The new study covered data gaps over remote Arctic regions, which are warming faster than most of the planet, by using differences between satellite and ground temperature measurements, along with a well accepted — but previously unused — means of data interpolation to infill the gaps in data.
In doing so, Cowtan and Way found that global temperatures are continuing to rise at 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade, even while El Niño and La Niña natural variations offset some of the warming. They found that the Arctic is warming at 0.94 degrees Celsius per decade, almost eight times faster than the global average.
As more Arctic ice melts, more open water absorbs heat from the sun, rather than reflecting it into space, and warming speeds up in a positive feedback loop.
Warming the oceans leads to more powerful storms because typhoons, hurricanes and all tropical storms draw their vast energy from the warmth of the sea. The increased severity of these and other extreme events (such as droughts and wildfires) are consistent with global warming exacerbated by fossil fuel use.
So help us advocate for additional action by government to significantly reduce burning of fossil fuels. A fee on carbon dioxide emissions, with the revenue returned to the public, would enable a shift to renewable energy.
Many economists agree that this revenue-neutral, market-based fee and dividend on carbon dioxide emissions would be the fastest way to reduce our carbon footprints.
In the meantime, be careful. We’re on thinning ice.
Kathy D. Rand has a Ph.D. in biological sciences. Jim F. Chamberlain, Ph.D., P.E., is an environmental engineer. Michael J. Soreghan, Ph.D., is a geologist. Catherine Hobbs, Ph.D., is a professor of rhetoric and composition. All four live in Norman and are members of Citizens Climate Lobby in Norman.
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