KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Climate Worldwide Climate Worldwide en-us Copyright 2019, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Tue, 15 Oct 2019 HH:10:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com https://www.komu.com/ 144 25 The effects of our rapidly changing climate are worldwide, hitting the Arctic the hardest https://www.komu.com/news/the-effects-of-our-rapidly-changing-climate-are-worldwide-hitting-the-arctic-the-hardest/ https://www.komu.com/news/the-effects-of-our-rapidly-changing-climate-are-worldwide-hitting-the-arctic-the-hardest/ Climate Worldwide Wed, 18 Sep 2019 9:59:20 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist The effects of our rapidly changing climate are worldwide, hitting the Arctic the hardest

Global warming has often been used interchangeably with climate change. Well, they shouldn’t be, because they do not describe the same thing. Global warming is the main component of climate change, however, climate change is so much more than just the warming of our world. Let me break it down for you.

Climate change, in simple terms, is due to an excess of energy trapped in our atmosphere because of greenhouse gases released by human activity. Now, this energy causes many things to happen. One of the main effects is global warming.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, in the 1700s, our world has warmed by roughly 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around 1.3 degrees Celsius. That means we are getting dangerously close to the 1.5 to 2 degree thresholds that climatologists believe would bring us into a new world of extremes…a mark they say will be reached in the next 10 years if we don’t start cutting greenhouse gas emissions rapidly while also finding ways to take out some of the emissions we’ve put in. I’ll have more on this in future Show Me Climate stories.

Each part of the world warms at different speeds, however, the past 5 years have been the hottest since modern records began, and eighteen of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001.

The strongest warming is happening in the Arctic during its cool seasons, and its taking a toll on sea ice. 2019 has wobbled back and forth between the lowest and second lowest extents of sea ice, battling with 2012 for the all-time low record. Think about this: when sunlight hits ice, it is reflected back, but when it hits darker ocean waters because the ice it would usually hit has melted, the ocean water gets warmer leading more sea ice melt…it is a dangerous cycle we are currently on. Other notes: Alaskan waters were ice-free this year earlier than any other year and Greenland lost 12 billion tons of sea ice in just one day this July, the highest single-day total since 1950.

Sea ice melt is also a big contributor to sea level rise. In fact, since 1993 the sea level has risen by roughly 94 millimeters, or 3.7 inches. It rises roughly 3.3 millimeters each year. This is due to declining sea ice, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, and decreased snow cover. It can also be attributed to the warming of ocean waters which expands the ocean.

The ocean isn’t only warming, it is also becoming more acidic. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the ocean is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year, leading to a 30 percent increase in the ocean’s surface water’s acidity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Coral reefs are being bleached due to these warmer, more acidic waters. Coral reefs are important because they provide a home to over 4,000 species of fish, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide every year. Coral reefs are also increasingly used to find cures. Many drugs are now being developed from coral reef animals and plants as possible cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses, and other diseases. They also provide protection from larger waves such as from tropical storms.

Our changing climate has also created more extreme weather. I’ll discuss this in my next Show Me Climate story, Thursday on KOMU 8 News at 6. Then, at 10 I’ll be discussing Missouri’s climate outside your window with our state climatologist.

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This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.


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Chief Meteorologist Kenton Gewecke talks climate change with NBC News' Al Roker https://www.komu.com/news/chief-meteorologist-kenton-gewecke-talks-climate-change-with-nbc-news-al-roker/ https://www.komu.com/news/chief-meteorologist-kenton-gewecke-talks-climate-change-with-nbc-news-al-roker/ Climate Worldwide Tue, 17 Sep 2019 9:55:51 AM Chief Meteorologist Kenton Gewecke talks climate change with NBC News' Al Roker

Al Roker traveled to a remote part of Greenland to understand why the glaciers are melting at such a rapid pace, the role the oceans are playing and what this means for the rest of the world. To get those answers, he met up with scientists by air and sea. He flew with NASA on a first-of-its-kind Oceans Melting Greenland mission and joined NYU scientists on their research vessel where their mission is to understand the climate’s effect on the Greenland coastline and beyond.

KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Kenton Gewecke sat down with Roker to talk about climate change and its effects, both statewide and worldwide.

You can read and watch Roker's full report here.

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This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.


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Exploring different factors causing the worldwide climate to change https://www.komu.com/news/exploring-different-factors-causing-the-worldwide-climate-to-change/ https://www.komu.com/news/exploring-different-factors-causing-the-worldwide-climate-to-change/ Climate Worldwide Mon, 16 Sep 2019 4:53:56 PM Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist Exploring different factors causing the worldwide climate to change

Previously we've discussed the difference between weather and climate and explained that global temperatures are warming at an unnaturally rapid pace. Next, I want to discuss the why. Because in science there has to be a reason. A cause to the effect.

Let’s look at a few different possibilities.

We begin with our heating source. The source of life and energy to this planet: the Sun. The Sun does go through solar fluctuations and at times it emits higher amounts of infrared radiation, which could warm our world. However, since satellites began recording the Sun’s output in 1978, the solar irradiance has actually gone down slightly. Climatologists say the Sun cannot plausibly account for more than 10 percent of the 20th century’s warming.

Is it due to volcanic activity? The data suggests it is not due to volcanic activity. Human industries emit about 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes, and besides, volcanoes emit other molecules like sulfate that can actually help to cool the atmosphere for a couple years.

What about land use and deforestation? When trees are leveled the Sun will reflect more directly off the Earth’s surface and this can actually lead to more of a cooling effect. Of course, less trees means less oxygen production and less CO2 extraction.

What about more Ozone? Ozone high in the atmosphere will help to block harmful UV Rays but Ozone pollution closer to our surface can trap heat and lead to warmer temperatures near the surface, not to mention harmful air quality for human life. However, Ozone pollution likely plays only a minute role in our rapidly warming world.

What about carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases such as methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide? Since pre-industrial times, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by almost 50%, from 208 PPM to 412 PPM in August 2019. We haven’t seen these levels of CO2 for 3.6 million years according to NOAA. Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended. This is the most important long-lived "forcing" of climate change. And yes, it’s because of us humans.

Moreover, these greenhouse gases don’t just disappear once they’re put into the atmosphere; some of them can stick around for a while. Think of water vapor or droplets, like a cloud for example. Water vapor can actually stay in the atmosphere for about 7 days until it rains down to the surface. So what about carbon dioxide. Well, it can stay in the atmosphere for…wait for it…100 days. Woops, no, I mean 100 months… NOPE. YEARS. Carbon Dioxide can stay in our atmosphere for 100+ years…in fact, some of it may take thousands of years to leave the atmosphere…and we’ve been releasing A LOT of it into our atmosphere for a while now. All of this goes to show that rapid climate chance cannot be stopped overnight. It is going to take some time to calm things do; it won’t happen in most of our lifetimes. But, changes we make today will determine what the world looks like for future generations. We are the ones who decide what the future will look like.

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This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.


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