Climate Letter #1057

Climate change is increasing the amount of dust that is blowing around the world (Yale e360).  While there are some benefits the harmful consequences are surprisingly significant.  This fine article is full of interesting information.
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An interview with a former lead author of an IPCC report (Carbon Brief).  This man should be as well-informed about the current science as anyone alive.  You can check through brief capsules of the questions and answers and then pick out the ones you want to hear more about.  I picked out one about climate sensitivity, where he expanded thusly:  “I personally think the evidence points towards climate sensitivity being at least on a 100-200 year timescale. The first steps of the changes are right around 3C. That’s just a personal opinion. I also think it’s fairly clear that the climate sensitivity increases with further warming; that it’s not a stable quantity.”  The last sentence gibes with points made in the lead story earlier this week in CL #1055.
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Why do CO2 emissions go up so much during El Nino years?  An article in Scientific American tells how scientists have recently pinned down a number of different reasons, most of which involve an unusual release of carbon that is stored in vegetation in tropical regions or an impaired ability to store new carbon.  The potential for recovery in some cases faces a lengthy delay, otherwise it is not shown that these periodic emission excesses accumulate over time.
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How important is the preservation of biodiversity?  A continuous study that began in 2002, known as the Jena Experiment, has found evidence of how the loss of biodiversity is destructive to ecosystems.  Many of the basic processes that humans depend on are irretrievably weakened.  One of the findings has been that high-diversity areas achieve better carbon  storage, the loss of which implies an influence on the progress of climate change.
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The Republican tax bill threatens to curtail the benefit of wind and solar tax credits.  This provision, like many others that are largely unpopular, has not been well-publicized, which impedes the efforts of those trying to block it.
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Today’s picture of the global temperature anomaly.  It is the worst I can ever remember seeing, especially the readings all around the Arctic Ocean.  What’s happening?  How long will it continue?
Carl
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