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CLIMATE SCIENCE
How the climate can rapidly change at tipping points
by Staff Writers
Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Jun 26, 2017


World mayors urge G20 leaders to 'save the planet'
Paris (AFP) June 25, 2017 - Dozens of city mayors from around the world -- including Washington, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney -- on Monday called on G20 leaders to stick to their commitments on tackling climate change.

In a joint text distributed to media outlets worldwide and posted online, the "C40" mayors "of the world's great cities" urged leaders from the Group of 20 "on behalf of the hundreds of millions of citizens that we represent... to deliver on your commitments to tackle climate change, one of the world's most pressing issues."

In light of US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change pact "the resolve of the other 19 leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit to safeguard the future of our planet is more important than ever," the statement added.

The 20 leaders will gather in Hamburg, Germany on July 7 and 8.

The world city mayors, led by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, said they were inspired by the "courage" shown by more than 300 mayors in cities across the United States who have committed to upholding the Paris Agreement despite Trump's decision.

The core goal of the Paris agreement is for countries to take measures aimed at restricting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

But Trump has said the climate pact, signed by nearly 200 countries, would hit the United States with "draconian financial and economic burdens" while competitors got off lightly.

The list of mayors who have signed up to the statement also include those of Karachi, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Melbourne, Chicago, Warsaw, Seoul and Vancouver.

"Local leaders around the world stand together with you, redoubling our commitment to bold action on climate change, working with business leaders and citizens worldwide," the mayors said in their statement, urging ordinary citizens to sign a petition to back their cause.

"We must all work together to save the planet," the statement stressed.

During the last glacial period, within only a few decades the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in Greenland - as indicated by new climate calculations from researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Cardiff.

Their study is the first to confirm that there have been situations in our planet's history in which gradually rising CO2 concentrations have set off abrupt changes in ocean circulation and climate at "tipping points".

These sudden changes, referred to as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, have been observed in ice cores collected in Greenland. The results of the study have just been released in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Previous glacial periods were characterised by several abrupt climate changes in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. However, the cause of these past phenomena remains unclear.

In an attempt to better grasp the role of CO2 in this context, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) recently conducted a series of experiments using a coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice model.

First author Xu Zhang explains: "With this study, we've managed to show for the first time how gradual increases of CO2 triggered rapid warming."

This temperature rise is the result of interactions between ocean currents and the atmosphere, which the scientists used the climate model to explore. According to their findings, the increased CO2 intensifies the trade winds over Central America, as the eastern Pacific is warmed more than the western Atlantic.

This is turn produces increased moisture transport from the Atlantic, and with it, an increase in the salinity and density of the surface water. Finally, these changes lead to an abrupt amplification of the large-scale overturning circulation in the Atlantic.

"Our simulations indicate that even small changes in the CO2 concentration suffice to change the circulation pattern, which can end in sudden temperature increases," says Zhang.

Further, the study's authors reveal that rising CO2 levels are the dominant cause of changed ocean currents during the transitions between glacial and interglacial periods.

As climate researcher Gerrit Lohmann explains, "We can't say for certain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future, because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period. That being said, we've now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth's past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations."

Research Report

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Climate change more important than partisan politics: Schwarzenegger
Paris (AFP) June 24, 2017
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urged people from both ends of the political spectrum to join a "crusade" to save the planet, after a Friday meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. "It is absolutely imperative that we not make it a political issue," he said. "This is not the right versus the left because there is no liberal air or conservative air. We all breathe ... read more

Related Links
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation


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