Climate Change Accelerating Beyond Expectations, Urgent Emissions Reductions Required, Say Leading Scientists
Global ice-sheets are melting at an increased rate; Arctic sea-ice is disappearing much faster than recently projected, and future sea-level rise is now expected to be much higher than previously forecast, according to a new global scientific synthesis prepared by some of the world’s top climate scientists.
In a special report called ‘The Copenhagen Diagnosis’, the 26 researchers, most of whom are authors of published IPCC reports, conclude that several important aspects of climate change are occurring at the high end or even beyond the expectations of only a few years ago.
The report also notes that global warming continues to track early IPCC projections based on greenhouse gas increases. Without significant mitigation, the report says global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
The Copenhagen Diagnosis, which was a year in the making, documents the key findings in climate change science since the publication of the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.
The new evidence to have emerged includes:
- Satellite and direct measurements now demonstrate that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets are losing mass and contributing to sea level rise at an increasing rate.
- Arctic sea-ice has melted far beyond the expectations of climate models. For example, the area of summer sea-ice melt during 2007-2009 was about 40% greater than the average projection from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
- Sea level has risen more than 5 centimeters over the past 15 years, about 80% higher than IPCC projections from 2001. Accounting for ice-sheets and glaciers, global sea-level rise may exceed 1 meter by 2100, with a rise of up to 2 meters considered an upper limit by this time. This is much higher than previously projected by the IPCC. Furthermore, beyond 2100, sea level rise of several meters must be expected over the next few centuries.
- In 2008 carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels were ~40% higher than those in 1990. Even if emissions do not grow beyond today’s levels, within just 20 years the world will have used up the allowable emissions to have a reasonable chance of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
The report concludes that global emissions must peak then decline rapidly within the next five to ten years for the world to have a reasonable chance of avoiding the very worst impacts of climate change.
To stabilize climate, global emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases need to reach near-zero well within this century, the report states.
[Source: News Release]
…from NASA/JPL/Cal tech…
“Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer applications that incorporate geographical features with tabular data in order to map and analyze real-world problems. ArcGIS is a system introduced by a company called Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) to meet the needs of a wide range of GIS users.
“On the blog titled ‘GIS and Science’ maintained by the GIS and Science Program Manager for ESRI, a number of ‘how-to’ videos are outlined that detail using AIRS data with ESRI GIS tools. The tools are developed on top of ESRI’s ArcGIS suite of GIS products utilizing ArcObjects.
“These videos demonstrates a component of a series of tools developed by the Redlands Institute at the University of Redlands, CA as part of a collaborative project with JPL to download, visualize, and analyze source AIRS satellite sounder data.”
The Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL) is collection of 6,799 worldwide and regional geographic data layers, scanned historic maps and associated descriptive information that can be searched mapped and downloaded for use for use with your GIS software.
Additional items recently added to HGL include scanned historic maps of the following cities: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Madison, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Quebec City; Louisbourg, Halifax and Port Royal (Nova Scotia); Mexico City, Havana, Dublin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Copenhagen, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Moscow, Jerusalem, Beijing, and Tokyo. Also recently added to HGL is a global oil pipeline data created by the Center for Geographic Analysis.
“Regional Science is now more than 50 years old; in the last two decades, significant advances in methodology have occurred, spurred in large part by access to computers. The range of analytical techniques now available is enormous; this books provides a sampling of the toolkit that is now at the disposal of analysts interested in understanding and interpreting the complexity of the spatial structure of sub- national economies. The set of tools ranges from the more traditional (input-output) to new developments in computable general equilibrium models, nonlinear dynamics, neural modelling and innovation.”
Water: Life, Risk, Energy and Landuse
May 27-28, 2010 – Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
The Austria-Central Asia Centre for GIScience at the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transportation and Architecture, and the Centre for Geoinformatics (Z_GIS), University of Salzburg, Austria are proud to announce the:
4th GIS-in-Central-Asia Conference – GISCA 2010. The main objectives of this conference are to bring together GIS academics, researchers and practitioners in the Central Asian countries and encourage international cooperation and knowledge exchange in GIS education. Geographic Information Science and Technologies have evolved into a key instrument for managing our societies, environments and infrastructures, as well as individuals’ daily lives. Continued success of this development depends on cooperation across disciplines, open information policies and a highly educated workforce. The GISCA series of conferences aims at building a Central Asian network of GIS professionals supporting the sustained development of this region into an environmentally friendly, secure and prosperous society.
In 2010, GISCA is focused on the main theme of WATER:
- Life: WATER for drinking and agriculture
- Risk: WATER posing a threat to settlements
- Energy: WATER for renewable hydropower
- Landuse: WATER controlling regional landuse
Particularly due to climate change, increasing pressure on resources, regional conflicts and social dynamics, quality and quantity of water supply are critical factors in developing our societies. GIScience offers an indispensable set of instruments for managing the water cycle.
Information and Registration
University of Salzburg | Z_GIS Centre for Geoinformatics
Hellbrunnerstr. 34 | 5020 Salzburg | Austria
phone: + 43 (0) 662 8044 5224
fax: +43 (0) 662 8044 182
…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24…
“Tropical cyclone Nargis struck the heart of Burma’s rice growing region in the low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta on May 2, 2008, causing extensive damage to agricultural lands, infrastructure, livestock, and stored food grains. A nearly 2,000-square-mile area of prime farmland was inundated with salt water and/or heavy rainfall. The affected region normally accounts for roughly 60 percent of the nation’s rice production.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had conducted a post-flood assessment that indicated that as of May 30, 2008, flood waters receded over a sizable area (300,000 hectares total recovery; 490,000 hectares improved since May 5, 2008). However, a month after the cyclone, approximately 1.40 million hectares, or 80 percent of the original inundated area, were still affected by some degree of flooding. Approximately 870,000 hectares had shown no improvement. The areas that showed the greatest change in the severity of flooding were the coastal areas of southern Ayeyarwady division. Natural drainage in these coastal rice farming areas must have aided the recovery, as further inland crop areas did not show the same degree of improvement. In contrast, much of the southern regions of Yangon division, which were heavily inundated, did not show much improvement a month after the cyclone’s passing.
“The Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products, build new markets, improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace, and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries.
“Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service.”
…from the UCLA Newsroom…
“A team of archaeologists from UCLA, USC, Israel and Palestinian territories has developed the first map detailing Israeli archaeological activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem – much of it never publicly disclosed.
“The fully searchable online map, which serves as a window into thousands of years worth of archaeological sites in the Holy Lands, has won the 2009 Open Archaeology Prize from American Schools of Oriental Research, the main organization for archaeologists working in the Middle East.”
…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24…
“The drift-thickness map of Ohio depicts the thickness and distribution of glacially derived sediments (called drift) and post-glacial stream sediments overlying the buried bedrock surface. This map was produced by subtracting bedrock-surface elevations from land-surface elevations to produce a residual map of drift thickness. Colors portray thickness intervals of glacial and modern sediments, which can range up to several hundred feet.
“The bedrock-surface component is one of the products resulting from a multiyear effort by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, to map the bedrock geology of Ohio. Bedrock-topography maps are required to determine the relief on the bedrock surface beneath thick layers of glacial drift. These maps were created for all 788 7½-minute topographic quadrangles in the state as part of a process to produce accurate bedrock-geology maps for glaciated portions of Ohio and for those areas beyond the glacial boundary where valleys are infilled with sediment. Data concentration and contour intervals on the original, hand-drawn bedrock-topography maps vary widely across the state in response to changing geologic and topographic conditions. During the course of mapping, over 162,000 data points were interpreted for bedrock-surface elevation and in some cases drift thickness. These points were plotted on maps and used as control for the bedrock-topography lines.
“Courtesy of Donovan Powers, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey.”
“The analysis is only as good as the model.”