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A photo of the receding Bridge Glacier.

A group of preservationists is fighting to keep a rare albino redwood in Cotati, California, one of just ten trees of its kind known to exist.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES BALOG, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Brian Clark Howard

National Geographic

Published March 19, 2014

The White House has unveiled a new website-based app, the Climate Data Initiative, to help explain the science behind climate change and draw attention to the immediacy of the threat.

"This effort will help give communities across America the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts," John Podesta and John Holdren said in a statement announcing the new website. Podesta heads up President Obama's political efforts on climate change. Holdren is a White House science adviser.

It comes at a critical time, officials say. They point to the fact that in 2012, extreme weather events in the U.S. caused more than $110 billion in damages and claimed more than 300 lives.

The launch comes during the same week the world's biggest science society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), released a report urging the public to begin preparing for climate change now and asking economists and politicians to work with scientists in developing concrete solutions to the problem.

The White House's New Website

The new Climate Data Initiative builds on the Obama Administration's efforts to release government data online, through data.gov, which boasts more than 90,000 data sets on a wide range of fields, from housing to weather.

For the climate website, data will be made available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies. The first batch of climate data released will focus on coastal flooding and sea-level rise.

At first, the data won't be presented in a way that is easily digestible by average citizens. But the government is announcing an innovation challenge that calls on researchers and developers to create data-driven simulations, which could show people how their own neighborhoods might be affected by rising seas and floods.

A few partnerships are already under way. Esri, a company that provides mapping tools, is working with 12 U.S. cities to develop "maps and apps" that show the impacts of climate change. Google is donating cloud storage space and computing power to help process the climate data.

"While no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, we know that our changing climate is making many kinds of extreme events more frequent and more severe," say Podesta and Holdren. "Rising seas threaten our coastlines. Dry regions are at higher risk of destructive wildfires. Heat waves impact health and agriculture. Heavier downpours can lead to damaging floods."

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19 comments
Ken Ricklin
Ken Ricklin

I think that at this point one either believes in human-induced climate change and the possible/likely impacts or not.  Personally I find the evidence of this phenomenon to be simply overwhelming and undeniable: "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal", and "Human influence on the climate system is clear".

The following are taken from Headline Statements form the Summary for Policymankers released by the IPCC in January:


Observed Changes in the Climate System

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.


  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence). 
 
  • Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0–700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971.
 
  • Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence).
 
  • The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence). Over the period 1901 to 2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m.
 
  • The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification. 
 
Drivers of Climate Change
  • Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system. 
 
  • Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. 
 

These statements are very serious.  So my question to those who do not believe in human-induced climate change is, what will it take to convince you otherwise?

Vikon Ozymandias
Vikon Ozymandias

Does it explain the completely unexpected 15 year pause in global warming going on now that just happens to match the pattern of current solar activity? I know they have been scrambling to come up with reasons but pointedly ignoring the largest arbiter of our planetary climate, the Sun. The reason for that is the moment you do (as many Russian and Scandinavian Climatologists have) the CO2 alarmism falls apart completely. CO2 is a horribly poor global warming gas, less than 1/1000 as causal as simple water vapor. The reason CO2 is chosen as the bogey man is that the left can use it to take money from industrialized capitalist nations (I.e. The natural enemy of the socialist) for their own "enlightened" redistribution.


paul swinford
paul swinford

If you are 18 years of age or younger, you have never seen one

day of global warming in your young life.  If you  
are between 19 to 40 years of age, you have lived through a brief 
period of "global warming" but you missed a time when "political"
scientist were claiming that we were on the verge of an ice age. 
I have a degree in Political Science, which means that I have an 
understanding of how government is ran.  These "scientist" that
claim "global warming" are "political" scientist.  These people 
should not be confused with scientist that actually make new
discoveries and advance the life for those of us that live on this 
planet.
The way it works is that a politician, Democrat or Republican, it
doesn't really matter which, sets an agenda to gain power and these
so called "scientist" make up a theory that has a modicum of credibility
that validates the politicians agenda and these "political" scientist  are rewarded by the elected official by giving them a grant to live by.
One needs to understand the corruption involved with putting up
all these windmills in the name of "global warming".  Then the 
incredible economic destruction that has been created by these
ethanol plants that turn food into fuel is appalling.  We have a great
nation that has been brought to it's knees by these greedy people.
If there was a direct correlation between co2 and the warming of
Earth, I personally would be delighted to avoid another winter like the one we just experienced.  Unfortunately there isn't.

paul swinford
paul swinford

If you are 18 years of age or younger, you have never seen one

day of global warming in your young life.  If you  
are between 19 to 40 years of age, you have lived through a brief 
period of "global warming" but you missed a time when "political"
scientist were claiming that we were on the verge of an ice age. 
I have a degree in Political Science, which means that I have an 
understanding of how government is ran.  These "scientist" that
claim "global warming" are "political" scientist.  These people 
should not be confused with scientist that actually make new
discoveries and advance the life for those of us that live on this 
planet.
The way it works is that a politician, Democrat or Republican, it
doesn't really matter which, sets an agenda to gain power and these
so called "scientist" make up a theory that has a modicum of credibility
that validates the politicians agenda and these "political" scientist  are rewarded by the elected official by giving them a grant to live by.
One needs to understand the corruption involved with putting up
all these windmills in the name of "global warming".  Then the 
incredible economic destruction that has been created by these
ethanol plants that turn food into fuel is appalling.  We have a great
nation that has been brought to it's knees by these greedy people.
If there was a direct correlation between co2 and the warming of
Earth, I personally would be delighted to avoid another winter like the one we just experienced.  Unfortunately there isn't.
Paul David Swinford

Adam Borries
Adam Borries

The link in the first paragraph is broken.

Ayurveda Triphala
Ayurveda Triphala

More propaganda BS, take something you can't control (the weather) 

turn it into something profitable (carbon credits). 


How is it we take weather from the last 100+ years to claim climate 

change when, we have an overabundance of evidence going back many 

thousands of years proving massive climate changes and we could 

not have been the influence. 


Climate change has turned into a bad profitable religion with 

opinions being made facts.

Ken Ricklin
Ken Ricklin

@Vikon OzymandiasThe following is from Climate.gov:  


"The “pause” in global warming observed since 2000 followed a period of rapid acceleration in the late 20th century. Starting in the mid-1970s, global temperatures rose 0.5 °C over a period of 25 years. Since the turn of the century, however, the change in Earth’s global mean surface temperature has been close to zero. Yet despite the halt in acceleration, each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850."  (I added the italics for emphasis)


As far as your wealth redistribution theory goes, I must say that it makes absolutely no sense at all.

Chance Ross
Chance Ross

@paul swinford  Do you have any idea of species of animals will die due to the earth's average temperature rising? Also it was only cold in north east United States... most countries experinced seasonal highs during the winter!

Alison Roe
Alison Roe

It's probably the exponentially faster changes seen in temperature that are raising awareness. Temperature changes were more gradual prior to our industrilization, and that is reflected in the evidence you're probably referring to. To think we don't have an impact at all is complete denial. We destroy nature to create unnatural things to make our lives more convenient with no regard for the planet and other beings. It's irresponsible and it absolutely affects the Earth.

Michael Neary
Michael Neary

Only cold in north east United States? 7.2 degrees fahrenheit 40 miles north of Minneapolis Minnesota. 12:04 am 3-23-2014

Ayurveda Triphala
Ayurveda Triphala

@Alison Roe  A United Nations report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in September indicated that global surface temperatures had not increased for the past 15 years

Ayurveda Triphala
Ayurveda Triphala

@Alison Roe  There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” “Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.

Ayurveda Triphala
Ayurveda Triphala

@Alison Roe  The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming

Jean-Philippe Angers
Jean-Philippe Angers

@david auburn  Follow the money... it leads straight to governments :)  Yes humans have an impact on climate, but the sensitivity has been miscalculated.  We are finding more and more evidence that the sensitivity is very low, hence not a priority.  It should be addressed but not with ridiculous costly "solutions" that don't solve anything i.e. carbon taxes or inefficient renewables like wind and solar.  R&D is the way to go!  Finding new energy sources that are cheap, abundant and most importantly gives a high output ratio.

Ayurveda Triphala
Ayurveda Triphala

@david auburn  There is a cost to prepare/extract fossil fuels, all there is for carbon credits is pure profit. Follow that money trail.

david auburn
david auburn

Who's payroll are you people on. I think the fossil fuels industry has the most to loose and therefore are fighting the hardest to misinform the public. Follow the money and the vast majority undeniably goes to fossil fuels industry no one else comes even close. Tobacco did the same thing and so did alcohol before prohibition. They are going to fight to keep their profits even at the cost of the public. that includes out and out lies but we can call it misinformation. simple as that. no need to look further. follow the money. no other players in it for as much. The people who repeat their misinformation are being duped. i feel sorry for them the most. 

Chance Ross
Chance Ross

@Ayurveda Triphala @Alison Roe  Actually many species of animals could not survive even the slightest change in temperature. So it would not be beneficial to the majority of the species. Also there is plenty of evidence to show that CO2 impacts the warming of the earth. Anybody knows that CO2 traps heat, and when heat bounces of the earth it tries to get back out of the earth's atmosphere. However, the CO2 boxes in the heat  and naturally, the temperature rises. 

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