4.3 million square kilometers below the long-term average. North America and Eurasia both had record-low snow extents for the month. Northern Hemisphere March-May snow cover extent was fourth smallest on record, while the North American (including Greenland) snow cover extent for spring (March-May) 2010 was the smallest on record.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100615_globalstats.html

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2010 at 9:10am

Arctic Climate May be More Sensitive to Warming Than Thought, Says New Study

June 29, 2010


Artist’s rendering of the Beaver Pond site on Ellesmere Island, in Canada's High Arctic, as it may have looked about 3 to 5 million years ago. Image credit: George "Rinaldino" Teichmann

From left to right, Ashley Ballantyne of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dara Finney of Environment Canada and Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature search for fossils in a peat deposit at Strathcona Fiord on Ellesmere Island in Canada's High Arctic. Photo courtesy Dara Finney, Environment Canada.

A new study shows the Arctic climate system may be more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously thought, and that current levels of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide may be high enough to bring about significant, irreversible shifts in Arctic ecosystems.

Led by the University of Colorado at Boulder, the international study indicated that while the mean annual temperature on Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic during the Pliocene Epoch 2.6 to 5.3 million years ago was about 34 degrees Fahrenheit, or 19 degrees Celsius, warmer than today, CO2 levels were only slightly higher than present. The vast majority of climate scientists agree Earth is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping atmospheric gases generated primarily by human activities like fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

The team used three independent methods of measuring the Pliocene temperatures on Ellesmere Island in Canada's High Arctic. They included measurements of oxygen isotopes found in the cellulose of fossil trees and mosses that reveal temperatures and precipitation levels tied to ancient water, an analysis of the distribution of lipids in soil bacteria which correlate with temperature, and an inventory of ancient Pliocene plant groups that overlap in range with contemporary vegetation.

"Our findings indicate that CO2 levels of approximately 400 parts per million are sufficient to produce mean annual temperatures in the High Arctic of approximately 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees F)," Ballantyne said. "As temperatures approach 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain permanent sea and glacial ice in the Arctic. Thus current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere of approximately 390 parts per million may be approaching a tipping point for irreversible ice-free conditions in the Arctic."

A paper on the subject is being published in the July issue of the journal Geology. Co-authors included David Greenwood of Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, Jaap Sinninghe Damste of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Adam Csank of the University of Arizona, Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and Jaelyn Eberle, curator of fossil vertebrates at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and an associate professor in the geological sciences department.

Arctic temperatures have risen by about 1.8 degrees F, or 1 degree C, in the past two decades in response to anthropogenic greenhouse warming, a trend expected to continue in the coming decades and centuries, said Ballantyne. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 parts per million during the pre-industrial era on Earth to about 390 parts per million today.

During the Pliocene, Ellesmere Island hosted forests of larch, dwarf birch and northern white cedar trees, as well as mosses and herbs, including cinquefoils. The island also was home to fish, frogs and now extinct mammals that included tiny deer, ancient relatives of the black bear, three-toed horses, small beavers, rabbits, badgers and shrews. Because of the high latitude, the Ellesmere Island site on the Strathcona Fiord was shrouded by darkness six months out of the year, said Rybczynski.

Fossils are often preserved in a process known as permineralization, in which mineral deposits form internal casts of organisms. But at the Ellesmere Island site known as the "Beaver Pond site," organic materials -- including trees, plants and mosses -- have been "mummified" in peat deposits, allowing the researchers to conduct detailed, high-quality analyses, said Eberle.

Ballantyne said the high level of preservation of trees and mosses at Ellesmere Island allowed the team to measure the ratio of oxygen isotopes in plant cellulose, providing information on water absorbed from precipitation during the Pliocene and which yielded estimates of past surface temperatures. The team also compared data on the width of tree rings in larch trees at the Beaver Pond site to trees at lower latitudes today to help them estimate past temperatures and precipitation levels.

The researchers also analyzed the distribution of ancient membrane lipids from soil bacteria known as tetraethers, which correlate to temperature. The chemical structure of the fossilized tetraethers makes them highly sensitive to both temperature and acidity, or pH, said Ballantyne.

The last line of evidence put forward by the CU-Boulder-led team was a comparison of Pliocene ancient vegetation at the site with vegetation present today, providing a clear "climate window" showing the overlap of the two time periods. "The results of the three independent temperature proxies are remarkably consistent," said Eberle. "We essentially were able to ‘read' the vegetation in order to estimate air temperatures in the Pliocene."

Today, Ellesmere Island is a polar desert that features tundra, permafrost, ice sheets, sparse vegetation and a few small mammals. Temperatures range from roughly minus 37 degrees F, or minus 38 degrees C, in winter to 48 degrees F, or 9 degrees C, in summer. The region is one of the coldest, driest environments on Earth.

"Our findings are somewhat disconcerting regarding the temperatures and greenhouse gas levels during the Pliocene," said Eberle. "We already are seeing evidence of both mammals and birds moving northward as the climate warms, and I can't help but wonder if the Arctic is headed toward conditions similar to those that existed during the Pliocene."

Elevated Arctic temperatures during the Pliocene -- which occurred shortly before Earth plunged into an ice age about 2.5 million years ago -- are thought to have been driven by the transfer of heat to the polar regions and perhaps by decreased reflectivity of sunlight hitting the Arctic due to a lack of ice, said Ballantyne. One big question is why the Arctic was so sensitive to warming during this period, he said.

Multiple feedback mechanisms have been proposed to explain the amplification of Arctic temperatures, including the reflectivity strength of the sun on Arctic ice and changes in vegetation seasonal cloud cover, said Ballantyne. "I suspect that it is the interactions between these different feedback mechanisms that ultimately produce the warming temperatures in the Arctic."

In 2009, CU-Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center showed the September Arctic sea ice extent was 649,000 square miles, or 1,680,902 square kilometers, below the 1979-2000 average, and is declining at a rate of 11.2 percent per decade. Some climate change experts are forecasting that the Arctic summers will become ice-free summers within a decade or two.

In addition to its exceptional preservation of fossil wood, plants, insects and mollusks, the Beaver Pond site on Ellesmere Island is the only reported Pliocene fossil site in the High Arctic to yield vertebrate remains, said Rybczynski.

Eberle said there is high concern by scientists over a proposal to mine coal on Ellesmere Island near the Beaver Pond site by WestStar Resources Inc. headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. "Paleontological sites like the Beaver Pond site are unique and extremely valuable resources that are of international importance," said Eberle. "Our concern is that coal mining activities could damage such sites and they will be lost forever."

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council in Canada, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the European Research Council.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2010 at 9:52am
Arctic Freshwater Cycle is Intensifying Consistent with Climate Warming, say UMass Amherst Researcher and International Team (June 24, 2010)
 
AMHERST, Mass. � The amount of fresh water flowing through the Arctic as snow or rainfall, in rivers and other cycles is increasing, in agreement with model projections under a warming climate, according to a new study by University of Massachusetts Amherst hydrologist Michael Rawlins and colleagues from 18 other institutions in the United States, Norway and Finland.

The multi-year, multi-investigator synthesis of available data caps a five-year effort known as the Freshwater Integration study (FWI), funded by the National Science Foundation, which sought to answer fundamental questions about the Arctic system, foremost of which: Is the Arctic freshwater cycle accelerating or intensifying? Findings appear in the current, online issue of the Journal of Climate.

As Rawlins, manager of the Climate System Research Center at UMass Amherst explains, �The balance of evidence suggests that Arctic freshwater cycle intensification is occurring across the terrestrial Arctic. These observations are consistent with what models have suggested should occur with climatic warming.� Intensification is related to the atmosphere�s ability to hold more moisture as it warms.

However, he adds that though this study used the best available data, because of uncertainties such as sparse observing networks and �considerable variability� in the Arctic freshwater system, confidence in the overall conclusion must be seen as �somewhat limited.� Nevertheless, the study provides an important benchmark.

As the authors point out, �direct observations of the Arctic freshwater cycle are continually being updated and made available as well. Future analysis to update the assessments presented here will be an important contribution to the emerging body of evidence documenting Arctic hydrologic change.�

The analysis, which focused on changes over the past few decades, involved a synthesis of data collected over recent years. Specifically, Rawlins and colleagues found that five of six terrestrial precipitation data sets showed a trend toward increased precipitation, two being statistically significant. Also, all five evapotranspiration (the sum of water evaporated from water bodies and transpired from vegetation) data sets showed a positive trend, of which three were significant. Finally, all five of the Arctic river discharge records showed an increasing trend. These were significant for Eurasia, North America excluding the Hudson Bay drainage and the Arctic as a whole, defined as all land areas that drain to the Arctic Ocean.

The researchers note that, �Among all components, the long-term increase in river discharge from large Eurasian rivers is perhaps the most consistent trend evidencing Arctic freshwater cycle intensification.� Their analysis builds on a groundbreaking 2002 study which found the combined flow of the six largest Eurasian rivers increased by about 7 percent from 1936�1999. Rawlins and colleagues say recent positive trends in North American river flows suggest that riverine intensification �may now be pan-Arctic in extent.�

While the available data show intensification on the terrestrial side, no clear evidence suggests intensification in flows or the amount of freshwater within the Arctic Ocean. However, many processes control ocean freshwater content including circulations which cyclically build up and export the water. Overall, Rawlins notes, the Arctic Ocean is predicted to become fresher as precipitation and river flows to the ocean increase, and as sea ice melts, but available data do not confirm this.

Freshwater cycle intensification could have important implications for processes and cycles not only in the Arctic, but beyond. Changes in terrestrial Arctic hydrology may alter land-surface flows of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are potent greenhouse gases. And, as Rawlins notes, �Freshening of the Arctic Ocean could potentially slow down the global thermohaline circulation, which is understood to be an integral component of Earth�s climate system.� Thermohaline refers to water temperature and salt concentration, which help to determine sea water density.

Future studies of the Arctic system should benefit greatly from better data sets and models, Rawlins says. �The science is constantly improving,� he notes. �Where we worked with nine models, we'll soon be able to repeat this analysis with twenty or more. And the models are getting more accurate all the time, with improved representations of key physical processes and higher spatial resolutions.�

In particular, as a terrestrial hydrologist, Rawlins is interested to break down the data by season and by region to confirm suspicions about how snowfall increases and recent losses of sea ice may be contributing to the observed freshwater trends.
 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 03 2010 at 8:44am

With the largest amount of accurate data, scientists, and technology NASA has been and will be in the future the dominant source for Data and Analysis on Earths Climate & Weather.

 
Below are a couple of short videos highlighting NASA Technology from data collection to super computers that put it all together.

 

Have a peak, cant hurt to look at how it all works.

 

Super-Computing The Climate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj0WsQYtT7M&NR=1

 

 

Measuring Earths Temperature

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRayIgKublg&feature=channel

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2010 at 8:40am

Sustainability: Will We Recognize It When We See It?

Last Modified 10:39 AM, July 2, 2010

 

Most people today embrace sustainability as a good thing, and it may be the greatest technological challenge our society has ever faced.

But, in a paper just published in the journal BioScience, Michigan Technological University wildlife ecologist John A. Vucetich and Michigan State University environmental ethicist Michael Nelson say that the technological challenge of sustainability pales in comparison to the ethical crisis it presents to society. 

In a paper titled "Sustainability: Virtuous or Vulgar?" Vucetich and Nelson examine the most widely-accepted definitions of sustainability, which indicate at least roughly that sustainability is: meeting human needs in a socially-just manner without depriving ecosystems of their health.  While the definition sounds quite specific, it could mean anything from "exploit as much as desired without infringing on the future ability to exploit as much as desired' to "exploit as little as necessary to maintain a meaningful life," the scientist and ethicist say.

"From a single definition arise two wildly disparate views of a sustainable world," says Vucetich, who teaches in Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and leads a long-running study of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale National Park. "Handling these disparate views is the inescapable ethical crisis of sustainability."

"The crisis results from not knowing what we mean by value-laden terms like 'ecosystem health' and 'human needs."  Nelson says, "In other words, is ecosystem health defined only by its ability to meet human needs, or does ecosystem health define the limits of human need?"

Solving the dilemma boils down to knowing the extent to which sustainability is motivated by concern for nature.  Or as Vucetich puts it: "Are we concerned for nature because nature is intrinsically valuable, or only because of what nature can do for us?"

Nelson adds, 'These questions are as difficult to answer as it is necessary to answer them.  We are unlikely to achieve sustainability without knowing what it means.' 

More disturbingly, Vucetich and Nelson point out that almost no effort is spent trying to answer this question.  For example, universities have hired dozens of academics in recent years to solve sustainability problems.  None of these academics work on the ethical crisis of sustainability. Likewise, the National Science Foundation’s interdisciplinary funding program for sustainability research makes no reference to ethics, and the word "ethic" appears in only one of the titles, abstracts or keywords of the 119 projects funded so far.

Vucetich and Nelson do not advance a particular interpretation of sustainability. Rather they show us why it is so important that all segments of society-academics and the general public, the public and private sectors-confront the inescapable dilemma that sustainability represents. 

"The first goal ought to be a citizenry that has enough ethical knowledge to be able to just talk about these issues intelligently," Vucetich says.  Nelson goes on to say "This is unlikely to happen until social leaders, including academics from all disciplines develop for themselves enough ethical knowledge to be able to teach the broader public how to approach these questions.  Then, hopefully, answers will emerge."

They conclude, "If we attain sustainability, it will not only require critical changes in technology, but also the most profound shift in ethical thought witnessed in the last four centuries."

The National Science Foundation provided support for the research on which this article is based.

Michigan Technological University (mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
Mahshadin View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: January 26 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3872
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 4:02pm

NOAA: U.S. Had Eighth Warmest June on Record, Above-Normal Precipitation

July 9, 2010

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the June 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 71.4 degrees F, which is 2.2 degrees F above the long-term average (1901-2000). The average precipitation for June was 3.33 inches, 0.44 inch above the long-term average.

Based on records dating back to 1895, this monthly analysis prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

U.S. Temperature Highlights


(Credit: NOAA)

  • A deep layer of high pressure dominated much of the eastern United States, bringing a southerly influx of warm air, which contributed to record high temperatures.
  • The Southeast, South and Central regions experienced their second, fifth and seventh warmest June on record, respectively. Only the Northwest averaged a temperature below normal for June.
  • Record-warm June temperatures occurred in Delaware, New Jersey and North Carolina; each had average temperatures between 5 and 6 degrees F above the long-term mean. Seventeen other states had temperatures that ranked among their 10 warmest for June. Only Oregon and Washington had below normal average temperatures for June.
  • Halfway through 2010, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island have experienced their warmest January-June period on record. Eight other states in the Northeast and Great Lakes areas had a top-10 warm January-June period. In contrast, Florida has observed its seventh-coolest year-to-date on record.
  • Persistent warmth made the year’s second quarter (April-June) much warmer than normal for 20 states, which had either their warmest, or second-warmest such period on record. This contributed to the warmest April-June on record for both the Northeast and Southeast Climate Regions.
  • There were significant cool conditions in the West and Northwest. Oregon and Idaho had below normal temperatures for April-June, which led to the Northwest Climate Region’s ninth coolest such period.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights
(Credit: NOAA)

  • The prevailing high pressure that brought warmth to the South and Southeast also blocked many storm systems from entering the region, increasing the threat of drought. However, the active upper level pattern in the northern tier states alleviated drought conditions and produced record flooding in the High Plains.
  • Michigan had its wettest June on record, followed by: Iowa (2nd wettest), Nebraska and Illinois (3rd), Indiana (4th), Wisconsin (5th), Oregon (6th), and Ohio (10th). Maryland and Virginia experienced below average precipitation for June.
  • Precipitation during the year’s second quarter (April-June) was more widespread as Iowa and Washington each had its second wettest such period. It was Oregon’s fourth and Nebraska’s ninth wettest while persistent dryness in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey has resulted in their seventh, ninth and tenth driest such periods, respectively.

Other Highlights

  • Alex, the first June hurricane in the Atlantic since 1995, made landfall just south of the U.S.-Mexico border on June 30th, affecting portions of South Texas. Alex’s sustained winds of 105 mph made it June’s most intense Atlantic hurricane since Alma in 1966.
  • NCDC’s Climate Extremes Index for the first half of 2010 was about six percent higher than the historical average. The CEI measures the occurrence of several types of climate extremes, like record or near-record warmth, dry spells, or rainy periods. The elevated 2010 value was driven by large footprints of: extreme wetness (more than three times the average footprint), warm minimum temperatures (“warm overnight lows”), and areas experiencing heavy one-day precipitation events.
  • NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center tabulated 387 preliminary tornado reports during June. If confirmed, this will be the second most active June on record, behind 1992.
  • NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index indicated June’s temperature-related energy demand for the contiguous U.S. was 11.9 percent above average. The unusual warmth in the highly populated South and Southeast resulted in the second highest June value in 116 years.
  • Drought coverage decreased slightly in June. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported 8.5 percent of the United States was affected by drought on June 29. Slight improvements were seen in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes during June, while conditions deteriorated in Louisiana.

NCDC’s State of the Climate reports are released soon after the end of each month. These analyses are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1 7891011 16>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down