Friday, April 8, 2011

Climate in Graphic Form

The first motive I had for starting this blog was to recorde my thoughts and observations on the great challenges we face in the upcoming decade. In particular I focused on climate, energy, politics and higher ed.  From time to time then its useful to just look at what' going on.  Since a picture speaks a thousand words, we can often get a quick snapshot of the current state of affairs. Today I offer the state of the global climate in images.

First up, the global temperature anomalies for February 2011 compared to a 1951-1980 baseline. Map generated from NASA GISTEMP data:
February 2011 temperature anomaly.
As seen all winter, the polar regions have been warmer compared to the baseline.  This is reflected in the Arctic sea ice coverage, based on the National Snow and Ice Data Center's data

Maximum ice coverage for winter 2011.
The maximum extent was reached on March 7th, close to the record low and below the baseline.  Interestingly it has stabilized at its maximum.
Arctic sea ice extent compared to previous years, as of April 7, 2011.
Another interesting, and troubling, data set is the heat content of the oceans. The data is from the National Ocean Data Center and you can read how they gather and process the data here.  As a former sonar technician, I know that temperature measurements have been gathered continually since the beginning of the Cold War in other to determine ASW sonar ranges, so their has been a motivation to gather a robust and substantial data set.

The average of the global heat content of the oceans. Increased heat content means warmer oceans and with a greater volume (separate from any volume added from melting glacial ice).

Finally, the latest CO2 measurements, painstakingly gathered from the observatory on Mauna Loa, Hawaii:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide trends at Mauna Los, as of March 2011.

Regardless of paranoid, narcissistic-rage fueled denials, the global climate is changing, we know why, and nothing is being done about it.

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