"Officials canceled two Olympic test events last February in Sochi after several days of temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a lack of snowfall had left ski trails bare and brown in spots. That situation led the climatologist Daniel Scott, a professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to analyze potential venues for future Winter Games. His thought was that with a rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit possible by 2100, there might not be that many snowy regions left in which to hold the Games. He concluded that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.
The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.
The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters. As far for the Western part of the country, it will lose an estimated 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed — reducing the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegating skiing to the top quarter of Ajax Mountain in Aspen.” NYTimes
Contact me directly if you intend to apply. 3-5 years expeience required. Supports USAID. Excellent opportunity.
Associate Communications Specialist
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
Engility Corporation, building on IRG’s legacy in international development, seeks an Associate, Communications Specialist. The full-time Communications Associate will help expand the company’s corporate and project-based communications for its International Development Business and work with USAID. This individual will support the business group’s need for online presence across multiple digital media platforms. This includes regular communications support for Engility and the organization at-large, and those that support specific programs, strategic partnerships, thought leadership initiatives, technical tool development and enhancement, and the development of high-profile, digital marketing materials.
Oversee Engility International Development’s online presence, including public websites and digital communications efforts such as social media initiatives
Provide digital media support for high level public events with USAID and other organizations
Collaborate to develop and execute integrated media plans across platforms for key issue areas
Execute online communications strategies to raise visibility by increasing web traffic, growing online communities, and other digital media outreach
Work as part of a team to develop new web content, email newsletters, and social media and ensure quality in text, graphics, and other online content through content management system
Provide input to the Communications team for the development and implementation of the communications strategy
Help ensure that internal staff are aware of communications policies and procedures, support staff through the tools needed to enact these procedures, and improve and adapt these procedures as necessary
Help ensure that internal staff are aware of the company’s practices (messaging, logo use, language style, design style, branding, etc.) and assist them in complying with these standards
Probable overseas field travel to projects, client mission offices and conferences
MINIMUM TANGIBLE QUALIFICATIONS:
Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field
Must have 3-5 years of directly relevant experience, including developing and executing integrated strategic media plans across platforms
At least two years of website management experience; expert with social media tools and new media technology.
Strong social media engagement skills
Experience managing organizational social media feeds (e.g., Twitter and Facebook)
Knowledge of some or all of the following: how to manage PDFs, edit photos, create graphics, and edit web pages using Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium including Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Fireworks and/or Dreamweaver, Adobe Connect, and/or similar applications
Experience working within the communications culture of international development and staff in the public sector
Excellent writing skills and experience in editing
Attention to detail, strong organizational skills, adaptability, and flexibility
Ability to manage multiple projects effectively in a fast-paced environment and consistently meet deadlines.
Ability to work both independently and highly collaboratively, with appropriate levels of initiative and creativity
High degree of integrity, professionalism and maturity, and the ability to handle confidential matters
Experience managing a content management system using Drupal or similar platform
Ability to measure web trends using available tools
Experience working with quantitative data
Diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with management, colleagues at all levels, regional contacts, and the general public
Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck has a history of courting controversy and is likely to further inflame his critics with his belief that man-made emissions are not the primary reason behind our changing climate.
Sitting in the Swiss mountain ski resort of Davos after we have both listened to the Tanzanian president tell the heartbreaking story of how global warming is making life increasingly unbearable for his people, Brabeck told me that:
“Climate change is an intrinsic part of the development of the world. Since the world has existed we have had climate changes and we will have climate change as long as the world exists … For me the issue is more about what can we do in order to adapt to climate change and perhaps to try to gain more time … Are we God to say the climate, as it is today, is the one we have to keep? That’s the way it’s going to be? We are not God. What we have to assure is that climate change happens within a timeframe that humankind can adapt to.”
Good read, not for everyone though, since it’s from a multi-gabllionaire’s perspective.
Easier said than done. Georgians and southerners love their sprawl, and are deeply averse to urban planning investments that involve participation. Developers know this, and prey on southern states for its cheap land and purchasable politicians. Voters, therefore, need to force their politicians to decouple their relationships with big land developers and engage the public.
Hi Michael, Greetings from Indonesia. I enjoy your blog because I'm interested to learn about environment. As you might heard recently there're two big volcano eruptions in our country. Do you think they can influence the global weather? I've read in a journal that Krakatoa and Tambora eruptions in 19th century created global wheather changes then. Or the two recent eruptions are not significant enough for global weather? (I'm sorry if my English is not well structured) Yeni
Your English is just great! Yes, the gas and soot from erupting volcanoes do influence the climate for short periods of time. The volcanoes erupting in Indonesia right now are not getting the media coverage they deserve. Nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated, airports are closed, and the images of ash covering everything are amazing.
Mike Gunson, atmospheric chemist and director of the Global Change project at NASA has a better answer:
Can one blast from a volcano affect readings over most of the globe for an extended time?
Overall, volcanoes release about 5 percent of the equivalent amount of CO2 released by humans. Quite small. However, about once every 20 years there is a volcanic eruption (e.g., Mt. Pinatubo, El Chichon) which throws out a tremendous amount of particles and other gases. These will effectively shield us enough from the sun to lead to a period of global cooling. They typically dissipate after about two years, but the effect is nearly global.
That said, I’m not sure where to find the estimates of how these two big volcanoes will affect climate. Climate “forcings” are not my area. Maybe JAXA?
Hi Michael, You have an excellent blog, and what sounds like a really cool job! How did you end up in your field and what sort of advice could you offer to someone interested in your line of work? Thank you!
I’ve been meaning to add a background blurb to my FAQs page. I suppose I should do that soon… Basically, I worked for a newspaper in Providence Rhode Island and wanted to be a Pulitzer Prize winning environmental journalist. This was back in the early 2000s. Then, with the rise of the internet, newspapers collapsed and I didn’t see a future in enviro-journalism. So, I went back to school and got two masters degrees, one in environmental law, the other in urban planning. Both focused on aspects of climate adaptation. I consulted governments during school to pay the bills, wrote and published in climate change journals, and positioned myself basically for the (rather humblamazing) job I have now. A bit more background here, and my Reader Mail tag covers this a little if you’re into digging around.
Hi, I'd like to know if you've seen the recent floods that have hit the UK/Britain and what your thoughts are. A lot of people are blaming the floods on climate change, and I hope more people will take it seriously now, especially by thinking about who they vote for as a result.
I am a man-caused-Climate Change (Global Warming) skeptic. Where should I start looking for evidence?
Thanks for the question. Skepticism is the basis of science, so I somewhat* respect your point of view.
Note: I’m an adaptation specialist and I manage parts of USAID’s climate adaptation program in over 25 countries. This means I help governments around the world with policies that deal with inevitable impacts from climate change. Basically, I help with natural disaster planning using a bit of climate science, city planning, and environmental law. So, if a city is going to flood, I help a government plan to prevent the flood. If a country’s farming economy is going crash due to drought, I help the government shape a response to prevent crop losses. See what I do, here. Thus, I do not work on carbon or energy policy. I am not an activist. I do not advocate for emissions policies. I’m about as interested in “preventing climate change” as I am interested in becoming the next Dali Lama. That said, this is a very rare instance where I answer a question about carbon, GHGs, and energy. Ok, on to anon’s nice question:
Without these gases, the earth would be like the moon - a dead rock that’s freezing and boiling at the same time: +253F (+123C) during the day; -387F (-233C) at night.
There is no disputing this (deniers [unwittingly] admit this when they make arguments about cycles). When there are more gases in the atmosphere, more of the sun’s radiation is held within the atmosphere, creating a warming effect (and very strange changes in weather events).
In sum, your starting point is: Why is the earth warm? It’s warm due to GHGs in the atmosphere. And humans are adding a never before seen amount of carbon into the atmosphere, which in turn will wreak unbelievable havoc. Deniers bear the rather obscene burden of showing that GHGs do not keep the earth warm, and that increases in carbon do not influence climate.
I hope those links above help.
All the best,
*A legitimate skeptic applies critical thinking to systematically pick apart arguments. Skeptics do this by analyzing evidence. No one disagrees that GHGs cause warming (even all oil companies on earth admit this, and are searching for solutions to lower GHG emissions). The burden is on you and other deniers to show that greenhouse gases do not influence the earth’s atmosphere. Frankly, in my opinion, this is a rather boring subject. The more interesting subject is that deniers actually do not comprehend their own arguments. In fact, they’re really arguing against *the solutions* to reducing or preventing climate change, which are to raise the costs of fuels and not pay for environmental harm. This gets into societal ethics, personal responsibility, and market capitalism, which are far more (well, marginally) interesting topics.
President Obama’s new Executive Order, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” and recent Climate Action Plan directs federal agencies to ask the Climate Question and provide policy support and technical assistance to help federal, state and local governments, and private companies answer both parts of the Question — mitigation and adaptation.
The nexus between adapting to a changing climate and reducing GHGs is rarely approached in an integrated fashion. Many climate adaptation measures have GHG mitigation benefits and vice versa, yet too often the synergies only receive cursory attention. CCAP sees great opportunities in focusing on that sweet spot in the center of the Venn diagram.
There are few good explanations of how strong winter storms can exist in a warming world. Most explanations, I find, take a defensive posture against climate deniers. I think science writers should just stick to the science, and move away from addressing deniers. Or at least stop weaving denial into articles. The main points get buried, the author looks defensive, and the reader is left exasperated. Climate Communication has a pretty darn good explanation of how winter storms work, and why they could be getting stronger. They stick to the science, and avoid the fray.
Climate change is fueling an increase in the intensity and snowfall of winter storms. The atmosphere now holds more moisture, and that in turns drives heavier than normal precipitation, including heavier snowfall in the appropriate conditions.1
Heavy snowfall and snowstorm frequency have increased in many northern parts of the United States.2 The heavier-than-normal snowfalls recently observed in the Midwest and Northeast United States are consistent with climate model projections. In contrast, the South and lower Midwest saw reduced snowstorm frequency during the last century.3 Overall snow cover has decreased in the Northern Hemisphere, due in part to higher temperatures that shorten the time snow spends on the ground.
Snowstorms Shift Northward in the Northern Hemisphere
The regional pattern of fewer snowstorms in the southern United States and more in the North corresponds to a similar northward shift of cold-season storms in the entire Northern Hemisphere over the past 50 years. Mid-latitude storms have decreased in frequency (e.g., in the United States overall) while high-latitude storm activity has increased (e.g., in Canada).4 It is likely that human influence contributed to these changes.5
Not sure if this is something up your alley that you've ever had experienced with or even think positively of, but I was looking for websites and places that allow you to "buy an acre of the rainforest", save trees etc etc. Do you know of any trustworthy and respectable organizations that foster something like this?
Interesting question and I’m embarrassed I don’t completely know the answer. I’d investigate conservation land trusts that work internationally - stick to organizations that conserve and protect land in a variety of contexts, not just rainforests. World Land Trustlooks excellent, but honestly I do not know this organization. The Nature Conservancy has a rainforest program, but knowing what I know about the NC, there are organizations who would use your donation much more effectively.
I am biased toward smaller, leaner, non-profits with a clear mission and a long track record.
My favorite charity/org is the Turtle Survival Alliance. It’s a small organization with very big impact. They help conserve and protect land for turtles, influence conservation policy, help stop illegal turtle trading, and they have a phenomenal turtle breeding program.
It’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost. Because it has steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results.
I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it’s disastrous.
Not only are emissions up, but you have no end of scams to point to, which gives fodder to the right. The right took on cap-and-trade by saying it’s going to bankrupt us, it’s handouts to corporations, and, by the way, it’s not going to work. And they were right on all counts. Not in the bankrupting part, but they were right that this was a massive corporate giveaway, and they were right that it wasn’t going to bring us anywhere near what scientists were saying we needed to do lower emissions.
So I think it’s a really important question why the green groups have been so unwilling to follow science to its logical conclusions.
Interesting argument against governments protecting urban zones over food-production zones. Coastal communities and inland cities are protected from floods and erosion by highly complex infrastructure mechanisms, such as dams, levees, and piping. Agricultural lands do not enjoy the same levels of infrastructural capacity. But, should they? Should farms have an equal amount of protection as cities do?
Government accused of failing to address effects of climate change on coastal and rural areas
Severe flooding threatens to undermine the country’s food security, according to farmers and environmental groups, who today accuse the government of failing to address the effects of climate change on coastal and rural areas.
As gales swept southern and western parts of the UK, with already drenched counties bearing the brunt of the storms, it has emerged that parliament’s select committee on the environment warned in a report last year that “the current model for allocating flood defence funding is biased towards protecting property, which means that funding is largely allocated to urban areas. Defra’s [the Department of the Environment’s] failure to protect rural areas poses a long-term risk to the security of UK food production, as a high proportion of the most valuable agricultural land is at risk of flooding.”
"We need a response from government that recognises the importance for our long-term food security of safeguarding high-quality farmland," said Neil Sinden of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. "We need to view the countryside as more than a place for building, and value it for the food it provides." Via The Guardian
Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and Stony Brook University have demonstrated a new way to calculate the temperature of the ocean 80 million years ago: through the jaws of ammonites.
The new approach provides an alternative technique for gathering information about the habitats of ammonites—an extinct type of shelled mollusk that’s closely related to modern-day nautiluses and squids. The study was recently published in PLOS ONE.
New technique helps estimate earth’s ancient climates.
I work for a government contractor. We service USAID, mostly in the environment, energy, and agriculture sectors. Work is international, and you have to have donor experience. Most positions are senior, but some are mid to junior. Good salaries, good people.
The European Union, which for years has sought to lead the world in addressing climate change, is tempering its ambitions and considering turning mandatory targets for renewable energy into just goals.
The union’s policy-making body is also unlikely to restrict exploration for shale gas using the disputed technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
A deep and lasting economic slowdown, persistently high prices for renewable energy sources and years of inconclusive international negotiations are giving European officials second thoughts about how aggressively to remake the Continent’s energy-production industries.
The details are still being negotiated in Brussels, but officials said the European Commission’s energy and climate proposal will probably include a binding target of reducing emissions by 35 percent to 40 percent by 2030. Some officials wanted to make the new targets for renewable energy nonbinding. But opposition this week appears to have turned the tide in favor of having a binding renewable target — although it would be applied across the European Union rather than to individual nations, according to an official briefed on the negotiations.
There is absolutely no way to reasonably stop countries from emitting carbon and GHGs.
Salmon, unable to swim upstream to spawn, at risk of extinction - species stranded in ocean awaiting water surge for migration.
The lack of rain this winter could eventually be disastrous for thirsty California, but the drought may have already ravaged some of the most storied salmon runs on the West Coast.
The coho salmon of Central California, which swim up the rivers and creeks during the first winter rains, are stranded in the ocean waiting for the surge of water that signals the beginning of their annual migration, but it may never come. All the creeks between the Golden Gate and Monterey Bay are blocked by sand bars because of the lack of rain, making it impossible for the masses of salmon to reach their native streams and create the next generation of coho.
The dire situation prompted the district to release 29 million gallons of valuable drinking water from Kent Lake early this month in an effort to lure the coho into the watershed, which winds 33 miles through the redwood- and oak-studded San Geronimo Valley on the northwest side of Mount Tamalpais. Steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, are also waiting offshore at the same streams, but they are more resilient - unlike coho, they can often wait a year to spawn.
A collapse of the fall run of chinook, which is the only viable fishery left in Central California, would put hundreds of commercial fishermen and marine-related businesses out of work.
How did they know the global average temperature in 1880? -a curious science follower
Great question! Simplest answer: thermometers. Simple instruments such as thermometers and barometers have been used for centuries. Governments began to collect data from these instruments beginning in the early 1700s. (There are early data sets, but these focused on local or route specific locations rather than globally. For example, shipping companies collected ocean temperatures during the 1600s along specific routes to report conditions to insurance companies.).
The old-school instruments were placed in locations all around the world (locations ranged from trees, church steeples and clocks, tall poles, cliff faces, to just stuck in the ground). Governments collected the temperatures typically for military, farming, and shipping purposes.
The U.S. Weather Bureau, established in 1735, was sporadically managed by a few individual states (rather than the Federal Government). The bureau collected local information - not global.
In 1870, President Ulysses Grant established the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS):
The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today started on February 9th, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary of War:
“to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms”
After much thought and consideration, it was decided that this agency would be placed under the Secretary of War because military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations. Via NOAA
The NWS worked internationally. It collected data from its own instruments, and also from data shared by other countries, such as Denmark, France, India, and the U.K.
The NWS’s information was collected over time, and digitized into big data sets. These sets are used today!
The chart below shows temperature data over 1,000 years. (NOTE: This chart is from wikipedia entry “Temperature record of the past 1,000 years." I do not endorse this chart. I’m posting for illustrative purposes to help answer anon’s question about records from 1880).
Note the black line (far right). It shows collected instrument data from 1850 to 2004. Data prior to 1850 is collected by climate proxies.