The American Astronomical Society (AAS) passed a 3-paragraph climate change resolution in January of 2013, endorsing the 2012, and now the August 2013 two-page position statement of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), whose title is Human-Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action. That is good news! The AAS has about 7,000 members. The AGU has about 62,000 members.
I have attended astronomy meetings now and then in Houston since 1992. Their featured lectures (presentations) are often excellent. They meet at the NASA-related Lunar and Planetary Institute, a nice venue. Their (our) monthly meetings include a member’s minute, and membership is free. I can remind them of this subject, and I did that once already. I summarized what is written above. I have been in touch with other regular attendees, too. I will miss the following meeting, so I encourage others to create a member’s minute on this subject. My fellow attendees are not tempted to act on my suggestion, but FC did not answer my LinkedIn email note yet.
See SkepticalScience.com for a good introduction. Take the free course (a MOOC), Denial101x.
Greenhouse gases are warming the global climate. The worst is water vapor, but it is a feedback in this scenario, and human-induced greenhouse gases are the forcing functions creating that positive feedback. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the worst of those gases, since human-induced CO2 emissions do not return the system to its prior state for hundreds of years for most of it, and for up to 20,000 years for the last 35% of it. Because of that long life, we reached a point of no return, and that point continues to move in a bad direction. For all practical purposes, this is irreversible.
The IPCC of the United Nations first reported this human fingerprint in 1995 in global surface average temperatures, and the human fingerprint has since been found in many other measurements, too, such as ocean acidification.
In the USA we delayed for more than 20 years, since the Kyoto Protocol, which (Wikipedia) extends the 1992 UNFCCC. Working with the United Nations, most nations of the world agreed in 2009 to a guardrail of 2C for an increase in that global average surface temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution. We already reached 0.8C by 2015 over the last 140 years.
I heard some scientists say we have 10 or 15 years remaining to act to avoid that guardrail. Some scientists say we are too late to respect that guardrail limit.
Thanks to institutionalized delay, only radical solutions remain, according the Naomi Klein, in her 2014 book, This Changes Everything. We must reduce those greenhouse gas emissions and do the other things for not just adaptation, but also mitigation. Things are changing!
To convert an increase or decrease from C to F, multiply by 1.8. To convert C to F, multiply by 1.8, then add 32.
Below are two images from this link: climate.nasa.gov.
Above: Temperature history from the NASA climate website. Click to zoom. 2015 06 30.
CO2 history for climate change information. This is from the NASA climate website. Click to zoom.
The CO2 plot above goes back to 400,000 years, but its label says 650,000 years? I have seen the plot with data on that time scale for both CO2 and global average surface temperature. I think I heard or read that way back then, during those hundreds of thousands of years, the 3 or 4 peaks and the tracking elsewhere is the result of temperature acting at the forcing function and CO2 acting as the positive feedback. I think I read that this is what is predicted for those past eras, so temperature leading the CO2 during those past eras is not a surprise or a mystery, nor does it contradict the description of CO2 now leading temperature since the start of the industrial era?
“CO2 is not a pollutant!” That is a myth. It is a false dichotomy. CO2 is needed by plants and exhaled by us, but human-induced CO2 greenhouse gas emissions require urgent action. Actually, my Denial 101x course says that is a red herring, so I stand corrected. I reviewed a 3-minute video on YouTube explaining that. Not a false dichotomy, though it is probably that, too, but a red herring.
“It is just the Sun.” That is a myth. For the last few decades, the Sun’s energy declined slightly while global warming accelerated. Also, the Sun would head both the upper and lower atmosphere together, but the upper atmosphere has been cooling the last few decades, though that is complicated by human-induced loss of ozone in the upper atmosphere. This myth is an oversimplification.