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Ice Core Paleoclimate Research Group Lonnie G. Thompson Henry Brecher Mary Davis Paolo Gabrielli Ping-Nan Lin Matt Makou PowerPoint Presentation
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The Human Footprint on Earth. Understanding Global Climate and Environmental Change Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Professor (Atmospheric Science) Director, Byrd Polar Research Center The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio, USA. Ice Core Paleoclimate Research Group

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slide1

The Human Footprint on Earth

Understanding Global Climate and Environmental Change

Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Professor (Atmospheric Science)

Director, Byrd Polar Research Center

The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio, USA

Ice Core Paleoclimate Research Group

Lonnie G. Thompson

Henry Brecher

Mary Davis

Paolo Gabrielli

Ping-Nan Lin

Matt Makou

Victor Zagorodnov

Graduate Students:

Liz Birkos

Aron Buffen

Natalie Kehrwald

David Urmann

Lijia Wei

Funding provided by:

NSF: Paleoclimate and Polar Programs

NASA: Earth Sciences (Glaciology)

NOAA: Paleoclimatology

Gary Comer Foundation

OSU Climate, Water & Carbon Program

Image: NASA

slide2

2001-2007 Mean Surface Temperature Anomaly (◦C) Global .54

Global Temperature Change (ºC)

.6

.4

.2

0

-.2

relative to the 1951-1980 mean

-.4

relative to the 1951-1980 mean

1880

1900

1920

1940

1960

1980

2000

ºC

Year A.D.

Year A.D.

Our Earth is warming!

Climate is changing differently across the globe!

Environmental conditions are changing!

- some changes are unprecedented for thousands of years

- some changes are occurring rapidly (years to decades)

rapid changes can pose severe challenges for adaptation

2005 warmest

year on record

0.75°C

(◦C)

http:www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news

natural mechanisms influence climate
Natural mechanisms influence climate

Changes in the Sun

Changes in the amount of volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere

Internal variability of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system (e.g., ENSO, monsoon systems, NAO)

Natural mechanisms

human factors also influence climate
Human factors also influence climate

Non-natural mechanisms

Changes in the concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases

Changes in aerosols and particles from burning fossil fuels (sulfate aerosols) and biomass (black carbon)

Changes in the reflectivity (albedo) of the Earth’s surface

Smoke from fires in Guatemala and Mexico (May 14, 1998)

slide6

3700

Dome C

850

EPICA Dome C ice core extends back

through eight glacial and interglacial

stages (800,000 years) recording changes

in the composition of Earth's atmosphere

CO2 remains in the

atmosphere from

70 to 120 years

Today:

CO2 is 387 ppmv

CH4 is 1800 ppbv

1800

387

800

600

400

200

0

Thousands of Years (B.P.)

Carbon Dioxide & Methane Concentrations

Past, Present and Future

IPCC 2000

Scenario A1B

for 2100 AD

Today:

CO2 is 378 ppmv

CH4 is 1750 ppbv

Lüthi et al.,Nature,

May 15, 2008

slide7

Many observed changes that are broadly consistent with an increase

in the radiative heating of Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere

  • Recent and rapid melting of glaciers in non-polar regions around the world

Climatologically we are in unfamiliar territory,

and the world’s ice cover is responding dramatically.

massive retreat of low latitude glaciers today
Massive retreat of low-latitude glaciers today

2002

Gangapurna

Glacier

1957

~ 2 - 3 m thinning / year

Courtesy Doug Burbank, UCSB

slide10

Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru

1977

2002

L.G. Thompson, OSU

L.G. Thompson, OSU

slide11

Kilimanjaro has lost 85%

of its ice cover since 1912

Thompson et al., PNAS, 2009, in press, November issue

slide12

Many observed changes that are broadly consistent with an increase

in the radiative heating of Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere

  • Recent and rapid melting of glaciers in non-polar regions around the world
  • Dramatic decreases in the areal coverage and thickness of Arctic sea ice

- Increase in global ocean surface temperatures of 0.35°C since 1979

- warming evident at all latitudes over all ocean basins

- to depths of at least 3000 meters

- Decreases in the area covered by seasonally frozen ground in

the high northern latitudes

- Reduction by about 2 weeks of the annual duration of northern lake

and river ice

slide13

Many observed changes are broadly consistent with an increase

in the radiative heating of Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere

- Rising sea level

- Increases in atmospheric moisture content (increased evaporation)

- Changes in extremes are consistent with warming

- increase in heat waves globally

- widespread increase in warm nights

- rarer occurrences of cold days, cold nights and days with frost

These many independent observations and the physical consistency

among them form the basis for the 2007 conclusion by the

Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) that

“warming of the climate is unequivocal”

slide14

“ Warming of the climate system is unequivocal”

“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures

since the mid-20th century is very likely* due to the observed increase

in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

* Very likely means 90% confidence

A 3-year effort

152 authors (30 countries)

> 600 reviewers

Approved by 113 governments

slide15

observations

Global and Continental Temperature Change from 1900 to 2000 AD

natural forcings

only

natural and

anthropogenic

forcings

IPCC Fourth AssessmentFebruary 2007

slide16

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

2000

Year (A.D.)

5

IPCC 4th Assessment (2007)

Projection for 2100 AD

2.0 – 4.5 oC

4

Global Temperature (°C)

3

2

Northern Hemisphere temperature (°C)

for the last 1000 years

N.H. Temperature (°C)

1

0.4

0

0

-0.4

-0.8

Year A.D..

slide17

Future energy policy will determine this

This warming has already occurred

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

2000

Year (A.D.)

5

Global average surface temperature is heading not only far outside the range of variation of the last 1000 years but outside the range experienced in the tenure of Homo sapiens on Earth.

4

Global Temperature (°C)

3

2

1

0.4

0

0

-0.4

-0.8

Year A.D..

slide18

Recent Assessments

Report of the Committee on Environment

and Natural Resources

National Science and Technology Council

May 2008

Report from U.S. Climate Change Science Program

2008

http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap4-3/final-report/default.htm

http://www.ostp.gov/galleries/NSTC Reports/Scientific Assessment FULL Report.pdf

slide19

Recent Assessment

http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/

scientific-assessments/us-impacts

2009