Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Has global warming continued?

Enter "Has global warming" into a search engine, and the autocomplete function will suggest the word "stopped".

That we need to stop. Let's flip this around: "Has global warming continued?"

Yes. Global warming continues along, as this nice graphic from Climate Nexus shows so clearly.

The confusion is about surface temperatures. Over the past 10-15 years, the global mean surface air temperature did not increase at the rate of the previous decades. The cause of the slowdown is primarily natural variability, variability that is driven by long-term oscillations in the oceans. The planet is still adding heat - we can see in this planetary energy balance data. The difference is for the past few years, more of that heat is gathering in the deep ocean.

In a few years, the yin of deep ocean heating will give way to the yang of surface temperature warming. Among other things, we'll see full El Nino events develop again - there has not been one since the climate shifted in 1998, something my lab is studying - and with that, new global surface temperature records.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

This is what you call extreme weather, Toronto edition

The thunderstorms in Toronto earlier this week broke that city's seemingly unbreakable one-day rainfall record, set in 1954 by the meteorological oddity known as Hurricane Hazel.


Monday, July 08, 2013

New videos on Communicating Climate Science

The videos from the AGU Chapman Conference on Communicating Climate Science are now available. There are several great talks on the history of climate science, effective and ineffective public engagement programs, and the research on why we sometimes struggle to explain the basic science outside the classroom. Among my personal favourites was John Calderazzo's talk on the importance of storytelling. 

Here's my contribution, on how the climate influences the way we think about climate change, both at home and abroad: