Archive by date | March 2009

Will warming wash-away Wall Street?

Will warming wash-away Wall Street?

Cross-posted from The Great Beyond New Yorkers beware! A new study published in Nature Geoscience says the north-eastern US coast will be in more trouble from global warming than previously believed. Looking at the predictions from a whole set of different climate models, researchers Jianjun Yin, Michael Schlesinger and Ronald Stouffer found that changes in ocean circulation will result in higher sea levels in the region, over and above expected global sea level changes. Depending on whether greenhouse gas emissions are low or high, an additional rise of between 15 and 21 cm can be expected by 2100, they say.  Read more

Copenhagen: Prognosis on global warming worsens

The clear message to emerge from the 3-day climate congress that wrapped up yesterday here in Copenhagen is that the prognosis on global warming is worse than anticipated by the IPCC in 2007. I reported the full story over on Nature News yesterday (no* subscription required). Here’s an excerpt:  … Read more

Copenhagen: Why the media matters

I took part in a session today at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen on the role of the media in communicating climate change. Organised by Max Boykoff at the University of Oxford, the session brought together a diverse panel of journalists and academics who study media trends.  Read more

Copenhagen: Food insecurity

A sobering presentation by Marshall Burke of Stanford on future agriculture. He and colleagues looked at historical climate and yield data for various crops in various parts of the world and projected the relationship they found into various future climates as found in the IPCC. As the IPCC itself reported, much of the tropics did badly in this analysis, and the worst performer was maize in southern Africa which was down in yield by about 30% by 2030.  Read more

Copenhagen: Who’s reporting?

I had a look this morning at a breakdown of the press registration at this conference by country. Clear winners are Denmark and the UK, with 40 or so people each. Both of those are inflated figures, because some third-country and international organisations are covering the meeting out of Copenhagen and London (Japanese TV stations are listed as UK, for example, as is Al Jazeera English). But still there is a lot of genuine UK interest: national papers and the BBC. And the locals are out in force.  Read more

Copenhagen: Has the Amazon tipping point tipped?

It appears that the action on Wednesday afternoon was where I was not: in the session on tipping points. Chris Jones of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre presented some studies of the Amazon (abstract in pdf) that have caused a big media stir. The studies suggest that a) there is a threshold level of warming beyond which much of the Amazon forest is committed to die back (probably being replaced by savanna) and b) that for significant parts of the forest that threshold is alarmingly low. Indeed it is quite possibly either unavoidable in the near future or already dwindling in the rear-view mirror.  Read more