National Geographic News
A resident runs on a flooded stairway as floodwater pours into an underground garage amid heavy rainfalls in Chengdu, China.

Extreme weather, like this unusually severe downpour in Chengdu, China, has likely increased.

Photograph from China Daily, Reuters

Dan Vergano

National Geographic

Published September 27, 2013

In the last century, the air and the water has warmed, snow and ice has melted, and the seas have risen. The world’s climate scientists already knew that, but they expressed renewed confidence in those troubling trends in a major report Friday that has come to represent the global scientific consensus around global warming.

The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summary report kicks off a series of climate reports set for release this year and next.

“Many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia,” begins the report, which summarizes the worldwide changes worldwide wrought by climate change and its likely future effects. “Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.” (See related “Quiz: What You Don’t Know About Climate Change Science.”)

Amid changes in the air and seas, average global surface temperature data show an increase of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 Celsius) from 1880 to 2012, the report says. (Related: “UN Climate Report Relevance Debated Amid Rollout.”)

“The warming in the climate system is indeed unequivocal,” says report co-chairman Thomas Stocker of Switzerland’s University of Bern, speaking at the report’s release in Stockholm. “It is not just one decade that is warmer, but a succession of decades.” (Related: “Does Global Warming Pause Debate Miss Big Picture?”)

Five takeaways from the new report:

1. On the extreme weather front, the report concludes it is “very likely” that cold days and nights have decreased, while warm days and nights have increased, since 1950. More extreme precipitation has also likely increased worldwide, particularly in North America and Europe. That means that the top one percent of heaviest rain or snow storms are heavier now, as compared to then. In other words, when it rains hardest, it pours harder.

2. The oceans have warmed with “virtual certainty,” the report concludes, at a rate of about  0.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.11 Celsius) per decade since 1970 in the upper 246 feet (75 meters) of surface water. Ocean warming accounts for more than 90 percent of the heat added to the atmosphere by global warming in that time, with most of it pumped into the top 2,300 feet (700 meters) of the oceans. “That doesn't mean the oceans are saving us,” Stocker says. “It means it would be much worse without the oceans.”

All the excess carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels in that time has “very likely” also increased acidification of the ocean—which threatens corals, shelled sea creatures, and the oceanic food web—by 26% since the beginning of the industrial era. That means a pH drop of 0.1 delivered to the global oceans by humanity.

3. What about those polar bears? Sea ice (as well as glaciers and ice sheets) has declined overall since 1970. The loss of sea ice very likely accelerated since 1993. Only in Antarctica is sea ice cover growing, something predicted by climate change forecasts. In the Arctic, the average sea ice extent decreased around 3.5 to 4.1 percent per decade from 1979 to 2012. Similarly, permafrost temperatures have increased across most regions, although the amount varies, since the 1980s.

4. Sea level rise has happened, and will happen in the future, as a result of global warming, the report finds. On average, sea level has risen 7.5 inches (0.19 meters) since 1901, and will rise higher with “virtual certainty” in this century. Barring a collapse of Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise is not likely to exceed 3.22 feet (0.98 meters) by 2100, the report says. (Read “Rising Seas” from the September issue of National Geographic magazine.)

5. More than half of the global warming observed since 1950 has a human cause, largely from the greenhouse gas effects of gases such as carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels. All of the effects seen in the report look “virtually certain” to continue in the future as long as emissions continue.

“If we don’t take action, then temperatures will increase,” says Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. He warned at the Friday morning briefing on the release of report that current industrial and consumer greenhouse gas emissions are on the high side of various future “scenarios” in the report that project warming in this century.

The report uses precisely-defined, and oft-debated, language to express its confidence in impacts or observations about climate change, such as:

  • “virtually certain,” which means a  99–100 percent confidence.

  • “very likely,” which means a  90–100 percent confidence.

  • “likely,” which means a 66–100 percent confidence.

So, when the report authors concludes that heat waves have “likely” increased on some continents since 1950, they are expressing 66 percent or better confidence in the finding.

“We do not go for headlines, but we make scientific statements,” Stocker said at the briefing, before concluding: “Climate change challenges the two primary resources of humanity, land and water. It challenges our planet, our only hope.”

Follow Dan Vergano on Twitter.

27 comments
James Cook
James Cook

What was once an interesting theory has become a massive media fraud.

Keyto Clearskies
Keyto Clearskies

Aesop Institute is a wonderfully elaborate fraud, operated by Mark Goldes.
 
Mark Goldes, starting in the mid-seventies, engaged for several years in the pretense that his company SunWind Ltd was developing a nearly production-ready, road-worthy, wind-powered "windmobile," based on the windmobile invented by James Amick; and that therefore SunWind would be a wonderful investment opportunity.

After SunWind "dried up" in 1983, Goldes embarked on the long-running pretense that his company Room Temperature Superconductors Inc was developing room-temperature superconductors; and that therefore Room Temperature Superconductors Inc would be a wonderful investment opportunity. He continues the pretense that the company developed something useful, even to this day.

And then Goldes embarked on the pretense that his company Magnetic Power Inc was developing "NO FUEL ENGINES" based on "Virtual Photon Flux;" and then, on the pretense that MPI was developing horn-powered "NO FUEL ENGINES" based on the resonance of magnetized tuning-rods; and then, on the pretense that his company Chava Energy was developing water-fueled engines based on "collapsing hydrogen orbitals" (which are ruled out by quantum physics); and then, on the pretense that he was developing ambient-heat-powered "NO FUEL ENGINES" (which are ruled out by the Second Law of Thermodynamics).

Goldes' forty-year career of "revolutionary invention" pretense has nothing to do with science, but only with pseudoscience and pseudophysics - his lifelong stock-in-trade.
 
Goldes' current favorite scam is an engine that would run on ambient heat - which is clearly  ruled out by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But of course, the laws of physics always make an exception for the scams of Mark Goldes.

Mark Goldes is a textbook-ready example of a highly talented con artist who clearly takes pleasure in fooling people with his ludicrous claims, artfully peppered with pseudoscientific rubbish.

http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/aesop-institute/166232/

ZEINEB MESSAOUDI
ZEINEB MESSAOUDI

c'est surement une étape quelconque dans la vie de la terre , mais comme nous sommes là que depuis quelques millénaire et que nous ne faisons que passer on pense qu'il y a danger .si nous étions des arbres "parlants" nous aurions vu que la terre a connu bien d'autres bouleversements .NOUS et notre pollutions somme biodégradables: donnez quelques millénaire à la terre et vous verrez que nous n'étions que des verrues sur la peau de la terre et qu'elle a vite trouvé un moyen de se guérir et se débarrasser de nous " et notre pollution"   

Bill Sheridan
Bill Sheridan

Let's assume that average global temperatures have increased and that man is the cause with at least the "very likely" probability.  This, said another way, is  Man' ability  to change global temperatures is "Very Likely".  Given this near proof of the power of Man, it seems only rational that Man come up with a means of Cooling or, for the 10% probability that we will instead have cooling, a means to heat.  Elementary I would say. Of course, this would disrupt the current thinking or "regression for progress" and move Geoengineering into the spotlight.  Technology already exists today to effect cooling (TIO2 injection) so lets move forward.  My vote for the target global average Temperature is say, 1955.

Mitty Mo
Mitty Mo

They've already charted unprecedented ice melts with barely visable rises in oceans.  Yet, the remaining ice melt will cause a catastrophic rises in sea levels?  Hmmm?

And they can't explain the fact that hasn't been any global warming in the last 15 years, but they know everything else about climate change?

They even admit their models have been flawed, yet them seem to cling to them.

Well, here are some things that are not even in their models.

http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1308/

http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/26/34-years-of-satellite-temperature-data-s

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/media/ocean-currents-and-climate/?ar_a=1

http://centerforoceansolutions.org/climate/impacts/ocean-circulation/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2005-12-07-ocean-vents_x.htm

The relationship between the eccentricity of Earth's orbit and the orientation (tilt) of the planet's axis of rotation vary systematically over time.This causes cyclic shifts of solar energy input that can produce climate changes (google Milankovitch Cycles).

Groups like World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, etc., so heavily influence the IPCC's thinking now that the IPCC’s reports are as much about politics as they are science.

So, here are the takeaways we can observe with out own eyes.  If the earth has warmed during the last 3 decades, that is a very good thing.  We know that the earth warms & cools.  We're presently in a warming trend.  And that should be celebrated.

K Norman
K Norman

We're very self-centered.  We actually believe we can destroy or mess up the earth.  We might kill ourselves but we're not going to damage the earth!  We're not that powerful.  We treat global climate change like it's some enormous catastrophe.  Ask the dinosaurs about catastrope.  Just because we make life uninhabitable for us doesn't mean life will cease.  YES we're destroying the environment that allows us to live comfortably.  NO we're not doing anything significant when you look at it in terms of the grand scheme of life on earth.  We are a blip.

Paul Duke
Paul Duke

I believe the planet will start fighting back soon and introduce some new diesease to keep us stupid humans in check.

Michael Wysocki
Michael Wysocki

Why can't we all just stop arguing and playing the blame game. Let's not be ignorant, humans have messed up this planet and don't deserve to live here much longer unless we try and make up for our mistakes. We don't need proof anymore, its just common sense. Look around. We are wasting precious time 

Bobby Brooks
Bobby Brooks

"Climate scientists express increased confidence of human link to global warming." Really? My go-to question is automatically, 'So where is the data that proves this human link and what is the source of that data?' Thank you for posting the reports that would lead me to that source data. The PDF offered is not working for me at the moment, so I will check back later. However, strong scientific evidence is found within the 95% confidence interval. Anything else is an assumption. I do not find strong correlations or strong evidence to prove human links to global warming. Not that it isn't possible, just not easily provable or highly probable at this point. Environmental data does suggest the strong correlation between anthropological activity and environmental changes at a very local level. Sometime the evidence in these 'local environmental impact studies' are a bit shaky too. This is why I prefer the 95% confidence interval for such a proclamation, "Climate scientists express increased confidence of human link to global warming." -One more thing, who are these climate scientists that make these claims? OK the picture is clearer now. (Look into the reporting and you will understand my cryptic question.)

James Dey
James Dey

Global sea ice area has recovered in 2013.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

Antarctic sea ice extent is at all time record.


"Only in Antarctica is sea ice cover growing, something predicted by climate change forecasts".????? When did climate scientists predict that.

This is like Animal Farm, where the "predictions" are altered as the facts don't meet the predictions.

The original prediction was that the earth would warm but would warm more significantly at the poles. How is increasing Antarctic sea ice and recovering global sea ice, compatible with warming poles?

Dan Cummings
Dan Cummings

Weasel words.

This report is full of them.

 "Likely" not "conclusively".

The reality is that the scientists who spearheaded this have made their millions and are about to retire. Yet the facts don't support their claims.

Oh, I studied science in primary school, secondary school, and university so I'm a prime target for the weasels hoping I didn't pay attention. But I did. The scientific method is about disproving hypotheses, not using them to raid banks and national treasuries.

The proof is that for at least 15 years -- maybe 17 or 20 -- there has been no measurable warming. And, remember, the weasels overseeing the measurement have been lying about it for years. We can't trust these numbers. 

The emperor has no clothes. They're lying. They want your money. Truisms.


 

 

 

Bruce Carter
Bruce Carter

So here go the calls again for cap and trade.  Sock it to the Americans - we are rich and we can afford it.  Or can we?  We have an incompetent nobody president who has doubled our national debt, so all cap and trade can do is hurt the least affluent Americans - who have already suffered enough under Obama's mismanagement and are fixing to suffer a lot more when Obamacare hits the fan.  So - now that American poor are forced to pay for healthcare, have their hours limited, their employee health plans cancelled, or lose their jobs - lets make gas go up astronomically to support cap and trade.  I am sure they will generously send their meager resources to third world nations as they put just enough gas in to get to their minimum wage job.  Really great plan there - cap and trade.  So, humans are responsible - what ever happened to the statistic that only 4% of CO2 emissions are caused by humans, the rest by natural sources such as volcanos.  Let's charge nations that have volcanos that cap and trade tax.  Or what about the CO2 caused by the Amazonian slash and burn peasants?  I don't see any outcries to put soldiers on every entrance to the rain forest to stop them.  That might be "culturally insensitive" to traditional agricultural techniques.  What about Mexico, China, and Russia that belch so much industrial pollution that the major cities sicken people?  I don't see calls to hit them with a cap and trade tax.  Nope - all aimed squarely at America.  Here is a clue for the clueless - keep you hand out of my wallet, pal, and we will get along just fine.  Want to talk REAL climate change proposals?  Take cap and trade OFF THE TABLE and then we can talk.

Robert Strahlendorf
Robert Strahlendorf

The report says that over 50% of the warming is caused by humans. So 55% is possible. Will there be anything in the report that says what is causing the other 45% of the warming? Unless they get a handle on that, it is still debatable.

John C.
John C.

Since the last IPCC report in 2007, much has changed. It is now more than 15 years since global average temperature rose significantly. Indeed, the IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has conceded that the "pause" already may have lasted for 17 years, depending on which data set you look at. There is mo explanation given in the 2013 report for why climate models were unable to predict this pause.

Also, parameters for long term warming have been down-scaled, contrary to the alarmism prevalent among AGW proponents. A recent study in Nature Climate Change by Francis Zwiers and colleagues of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, found that models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years.

Swiftright Right
Swiftright Right

Glad they publicly defined the different certainties. Natgeo being Natgeo I'm sure the comment section is gonna be good for some great laughs of the next few days

/popcorn

Mark Goldes
Mark Goldes

“Electric power is everywhere present in unlimited quantities and can drive the world's machinery without the need of coal, oil, gas, or any other of the common fuels.” Nikola Tesla

A NO FUEL ENGINE, powered by atmospheric heat (a form of solar energy) is on its way to prototype. This seemingly impossible achievement was first suggested by Tesla in 1900. Jacob Wainwright began publishing on the subject in 1902. His 20+ years of taking exception to the widely accepted interpretation of The Second Law of Thermodynamics was long ignored. The Wainwright papers led to the invention of this new piston engine - by an inventor who had earlier patented an engine which demonstrated that The Second Law does not universally apply to heat engines. Although commercially impractical, his first engine opened the way to new science. The Wainwright papers inspired his new invention. See: NO FUEL ENGINE at www.aesopinstitute.org

Once a prototype of this remarkable engine has been independently validated, the thermodynamic analyses, coupled with about two centuries of humanity’s mechanical experience, will put us on track to both small and large scale production of 24/7 power fueled by atmospheric heat – everywhere present at no cost - ranging from a desktop prototype to tens of thousands of horsepower to run railroad locomotives, ocean freighters and power plants of all sizes.

A parallel turbine engine is disclosed in OPEN SYSTEM THERMODYNAMICS by Peter Lindemann D.Sc. in a recent video.

Swiftright Right
Swiftright Right

@Bruce Carter Oh god no! dont tell me ill at worst (and these are with coal industrial numbers) have to pay a whopping 8 PENNIES a kilowatt hour!!!!!

Seriously dude, you don't have to be "rich" to be able to afford an extra penny or 2 a kilowatt hour

Tom Mengel
Tom Mengel

@Bruce Carter If we burn and release the most carbon, then we should collectively man up and be responsible for that and pay for it.  And make sure other countries do the same for their carbon emissions, also.  This is a classic case of lead or get out the (deleted) out of the way, and so far many Americans have been far to busy running around with their hand on the neither ends holding their collective "Assets" and staying in deep denial to actually form good policy.  Not a good way for America to be a world leader . . .

Bill Sheridan
Bill Sheridan

I have an original foil hat emgraved with the free power symbol - priceless, I will never sell it.

Bill Sheridan
Bill Sheridan

well, you get to pay for the cost of the power plants if they produce or not.

Bill Sheridan
Bill Sheridan

we produce about 18% of the carbon.  By the way, CO2 no longer onsidered a significant element of the warming.

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