Claim: Climate change is 10x faster than ever before

From Stanford University  comes this breathless missive that sounds just like every one we’ve heard before. No mention of “the pause”, but we do have a “baked into the system” goodness apparently.

climate_speed

Climate change occurring 10 times faster than at any time in past 65 million years

The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive. 

Although some of the changes the planet will experience in the next few decades are already “baked into the system,” how different the climate looks at the end of the 21st century will depend largely on how humans respond.

The findings come from a review of climate research by Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, and Chris Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science and the director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution. The work is part of a special report on climate change in the current issue of Science.

Diffenbaugh and Field, both senior fellows at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, conducted the targeted but broad review of scientific literature on aspects of climate change that can affect ecosystems, and investigated how recent observations and projections for the next century compare to past events in Earth’s history.

For instance, the planet experienced a 5 degree Celsius hike in temperature 20,000 years ago, as Earth emerged from the last ice age. This is a change comparable to the high-end of the projections for warming over the 20th and 21st centuries.

The geologic record shows that, 20,000 years ago, as the ice sheet that covered much of North America receded northward, plants and animals recolonized areas that had been under ice. As the climate continued to warm, those plants and animals moved northward, to cooler climes.

“We know from past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years,” said Diffenbaugh. “But the unprecedented trajectory that we’re on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That’s orders of magnitude faster, and we’re already seeing that some species are challenged by that rate of change.”

Some of the strongest evidence for how the global climate system responds to high levels of carbon dioxide comes from paleoclimate studies. Fifty-five million years ago, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was elevated to a level comparable to today. The Arctic Ocean did not have ice in the summer, and nearby land was warm enough to support alligators and palm trees.

“There are two key differences for ecosystems in the coming decades compared with the geologic past,” Diffenbaugh said. “One is the rapid pace of modern climate change. The other is that today there are multiple human stressors that were not present 55 million years ago, such as urbanization and air and water pollution.”

Record-setting heat

Diffenbaugh and Field also reviewed results from two-dozen climate models to describe possible climate outcomes from present day to the end of the century. In general, extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy rainfall, are expected to become more severe and more frequent.

For example, the researchers note that, with continued emissions of greenhouse gases at the high end of the scenarios, annual temperatures over North America, Europe and East Asia will increase 2-4 degrees C by 2046-2065. With that amount of warming, the hottest summer of the last 20 years is expected to occur every other year, or even more frequently.

By the end of the century, should the current emissions of greenhouse gases remain unchecked, temperatures over the northern hemisphere will tip 5-6 degrees C warmer than today’s averages. In this case, the hottest summer of the last 20 years becomes the new annual norm.

“It’s not easy to intuit the exact impact from annual temperatures warming by 6 C,” Diffenbaugh said. “But this would present a novel climate for most land areas. Given the impacts those kinds of seasons currently have on terrestrial forests, agriculture and human health, we’ll likely see substantial stress from severely hot conditions.”

The scientists also projected the velocity of climate change, defined as the distance per year that species of plants and animals would need to migrate to live in annual temperatures similar to current conditions. Around the world, including much of the United States, species face needing to move toward the poles or higher in the mountains by at least one kilometer per year. Many parts of the world face much larger changes.

The human element

Some climate changes will be unavoidable, because humans have already emitted greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the atmosphere and oceans have already been heated.

“There is already some inertia in place,” Diffenbaugh said. “If every new power plant or factory in the world produced zero emissions, we’d still see impact from the existing infrastructure, and from gases already released.”

The more dramatic changes that could occur by the end of the century, however, are not written in stone. There are many human variables at play that could slow the pace and magnitude of change – or accelerate it.

Consider the 2.5 billion people who lack access to modern energy resources. This energy poverty means they lack fundamental benefits for illumination, cooking and transportation, and they’re more susceptible to extreme weather disasters. Increased energy access will improve their quality of life – and in some cases their chances of survival – but will increase global energy consumption and possibly hasten warming.

Diffenbaugh said that the range of climate projections offered in the report can inform decision-makers about the risks that different levels of climate change pose for ecosystems.

“There’s no question that a climate in which every summer is hotter than the hottest of the last 20 years poses real risks for ecosystems across the globe,” Diffenbaugh said. “However, there are opportunities to decrease those risks, while also ensuring access to the benefits of energy consumption.”

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DGP

Is this from the renowned Stanford University School of Computer Modeling and Wild Conjecture?

JY

I’m scared.

Chad Wozniak

How the mighty are fallen – even Stanford has succumbed to climatitis. What purulent drivel.
Of course der Fuehrer and the rest of the alarmies will eat this up.

JCR

“For instance, the planet experienced a 5 degree Celsius hike in temperature 20,000 years ago, as Earth emerged from the last ice age.”
Whaaaaat!? The last ice age ended less that 15,000 years ago as far as I know.

Fred from Canuckistan

The Stupid is strong in this one, very strong.

@njsnowfan

When is the next rocket taking off to another planet. Crazy clams and C02 has been higher then it is now in past 1,000 years. Climate models after climate models has failed over and over again.
Seem like the claims are coming 10x faster that is all. Has any model or scientist been right?

Antonia

It seems you don’t have to be very bright to be a climate scientist.

@njsnowfan

Oops Clams of C02 has not been as high as it is now in 65 million years. From charts I have seen C02 has been over 400 ppm in last 400 years.

Athelstan.

“But the unprecedented trajectory that we’re on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That’s orders of magnitude faster, and we’re already seeing that some species are challenged by that rate of change.”

Evidence?
As per usual it is not forthcoming – I see or, as the case is – we don’t see.
Stanford, journeys into the realms of Hollywood fiction, still it’s just what the POTUS wants to hear, and I guess, saying the right thing is better than proving it – via the scientific method and now that Mr. Obama’s presidency has hit reverse gear.

davidmhoffer
MattN

Can you please post up Dr. Easterbrook’s presentation that shows 7 different one-hundred year periods of significantly quicker warming in the past 125,000 years?

hunter

The error bars more than swallow up the alleged data line.
This is recycled, derivative garbage presented as science.

MattN
geran

“Some of the strongest evidence for how the global climate system responds to high levels of carbon dioxide comes from paleoclimate studies. Fifty-five million years ago, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was elevated to a level comparable to today. The Arctic Ocean did not have ice in the summer, and nearby land was warm enough to support alligators and palm trees.”
—–
Uh, kind of blows the “A” out of AGW, huh?
(But, this is Staaaanford, what do we expect?)

DaveS

It is possibly the fastest recorded climate change in the history of the universe. That’s because recording didn’t start until writing was invented. Stanford is #1 in the world for weasel words.

Jimmy Haigh

Drivel.

phodges

They are really piling on the ridiculous.
I think it is rush to cash in on the grants before the whole scam dries up.

@njsnowfan

The Daily Sea Ice Records continue to be broken.
Most ice in satellite history for the past week or so.
If the ocean was warmer this would not happen and also heat in oceans rise and cold sinks. Any see and watch when BP’s well blew up in the gulf. Was very cold down deep
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/antarctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

The intellectual dishonesty of this article, from what is supposed to be a bastion of clear headed engineering is mind boggling to behold.

I don’t understand.
And before anyone decides to flame me again, let me just hasten to add that it is not because I haven’t done any research, but because I’ve been doing too much research for the last few weeks on this subject. There is no consensus! Everybody has a different opinion, and nobody seems to agree on anything.
Why are there so many wildly differing claims about the climate from scientists of all fields? Some say human-caused greenhouse gases are the main (only) culprit and others say it’s because of the Earth’s natural activities, or cloud cover, or volcanism, or that it’s the Lunar/Jupiter/Saturn connection, or that it’s because of solar magnetism. There is the 9 year cycle, the 11 year cycle, the 22 year cycle, the 60 year cycle, the 200 year cycle, and the 1000 year cycle (did I miss any other cycle?) and that’s just for the sun. The Earth also has her own cycles, not to mention all the other planets have their own cycles.
So, if we have so many wildly and diametrically opposing viewpoints from scientists who are supposed to be experts in their fields, what/who are we to believe is speaking the truth?

FergalR

10 times faster than before? Why not 100 gazillion times faster than before – it’d make about as much sense but afford bigger headlines.

gregole

“If the trend continues at its current rapid pace…”
What if if doesn’t?
Oh, and what trend?
And they examined climate models. Uh huh.

Janice Moore

So, “10 times quicker” than……. .01? .03? .3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333?
All “sound and fury, signifying — NOTHING.” [MacBeth, toward the end I can’t remember where exactly]

environmental earth system science is designed to hype the models over reality so that the aspirations of the behavioral sciences can change the future.
Paul Ehrlich and friends do intend to get their “near total revision of human behavior” that they say commenced more than 5 years ago. No deviation allowed. This time they mean it.

nigelf

This guy is so FOS that his eyes are turning brown and he needs SuperMandia’s hipwaders.

geran

taobabe says:
August 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm
So, if we have so many wildly and diametrically opposing viewpoints from scientists who are supposed to be experts in their fields, what/who are we to believe is speaking the truth?
>>>>>
You are seeking the TRUTH, and you get to BELIEVE what you choose.
At least that is the way it is supposed to work….

gerrydorrian66

I wonder if they’re counting the climate change the planet experienced during the medieval warming period?

Richard M

For every solution there must be a problem … hence the need for this kind of junk science.

“If the trend continues…” Blah blah blah. Got to love those “ifs”.
“There’s no question that a climate in which every summer is hotter than the hottest of the last 20 years poses real risks for ecosystems across the globe,” Diffenbaugh said.
Noah Diffenbaugh clearly hasn’t been paying attention… or is in denial. Or is this just selective amnesia? I thought everyone had admitted the no warming for 17 years or more, including (reluctantly) the IPCC and the usual culprits. WAKE UP, NOAH.

geran, Belief does not necessarily equate Truth. I would like to substantiate my beliefs with some truths. Otherwise, what’s the point in trying to understand anything?

JPeden

“Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.”
The obvious diagnosis, Mass Hysteria Hyperventilation Syndrome of The Pinheads…someone quick put a bag over their widdle heads, they need more CO2, now!

Konrad

“I can’t believe it’s not Doom!”
Try new Doomette today! Now with 10X more Doom extender!

taobabe says:
August 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm
I don’t understand.
So, if we have so many wildly and diametrically opposing viewpoints from scientists who are supposed to be experts in their fields, what/who are we to believe is speaking the truth?
**********************************************************************************************
Nobody who gets their research money directly or indirectly from the government. Politics and Money- corrupts most people. Look around you

csanborn

I’ve been sticking my head out the window down here in Texas to check the weather for 63 years. It seems the same as it’s always been. But that’s just me.

Steve B,
R&D is very expensive. If scientists don’t get it from the govt (any govt, be it domestic or foreign), then they may get it from some corporation or some special interest entity. Nobody can work and live on nothing. Are you implying that corporate funding is sacrosanct?

Owen in GA

Wow, a nearly linear trend line (albeit with some oscillation about the mean) since the end of the little ice age with no evidence of any appreciable change in slope in 160+ years and in fact with a fairly lengthy flat period here at the last 15 or so years is evidence that we are all going to die (tm climastrology inc). These people have got to quit it. Eventually even the governments are going to realize that this dead horse can’t carry them any closer to one-world socialism and quit funding them to prevent the torches, pitchforks, vats of oil, and sacks of feathers from being used in earnest.

Bill H

Stanford has fallen into the ranks of the idiocy.. No longer a school of learning but a school of political bull S**t. I wonder if their funding was about to be cut?

Luther Wu

Ok, Paul Ehrlich is at Stanford and has obviously been rubbing shoulders with these people.

geran

taobabe says:
August 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm
geran, Belief does not necessarily equate Truth. I would like to substantiate my beliefs with some truths. Otherwise, what’s the point in trying to understand anything?
>>>>>
You must start with the basic science. And, yes, you must consider the “experts”, and their motives. Just as “belief” does not equate to “truth”, “funding” does not equate to “truth” either.
Keep studying this site.

Owen in GA

BillH, I would still trust their engineering grads, but not much else.

Bob Diaz

Wait, hasn’t the “climate change” for the last 17 or so years been around zero. Thus 10 x Zero = Zero !!! So, I guess the math hols up. ;-))

schitzree

So this study shows that IF the computer models were right, then the warming would be faster then the PROXIES indicate past warming MIGHT have been. Glad we’re sure of all this then.

Owen in GA

Though if this infection isn’t excised soon, even the engineering school will get co-opted.

James Allison

Used to be footy cards and model vintage cars found in a box of Kornies – now its Climate Science Doctorates.
Kornies was an Australasian thing.

Dwayne

“There is already some inertia in place,” Diffenbaugh said. “If every new power plant or factory in the world produced zero emissions, we’d still see impact from the existing infrastructure, and from gases already released.”
I’m glad it’s inertia and not momentum, otherwise we’d be really screwed…

Warren

Seriously, how long are we going to have to endure this kind of foolishness invading our respected scientific journals?

tomtre

The so called researcher for this paper is Noah Diffenbaugh. Not since the Noah of biblical times said t”he world will flood in 40 days of rain” has there been such a panic of a change in the weather. The thing is the Noah of biblical times claims were more likely right, and based less on blind faith than the claims of Noah Diffenbaugh.

Niff

So we have to jettison 7/8ths of the world population? I wonder who gets to live? /sarc
Thanks to davidmhoffer for this link!
http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Images/ice-HS/noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim_adj.gif
priceless…..

TomRude

The Key to understanding this PR is BS of the highest order is of course:
1) Although some of the changes the planet will experience in the next few decades are already “baked into the system,” how different the climate looks at the end of the 21st century will depend largely on how humans respond.
2) The findings come from a review of climate research by Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, and Chris Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science and the director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution. The work is part of a special report on climate change in the current issue of Science.
=
So these two clowns do not bring any new results but they sum up the most alarmist papers conclusions and despite that alarmism, WE can still reverse the problem thanks to paying through the nose and living as cavemen. Stanford University? $50,000 a year to support that? Thanks, but my kid will go elsewhere!

tomtre

Hey, I wouldn’t attack all of Stanford. They still have a fairly good men’s volleyball team.