Saturday, December 10, 2016

NASA and Climate Science: What We Stand to Lose (Videos)

NASA's invaluable contributions to climate science will be slashed by the incoming Trump administration. America's greatness is premised on science and the work of NASA in particular. For decades NASA has contributed to our understanding of climate science and its impacts. They conduct research on greenhouse gases that cause climate change. They also document its impacts.

The science of climate change informs the decisions made at COP22 in Morrocco.

NASA's important work on climate change involves much more than temperature recordings. NASA monitors and conducts research on a wide range of subjects including sea ice, sea level rise, atmospheric levels of CO2 and deforestation. Perhaps their most important job is to explain this research to tax payers. A good example is NASA's cimate time machine.

As reported by Robin Andrews in an IFL Science article, Trump’s NASA transition team leader Bob Walker, has confirmed that NASA's budget for Earth Science is to be "heavily defunded".

Like others leading the transition Walker does not understand the scietific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. While almost all (97 - 99 percent) of climate scientist agree that climate change is real and caused by human activities, Walker erroneously claims that only half of climatologists share this view.”

Walker also claims the science has become politicized, and this is certaily true of Republicans.

While Walker claims that NASA's climate research will be done by NOAA there are no plans to make up for the $2 billion shortfall

Kevin Trenberth, the senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, described the move as incredibly dangerous. He also said space research is a luxury, but Earth observations are essential.”

Among the important research on climate change NASA has explored how the Earth has a higher sensitivity to increasing greenhouse gas emissions suggesting that warming could destroy a livable climate. The take away from the NASA research is that climate change may be worse than the IPCCC suggests.

As lead author Drew Shindell, a NASA climatologist, put it:

“I wish we could take some solace from the slowdown in the rate of warming, but all the evidence now agrees that future warming is likely to be towards the high end of our estimates so it’s more clear than ever that we need large, rapid emissions reductions to avoid the worst damages from climate change.”

As explained by the EDF's Scott Weaver, the reason for shutting down NASA's climate research is about, "turning away from facts about climate change will make it go away."

Axing NASA's funding  will adversely impact important climate modeling that
supports critical weather prediction modeling and consequently efforts to
protect American lives.

No matter what Trump and his advisors think the fact is that the Earth keeps warming. According to a NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data, each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880.

To get a sense of how important climate research is consider the following video. This climate scientist appeared on Fareed Zakaria's show and he said that after being diagnosed with terminal cancer he has opted to spend his remaining time on earth focusing on climate change.

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