The Earth hasn’t always been struggling with global warming. Around 34 million years ago at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT) the Earth was undergoing a period of global cooling. This significant shift in climate led to the formation of the first permanent ice sheets of the Cenozoic Era over Antarctica, as shown by the dramatic shift (in a geologic sense) in the oxygen isotope records . The cooling, likely a result of declining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels but potentially also coinciding with Southern Ocean gateway changes, turned Antarctica from a green forested continent to the land of ice we know today. This is illustrated with an image of how this world might have looked.
2015 has seen some significant climate events, both meteorological and political. Continue reading 2015 in review
What have we learnt at COP21 so far? The 147 world leaders who turned up spoke passionately. The negotiators seem determined to get a strong agreement, already working past midnight each evening. The process of the negotiations seems to be much improved from previous COPs, with small groups doing much of the hard work.
The Paris COP21 continues. The atmosphere today was far more relaxed after the excitement of the speeches from world leaders yesterday. Negotiations have started more seriously with discussions over decarbonisation – perhaps this should be called carbon austerity! Continue reading Reflections from Paris COP – day 2
Today, the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) began in Paris. The aim of the conference is to finalise an international 195-nation agreement to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide, and to address issues such as deforestation & climate finance. I am attending for three days as part of the University of Reading ‘observer’ delegation. Continue reading Reflections from Paris COP – day 1
How will global temperatures evolve over the next 20 years? The IPCC AR5 made an assessment that average global temperatures in the 2016-2035 period would likely be 0.3 – 0.7°C above the 1986-2005 average. Some climate scientists disagree with that assessment. Continue reading Near-term global temperature forecasts
As you may have noticed, there have been some recent problems with the Climate Lab Book blog. These have now largely been resolved. The site is hosted on one of our University servers which suffered a disk failure. Also, some of the backup systems had not been working properly. The site has now been restored to a backup from 11th November. Comments since that time have been lost – many apologies. I will happily reinstate any that are reposted.
In Weather this month, a paper by Colin Clark discusses temperature data from two rural stations in Somerset (UK). These two stations show a cooling trend over the last two decades which Clark suggests is opposite to that expected. The associated editorial suggests that this is a controversial finding.