Some of the best climate reporting recently has come out of Seth Borenstein of (I think) the Associated Press. (His stories are so often syndicated it can sometimes be hard to tell.)
Here’s his latest, which looks at climate change from a practical–comfort–angle. If you live in an area where humidity is a part of life, he explains why you’ll be sweating a little more in the summer now.
We’ve heard discussion of the evidence of climate change in the past, specifically in 2005 in relation to James Hansen’s not-very-famous "energy balance" study. He called it a "smoking gun," which didn’t click metaphorically, but at least it made the papers.
As far as I can tell, this latest evidence of a human "fingerprint" on climate change has gotten some local coverage, but essentially no national press at all until Borenstein’s piece. It’s a study that shows how humidity is rising as water vapor spreads poleward from the equator, driven by rising temperatures.
(This rise was discussed earlier this year in an interesting story in the Chicago Tribune, which has had problems with increased humidity this year, but that story seems to have gotten buried in the files.)
For those interested in climate change, the new study is worth a look. (And it’s fully available via the National Academy of Sciences, for once.) Let me just quote the lead author:
“When you heat the planet, you increase the ability of the atmosphere
to hold moisture,” said Benjamin Santer, lead author from Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory’s Program for Climate Modeling and
Intercomparison. “The atmosphere’s water vapor content has increased by
about 0.41 kilograms per square meter (kg/m²) per decade since 1988,
and natural variability in climate just can’t explain this moisture
change. The most plausible explanation is that it’s due to the
human-caused increase in greenhouse gases.”
Nice graph, too, of water vapor in the atmosphere in August, 2005. (h/t: climatespin)