Do you believe the European Commission on Climate Change? | Brussels Blog

Do you believe the European Commission on Climate Change?

posted by on 9th Dec 2012
9th,Dec

Bluesky has posted a response from Connie Hedegaard about the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Neven’s Sea Ice Blog. He got a more explicit response than I did.

CONNIE HEDEGAARD
MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN COMMlSS|ON 29. 11. 2012
Brussels,
Ares (2012) 1245303

Dear ….,

Thank you for your E-mail of 22 October 2012 concerning the melting rate of the Arctic sea ice.

The European Commission bases its climate policies on the best available science and on the scientific consensus of experts in the field of climate change. The scientific consensus view on this subject is re?ected in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fourth Assessment Report from 2007.

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR) already anticipated that the sea ice extent will reduce in the Arctic at a significant pace and that this may have an effect on the occurrence of extreme events. The recent reports and measurements provide the evidence of what was predicted. The question, though, that requires further scientific clarification in the next IPCC AR, currently under preparation and due in 2014, is whether the pace of sea ice decline in the Arctic is accelerating.

In addition, the Commission is committing increasing resources in communicating the latest developments in climate policy (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/news/index_en.htm), engaging the general public with the campaign “A World You Like in a Climate You Like” (http://world-you-like.europa.eu/en/), and reaching out to the public through social media (facebook, twitter, flickr, pinterest).

Yours sincerely

Connie Hedegaard

This is not credible to me. Perhaps Connie hasn’t seen what Kevin Anderson is saying?

Top scientists and government reports won’t tell you we are heading toward catastrophic climate change. Emissions are skidding out of control, leading us to a world six degrees Centigrade hotter on average, much faster than anyone thought possible. Why doesn’t the public know?

But there’s lots more to indicate that the IPCC is failing to keep pace with climate change and will continue to do so:

1.Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations

2 Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections
also http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/snow-2/

3. Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011

4. NSIDC Press Release: UNEP report urges policymakers to account for thawing permafrost in climate projections

5. NSIDC Media Advisory: NSIDC science at AGU highlights Arctic sea ice, permafrost carbon, and Antarctic ice sheets

  • Using combined records of IceBridge and satellite-derived thickness and extent data to constrain future projections of Arctic sea ice. Julienne C. Stroeve
  • The impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on global carbon policy. Kevin M. Schaefer
  • Impacts of snow cover changes on permafrost warming and degradation in the Arctic. Tingjun Zhang
  • Multiscale hydrologic impacts of dust deposition and climate warming in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Jeffrey S. Deems

6. An email from John Mitchell Mar 29 2012 (see below)
7. Climate talks must consider impact of melting permafrost, scientists say
8. Arctic methane: Why the sea ice matters

And some details …

Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations

Stroeve, J. C., V. Kattsov, A. Barrett, M. Serreze, T. Pavlova, M. Holland, and W. N. Meier (2012), Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16502, doi:10.1029/2012GL052676.

We show here that as a group, simulated trends from the models contributing to CMIP5 are more consistent with observations over the satellite era (1979–2011). Trends from most ensemble members and models nevertheless remain smaller than the observed value.

Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections

Derksen, C. and R. Brown (2012), Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053387, in press.

The rate of loss of June snow cover extent since 1979 (-21.5% decade-1) is greater than the loss of September sea ice extent (-10.8% decade-1) over the same period. Analysis of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model output shows the marked reductions in June SCE observed since 2005 fall below the zone of model consensus defined by +/-1 standard deviation from the multi-model ensemble mean.

See also http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/snow-2/

Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011

Stefan Rahmstorf et al 2012 Environ.Res.Lett.7 044035

The results show that global temperature continues to increase in good agreement with the best estimates of the IPCC, especially if we account for the effects of short-term variability due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, volcanic activity and solar variability. The rate of sea-level rise of the past few decades, on the other hand, is greater than projected by the IPCC models. This suggests that IPCC sea-level projections for the future may also be biased low.

NSIDC Press Release: UNEP report urges policymakers to account for thawing permafrost in climate projections

Warming permafrost could emit 43 to 135 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2100 and 246 to 415 gigatons by 2200. Emissions could start within the next few decades and continue for several centuries, the report said.
“Permafrost emissions could ultimately account for up to 39 percent of total emissions,” Schaefer said. “This must be factored in to treaty negotiations expected to replace the Kyoto Protocol.”

NSIDC Media Advisory: NSIDC science at AGU highlights Arctic sea ice, permafrost carbon, and Antarctic ice sheets

Reporters are invited to attend our scientists’ scheduled talks and poster presentations. Among the questions our scientists will be focusing on are:

  • How do glaciers and snow cover contribute to water sources in High Asia?
  • Do climate models accurately project future Arctic sea ice trends?
  • How should permafrost carbon feedback affect global climate policy?
  • Are there other causes of permafrost thaw in the Arctic?
  • How is the mass balance of the North Antarctic Peninsula responding to ongoing ice shelf loss?
  • How did the extremely dusty years of 2009 and 2010 affect snow cover and hydrology in the Upper Colorado River Basin?

Monday, December 3

Using combined records of IceBridge and satellite-derived thickness and extent data to constrain future projections of Arctic sea ice

Julienne C. Stroeve, NSIDC Research Scientist
Oral Presentation C11B-07
9:30 am, Moscone West 3005

How reliable are models in projecting future climate? Scientists know these models are reliable when they can reproduce the observed features of recent climate events. NSIDC research scientist Julienne Stroeve uses records of satellite- and air-borne sea ice thickness data to evaluate models of the 5th Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Does the CMIP5 model reliably capture ice thickness and how it relates to observed summer trends in sea ice extent?

The impact of the permafrost carbon feedback on global carbon policy

Kevin M. Schaefer, NSIDC Research Scientist
Poster Presentation PA13A-1990
1:40 pm to 6 pm, Moscone South, Hall A-C

More than 180 countries are negotiating a new climate treaty that forces nations to cut emissions to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 placing an overall limit on total global carbon emissions. However, the climate projections set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report currently do not account for emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost, risking anthropogenic emissions targets that overshoot this 2-degree warming target.

NSIDC research scientist Kevin Schaefer presents his team’s recommendations to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), delivered on November 27 at the UNFCC Conference of Parties in Doha. The report, commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), recommends a special IPCC assessment on permafrost emissions to support negotiations of emissions targets for the climate change treaty, and directly impacts countries with large amounts of permafrost, including Russia, Canada, China, and the United States.

Tuesday, December 4

Impacts of snow cover changes on permafrost warming and degradation in the Arctic

Tingjun Zhang, NSIDC Senior Research Scientist
Invited Oral Presentation C21D-03
8:30 am, Moscone West 3007

Changes in air temperature alone cannot account for the observed permafrost warming and thawing in the Arctic. NSIDC senior research scientist Tingjun Zhang investigates other factors that could have caused permafrost warming and degradation in the past few decades.

Zhang’s modeling results reveal that changes in the timing of snow accumulation in early winter and the thickness of snow cover are key variables that influence permafrost temperatures. His results also show that these changes have had dramatic impacts on permafrost degradation and the formation of talik, or unfrozen ground in a permafrost area. How has the timing of snow accumulation in the Arctic changed?

Thursday, December 6

Multiscale hydrologic impacts of dust deposition and climate warming in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Jeffrey S. Deems, NSIDC Research Scientist
Invited Oral Presentation C41D-07
9:30 am, Moscone West 3002

Recent studies show that decreased snow albedo from anthropogenic disturbance-induced dust loading to the mountains of the upper Colorado River Basin shortens the duration of snow cover by up to 50 days and advances peak runoff at Lees Ferry, Arizona by an average of three weeks. NSIDC research scientist Jeffrey Deems examines the hydrologic impact of extreme dust years such as 2009 and 2010, as well as interactions with projected regional warming on the Upper Colorado River Basin and selected sub-basins.

An email from John Mitchell Mar 29 2012

Hi Geoff

I apologise for not answering earlier – I now work part time.

Based on help from my colleagues

1.              reduced sea ice cover reflecting less of the sun’s heat back out to space,
2.              changing ocean circulation patterns
1,2 are in most models and have been for years

3.              less carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans
4.              increased soil respiration
3,4 are in most carbon cycle models and fairly well established. There are a good number of such models in the current IPCC assessment

5.              more forest fires
5 we don’t do yet, but could be important for changing ecosystems response to climate.

6.              melting permafrost
6a/b [GB - a:CO2, b:CH4] we don’t have in the GCM, but have some simple modelling of. Too early to show any results yet, but we plan to publish later this year. Bottom line is that both CH4 and CO2 will be released as permafrost thaws. The magnitude is uncertain, but likely to be significant.

7.              increased decomposition of wetlands
7,  we have in HadGEM2 but didn’t enable as a fully coupled feedback, but we can diagnose changes in wetland extent and CH4 emissions

I would add that although these things may be important, they are not always easy to quantify, model, initialize  and validate, especially 5-7. That is why is taking time to implement them.

John

Professor John Mitchell OBE FRS Principal Research Fellow,

Climate talks must consider impact of melting permafrost, scientists say

Anchorage Daily News, November 27, 2012

Researchers have known the permafrost is warming for some time, but they’ve only recently begun to accurately measure just how much carbon is in the Earth’s frozen regions. And they’re only beginning to understand the consequences of such unanticipated greenhouse gas emissions, which weren’t factored into the manmade emissions targets world leaders are considering this week at the United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar.

Arctic methane: Why the sea ice matters

Neven’s Sea Ice Blog

I’m not sure how imminent a methane clathrate collapse is, but I’m not ruling anything out. As long as methane concentrations. global as well as Arctic, are not shooting up dramatically we’re in the ‘safe’ zone (were it not for CO2, of course).

Don’t forget, if you want to have regular updates on the situation with regards to methane, you can go to Apocalypse4You’s website and the ESRL Data Visualization page for Barrow (or any other sites you want).

[GB: It's what Shakova says on the video that strikes me]

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