July 23, 2004

Counting Butterflies

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals

Butterflies are often mentioned as being particularly sensitive to climate change. Yet a recent one-day record for butterfly diversity in northwestern Connecticut suggests current climate is more hospitable than ever.

A new survey just completed in northwestern Connecticut set a one-day record for the greatest diversity of butterflies ever observed in that part of New England.
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July 19, 2004

The Data Weigh In

New research confirms that temperatures in the lower atmosphere are not behaving as climate models have projected—and are warming far less than expected.

Universally, climate models that are run with increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases produce some degree of warming at the earth’ surface, but even more warming above the surface, especially in the layer from 5,000 to 30,000 feet. Models project this warming aloft to be especially strong in the tropical half of the planet (less so for a very small region around the poles). Actual observations of temperature trends in the lower atmosphere, however, don’t confirm these model results, instead showing that warming trends in general decline with altitude.

Why is this important? The atmosphere is an integrated whole, and temperatures aloft are an important determinant of temperatures at the surface. If the models have this wrong upstairs, but right for the area near the surface, they’ve been pretty lucky, or, some might say, pretty “adjusted.”
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July 18, 2004

Another Model Error

Filed under: Climate Models

Climate models are not capable of identifying the daily temperature range—as yet another new study demonstrates. So why are the world’s leaders willing to put so much stock into these models’ predictions of our future climate?

Climate models are unable to replicate the observed behavior in the patterns of changes in the daily temperature range. Instead, the models warm daily high temperatures too fast—probably because they don’t account properly for cloud dynamics.
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July 16, 2004

Cold, Hard Facts

Filed under: Glaciers/Sea Ice

Geologic history reveals that Earth’s glaciers, ice caps, and sea ice advance and retreat in natural cycles—not because of greenhouse forcing. Montana’s glaciers began to retreat long before the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases began to change very much. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has been identified as the potential driving force behind snowpack variability in the western United States.
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July 6, 2004

Precipitate Modeling

Filed under: Precipitation

Global warming shows no significant influence on precipitation over land, a new study finds.

Despite human-caused alterations to the natural chemical composition of the earth’s atmosphere, researchers are unable to identify an anthropogenic impact on global precipitation rates—one of the fundamental measures of climate.
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July 2, 2004

Little White Exaggeration

Filed under: Agriculture

New study claims rice yields will decline as temperatures warm. But bushels of evidence show otherwise.

A recent study promising that rice yields will decline due to global warming fails to take into account the hundreds of articles showing myriad benefits of higher temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations.
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