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Sat, 2012-05-26 12:00Evan Leeson
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Shrinking Arctic Ice May Cause Mercury Poisoning

Arctic ice cap shrinkage over 32 years

NASA has shown repeatedly that the Actic icecap is melting, and melting faster than climate models predict. This new visualization is stark and should be of obvious concern, simply because of the impact on sea levels. Now there is a potentially new threat. The process of shrinkage may cause a chemical reaction that could poison the Arctic ecosystem with mercury.

The disappearance of old, thick ice in the Arctic means an increase in bromine released into the atmosphere. The new, thinner ice has more salt and this is where the bromine comes from. As it melts it interacts with relatively benign gaseous mercury causing it to solidify and fall in a toxic form to the ground and into ocean water. The old old ice has less salt.

Image source: NASA

it is currently popular in denier circles to tout the April 2012 ice sheet extension as a sign of slowing of Arctic ice melt. This grasping at straws is not supported by the overall data, which shows Acrtic ice disappearance increasing. The April extent is mainly thinner, new ice that will easily melt, potentially causing the “bromine explosiion” described by NASA. The old, thicker icecap is shrinking more rapidly as time passes, and with it, the benign melting of salt-depleted ice.

Thu, 2012-03-15 20:15MA Rodger
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Debunking GWPF Briefing Paper No3 - The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

This post is part 3 of a series examining the UK-registered educational charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the work it allegedly does explaining global warming to the public.

In part 1 the GWPF and its principles (or lack of them) were examined. In part 2 the many serious and fundamental flaws in GWPF Briefing Paper No2 were laid bare. So it will be good if we can find something positive to say about the GWPF here in part 3.

The GWPF Briefing Paper No3 The Truth About Greenhouse Gases examined here is a longer document (all 5,500 words of it) written by “a working scientist” (a physicist to be exact) who tells us he has “a better background than most in the physics of climate.” This sounds good as there is much physics involved in the subject of greenhouse gases, things like the EM spectrum and climate forcings. So on face value, this GWPF Briefing Paper No3 should be a worthwhile read.

Fri, 2009-07-10 21:03Leslie Berliant
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Global Warming Deniers Part Ways: Australian Institute of Public Affairs Says Goodbye to Jennifer Marohasy

The Center for Media and Democracy PR Watch reports that an Australian corporate funded think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is not renewing the contract for Jennifer Marohasy, one of its Senior Fellows and a global warming skeptic.

The news is actually somewhat surprising. IPA is a right-wing, corporate funded think tank with close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia (which is actually on the political right). Its Executive Director John Roskam is a former Howard government staffer and one of the organization’s key positions is to refute the science on issues such as climate change. A position that Marohasy promoted with vigor during her six-year tenure at IPA, though not all of her attempts to spread global warming denial came to fruition.

“I had great hopes for the planned collaboration between the IPA and University of Queensland on evidence-based environmentalism but the University proved too timid and conservative – at least for me.” - JenniferMarohasy.com

Marohasy has also left her position as Executive at the Orwellian named Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), which was established to help protect timber interests in Australia and founded by the IPA. The former Executive Director of the IPA described the AEF as “pro-biotechnology, pro-nuclear power, pro-modern farming, pro-economic growth, pro-business and pro-environment.” That last pro might be questionable.

Mon, 2009-06-01 14:36Jeremy Jacquot
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Denier Conference Readies for Round Three

Among the many conservative think tanks faithfully pushing the skeptic message in Washington, D.C., few are as prominent—or, should I say, infamous—as the Heartland Institute. The “independent” research and non-profit group has the dubious distinction of having organized the first major denier-palooza, the “International Conference on Climate Change,” last year. Despite a less than stellar showing, and an even more lukewarm follow-up in March, it’s hoping that the third time will be the charm.

The likes of Senator James Inhofe, Lord Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts will be descending on the Washington Court Hotel this week to discuss the “widespread dissent to the asserted “consensus” on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change.” Its ostensible purpose will be to “expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation’s capital” and demonstrate that “global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary”—which it calls the emerging consensus view of (the handful of) scientists outside the IPCC.

Mon, 2009-03-30 20:28Mitchell Anderson
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NASA Reneges on Transparency - Still No DSCOVR Documents

It was welcome news last month when Congress committed $9 million to refurbish the long-overdue Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Good start. So how about some information to go with it?

Desmog blog readers will recall the long and fruitless quest to wring documents out of NASA about the bizarre story of the DSCOVR spacecraft. This $100 million instrument was fully completed eight years ago yet has been sitting in a box in Maryland ever since.

DSCOVR was designed to directly measure climate change for the first time ever by observing our warming planet from the unique vantage of the Lagrange Point - one million miles towards the Sun.

The climate denial industry has been regularly harping on the unreliability of low Earth orbit satellite data for years. Strange then, how the very experiment that could resolve such issues was mothballed – over the strenuous objections of dozens of leading researchers.

I struggled for over a year to extract any kind of internal documents from NASA using the Freedom of Information Act and got nowhere. After 11 months of stonewalling, the space agency elected to withhold an unknown number of documents due to some very bizarre rationales. I appealed later in 2007 and was also turned down.

Then Barack Obama was elected President of the United States….

Tue, 2009-03-24 00:29Jeremy Jacquot
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The Tipping Points

As the world dithers, climate scientists are peering into their crystal balls to predict when the next shoe will drop. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of international researchers led by Elmar Kriegler of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research surveyed 43 leading scientists to estimate the likelihood of a tipping point occurring in the near future.

The four tipping points the researchers studied include the restructuring of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (also known as the ocean conveyor belt or thermohaline circulation), the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the increased frequency of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.

Based on the scientists’ feedback, they concluded that there is a one in six chance that at least one tipping point will be triggered under conditions of medium warming (2 – 4ºC) and a more than one in two chance (56%) under conditions of high warming (4 – 8ºC) by 2200.

Sun, 2008-11-30 13:59Mitchell Anderson
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“DSCOVR killed by Cheney” - NASA Insider

An unnamed source within NASA intimately familiar with the mothballed Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission spoke to Desmog Blog on the condition of anonymity.

The story is incredible.

The big question has always been: who would want to kill a $100 million fully completed climate satellite that has sat in a box since the 2000 presidential election - even though dozens of leading scientists have demanded it be launched?

Apparently Cheney was the hatchet man”, said the source. “Bush tried the keep his hands clean so he didn’t have direct involvement. It almost reminds me of the way Nixon used to operate…He assigned Cheney to be the hatchet man job on DSCOVR… Bush’s fingerprints weren’t on it but Cheney’s were… That’s what we heard through the grapevine.”

Sun, 2008-11-23 14:18Mitchell Anderson
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DesmogBlog Breaks DSCOVR Story in Nature

DesmogBlog was contacted this month by Nature – the most prestigious science journal in the world  – about our latest posting on the Deep Space Climate Observatory

It seems their editors were interested in the news we broke that the Air Force was considering launching this $100 million mothballed spacecraft – minus the Earth observing instruments.

Last week they published an 800 word article based on information we provided to them about this bizarre story.

Alas, our extensive research on the DSCOVR mission was not mentioned in the Nature article, but such is the lot of a blogger.

More importantly, the exposure provided by this piece in one of the premier journals in the world will hopefully light a fire under NASA to not to kill this vital mission.

Mon, 2008-01-14 12:56Bill Miller
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It’s already later than we realize in the struggle to arrest climate change

A recent essay says the most pressing current scientific and political challenge is to avoid what is known as “dangerous” global warming – the point where world temperatures become irreversible.

As there’s a 25-to-30-year lag between greenhouse emissions and the full impact of their warming, current climate chaos is a result of carbon spewed in the late 1970s. The hit from more recent discharges – including China’s coal plants – is but pain yet to come.

So we’re dangerously close already.

Fri, 2007-08-31 11:33Ross Gelbspan
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NASA Study Gives New Meaning to "Raining Cats and Dogs"

As the world warms, the United States will face more severe thunderstorms with deadly lightning, damaging hail and the potential for tornadoes, a trailblazing study by NASA scientists suggests. While other research has warned of broad weather changes on a large scale, such as more extreme hurricanes and droughts, the new study predicts even smaller events such as thunderstorms will be more dangerous.

 

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