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Causes and effects of  global climate change What we know, how we know it, and implications for the future David Herring N...
<ul><li>National Weather Service Organic Act of 1890 </li></ul><ul><li>Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 </li></ul><ul>...
NOAA is mandated to sustain   global ocean observations…
…  and to sustain atmospheric observations… Photo by Art Howard
…  and to sustain surface station locations
…  and to complement our surface-based view  with daily global space-based views of Earth
- 0.1465 °C (1880) 0.5459 °C (2007) 0 Mean global temperature has risen  by about 0.7°C since 1880
Carbon dioxide has risen by 36% since   accurate measurements began in 1958 Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawai’i  318 ppm (195...
Today’s carbon dioxide trend is unusual compared to the last million years on Earth
City Lights Population Operational Line Scanner Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Socioeconomic Data and Applicatio...
Population doubled & then doubled again over the last century—from 1.65 billion to more than 6 billion inhabitants.  In th...
Microwave Sounding Unit (TIROS-N, NOAA 6–14) Evidence shows greenhouse gas warming
The Arctic is Earth’s fastest-warming region,  as climate models predicted Surface Temperature Anomaly  (°C) -3.5 0 3.5 Us...
1980   Annual Minimum The Arctic is rapidly losing sea ice
2008   Annual Minimum The Arctic is rapidly losing sea ice
Melting is accelerating on  Greenland’s ice sheet Roughly 9 percent of Earth’s freshwater resides in Greenland’s ice sheet...
Sea level is rising Tide Gauge Stations  Satellite Altimetry 20 10 15 5 0 – 5 2000 1980 1960 1880 1900 1920 1940 Centimeters
Climate change brings climate impacts Droughts Wave Heights Heatwaves Atlantic Hurricanes Heavy Rain Events 27.2°C ~3 Sea ...
What factors determine Earth’s climate?
What is a global climate model? A virtual world made up of boxes
What is a global climate model? With many calculations in each box
What is a global climate model? All written in computer code
What is a global climate model? To be solved by a supercomputer
What is a global climate model? First you reproduce past climate
What is a global climate model? Photo: US EPA Then you model future scenarios
IPCC, 2007, SPM What can we do with global climate models?  2000 1950 1900 Temperature anomaly  (°C) 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observati...
2000 1950 1900 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observations relative to 1901-1950 average Model predictions for natural forcings Temperature a...
2000 1950 1900 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observations relative to 1901-1950 average Model predictions for natural forcings Temperature a...
We also use climate models to produce  national and international assessments <ul><ul><li>http://www.climatescience.org </...
<ul><li>“ The size of this warming is  broadly consistent   with prediction of climate models, but it is also of the same ...
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Causes and Effects of Global Climate Change: What We Know, How We Know It, and Implications for the Future

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Presentation given by David Herring (Communications Program Director, NOAA Climate Program Office) at NOAA's Community Conversations on Climate Change workshop, May 9, 2009 at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, AZ.

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  • Transcript of "Causes and Effects of Global Climate Change: What We Know, How We Know It, and Implications for the Future"

    1. 1. Causes and effects of global climate change What we know, how we know it, and implications for the future David Herring NOAA Climate Program Office May 9, 2009
    2. 2. <ul><li>National Weather Service Organic Act of 1890 </li></ul><ul><li>Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 </li></ul><ul><li>National Marine Sanctuaries Act of 1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Endangered Species Act of 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act of 1976 (Amended 1996) </li></ul><ul><li>National Climate Program Act of 1978 </li></ul><ul><li>Global Change Research Act of 1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>National Integrated Drought Information Services Act of 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>America Competes Act of 2007 </li></ul>NOAA is mandated by Congress to deliver climate services to society
    3. 3. NOAA is mandated to sustain global ocean observations…
    4. 4. … and to sustain atmospheric observations… Photo by Art Howard
    5. 5. … and to sustain surface station locations
    6. 6. … and to complement our surface-based view with daily global space-based views of Earth
    7. 7. - 0.1465 °C (1880) 0.5459 °C (2007) 0 Mean global temperature has risen by about 0.7°C since 1880
    8. 8. Carbon dioxide has risen by 36% since accurate measurements began in 1958 Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawai’i 318 ppm (1958) 388 ppm (2008)
    9. 9. Today’s carbon dioxide trend is unusual compared to the last million years on Earth
    10. 10. City Lights Population Operational Line Scanner Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center Global maps of humanity’s ‘footprint’
    11. 11. Population doubled & then doubled again over the last century—from 1.65 billion to more than 6 billion inhabitants. In that same time span, there was a rise in the three most abundant human-emitted greenhouse gases, mirroring the growth in human population. Isotopic analysis and carbon cycle models established that the increase in carbon dioxide was due to fossil fuel consumption. With the rise in those greenhouse gases, Earth experienced an unusually rapid rise in its average temperature—increasing 0.7°C since 1880. Human ‘fingerprints’ on the climate system
    12. 12. Microwave Sounding Unit (TIROS-N, NOAA 6–14) Evidence shows greenhouse gas warming
    13. 13. The Arctic is Earth’s fastest-warming region, as climate models predicted Surface Temperature Anomaly (°C) -3.5 0 3.5 Using NOAA satellite measurements of global surface temperature from 1981 to the present, scientists determined the average annual temperature for that span and then compared temperature in 2006 to the 25-year average. Scientists observe that most of the Arctic region is warming (red shades) and that, overall, the Arctic is the fastest warming region on Earth.
    14. 14. 1980 Annual Minimum The Arctic is rapidly losing sea ice
    15. 15. 2008 Annual Minimum The Arctic is rapidly losing sea ice
    16. 16. Melting is accelerating on Greenland’s ice sheet Roughly 9 percent of Earth’s freshwater resides in Greenland’s ice sheet. Losing ice here leads directly to sea level rise. Greenland holds enough ice to raise sea level 5 meters (~16 feet).
    17. 17. Sea level is rising Tide Gauge Stations Satellite Altimetry 20 10 15 5 0 – 5 2000 1980 1960 1880 1900 1920 1940 Centimeters
    18. 18. Climate change brings climate impacts Droughts Wave Heights Heatwaves Atlantic Hurricanes Heavy Rain Events 27.2°C ~3 Sea Surface Temp. Hurricane Power Index 27.6°C ~4.5 1950 2005 ~12% ~11% Western U.S. Contiguous U.S. ~40% ~37% ~15% ~10% % Area with Hot Daily Low Temps % Area with Hot Daily High Temps -13% 15% 0% ~ 3 meters ~ 3.9 meters 1950 2005
    19. 19. What factors determine Earth’s climate?
    20. 20. What is a global climate model? A virtual world made up of boxes
    21. 21. What is a global climate model? With many calculations in each box
    22. 22. What is a global climate model? All written in computer code
    23. 23. What is a global climate model? To be solved by a supercomputer
    24. 24. What is a global climate model? First you reproduce past climate
    25. 25. What is a global climate model? Photo: US EPA Then you model future scenarios
    26. 26. IPCC, 2007, SPM What can we do with global climate models? 2000 1950 1900 Temperature anomaly (°C) 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observations relative to 1901-1950 average
    27. 27. 2000 1950 1900 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observations relative to 1901-1950 average Model predictions for natural forcings Temperature anomaly (°C) IPCC, 2007, SPM We use climate models to link effects to their causes
    28. 28. 2000 1950 1900 0.0 0.5 1.0 Observations relative to 1901-1950 average Model predictions for natural forcings Temperature anomaly (°C) Model predictions for natural & human forcings IPCC, 2007, SPM Models attribute global warming mainly to human origins
    29. 29. We also use climate models to produce national and international assessments <ul><ul><li>http://www.climatescience.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ipcc.ch </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. <ul><li>“ The size of this warming is broadly consistent with prediction of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.” </li></ul><ul><li>— IPCC First Assessment Report, 1990 </li></ul>Consensus among climate scientists is that climate change is mainly human-caused “ The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernable human influence on global climate.” — IPCC Second Assessment Report, 1995 “ Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” — IPCC Third Assessment Report, 2001 “ Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20 th century is very likely (>90% probability) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” — IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007
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