Author: Iowa Climate Science Education

Want to know what climate change will do in your back yard? There’s a dataset for that

The 7-terabyte dataset, the largest of its kind, helps envision climate-change scenarios at scales as small as 1 kilometer; a new review validates and describes the dataset

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

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A small bean farm in Colombia’s Darién region. Future climate scenarios can be modeled at the community scale thanks to a dataset created by the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Credit

Neil Palmer / International Center for Tropical Agriculture

What the global climate emergency has in store may vary from one back yard to the next, particularly in the tropics where microclimates, geography and land-use practices shift dramatically over small areas. This has major implications for adaptation strategies at local levels and requires trustworthy, high-resolution data on plausible future climate scenarios.

A dataset created by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and colleagues is filling this niche. Primarily intended to help policymakers devise adaptation strategies for smallholder farmers around the world, the open-access dataset has been used in 350 research papers. Users in at least 186 countries have downloaded almost 400,000 files from the dataset since it went online in 2013.

A full description, review and validation of the dataset, including how it was built, was published January 20 in Scientific Data, an open-access publication by Nature for the description of scientifically valuable datasets.

“Climate models are complex representations of the earth system, but they aren’t perfect,” said Julian Ramirez-Villegas, the principal investigator of the project and a scientist with CIAT and the CGIAR Research Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). “These errors can have an impact on our agricultural models. Because these models help us make decisions, this can have dire consequences.”

While the data has primarily served agricultural research, it has also been used to map the potential global spread of Zika (a mosquito-borne disease), to plan investment strategies for international development, and to predict the ongoing decline of outdoor skating days in Canada due to warmer winters.

“The use and applicability of this data have been really extensive and topically quite broad,” said Ramirez-Villegas. “Of course, a large portion of the studies has been done on crops that are key to global food security and incomes such as rice, coffee, cocoa, maize, and others.”

Pinpointing climate impacts

Climate-change projections are typically available at coarse scales, ranging 70-400km. But models for the impact of climate change for many agricultural plant varieties require data at finer scales. The researchers used techniques to increase the spatial resolution (a process known as downscaling) and to correct errors (a process known as bias correction) to create high-resolution future climate data for 436 scenarios.

“This is a critical resource for modeling more realistically the future of crops and ecosystems,” said Carlos Navarro, the lead author of the study who is affiliated with CIAT and CCAFS.

For a given emissions pathway and future period, each scenario includes monthly information for average and extreme temperatures, rainfall, and 19 other related variables. The data are publicly available in the World Data Center for Climate and the CCAFS-Climate data portal.

“Through these scenarios, we can understand, for instance, how agricultural productivity might evolve if the world continues on the current greenhouse emissions trajectory,” said Navarro. “They also provide the data to model what types of adaptations would best counter any negative climate change effects.”

Global and regional models analyze climate conditions at a rougher scales and simplify natural processes, producing results that may deviate from realistic scenarios.

The dataset is CGIAR’s biggest Findable Accessible Interoperable Reusable (FAIR) database. It also underscores CGIAR’s role in big data for development, through its Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. The dataset is currently included in its Global Agriculture Research Data Innovation and Acceleration Network (GARDIAN).

The high-resolution scale of this data is useful for scientists, policymakers, NGOs and investors, as it can help them understand local climate change impacts and therefore make better bets on adaptation measures, which plans can specifically target watersheds, regions, municipalities or countries.

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In addition to the studies noted by Ramirez-Villegas above, other studies that have used the datasets include:

-Mapping global environmental suitability for Zika virus. The results showed that more than 2.17 billion people in the tropics and sub-tropics live in Zika-prone areas.

-A multi-year CCAFS study following more than 15,000 farmers across India who are testing new seed varieties to enhance smallholder resilience to climate change.

-The above study also noted how Concern Worldwide, an NGO that does long-term development work, has used the data to identify adaptation options and investment strategies in Chad and South Sudan.

-The datasets were used in numerous climate change-impact studies on crops in Africa, including cocoa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, chickpea in East Africa, irrigated sugarcane in South Africa, and groundnuts in West Africa.

-In a show of the dataset’s broad research potential, a study in Canada showed how days of outdoor ice-skating are in decline there due to warming.

From EurekAlert!

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January 21, 2020 at 12:40AM

Sunset Industry: US Taxpayers Liable As Giant Solar-Thermal Power Plant (Crescent Dunes) Goes Bankrupt

  US taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of $millions following the spectacular financial collapse of the world’s biggest solar-thermal power plant, Crescent Dunes, situated in the Nevada desert, north-west of Las Vegas. South Australians (victims of their government’s obsession with chaotically intermittent wind and solar) can count themselves lucky that they didn’t end […]

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January 21, 2020 at 12:31AM

Tuesday Open Thread

So much to discuss. Time for two unthreaded lines midweek.

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January 20, 2020 at 11:00PM

New York Times Wants To Build That Wall

The New York Times claims that global warming is causing sea level rise and more frequent destructive storms – so New York needs to build a wall.

The $119 Billion Sea Wall That Could Defend New York … or Not – The New York Times

President Trump says it is a costly, foolish idea.

(25) Donald J. Trump on Twitter

Sea level at New York is rising at the same slow rate as it did when Abraham Lincoln was president. There is no indication humans have had any impact or that New York is under any threat.

Sea Level Trends – NOAA Tides & Currents

The number of landfalling US hurricanes and US major hurricanes have both declined.

There is no indication that New York hurricanes have increased.

HURDAT Re-analysis

In 2016, the Washington Post was terrified by the lack of hurricanes.

The U.S. coast is in an unprecedented hurricane drought — why this is terrifying – The Washington Post

The worst hurricane to hit New York occurred in 1821.

ARM-14-04840-P1_The_East_Coast_USD_100_billion_hurricane-9-4

06 Oct 1821, 1 – The Lancaster Gazette at Newspapers.com

This came six years after another massive hurricane.

New York’s brilliant governor believes that New York didn’t used to have hurricanes.

Cuomo Claims NY ‘Did Not Have Hurricanes,’ Forgets Superstorms of 1821, 1938 | KNSS 98.7/1330

Hurricanes go all over the North Atlantic. Even Iceland has been hit by many tropical cyclones.

Cyclones (Tropical) – Vulnerability Assessment

Eight of the ten deadliest US hurricanes occurred more than 100 years ago.

Nine of the 25 deadliest atlantic hurricanes occurred around the time of the Revolutionary War.

The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492-1996

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane occurred in 1780, and destroyed every single building in Barbados.

30 Dec 1780, 2 – Jackson’s Oxford Journal at Newspapers.com

1893 Atlantic hurricane season – Wikipedia

Obama took full advantage of Hurricane Sandy for political purposes, then bought a mansion on the beach in New England.

Opinion | The Next Hurricane, and the Next – The New York Times

This si what New England looked like after the 1938 hurricane.

According to NASA’s James Hansen, Lower Manhattan has been underwater for two years already.

Stormy weather – Global warming – Salon.com

After Sandy, New Yorkers got a sneak preview of a low carbon footprint and the Green New Deal.

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January 20, 2020 at 09:04PM