Monthly Archives: May 2014

EPA’s Latest Climate Change Indicators Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released the third edition of Climate Change Indicators in the United States.

The report presents observed data on 30 indicators showing long-term trends of climate change impacts that are already affecting our environment and our society. 
“These indicators make it clear that climate change is a serious problem and is happening now here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Everything we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the changes that are already underway will help us safeguard our children’s future.”

Melting West Antarctica Ice Sheet Passes “Point of No Return”

The West Antarctica Ice Sheet has begun to disintegrate, two studies described here conclude. Temperatures in the region are rising more quickly than predicted and the topography of the sea bed below the ice, the presence of warm ocean currents, and the configuration of the ice sheet all point to collapse in the next centuries.

“It has passed the point of no return,” Eric Rignot of the University of California at Irvine, told reporters during a NASA teleconference on Monday. You can take a look at an overview of the factors and feedback loops in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet from NASAThe studies focus on the Amundsen Sea region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which stores enough water to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). There is enough water held in the ice of the whole West Antarctica Ice Sheet to raise global sea levels by 16 feet (5 meters).

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The Amundsen Sea region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/SVS

National Climate Assessment: It’s Happening Now

On May 6, the  U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive scientific analysis of climate change impacts across the U.S. The report confirms that climate change is already affecting us now. Explore the overview, highlights, and the full report here. You can watch Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science & Technology, discuss the Report here.

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From the Overview: The green band shows how global average temperature would have changed over the last century due to natural forces alone, as simulated by climate models. The blue band shows model simulations of the effects of human and natural forces (including solar and volcanic activity) combined. The black line shows the actual observed global average temperatures. Only with the inclusion of human influences can models reproduce the observed temperature changes. (Figure source: adapted from Huber and Knutti 2012).

Billy Frank Jr. March 9, 1931 – May 5, 2014

Billy-Frank-JrIt is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Billy Frank Fr.

“I don’t believe in magic. I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same.”

– Billy Frank, Jr. from Where the Salmon Run

More about the life and legacy of Billy can be found here: billyfrankjr.org