Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The point of no return: Climate change nightmares are already here

A superb article from the Rolling Stones magazine. Climate change is already occupaying hundreds of pages in magazines dedicated to other topics, as music. A quite well written article, telling the efforts undertaken by James Hansen (ex-NASA) to fight and warn about climate change. It also warns us that it is already late, but please, let's not make it worse, 'cause it can be much much worse… 

source: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805?page=5

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public's attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren't cut, "We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."
Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen's study, said their new research doesn't necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature — the previously agreed upon "safe" level of climate change — "would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise."
Hansen's new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be. Even as global ocean temperatures rise to their highest levels in recorded history, some parts of the ocean, near where ice is melting exceptionally fast, are actually cooling, slowing ocean circulation currents and sending weather patterns into a frenzy. Sure enough, a persistently cold patch of ocean is starting to show up just south of Greenland, exactly where previous experimental predictions of a sudden surge of freshwater from melting ice expected it to be. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, recently said of the unexpectedly sudden Atlantic slowdown, "This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding."
Since storm systems and jet streams in the United States and Europe partially draw their energy from the difference in ocean temperatures, the implication of one patch of ocean cooling while the rest of the ocean warms is profound. Storms will get stronger, and sea-level rise will accelerate. Scientists like Hansen only expect extreme weather to get worse in the years to come, though Mann said it was still "unclear" whether recent severe winters on the East Coast are connected to the phenomenon.
And yet, these aren't even the most disturbing changes happening to the Earth's biosphere that climate scientists are discovering this year. For that, you have to look not at the rising sea levels but to what is actually happening within the oceans themselves.

ater temperatures this year in the North Pacific have never been this high for this long over such a large area — and it is already having a profound effect on marine life.

Eighty-year-old Roger Thomas runs whale-watching trips out of San Francisco. On an excursion earlier this year, Thomas spotted 25 humpbacks and three blue whales. During a survey on July 4th, federal officials spotted 115 whales in a single hour near the Farallon Islands — enough to issue a boating warning. Humpbacks are occasionally seen offshore in California, but rarely so close to the coast or in such numbers. Why are they coming so close to shore? Exceptionally warm water has concentrated the krill and anchovies they feed on into a narrow band of relatively cool coastal water. The whales are having a heyday. "It's unbelievable," Thomas told a local paper. "Whales are all over the place."
Last fall, in northern Alaska, in the same part of the Arctic where Shell is planning to drill for oil, federal scientists discovered 35,000 walruses congregating on a single beach. It was the largest-ever documented "haul out" of walruses, and a sign that sea ice, their favored habitat, is becoming harder and harder to find.
Marine life is moving north, adapting in real time to the warming ocean. Great white sharks have been sighted breeding near Monterey Bay, California, the farthest north that's ever been known to occur. A blue marlin was caught last summer near Catalina Island — 1,000 miles north of its typical range. Across California, there have been sightings of non-native animals moving north, such as Mexican red crabs. 

Salmon on the brink of dying out. Michael Quinton/Newscom

No species may be as uniquely endangered as the one most associated with the Pacific Northwest, the salmon. Every two weeks, Bill Peterson, an oceanographer and senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Oregon, takes to the sea to collect data he uses to forecast the return of salmon. What he's been seeing this year is deeply troubling.
Salmon are crucial to their coastal ecosystem like perhaps few other species on the planet. A significant portion of the nitrogen in West Coast forests has been traced back to salmon, which can travel hundreds of miles upstream to lay their eggs. The largest trees on Earth simply wouldn't exist without salmon.
But their situation is precarious. This year, officials in California are bringing salmon downstream in convoys of trucks, because river levels are too low and the temperatures too warm for them to have a reasonable chance of surviving. One species, the winter-run Chinook salmon, is at a particularly increased risk of decline in the next few years, should the warm water persist offshore.
"You talk to fishermen, and they all say: 'We've never seen anything like this before,' " says Peterson. "So when you have no experience with something like this, it gets like, 'What the hell's going on?' "
Atmospheric scientists increasingly believe that the exceptionally warm waters over the past months are the early indications of a phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a cyclical warming of the North Pacific that happens a few times each century. Positive phases of the PDO have been known to last for 15 to 20 years, during which global warming can increase at double the rate as during negative phases of the PDO. It also makes big El Niños, like this year's, more likely. The nature of PDO phase shifts is unpredictable — climate scientists simply haven't yet figured out precisely what's behind them and why they happen when they do. It's not a permanent change — the ocean's temperature will likely drop from these record highs, at least temporarily, some time over the next few years — but the impact on marine species will be lasting, and scientists have pointed to the PDO as a global-warming preview.
"The climate [change] models predict this gentle, slow increase in temperature," says Peterson, "but the main problem we've had for the last few years is the variability is so high. As scientists, we can't keep up with it, and neither can the animals." Peterson likens it to a boxer getting pummeled round after round: "At some point, you knock them down, and the fight is over." 

Pavement-melting heat waves in India. Harish Tyagi/EPA/Corbis

ttendant with this weird wildlife behavior is a stunning drop in the number of plankton — the basis of the ocean's food chain. In July, another major study concluded that acidifying oceans are likely to have a "quite traumatic" impact on plankton diversity, with some species dying out while others flourish. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it's converted into carbonic acid — and the pH of seawater declines. According to lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz of MIT, that trend means "the whole food chain is going to be different."

The Hansen study may have gotten more attention, but the Dutkiewicz study, and others like it, could have even more dire implications for our future. The rapid changes Dutkiewicz and her colleagues are observing have shocked some of their fellow scientists into thinking that yes, actually, we're heading toward the worst-case scenario. Unlike a prediction of massive sea-level rise just decades away, the warming and acidifying oceans represent a problem that seems to have kick-started a mass extinction on the same time scale.
Jacquelyn Gill is a paleoecologist at the University of Maine. She knows a lot about extinction, and her work is more relevant than ever. Essentially, she's trying to save the species that are alive right now by learning more about what killed off the ones that aren't. The ancient data she studies shows "really compelling evidence that there can be events of abrupt climate change that can happen well within human life spans. We're talking less than a decade."

or the past year or two, a persistent change in winds over the North Pacific has given rise to what meteorologists and oceanographers are calling "the blob" — a highly anomalous patch of warm water between Hawaii, Alaska and Baja California that's thrown the marine ecosystem into a tailspin. Amid warmer temperatures, plankton numbers have plummeted, and the myriad species that depend on them have migrated or seen their own numbers dwindle.

Significant northward surges of warm water have happened before, even frequently. El Niño, for example, does this on a predictable basis. But what's happening this year appears to be something new. Some climate scientists think that the wind shift is linked to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice over the past few years, which separate research has shown makes weather patterns more likely to get stuck.
A similar shift in the behavior of the jet stream has also contributed to the California drought and severe polar vortex winters in the Northeast over the past two years. An amplified jet-stream pattern has produced an unusual doldrum off the West Coast that's persisted for most of the past 18 months. Daniel Swain, a Stanford University meteorologist, has called it the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" — weather patterns just aren't supposed to last this long.
What's increasingly uncontroversial among scientists is that in many ecosystems, the impacts of the current off-the-charts temperatures in the North Pacific will linger for years, or longer. The largest ocean on Earth, the Pacific is exhibiting cyclical variability to greater extremes than other ocean basins. While the North Pacific is currently the most dramatic area of change in the world's oceans, it's not alone: Globally, 2014 was a record-setting year for ocean temperatures, and 2015 is on pace to beat it soundly, boosted by the El Niño in the Pacific. Six percent of the world's reefs could disappear before the end of the decade, perhaps permanently, thanks to warming waters.
Since warmer oceans expand in volume, it's also leading to a surge in sea-level rise. One recent study showed a slowdown in Atlantic Ocean currents, perhaps linked to glacial melt from Greenland, that caused a four-inch rise in sea levels along the Northeast coast in just two years, from 2009 to 2010. To be sure, it seems like this sudden and unpredicted surge was only temporary, but scientists who studied the surge estimated it to be a 1-in-850-year event, and it's been blamed on accelerated beach erosion "almost as significant as some hurricane events." 

Biblical floods in Turkey. Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Possibly worse than rising ocean temperatures is the acidification of the waters. Acidification has a direct effect on mollusks and other marine animals with hard outer bodies: A striking study last year showed that, along the West Coast, the shells of tiny snails are already dissolving, with as-yet-unknown consequences on the ecosystem. One of the study's authors, Nina Bednaršek, told Science magazine that the snails' shells, pitted by the acidifying ocean, resembled "cauliflower" or "sandpaper." A similarly striking study by more than a dozen of the world's top ocean scientists this July said that the current pace of increasing carbon emissions would force an "effectively irreversible" change on ocean ecosystems during this century. In as little as a decade, the study suggested, chemical changes will rise significantly above background levels in nearly half of the world's oceans.
"I used to think it was kind of hard to make things in the ocean go extinct," James Barry of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California told the Seattle Times in 2013. "But this change we're seeing is happening so fast it's almost instantaneous." 

hanks to the pressure we're putting on the planet's ecosystem — warming, acidification and good old-fashioned pollution — the oceans are set up for several decades of rapid change. Here's what could happen next.

The combination of excessive nutrients from agricultural runoff, abnormal wind patterns and the warming oceans is already creating seasonal dead zones in coastal regions when algae blooms suck up most of the available oxygen. The appearance of low-oxygen regions has doubled in frequency every 10 years since 1960 and should continue to grow over the coming decades at an even greater rate.
So far, dead zones have remained mostly close to the coasts, but in the 21st century, deep-ocean dead zones could become common. These low-oxygen regions could gradually expand in size — potentially thousands of miles across — which would force fish, whales, pretty much everything upward. If this were to occur, large sections of the temperate deep oceans would suffer should the oxygen-free layer grow so pronounced that it stratifies, pushing surface ocean warming into overdrive and hindering upwelling of cooler, nutrient-rich deeper water.
Enhanced evaporation from the warmer oceans will create heavier downpours, perhaps destabilizing the root systems of forests, and accelerated runoff will pour more excess nutrients into coastal areas, further enhancing dead zones. In the past year, downpours have broken records in Long Island, Phoenix, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and Pensacola, Florida.
Evidence for the above scenario comes in large part from our best understanding of what happened 250 million years ago, during the "Great Dying," when more than 90 percent of all oceanic species perished after a pulse of carbon dioxide and methane from land-based sources began a period of profound climate change. The conditions that triggered "Great Dying" took hundreds of thousands of years to develop. But humans have been emitting carbon dioxide at a much quicker rate, so the current mass extinction only took 100 years or so to kick-start.
With all these stressors working against it, a hypoxic feedback loop could wind up destroying some of the oceans' most species-rich ecosystems within our lifetime. A recent study by Sarah Moffitt of the University of California-Davis said it could take the ocean thousands of years to recover. "Looking forward for my kid, people in the future are not going to have the same ocean that I have today," Moffitt said.

s you might expect, having tickets to the front row of a global environmental catastrophe is taking an increasingly emotional toll on scientists, and in some cases pushing them toward advocacy. Of the two dozen or so scientists I interviewed for this piece, virtually all drifted into apocalyptic language at some point.

For Simone Alin, an oceanographer focusing on ocean acidification at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, the changes she's seeing hit close to home. The Puget Sound is a natural laboratory for the coming decades of rapid change because its waters are naturally more acidified than most of the world's marine ecosystems.
The local oyster industry here is already seeing serious impacts from acidifying waters and is going to great lengths to avoid a total collapse. Alin calls oysters, which are non-native, the canary in the coal mine for the Puget Sound: "A canary is also not native to a coal mine, but that doesn't mean it's not a good indicator of change."
Though she works on fundamental oceanic changes every day, the Dutkiewicz study on the impending large-scale changes to plankton caught her off-guard: "This was alarming to me because if the basis of the food web changes, then . . . everything could change, right?"
Alin's frank discussion of the looming oceanic apocalypse is perhaps a product of studying unfathomable change every day. But four years ago, the birth of her twins "heightened the whole issue," she says. "I was worried enough about these problems before having kids that I maybe wondered whether it was a good idea. Now, it just makes me feel crushed." 

Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe speaks about climate change to students and faculty at Wayland Baptist University in 2011. Geoffrey McAllister/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Getty

Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian, moved from Canada to Texas with her husband, a pastor, precisely because of its vulnerability to climate change. There, she engages with the evangelical community on science — almost as a missionary would. But she's already planning her exit strategy: "If we continue on our current pathway, Canada will be home for us long term. But the majority of people don't have an exit strategy. . . . So that's who I'm here trying to help."
James Hansen, the dean of climate scientists, retired from NASA in 2013 to become a climate activist. But for all the gloom of the report he just put his name to, Hansen is actually somewhat hopeful. That's because he knows that climate change has a straightforward solution: End fossil-fuel use as quickly as possible. If tomorrow, the leaders of the United States and China would agree to a sufficiently strong, coordinated carbon tax that's also applied to imports, the rest of the world would have no choice but to sign up. This idea has already been pitched to Congress several times, with tepid bipartisan support. Even though a carbon tax is probably a long shot, for Hansen, even the slim possibility that bold action like this might happen is enough for him to devote the rest of his life to working to achieve it. On a conference call with reporters in July, Hansen said a potential joint U.S.-China carbon tax is more important than whatever happens at the United Nations climate talks in Paris.
One group Hansen is helping is Our Children's Trust, a legal advocacy organization that's filed a number of novel challenges on behalf of minors under the idea that climate change is a violation of intergenerational equity — children, the group argues, are lawfully entitled to inherit a healthy planet.
A separate challenge to U.S. law is being brought by a former EPA scientist arguing that carbon dioxide isn't just a pollutant (which, under the Clean Air Act, can dissipate on its own), it's also a toxic substance. In general, these substances have exceptionally long life spans in the environment, cause an unreasonable risk, and therefore require remediation. In this case, remediation may involve planting vast numbers of trees or restoring wetlands to bury excess carbon underground.
Even if these novel challenges succeed, it will take years before a bend in the curve is noticeable. But maybe that's enough. When all feels lost, saving a few species will feel like a triumph. 


Why should we avoid to increase global mean temperatures over 2 degrees? (in spanish)

Interesante artículo de Antonio Ruiz de Elvira, que no hacen sino confirmar muchos otras de las predicciones de expertos en diferentes áreas de nuestro sistema terráqueo. Por supuesto, todo el mundo puede tener su opinión, pero por una vez sería justo que los detractores no sólo no se lo creyesen, sino que viniesen con datos que corroboraran sus sospechas… Buena lectura.

Source of this article: http://www.elmundo.es/blogs/elmundo/elporquedelascosas/2015/09/06/por-que-debemos-impedir-que-la.html

En la web de El Mundo se publicó el día 2 de Septiembre una noticia preocupante: a tres meses de la reunión de Paris sobre Cambio Climático, los esfuerzos de la comunidad internacional para frenarlo son esencialmente nulos. Un informe de Climate Action Tracker (CAT), un organismo asociado a cuatro centros de investigación europeos, estima que en 2100 habremos superado ampliamente el punto crítico de 2 grados de aumento de la Temperatura Media Global, TMG, del planeta y estaremos (si no ha colapsado antes la civilización) entre 2,9 y 3,1 grados de subida.
¿Cuáles son las consecuencias de ese aumento de la TMG?  Un cambio climático de una magnitud rara vez alcanzada en la Tierra en los millones de años de su historia. Ha habido cambios mucho mayores, de hasta 11 grados, pero han tenido lugar a lo largo de ¡11.000 años!  El cambio de temperatura actual se prevé de 2 grados, ¡pero en 200 años! Este cambio, si continuase durante 10.000 años, llevaría a la Tierra a una subida de 110 grados, lo suficiente para evaporar toda el agua del planeta.
 ¿Cuáles serán las consecuencias de un semejante aumento de la TMG?
En primer lugar, un cambio radical en la circulación de las corrientes de aire que controlan la meteorología de cara rincón de nuestro mundo. Ya lo estamos notando. Cojan fotos de sus bisabuelos, o busquen fotos de, por ejemplo, Einstein. Se les ve embutidos en capas y capas de gruesos tejidos de lana. Comparen con las ropas que llevan ustedes, o los alemanes, hoy, en invierno.
La temporada de lluvias en España se ha reducido de ser de octubre hasta abril, a pasar a ser de diciembre a marzo. Los fenómenos extremos, vientos, tormentas, inundaciones ocurren fuera de las fechas habituales en los primeros 50 años del siglo XX, y se reparten por todas las estaciones del año.
El problema del cambio climático deriva de la naturaleza no lineal del sistema climático. ¿Qué quiere decir esto? En palabras inteligibles por todos, que el rico se hace más rico y el pobre, más pobre. Los sistemas no lineales están sometidos a un esquema de realimentación positiva, que es lo que ocurre cuando un micrófono se enfrenta al altavoz a que está conectado: el ruido se amplifica hasta romper los aparatos.
Otro ejemplo de sistema no lineal lo estamos sufriendo en nuestras carnes: en el sistema económico, que es no lineal a pesar de los modelos lineales de los tratados de economía, si bajan los salarios disminuye el consumo, lo que hace que las empresas quieran bajar los precios para mantenerlo, pero para bajar los precios bajan aún mas los salarios con lo cual disminuye el consumo... y esto genera, finalmente, un cambio social: muy pocos muy ricos, y la gran mayoría, miserable.
En el clima hay dos realimentaciones evidentes: una mayor TMG implica mayor temperatura del océano y esto un mayor burbujeo del CO2 disuelto en sus aguas, lo que lleva a un aumento de la TMG...
La segunda consecuencia es el hielo de los Polos. El hielo es un espejo magnífico, que refleja casi en un 98% la energía que le llega del Sol.  Cuanto más hielo se funde, mas energía absorbe un suelo sin espejo encima, lo que funde más hielo lo que implica más absorción de energía... Con el añadido de que las tundras árticas están empapadas en metano, que al salir a la atmósfera retiene más radiación infrarroja y eleva aún más la TMG.
En los últimos 400.000 años se han producido cuatro glaciaciones/deglaciaciones, que tienen la forma de oscilaciones de relajación o de diente de sierra:
Se produce un gran aumento de temperatura (entre 9 y 11 grados) en periodos relativamente cortos (unos 10.000 años)  y el mismo descenso de la TMG pero a lo largo de 90.000 años. La razón para estas oscilaciones es un juego no lineal de las variaciones orbitales, la circulación de la Corriente del Golfo, y el hecho de que la bajada de temperatura a lo largo de la glaciación extrae agua líquida de los océanos y la deposita en forma de glaciares en las tierras del norte. Al extraer agua líquida baja el nivel del mar. Los primeros 100 metros de bajada son indiferentes, pero cuando se superan esos 100 metros los clatratos, cargados a tope de metano, empiezan a emitir este gas. El metano captura la radiación infrarroja que trata de salir desde la superficie de la Tierra hacia el espacio unas 13 veces más que el CO2.  El aumento de temperatura es muy brusco, y esto estimula el burbujeo de CO2 desde las aguas al aire, con lo que sube la TMG hasta la deglaciación. La última vez que sucedió esto fue hace unos 8.000 años. Esta vez había 'Homo cuasi sapiens' en el planeta, y pudo aprovechar el agua y sobre todo el barro fértil depositado en las cuencas de los ríos por el 'Gran Diluvio' que fue el deshielo de los glaciares de Etiopía, los Zagros, y la meseta Tibetana.
Tras esos máximos de TMG, como no hay más CO2 disponible y el metano se ha descompuesto hace miles de años, la TMG vuelve a disminuir y empieza otra glaciación.
Esta vez no es así, porque los seres humanos estamos lanzando a la atmósfera cantidades gigantescas de CO2, de manera que estamos simulando la etapa de volcanismo continuo en la Tierra de hace cientos de millones de años.  No tenemos precedentes de concentraciones tan altas de CO2 en la atmósfera con los continentes en la disposición espacial actual.
Las consecuencias de estas altas concentraciones de CO2 serán las siguientes:
Deshielo del Ártico. Deslizamiento de los glaciares de Groenlandia hacia el mar y su fusión en el mismo. La consecuencia de esto será una subida del nivel del mar entre uno y diez metros. Esto implica que las ciudades costeras españolas tendrán que vivir tras kilómetros de diques de hormigón, y la destrucción, por inundación de los cimientos de cientos de miles de edificios costeros.
Un cambio en la circulación de la Corriente del Golfo, con inviernos muy fríos en Europa, muy secos y con veranos muy, muy calientes.
Migraciones no de 800.000 personas, sino de millones de ellas, huyendo de zonas de la Tierra convertidas en inhabitables.
Habrá también otras consecuencias (invasiones de hongos, insectos, plantas...), pero éstas son las mas notables.
¿Se está haciendo, se hará algo para frenar esta subida de la TMG y el  cambio climático consecuente?
No, no se hace nada, ni se hará hasta que sea tarde.  Empezando por España -cuyos gobiernos han rechazado la existencia del cambio climático, y el actual está apoyando con intensidad la quema de combustibles fósiles-, a EEUU -donde los republicanos actúan igual que los gobiernos españoles, y donde hasta el Presidente Obama, al que se le llena la boca de ''cuidar el Medio Ambiente'', acaba de aprobar el permiso a las petroleras para sacar petróleo del Ártico-, a Rusia y el resto de los países que quieren estrujar la corteza de la Tierra hasta sacar de ella la última gota de petróleo, el último metro cúbico de gas, la última tonelada de carbón, ningún gobierno quiere hacer nada para frenar el cambio climático,  hasta el punto de que en España y en Inglaterra se ponen multas gigantes por intentar el autoconsumo y el vertido a red de la energía sobrante de la generada en el hogar.
De la misma manera que no se hace, al menos en España, nada para afrontar el problema del envejecimiento de la población, que no hay el menor interés por frenar el cambio social derivado de la realimentación positiva del sistema económico, ningún gobierno quiera mirar más lejos de cuatro años.
La reunión (que no 'cumbre') de Paris será un fracaso. Un mero show en un escaparate mundial.
Y para los 'escépticos' que llenarán de comentarios negativos este post, dos ideas: Venus tiene una temperatura de 460ºC, porque su atmósfera es esencialmente CO2. La segunda es un experimento que realicé, en público, durante cinco días en cada una de dos Ferias de la Ciencia organizadas por la Comunidad de Madrid con el dinero de Europa.  En el experimento disponía de dos bombonas de vidrio de 40 cm de diámetro, cuyas bocas estaban sobre unas planchas cerámicas mantenidas a la misma temperatura.  Cuando ambas estaban llenas de aire a la misma presión atmosférica, el aire de ambas tenía la misma temperatura. En un momento dado, manteniendo la temperatura de las placas, y la presión atmosférica, se llenaba una de las bombonas de gas carbónico, el mismo que en las casas sirve para convertir el agua 'sin gas' en agua 'con gas'. Unos minutos después de salir el aire de la bombona y llenarse esta de CO2, su temperatura aumentaba unos 10 grados respecto a la que se mantenía con aire.
La ciencia trabaja con experimentos, no con dogmas. El CO2 emitido en la quema de combustibles fósiles está haciendo subir la temperatura del planeta, en un esquema no lineal acelerado y la llevará muy por encima de los 16 grados, mas de 2 grados por encima de la actual. 


Sunday, September 06, 2015

And seven years after my last post...

Seven years after my last post, I have learnt a lot about climate change, mainly because it is very much related to my job. Now I move to a new job, and this time the 'climate change' words are in the title, so I hope to be able to assess with state of the art scientific evidence something which is a fact: climate change generated by humans, and the huge dangers we are facing ahead…

Seven years after my last post, I can only but evidence that the climate change situation is even worse than it was believed to be today seven years ago. Time is precious and we need to act urgently. However, I'm afraid governments won't do anything until, as usual, is too late. This is serious, probably not for you, but for your children and future generations. They also have the right to enjoy of a healthy environment. Please, act, manifest yourself, inform yourself and take it seriously. We still can save this world is we put enough pressure in to our governments. Act now!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Federico Jiménez Los Santos...

Es cierto que el señor Jiménez Los Santos, bien conocido en España, es un periodista polémico, que da más que una estera a ciertos políticos y personajes del día a día español, en muchas ocasiones exagerado, que utiliza un tono fuerte y sarcástico para criticar, que a unos les gustará y a otros no, pero indiscutible que es un periodista con carisma. Igual que pudiera serlo el señor Gabilondo. Sin embargo, esta mañana, durante la transmisión de su programa ha cometido un grave error cuando hablaba de la previsión del tiempo, un error gravísimo, para mi inaceptable y que me entristece mucho que salga de su micrófono : que " ¿ sabían uds. que la temperatura ha aumentado 0.7 grados... ?", que "el protocolo de Kyoto es una invención...", que "yo me creeré el cambio climático cuando me lo enseñen...". Qué lástima es hablar de algo sin saber, sin tener ni idea y encima intentar hacer tesis válidas sobre ello. Es una falta muy grave para un periodista de su categoria, señor Jiménez Los Santos. Decir que la temperatura ha aumentado 0.7 ºC (¿ Qué temperatura? ¿la de La Tierra? ¿la de España?, ¿la de su pueblo?) es una burrada. Decir que lo del cambio climático es una pantomima, es una animalada. Infórmese, documéntese, que es su trabajo, pregunte a los científicos y por favor, cada uno a lo suyo. Hoy me ha decepcionado muchísimo.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coup de soleil au milieu de l'hiver ?

Bien que cette photo montre les 27 dégrees d'un thermomètre au soleil, en une journée sans vent, il montre bien la réalité de ces dernières journées dans le Sud-Ouest de la France. Samedi 23 février j'ai vécu les scènes typiques d'une journée d'été : impossible de se promener au soleil avec un pull, des dizaines de personnes en shorts et sandales, soulagements à l'ombre, coups de soleil, les terrasses des bars pleines, les glaces sur la table, etc... Il y a ceux qui sont très contents de ce temps, mais moi, je crois qu'il y a de vrais motifs être mécontent et plutôt inquiet: pas à cause d'une journée chaude isolée au milieu de l'hiver, mais plutôt à cause d'un hiver extrêmement bénévole. Je n'ai presque pas allumé le chauffage chez moi cet hiver! Bref, quand on regarde l'hiver de l'année dernière, quand on le compare avec un hiver encore plus chaud cette année, et quand on regarde les Pyrénées qui ne trouvent pas leur manteau blanc...Oui, on doit s'inquiéter ou simplement prendre conscience que le changement climatique nous frappe maintenant et que nous en sommes les responsables. Alors, agissons !


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The 4th of March of 2007 I started to write these sentences : "Please, take 3 minutes to read this : 29 degrees at the Spanish Mediterranean coast, 16 degrees at 20:00h in Toulouse, 6 degrees in Kharkov, biking in short-sleeve T shirt, Pyrenees looking as in end June, Swiss sky resorts shut down, people sunbathing at the beach and looking for shadow in Spain, bears with insomnia in Russia, ice sheets breaking up in Antarctic, flowers blooming two-months in advance in Holland, citizens saving water in Belgium... "

However I never ended it up. Since then, I didn't write anymore in this blog. The first reason was the end of my PhD, a very hard period, and then I took few months off to travel. Almost a year later, I'm back. I think I'm pretty the same person, I have suffered a few slight changes in my personality and point of view about political and social issues. How has changed the climate change issue in all this time ? Now, living in the very heart of winter 2008 in the North Hemisphere, how different is it compared to 2007 ? Unfortunately I could start this article as I did with that of 2007. Today a friend of mine who is skying in the Swiss Alps have phoned me. Snow at almost 2000 m is melting. She lost her motivation. The snow layer is very thin and of bad quality. The weather is "unusually" warm. I'm three days in my apartment, I'm wearing short sleeve, I got a slight sunburn from the after lunch sun session, yesterday some folks were swimming in Biarritz...

Some people still ask what is climate change. I think there is still hope with them. They just need objective information. But what is sad is that today there are still some few irresponsibles (luckily everyday less numerous) brave enough to claim that our atmosphere can absorb unlimited amount of greenhouse gases. They piss me off. The time moves on and we are wasting so many time with a stupid debate, whether climate change is created by anthropogenic sources or is natural. In any case is an evidence that a climate change is going on. Humans may adapt to the new environmental conditions as they have always done during million of years along the human evolution. The problem is that these changes are happening a such a speed that we won't be able to adapt ourselves to the new environment ! What will happen then ? We certainly cannot answer that question with 100% precision, but imagine a scenario where long extreme droughts will be followed by devastating flooding among many others extreme climate events. For sure nothing good will happen. Following the moral precautionary principle and with the overwhelming scientific consensus, our only way is react NOW !


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Preparando el camino hacia lo inevitable...

Un extraño fenómeno en verano afectó el miércoles a zonas golpeadas por la sequía en la costa este de Australia, cuando una tormenta de granizo cubrió de hielo la capital, Canberra, y lluvias torrenciales causaron inundaciones en Sydney. Aunque en el último mes de verano las tormentas con truenos son habituales en Canberra, la extraña granizada dejó la capital del país como si se tratara de una ciudad estadounidense aislada por la nieve, con los tractores retirando el hielo de las calles.
También podríamos hablar del invierno más "caluroso" de toda la historia en Europa, con termómetros marcando 27 grados el sureste de la costa española (¡ hoy es 28 de febrero !), de espesores de nieve en los Pirineos casi inexistentes, inviernos con muy poca nieve en el Norte-Este de Europa, etc., etc., etc., etc...

La tormenta dejó una capa de hielo de tres metros de grosor en algunas zonas del distrito financiero y causó inundaciones y daños en 60 edificios, en la cercana Universidad Nacional y en el principal centro comercial de la ciudad, que estuvo cerrado todo el día. "No puedo recordar la última vez que el granizo se amontonó en las calles en esta cantidad", dijo a Reuters Owen Offler, del organismo meteorológico nacional.
El mejor consejo, señor Offler, es que se vaya acostumbrado a fenómenos raros y violentos, que dejarán de ser pronto "raros".

Las tormentas se produjeron un mes antes de que concluya el caluroso verano en Australia, gran parte de la cual sufre una sequía que dura seis años. En Canberra, las autoridades han impuesto estrictas restricciones al uso doméstico del agua, por los bajos niveles de sus reservas.
El agua potable se convertirá en el oro más preciado en muy poco tiempo. Por favor, haz un uso responsable del agua. Pronto este problema llamará también a tu puerta.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Record et record et record ...

Voilà quelque données sur les températures en Janvier en Toulouse, enfin, plus du même chose. Quelqu'un doute encore qu'il n'existe pas changement climatique? :

Le trait dominant de ce mois de janvier 2007 est la quantité extrêmement faible des précipitations : alors qu'il tombe en moyenne 51 litres d'eau par mètre carré au cours du premier mois de l'année, le cumul mensuel de janvier 2007 atteint à peine 17 litres par mètre carré. Il s'inscrit dans la continuité du mois de décembre, qui avait été lui aussi marqué par une longue période de sécheresse. Coté température, on constate une moyenne de 7°C, supérieure à la normale d'un petit degré. Mais le contraste est très marqué entre les 2 premières décades très chaudes pour la saison et une dernière décade particulièrement froide. Plusieurs records journaliers sont battus, des records de « chaleur » le 9 et le 18 janvier avec respectivement 17 et 18°C, puis un record de froid le 29 janvier avec seulement –1.3°C au cœur de l'après-midi.
Mais c'est au niveau des températures nocturnes que janvier 2007 restera inscrit dans les annales de Météo-France, avec un magnifique 13.6°C enregistré le 19 janvier, soit la température minimale la plus élevée jamais observée pour un mois de janvier ! Des records de chaleur ont été battus un peu partout en Europe à cette période, avec par exemple + 9°C observés le même jour à Saint-Pétersbourg.
Quand à l'ensoleillement, il est nettement déficitaire avec environ un tiers de soleil en moins que la normale, à cause de conditions anticycloniques propices à de nombreuses journées plombées par une grisaille tenace.

source: Météo-France


19:55h - 20:00h - CHILL OUT

Just a fast reminder: in a little bit more than a couple of hours in my time zone (+1h GMT) we should switch off lights, switch off engines, everything that might contribute to climate change. It's just symbolic, just 5 minutes is not going to solve any problem, but this wink at the environment, if followed massively, will help to warn decision makers that we do matter about climate change. In Paris, for example, the Eiffel Tower will not be illuminated for those 5 minutes, as well as many other monuments. And the initiative will be followed in many other places. Chill out those five minutes, no big deal, no big effort, just symbolic, but could be very important...