Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Experts available to discuss issues related to the 1st anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Scientific Research Connects the Dots
Hurricane Intensity Influenced by Global Warming

Major Global Warming Research Findings of Past 12 Months

2005 was one of the worst years for natural disasters in the United States, setting an unprecedented cost of over $121 billion in damage, with over 1460 deaths. Since the day that Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coast, scientists have uncovered sobering evidence that these natural disasters are becoming more common and severe.

· Global Warming is causing stronger and more frequent hurricanes:

"We conclude that global data indicate a 30-year trend toward more frequent and intense hurricanes, corroborated by the results of the recent regional
assessment. This trend is not inconsistent with recent climate model simulations
that a doubling of CO2 may increase the frequency of the most intense cyclones."

- P. J. Webster et al, "Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment," Science, 16 Sept 2005

"Our observational results based on long term trends of SST [sea surface
temperature] reveal that the anomaly reached a record 0.8 °C in the Gulf of
Mexico in August 2005 as compared to previous years and may have been
responsible for the intensification of the devastating Hurricane Katrina
into a category 5 hurricane..."

- Menas Kafatos et al, "Anomalous Gulf Heating and Hurricane Katrina’s Rapid Intensification," Center for Earth Observing and Space Research at George Mason University, Sept 2005

· First 6 months of 2006 are hottest on record:

"The average temperature for the continental United States from January through June 2006 was the warmest first half of any year since records began in 1895,
according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville,

- "Climate of 2006 - June in Historical Perspective," National Climatic Data Center - NOAA, 13 July 2006

· Hotter temperatures mean longer wildfire seasons:

"The average season-length [of wildfires] (the time between the reported first wildfire discovery date and the last wildfire control date) increased by 78 days(64%), comparing 1970-86 to 1987-03."

- A. L. Westerling et al, "Warming and Earlier Spring Increases Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity," Science Express, 6 July 2006

· Global Warming is happening now:

"Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases. […] Global warming is now 0.6°C in the past three decades and 0.8°C in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that 'most global warming occurred
before 1940.'"

- J. Hansen et al, "GISS Surface Temperature Analysis, Global Temperature Trends: 2005 Summation," NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, 2005

· Antarctica ice sheet decreasing by 20 cubic miles or more each year:

"We found that the mass of the ice sheet decreased significantly, at a rate of 152 ± 80 cubic kilometers of ice per year [about 37 ± 20 cubic miles per year],which is equivalent to 0.4 ± 0.2 millimeters of global sea-level rise per year."

-Isabella Velicogna and John Wahr, "Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica," Science, 2 March 2006

Geophysicists Isabella Velicogna and John Wahr of the University of Colorado,Boulder, reported in Geophysical Research Letters how … between 2002 and 2004, GRACE [the satellite] found a loss of about 82 cubic kilometers [about 20 cubic miles] of ice per year."
- Richard A. Kerr, "A Worrying Trend of Less Ice, Higher Seas," Science, 24 March 2006

· Greenland's glaciers are melting by 22 cubic miles or more each year:

"Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year [about 22 to 53 cubic miles per year]. As more glaciers accelerate farther north, the contribution of Greenland to sea-level rise will continue to increase. […] Glacier acceleration in the east probably resulted from climate warming."
- Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam, "Changes in the Velocity Structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet," Science, 17 Feb 2006

"The total melt extent of the ice sheet, experiencing at least 1 melt day between April 1 - September 25 shows a record extent in 2005 for the 27-year
long time PM data set. The 2005 melt extent exceeds the previous record of

- Konrad Steffen and Russell Huff, "Greenland Melt Extent," Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder, 28 Sept 2005

· Greenhouse pollution levels are larger than ever:

"The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbed to a record 381 parts per million last year… The reading was up 2.6 parts per million, according to preliminary calculations, David J. Hofmann of the Office of Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday."

- Randolph E. Schmid, "Greenhouse Gas Hits Record High," Associated Press, 15 March 2006

Experts available to discuss issues related to the 1st anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:

Global Warming

Jerome Ringo – Chair of the Board of National Wildlife Federation; President of the Apollo Alliance; cited by The Nation magazine in July as “the most interesting environmentalist in the United States;” resident of Lake Charles, La.; actively involved in post-Katrina efforts to aid evacuees; he and his family were subsequently displaced for several weeks after Hurricane Rita; available to speak about local and regional impacts of global warming, including the connection between hurricanes and climate change, and implications for coastal communities.
Contact: Ben McNitt, NWF Communications: 202-797-6855, mcnitt@nwf.org

Larry Schweiger – President/CEO, National Wildlife Federation; co-chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection; available to speak about efforts to educate the public about the effects of global warming on communities and wildlife habitat in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; also available to discuss grassroots movement to demand federal and state solutions to global warming.

Contact: Ben McNitt, NWF Communications: 202-797-6855, mcnitt@nwf.org

Jeremy Symons -- Director, Global Warming and Wildlife Campaign, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC; former Climate Policy Advisor to Christine Todd Whitman at the Environmental Protection Agency; represented EPA as a member of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force working group in 2001; named one of Capitol Hill’s seven most influential global warming lobbyists in 2006 by The Hill newspaper; available to discuss legislative efforts and policy implications of global warming since Hurricane Katrina.
Contact: 202-939-3311, symons@nwf.org.

National Water Projects & Corps of Engineers

David Conrad – Senior Water Resource Specialist, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC; nationally-recognized water policy expert, author of Higher Ground and Crossroads, two reports analyzing National Flood Insurance Program and Army Corps of Engineers projects and their impacts on ecosystems and communities. Particular expertise on Mississippi River projects, New Orleans levee breaks and related damage from Hurricane Katrina.
Contact: 202-797-6697, conrad@nwf.org.

Adam Kolton – Senior Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.; recognized by The Hill newspaper as one of Washington’s most influential conservation lobbyists; available to discuss efforts to pass national water policies to improve U.S. Army Corps of Engineers practices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Contact: 202-797-6636, kolton@nwf.org.

Restoration of Coastal Louisiana

Susan Kaderka – Director, National Wildlife Federation Gulf States Office, Austin, TX; water policy expert; available to discuss ecological impacts of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent efforts to pass legislation to fully fund coastal Louisiana restoration.
Contact: 512-476-9805; kaderka@nwf.org.

Randy Lanctot, Executive Director, Louisiana Wildlife Federation; available to speak about Hurricane Katrina’s impact on Louisiana wildlife and habitats.
Contact: 225-344-6707, Randy@lawildlifefed.org

Katrina Wildlife Impacts in Mississippi

Don Jackson -- fisheries biologist, Mississippi State University; President of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation; knowledgeable about coastal and inland fisheries with particular expertise in impacts from Hurricane Katrina.
Contact: 662-325-7493; djackson@cfr.msstate.edu


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