I've been following the scientific literature regarding climate change for quite a while, and have saved articles and studies I found especially interesting. That's where this list came from.
These articles and studies are almost entirely from major peer-reviewed scientific journals, government science research agencies, and mainstream media reporting on such studies. Dates are often visible in the entry's link. The list is in roughly chronological order, most recent at the top.
The accepted measure of evolutionary success is how long a species survives. Our species has been here only a very brief time - about a quarter million years. Agriculture-based civilization has been here only about ten thousand years. And our petroleum-powered industrial society is only a few hundred years old. Yet in this brief time we've trashed the place. As time goes on this only becomes more obvious.
But, think it's obvious now? Just wait. Climate change is a lagging indicator; the effects we see today are mostly from the trashing we did years and decades ago. Every year our trashing is more extensive than the year before, and it seems to be coming to a head.
Climate change itself isn't what will get us, I think. That will come later (and won't help). First though, the bare beginnings of it will thoroughly disrupt the fragile house of cards of our globally interconnected economic system, making a mess of this thing we call civilization. Ever play Jenga? Don't have to remove many blocks before the whole thing collapses. This may begin as soon as the mid-2020s. Even if some fraction of homo so-called sapiens survives that, given what will remain I wonder what life will look like for them. For us.
Still, it's a privilege to have a front row table at the restaurant at the end of the universe. We get to watch this amazing train wreck happen in real time. Quite a show.
My original idea for this website was to post a handy well-curated list of notable articles, to allow people to read for themselves and draw their own conclusions. But in addition some have asked me for my own thoughts on where the climate situation is going. Here is my best guess on that.
At the bottom of this page below the climate listings I have also provided a sample of articles on John Calhoun. His famous rodent habitat studies documented that even while providing all physical requirements for a population, simple overcrowding will always lead to the population's extinction, with notable exhibition of bizarre and self-defeating behaviors along the way, and especially towards the end of the habitat's cycle. A consideration of whether his findings apply to our current situation may well be in order.
The timeline of earth's average temperature is from xkcd. Click it to go to the original.
This list will be updated as I find more to add. Your suggestions and comments are welcome.
Go to articles and studies published in: 2019 · 2018 · 2017 · 2016 · 2015 and earlier
··· --- ···
The Reason Antarctica Is Melting: Shifting Winds, Driven by Global Warming
A new study helps solve the puzzle of why the continent’s western glaciers are melting so fast
For a long time, scientists had suspected that man-made climate change was likely causing this area of West Antarctica’s ice to thin, but they had not established a direct connection or mechanism. The issue is critical because this is where the majority of the continent’s ice loss is occurring. Now a new study new study published this week in Nature Geoscience appears to have solved the puzzle. A team of researchers in the U.S. and U.K. found that global warming has caused a shift in wind patterns that are ultimately bringing more warm ocean water into contact with the region’s ice.
Where did all the cod go? Fishing crisis in the North Sea
[A] report published last month by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) revealed that North Sea cod stocks had fallen to critical levels. Warning that cod was being harvested unsustainably, it recommended a 63% cut in the catch – and that’s on top of a 47% reduction last year ... North Sea cod stocks were once plentiful but plummeted – and came perilously close to collapse – between the early 1970s and 2006. A “cod recovery plan” sought to restore stocks to sustainable levels ... Ices, an international organisation of scientists from countries bordering the North Atlantic, advises governments and the industry on stock levels and the sustainable quotas that can be fished without endangering future stocks. It sounded a warning last year with its recommended cut in the cod catch of 47%, but this year’s assessment – based on extensive scientific research – warned that levels were dangerously low and another two-thirds reduction was needed.
Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago
Plant growth is declining all over the planet, and new research links the phenomenon to decreasing moisture in the air—a consequence of climate change. The study published yesterday in Science Advances points to satellite observations that revealed expanding vegetation worldwide during much of the 1980s and 1990s. But then, about 20 years ago, the trend stopped. Since then, more than half of the world’s vegetated landscapes have been experiencing a “browning” trend, or decrease in plant growth.
Sydney's water supply falling at record pace due to drought
Sydney is running down its water supply at the fastest rate on record, with dams expected to fall below half maximum capacity due to the worst drought on record, the government said on Friday ... “Catchments that have been historically reliable are now facing a critical shortage of water ... major (inland) cities run the risk of running out of fresh water in the next 12 months.”
The UN’s Bleak View Of The Planet’s Future
[IPCC’s special report on climate change and land], which includes the work of 107 experts from 52 countries, is a devastatingly serious outline of what is coming. Its conclusions reflect the science of what is already underway to turn large portions of Earth un-plantable and probably un-livable ... A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the climate report ... The report details how climate change is threatening food and water supplies for humans, turning arable land to desert, degrading soil and increasing the threat of droughts and other disasters. As have previous studies, it puts most of the blame on fossil fuel-burning power plants and automobiles but adds that agriculture and forestry account for 23% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions ... climate change could imperil food security in parts of the world, putting further strain on a food system that’s already stressed.
Drying Atmosphere Spurs Decline in Vegetation Growth
Global vegetation growth has stalled in the past two decades because of a long-term deficit in atmospheric water content, according to a new analysis of global climate datasets published in the August 14 issue of Science Advances. The findings reveal that atmospheric water vapor is expected to further wane throughout the 21st century due to rising air temperatures and a decline in the evaporation of the world's oceans. The decrease in atmospheric water cancelled out the effects of higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which would normally boost plant growth. The findings also suggest that if this drying continues, plants may not be able to absorb as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and forest and crop yields potentially could shrink.
Anchorage set two heat records on Thursday
Anchorage has now exceeded the cumulative total of all days recorded from 1952 to 2018 in which the average temperature for the day exceeded 70 degrees in this summer alone.
A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit
According to data released in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) monthly climate analysis, a weather station in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle hit a stunning 94.6 Fahrenheit (34.8 degrees Celsius) last month. As an isolated data point, it would be shocking. But coupled with a host of other maladies, from no sea ice within 125 miles of Alaska to the unruly fires ravaging Siberia, it’s an exclamation point on the climate crisis ... July’s Arctic heat is part of a larger global trend driven by carbon pollution.
Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.
Across nine million square miles at the top of the planet, climate change is writing a new chapter. Arctic permafrost isn’t thawing gradually, as scientists once predicted. Geologically speaking, it’s thawing almost overnight ... releasing vestiges of ancient life — and masses of carbon — that have been locked in frozen dirt for millennia. Entering the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, the carbon promises to accelerate climate change, even as humans struggle to curb our fossil fuel emissions ... new discoveries suggest that the carbon will escape faster as the planet warms ... researchers now suspect that for every one degree Celsius rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of four to six years’ worth of coal, oil, and natural gas emissions — double to triple what scientists thought a few years ago. Within a few decades, if we don’t curb fossil fuel use, permafrost could be as big a source of greenhouse gases as China, the world’s largest emitter, is today. We aren’t accounting for that. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has only recently started incorporating permafrost into its projections. It still underestimates just how wide Pandora’s freezer could swing open—and how much havoc that could unleash.
The New Ruins of the Melting Alps
While the planet as a whole has warmed about 1° Celsius because of greenhouse gas emissions, average temperatures the Alps have risen just under 2° Celsius. Since 1960 — when the Alps first began to be exploited by ski-oriented tourism—the average snow season there has shortened by 38 days. Because of this warming and other factors, there are now almost 200 abandoned ski resorts in the Italian Alps: cemeteries of steel cables, concrete, parking lots, abandoned hotels, and deforested slopes. That number stands to rise ... Clavarino’s images of these near-abandoned places, and the people who remain there, are not simply mementos of a dying region. They’re a warning to the rest of us about the economic and human toll to come as our planet warms.
Increase in fracking for shale gas has 'dramatically increased' global methane emissions, scientists warn
Researchers from Cornell University looked at the 'chemical fingerprint' of methane in the atmosphere and found a third of methane emissions in the past decade came from shale gas ... If the rise continues in coming decades, it will significantly increase global warming and undercut efforts to meet international targets to curb dangerous climate change under the Paris Agreement, the study warns.
Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides
America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One. This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds ... [researchers] determined that the new generation of pesticides has made agriculture far more toxic to insects ... The study found that neonics accounted for 92 percent of this increased toxicity. Neonics are not only incredibly toxic to honeybees, they can remain toxic for more than 1,000 days in the environment ... Nearly all of neonic use in the U.S. is for coating seeds, including almost all corn and oilseed rape seed, the majority of soy and cotton seeds, and many yard plants from garden centers. However only 5 percent of the toxin ends up the corn or soy plant; the rest ends up the soil and the environment. Neonics readily dissolve in water, meaning what’s used on the farm won’t stay on the farm. They’ve contaminated streams, ponds, and wetlands, studies have found.
2C: Beyond The Limit
Extreme climate change has arrived in America
New Jersey may seem an unlikely place to measure climate change, but it is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation. Its average temperature has climbed by close to 2 degrees Celsius since 1895 ... if Earth heats up by an average of 2 degrees Celsius, virtually all the world’s coral reefs will die; retreating ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could unleash massive sea level rise; and summertime Arctic sea ice, a shield against further warming, would begin to disappear ... analysis of more than a century of [NOAA] temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark ... The nation’s hot spots will get worse, absent a global plan to slash emissions of the greenhouse gases fueling climate change ... Daniel Pauly, an influential marine scientist at the University of British Columbia, says the 2-degree Celsius hot spots are early warning sirens of a climate shift. “Basically,” he said, “these hot spots are chunks of the future in the present.”
In the future, only the rich will be able to escape the unbearable heat from climate change. In Iraq, it’s already happening
At a time when European countries are enduring some of the highest temperatures ever recorded, and as extreme weather becomes more common, Baghdad offers a troubling glimpse into a future where only the wealthy are equipped to escape the effects of climate change. A United Nations report released last month warned that the world is heading for a “climate apartheid” scenario, “where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer”. In Baghdad, that is already a reality. On 48C days, which are now coming earlier in the year, air conditioners are the most effective way of staying cool. But an electricity crisis in the country is putting even that essential tool out of reach to low-income families.
Amazon fires generate smoke cloud almost as big as devastating Siberia blaze
While fires in Siberia have created a cloud of smoke larger than the European Union, on the other side of the world, forest blazes in the Amazon are causing a phenomenon of almost the same magnitude. Santiago Gassó, a researcher at NASA's Goddard center, warned on his Twitter account on Tuesday that the surface of Latin America covered by the smoke layer was about 3.2 million square kilometers ... The Brazilian state of Amazonas declared a state of emergency last week due to the increasing number of fires in the region.
Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU
A cloud of smoke and soot bigger than the European Union is billowing across Siberia as wildfires in the Arctic Circle rage into an unprecedented third month. The normally frozen region, which is a crucial part of the planet’s cooling system, is spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and worsening the manmade climate disruption that created the tinderbox conditions. A spate of huge fires in northern Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada discharged 50 megatonnes of CO2 in June and 79 megatonnes in July, far exceeding the previous record for the Arctic.
Trees in the U.S. facing devastating threats due to invasive species
A team of researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that trees in the United States are facing devastating threats due to invasive species. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes analyzing thousands of forest plots across the U.S. and the mortality rates due to 15 major tree pest infestations ... The researchers found that approximately 40 percent of all forested land in the U.S. is under threat from invasive species. They also found that such pests are already killing so many trees that 6 million tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere each year.
Global Sea Level Rise Began Accelerating 30 Years Earlier Than Commonly Thought
Global sea level rise began to accelerate in the 1960s, 30 years earlier than suggested by previous assessments, a new study finds. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, introduces a new technique to more accurately determine historical global sea levels by combining two different statistical approaches ... The implication of this work is that ocean heat uptake will “likely increase again in the near future, further increasing the rate of current sea level rise”
Temperatures to hit 50C during Hajj
Temperatures during Hajj season this year are expected to reach 50 degrees Celsius on some days, Saudi officials said Sunday. Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental protection also expects humidity to reach 85 percent, making the climate feel even hotter.
The heat index in Galveston remained above 100 for 40 straight hours. It’s part of another major heat wave.
Heat advisories stretched over 1,000 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border to Georgia, encompassing more than 30 million in the forecast for “dangerous heat.” Galveston failed to drop below 86 degrees Thursday, marking its warmest all-time low temperature on record ... It’s not just Galveston. Much of the Lone Star State is baking, and that heat is set to expand ... With the heat comes sweltering humidity. Dew points close to 80 degrees will make even overnight lows virtually unbearable.
China is going to get hot
[R]esearchers have found that China faces ... tens of thousands of additional deaths each year. And the problem, they say, will kick in at much lower rates of global warming than those predicted to endanger US cities. Part of the problem, write Yanjun Wang of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and colleagues, in the journal Nature Communications, is that temperatures in China have been increasing faster than the global average. But it isn’t the rise in average temperature that is the true problem, Wang’s team writes, so much as the fact that this rise is accompanied by an increase in the number of dangerously hot days.
Rapid Coral Decay Is Associated with Marine Heatwave Mortality Events on Reefs
Severe marine heatwaves have recently become a common feature of global ocean conditions due to a rapidly changing climate. These increasingly severe thermal conditions are causing an unprecedented increase in the frequency and severity of mortality events in marine ecosystems, including on coral reefs. The degradation of coral reefs will result in the collapse of ecosystem services that sustain over half a billion people globally. Here, we show that marine heatwave events on coral reefs are biologically distinct to how coral bleaching has been understood to date, in that heatwave conditions result in an immediate heat-induced mortality of the coral colony, rapid coral skeletal dissolution, and the loss of the three-dimensional reef structure
Russia’s Burning! Climate Change Is to Blame
So far this year, a total of 8.3 million hectares (20.5 million acres) of forest has burned out in Russia. That roughly equals the area of Austria; it’s undoubtedly a bad year. At the peak of the wildfires on July 23, the number of fires in the Russian woods was about three times the 17-year average for that day ... The average burned-up area between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1 has increased by two-thirds in the last 10 years ... The increase in fires is almost certainly a consequence of climate change – and, when it comes to Russian forests, not the only consequence.
India water crisis flagged up in global report
India is one 17 countries where "water stress" is "extremely high", according to an exhaustive new global report released on Monday. This means that the country is running out of ground and surface water ... The report also ranks nine Indian states and union territories as having "extremely high" water stress ... India is in the grip of acute water scarcity by other measures as well. Large parts of the country have already faced a crippling drought this year - more than 500 million people living in at least 10 states were reportedly affected. And India's sixth largest city - Chennai in the south - ran out of water last month. The water table is also being depleted in Haryana's neighbouring state, Punjab. It's known as the breadbasket of India, but farmers are worried.
An 88 percent decline in large freshwater animals
Scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and international colleagues have now quantified the global decline of big freshwater animals ... From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent, most notably in the Indomalaya (by 99 percent) and Palearctic (by 97 percent) realms—the former covering South and Southeast Asia and southern China, and the latter covering Europe, North Africa and most of Asia. Large fish species such as sturgeons, salmonids and giant catfishes are particularly threatened: with a 94 percent decline, followed by reptiles with 72 percent.
Greenland's ice wasn't supposed to melt like last week until 2070
The Greenland ice sheet covers an area the size of Alaska with enough ice to raise global sea level by more than 20 feet ... Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models ... it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected.
Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet
A recent study published in Nature ... found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system ... AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world ... warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe. Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation ... This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.
Financial Times: how the jet stream is changing your weather
Scientists know of only three prior occasions in the past 800 years when there has been melting at the very top of the ice cap [but] it is now the second time this decade it has happened. “The last time we saw melting at the summit, in 2012, we thought it was the extreme of the extremes, and wouldn’t happen again so quickly ... But now we are facing more of these extremes” ... “It is essentially the most important weather phenomenon ... If you had to choose only one piece of information to get a handle on the weather in the northern hemisphere . . . then that would be the jet stream" ... Further complicating the picture is the interaction between the jet stream and the Gulf Stream. The winds have long been known to influence the ocean currents, and a growing body of evidence suggests the ocean currents also influence their atmospheric equivalents ...The changes in the jet stream are something researchers call “non-linear” phenomenon: shifts that can take place suddenly or not at all, that do not proceed in a straight line ... this can exacerbate the effects of climate change. “We have background warming, and we have enhancement due to these non-linear effects, like the changes in the general circulation”
In-depth Q&A: The IPCC’s special report on climate change and land
This morning in Geneva, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its special report on climate change and land ... Many of the modelled pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5C rely heavily on a technique called “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage” (BECCS) [which] involves growing crops, using them to produce energy and then capturing the resulting CO2 emissions before storing them [however BECSS] has not yet been proven to work at scale ... while others face significant “policy lags”: “Even some actions that initially seemed like ‘easy wins’ have been challenging to implement, with stalled policies ... response options need sufficient funding, institutional support, local buy-in, and clear metrics for success, among other necessary enabling conditions.”
This Land Is the Only Land There Is
The planet’s dangerously warmed future is already here. Earth’s land has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the same amount of warming that climate activists are hoping to prevent on a global scale ... Land is extremely scarce, we need it for everything, and we are already using most of it. More than 70 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is already shaped by human activity [and] this human-managed land emits about a quarter of global greenhouse-gas pollution every year. ... Land must be made into a tool in the climate fight [which] will require immediate action from farmers, bankers, conservationists, and policy makers worldwide. And to really succeed, it will require hundreds of millions of affluent people in the Northern Hemisphere to change their diet, eating many more plants and much less meat. These changes must happen fast ... [O]n our current trajectory—and on any trajectory, frankly, where the United States does not adopt a serious climate policy—it’s far more likely that the planet will warm at least 3 degrees Celsius (5.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. That means that average land temperatures will be 10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today. The IPCC warns that people who live on such a planet will face a “very high risk” of famine, water scarcity, and mass vegetation die-offs ... Climate change requires us to alter the biogeochemical organism that we call the global economy on the fly, in our lifetimes. Such a task should command most of the time and attention of every economist, agriculturalist, investor, executive, and politician—anyone who fancies themselves a leader in the physical workings of the economy, or whatever we call it. It is our shame, and theirs, that they don’t.
A quarter of the world's population is at risk of 'Day Zero' when water will completely run out, report claims
A total of 17 countries, home to more than a quarter of the world's population, are suffering 'extremely high' levels of water stress and taps in these regions could soon run dry. The World Resources Institute's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas today released a report ranking water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk around the world. 'Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability,' said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI.
Alaska's sea ice has completely melted away
The most rapidly changing state in the U.S. has no sea ice within some 150 miles of its shores, according to high-resolution sea ice analysis from the National Weather Service. The big picture is clear: After an Arctic summer with well above-average temperatures, warmer seas, and a historic July heat wave, sea ice has vanished in Alaskan waters. "Alaska waters are ice free," said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy ... Arctic sea ice has been either been at record lows or flirting with record lows throughout much of the summer. "I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change]," [said] Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and current board director at the National Academies of Sciences.
Power-Starved Zimbabwe, Zambia Face Further Drought-Induced Blackouts
The Kariba dam that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, the world’s biggest man-made reservoir, is emptying fast, sparking fears the countries may have to cut hydropower production there completely ... a total shutdown at Kariba would be crippling. Zambia gets about a third of its supply from the dam, Zimbabwe almost half ... A severe regional drought has cut water levels at Kariba to 23% of capacity this month from 85% a year ago ... There is good reason for Chizengeya to fear a total shutdown at Kariba. During the drought of 2015-16, water levels were about a meter (3 feet) higher at this time of the year, and the dam bottomed out at 11% before rains refilled it. If higher temperatures this year cause more rapid evaporation and rains are delayed, the risks rise.
Climate Change Becomes an Issue for Ratings Agencies
One of the main agencies that rates the creditworthiness of big borrowers, including cities and corporations, has brought on board a data firm specializing in climate risks. It's a signal that rating agencies are paying more attention to global warming and its impact in the financial markets ... "More and more, issuers and investors want to know how they are exposed to climate events," said Michael Mulvagh, head of communications in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Moody's Corporation, which owns one of the largest U.S. ratings agencies.
Insurers reveal Townsville flood cost, warn region is 'unprofitable'
The insurance cost of the February floods in Townsville has peaked at $1.24 billion, as the industry warns the severity of natural disasters has made it unprofitable to write business in some parts of northern Australia. The Insurance Council of Australia said the devastating floods, a result of record breaking rainfall battering the north Queensland city for several days in early February, had led to around 30,000 insurance claims.
Deathwatch for the Amazon
South America’s natural wonder may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its gradual transformation into something closer to steppe cannot be stopped or reversed, even if people lay down their axes. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hastening the process ... Climate change is bringing the threshold closer every year as the forest heats up. Mr Bolsonaro is pushing it towards the edge. Pessimists fear that the cycle of runaway degradation may kick in when another 3-8% of the forest vanishes—which, under Mr Bolsonaro, could happen soon.
Siberian Wildfires and Heatwaves in Alaska: How the Arctic Is Nearing a Point of No Return
“There’s no path where you can imagine that the Arctic is going to start to cool off again ...it would take a dramatic reversal of the chemical composition of the atmosphere ... as you warm up the environment, you let that natural decomposition process fully play out … You end up with tens or hundreds or thousands of years of plant decomposition happening in one or two or ten years.” That adds up to massive amounts of methane, and ultimately carbon dioxide, being released into the atmosphere, Brettschneider adds. “We think we have a handle on the trajectory of warming, but if we have this unexpectedly large release of methane from permafrost, then we’re going to have to change our assumptions about how fast warming is going to occur, and that change would be faster.”
In Zimbabwe, the Water Taps Run Dry and Worsen ‘a Nightmare’
More than half of the 4.5 million residents of Harare’s greater metropolitan area now have running water only once a week ... Zimbabwe’s acute water shortage is a result of a particularly bad drought this year, a symptom of climate change. Poor water management has wasted much of the water that remains. Two of Harare’s four reservoirs are empty from lack of rain.
Greenland's Melting: Heat Waves Are Changing the Landscape Before Their Eyes
"The current melt rate is equivalent to what the model projects for 2070, using the most pessimistic model," Fettweis said. That melting has global implications—if Greenland's ice sheet were to melt entirely, it would result in about 20 feet of global sea level rise ... "I just got some numbers, and basically every single weather station in Greenland has had a warmer than average July," she said. "It's been dry and warm for a really long time ... [The models] are clearly not able to capture some of these important processes ... Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 degrees there's a tipping point after which it will no longer be possible to maintain the Greenland Ice Sheet."
Brain-eating amoeba. Flesh-eating bacteria. Climate change will raise Florida’s risks
The scary one making headlines this summer is Vibrio vulnificus, also dubbed in media reports as “flesh-eating bacteria” ... But Vibrio isn’t the only danger found in warming waters. Freshwater lakes and canals can have Naegleria fowleri, also known as the “brain eating amoeba” ... they like it hot. Climate change is creating a more inviting environment for them all — including in waters beyond Florida. Warm spots like Florida are getting hotter for longer periods of time, and areas that were traditionally too cool for any of these pathogens to thrive also are warming up.
Decades-old pollutants melting out of Himalayan glaciers
The new research in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres finds chemicals used in pesticides that have been accumulating in glaciers and ice sheets around the world since the 1940s are being released as Himalayan glaciers melt as a result of climate change ... The new study shows that even the most remote areas of the planet can be repositories for pollutants and sheds light on how pollutants travel around the globe, according to the study's authors ... Pollutants can travel long distances through the atmosphere on dust particles and water molecules. Previous studies have shown that Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets contain high levels of pollutants that traveled thousands of kilometers before dropping onto ice and being incorporated into glaciers ... "The Earth is a closed system. Everything released on the Earth, stays somewhere on the Earth."
July was world's hottest month on record, WMO says
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the latest data from the World Meteorological Organization shows that the month of July "at least equalled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history" — and it followed the hottest June ever. Guterres said this means the world is on track for the period from 2015 to 2019 "to be the five hottest years on record." He warned that if all nations don't take action now to tackle climate change and global warming, extreme weather events happening now will be "just the tip of the iceberg."
Heatwaves amplify near-record levels of ice melt in northern hemisphere
The frozen extremities of the northern hemisphere are melting at a near-record rate as heatwaves buffet the Arctic, forest fires tear through Siberia and glaciers retreat on Greenland fjords and Alpine peaks. Unusually high temperatures are eating into ice sheets that used to be solid throughout the year, according to glaciologists, who warn this is both an amplifying cause and effect of man-made climate disruption across the globe. Greenland – which is home to the world’s second biggest ice sheet – is likely to have shrunk more in the past month than the average for a whole year between 2002 and now, according to provisional estimates from satellite data ... The trend is accelerating ... Temperatures have been 10C or more above normal this week. Even at the summit of the ice sheet – which is 3,200 metres above sea level – there were 10 hours at or above freezing temperatures yesterday, which is extremely rare ... In the Canadian Arctic, which is warming two times faster than the global average, locals have suffered record wildfires, and permafrost is melting decades ahead of predictions.
Drought In East Netherlands Now As Bad As Record Years 2018, 1976
According to the Union of Waterboards, the east and south of the country had much less rain than the rest of the Netherlands. These areas are more dependent on rainfall than the rest of the country, because they receive little to no fresh water supply from rivers. The precipitation deficit means that more and more streams are drying up and the groundwater levels are dropping. The heat wave last week did not help.
How an accelerated warming cycle in Alaska’s Bering Sea is creating ecological havoc
This summer’s heat, coming three years after scientists proclaimed what was then the longest and hottest Bering Sea marine heat wave in the satellite record, is no one-off. Rather, it is part of a warming spiral that appears to be accelerating, with effects flowing north through the narrow strait into Arctic Ocean waters ... “We’ve fallen off the cliff. We’re not approaching the cliff. We’ve fallen off it,” Rick Thoman, a veteran scientist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, told an audience of Nome residents and visitors at a public forum held at the local college campus.
The terrible truth of climate change [By one of the Australian lead authors on the IPCC sixth assessment report]
The latest science is alarming, even for climate scientists
Although the very foundation of human civilisation is at stake, the world is on track to seriously overshoot our UN targets. Worse still, global carbon emissions are still rising ... Examining the Earth’s climatic past tells us that even between 1.5 and 2°C of warming sees the world reconfigure in ways that people don’t yet appreciate. All bets are off between 3 and 4°C, where we are currently headed ... the immensity of what is at stake is truly staggering. Staying silent about this planetary emergency no longer feels like an option for me ... an urgent and pragmatic national conversation is now essential. Otherwise, living on a destabilised planet is the terrible truth that we will all face ... we must respond as we would in an emergency. The question is, can we muster the best of our humanity in time?
Melted Permafrost in Alaska a Sign of Accelerating Climate Change
A team of scientists and students with Woods Hole Research Center’s Polaris Project are just back from a trip to the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta to study climate impacts. Lead scientist Sue Natali says she’s never seen anything like it in her years of Arctic research, and warns it is a sign of abrupt and accelerating climate change. As part of their research, Natali and her team installed temperature sensors down to a meter at what should have been permafrost. What they discovered was thawing, which in turn created ground collapse at a level she’d never seen before ... “It's definitely climate change,” Natali said. “It's accelerating and the past couple years have been particularly bad. The past winters have been warm. There has been rain when there should be snow, the ground hasn't been frozen in this area." And, she added, "the ground surface didn't freeze until mid-January this year.” In addition to being unsafe, ground collapse also emits higher methane emissions.
Glaciers melting faster in southeast Turkey, sparking concerns
The Cilo-Sat Mountains are the eastern extension of the Taurus mountain range that runs east to west along Turkey's Mediterranean coast and southern border. The range includes Turkey's second highest peak [and] 10 glaciers ... "For the last nine years we have been watching the Cilo Reşko Keviya Pir and Mergan glaciers ... The glaciers are melting very fast lately. In the near future, glaciers, the most important element of this magnificent geography, will be in danger of extinction" ... Onur Köse, a geology professor at the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYU), said melting of glaciers is not only occurring in Hakkari, but on most high peaks in Turkey ... "These glaciers are nearing extinction," Köse said. "Of course, this is not just a problem experienced in Turkey, it's a problem taking place all over the world and a problem of global warming."
World Economic Forum: Scientists predicted climate change 40 years ago, so why didn't we act sooner?
Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts [which] led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide ... the Charney Report is an exemplar of good science, and the success of its predictions over the past 40 years has firmly established the science of global warming ... The main conclusion of the Report was direct: "We estimate the most probable warming for a doubling of CO₂ to be near 3C with a probable error of 1.5C" ... Over the same period, global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.66C, almost exactly what could have been expected if a doubling of CO2 produces about 2.5C warming – just a bit below their best estimate. A remarkably prescient prediction ... The current crop of climate scientists revere Charney and his co-authors for their insight and clarity. The report exemplifies how good science works: establish an hypothesis after examining the physics and chemistry, then based on your assessment of the science make strong predictions. Here, “strong predictions” means something that would be unlikely to come true if your hypothesis and science were incorrect ... Over the ensuing 40 years, as the world warmed pretty much as Charney and his colleagues expected, climate change science improved ... This subsequent science has, however, only confirmed the conclusions of the Charney Report.
see also https://phys.org/news/2019-07-charney-years-scientists-accurately-climate.html
Study: Rising ocean temperatures killing Guam coral reefs
University of Guam researchers said increased temperatures killed 34% of Guam's coral reefs between 2013 and 2017, The Pacific Daily News reported Monday. About 60% of the reefs along Guam's eastern coast are gone, scientists said. "Never in our history of looking at reefs have we seen something this severe," said Laurie Raymundo, UOG marine lab director and marine biology professor. The study was published in the scientific journal Coral Reefs.
Thanks to climate change, parts of the Arctic are on fire. Scientists are concerned
From eastern Siberia to Greenland to Alaska, wildfires are burning ... Peat fires smolder for long periods of time. They ignited at the end of June, and it appears that they're still burning. ... "The fires are burning through long-term carbon stores (peat soil) emitting greenhouse gases, which will further exacerbate greenhouse warming, leading to more fires ... These are some of the biggest fires on the planet ... The amount of CO2 emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together." ... there really isn't much that can be done, Smith said ... in the Siberian Arctic, only rain can put out the fires.
see also https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/07/satellite-images-show-vast-swaths-of-the-arctic-on-fire
Alaska Chokes on Wildfires as Heat Waves Dry Out the Arctic
Global warming has been thawing tundra and drying vast stretches of the far-northern boreal forests, and it also has spurred more thunderstorms with lightning, which triggered many of the fires burning in Alaska this year, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the International Arctic Research Center who closely tracks Alaskan and Arctic extreme weather ... Several studies, as well as ongoing satellite monitoring, show that fires are spreading farther north into the Arctic, burning more intensely and starting earlier in the year, in line with what climate models have long suggested would happen as sea ice dwindles and ocean and air temperatures rise.
Research Highlight: Loss of Arctic's Reflective Sea Ice Will Advance Global Warming by 25 Years
Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its ability to reflect incoming solar energy back to space would be equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion tons emitted since the Industrial Age ... At current rates, this roughly equates to 25 years of global CO2 emissions ... the Arctic is rapidly losing ice, and computer forecast models are actually underestimating the extent of this trend. “We analyzed 40 climate models from modeling centers around the world ... Not a single one of the models simulated as much Arctic sea ice retreat per degree of global warming as has been observed during recent decades. This motivated us to use an observationally focused approach to investigate the scenario in which all of the remaining Arctic sea ice disappears considerably faster than the models simulate.”
'People are dying': how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the US
[A]mid a deepening global climate crisis, drought, famine and the battle for dwindling natural resources are increasingly being recognized as major factors in the exodus ... The current run of hot, dry years follows a decade or so of unusually prolonged rains and flooding ... On the ground, the impact has been devastating. In 2018, drought-related crop failures directly affected one in 10 Guatemalans, and caused extreme food shortages ... As a result, entire families have been migrating in record numbers ... Forests mitigate climate change, but Guatemala has lost half its woodlands in the past 40 years – and deforestation rates are rising, in turn causing floods, landslides and erosion of farmland ... “We’re desperate,” said Ávalos, who looks and sounds exhausted. “There’s no money and no food.”
Inside India's water crisis: Living with drought and dry taps
This year, large parts of India have seen the worst drought in decades. The monsoon, which usually provides some relief, was weeks late and when it finally arrived, it was once again deficient, with less rainfall than expected. Despite India's economic growth in recent years, it remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. And that inequality can be seen in people's access to life's most basic necessity: water. A government report found that 600 million Indians - nearly half the population - are facing acute water shortages.
Europe heat wave by the numbers: Record-breaking temperatures blasted France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Britain
Europe's second heat wave of the summer spread record high temperatures across the continent ... The grueling heat, that lasted from July 21-26, wreaked havoc in places such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands ... “What these heat waves do is help propagate any ongoing drought conditions that started earlier this month, this summer or even earlier which in turn yields to a higher threat for wildfires” ... this is the second straight year in which drought conditions have become a problem across western Europe ... Climate scientists warned these types of heat waves could become the new normal, but they loom as a giant challenge for temperate Europe.
As temperatures soar, a ‘heat dome’ is coming to the Arctic
After Europe experienced record-breaking temperatures this month, climate scientists are now concerned that a heat wave will settle farther north. This week, a so-called “heat dome” is expected to strike over the Arctic, causing worries about potential ice melt and rising sea levels. "When talking to these scientists ... the sense of a system that is getting into sort of a runaway feedback really comes through."
Study finds climate change may be responsible for rise of deadly drug-resistant fungus
Climate change may be causing a wide-spread, drug-resistant fungus, according to a study published Tuesday by the American Society for Microbiology. Researchers found that the new fungal disease could be the first to emerge as a result of climate change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in March. The CDC had said it was resistant to antifungal drugs ... To examine the potential impact of climate change on its emergence, researchers compared the thermal susceptibility of Candida auris to its close relatives. The study found that the fungus was able to adapt as the climate warms.
reporting on a study at https://mbio.asm.org/content/10/4/e01397-19/article-info
Record heat in Alaska melts glaciers, hints at bigger problems that may be to come
July 2019 is on pace to be the hottest on record in Alaska after record-setting years in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Starting in the 1990s, Alaska began to set high-temperature records three times as frequently as record lows. By 2015, the rate of high-temperature records tripled to nine times as often ... [Szundy] calls the glacier he’s come to know as his “office” the “canary in the coal mine” for a warming planet.
Think Climate Change Is Normal? In 2,000 Years, Scientists Can't Find Anything Like It
Over the past two millennia, the world's climate has gone through its fair share of ups and downs, but what is happening right now stands out in stark contrast. Two new papers have demonstrated that peak warming and cooling events before the Industrial era - such as the so-called Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period - were vastly smaller in scope than today's global reach of human-induced warming ... "The warm and the cold in the past was just regional, whereas what we see now is global."
see also https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/modern-climate-change-only-worldwide-warming-event-past-2000-years-180972719/
Climate scientists drive stake through heart of skeptics' argument
[A] pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years ... One of the studies, published in the journal Nature, shows that the Little Ice Age and other natural fluctuations affected only limited regions of the planet at a time, making modern warming the first and only planetwide warm period in the past two millennia. The other study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that the rate of modern warming has far outpaced changes that occurred before the rise of the industrial era ... Prior to 1850, fluctuations were mainly linked to volcanic eruptions, which cooled the planet by spewing sun-blocking ash into the stratosphere; after 1850, greenhouse gas emissions took the wheel.
Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere
Maximum temperatures of 35°C or more are hot by UK standards, but such conditions are familiar to around 80% of the world’s population ... In places like South Asia and the Persian Gulf, the human body, despite all its remarkable thermal efficiencies, is often operating close to its limits. And yes, there is a limit. When the air temperature exceeds 35°C, the body relies on the evaporation of water – mainly through sweating – to keep core temperature at a safe level. This system works until the “wetbulb” temperature reaches 35°C ... Once this wetbulb temperature threshold is crossed, the air is so full of water vapour that sweat no longer evaporates. Without the means to dissipate heat, our core temperature rises, irrespective of how much water we drink, how much shade we seek, or how much rest we take. Without respite, death follows.
Hottest Day Ever in the Netherlands – AGAIN! Record Broken Second Day in a Row
Sweltering temperatures in the European heatwave have caused the Netherlands to break the hottest temperature on record two days in a row. The temperature maxed out at 39.1°C yesterday, but reached 39.5°C today. Who said that climate change wasn’t real?
It’s official – a heatwave and the hottest night on record
The Netherlands is now officially in the middle of a heatwave ... Thursday night was the warmest on record ... it is officially known as a ‘tropical night’, of which there have been just seven since records began in 1901 ... Friday too will be hot, with maximum temperatures of 38 degrees in the south and south east.
Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought
In a new study published today in Science, a team of oceanographers and glaciologists unpeeled a new layer of understanding of tidewater glaciers ... “The melt that’s happening is fairly dramatically different from some of the assumptions we’ve had,” says Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
see also https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/glacial-melting-climate-breakdown-sea-level-rise-study-a9021266.html
Amazon deforestation accelerating towards unrecoverable 'tipping point'
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon [is] pushing the world’s biggest rainforest closer to a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover. The sharp rise – following year-on-year increases in May and June – confirms fears that president Jair Bolsonaro has given a green light to illegal land invasion, logging and burning. Clearance so far in July has hit 1,345 sq km, a third higher than the previous monthly record under the current monitoring system by the Deter B satellite system, which started in 2015 ... Scientists warn that the forest is in growing danger of degrading into a savannah, after which its capacity to absorb carbon will be severely diminished, with consequences for the rest of the planet.
Record high temperatures far exceed record lows -- a trend of the climate crisis
Record-high temperatures occurring twice as frequently as record lows directly reflects our climate crisis, as you would expect ... Since our record-keeping began in 1895, the country's average temperature has climbed somewhere between 1.3 and 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit [0.7-1.1C] ... Current projections place that ratio as high as 20-to-1 by 2050 and 50-to-1 by the end of the century. If this ratio continues to grow over time, many temperatures we currently label as extreme may become nothing more than an ordinary oJuly 5 2019ccurrence.
Europe's Most Important River Risks a Repeat of Historic Shutdown
The bustling boat traffic on Europe’s Rhine river ground to a halt for the first time in living memory last year, as shrinking alpine glaciers and severe drought made the key transport artery impassable. Those historic conditions could be repeated in a few weeks ... The Rhine is critical to commerce in the region. Europe’s most important waterway snakes 800 miles through industrial zones in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea at the busy Rotterdam port. It’s a key conduit for raw materials and goods ... Reflecting a trend seen in the Himalayas, the Rockies and other mountainous regions of the world, alpine glaciers have shrunk steadily as global warming makes melting in summer outpace accumulation of snow in winter. That means there’s less water feeding rivers each year.
Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months
One of the understated headlines in last year's IPCC report was that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet below 1.5C. Current plans are nowhere near strong enough to keep temperatures below the so-called safe limit. Right now, we are heading towards 3C of heating by 2100 not 1.5. As countries usually scope out their plans over five and 10 year timeframes, if the 45% carbon cut target by 2030 is to be met, then the plans really need to be on the table by the end of 2020.
California, Wary of More Wildfires, Is Paying for Them Already
Insurance rates have soared in some of the riskiest places, and some insurers are refusing to renew policies ... Pacific Gas & Electric, which already charges among the highest electricity rates in the country, is requesting that regulators approve an additional charge to customers of $2 billion over the next three years to help pay for wildfire safety improvements and other costs. This is separate from the compensation fund approved last week, which includes more than $10 billion in costs to be borne by customers in the form of a levy on electricity bills for the next decade and a half. And none of this will help pay the tens of billions of dollars in liabilities the company has for past fires where its equipment was involved [after which] PG&E filed for bankruptcy.
Matterhorn starts to lose majesty as melting ice chips away at rock
Advertisers may have to choose a new symbol of permanence: like many of its neighbours, the majestic peak is splintering away
The Matterhorn, the snow-flecked Queen of the Alps used in advertising as a symbol of permanence, is cracking as the permafrost at its core starts to thaw and its ice covering retreats ... The plight of the Matterhorn, the range’s most photographed peak, shows the effect of climate change on the Alps.
‘First Glacier Lost to Climate Change’ to be Memorialised
The former Okjökull glacier will be memorialised with a monument recognising its status as the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier ... “With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late; it is now what scientists call ‘dead ice.'”
World Hunger Rises with Climate Shocks, Conflict and Economic Slumps
The combined forces of climate change, conflict and economic stagnation are driving more people around the world into hunger, reversing earlier progress, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported ... The report underscores the complex interplay among climate change, conflict and economic stagnation and their combined impact on malnourishment. In drought-ravaged parts of Central America for example, a prolonged drought is stoking higher hunger rates and migration to the region's cities and northward to the United States. The report also emphasized the urgent need for addressing the role of climate change in threatening global food production, particularly as the global population soars.
Major U.S. cities are leaking methane at twice the rate previously believed
A new study has found that leaks of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas and itself a potent greenhouse gas, are twice as big as official tallies suggest in major cities along the U.S. eastern seaboard ... analyses suggest the five biggest urban areas studied—which together include about 12% of the nation’s population—emit about 890,000 tons of methane each year, the researchers report this week in Geophysical Research Letters. The vast majority of that, at least 750,000 tons, comes from methane leaks from homes, businesses, and gas distribution infrastructure, rather than natural sources and other human-driven sources such as landfills. For comparison, the team notes, that’s well over triple the amount emitted by gas production in the Bakken shale formation in the U.S. Midwest. It’s also much more than the amounts estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Financial Times: It is probably too late to stop dangerous global warming
[T]o avoid a dangerous level of global warming, the world would need to commission an asset the size of New Jersey’s Ocean Wind [offshore wind farm] every day for the next 30 years ... The hard truth is that we are not on track for that. Nor are we close to an overnight technical solution to the many other challenges of the energy transition that must be solved before we can develop a 100 per cent clean energy system. Of course, these realities do not stop us from telling ourselves fairy tales. The first one is that energy efficiency will save the day. The facts show just the opposite: over 50 years since the oil price crises of the 1970s, we have seen rising energy efficiency in almost all walks of life, yet in the same time period energy demand and carbon emissions have tripled ... The second fairy tale is a type of deus ex machina, a divine intervention usually staged in the last act of a play. Variously we hear that carbon capture, or nuclear fusion, or geoengineering could play this role ... These concepts may one day have potential but few are viable today ... Humanity may, therefore, achieve in the space of a hundred years what used to take 10,000 or 20,000 years — an increase in average surface temperatures of 2, 3, 4 degrees Celsius or more.
Germany's forests on the verge of collapse, experts report
Low rainfall last summer saw Germany's rivers reach extreme lows, with some waterways still struggling and forests prone to fire. "These are no longer single unusual weather events. That is climate change," said Dohle. Low river levels "remain unchanged" in many parts of Germany, the BFG said, with only the Rhine River currently carrying sufficient water for shipping. It's expected to fall in the coming weeks as dry, warmer weather returns. What Dohle of the forestry trade union termed "dramatic tree deaths" began with winter snow dumps in early 2018 which broke branches, weakening the trees' natural defenses and letting in fungal infections, "followed by drought and bark beetle infestation" that killed off European spruce trees. One million older trees have since died ... Foresters are unable to remember such a dire situation.
[Australian] Drought now officially our worst on record
The ongoing drought through the Murray Darling Basin is now the worst on record according to the Bureau of Meteorology ... temperatures were as high as they have been during the human era, saying the nearest equivalent according to paleo-climatic data (analysing historical weather trends) was a hot period encountered 2-3 million years ago. "We are still below that threshold of a couple of million years ago but we are starting to approach it"
What happens when parts of South Asia become unlivable? The climate crisis is already displacing millions
The flooding comes as India was still reeling from a weeks-long water crisis amid heavy droughts and heatwaves across the country ... Experts said the country has five years to address severe water shortages, caused by steadily depleting groundwater supplies, or over 100 million people will left be without ready access to water. In Afghanistan, drought has devastated traditional farming areas, forcing millions of people to move or face starvation, while in Bangladesh, heavy monsoon flooding has marooned entire communities and cut-off vital roads ... This is the sharp edge of the climate crisis. What seems an urgent but still future problem for many developed countries is already killing people in parts of Asia, and a new refugee crisis, far worse than that which has hit Europe in recent years, is brewing ... People affected by climate change will not stay put as their children drown or die of heat stroke or thirst ... according to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, some 135 million people could be displaced as a result of land and soil degradation.
Red Alert: record temperatures in world's northernmost settlement
Temperatures hit a record [21C] in Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited spot on the planet less than 600 miles from the North Pole, the Canadian meteorology service said Tuesday. "It's quite phenomenal as a statistic, it's just one example among hundreds and hundreds of other records established by global warming," [said] Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry ... Such highs so far north are "completely staggering," he said, noting that "for a week and a half we have had much higher temperatures than usual." ... The average daily temperature in Alert in July is 38 F, with average maximum temperatures of 43 F.
Days of 100-Degree Heat Will Become Weeks as Climate Warms, U.S. Study Warns
Nearly every part of the United States will face a significant increase in extremely hot days by mid-century, even if some action is taken to reduce greenhouse emissions, a new study says. If nothing is done to rein in climate change, it warns, the impact will be worse ... The study used 18 climate models to predict changes in the heat index across the contiguous U.S. as global temperatures rise over the coming decades.
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2515-7620/ab27cf
Monsoon rains 20% below average in past week, raising crop worries
Overall, India has received 16% below average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1. Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where about 55% of all arable land is reliant on rainfall ... In the week to July 17, soybean and cotton areas in the central parts of the country received 68% less than average rainfall, while rubber and tea areas in southern India got 71% lower rains, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.
Mekong River drops to lowest level in a century around Thai, Lao, Myanmar border
The Mekong’s current water levels, at a historic low, are significant particularly because it’s the middle of the wet season, when there should have been plenty of water and flooding in some areas ... Several of Thailand’s northeastern provinces are experiencing water shortages, despite the onset of the rainy season, with their sources of tap water rapidly drying up.
'Breaking' the heat index: US heat waves to skyrocket as globe warms, study suggests
As the globe warms in the years ahead, days with extreme heat are forecast to skyrocket across hundreds of U.S. cities, a new study suggests, perhaps even breaking the "heat index." “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” study co-author Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “Nearly everywhere, people will experience more days of dangerous heat in the next few decades."
We have 18 months to save world, Prince Charles warns Commonwealth leaders
The Prince of Wales has warned global leaders they have 18 critical months to solve climate change and restore the balance of nature, ensuring the survival of the human race ... the Prince said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels" ... The Prince has long spoken about his deep concern for the future of the planet, urging leaders to focus on the threat presented by climate change.
Add krill and mussels to the list of unusual marine deaths in Alaska
Residents from two Northwest Alaska villages say they found large numbers of dead mussels and krill washed up along shores in June ... discoveries come amid profound changes in the ocean environment in Alaska linked to climate change, including a dramatic early ice melt, warmer water temperatures and record high air temperatures. There has been a string of unusual mortality events this season including deaths of seabirds and seals ... two million dead mussels lining a channel near the ocean on the Seward Peninsula [and] mounds of dead krill along beaches.
Arctic wildfires emitted as much CO2 in June as Sweden does in a year
“Since the start of June we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic region,” a WMO spokeswoman, Clare Nullis, told a regular UN briefing in Geneva. “In June alone these wildfires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, this is the equivalent of Sweden’s annual total CO2 emissions. This is more than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 combined.” ... Most have been in the US state of Alaska and the Russian region of Siberia, but one fire in Alberta was estimated to be bigger than 300,000 football pitches, or about the size of Luxembourg.
Arctic ice loss is worrying, but the giant stirring in the South could be even worse
The water frozen in the Greenland ice sheet is equivalent to around 7 metres of potential sea level rise [but] in the Antarctic ice sheet there are around 58 metres of sea-level rise currently locked away. Like Greenland, the Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice and contributing to unabated global sea level rise. But there are worrying signs Antarctica is changing faster than expected and in places previously thought to be protected from rapid change. On the Antarctic Peninsula—the most northerly part of the Antarctic continent—air temperatures over the past century have risen faster than any other place in the Southern Hemisphere ... number of melt days will rise by at least 50 percent when global warming hits the soon-to-be-reached 1.5℃ limit set out in the Paris Agreement ... latest estimates indicate that 25 percent of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now unstable, and that Antarctic ice loss has increased five-fold over the past 25 years. These are remarkable numbers, bearing in mind that more than 4 metres of global sea-level rise are locked up in the West Antarctic alone.
Can planting trees save our climate? [No]
The researchers estimated 200 billion tons of carbon could be stored in this way – provided we plant over a trillion trees. Unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. Mankind is currently blowing 11 billion tonnes of carbon (gigatonnes C, abbreviated GtC) into the air every year in the form of CO2 – and the trend is rising ... the authors of the new study say that it would take fifty to one hundred years for the thousand billion trees to store 200 GtC – an average of 2 to 4 GtC per year, compared to our current emissions of 11 GtC per year. That’s about one-fifth to one-third – and this proportion will decrease if emissions continue to grow. This sounds quite different from the prospect of solving two-thirds of the climate problem with trees. And there are other question marks.
Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week
[N]umerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week ... No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming. But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world ... These various records add to a growing list of heat milestones set over the past 15 months that are part and parcel of a planet that is trending hotter as greenhouse gas concentrations increase because of human activity.
Exaggerating how much carbon dioxide can be absorbed by tree planting risks deterring crucial climate action
Planting almost a billion hectares of trees worldwide ... has been criticized as an exaggeration. It could actually be dangerous ... because promises of cheap and easy CO2 removal in future make it less likely that time and money will be invested in reducing emissions now ... The promises of cheap and powerful tech fixes help to sideline thorny issues of politics, economics and culture. This has been seen before in the expectations around carbon capture and storage [CCS]. Despite promises of its future potential in the early 2000s, commercial development of the technology has scarcely progressed in the last decade ... Trusting in trees to remove carbon in future is particularly dangerous because trees are slow to grow ... also less likely to be able to do this as the climate warms [since] growth rates are predicted to fall as the climate warms and devastating wildfires become more frequent.
'Hell Is Coming': What Lies Ahead for Europe's Climate
Accuweather is predicting a series of especially long heat waves for Europe in July and August ... A severe drought like last year is also in the cards [with] abnormally high danger of forest fires ... In the past 22 years, we have now seen the 20 warmest years on record. This accumulation alone is enough to show that climate change is already here. The climate that today's 40-year-olds experienced in their childhoods, a climate that had been quite stable for 11,000 years, is a thing of the past. The era of hot temperatures has begun ... [limiting global warming to 1.5C] would require global CO2 emissions to reach a turning point in 2020. And they would need to drop by an enormous 55 percent by 2030. By 2050, it would have to be zero. Those who do continue producing CO2 at that point would also have to find a way to pull it back out of the atmosphere at another spot. The authors of the report wrote that none of these goals will be achieved through the current policies being pursued by the international community.
Depression, anxiety, PTSD: Climate change is taking a toll on our mental health, experts say
Climate change is the subject of a conversation that’s happening in every sphere of society ... experts say they’re seeing an increase in related mental-health issues. “It can be anything from depression to increasing anxiety disorders,” said the psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre, who’s also a professor at the University of British Columbia. “It can be post-traumatic stress disorder." ... Around the world, mental-health researchers have been documenting what people feel when the world they’ve known changes gradually — or suddenly — from climate change. There are several names for it, such as environmental grief, eco grief or even climate anxiety ... “Anytime you have any kind of change, it can lead to grief. Trying to accept a new reality with the changing climate could lead people to feel sad in ways they hadn’t felt before,” Korol said. “What we are seeing is scary, and what we imagine might be coming is even scarier.”
Ancient Earth reveals terrifying consequences of future global warming
Mid-Pliocene Warm Period [is] a pretty good analogue of the future Earth ... “The global annual mean temperature was between 2°C and 3°C warmer than pre-industrial, with warming more pronounced in higher latitudes,” says [Alan Haywood, an earth scientist at the University of Leeds in the UK.]. “There was a significant reduction in sea ice in both hemispheres. The Arctic may have been completely free of ice in the summer. The Greenland ice sheet may have retreated to a small ice mass and we believe that the West Antarctic ice sheet was not there. Sea level is somewhere between 15 to 25 metres above modern levels.” ... Pliocene also provides some much-needed clarity about what will happen to ice sheets and sea levels as the effects of warming play out on longer timescales. In a nutshell, they melt fast and rise a lot ... under current emissions trajectories “we very quickly arrive at a Pliocene scenario”, he says. How quickly? “Within the next 20 to 30 years ... [possibly] as early as 2030." ... However, the Pliocene may not be our final destination. If we don’t substantially curb emissions, says Haywood, we soon leave that epoch behind and strike out for the Eocene, an extreme hothouse episode when average temperatures were 14°C above pre-industrial and sea levels were more than 70 metres higher.
Great Barrier Reef hard coral cover close to record lows
Australian Institute of Marine Science says hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% ... close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985 ... series of “disturbances” – coral bleaching linked to rising water temperatures, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones – have caused hard coral cover to decline ... If we have more coral bleaching events all bets are off." ... Australian Marine Conservation Society said the latest government data showed coral decline was happening on an unparalleled scale, mainly due to the climate crisis.
New research shows that Paris Agreement goals might not save the Arctic
Global warming limits laid out by the landmark Paris climate agreement do not rule out an Arctic devoid of summer sea ice, according to new research out this week. The findings, published July 9, are a grim indicator that even a best-case scenario for limiting climate impacts could still have unprecedented implications for the planet. They also underscore the potential for even more dire situations, which are growing more likely as countries, including the United States, fail to reach their individual climate goals under the Paris Agreement ... the new research appears in this week’s issue of Nature Communications and offers an ominous forecast for climate advocates.
Global heating: London to have climate similar to Barcelona by 2050
London will have a similar climate in three decades’ time to that of Barcelonatoday, according to research ... accompanied by severe drought. Madrid will feel like present-day Marrakech by 2050, and Stockholm like Budapest, according to a report on the likely impacts of the climate crisis ... Moscow will resemble Sofia, Seattle will feel like San Francisco and New York will be comparable to Virginia Beach ... about a fifth of cities globally – including Jakarta, Singapore, Yangon and Kuala Lumpur – will experience conditions currently not seen in any major cities in the world.
France failing to tackle climate emergency, report says
Carbon dioxide emission reduction has not been happening fast enough in France ... first official objective, the 2015-18 carbon budget, was not met. During this period, annual emissions decreased by only 1.1%, much less than planned. The rate of decrease needs to triple by 2025 to catch up on the objectives ... key culprit in this “gap between ambition and reality” was transport: emissions have not seen a real decrease in the last 10 years, including from cars and lorries.
'A floodier future': Scientists say records will be broken
A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase. "The future is already here, a floodier future," said William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and lead author of the study. The report predicted that annual flood records will be broken again next year and for years and decades to come from sea-level rise.
Arctic waters are actually warmer than Great Lakes right now
In a flip-flop scenario, a monitoring buoy near Prudhoe Bay, north of Alaska, is recording temperatures better suited to Lake Superior, while the lake shivers in temperatures more suited to the Arctic Circle. Alaska temperatures have been smashing records this summer ... It's not just the summer heatwave at work here, though. The path was paved for this unusual warm water back in the winter of 2018/19 when the region smashed another ocean record -- this one for lack of sea ice. The decline of sea ice volume and thickness on the Arctic Ocean has been well-documented since the late 1970s, and this year has marked an all-time low for ice extent in the Arctic basin. That lack of ice plays a big role in the warmer water.
Super-heatwaves of 55°C to emerge if global warming continues
A recently published study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the European Commission's science and knowledge service – analyses the interaction between humidity and heat ... looks not only at temperature but also at relative humidity in estimating the magnitude and impact of heatwaves. It finds that the combinations of the two, and the resulting heatwaves, leave more people exposed to significant health risks, especially in East Asia and America's East Coast. Warm air combined with high humidity can be very dangerous, as it prevents the human body from cooling down through sweating, leading to hyperthermia ... If global temperatures increase by up to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the combined effect of heat and humidity (known as apparent temperature or Heat Index) will likely exceed 40°C every year in many parts of Asia, Australia, Northern Africa, and South and North America ... The paper is published in Scientific Reports.
Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies
[A] team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops. We found that climate change has affected yields in many places ... overall climate change is reducing global production of staples such as rice and wheat. And when we translated crop yields into consumable calories—the actual food on people's plates—we found that climate change is already shrinking food supplies, particularly in food-insecure developing countries.
A GLOF threatens Bhutan right now
Sustained heat waves, a delayed monsoon and a spike in temperature has recently melted huge volumes of ice and snow in Bhutan’s largest glacial lake, the Thorthormi Tsho (lake), causing the water level to rise by almost two meters. This has prompted the government to issue a nationwide flood advisory ... Any major disturbance on Thorthormi Lake could result in a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), potentially with huge cost to life, property and infrastructure ... currently the moraine dam has sufficient mass to withstand the hydrostatic (water) pressure from Thorthormi Lake. But if the melting continues due to a rise in temperature the moraine will not be able to hold ... could also have serious implication across the border in downstream India [because] unlike Bhutan, the bordering areas of India were plains. There the floodwater would inundate surrounding land for weeks.
Deforestation’s impact on climate change deemed worse than expected
Deforestation in the tropics causes greater CO2 emissions than previously thought due to centuries-old carbon also released by the soil, according to an international study, published on Monday ... When a forest is cut down, it can no longer extract carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, carbon dating back, on average, 1,500 years ago is then freed by the soil.
Drought warning: Could eastern Germany run out of water?
[I]n the second dry summer in a row - and following record-breaking temperatures in June - regions like Lusatia in the eastern German state Brandenburg face a problem: If it continues to rain so little, water supplies could become scarce ... the Elbe and Oder rivers running through eastern Germany carried so little water, even before the start of summer, that sandbanks and rocks were left exposed ... In the middle of Magdeburg, ships could no longer moor at the beginning of July; in Dresden, freight traffic on the water was no longer possible as the Elbe River lost 50 centimetres of water in three days.
Rainforest On Fire
300,000 square miles has been cut and burned in Brazil, whose borders contain almost two-thirds of the Amazon basin. This is an area larger than Texas ... has set loose so much stored carbon that it has negated the forest’s benefit as a carbon sink, the world’s largest after the oceans. Scientists warn that losing another fifth of Brazil’s rainforest will trigger the feedback loop known as dieback, in which the forest begins to dry out and burn in a cascading system collapse, beyond the reach of any subsequent human intervention or regret. This would release a doomsday bomb of stored carbon, disappear the cloud vapor that consumes the sun’s radiation before it can be absorbed as heat, and shrivel the rivers in the basin and in the sky.
'Completely Terrifying': Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event
"Once we're over the threshold...you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride."
[C]arbon levels today could be fast approaching a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago ... today's oceans are absorbing carbon far more quickly than they did before the Permian–Triassic extinction, in which 90 percent of life on Earth died out. The planet may now be "at the precipice of excitation," Rothman told MIT News ... The study, which was completed with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation ... will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
It’s the End of the World as They Know It
[C]limate scientists often resemble Sarah Connor of the Terminator franchise, who knows of a looming catastrophe but must struggle to function in a world that does not comprehend what is coming and, worse, largely ignores the warnings of those who do ... climate scientists face a distinct dilemma: “They have to deal with the surrealism of knowing what we know and living within a society choosing not to know or willing itself not to know” ... At a recent panel discussion [a climate scientist] blurted out, “I have no child and I have one dog, and thank god he’ll be dead in 10 years.” Afterward, people asked if she truly believed that. “The truth is, I do,” she says. “And it’s only going to get more intense.”
The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim
While other regions grappled with destructive waves and rising seas, the West Coast for decades was spared by a rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water ... Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water’s edge ... Wildfire and drought dominate the climate change debates in the state. Yet this less-talked-about reality has California cornered. The coastline is eroding with every tide and storm, but everything built before we knew better — Pacific Coast Highway, multimillion-dollar homes in Malibu, the rail line to San Diego — is fixed in place with nowhere to go. But the world is getting hotter, the great ice sheets still melting, the rising ocean a slow-moving disaster that has already swept past California’s front door.
The Antarctic Peninsula Under a 1.5°C Global Warming Scenario
Under a global 1.5°C scenario, warming in the Antarctic Peninsula is likely to increase the number of days above 0°C, with up to 130 of such days each year in the northern Peninsula. Ocean turbulence will increase, making the circumpolar deep water (CDW) both warmer and shallower, delivering heat to the sea surface and to coastal margins. Thinning and recession of marine margins of glaciers and ice caps is expected to accelerate to terrestrial limits ... Exposed (ice free) terrestrial areas will expand.
'Unprecedented' Wildfires Burned Across the Arctic Circle In June
More than 100 wildfires in the Arctic Circle released 50 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in June. They're still burning. "These are some of the biggest fires on the planet, with a few appearing to be larger than 100,000 hectares ... The amount of CO2 emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together.”
Alaskan permafrost warming experiment produces surprising results
New measurement method showed 5% of permafrost carbon is released each year ... upshot of this study is simply how rapidly carbon was being lost ... projecting a plausible diminishing rate of loss into the future would mean that something like 70% of the soil carbon would be lost by 2100. Contrast that with prevailing estimates of 5% to 15% by 2100 and it's clear that the new results are raising eyebrows.
Scientists find carbon from thawing permafrost is released into the atmosphere at higher rates than previously thought
New research from Northern Arizona University shows even more carbon is being released from thawed permafrost than climate scientists previously thought ... paper published this month in Nature Geoscience that introduces a new way to track soil carbon in permafrost, which changes their understanding of how environmental change influences ecosystem carbon storage ... "suggests that not only is carbon being lost through greenhouse gases directly to the atmosphere but also dissolved in waters that flow through the soil ... critical because carbon lost from these ecosystems ends up in the atmosphere and can accelerate climate change."
Alaska: temperatures rival Miami amid 'unprecedented' heatwave
On Thursday afternoon, Anchorage’s official weather station recorded a temperature of 90F, breaking the previous record high of 85F, and rivaling temperatures in Miami ... The whole state is enduring a heatwave. This June was the warmest on record, with an average temperature of 60.5F – 5.3 degrees above average, according to the National Weather Service Anchorage – and the 16th consecutive month in which average temperatures have ranged above normal. “All 30 days in June had above-average temperatures,” the service noted. June was also the driest on record, with 0.06in of rain, making the state’s forestry vulnerable to wildfires.
Analysis finds US ecosystems shifting hundreds of miles north
Whole ecosystems are shifting dramatically north in the Great Plains, a phenomenon likely linked to human influences such as climate change, says new University of Nebraska-Lincoln research that analyzed nearly 50 years' worth of data on bird distributions. The northernmost ecosystem boundary shifted more than 365 miles north, with the southernmost boundary moving about 160 miles from the 1970 baseline.
Multi-year drought caused massive forest die-off in Sierra Nevada
A study published today in Nature Geoscience details ... the progress of the devastation caused by years of dry conditions combined with abnormally warm temperatures. The researchers warn that matters are expected to get worse as global mean temperatures increase ... California's 2012-2015 dry-spell "exceeded this safety margin," the researchers said. When forest stands exhausted the subsurface moisture, they became vulnerable to attack by pests, leading to widespread tree death ... many tree stands suffered complete loss of mature conifers.
India staring at a water apocalypse
[G]laciers feeding the Indian subcontinent’s rivers will recede rapidly, while rapid ground water depletion poses an existential challenge to agriculture. The southwest monsoons remain the biggest source of water in the subcontinent. The monsoons lead to a combination of water sources supporting human habitats that includes glaciers, surface irrigation and ground water. But redundancy and surplus have gone missing from this once abundant system. Taking their place are galloping shortages.
Amazonian tree species threatened by deforestation and climate change
Here, we show that climate and deforestation combined could cause a decline of up to 58% in Amazon tree species richness ... Species may lose an average of 65% of their original environmentally suitable area, and a total of 53% may be threatened ... worst-case combined scenario—assuming no substantial climate or deforestation policy progress—suggests that by 2050 the Amazonian lowland rainforest may be cut into two blocks: one continuous block with 53% of the original area and another severely fragmented block.
June  was hottest [June] ever recorded on Earth, European satellite agency announces
Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the EU, showed that the global average temperature for June 2019 was the highest on record for the month ... climate change made last week’s record-breaking European heatwave at least five times as likely to happen.
Very heavy rain bouts are on the way
Canadian scientists have examined an exhaustive collection of rain records for the past 50 years to confirm the fears of climate scientists: bouts of very heavy rain are on the increase ... found that from 1964 to 2013, the frequency of catastrophic downpours increased with each decade ... A warmer atmosphere can absorb more moisture ... The world has warmed by at least 1°C in the last century, thanks to ever-increasing use of fossil fuels, and hydrologists, engineers and planners have been warning for years that human settlements and low-lying terrains have a rainfall problem.
'Precipitous' fall in Antarctic sea ice since 2014 revealed
The plunge in the average annual extent means Antarctica lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic lost in 34 years ... researchers said it showed ice could disappear much more rapidly than previously thought ... “There has been a huge decrease,” said Claire Parkinson, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the US. In her study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she called the decline precipitous and a dramatic reversal.
We have too many fossil-fuel power plants to meet climate goals
Davis and colleagues looked at all the emissions from electricity, energy, transport, residential, and commercial infrastructure as of 2018. They then estimated the total “carbon commitment”—the future CO2 emissions from those structures and devices ... estimated a total carbon commitment of about 658 billion metric tons of CO2. That’s 78 billion tons above the maximum [IPCC] says can be emitted to have a better than 50 percent chance of stabilizing temperatures at 1.5°C of warming ... Because the study does not include all sources of CO2 emissions, its projections might be considered conservative rather than alarmist.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1364-3
No End in Sight for Record Midwest Flood Crisis
While communities north of St. Louis are beginning the expensive path to recovery after record-breaking winter and spring precipitation and runoff, people below the Missouri River are shoveling mud from their houses and praying for a dry spell. The Lower Mississippi Valley remains in a flood crisis as high water continues to swamp streets, homes, businesses, sewage and water treatment plants, and farm fields, including across some of the poorest counties in the United States ... 2019 flood has a rare distinction as a "total system flood," meaning every sub-basin of the Mississippi River has been subject to high water, exacerbating conditions in Southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana.
In Greenland’s Melting Ice, A Warning on Hard Climate Choices
The ice sheet holds enough water to raise sea levels by about 24 feet ... In the last two decades, melting rates of the ice are 33 percent higher than 20th century averages; the melting, moreover, is not only increasing but accelerating ... Greenland is no longer changing in geological time. It is changing in human time ... the warming curve for Greenland in the coming years, and especially into the next century, “gets steeper, and steeper, and steeper.”
Mont Blanc is melting and is a warning of our future as climate change sees the world's temperature rise
It's been permanently covered in snow and ice for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years. Year-round, temperatures at 4,800m - the mountain's height - are well below zero. Yet this week, as a heatwave grips western Europe, they hover around 0C. Mont Blanc is starting to melt.
It turns out planes are even worse for the climate than we thought
The contrails left by aeroplanes last only hours. But they are now so widespread that their warming effect is greater than that of all the carbon dioxide emitted by aeroplanes that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the first flight of the Wright brothers. Worse still, this non-CO2 warming effect is set to triple by 2050, according to a study by Ulrike Burkhardt and Lisa Bock at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Germany.
Heat waves and climate change: Is there a connection?
European Heat Wave of 2003 is estimated to have caused an astounding 70,000 deaths. Researchers found that human influence at least doubled the risk of a heat wave of that magnitude. In 2010, another 56,000 people died in a heat wave in Russia. A 2011 study concluded that there is an 80% probability the heat wave would not have occurred without global warming ... Scientists have also studied a 2018 summer event that spread oppressive heat from Japan to Canada, concluding that the size of the event was unprecedented and not possible without climate change ... In a 2019 study, researchers at Princeton University found that as global temperatures increase, heat waves will become more frequent and the time between them will become shorter.
Analysis: Major update to ocean-heat record could shrink 1.5C carbon budget
The revisions to the Hadley [sea surface temperature] record would reduce the global “carbon budget” remaining to limit warming to 1.5C by between 24% and 33%, depending on how the budget is calculated. A smaller budget would mean humanity has fewer carbon emissions it can still emit before committing the world to 1.5C of global warming. At the current rate of emissions, this would mean the 1.5C budget would be used up in 6-10 years rather than 9-13.
India has just five years to solve its water crisis
Groundwater, which has been steadily depleting for years, makes up 40% of the country's water supply. But other sources are also running dry -- almost two-thirds of India's reservoirs are running below normal water levels ... The four reservoirs that supply Chennai, India's sixth-largest city, are nearly dry ... Demand for water will reach twice the available supply by 2030 ... Taps have long run dry in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, meaning millions of people must rely on emergency government tanks for water.
Climate change: What 10 presidents have known
US presidents have been warned about the effects of fossil fuels for more than 50 years
There's a White House memorandum that addresses "the carbon dioxide problem" in straightforward terms. The process, it reads, is simple. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has the effect of a pane of glass in a greenhouse. With all the fossil fuels man is now burning, more carbon dioxide is entering the atmosphere and raising temperatures, which in turn will raise sea levels. "Goodbye New York," it reads. "Goodbye Washington, for that matter." The memo isn't remarkable for its dire warning. It's noteworthy because it is dated almost 50 years ago: September 17, 1969 ... The records stretch back more than 50 years, beginning with President Lyndon Johnson ... "Our government, at the highest levels, knew and was briefed on it regularly by the national security community, by the scientific community ... have known for a very long time that it was a big threat."
84% of [India]'s subdivisions record deficient rainfall; 80% reservoirs have below normal storage
According to the Central Water Commission data, 59 out of the 91 major reservoirs in the country have storage below normal. Of these, 11 have zero per cent storage, making the water crisis acute.
Brutally Simple Illustration Shows Climate Change's True Scale Everywhere on Earth
Last year, climate scientist Ed Hawkins unveiled a powerful schematic for visualising global temperature changes: coloured 'warming stripes' communicating how the world has been getting hotter since records began. Now, he's updated the project with a new interactive website based on regional temperature data for almost every country on Earth and every US state.
warming stripes website at https://showyourstripes.info/
Researchers find cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds twice as high as thought
An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds is twice as high as thought ... three-quarters of the amount of heat reflected was due to aerosols ... shows that the heating effect of greenhouse gases is higher than has been thought because it has been mitigated by the impact of aerosols in clouds.
Sea-Level Rise in Miami-Dade Could Cost $3.2 Billion by 2040
Miami-Dade ... county would need to spend a whopping $3.2 billion for 267 miles of coastal barriers ... "We no longer have the luxury of waiting ten years," says Paul Chinowsky, director of the environmental design program at the University of Colorado Boulder and a lead scientist in the study ... The limestone on which Miami is built makes the city particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise because salt water can seep up through the porous bedrock ... More than 50,000 miles would be needed in 22 states by 2040. The resulting chain of coastal barriers would be longer than today's interstate highway system and would cost an estimated $400 billion nationwide.
reporting on a study at http://www.climatecosts2040.org/files/ClimateCosts2040_Report-v4.pdf
Scientists Are Stunned by How Rapidly Ice Is Melting in the Arctic
June has set a record low of Arctic sea ice, while the extent of melting across the Greenland Ice Sheet this early in the summer has never been seen before. Recently, temperatures in parts of Greenland soared to 40 degrees above normal, while open water (not covered by sea ice) is already being observed in places north of Alaska where it has seldom, if ever, been observed ... Scientists have long been warning that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic ... resulted in lower-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and eastern United States in early June, while the Arctic was baking under abnormally high temperatures that have facilitated the unprecedented melting of ice ... “We are not even trying to slow down the production of CO2 ... We are going to see the consequences, and they will be significant.”
Global Warming Pushes Microbes into Damaging Climate Feedback Loops
[G]lobal warming is supercharging some microbial cycles on a scale big enough to trigger damaging climate feedback loops ... feasting on more organic material and produce extra carbon dioxide as the planet warms. In the Arctic, a spreading carpet of algae is soaking up more of the sun's summer rays, speeding melting of the ice. Deadly pathogenic microbes are also spreading poleward and upward in elevation, killing people, cattle and crops. So many documented changes, along with other alarming microbial red flags, have drawn a warning from a group of 30 microbiologists, published Tuesday as a "consensus statement" in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.
Utqiagvik, Alaska, America's Northernmost Town, Smashes June Record High
Formerly known as Barrow, Utqiagvik's high soared to 73 degrees Thursday, topping the town's previous June record ... only the fourth time temperatures had risen into the 70s in June, and only the 35th day of 70-degree warmth there in records dating to 1901.
Most of the World to Face Record-High Temperatures Every Year Without Serious Climate Action
Australian meteorologists analyzed the predictions in 22 separate climate reports to calculate one range of überpredictions about our planet's hot, hot future. The scientists found that, under current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, high monthly temperature records will be set in approximately 58% of the world (including 67% of the poorest nations) every single year until 2100 ... many nations near the equator can expect to see 24 monthly heat records surpassed every decade that emissions remain unchecked — in other words, roughly two months of every year will be hotter than in any year before it.
New Study Flags Substantial Declines In Large Fish And Marine Species If Climate Change Goes Unmitigated
The paper by a team of 35 international scientists and published Tuesday (11 June 2019) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents a stark view of what will happen to the global biomass — the total weight of marine animals, such as fish, invertebrates and mammals — if measures aren’t taken to reduce emissions ... "This study adds another disconcerting chapter to the global warming story, by confirming that human-made climate change endangers food resources in the oceans too,” says co-author Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany.
The Dangerous Methane Mystery
The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) ... hosts massive quantities of methane (CH4) in frozen subsea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle ... warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4 ... it is possible that atmospheric [carbon dioxide equivalent] would zoom up to as high as 1256 ppm ... at [this level] global heating cranks up by 8°C, or 14.4°F, within a decade.
Rising methane may thwart efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change
If the world were on track to meet the Paris Agreement goal of less than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, methane levels in the atmosphere would theoretically be dropping. Instead, they have been rising since 2007, and shooting up even faster since 2014 ... According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a molecule of methane will cause 28-36 times more warming than a molecule of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period ... The only emissions scenario that achieves Paris Agreement goals in climate models assumes that methane levels have been declining since 2010, when in fact they have been rising since 2007.
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6444/932
see also https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018GB006009
Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early
Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted ... a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers ... rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises ... the world is still far from averting the risk that these kinds of feedback loops will trigger runaway warming.
Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate — three ways through the fog
How much have aerosol particles slowed warming?
Sulfur dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels or by volcanoes forms a haze of sulfuric acid particles that reflects incoming sunlight, lowering global temperatures. Sulfate particles act as nuclei around which water condenses, seeding clouds and increasing their reflectivity ... [Aerosols] linger for just days or weeks in the atmosphere, compared with the hundreds of years that carbon dioxide survives ... The reflectivity, and thus cooling, of clouds depends on their thickness, cover and water content. Aerosols seed clouds, but the degree to which they boost the water content varies with meteorological conditions ... Adding dust, soot or glassy organic particles to air that is already polluted with them can increase the numbers of ice crystals, and thereby cooling.
Arctic could face another scorching annus horribilis
Since early June, 37 billion tonnes of ice have melted, Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liege, wrote ... "It becomes more and more likely that a record of mass loss will be broken for the month of June in 2019". Also worrying is how early in the year the ice is melting ... the ice melting season had begun at the start of May, almost a month earlier than usual.
Acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years
Himalayan glaciers supply meltwater to densely populated catchments in South Asia ... we quantify changes in ice thickness during the intervals 1975–2000 and 2000–2016 across the Himalayas, using a set of digital elevation models derived from cold war–era spy satellite film and modern stereo satellite imagery. We observe consistent ice loss along the entire 2000-km transect for both intervals and find a doubling of the average loss rate during 2000–2016 compared to 1975–2000.
Climate Change Is Choking The Atlantic Ocean To Death: 'it's Losing The Oxygen That Is Vital To Life'
A scientist leading a health check of the Earth's second largest ocean has warned the Atlantic could run out of breath ... will investigate how climate change as well as industries such as fishing, mining, and oil and gas extraction affect the expanse of water ... The ocean is losing oxygen which wildlife need to survive.
England's HSBC Bank Issues Stark Warning: Earth Is Running Out Of Resources To Sustain Life
England's largest bank, HSBC, issued a warning that governments and businesses are not prepared for climate impacts as Earth continues to run out of resources to sustain human life ... HSBC analysts believe it's essential to include climate risks in future financial models. According to NASA, extreme weather events and natural disasters are tied to climate change and will become more severe and regular as Earth continues to warm ... HSBC is not alone among major financial institutions in planning and mitigating for climate risks. Over 315 organizations around the world support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Companies that support TCFD are among the world's largest financial institutions.
see also https://www.businessinsider.nl/hsbc-warns-earth-is-running-out-of-resources-for-life-2018-8/
Arctic melt goes into overdrive
Earlier this year, we saw the unprecedented disappearance of sea ice from the Bering Sea during a time of year when it should be gaining ice. This trend toward plummeting sea ice in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic continues ... across the entire Arctic, sea ice extent is at a record low for this point in the year, and depending on weather conditions during the summer, it's possible that 2019 could set a new record low ice extent.
Midwest flooding is drowning corn and soy crops. Is climate change to blame?
[C]limate scientists say the devasting rains falling over the Midwest are exactly in line with what they’ve been predicting ... “When you warm up the atmosphere, the atmosphere can hold more moisture,” says David Easterling, the chief of the scientific services division at NOAA. As that atmosphere warms, it’s capable of holding more moisture, which it will ultimately dump somewhere ... In the most recently published National Climate Assessment, in 2018, for which Easterling served as the director for the technical support unit, researchers concluded that the U.S. would face more catastrophic flooding that would affect infrastructure and crops.
Human Civilization Isn't Prepared to Survive Climate Change
"The IPCC report tends to talk about the middle outcomes ... we thought it was important to ask, 'What are the high-end impacts?' Because in risk management, the cost of the damage associated with high-end impacts are so great that you have to avoid them." And the costs are high indeed. The research Spratt and Dunlop have compiled makes the case that in its most extreme, climate change is "a path to the end of human civilization and modern society as we know it ... UN Secretary General António Guterres said, basically, we're running out of time and in policy there's always a huge trend to keep the status quo ... then he said, 'The problem is that the status quo is a suicide.' And quite right, the status quo is a suicide. That's the UN Secretary General."
Chennai water crisis: City's reservoirs run dry
The southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) is in crisis after its four main water reservoirs ran completely dry ... "Only rain can save Chennai from this situation," an official told BBC Tamil ... "The destruction has just begun ... If the rain fails us this year too, we are totally destroyed."
India confronts unprecedented water crisis
A water crisis of epic proportions looms as taps run dry across urban and rural India ... even as most parts of India reel under an unprecedented water shortage, the Indian government has dismissed the concern as the result of “media hype” ... The Narmada River, largest west-flowing river of the country, also known as “lifeline of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” has gone so dry that pilgrims going to Vadodra district parked their cars in the river-bed ... a governmental think tank’s 2018 report stated that 21 Indian cities – including the national capital New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai – are expected to run out of groundwater by as soon as 2020.
The Scariest Thing About Climate Change: What Happens To Our Food Supply
But global warming poses another peril harder to visualize, more insidious and, ultimately, more threatening to the stability of human societies. The impact of climate change on the ecosystems that support our ability to grow food should concern us most ... The warming climate of the 21st century puts new stresses on ecosystems that were already feeling the effects of overfishing, pesticides, intensive agriculture, industrial pollution and a growing human population ... species will fail, biodiversity will continue to plummet and the delicate interactions and feedback loops that keep ecosystems functioning will break down.
Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia
[F]ossil fuels are by no means in terminal decline, according to a recent review of the global energy industry ... caused by a growing appetite for energy, that was being met by fossil fuels. And the biggest offender in climate terms is coal ... fast-developing countries in Asia, for example, where the appetite for electricity is growing rapidly, and renewable energy is not increasing anything like fast enough to keep coal at bay. Asia’s appetite for coal-fired electricity is keeping coal production alive.
Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods
New research says the continent will experience many extreme outbreaks of intense rainfall over the next 80 years. These could trigger devastating floods, storms and disruption of farming. In addition, these events are likely to be interspersed with more crippling droughts during the growing season and these could also damage crop and food production. “Essentially we have found that both ends of Africa’s weather extremes will get more severe,” said Elizabeth Kendon of the Met Office ... The new research, which is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, is based on forecasts of rainfall in Africa that were achieved by analysing weather patterns in great detail.
Why India's Insects Are Disappearing
There are approximately 5.5 million insect species buzzing, creeping and crawling across planet earth. However, a scientific review of records recently published in the journal Biological Conservation reveals that up to 40% of insect species worldwide are likely to become extinct in the coming years.
Climate change profoundly alters plankton populations
New research using sediment cores suggests human-driven climate change is having a significant impact on the composition of the world’s marine plankton. A German study, published in the journal Nature, reveals that modern communities of foraminifera, a type of hard-shelled plankton, differ markedly from those from the pre-industrial era, which began just 170 years ago ... the amount of differentiation correlates with the degree of temperature change. The direction of change is consistent with the global pattern of sea-surface temperature warming seen in historical times.
Planet is entering ‘new climate regime’ with ‘extraordinary’ heat waves intensified by global warming, study says
Simultaneous heat waves scorched land areas all over the Northern Hemisphere last summer ... study published this week in the journal Earth’s Future concludes that this heat wave epidemic “would not have occurred without human-induced climate change.” ... record-setting heat waves are beginning anew this summer — signaling, perhaps, that these exceptional and widespread heat spells are now the norm.
Best Carbon Capture Facility In World Emits 25 Times More CO2 Than Sequestered
[T]hey are producing 36 million cubic meters of natural gas per day. They’ve been producing that daily since 1996, so that’s about 300 billion cubic meters of gas. That turns into about 581 million tons of CO2 emitted by the natural gas, compared to the 23 million tons of CO2 that’s been sequestered ... Every other carbon capture facility in the world is more expensive, sequesters less CO2, and has a much worse ratio than 25:1 for emitted vs captured. The fossil fuel industry and consumers of fossil fuels are producing vastly more CO2 emissions than the very best sequestration case study can manage.
There's some really intense melting in the Arctic right now
The Arctic summer has a long way to go, but already sea ice levels over great swathes of the sprawling Arctic ocean are at historic lows ... exceptional, but right in line with accelerating melting trends occurring as the Arctic warms. "Every year we smash a record that we’re shocked at," said Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and a current board director at the National Academies of Sciences ... "The extraordinary change is a given," he said. "The Arctic is superseding any projection we had for how quickly sea ice was going to go away."
see also Greenland Surface Melt Extent Interactive Chart at https://nsidc.org/greenland-today/greenland-surface-melt-extent-interactive-chart/
Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee
Hundreds of Indian villages have been evacuated as a historic drought forces families to abandon their homes in search of water ... up to 90% of the area’s population has fled, leaving the sick and elderly to fend for themselves in the face of a water crisis that shows no sign of abating.
Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns
Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis. “If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” he said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”
Global Emissions Rose the Most in 7 Years, BP Review Shows
The report, one of the most closely watched surveys of global energy trends, found that primary demand rose at the fastest pace this decade in 2018 even though economic growth weakened. China, India and the U.S. were responsible for two thirds of the 2.9% increase in consumption ... Even the dirtiest fossil fuel for power generation is increasing ... Renewable energy consumption jumped 15% in 2018, near the record advance from a year earlier [but] “Renewables can’t grow quickly enough,” Dale said.
Hot summers causing arctic sinkholes as permafrost thaws rapidly
Arctic sinkholes are appearing across the Canadian High Arctic as permafrost thaws and collapses due to climate change, according to research published Monday. Researchers found maximum thaw depths had already exceeded what they had expected to occur by 2090, according to the report published in Geophysical Research Letters journal ... Scientists blamed a series of warm summers for damaging the "very cold permafrost," noting that there was little soil or vegetation to buffer the permafrost from the temperature changes.
Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS)
Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov, and Evgeny Chuvilin
The Arctic is warming dramatically, with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate ... amount of pre-formed gas preserved in the ESAS suggests a potential for possible massive/abrupt release of CH4, whether from destabilizing hydrates or from free gas accumulations beneath permafrost; such a release requires only a trigger ... ESAS is a tectonically and seismically active area ... During seismic events, a large amount of over-pressurized gas can be delivered to the water column, not only via existing gas migration pathways, but also through permafrost breaks ... Releases could potentially increase by 3–5 orders of magnitude, considering the sheer amount of CH4 preserved within the shallow ESAS seabed deposits and the documented thawing rates of subsea permafrost.
NOAA forecasts very large ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico
NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or ‘dead zone’ – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 7,829 square miles, or roughly the size of Massachusetts ... major factor contributing to the large dead zone this year is the abnormally high amount of spring rainfall in many parts of the Mississippi River watershed, which led to record high river flows and much larger nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico.
Large summer 'dead zone' forecast for Chesapeake Bay after wet winter and spring
"The forecast this year reflects the high levels of precipitation that have been observed across the Bay's watershed," said report co-author Jeremy Testa of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science ... The bay's hypoxic (low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excess nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and wastewater.
Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems
Across Alaska, March temperatures averaged 11 degrees Celsius above normal. The deviation was most extreme in the Arctic where, on March 30, thermometers rose almost 22 degrees Celsius above normal ... The steady decline of sea ice is old news, but 2019 brought exceptional conditions. In January, a series of warm storms began breaking apart the ice, which had formed late and was thinner than usual. By late March, the Bering Sea was largely open, at a time when the ice usually reaches its maximum for the year ... In April, U.S. federal scientists reported coverage was even lower than the unprecedented low extent of 2018. By mid-May, ice that should have persisted into June was almost entirely gone.
Mosquito-borne Diseases on the Uptick—Thanks to Global Warming
According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health, the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase the infection rates of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus by creating more mosquito-friendly habitats.
‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey
Human destruction of the living world is causing a “frightening” number of plant extinctions, according to scientists who have completed the first global analysis of the issue ... researchers said the plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution, and this was also likely to be an underestimate.
see also https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48584515
Loss of Arctic sea ice stokes summer heat waves in southern U.S.
Over the last 40 years, Arctic sea ice thickness, extent and volume have declined dramatically. Now, a new study finds a link between declining sea ice coverage in parts of the Canadian Arctic and an increasing incidence of summer heat waves across the southern United States. The new study in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres explores how seasonal fluctuations of sea ice coverage trigger changes in atmospheric circulation patterns during the boreal summer.
Scientists name a new reason for methane release in the Arctic
Russian scientists [describe] a new mechanism, explaining influence from salt migration emerging from decomposition of methane hydrates reserves on the Arctic shelf ... "Experts from Skoltech, the Tomsk Polytechnic University and the Academy of Sciences’ Pacific Oceanology Institute saw that one of the reasons for big methane emissions from bottom sediments on the East-Siberian shelf is destabilizing of gas hydrates, which are located on submarine permafrost, when they react with salt solutions (sea water), which migrate into the thawing underwater permafrost."
Bubbling under the Arctic Seabed
Permafrost under the Arctic seabed is more widespread than previously thought, and is mostly warming, a new study finds. Scientists have now, for the first time ever, modelled the distribution of submarine permafrost underneath the entire Arctic seabed. Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans in the latest issue (April 2019), their findings reveal that submarine permafrost is more widely distributed than previously thought, and is almost all getting thinner. These findings are significant, because knowing how much submarine permafrost exists is a crucial first step in predicting how much methane and carbon dioxide might be released into the atmosphere from underneath the Arctic seabed.
Why there’s more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than you may have realised
CO2 levels at the Mauna Loa atmospheric observatory in Hawaii have risen steeply for the seventh year in a row, reaching a May 2019 average of 414.7 parts per million (ppm) [but] if we factor in the presence of other greenhouse gases besides carbon dioxide, we find that the world has already ticked past yet another milestone: 500ppm of what we call “CO2-equivalent”, or CO2-e ... best estimate of long-term global warming expected from 500ppm CO2-e is about 2.5C.
Harvard chemist: Permafrost N2O levels 12 times higher than expected
[A] paper published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about 12 times higher than previously assumed. Since N2O traps heat nearly 300 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide does, this revelation could mean that the Arctic — and the global climate — are in more danger than we thought ... data covered far more ground than any previous study ... found that high emissions were relatively widespread ... “10 million times larger than any previous study looking at permafrost N2O emissions,” said Wilkerson. “It makes [previous] findings quite a bit more serious.”
Arctic death spiral speeds up sixfold, driving coastal permafrost collapse
Drone surveys have revealed erosion of coastal permafrost in the Arctic — up to 3 feet a day ... six times higher than the historical rate. Meanwhile, the Arctic just saw the hottest May on record, with temperatures in northwest Russia hitting a remarkable 84F (29C). Global warming is driving Arctic sea ice to near-record lows, which in turn is driving ever-worsening summer heat waves in the southern United States, according to another new study.
The end of the Arctic as we know it
The demise of an entire ocean is almost too enormous to grasp, but as the expedition sails deeper into the Arctic, the colossal processes of breakdown are increasingly evident ... where ice floes come to die, and the cemetery is filling faster each year, according to the leader of this scientific expedition, Till Wagner, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) ... the summer Arctic has lost 40% of its extent and up to 70% of its volume, says Wagner. Other scientists calculate the rate of decline at 10,000 tonnes a second. Much of the multiyear ice is now gone ... The pace of change is mindblowing, Wagner says ... If the Arctic were a patient, doctors would be alarmed by its vital signs ... “The Arctic as we know it is about to become history.”
Half of all land must be kept in a natural state to protect Earth
Countries should double their protected zones to 30 percent of the Earth’s land area, and add 20 percent more as climate stabilization areas, for a total of 50 percent of all land kept in a natural state, scientists conclude. All of this needs to be done by 2030 to have a real hope of keeping climate change under the “danger zone” target of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) and to prevent the world’s ecosystems from unravelling ... the first science-based plan with clear milestones on why it’s vital to achieve these goals ... Only when 50 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial areas are protected, along with substantial cuts in fossil-fuel use and major increases in renewable energy, will we have a good chance of meeting the Paris climate target ... if warming goes beyond 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius), we lose some of those natural systems and the services they provide humanity ... “Every morsel of food, every sip of water, the air we breathe is the result of work done by other species ... Without them, there is no us.”
Industrial methane emissions are 100 times higher than reported, researchers say
Emissions of methane from the industrial sector have been vastly underestimated ... researchers discovered that methane emissions from ammonia fertilizer plants were 100 times higher than the fertilizer industry’s self-reported estimate. They also were substantially higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate for all industrial processes in the United States.
Climate crisis seriously damaging human health, report finds
A report by experts from 27 national science academies has set out the widespread damage global heating is already causing to people’s health and the increasingly serious impacts expected in future ... World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned in November that climate breakdown was already a health crisis. “We cannot delay action on climate change,” he said. “We cannot sleepwalk through this health emergency any longer.”
World's biggest firms foresee $1 trillion climate cost hit
More than 200 of the world’s largest listed companies forecast that climate change could cost them a combined total of almost $1 trillion, with much of the pain due in the next five years, according to a report published on Tuesday. Even so, the findings by charity CDP suggested many companies still underestimated the dangers as scientists warn that earth’s climate system is on course to hit catastrophic tipping points without rapid cuts in carbon emissions.
CO2 just hit an all-time record. But that’s not the worst of it.
"It's extremely alarming to see atmospheric CO2 continuing to increase relentlessly year after year when all scenarios that lead to a stable climate require that it go down," said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. "The further we go into the uncharted climate territory of unprecedented CO2 levels, the more likely we are to encounter surprises," added Green, referencing the extreme weather and climate disruptions wrought by such warming. "We are heading toward the part of the climate map labeled 'here there be dragons' and rather than turning around, or even slowing down, we are running faster."
see also https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/midwest-rain-climate-change-wrecking-corn-soy-crops/
Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by the second highest annual rise in the past six decades, according to new data. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas were 414.8 parts per million in May, which was 3.5ppm higher than the same time last year, according to readings from the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, where carbon dioxide has been monitored continuously since 1958.
New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ in 2050
A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander. The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” ... argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”
Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began ... world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739 sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute ... Although a single month is too short to confirm long-term trends, May is considered an important guide because it marks the start of the dry season, which is when most burning and other forms of forest clearance are carried out.
Lake Ontario height record broken, floods Sackets road
According to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which monitors water levels, the lake level reached 248.98 feet on Friday, breaking the existing record of 248.95 feet established in 2017. The International Joint Commission, however, announced Monday that it has climbed to 249.02 feet since the record was broken, caused primarily by additional rain across the Great Lakes basin. The agency expects the lake level to “continue rising gradually” for several days until peaking in one to three weeks, according to a news release.
This Hedge Fund Superstar Thinks Climate Change Will Impact All Your Investments—And Soon
“Climate change is something we have to include in every single analysis, every investment” ... founder of Autonomy Capital ($5.5 billion in assets) thinks that climate change is happening suddenly and soon ... Gibbins has an impressive track record making big calls ... believes climate change will be a major stress on economic stability.
There are diseases hidden in the ice, and they are waking up
[W]hat would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before? We may be about to find out. Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life ... permafrost soil is the perfect place for bacteria to remain alive for very long periods of time, perhaps as long as a million years. That means melting ice could potentially open a Pandora's box of diseases. The temperature in the Arctic Circle is rising quickly, about three times faster than in the rest of the world. As the ice and permafrost melt, other infectious agents may be released.
see also https://now.northropgrumman.com/thawing-permafrost-may-reawaken-old-diseases/
These Worms Unfrozen After More Than 30,000 Years Are Now The Oldest Living Animals On Earth
Researchers found 30-40,000 year old roundworms frozen in Siberian permafrost. When thawed in a lab, some of them woke up. Probably some interesting diseases and bacteria also frozen there.
reporting on a study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30009350
Ice Shelves Buckle Under Weight of Meltwater Lakes
For the first time, a research team co-led by CIRES-based scientists, has directly observed an Antarctic ice shelf bending under the weight of ponding meltwater on top, a phenomenon that may have triggered the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf ... Meltwater lakes can contain water weighing fifty thousand to two million tons each, and that pushes downward on the ice, creating an indent. If the lake drains, this indent pops back up. If the resultant stress is large enough, the ice surrounding the lake basin weakens, and may start to break.
No end in sight as record flooding in Midwest, Southeast persists
Historic flooding continues to saturate large stretches of land across the Midwest and Southeast United States. And with swollen rivers and reservoirs, more rain in the forecast, and an administration working to undo environmental protections, the impacts to communities, crops, infrastructure, and the economy are expected to be severe ... Over the next week to 10 days, major or record flooding will hit every large community along the Arkansas River, the National Weather Service warned earlier this week. This flooding comes from past weeks of heavy rain which is testing the limits of aging levee infrastructure and putting crops at risk.
India’s water crisis is already here. Climate change will compound it.
Severe droughts have drained rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers across vast parts of India in recent years, pushing the nation’s leaky, polluted water systems to the brink. More than 600 million Indians face “acute water shortages,” according to a report last summer by NITI Aayog, a prominent government think tank. Seventy percent of the nation’s water supply is contaminated, causing an estimated 200,000 deaths a year. Some 21 cities could run out of groundwater as early as next year, including Bangalore and New Delhi, the report found. Forty percent of the population, or more than 500 million people, will have “no access to drinking water” by 2030.
Why Hundreds of Puffins Washed Up Dead on an Alaskan Beach
[Researchers] estimated that between 3,150 and 8,800 tufted puffins perished in the final months of 2016 ... The birds were extremely thin ... “They literally didn’t have enough to eat and became weak to the point of death,” says Julia Parrish of the University of Washington, who led the study ... “they’re starving to death, and they’re washing in.”
State of the climate: Heat across Earth's surface and oceans mark early 2019
Ocean heat content (OHC) set a new record in early 2019, with more warmth in the oceans than at any time since OHC records began in 1940 ... methane concentrations have increased at an accelerating rate, reaching record highs in recent months ... Arctic sea ice is currently at a record low for this time of year ... Antarctic sea ice set new record lows in January, and is currently at the low end of the historical range.
Extreme heat, freak rainfall breaks summer records
Days of extreme heat and rainfall skyrocketed last summer by several times the 30-year average, delivering the hottest summer on record in another clear signal of the risks posed by climate change, a report by the Actuaries Institutes has found.
Oklahoma Prepares for Worst Case Scenario
Communities along the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma and Arkansas are preparing for further flooding, with the mayor of Tulsa urging thousands of residents behind the city’s aging levees to be ready to evacuate in the event of a ‘worst-case scenario’ ... The severe weather that spawned tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri Tuesday also brought heavy rains that helped set a new record for the wettest May in Kansas City, according to the National Weather Service ... More heavy rain is in the forecast for today, and over 10 million remain under flood warnings from Oklahoma into Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Latest on Lake Ontario flooding: Deluge nears record-breaking levels; sewer overflows reported
At least five discharges of stormwater and partly treated sewage into Lake Ontario and connected ponds were reported ... The town blamed flooding caused by high water and sizable waves on Tuesday for inundating parts of its sewer system and forcing the discharges ... Lake Ontario rose to 248.92 feet above sea level on Tuesday, leaving it less than a half-inch below the all-time mark set in May 2017 ... waters of Lake Ontario surged across local roadways, flooded basements and drove some shore dwellers from their homes ... Waves of 2 to 3 feet, rolling in from the northeast and east, pushed foaming water over the top of many shoreline protective structures beginning Tuesday morning. Some structures were battered to pieces.
Humans and volcanoes caused nearly all of global heating in past 140 years
Emissions from fossil fuels and volcanoes can explain nearly all of the changes in Earth’s surface temperatures over the past 140 years, a new study has found. The research refutes the popular climate denial myth that recent global warming is merely a result of natural cycles.
More than 200,000 hectares of Amazon forest have been destroyed in just nine months
[S]atellite imagery show the region lost 2169 square kilometres (216,900 hectares) of forest in the most recent August-through-April period. That's a 20 per cent jump from the 1807 square kilometres lost over the same nine-month period the previous year. Analysts blame uncontrolled logging and land invasion for much of the loss, some of which occurred in protected areas and Indigenous reserves.
Right whale population decline linked to ocean warming, research says
The endangered North Atlantic right whale faces increased odds because its main food supply has shifted due to ocean warming, according to new research ... A paper by 17 authors from the US, Canada and Norway, published this month in the journal Oceanography, links an influx of warm water in 2010 to a reduction in the whales’ key food supply, Calanus finmarchicus, a small crustacean, in the Gulf of Maine, the area off the US coast in which the whales spend their summers.
Global warming has increased global economic inequality
We find that global warming has very likely exacerbated global economic inequality, including ∼25% increase in population-weighted between-country inequality over the past half century ... the global warming caused by fossil fuel use has likely exacerbated the economic inequality associated with historical disparities in energy consumption.
High extinction risk for wild coffee species and implications for coffee sector sustainability
Wild coffee species are critical for coffee crop development and, thus, for sustainability of global coffee production ... We found that at least 60% of all coffee species are threatened with extinction, 45% are not held in any germplasm collection, and 28% are not known to occur in any protected area. Existing conservation measures, including those for key coffee CWRs, are inadequate. We propose that wild coffee species are extinction sensitive, especially in an era of accelerated climatic change.
Widespread permafrost degradation seen in high Arctic terrain
[D]ue to the extremely cold climate in high Arctic polar deserts ... and the fact that the permafrost is over 500 metres thick, it had been assumed this landscape was stable. But the McGill-led research team found that this has not been the case. "Our study suggests that the warming climate in the high Arctic, and more specifically the increases in summer air temperatures that we have seen in recent years, are initiating widespread changes in the landscape," says Melissa Ward Jones, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in McGill's Department of Geography.
April saw big decline in Arctic sea ice cover
April 2019 marked the 18th consecutive April during which Arctic sea ice extent was below average ... smallest Arctic sea ice extent for April in the 41-year record ... nearly all of the oldest ice, four years old or more, which once made up about 30 per cent of the sea ice within the Arctic Ocean, is gone.
Climate Change and Its Staggering Refugee Crisis
Current estimates for climate refugees are wide-ranging, and go as high as 1 billion people displaced by 2050 ... The American Association for the Advancement of Science foresees 50 million mobilizing to escape their environment by 2020.
More Than Half Of U.S. Corn Still Unplanted
Massive delays in most of the corn belt have pushed progress 31-percentage-points behind the five-year average of 80% planted for the week of May 19 ... slowest corn planting in recorded history ... time is running thin and the weather forecast doesn’t look promising ... forecast calls for rain, rain, and more rain ... "on a scale of one to 10, the probability of it [this forecast] being wrong is probably just a two or three,” said Michael Clark, BAMWX meteorologist to AgriTalk Host Chip Flory Thursday. “There’s so much support amongst all the ensemble members and in all the operational runs and the only thing they’ve done in the last two days is trended wetter.”
How the International Monetary Fund Is Waking Up to the Financial Risks of the Climate Crisis
“Climate change is the great existential challenge of our times” ... One of the new papers is a comprehensive update of global fossil fuel subsidies and negative externalities like air pollution. The paper found that the world is wasting a whopping 6.5% of global GDP—$ 5.2 trillion per year—subsidizing dirty energy ... Coal remains the largest recipient of subsidies, despite being the most polluting ... the ever-pragmatic financial sector has also been waking up to climate risks. Signs of this shift were captured in the New Climate Economy’s September 2018 report.
‘Earthworm Dilemma’ Has Climate Scientists Racing to Keep Up
Native earthworms disappeared from most of northern North America 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. Now invasive earthworm species from southern Europe — survivors of that frozen epoch, and introduced to this continent by European settlers centuries ago — are making their way through northern forests, their spread hastened by roads, timber and petroleum activity, tire treads, boats, anglers and even gardeners. As the worms feed, they release into the atmosphere much of the carbon stored in the forest floor. Climate scientists are worried.
Climate change is destroying a barrier that protects the U.S. East Coast from hurricanes
There are two main factors that contribute to hurricane development and intensity: sea surface temperature and vertical wind shear. Vertical wind shear is the difference in wind speed or direction between the upper and lower troposphere. Warmer sea surface temperatures and low wind shear (meaning the wind speeds and directions are similar throughout the column of air) both raise the potential intensity of a hurricane. Scientists knew that ocean temperatures are heating up, but until now it has not been clear how climate change would impact wind shear. A new paper, published today in Scientific Reports, finds that climate change could alter wind shear in a way that could deliver more powerful hurricanes to the East Coast.
Farmer suicides soar in India as deadly heatwave hits 51 degrees Celsius
India has set a new record for its highest-ever recorded temperature – a searing 51 degrees Celsius or 123.8F – amid a devastating heatwave that has ravaged much of the country for weeks. Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land ... Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up ... "a rising temperature trend every year ... main reason is the excessive use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide" ... Government minister Harsh Vardhan said; "Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon. It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change.”
Humans causing shrinking of nature as larger animals die off
Humans have wiped out most large creatures from all inhabited continents apart from Africa over the last 125,000 years. This annihilation will accelerate rapidly in the coming years, according to the research ... Animal populations have fallen by 60% since 1970, suggesting a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is under way caused by the razing of wild areas, hunting and intensive farming. Scientists said this month that human society was in danger from the decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, with half of natural ecosystems now destroyed and a total of a million species at risk of extinction ... The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, analysed five traits of 15,500 species of mammals and birds.
Worst drought in 116 years hits Australian wheat production
The worst drought in more than a century is affecting parts of Australia, causing severe grain shortage in what is usually an outstanding surplus producing country. The condition resulted in a significant shipment of wheat from Canada ... The analyst from Australian Crop Forecaster James Maxwell estimated that the total weight of the shipment would be around 50 000 and 60 000 tones. "The reason this announcement has garnered so much attention is that it just doesn't happen," Maxwell said.
Global sea level rise could be bigger than expected
Scientists believe that global sea levels could rise far more than predicted, due to accelerating melting in Greenland and Antarctica ... IPCC, when it published its fifth assessment report in 2013 ... said the continued warming of the planet, without major reductions in emissions, would see global waters rising by between 52cm and 98cm by 2100. Many experts believe this was a very conservative estimate ... "To put this into perspective, the Syrian refugee crisis resulted in about a million refugees coming into Europe," said Prof Bamber. "That is about 200 times smaller than the number of people who would be displaced in a 2m sea-level rise." The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Springtime in the New Normal of Climate Disruption
“The past year, in fact, was the wettest one on record nationwide ... The persistent rain is not a fluke, but instead a human-caused catastrophe related to climate change.” ... “Over the past decade,” reports the Union of Concerned Scientists, “researchers have found strong evidence showing that climate change increases the frequency and intensity of events like extreme heat and extreme rainfall from hurricanes.” Put another way, climate disruption does not make weather events from scratch, at least for the present. It causes pre-existing weather events to happen more often and with greater strength.
Bill Nye on climate change: ‘It’s not 50 to 75 years away — it’s 10 or 15’
The Trump administration has continued to deny climate change findings and make scientific reports inaccessible to the public. Nye counters EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s claim that the threat of climate change is “50 to 75 years out.” “It’s not 50 to 75 years away — it’s 10 or 15 ... There is enough carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere already to make the world get warmer for many decades to come,” Nye said.
Air pollution is causing unprecedented weakening of Asian Monsoon
The Asian Monsoon, which brings rains that sustain billions of people in India, China, Pakistan, Thailand and other countries, is seeing a weakening trend that's unprecedented in at least the past 448 years, according to a new study ... The culprit, the study finds, is aerosol pollution from coal-fired power plants ... the natural irrigation system for much of Asia, from southern India to northwest China ... could imperil food security in a rapidly growing part of the world ... the study shows that increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air should be strengthening the monsoon, not weakening it. Therefore, the study finds that aerosol pollution, which has been worsening in Asia as coal use there continues to increase, likely has so far overwhelmed the influence of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
La diminution de la pollution va augmenter les vagues de chaleur [Decrease in pollution will increase heat waves]
[Translated] Aerosols, resulting from automobile and industrial pollution, paradoxically contribute to cooling the atmosphere. Their decrease could lead to a dramatic acceleration in the number, duration and intensity of heat waves ... aerosols interact with solar radiation by sending [part] of it backward ... The solar radiation received at the surface is therefore lower in the presence of such aerosols ... The results (published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters) indicate that taking into account the reduction of sulphate aerosols leads to a greater increase in the solar radiation received at the surface.
Koalas are now ‘functionally’ extinct
The Australian Koala Foundation ... declared the marsupial ‘functionally extinct’ ... Koalas have too few breeding adults left to support the species ... Koalas are dying out due to effects caused by climate change. Rising temperatures are causing heatwaves that kill thousands of koalas through dehydration. The species has also suffered hugely from deforestation.
Single-use plastics a serious climate change hazard, study warns
The proliferation of single-use plastic around the world is accelerating climate change and should be urgently halted, a report warns. Plastic production is expanding worldwide, fuelled in part by the fracking boom in the US. The report says plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product.
Why the Indian Ocean is spawning strong and deadly tropical cyclones
These high intensity storms have been tied to the very warm sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. Temperatures of 30°C are occurring more often and over longer periods of time. This is a result of gradual warming on a global scale, which has resulted in a net increase in ocean temperatures. Warmer ocean temperatures allow stronger storms to form. These conditions are exacerbated by global forcing mechanisms including El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole, which concentrates warm ocean waters in smaller geographic areas.
Arctic soils may produce huge methane leak
Arctic soils thought to be thawing faster than anyone had predicted. This threatens to release vast quantities of frozen methane into the atmosphere and transform the northern landscape. “We are watching this sleeping giant wake up right in front of our eyes,” said Merritt Turetsky, an ecologist at the University of Guelph in Canada ... among 14 researchers who argue in the journal Nature that the thaw is happening far faster than anyone had predicted ... has the potential to double what climate scientists call “feedback” – the release of hitherto stored greenhouse gases to fuel yet faster warming.
Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again. And It Will Never End.
“There’s no number of helicopters or trucks that we can buy, no number of firefighters that we can have, no amount of brush that we can clear that will stop this,” Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, told me. “The only thing that will stop this is when the Earth, probably long after we’re gone, relaxes into a more predictable weather state.”
Global Warming: How Hot, Exactly, Is it Going to Get?
The latest climate models are giving disturbing answers
Climate models, like all models, are imperfect representations of the real world. They tell us something useful about the planet we’re changing, but not how much, exactly, we’ll change it. The only way to be sure is to actually double atmospheric carbon dioxide and wait until the planet approaches a new equilibrium, measuring the changes along the way. This is an uncontrolled experiment I hope we will never do. But I’m afraid we’re well on our way to finding out.
India’s Local Water Conflicts Are a Looming Threat
Transboundary water issues get all the attention, but India’s internal water crises are also a national security concern.
India is on the brink of an acute water crisis. Water scarcity in India will intensify further as its 1 billion-plus population grows and urbanizes, increasing water demand. A study by the NITI Aayog shows that around 600 million people in India face a severe water shortage, and it’s “only going to get worse” as 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020 ... droughts and floods, contamination and scarcity, overexploitation and inaccessibility, and stakeholder conflicts ... India’s economic and geopolitical stakes in transboundary river basins are recognized as an important component of national security, but domestic issues — even within the same transboundary river basins — are regularly categorized as environmental, economic, social, technological, governance, political, or simply “water” issues – anything but an issue of national security.
Paris records record May rainfall - and there's more to come
Torrential rain on Friday and Saturday saw almost the entire monthly average of rainfall for May in just 24 hours. According to French weather channel La Chaine Météo, between 8am on Friday and 8am on Saturday 43.8 mm of rain fell in Paris. The average rainfall for the whole of the month of May in the region is 57mm. In total, since the beginning of the month, nearly 80mm of rain has fallen in Paris.
Antarctic instability 'is spreading'
Almost a quarter of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet can now be considered unstable, according to a new assessment of 25 years of satellite data. By unstable, scientists mean more ice is being lost from the region than is being replenished through snowfall ... Losses from the two largest ice streams - Pine Island and Thwaites - have risen fivefold over the period of the spacecraft observations. And the changes have seen a marked acceleration in just the past decade. The driver is thought to be warm ocean water which is attacking the edges of the continent where its drainage glaciers enter the sea. The British-led study has been presented here in Milan at the Living Planet Symposium, Europe's largest Earth observation conference. It has also been published concurrently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ... Between 1992 and 1997, the loss rates were 2 billion tonnes per year and 12 billion tonnes per year, respectively. During the latter period of the survey (2012 to 2016), the rate rises to 55 billion tonnes and 76 billion tonnes per annum.
Violent Storms Multiplying in Germany Lift Costs for Insurers
Rising temperatures attributed to a broader warming of the planet are making convective storms like this one more common across southern Germany. That’s increasing costs for insurers, which shouldered a record $160 billion in climate-related damages last year worldwide and are noticing similar trends in other places, especially the U.S. Midwest. The trend marks a shift for Germany ... essentially more powerful thunderstorms, bringing with them the increased probability of hail, tornadoes and flash flooding that comes with torrential rains. “You can have hundreds of strong thunderstorms develop over one to three days,” Ernst Rauch, chief climatologist at reinsurer Munich Re, said in an interview. “The most severe storms are becoming more frequent.” ... Increasingly turbulent weather in Germany’s south is just another sign of Europe’s largest economy getting ruffled by climate change. A string of summer droughts wrought havoc on crops last summer. A protracted dry spell also depressed water levels in the Rhine River, making it impassable at times to barges carrying materials to industrial plants throughout the region. That contributed to a slowing of German growth in the final quarter of 2018.
Great Lakes Water Levels at 'Precipice of a Disaster' With Flooding Occurring or Imminent in New York, Ohio and Michigan
[A]lso lakeshore flooding concerns north of the border in Ontario, Canada, where the Toronto Region Conservation Authority has issued a shoreline hazard warning ... Flooding is already occurring in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, as western Lake Erie is in "uncharted territory with near-record-high levels," according to the National Weather Service ... Climate change is also increasing the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events, which could, in turn, boost the levels of prolonged Great Lakes high-water events. "These events are quite consistent with what scientists have been expecting with long-term climate change patterns," Drew Gronewold of the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability told the AP.
Fani the longest-lived cyclone in Bay of Bengal: IMD chief
India Meteorological Department’s Director General KJ Ramesh writes about how they prepared for the storm
Cyclone Fani was the longest-lived cyclone in the Bay of Bengal ever observed. The elongated time period of the storm went on for 11 days in the sea and land put together. What made it even more surprising was the fact that it had formed in the pre-monsoon season.
Emergency in Paraguay after flooding from torrential rains
About 40,000 Paraguayans have been forced to evacuate their homes in recent weeks due to rising waters. Officials say that more than 11,000 of the evacuees live in the capital Asuncion ... Other evacuees are spread throughout the landlocked country along the rain-swollen Paraguay River, which originates in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Its normal level is 4 metres, but it has reached 6.75 metres in the capital due to unusually heavy rains since March.
A ‘Staggering’ Amount of Meltwater in Greenland
Researcher Santiago de la Peña of Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center posted video on Twitter of raging streams of meltwater carving through the surface of Greenland’s Russell Glacier. “Early May and melt season is already in full swing in western Greenland,” he wrote. “The amount of meltwater at Russell glacier for this time of year is staggering.” ... A study published last month in the journal Nature found that glacier melt is occurring more rapidly than previously thought and accounts for 25-30 percent of observed sea level rise since 1961.
Arctic heat wave unsettles scientists
On May 29 temperatures in the southern Greenland town of Narsarsuaq hit 24.8 C — the hottest temperature ever recorded in Greenland in May and close to breaking the highest temperature ever recorded in Greenland ... scientists say recording stations in the Arctic and Mongolia have registered levels of carbon dioxide, a gas that warms the atmosphere, which haven’t been as high for 800,000 years.
There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans
According to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is over 415 parts per million (ppm), far higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens ... some 3 million years ago, when global temperatures were estimated 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than today, CO2 levels are believed to have topped out somewhere between 310 to 400 ppm. At that time, the Arctic was covered in trees, not ice, and summer temperatures in the far north are believed to have reached around 15C (60F).
Wildfires ravage Siberia and Far East of Russia
Walls of fire are burning on both sides of federal R-255 highway from Irkutsk to Angarsk ... videos and pictures show the carnage being wrought ... Residents are warned that due to dry and windy weather rescuers predict high and extremely high probability of more wildfires.
Climate change predicted to wipe $571 billion off property values
[Australia] property market is predicted to have $571 billion wiped from it by 2030 as a result of climate change and extreme weather events
Damage related loss of value would rise to $611 billion by 2050 and $770 billion by 2100 ... report titled Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia's Economy ... said climate change and extreme weather events would send damage costs and insurance premiums up for properties in risk-prone areas, which would cause banks to lend less to these properties as the annual costs of the borrower had risen ... the report analysed 15 million industrial, commercial and residential addresses around the nation.
The Bank of England lays bare the “very real” trillion-dollar risks of climate change
"Climate change poses significant risks to the economy and to the financial system, and while these risks may seem abstract and far away, they are in fact very real, fast approaching, and in need of action today." That’s how Sarah Breeden began her speech titled “Avoiding the storm: Climate change and the financial system” yesterday. Breeden is the Bank of England’s executive director of International Banks Supervision and she was speaking at the Official Monetary & Financial Institutions Forum in London.
Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements
The permafrost feedback is increasingly positive in warmer climates, while the albedo feedback weakens as the ice and snow melt. Combined, these two factors lead to significant increases in the mean discounted economic effect of climate change: +4.0% ($24.8 trillion) under the 1.5 °C scenario, +5.5% ($33.8 trillion) under the 2 °C scenario, and +4.8% ($66.9 trillion) under mitigation levels consistent with the current national pledges.
Rising Sea Levels Are Hurting Home Values in These 40 Cities
As sea levels rise and hurricanes get more and more costly, the effects of climate change are disproportionately felt in some areas of the country ... study analyzes the loss in home values since 2005 ... to identify the U.S. cities most affected by rising sea levels.
based on reporting at https://www.gobankingrates.com/making-money/economy/how-much-climate-change-will-cost-each-state/
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1362
Sea level rise will cause $7b worth of damage to Wellington unless emissions are drastically cut
The capital hopes to play its part in preventing a 1.4-metre sea level rise that computer models show could decimate Wellington's central city, an area that drives 77 per cent of the city's economy. Although that the sea is not predicted to rise that high until 2140, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report has given the world 11 years to get serious about sorting emission before it is too late to act.
‘Water always wins’: The most expensive parts of Long Beach are most vulnerable to rising seas
In the 90803 ZIP code—which includes Naples, Belmont Shore and the Peninsula—the median home costs nearly $900,000. But large swaths of the area will soon be underwater ... cause of the inundation, Dahl stresses, will not be seasonal storms, but, rather, normal high tides rising higher and reaching farther inland ... The Los Angeles Region Report of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which relies on a scenario characterized by increasing greenhouse gas emissions over time, projects a 1- to 2-feet of sea level rise by 2050, and more extreme projections lead to 8 to 10 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century ... 300,000 homes along the nation’s coastlines could be lost by 2045, with a collective market value of $117.5 billion.
Failing septic tanks are damaging Florida’s environment and will cost billions of dollars to replace
[B]ecause the water table is rising in parts of the state, many septic tanks aren’t working properly ... failure of septic tanks and old sewage collection systems fed toxic blue-green algae blooms that fouled the air ... “Sea-level rise is increasingly putting us between hell and high water,” Lapointe said ... Miami-Dade County issued a report saying that the county has tens of thousands of septic tanks and that most of them are malfunctioning. The report said it could cost as much as $3 billion.
Is global warming out of our control for the next 30-50 years and, are we REALLY facing mass extinction within our lifetimes?
"You cannot be called an alarmist if there really is something to be alarmed about." 13 reasons we may miss our last chance "window of opportunity" to have any meaningful remaining control of the global warming emergency to prevent mass extinction
1: We are not making anything even close to the required radical cuts in our fossil fuel use
2: It is highly improbable we will ever make the critically needed cuts to our fossil fuel use in time to save ourselves
3: The projected new length of time it will take to move away from global fossil fuel energy generation to green energy generation to replace it
4: Promised new technologies will not save us in time
5: There is still no international consensus or agreement for the critical fossil fuel reduction levels actually needed
6: The citizens of the world rising up as a single powerful voice to demand their politicians act immediately won't happen in time to save us either
7: A seemingly unstoppable continuing increase in average global warming temperature
8: The steady deadly rise of methane in the atmosphere
9: The gross miscalculations of current global warming consequence timetables for many of the 20 worst global warming consequences
10: The near insolvable problem of global warming justice definitions and global warming restitution and aid processes
11: The recent and the projected future crossings of many other global warming tipping points, positive feedback loops and points of no return within the climate system
12: The unconscionable and accelerating effects of the soon to be crossed near-final and final extinction level global warming tipping points
13: The absolutely horrible side effects if we do cut fossil fuel radically
Because of all of the above reasons, based upon its ultimate consequences upon humanity, global warming is, in fact, already out of our meaningful control ... will cause massive biological, economic, political and social collapses and will end the lives of as much as 70 to 90% of humanity in as little as the next 30 to 50 years.
Canada’s forests haven’t absorbed more carbon than they’ve released since 2001
For years, some Canadians have hid behind the myth that the country isn’t a net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions because of the presence of such vast forests working as our personal atmosphere vacuums. And up until the last two decades, it is true that those forests had the power to sequester in excess of a hundred megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. But that is no longer the case. Natural Resources Canada tracks the estimations of carbon released and captured by the managed forest each year — with managed forests accounting for about 65 per cent of the country’s trees. The results: Canada’s forests have not captured more carbon than they’ve emitted since 2001.
Yukon warmest it has been in 13,600 years
A study published in Nature Communications confirms that recent climate warming in the central Yukon region has surpassed the warmest temperatures experienced in the previous 13,600 years, a finding that could have important implications in the context of current global warming trends ... confirms information provided by previous midge studies ... concludes that industrial-era warming has led to current summer temperatures that are unprecedented in the Holocene context, and exceeds all previous maximum temperatures by nearly 2°C.
Unexpected Source Fuels Rapid Melt at World’s Biggest Ice Shelf
Part of Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf—the largest ice shelf in the world—appears to be melting 10 times faster than the ice around it. And researchers say a new process, one that was only rarely considered by scientists in the past, is the likely culprit. The findings, published yesterday in the journal Nature Geoscience, point to warm ocean water, heated up by the sun at the surface of the sea, as the driver behind the melting.
Climate crisis: flooding threat ‘may force UK towns to be abandoned’
Entire communities might need to be moved away from coasts and rivers as the UK takes urgent action to prepare for an average global temperature rise of 4C, the Environment Agency warned ... some areas of the UK and some homes and businesses cannot be protected. “Despite our collective best efforts, we will not always be able to prevent flooding and coastal change happening.”
Phytoplankton decline coincides with warming temperatures over the last 150 years
[S]cientists at MIT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and elsewhere have found evidence that phytoplankton's productivity is declining steadily in the North Atlantic, one of the world's most productive marine basins.
Warning: The following truth is not for the faint-hearted
Each of the four videos describes our world after a global warming of 2°C, 3°C, 4°C and more. It also explains why we can barely stop further warming once we have reached a temperature increase of 2°C. Because that is the moment when mutually reinforcing effects will spiral climate change out of control ... Only radical and immediate reduction of greenhouse gases and ultimately the complete and worldwide abandonment of fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest will give us a 50% to 60% chance to keep the earth's temperature below 2°C.
Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life
Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken ... The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction – all largely as a result of human actions, said the study, compiled over three years by a team of more than 450 scientists and diplomats ... The warning was unusually stark for a UN report that has to be agreed by consensus across all nations.
Australia's capital cities face water restrictions as dams near 50%
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have seen water levels hit near-decade lows after a hot summer and dry autumn Dry conditions and lower-than-average rainfall are expected to persist through the autumn and into winter, with the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate outlook predicting a “drier than average” May for eastern Australia. It follows a record-breaking summer and the hottest March on record.
The Last of the Arctic's Old Sea Ice Is on the Verge of Vanishing
National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) ... monthly sea ice update ... just 1.2 percent of ice in the Arctic Ocean is older than four years. Just 35 years ago, ice that was four years old or older made up nearly a third of all Arctic sea ice. Old sea ice is vital to holding Arctic icepack as a whole together ... But as ocean and air temperatures have risen in the Arctic, its extent has shrunk dramatically. As the new report reminds us, old sea ice is now on life support.
Greenland melt season officially starts almost a month early
DMI scientists announced the start of the Greenland melt season, the second earliest in a record that stretches back to 1980 ... “On average, the melt season starts around the 26th May, so we are almost a full month earlier this year” ... The warm air mass moving over the Greenland ice sheet has been key to the extensive melting observed this week but substantial melting started already in early April.
After the drought is before the drought
"[W]e're starting to get worried that this year will be like the last" ... According to the German Farmer's Association, the 2018 drought destroyed harvests worth between 2 and 3 billion euros ($2.2 to 3.3 billion) ... the soil will take years to recover ... Parched soils are not only a problem for farmers in Germany ... eastern and northern Europe were particularly badly affected by last year's drought, and according to Sergiy Moroz, expert for water and biodiversity at the European Environmental Bureau, they could experience more of the same in the future. "The frequency and intensity of droughts will increase due to climate change," Moroz told DW.
Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn
The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity ... Up to 1 million species are at risk of annihilation ... report is a compilation of reams of academic studies, in this case on subjects ranging from ocean plankton and subterranean bacteria to honey bees and Amazonian botany ... the overview of the state of the world’s nature is expected to provide evidence that the world is facing a sixth wave of extinction. Unlike the past five, this one is human-driven.
see also https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/one-million-species-risk-extinction-threatening-human-communities-around-world-un-report-warns-180972114/
Permafrost is thawing in the Arctic so fast scientists are losing their equipment
Instead of a few centimetres of thaw a year, several metres of soil can destabilize within days
"The ground thaws and swallows it," said Merritt Turetsky, a University of Guelph biologist whose new research warns the rapid thaw could dramatically increase the amounts of greenhouse gases released from ancient plants and animals frozen within the tundra. "We've put cameras in the ground, we've put temperature equipment in the ground, and it gets flooded. It often happens so fast we can't get out there and rescue it." Turetsky's research, published this week in the journal Nature, looks at the rate of permafrost thaw across the Arctic and what its impact could be on attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Great Lakes Ice Cover Has Been Decreasing Since the 1970s, Study Says
The trend for peak ice cover on all of the lakes has gone from about 70 percent in 1973 to roughly 40 percent by 2018, according to data by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) ... According to a separate study by NOAA-funded GLISA, a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, ice coverage declined by 71 percent on all five Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair between 1973 and 2010 ... study noted that waters have warmed significantly from 1973 to 2010.
reporting on a study at https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/great-lakes-ice-cover-decreasing-over-last-40-years
The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole
A recently published study showed that Earth’s glaciers are now melting five times more rapidly than they were in the 1960s ... the World Meteorological Organization announced that extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year ... Canada is warming at twice the global rate ... if business as usual continues, emissions will only accelerate ... yet another report came out highlighting how oil and gas giants are spending millions of dollars in their ongoing effort to lobby their paid politicians to block policies aimed at addressing climate disruption.
Signs of faster melting in world's largest ice shelf
[S]cientists have spent several years building up a record of how the north-west sector of the Ross Ice Shelf interacts with the ocean beneath it. They found that the Sun heats ocean surface water which then flows into a cavity under the shelf causing melt rates to rise ... the Ross Ice Shelf stabilises the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by blocking the ice which flows into it from some of the world's largest glaciers. This in turn has implications for sea-level rise in future.
Welcome to the Planetary Hospice
The ‘great dying’ cannot be practiced in isolation. Never before have human beings required loving community to the extent that they do now ... we must live life as if every act, every task, and every kindness expressed to one’s self and others might be the last. Live and act with gratitude, generosity, compassion, service and an open heart that is willing to be broken over and over again. It’s time to ask admission to the planetary hospice, and to become hospice workers for the Earth community.
Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US, study finds
Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires ... a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate. The study, published May 2 in the journal Nature Communications, provides new insight into the magnitude and persistence of forest fire disturbance on critical snow-water resources.
It’s Not Coming, It’s Here: Bill McKibben on Our New Climate Reality [excerpt from his book Falter]
The extra heat that we trap near the planet because of the carbon dioxide we’ve spewed is equivalent to the heat from 400,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every day ... the extra carbon released to date, if it could be amassed in one place, would form a solid graphite column 25 meters in diameter that would stretch from here to the moon. There are perhaps four other episodes in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history where carbon dioxide has poured into the atmosphere in greater volumes, but never at greater speeds — right now we push about 40 billion tons into the atmosphere annually ... This is humanity’s largest accomplishment, and indeed the largest thing any one species has ever done on our planet, at least since the days two billion years ago when cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, killing off much of the rest of the archaic life on the planet. “Faster than expected” is the watchword of climate scientists ... “I’ve never been at a climate conference where people say ‘that happened slower than I thought it would,’” one polar expert observed.
Arctic warming will accelerate climate change and impact global economy
Carbon released into the atmosphere by the increasing loss of Arctic permafrost, combined with higher solar absorption by Earth's surface due to the melting of sea ice and land snow, will accelerate climate change ... A new paper in Nature Communications reveals a combination of these factors has the potential to increase the long-term economic impact of climate change by just under $70 trillion, under mitigation levels consistent with current national pledges to cut carbon emissions ... High emissions scenarios, such as the current business as usual trajectory (BaU) -- expected to lead to around 4°C of warming by 2100 and cause by far the highest impacts on ecosystems and societies -- are also included.
Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports. The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them ... While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain.
Enough rainforest to fill 30 football pitches destroyed every minute last year
The world lost 12 million hectares of tropical rainforest last year – an area the size of North Korea and the equivalent of 30 football pitches every minute, according to a new report. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” said Frances Seymour, senior fellow at the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI), which led the research based on an analysis of satellite imagery. “The health of the planet is at stake and band aid responses are not enough. The world’s forests are now in the emergency room.”
The Dirty Secret Of The World’s Plan To Avert Climate Disaster
“The most important of the IPCC’s projections is that we’re screwed unless we can figure out how to take CO2 out of the atmosphere” ... [But] even if negative emissions of any kind turns out to be feasible technically and economically, it’s hard to see how we can achieve it on a global scale in a scant 13 or even three years, as some scenarios require.
Intensifying weather events are driving higher losses for insurers
Across the country, loss costs increased 19% over the previous year.
Extreme weather events continue to intensify, leading home insurers to develop new services and rating plans to keep their books of business more accurately priced for risk. The latest research shows an increase in both the number of losses and the percentage of losses that resulted from extreme weather events.
Inundaciones en Chaco [Floods in Chaco Argentina]
[translated to English] In the southwest of Chaco, according to a report by INTA Las Breñas, 1070.6 mm were recorded in this region so far this year. In just four months the annual average was exceeded, which is 944 mm there. Meanwhile, if you consider the last six months, when the excessive rains began, the total is already around 1623.7 mm ... "So far this year, 75% of Chaco received rainfall amounts ranging from 900 to 1100, surpassing the records of the last 30 years" ... according to the Argentine Agrarian Federation (FAA), according to various reports there are 1.5 million hectares flooded.
‘Death by a thousand cuts’: vast expanse of rainforest lost in 2018
Clearcutting of primary forest by loggers and cattle ranchers in Brazil dominated the destruction, including invasions into indigenous lands where uncontacted tribes live. Losses were also high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia ... Ghana and Ivory Coast recorded the biggest percentage rises in rainforest destruction, driven by gold mining and cocoa farming ... “We are nowhere near winning this battle,” said Frances Seymour from the World Resources Institute, part of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) network, which produced the analysis ... “The world’s forests are now in the emergency room – it is death by a thousand cuts,” she said.
First signs of drought in Austria heighten fears over bleak harvest
In Austria, the first signs of drought have already appeared in the east and north, raising fears of another bleak harvest. Rainfall is already down to just a quarter of the 10-year average in recent weeks ... A lack of rain has turned some forests into potential tinderboxes.
Record Warm and Dry April in Norway: Drought Warning and Ban on Grill?
The record warm and dry April worries authorities in Norway. There is great forest fire hazard (orange level) in Møre og Romsdal and Trøndelag, Western Norway, Oslo, Østfold, Vestfold, Buskerud and Telemark, Akershus, Oppland and Hedmark.
New studies highlight challenge of meeting Paris Agreement climate goals
Two new studies published in the AGU journals Geophysical Research Letters and Earth's Future now show some of the goals set forth in the agreement might be difficult to reach ... The first study, published in AGU's Geophysical Research Letters, found none of the world's major carbon emitters, including the U.S., China and the European Union, have made commitments calculated to align with limiting climate warning to a 2-degree Celsius increase above pre-industrial levels ... a second study, published in Earth's Future [found] even if U.S., China, the European Union and India increased their contributions to limit emissions, the rest of the world would need to drop to virtually zero emissions by 2030 in order for the planet to reach its goal of limiting the increase in temperature from pre-industrial times to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says
James Anderson, a Harvard University professor of atmospheric chemistry best known for establishing that chlorofluorocarbons were damaging the Ozone Layer ... Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth's poles. This has do be done, Anderson added, within the next five years. "The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero," Anderson said, with 75 to 80 percent of permanent ice having melted already in the last 35 years. "Can we lose 75-80 percent of permanent ice and recover? The answer is no."
The UK has already [23 April] had more wildfires in 2019 than any year on record
The hot spell in February and the recent Easter heatwave have contributed to a total of 96 major wildfires of 25 hectares or larger, eclipsing the previous high of 79 across the whole of 2018.
Europe wildfires: Norway police evacuate hundreds in Sokndal
Police say the fires are still out of control and warn that heavy winds could help them to spread. April is very early for forest fires in Norway, and experts have warned of a dramatic increase across the continent. This month alone, wildfires have broken out in Sweden, Germany and the UK. Fires in Europe "are way above the average" for this time of year. "The season is drastically worse than those of the last decade."
Alabama Has Already Seen More Tornadoes This Year Than Its Annual Average
According to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, there have been 53 tornadoes in Alabama this year through April 22. This is more than the 47 tornadoes that the state experiences on average and the 46 tornadoes that tore through Alabama in 2018.
Major wildfire in Moray 'will take days' to put out
Scottish Fire and Rescue Area manager Bruce Farquharson said "This is one of the largest fires we have had in the last couple of years - the area and the intensity of the fire ... extremely dry after the winter and the sun we have enjoyed over the Easter weekend has created the perfect environment for fires to take hold and spread very quickly" ... The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been on wildfire alert for number of days because of what they described as "tinder dry" conditions.
$5-tn fuel exploration plans 'incompatible' with climate goals
Plans by oil and gas majors to spend $4.9 trillion on fuel exploration are "poles apart" from the goal of the Paris climate deal ... IPCC issued a landmark report saying that a 1.5 Celsius target laid out in the Paris accord could only be hit with near-immediate and drastic cuts in production and consumption of oil, gas and coal. Yet oil and gas giants plan to invest trillions of dollars in exploring and developing new fields in the coming decades.
One million species risk extinction due to humans: draft UN report
Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence, according to a draft UN report ... humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends ... A quarter of catalogued animal and plant species are already being crowded, eaten or poisoned out of existence. The drop in sheer numbers is even more dramatic, with wild mammal biomass -- their collective weight -- down by 82 percent. Humans and livestock account for more than 95 percent of mammal biomass.
A permafrost meltdown in Alaska is happening now and rapid changes are coming with it
“Alaska’s permafrost is no longer permanent. It is starting to thaw.” ... permafrost meltdown comes at a time when, for the first time in history, the Bering Sea has no ice from Dillingham in Bristol Bay to the Chukchi Sea ... From viewing the map of Alaska with red areas indicating loss of land due to a permafrost meltdown, almost half of the state could be marshy wetlands or under water.
The media are complacent while the world burns
[A]t a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test ... This journalistic failure has given rise to a calamitous public ignorance, which in turn has enabled politicians and corporations to avoid action.
Greenland Is Falling Apart
The research, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, covers nearly 20 years previously not included in our detailed understanding of the troubled Greenland Ice Sheet. It finds that climate change has already bled trillions of tons of ice from the island reservoir, with more loss than expected coming from its unstable northern half ... one of the profound geological shifts of our time ... Greenland lost about half of that ice—roughly 2,200 gigatons—in the years between 2010 and 2018. The ice sheet has also failed to gain mass in any year since 1998 ... demise seems to be accelerating.
Satellite data confirms globe is warming rapidly
NASA's global temperature data set, which has found that the past 5 years have been the warmest on record, has received new and independent validation of its readings, per a new study ... “These findings should help put to rest any lingering concerns that modern warming is somehow due to the location of sensors in urban heat islands or other measurement errors at the surface,” Zeke Hausfather, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the new study, told the Washington Post.
New climate models predict a warming surge
[A] host of global climate models developed for the United Nations’s next major assessment of global warming ... running hotter than they have in the past ... in at least eight of the next-generation models, produced by leading centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France, that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” has come in at 5°C or warmer. Modelers are struggling to identify which of their refinements explain this heightened sensitivity before the next assessment from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the trend “is definitely real. There’s no question,” says Reto Knutti, a climate scientist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides
Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France ... The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.
Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point
Deforestation of the Amazon is about to reach a threshold beyond which the region's tropical rainforest may undergo irreversible changes that transform the landscape into degraded savanna with sparse, shrubby plant cover and low biodiversity.
U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Weren’t Built for Climate Change
In 2011 ... NRC directed the operators of the 60 or so working U.S. nuclear power plants to evaluate their current flood risk ... Ninety percent of plants had at least one risk exceeding their design ... the commission’s new leadership, appointed by President Donald Trump, hasn’t done enough to require owners of nuclear power plants to take preventative measures ... the risks are increasing as climate change worsens.
Planting trees cannot replace cutting carbon dioxide emissions, study shows
Growing plants and then storing the carbon dioxide they have taken up from the atmosphere is not a viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows. Plantations would need to be so large they would eliminate most natural ecosystems or reduce food production if implemented as a late-regret option in the case of substantial failure to reduce emissions, finds the new study in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
'Decades of denial': major report finds New Zealand's environment is in serious trouble
Environment Aotearoa is the first major environmental report in four years ... a sobering summary of a country that is starkly different from the pristine landscape promoted in the “Pure New Zealand” marketing campaign ... New Zealand is now considered one of the most invaded countries in the world, with 75 animal and plant species having gone extinct since human settlement. The once-vibrant bird life has fared particularly badly, with 90% of seabirds and 80% of shorebirds threatened with or at risk of extinction. Almost two-thirds of New Zealand’s rare ecosystems are under threat of collapse.
Melting Permafrost Releasing High Levels of Nitrous Oxide, A Potent Greenhouse Gas
Thawing permafrost in the Arctic may be releasing 12 times as much nitrous oxide as previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, can remain in the atmosphere for up to 114 years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ... The findings back up similar results from other recent studies.
Climate change targets are slipping out of reach
For all the commentary around a transition to a clean energy system, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is still continuing to rise rapidly and shows no sign of slowing down ... Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have estimated the limits imply an atmospheric CO2 concentration of no more than 450 parts per million (for 2 degrees) or 430 ppm (for 1.5 degrees). On current trends, these limits will be reached sometime between the late 2020s and the late 2030s [but] it is becoming increasingly hard to envisage a scenario in which atmospheric CO2 can be held below 430-450 ppm in the next two decades.
Mark Carney tells global banks they cannot ignore climate change dangers
The global financial system faces an existential threat from climate change and must take urgent steps to reform, the governors of the Bank of England and France’s central bank have warned ...financial regulators, banks and insurers around the world had to “raise the bar” to avoid catastrophe ... a “massive reallocation of capital” was necessary to prevent global warming above the 2°C maximum target set by the Paris climate agreement, with the banking system required to play a pivotal role.
Why Carbon Pricing Isn’t Working
If governments proved willing to impose carbon prices that were sufficiently high and affected a broad enough swath of the economy, those prices could make a real environmental difference. But political concerns have kept governments from doing so, resulting in carbon prices that are too low and too narrowly applied to meaningfully curb emissions ... even in those sectors in which carbon pricing might have a significant effect, policymakers have lacked the spine to impose a high enough price.
CO2 levels at highest for 3 million years -- when seas were 20 meters higher
The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, Greenland was mostly green, sea levels were up to 20 meters higher and trees grew on Antarctica, according to scientists who warned this week that there is more CO2 in our atmosphere today than in the past three million years ... Scientists at a Royal Meteorological Society meeting on the climate of the Pliocene in London on Wednesday discussed how sedimentary records and plant fossils from near Antarctica show that during the Pliocene epoch Arctic summer temperatures were 14°C higher than today.
UK temperature hits 70-year high for Easter bank holiday
The temperature is expected to rise even further on Monday to 27C, making the sunniest spots in the UK warmer than most of Europe, Algeria and Morocco.
Climate change hits supply chains: Allianz
A worldwide increase in natural catastrophes is already hitting global supply chains and causing a spike in business interruption insurance claims, a senior executive with Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty has warned. AGCS chief regions and markets officer Sinead Browne said this trend, which she directly linked to climate change, was pushing premiums up around the world ... "The insurance industry needs to protect its balance sheet, and if the insurance industry is to sustain its ability to cover natural catastrophe disasters, it has to increase premiums in order to ensure that the premium pool is there to pay for these claims when they do arrive," she said.
The Bering Sea Should Be Frozen Right Now. It Isn't.
Humans are living through a dramatic transformation of the planet's surface due to climate change ... now imaging has revealed perhaps a new chapter in that decline: The Bering Sea, which under normal circumstances should remain frozen-over until May, is almost entirely free of sea ice in early April. Part of what makes this event so stunning, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pointed out in a statement, is that the Arctic sea ice should be reaching its annual maximum right now.
“Hair Dryer” Winds Could Strain Vulnerable Antarctic Ice Shelf
Warm, dry winds sweeping across Antarctica can temporarily cause extraordinary melting events ... some researchers say continued climate change could alter some of the atmospheric circulation patterns driving the winds ... A new study this week in Geophysical Research Letters is the latest to highlight the issue. Led by Tri Datta of the University of Maryland's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, the researchers found that foehn events at Larsen C cause a substantial increase in surface melting, even after the regular summer melt season has ended.
New Satellite Photos Show Climate Change Is Sweeping Europe
Climate change is picking up pace in Europe ... Last year was the third hottest on record and underlines “the clear warming trend” experienced in the last four decades, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which operates a network of satellites for the European Union that collects weather, soil, air and water data ... images were made available to coincide with a gathering of 15,000 scientists in Vienna at an annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, which assesses the issue each year.
Extreme weather cost Europe nearly half a trillion euros so far
Floods, droughts, heatwaves and other climate-related extremes caused economic losses of €453 billion between 1980 and 2017 .... According to German reinsurance group Munich Re, 2017 was globally the second-costliest year on record for natural disasters, after 2011, with losses from weather-related disasters breaking previous records.
After a $14-Billion Upgrade, New Orleans' Levees Are Sinking
11 months after the Army Corps of Engineers completed one of the largest public works projects in world history, the agency says the system will stop providing adequate protection in as little as four years ... The agency’s projection that the system will “no longer provide [required] risk reduction as early as 2023” illustrates the rapidly changing conditions being experienced both globally as sea levels rise faster than expected and locally as erosion wipes out protective barrier islands and marshlands in southeastern Louisiana.
Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists
In February, southwest winds brought warm air and turned thin sea ice into “snow cone ice” that melted or blew off. When a storm pounded Norton Sound, water on Feb. 12 surged up the Yukon River and into Kotlik, flooding low-lying homes. Lifelong resident Philomena Keyes, 37, awoke to knee-deep water outside her house. “This is the first I experienced in my life, a flood that happened in the winter, in February,” Keyes said in a phone interview ... The Bering Sea last winter saw record-low sea ice. Climate models predicted less ice, but not this soon, said Seth Danielson, a physical oceanographer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “The projections were saying we would’ve hit situations similar to what we saw last year, but not for another 40 or 50 years,” Danielson said.
Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning
The Atlantic overturning—one of Earth's most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northward and cold water southward—is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years ... Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations ... The results are supported and put into a longer-term perspective by a second study ... published in the same issue of Nature [which] provides independent confirmation for earlier conclusions that the recent weakness of the circulation is unprecedented at least for more than a millennium.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0006-5
Global Floods Cause $8B in Economic Losses During March: Aon Catastrophe Report
Damage from flooding in March 2019 is estimated at US$8 billion from events across the globe, according to Aon’s 'Global Catastrophe Recap – March 2019.' “The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets,” commented Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting. “The multi-billion-dollar impacts from flooding in the United States, Iran, and Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa were each enhanced by infrastructure unable to handle the large scale of water inundation,” he said.
Research reveals evidence of climate change in the Yukon permafrost
In a study published in the April issue of Nature Communications, paleoclimatologist and lead author Trevor Porter studies climate indicators such as water isotopes, tree rings and plant waxes for signs of climate patterns in the Holocene ... to reconstruct summer temperatures over the last 13,600 years ... concludes that industrial-era warming has led to current summer temperatures that are unprecedented in the Holocene context, and exceeds all previous maximum temperatures by nearly 2 degrees Celsius.
So many animals are going extinct that it could take Earth 10 million years to recover
Human-driven changes to the planet are hitting global species on multiple fronts, as hotter oceans, deforestation, and climate change drive floral and faunal populations to extinction in unprecedented numbers. As much as half of the total number of animal individuals that once shared the Earth with humans are already gone, a clear sign that we’re on the brink, if not in the midst of, a sixth mass extinction. A new study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution reveals that it took the planet around 10 million years to recover from the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists have long argued that the 10-million-year time frame for global biodiversity to properly rebound is a feature of all five of Earth’s mass extinctions, but for the first time, there’s now fossil evidence of that delay.
This Is How Human Extinction Could Play Out
Food-system collapse, sea-level rise, disease. In his new book “Falter,” Bill McKibben asks, “Is it Too Late?”
In the human game, the single most important question is probably “What’s for dinner?” And when the answer is “Not much,” things deteriorate fast ... even if you can grow plenty of food, the transportation system that distributes it runs through just fourteen major choke-points, and those are vulnerable to — you guessed it — massive disruption from climate change ... As Jeff Goodell (who in 2017 wrote the most comprehensive book to date on sea level rise) put it, such a rise would “create generations of climate refugees that will make today’s Syrian war refugee crisis look like a high school drama production.” ... the median estimate, from the International Organization for Migration, is that we may see two hundred million climate refugees by 2050 ... “Security will start to crumble pretty quickly,” said Adm. Samuel Locklear, former chief of U.S. Pacific Command, explaining why climate change was his single greatest worry.
Global Warming Is Shrinking Glaciers Much Faster Than Scientists Thought, Study Finds
The most comprehensive measurement of glaciers worldwide found that thousands of inland masses of snow compressed into ice are shrinking 18 percent faster than an international panel of scientists calculated in 2013. The world’s glaciers are shrinking five times faster now than they were in the 1960s. Their melt is accelerating due to global warming, and adding more water to already rising seas, the study found. “Over 30 years suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time,” said lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1071-0
Key indicators of Arctic climate change: 1971–2017
Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system ... we find a correspondence between air temperature and biophysical indicators such as tundra biomass and identify numerous biophysical disruptions with cascading effects throughout the trophic levels ... Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.
Global Warming Is Pushing Arctic Toward ‘Unprecedented State,’ Research Shows
Arctic forests are turning into bogs as permafrost melts beneath their roots. The icy surface that reflects the sun's radiation back into space is darkening and sea ice cover is declining. Warmth and moisture trapped by greenhouse gases are pumping up the water cycle, swelling rivers that carry more sediment and nutrients to the sea, which can change ocean chemistry and affect the coastal marine food chain. And those are just a few ... the changes documented in the study suggest the effects on the region are more profound than previously understood.
Record warm temperatures bring an early wildland fire season to Southcentral [Alaska]
The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, issued by the National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services for the month of April, shows "above normal" wildland fire potential extending from the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula all the way north to Fairbanks. Division of Forestry Assistant Fire Management Officer for the Mat-Su Phil Blydenburgh said early snowmelt, warming trends, and frequent high winds have already caused ten fires in Southcentral in 2019. “This season, we are seeing the snowmelt two to three weeks earlier than typical,” Blydenburgh said. “Typically, the trend has been we’re starting to have earlier fire seasons, especially in Southcentral Alaska.”
Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers
[A] new paper published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology examines a selection of contrarian climate science research and attempts to replicate their results. The idea is that accurate scientific research should be replicable, and through replication we can also identify any methodological flaws in that research ... There is a 97% expert consensus on a cohesive theory that’s overwhelmingly supported by the scientific evidence, but the 2–3% of papers that reject that consensus are all over the map, even contradicting each other. The one thing they seem to have in common is methodological flaws like cherry picking, curve fitting, ignoring inconvenient data, and disregarding known physics ... these types of flaws were the norm, not the exception, among the contrarian papers that we examined.
'Dead corals don't make babies': Great Barrier Reef losing its ability to recover from bleaching
The new study, released Wednesday in the journal Nature, examined the number of adult corals which survived ... The answer was as bleak as it was stark: "Dead corals don't make babies," the study's lead author, Terry Hughes, said ... "The number of new corals settling on the Great Barrier Reef declined by 89% following the unprecedented loss of adult corals from global warming in 2016 and 2017," said Hughes ... Between a quarter and a third of all marine species across the ocean have some part of their life cycle in coral reefs, John Veron, a renowned reef expert widely known as the "Godfather of Coral" told CNN in 2018. "Now that is ecological chaos, it is ecological collapse ... It's more than an alarm bell. It's an air raid siren."
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1081-y
Effects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate
We used a global model to estimate the climate and public health outcomes attributable to fossil fuel use ... an excess mortality rate up to 5.55 (4.52–6.52) million per year ... removing the anthropogenic emissions in the model increases rainfall by 10–70% over densely populated regions in India and 10–30% over northern China, and by 10–40% over Central America, West Africa, and the drought-prone Sahel ... aerosols mask the anthropogenic rise in global temperature, removing fossil-fuel-generated particles liberates 0.51(±0.03) °C and all pollution particles 0.73(±0.03) °C warming, reaching around 2 °C over North America and Northeast Asia ... rapid phaseout of fossil-fuel-related emissions and major reductions of other anthropogenic sources are needed to save millions of lives, restore aerosol-perturbed rainfall patterns, and limit global warming to 2 °C.
Humans Have Caused the Most Dramatic Climate Change in 3 Million Years
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is likely higher than it has been anytime in the past 3 million years. This rise in the level of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, could bring temperatures not seen over that entire timespan, according to new research.
World Economic Forum: Why the diversity of insects is crucial for maintaining crop yields
The new study underlines the already alarming downward trend in insect numbers seen in several other studies conducted in the UK, Germany and Central America ... Massive losses of insects are so serious because insects are essential components in almost every ecosystem ... If insects are in trouble, then so is everything else in that ecosystem.
BC prepares for intense season as big wildfires flare up
Crews and officials across B.C. are in preparation mode ahead of the summer, following the two most destructive wildfire seasons recorded in B.C.'s history ... This year has already seen one of the driest Marches on record for many areas of the province ... fire ecologist Robert Gray says it's not enough for individuals to take precautions. Entire forests have to be thinned out and carbon emissions significantly curbed to try to reverse the wildfires ... "Five years ago, we're looking at the climate models, we were thinking we had time," Gray said.
An open letter to David Wallace-Wells
[W]e have been impressed by your new book The Uninhabitable Earth ... your straight look at oncoming disaster offers a vital stimulus to realistic understanding and action. [However we] are unconvinced by your claim that because we engineered this mess, so we must be able to engineer an escape from it ... intentionally engineering global change would require us, as you also sardonically note, to rebuild the world’s infrastructure entirely in less time than it took New York City to build three new stops on a subway line ... It is not that acknowledging the hard truths which you present so starkly might still enable us to avoid climate disaster. For that it is, as in practice you so clearly demonstrate, now too late. Rather, it is the hope that through accepting the inevitability of such disaster for our present civilisation ... the more chance we have to avoid ours becoming a true horror story.
The trouble with geoengineers “hacking the planet”
Albedo modification is sometimes thought of as something you can do to hold warming in check while “buying time” to decarbonize the economy, but this is a fundamental misconception. Each additional kilogram of carbon dioxide emitted commits the Earth to a certain amount of warming that essentially never goes away ... so the need for continued geoengineering to counteract that additional warming never goes away ... Moreover, because carbon dioxide accumulates inexorably in the atmosphere so long as emissions continue, one cannot even achieve the more modest goal of slowing the rate of warming without inexorably increasing the amount of albedo modification deployed each year.
Extremes of summer climate trigger thousands of thermokarst landslides in a High Arctic environment
Retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS) – landslides caused by the melt of ground ice in permafrost – have become more common in the Arctic ... Here we annually resolve RTS formation and longevity for Banks Island, Canada ... 60-fold increase in numbers between 1984 and 2015 as more than 4000 RTS were initiated, primarily following four particularly warm summers ... additional evidence that ice-rich continuous permafrost terrain can be highly vulnerable to changing summer climate.
Canada warming at twice the global rate, leaked report finds
Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Northern Canada heating up at almost three times the global average, according to a new government report ... since 1948, Canada's annual average temperature over land has warmed 1.7 C, with higher rates seen in the North, the Prairies and northern British Columbia. In Northern Canada, the annual average temperature has increased by 2.3 C.
Delhi heat becomes unbearable with mercury touching 40 degrees, heatwave to begin soon
Safdarjung Observatory recorded the highest maximum of the season at 39.2℃, while observatory at Palam recorded the highest day temperature at 39.5℃ on March 30. The temperatures were significantly above normal by 7℃.
Germany records hottest year in a century
"It was the warmest year in the 138-year temperature records of the national weather service," the service said.
Australia sees record temperatures for fourth month in a row
Australia continued a string of "hottest ever" months in March, the government said Monday ... national mean temperature was 2.13 degrees centigrade (3.83 degrees Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the month of March. It was the fourth month in a row of record heat in the country, and January was Australia's hottest month ever, with mean temperatures across the continent exceeding 30 degrees Celsius for the first time.
Climate Change: Heatwave destroying marine life; major threat to humanity
Due to increase in heatwave, forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs are on the verge of extinction ... unless we take an important action, our oceans will see lesser fish, least number of whales and high dramatic disorder in ecology, with an alarming concern for humans who majorly depend on the ocean.
Alarming Study Concludes Frogs Are Undergoing a ‘Catastrophic’ Global Die Off
The paper, published in Science, chronicles a “catastrophic and ongoing loss” of amphibians around the world. In the paper’s self-described “conservative” estimate, 501 frog and other amphibian species have been ravaged by chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by a fungus that has traveled the world on the back of globalization and wildlife trade. Nearly 20 percent of those species are presumed extinct in the wild, and more species could be wiped out as humans speed along the sixth mass extinction.
Alaska temperatures expected to soar 40 degrees above normal this weekend
"Startling" is a word you don't often hear from an Alaskan meteorologist with over three decades of experience ... The climate expert at NOAA's Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy used the word when stating that the month of March — for Alaska as a whole — will be the 29th month since January 2013 to be ranked in the warmest ten percent since 1925 ... villages along the northern coast of Alaska, right on the Arctic Ocean, are expected to spike to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal ... The warmth is all part of a rapid, long-term trend in Alaska ... According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment Alaska "is among the fastest warming regions on Earth." It is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the lower 48 states and faces a myriad of issues associated with a changing climate.
see also https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Western-Arctic-Warm-Wave-Smashing-Early-Spring-Records
Polar Warning: Even Antarctica’s Coldest Region Is Starting to Melt
No place on Earth is colder than East Antarctica ... the vast ice sheets of East Antarctica are nearly three miles thick in places. The temperature commonly hovers around -67 degrees Fahrenheit (-55 degrees Celsius); in 2010, some spots on East Antarctica’s polar plateau plunged to a record-breaking -144 degrees F. Now, however, parts of the East Antarctic are melting ... For decades, researchers considered this portion of the continent to be stable ... that picture is starting to change. Scientists are seeing worrying signs of ice loss in the East Antarctic. Glaciers are starting to move more quickly, dumping their ice into the Southern Ocean.
Air Carbon Capture’s Scale Problem
To get a ton of CO2, we’d need to filter it out of about 1.3 million cubic meters of air ... There are about 3,200 billion tons of excess CO2 in the air ... If we wanted to get just 10% of that out, we’d need to filter the air from 352 billion Houston Astrodomes or 2.5 billion Grand Canyons ... About 40 billion tons of CO2 a year are added to the atmosphere. If we wanted to just deal with 10% of our annual increase in CO2, we’d need to filter the air out of 44 billion Houston Astrodomes or 32 million Grand Canyons ... All of those billions of tons of CO2 are absurdly beyond all of our possible uses of CO2 or the carbon in it for a million years. The global infrastructure to deal with it would be orders of magnitude larger than the entire global oil and gas infrastructure that’s been built over the past 100 years. If we turned it into solids, we’d be burying mountain ranges of carbon, or creating new mountain ranges. Not that we have anywhere on Earth where people wouldn’t likely object to having everywhere they live covered in new mountains.
Shrinking Arctic sea ice linked to less rain further south
Research has uncovered powerful evidence linking shrinking sea ice in the Arctic to snow and rain in central North America. A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature suggests that a long dry period about 8,000 years ago through the centre of the continent was influenced by disappearing sea ice — the same mechanism that many climatologists believe is behind today's increasingly extreme weather ... The only model that explained the mid-latitude drought was one that factored in the shrinking temperature difference between the Arctic and equator.
Insect decline will cause serious ecological harm
Insects massively outrank all other animals in diversity, numbers and biomass. Since insects underpin most non-marine food networks, serious declines would threaten the stability of wild nature, leading to reductions in numbers of insectivorous animals and those that eat them. The loss of pollinators would also adversely affect agriculture, since many crops depend on insects to set seed.
Scientists warn climate change is leading to deaths on massive scale in India
The MIT study uses computer simulations to model the effect of heatwaves in northern India, which already faces severe summers ... study focuses on a concept known as “wet-bulb temperature”, which represents a combination of humidity and heat. Human beings are unable to cool themselves through perspiration once wet-bulb temperatures reach 35°C. Exposure to such temperatures “for even a few hours will result in death even for the fittest of humans under shaded, well-ventilated conditions”, the MIT paper reported.
U.S. military knew the flood risks at Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base, but didn't act in time
For several years, the United States military and federal and local officials knew that Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska lay exposed to the threat of catastrophic flooding. But a key federal agency moved too slowly to approve plans to protect the base ... flooding submerged part of the airstrip and inundated dozens of buildings at one of the nation’s most important air bases. The calamity likely will cost many times more to repair than it would have cost to prevent ... damage has crippled the capabilities at an Air Force base that is home to the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the Pentagon's nuclear deterrence and global strike capabilities.
Alaska is baking in an exceptionally toasty March as steep, long-term warming presses on
Parts of the state are on pace to finish March more than 20 degrees above average ... interior parts of Alaska stayed above freezing for multiple nights in a row for the first time so early in the year on record. Readings this weekend are projected to end up 30 degrees to even 50 degrees above normal across northern parts of the state ... the latest round in a longer-term episode of acute and persistent warmth across the state and the Arctic region [is] right on the heels of a heat wave that set a number of all-time March warmth records in the region just over a week ago [and] has resulted in multiple episodes of open water over areas that very rarely see it in winter ... These signals are all consistent with expectations in a warming world.
Fed official: Climate change is an ‘international market failure’
A Federal Reserve researcher warned in a report on Monday that “climate-based risk could threaten the stability of the financial system as a whole” ... Glenn Rudebusch, the San Francisco Fed’s executive vice president for research, ranks climate change as one of the three “key forces transforming the economy” ... Climate change could soon hit the banking system “by storms, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme events” making it harder for businesses to repay loans. Rudebusch warns that crops and inundated cities have already started to hurt the economy.
Drought wipes popular Chilean lake from the map
So sudden was it that as recently as 2011 the 4.6 square-mile (12 square-kilometer) lagoon was a thriving weekend getaway for people from the Chilean capital an hour away ... Locals and experts point to a drastic decrease in rainfall ... “My grandparents remember when torrential rains fell for a minimum of a week, and today, if it’s raining for two days, we’re lucky” ... Average annual rainfall in central Chile during the 1980s was nearly 14 inches (350 millimeters). By 2018, that had fallen by half. Scientists predict it will continue to fall because of global warming.
2018 spike in energy demand spells climate trouble: IEA
A 2.3% jump in global energy demand last year outstripped the expansion of renewables and helped drive record-high greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Energy Agency ... Energy-related global CO2 emissions rose 1.7% to a record 33 billion tonnes last year compared to 2017, which likewise saw unprecedented levels of carbon pollution.
Widespread losses of pollinating insects revealed across Britain
[I]nsects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980. A third of the species now occupy smaller ranges, with just one in 10 expanding their extent ... The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, is based on more than 700,000 sightings made by volunteers across Britain from 1980 to 2013.
Journey to Antarctica: Is This What a Climate Catastrophe Looks Like in Real Time?
It’s not just that Thwaites is big, although it is (imagine a glacier the size of Florida). But because of how the glacier terminates in deep water, as well as the reverse slope of the ground beneath it, Thwaites is vulnerable to particularly rapid collapse. Even more troubling, Thwaites is like the cork in the wine bottle for the rest of the West Antarctica ice sheet. If Thwaites were to fall apart, scientists fear the entire ice sheet could begin to collapse ... the Thwaites blowout is not the same thing as what scientists typically call a “calving event” ... What we witnessed was the sudden disintegration of an ice shelf, which is a very different thing.
Methane in the atmosphere is surging, and that’s got scientists worried
Scientists haven’t figured out the cause, but they say one thing is clear: This surge could imperil the Paris climate accord. That’s because many scenarios for meeting its goal of keeping global warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius” assumed that methane would be falling by now, buying time to tackle the long-term challenge of reducing carbon dioxide emissions ... “It is something that is very, very worrying,” said Euan Nisbet, an Earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, and lead author of a recent study reporting that the growth of atmospheric methane is accelerating.
UK will miss almost all its 2020 nature targets, says official report
The nation is failing to protect threatened species; end the degradation of land; reduce agricultural pollution; and increase funding for green schemes, the assessment concludes. It also says the UK is not ending unsustainable fishing; stopping the arrival of invasive alien species; nor raising public awareness of the importance of biodiversity. The targets were set in 2010 by the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the report from the joint nature conservation committee (JNCC) found insufficient progress was being made on 14 of the 19 targets.
Stanford researchers explore the effects of climate change on disease
Stanford biologist Erin Mordecai and her colleagues have made startling forecasts of how climate change will alter where mosquito species are most comfortable and how quickly they spread disease, shifting the burden of disease around the world ... The good news: higher global temperatures will decrease the chance of most vector-borne disease spreading in places that are currently relatively warm. The bad news: warming will increase the chance that all diseases spread in places that are currently relatively cold.
Hundreds of Methane Vents Discovered Off Washington's Coast
The study, from the University of Washington and Oregon State University, was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. The first large-scale analysis of these gas emissions along Washington's coast finds more than 1,700 bubble plumes, primarily clustered in a north-south band about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the coast. "If you were able to walk on the seafloor from Vancouver Island to the Columbia River, you would never be out of sight of a bubble plume," Johnson said.
Humanity 'Sleepwalking Towards the Edge of a Cliff': 60% of Earth's Wildlife Wiped Out Since 1970
60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been wiped out by human activity since 1970. The World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Index details how human's uncontrolled overconsumption of land, food and natural resources has eliminated a majority of the wildlife on the planet—threatening human civilization as well as the world's animals. "We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff ... If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done."
The U.S. is about to lose a trillion dollars in coastal property values
They will crash when a large fraction of the financial community — mortgage bankers and opinion-makers, along with a smaller but substantial fraction of the public — realize that it is too late for us to stop catastrophic sea level rise. Sean Becketti, the chief economist for mortgage giant Freddie Mac, warned nearly a year ago this scenario is coming faster than expected. The country is facing a trillion-dollar bubble in coastal property values ... When sellers outnumber buyers, and banks become reluctant to write 30-year mortgages for doomed property, and insurance rates soar, then the coastal property bubble will slow, peak, and crash. As the New York Times article points out, it has already slowed or peaked in some places ... South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard has warned that “coastal mortgages are growing into as big a bubble as the housing market of 2007.” He points out that when this bubble crashes it will never recover, but prices will continue to drop as sea levels and storm surges get higher and higher.
Climate change could make insurance too expensive for most people – report
“If the risk from wildfires, flooding, storms or hail is increasing then the only sustainable option we have is to adjust our risk prices accordingly." ... Nicolas Jeanmart, the head of personal insurance, general insurance and macroeconomics at Insurance Europe, which speaks for 34 national insurance associations, said the knock-on effects from rising premiums could pose a threat to social order ... Munich Re’s insurance cover in hurricane-prone regions such as Florida is already higher than in northern Europe, by an order of magnitude.
Insurance Rates Seen Rising in Flood-Prone Areas With Trump Plan
Flood insurance premiums could rise and property values fall in the most deluge-prone areas under a plan the Trump administration intends to roll out in coming weeks to change the way risk is calculated under the National Flood Insurance Program. Instead of simply focusing on whether a home is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain, the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to use private-sector data to calculate the real flood threat for each home and set costs based on that data, according to people familiar with the effort and a briefing document obtained by Bloomberg.
NOAA Spring Outlook: Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May
Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May ... Portions of the United States have already experienced record flooding this year ... Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding ... As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread ... upper Mississippi and Red River of the North basins have received rain and snow this spring up to 200 percent above normal ... “a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding.”
70s [F] in Alaska, Northern Canada, Washington State Smash All-Time March Warm Records Before Winter Ends
Tuesday's high in Klawock, Alaska, about 200 miles south-southeast of Juneau, topped out at 70 degrees [F]. While that wasn't a March record there, it was the earliest in the year any Alaska location had reached 70 degrees ... warmth extended into western and northern Canada in places you'd usually expect to be ice- or snow-covered in late March ... Seattle soared to 79 degrees Tuesday and again Wednesday, not only an all-time March high in records since 1894, but also for any day in the five-month stretch from November through March ... highs also soared into the mid-upper 70s in Oregon's Willamette Valley, including Eugene, which had its third warmest March day on record.
Lack of ice and climate change creating fear in Alaska
A floating buoy dubbed ‘Peggy’ has been recording and documenting ice changes in the Arctic and Bering Seas for several years ... Peggy’s research data is alarming, scientists say. In 2018, data from Peggy said Arctic water was warming at a rate that could spell trouble for sea life that exist from the sea floor to fish, crab, and humans on top. In their website publication, Weather and Climate, researchers said: “There were early signs that conditions in the winter of 2017 to 2018 were going to be different. By November 2017, the sea ice was already late.” ... Also troubling to villagers is the dismantling of the State’s Climate Change Commission by the new Republican governor Mike Dunleavy.
Insurers Worry a Financial Crisis May Come From Climate Risks
Insurers are increasingly worried that rising temperatures will lead to a slump in property values that could spark broader financial turmoil. Those were the conclusions of a group run out of the University of Cambridge including some of the world’s biggest insurers ... increasing catastrophes linked to climate change could triple losses on property investments over the next 30 years. The warning adds to concerns raised by Munich Re AG last month, which said a string of floods, fires and violent storms had doubled the normal amount of insurable losses.
[Colorado] Alpine tundra releases long-frozen CO2
The new findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, show that alpine tundra in Colorado’s Front Range emits more CO2 than it captures annually, potentially creating a feedback loop that could increase climate warming and lead to even more CO2 emissions in the future ... A similar phenomenon exists in the Arctic, where research in recent decades has shown that melting permafrost is unearthing long-frozen tundra soil and releasing CO2 reserves that had been buried for centuries.
Britain (Yes, Rainy Britain) Could Run Short of Water by 2050, Official Says
Britain might run out of water, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, a public body responsible for conservation in England, said on Tuesday. “On the present projections, many parts of our country will face significant water deficits by 2050, particularly in the southeast, where much of the U.K. population lives,” the agency chief, James Bevan, said at a conference on water use. In about 20 to 25 years, demand could close in on supply in what Mr. Bevan called “the jaws of death — the point at which, unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs.” The reasons, he said, were climate change and population growth.
Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change
A new study has revealed that the language used by the global climate change watchdog, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is overly conservative – and therefore the threats are much greater than the Panel's reports suggest ... "The accumulation of uncertainty across all elements of the climate-change complexity means that the IPCC tends to be conservative," says co-author Professor Corey Bradshaw, Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology at Flinders University. "The certainty is in reality much higher than even the IPCC implies, and the threats are much worse."
Our five biggest delusions about climate change
We tend to think of global warming as a legacy of the Industrial Revolution [but] more than half of the carbon exhaled into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels has come in the last 30 years ... For decades, scientists have defined two degrees as the threshold of climate catastrophe, a worst-case scenario. In fact, it is a best-case scenario that, at this point, will be almost impossible to achieve ... the indirect effects may be even more profound: on our psychology, our culture, our sense of place in nature and history, our relationship to technology and to capitalism. Not to mention our geopolitics. The arrival of roughly 2 million Syrians in Europe unleashed a global wave of populism; some experts believe warming will produce a hundred times as many refugees. What will a migration crisis of that scale do to global affairs?
Iconic Forests Reaching Climate Tipping Points in American West, Study Finds
As temperatures rise, the hotter, drier air and drier soil conditions are increasingly unsuitable for young Douglas firs and ponderosa pines to take root and thrive in some of the region's low-elevation forests, scientists write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wildfires in these areas could lead to abrupt ecosystem changes, from forest to non-forest, that would otherwise take decades to centuries, the study says.
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/03/05/1815107116
Proposal for U.N. to study climate-cooling technologies rejected
A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi ... “Geoengineering” technologies, which are gaining prominence as international efforts to curb climate-changing emissions fall short, aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun’s warmth to cool the Earth ... But opponents argue the emerging technologies pose huge potential risks to people and nature, and could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not least because many are backed by fossil-fuel interests. Rapidly slashing emissions - mainly by switching to greener power and preserving forests - remains the cheapest and safest way to fend off worsening droughts, floods, storms and other impacts of global warming, scientists say.
‘Devastating’ Arctic warming of 9-16°F now ‘locked in,’ UN researchers warn
Rapid and “devastating” Arctic warming is now almost unstoppable, United Nations researchers warn in a major new report. Unless humanity makes very rapid and deep pollution cuts, Arctic winter temperatures will rise 5.4° to 9.0°F (3° to 5°C) by 2050 — and will reach an astounding 9° to 16°F (5° to 8.8°C) by 2080 — according to a report by the U.N. Environment Program released Wednesday. Even worse, the report warns that warming will in turn awaken a “sleeping giant” in the form of vast quantities of permafrost carbon. This carbon has been frozen in the permafrost for up to thousands of years, but as the atmosphere warms, the permafrost will thaw ... permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today ... thawing releases not only carbon dioxide but also methane — a far more potent greenhouse gas — thereby further warming the planet. And as the planet continues to warm, more permafrost will melt, releasing even more greenhouse gases in a continuous feedback loop.
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/13/arctic-temperature-rises-must-be-urgently-tackled-warns-un
reporting on a study at https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/27687/Arctic_Graphics.pdf
Climate study warns of vanishing safety window—here’s why
Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 of warming ... the new paper published March 11 in the journal Nature Climate Change employed three practical constraints: spending to cut carbon emissions would be no more than three percent of global GDP per year; no use of geoengineering or technologies to remove carbon; and the climate’s response to doubling carbon in the atmosphere would be at the median level or higher. The latter is called climate sensitivity—how much warming happens when carbon is added to the atmosphere.
Environment damage behind 1 in 4 global deaths, disease
A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations said Wednesday in a landmark report ... As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
Climate Agreement Will Likely Not Achieve NL's Climate Goals; Industry Contributing Too Little
The agreements made in the climate agreement will likely not achieve the Netherlands' goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 48.7 megatons in 2030 compared to 1990. Industry in particular is not providing enough CO2 reductions, were the main conclusions of the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL and the Netherlands' central planning office CPB's calculations of the agreement
Resource extraction responsible for half world’s carbon emissions
Extractive industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss, according to the most comprehensive environmental tally undertaken of mining and farming ... the study by UN Environment warns the increasing material weight of the world’s economies is putting a more dangerous level of stress on the climate and natural life-support systems than previously thought ... The biggest surprise to the authors was the huge climate impact of pulling materials out of the ground and preparing them for use. All the sectors combined together accounted for 53% of the world’s carbon emissions – even before accounting for any fuel that is burned.
The Melting Arctic Is Covering Itself in a Warm Layer of Clouds
Ariel Morrison, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, presented research that for the first time offered a clear answer as to how the melting Arctic is changing its clouds ... originally published in the journal JGR Atmospheres Dec. 10, 2018 ... Until Morrison's research, scientists weren't sure if the changing cloud situation in the Arctic was speeding or slowing melting overall ... "It's very, very seasonal in the Arctic ... only in the middle of the summer, only in the middle of July, do clouds have this cooling effect, because they're reflecting away more [light] than they're [trapping]." The rest of the year, more clouds means more heat. And during the fall, less ice also seems to mean more clouds. So as the Arctic melts, it's effectively covering itself in a seasonal blanket that makes that melting happen even faster.
[A] greater greenhouse gas (GHG) warming factor than CO2, 34 times that of CO2 over 100 years according to the latest IPCC Assessment Report ... global atmospheric methane readings literally going off the charts ... latest methane readings reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Arctic have been in the red zone and higher ... tons of this potent greenhouse gas locked up in icy crystals worldwide in the Earth’s cryosphere — more than the total remaining fossil fuels ... not just CH4, but also even more CO2 and other greenhouse gases, that get released when these ancient stores of carbon are provoked from their slumber in the cryosphere.
US Intelligence Officials Warn Climate Change Is a Worldwide Threat
Worldwide Threat Assessment prepared by the Director of National Intelligence added to a swelling chorus of scientific and national security voices in pointing out the ways climate change fuels widespread insecurity and erodes America's ability to respond to it ... The United Nations Security Council also held a discussion on Friday devoted to understanding and responding to how climate change acts as a "threat multiplier" in countries where governance is already fragile and resources are sparse.
Climate change creates a new migration crisis for Bangladesh
[C]limate change is accelerating old forces of destruction, creating new patterns of displacement, and fueling an explosion of rapid, chaotic urbanization ... while the country is keenly aware of its vulnerability to climate change, not enough has been done to match the pace and scale of the resultant displacement and urbanization ... Over the last decade, nearly 700,000 Bangladeshis were displaced on average each year by natural disasters, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre ... the number of Bangladeshis displaced by the varied impacts of climate change could reach 13.3 million by 2050, making it the country’s number-one driver of internal migration, according to a March 2018 World Bank report.
Corporate America Is Getting Ready to Monetize Climate Change
As the Trump administration rolls back rules meant to curb global warming, new disclosures show that the country’s largest companies are already bracing for its effects. The documents reveal how widely climate change is expected to cascade through the economy -- disrupting supply chains, disabling operations and driving away customers
Game Changer: Waning Winters
In the Netherlands, an iconic skating race — and a way of life — faces extinction from climate change
The Elfstedentocht translates to “eleven cities tour.” It’s an ice skating race that measures about 135 miles and takes place on the canals that connect the 11 cities in the Friesland province of the Netherlands. [T]he race only takes place when conditions allow; when extreme winter bowls over the region, the temperatures drop, and the canals freeze over. But the Netherlands is no longer a romantic wintry wonderland, and there hasn’t been an Elfstedentocht since 1997, marking the longest drought ever between races. Climate change has endangered the race and is slowly dousing hopes across the province.
Evidence for man-made global warming hits 'gold standard': scientists
“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the US-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years. They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth’s surface had reached a “five-sigma” level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming ... findings by researchers in the United States, Canada and Scotland, said evidence for global warming reached the five sigma level by 2005 in two of three sets of satellite data widely used by researchers, and in 2016 in the third ... Separately in 2013, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is “extremely likely”, or at least 95 percent probable, that human activities have been the main cause of climate change since the 1950s.
Disappearing rice fields threaten more global warming
All over China ... paddies have been (and are being) converted at an astonishing rate into aquaculture ponds to produce more protein for the worlds growing populations. This change risks creating an unexpected impact on global warming ... conversion of paddy fields to aquaculture is releasing massive amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere ... When describing their work which appears in Nature Climate Change, Prof Chris Freeman commented: "We were amazed to discover that methane production from the converted rice paddies was massively higher than before conversion."
The Bering Sea is already nearly ice-free, setting up more havoc for its ecosystem and residents
A year ago, a midwinter meltdown erased most of the ice in the Bering Sea, leaving vast stretches of open water and creating shocking conditions like storm surges in coastal villages normally protected by solid sea ice. The winter ice extent, when it hit its maximum last March, was the lowest, by far, in more than 150 years of records. A similar scenario is unfolding this year. Since late January, the Bering Sea has lost two-thirds of its ice area, according to statistics from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Waters are open across the entire sea, including in the Bering Strait that separates Alaska and Russia.
Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable – UN
Temperatures likely to rise by 3-5C above pre-industrial levels even if Paris goals met
Winter temperatures at the north pole are likely to rise by at least 3C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, and there could be further rises to between 5C and 9C above the recent average for the region, according to the UN. Such changes would result in rapidly melting ice and permafrost, leading to sea level rises and potentially to even more destructive levels of warming. Scientists fear Arctic heating could trigger a climate “tipping point” as melting permafrost releases the powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, which in turn could create a runaway warming effect ... The findings, presented at the UN Environment assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday, give a stark picture of one of the planet’s most sensitive regions and one that is key to the fate of the world’s climate ... Even if all carbon emissions were to be halted immediately, the Arctic region would still warm by more than 5C by the century’s end, compared with the baseline average from 1986 to 2005, according to the study from UN Environment. That is because so much carbon has already been poured into the atmosphere.
Europe’s power grid will survive climate change. The US, not so much
a team of scientists from Denmark’s Aarhus University have determined that come what may, European countries with well-planned renewable energy systems will be able to keep the electricity flowing. The research, published in the journal Joule, suggests that electricity systems comprising large-scale, balanced components of wind and solar generation should work well in European climates, despite changing weather patterns ... used data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to develop models that predict wind turbine and solar panel output for 30 European countries under the most common global warming scenarios, looking at the years from 2006 to 2100.
Rain is melting Greenland’s ice, even in winter, raising fears about sea level rise
Rain is becoming more frequent, melting ice and setting the stage for far more melt in the future, according to a new study. Even more disturbing, researchers say, is that raindrops are pockmarking areas of the ice sheet even in the dead of winter and that as the climate warms, those areas will expand ... Rain-induced melt in winter may quickly refreeze, but the rained-on snow forms a crusty layer that absorbs more sunlight than fresh powder. After decades of increasingly frequent winter rain, the snowpack contains so many of these layers that they accelerate melting when exposed to the sun in the summer
'Whole thing is unravelling': climate change reshaping Australia's forests
Australia’s forests are being reshaped by climate change as droughts, heatwaves, rising temperatures and bushfires drive ecosystems towards collapse ... Trees are dying, canopies are getting thinner and the rate that plants produce seeds is falling. Ecologists have long predicted that climate change would have major consequences for Australia’s forests. Now they believe those impacts are unfolding. “The whole thing is unravelling,” says Prof David Bowman, who studies the impacts of climate change and fire on trees at the University of Tasmania.
The biodiversity that is crucial for our food and agriculture is disappearing by the day
The first-ever report of its kind presents mounting and worrying evidence that the biodiversity that underpins our food systems is disappearing – putting the future of our food, livelihoods, health and environment under severe threat. Once lost, warns [the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations] State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture report, launched today, biodiversity for food and agriculture – i.e. all the species that support our food systems and sustain the people who grow and/or provide our food – cannot be recovered ... The report, prepared by FAO under the guidance of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture looks at all these elements. It is based on information provided specifically for this report by 91 countries, and the analysis of the latest global data.
Rising CO2 levels destroying African savannah, scientists warn
A new study suggests that besides warming the climate, rising levels of the greenhouse gas will also trigger profound changes in the planet’s vegetation. The research team analysed “chemical fossils” to track plant growth over the years in south-eastern Africa, and found shifts in CO2 levels had sparked dramatic changes in the region’s greenery.
The unprecedented 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave
This marine heatwave lasted for 251 days reaching a maximum intensity of 2.9 °C above climatology. The anomalous warming is dominated by anomalous convergence of heat linked to the southward flowing East Australian Current. Ecosystem impacts range from new disease outbreaks in farmed shellfish, mortality of wild molluscs and out-of-range species observations ... Climate projections indicate that event likelihoods will increase in the future, due to increasing anthropogenic influences.
Heatwaves sweeping oceans ‘like wildfires’, scientists reveal
The number of heatwaves affecting the planet’s oceans has increased sharply, scientists have revealed, killing swathes of sea-life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest” ... Global warming is gradually increasing the average temperature of the oceans, but the new research is the first systematic global analysis of ocean heatwaves ... The research found heatwaves are becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe, with the number of heatwave days tripling in the last couple of years studied. In the longer term, the number of heatwave days jumped by more than 50% in the 30 years to 2016
Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation
CARE highlighted the fact that almost all of these crises can be traced in large part to climate change. In Sudan, unpredictable rainfall has meant “frequent droughts,” occasional flooding, and “extreme hunger.” In the island nation of Madagascar, “at the frontline of climate change,” cyclones and drought have put 1.3 million people at risk of hunger and, according to UNICEF, a staggering 49 percent of the country’s children have been left stunted by malnutrition. In the Philippines, 2018’s fiercest storm, “super-typhoon” Mangkhut, fed by the heat of the warming oceans, displaced more than a million people. In Niger, desertification has spurred violence and displacement, just as it has in Chad, where nearly half the population is now chronically malnourished. The major source of fresh water in the region, Lake Chad, has shrunk to one-twentieth the area it once covered.
Ruined crops, salty soil: How rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland
Rising seas, sinking earth and extreme weather are conspiring to cause salt from the ocean to contaminate aquifers and turn formerly fertile fields barren ... Scientists are increasingly concerned that rising sea levels are shifting the “zone of transition” — the underground gradient where fresh groundwater meets salty seawater.
The Mush in the Iditarod May Soon Be Melted Snow
Rivers and creeks, used as frozen highways for sleds, are not reliably freezing as expected. Brush grows where it never used to, clogging old routes ... What used to be a given in Alaska — enough snow and ice to run the Iditarod and a slew of other sled dog races without much worry — is now fraught with perennial uncertainty. The cosmic question is how long races like the Iditarod in places like Alaska can keep finding long, continuous threads of snow and ice in a region warming more quickly than most places on the planet.
The Ocean Is Running Out of Breath, Scientists Warn
In the past decade ocean oxygen levels have taken a dive—an alarming trend that is linked to climate change ... It is no surprise to scientists that warming oceans are losing oxygen, but the scale of the dip calls for urgent attention, Oschlies says. Oxygen levels in some tropical regions have dropped by a startling 40 percent in the last 50 years, some recent studies reveal.
New study finds sea level rise accelerating
The rate of global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, rather than increasing steadily, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data. This acceleration, driven mainly by increased melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100 when compared to projections that assume a constant rate of sea level rise
Coastal Flooding Is Erasing Billions in Property Value as Sea Level Rises. That's Bad News for Cities.
The analysis ... estimates that property value losses from coastal flooding in 17 states were nearly $16 billion from 2005 to 2017. Florida, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina each saw more than $1 billion in losses ... In 2016, Freddie Mac, the federally-backed mortgage company, warned that sea level rise would eventually destroy billions of dollars worth of property ... and the inevitable decline in coastal property value could ripple throughout local economies. Homeowners might decide to stop paying off their mortgages if their home values drop below the balance they owe the bank ... the Freddie Mac report said [losses] "are likely to be greater in total than those experienced in the housing crisis and Great Recession."
Australia's hottest summer beats previous record by 'large margin'
As Australia welcomes the first day of autumn with a sigh of relief, the summer statistics have arrived from the Bureau of Meteorology confirming suspicions that the country just sweated through it's hottest-ever summer. The national mean temperature for summer smashed the 1961-1990 average by a whopping 2.14 °C, almost a full degree above the previous hottest summer on record (2012-2013), which was 1.28 degrees above the old average. The mean maximum temperature also beat the 2012-2013 mean maximum by a similar margin (2.61 degrees above average compared to 1.64 degrees above) ... "This pattern is consistent with observed climate change," the statement says, which means Australians should expect the mercury to continue to rise and records to continue to break.
World is halfway through its hottest decade
[T]he next five years ... will probably help to complete the hottest decade ever. They will on a global average be at least 1°C higher than the average temperature of the planet 200 years ago, before the accelerating combustion of fossil fuels. That is because the planet is already midway through what may well prove to be its warmest 10 years since records began on a planetary scale in 1850. There is even a possibility that within the next five years, the global temperature rise could tip 1.5°C above the long-term average for human history.
A World Without Clouds
Computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer. With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control ... Earth’s temperature soars 8 degrees Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the CO2 directly ... To imagine 12 degrees of warming, think of crocodiles swimming in the Arctic
First shipping, now agriculture threatened by drought
The Netherlands continues to suffer from the effects of last year’s drought and not enough rain has fallen this winter to make up for the deficit ... The drought, which hit inland shipping last year, now threatens to affect agriculture as groundwater levels are too low to supply crops with water if rainfall remains elusive.
UK experiences winter temperatures above 20C for first time
The UK is experiencing its warmest February day on record and some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in winter, according to forecasters. Temperatures in Trawsgoed, Wales, reached 20.3C, (68.5F) on Monday morning and rose to 20.6C in the afternoon ... first time temperatures have exceed 20C during winter, according to a Met Office official.
Climate experts warn of more war and displacement in Middle East
The most volatile region in the world is about to be plunged into further chaos because of climate change, academics and international officials warned at a conference on Tuesday. Food scarcity and water shortages will add to the flood of displaced people, sparking wars and providing opportunities for extremist groups, they said. These developments will mean 7 to 10 million people in the Middle East and North Africa will be forced to leave their ancestral or temporary homes over the next decade ... many at the conference were skeptical that either policymakers or populations had a sense of the looming threat and the waves of crises still ahead.
World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity
The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates ... warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world.
Arctic Bogs Hold Another Global Warming Risk That Could Spiral Out of Control
Increasing spring rains in the Arctic could double the increase in methane emissions from the region by hastening the rate of thawing in permafrost, new research suggests. The findings are cause for concern because spring rains are anticipated to occur more frequently as the region warms. The release of methane, a short-lived climate pollutant more potent than carbon dioxide over the short term, could induce further warming in a vicious cycle that would be difficult if not impossible to stop.
Sharp rise in methane levels threatens world targets
In a paper published this month by the American Geophysical Union, researchers say sharp rises in levels of methane – which is a powerful greenhouse gas – have strengthened over the past four years. Urgent action is now required to halt further increases in methane in the atmosphere, to avoid triggering enhanced global warming and temperature rises well beyond 2C.
Polar ice loss speeds up by leaps and bounds
Antarctica is now losing ice mass six times faster than it did 40 years ago. In the decade that began in 1979, the great white continent surrendered 40 billion tons of ice a year to raise global sea levels. By the decade 2009 to 2017, this mass loss had soared to 252 billion tons a year. And in Greenland, the greatest concentration of terrestrial ice in the northern hemisphere has also accelerated its rate of ice loss fourfold in this century.
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/116/4/1095
Antarctic ‘time bomb’ waiting to go off could wash away cities, scientists warn
[G]lobal temperatures today are the same as they were 115,000 years ago [when] sea levels were six to nine metres higher than they are today ... that means our planet is “missing” a devastating sea rise ... Scientists think sea levels made this jump 115,000 years ago because of a sudden ice collapse in Antarctica ... Last month, NASA warned Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier could collapse within decades and “sink cities”
Climate Of North American Cities Will Shift Hundreds Of Miles In One Generation
In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. A new study and interactive web application aim to help the public understand how climate change will impact the lives of people who live in urban areas of the United States and Canada. These new climate analyses match the expected future climate in each city with the current climate of another location, providing a relatable picture of what is likely in store.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08540-3
interactive web application at https://fitzlab.shinyapps.io/cityapp/ [note: does not address forcings such as sea level rise]
Ocean waves pack bigger and stronger punch
As the world’s seas warm, the ocean waves are starting to pack more power. Spanish scientists monitoring the tropical Atlantic report that the waves today contain more energy than they did 70 years ago. Sea surface temperatures influence wind patterns, and the payoff is a wave with more impact ... wave energy could join carbon dioxide atmospheric ratios, global sea level rise and global air temperatures as yet one more metric of overall global warming and climate change.
‘The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change
As recently as the 1997 signing of the landmark Kyoto Protocol, 2C of global warming was considered the threshold of catastrophe ... There is almost no chance we will avoid that scenario ... in the 20 years since, despite all our climate advocacy and legislation and progress on green energy, we have produced more emissions than in the 20 years before ... The majority of the burning has come in the last 25 years ... Since the end of the second world war, the figure is about 85%.
Australia's extreme heat is sign of things to come, scientists warn
For the first time since records began, the country’s mean temperature in January exceeded 30C ... daily extremes – in some places just short of 50C – were unprecedented ... This was compounded by drought. Large parts of Australia received only 20% of their normal rainfall ... Hundreds of thousands of native fish, including Murray cod, golden perch and bony bream, died around the Menindee weir. The authorities blamed “thermal stratification” as sudden shifts in temperature – first hot, then cold – caused algae blooms and choked the water of oxygen ... “facing the makings of an ecological disaster ... this is not normal. This is a disaster.”
The truth about big oil and climate change
Even as concerns about global warming grow, energy firms are planning to increase fossil-fuel production. None more than ExxonMobil
Demand for oil is rising and the energy industry, in America and globally, is planning multi-trillion-dollar investments to satisfy it. [ExxonMobil] plans to pump 25% more oil and gas in 2025 than in 2017 ... worldwide demand for oil is growing by 1-2% a year, similar to the average over the past five decades ... investment in renewables, at $300bn a year, is dwarfed by what is being committed to fossil fuels. Even in the car industry, where scores of electric models are being launched, around 85% of vehicles are still expected to use internal-combustion engines in 2030.
Link Between Climate, Conflict and Migration Now Proven
War and migration are becoming ever more interlinked with climate change. A new study has finally grounded these correlations in data and fact. While droughts, food shortages and climate-related stressors have long been assumed to be “push factors” for instability since Biblical times, scientific evidence for these phenomena has been circumstantial ... the team found that human-driven climate change can cause and exacerbate conflict, leading to an increase in migration.
Massive Starfish Die-Off Is Tied To Global Warming
Since 2013, sea star wasting disease has killed so many starfish along the Pacific Coast that scientists say it's the largest disease epidemic ever observed in wild marine animals ... newly published research suggests that climate change may have exacerbated the disease's deadliness ... study out today in the journal Science Advances.
Climate change tipping point could be coming sooner than we think
A new study confirms the urgency to tackle climate change ... the first to actually quantify the effects through the 21st century ... do not compensate for losses in carbon uptake during dryer-than-normal years, caused by events such as droughts or heatwaves.
Huge Cavity in Antarctic Glacier Signals Rapid Decay
A gigantic cavity - two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall - growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier ... The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them. It's big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, and most of that ice melted over the last three years ... The paper by Milillo and his co-authors in the journal Science Advances is titled "Heterogeneous retreat and ice melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica."
One-third of Himalayan ice cap doomed, finds 'shocking' report
Even if carbon emissions are dramatically and rapidly cut and succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5C, 36% of the glaciers along in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya range will have gone by 2100. If emissions are not cut, the loss soars to two-thirds, the report found ... 1.65 billion people rely on the great rivers that flow from the peaks into India, Pakistan, China and other nations. More than 200 scientists worked on the report over five years, with another 125 experts peer reviewing their work.
Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict?
Across the world, climate change is sparking conflict as people struggle over dwindling resources. The fight over water could quickly escalate between India and Pakistan — and both have nuclear arms ... A 2018 report from the International Monetary Fund ranked Pakistan third among countries facing severe water shortages. When the rapidly-melting glaciers in the Himalayas, which feed the Indus waters, eventually disappear as predicted, the dwindling rivers will be slashed even further.
Antarctic Sea Ice Dips to Record-Low Extent for Early January
The extent of ice cover encircling the Antarctic coast began taking a nosedive in December, dropping even more quickly than usual for the time of year (late spring in the Southern Hemisphere). Since December 25, Antarctic ice extent has set calendar-day record lows every day for more than three solid weeks ... according to polar climate expert Cecilia Bitz (University of Washington). “The minimum won't happen for another 40 days or so”
Sea level fears as more of giant Antarctic glacier floating than thought
The findings are important because recent studies have shown the Totten Glacier's underbelly is already being eroded by warm, salty sea water flowing hundreds of kilometres inland after passing through underwater "gateways". As it does, the portion of the glacier resting on water rather than rock increases, accelerating the pace of disintegration.
More Glaciers in East Antarctica Are Waking Up
NASA maps of ice velocity and elevation show that a group of glaciers spanning one-eighth of East Antarctica’s coast have begun to lose ice over the past decade, hinting at widespread changes in the ocean. In recent years, researchers have warned that Totten Glacier, a behemoth that contains enough ice to raise sea levels by at least 11 feet, appears to be retreating because of warming ocean waters. Now, researchers have found that a group of four glaciers sitting to the west of Totten, plus a handful of smaller glaciers farther east, are also losing ice.
UNDP head: 'The entire economy thrives on the destruction of nature'
We are losing natural habitats and species. But we're also losing ecosystems every day on an unprecedented scale. These are the foundations of life on the planet ... We need to learn how our consumption patterns, how our economies and how our pollution contributes to the decline of these ecosystems. Our daily well-being depends on understanding all of this. But more importantly, we need to do something about it.
‘Worrying’ rise in global CO2 forecast for 2019
The level of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is forecast to rise by a near-record amount in 2019, according to the Met Office. The increase is being fuelled by the continued burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests ... Levels of the greenhouse gas have not been as high as today for 3-5m years, when the global temperature was 2-3C warmer and the sea level was 10-20 metres higher. Climate action must be increased fivefold to limit warming to the 1.5C rise above pre-industrial levels that scientists advise, according to the UN.
Climate Change — A Health Emergency
In this issue of the [New England Journal of Medicine], Haines and Ebi summarize the devastating effects that the global burning of fossil fuels is having on our planet (pages 263–273). Disruption of our climate system, once a theoretical concern, is now occurring in plain view — with a growing human toll brought by powerful storms, flooding, droughts, wildfires, and rising numbers of insectborne diseases. Psychological stress, political instability, forced migration, and conflict are other unsettling consequences .... People who are sick or poor will suffer the most.
The most dangerous climate feedback loop is speeding up
The carbon-rich permafrost warmed “in all permafrost zones on Earth” from 2007 to 2016, according to a new study. Most ominously, Siberian permafrost at depths of up to 30 feet warmed a remarkable 1.6°F (0.9°C) in those 10 years, the researchers found [in a] study which was released Wednesday by the journal Nature Communications.
Extreme heatwave: all-time temperature records fall across parts of Australia
Temperature records have been broken in towns across parts of Australia sweltering through a heatwave, which is currently in its fourth day. Australia also recorded its hottest December on record the Bureau of Meteorology said on Thursday in a special climate statement on “the unusual extended period of heatwaves” across much of the country. December 27 was the hottest on record for nationally averaged mean maximum temperature (40.19C) and the second hottest day on record for any month.
Is our daily cup of coffee under threat?
A study conducted by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia, reports that climate change alone could lead to the extinction of wild Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) well before the end of this century ... In the locality analysis the most favourable outcome is a c. 65% reduction in the number of pre-existing bioclimatically suitable localities, and at the worst, an almost 100% (99.7%) reduction, by 2080.
Greenland’s Melting Ice Nears a ‘Tipping Point,’ Scientists Say
Greenland’s enormous ice sheet is melting at such an accelerated rate that it may have reached a “tipping point” and could become a major factor in sea-level rise around the world within two decades, scientists said in a study published on Monday ... the latest in a series of papers published this month suggesting that scientific estimates of the effects of a warming planet have been, if anything, too conservative ... The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used satellite data and ground-based instruments to measure Greenland’s ice loss in the 21st century.
Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s
Scientists used aerial photographs, satellite measurements and computer models to track how fast the southern-most continent has been melting since 1979 in 176 individual basins. They found the ice loss to be accelerating dramatically — a key indicator of human-caused climate change ... The recent melting rate is 15 percent higher than what a study found last year.
PG&E: The First S&P 500 Climate Change Casualty
Reuters reported on Monday that PG&E – a regulated utility that serves roughly 5.2 million households in central and northern California – was preparing to file for bankruptcy protection due to “potentially crushing” liabilities stemming from its equipment’s role in starting several of the enormously destructive fires of summer 2018. PG&E, which was trading for over $48 per share just before Thanksgiving, closed yesterday for $6 and change – nearly a 90% drop in a space of less than three months. Future investors will look back on these three months as a turning point, and wonder why the effects of climate change on the economic underpinnings to our society were not more widely recognized at the time. Climate scientists may equivocate about the degree to which Global Warming is contributing to these fires until more detailed research is complete, but for an investor who is used to making decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous information, the warning signs are flashing red.
Catastrophic wildfires push California’s biggest utility to consider bankruptcy
But some experts are voicing frustration, saying the utility is trying to skirt its financial responsibility and that the focus should be on building resilience as climate change continues to make wildfires more intense and destructive. It’s widely believed that PG&E power lines sparked the state’s most devastating wildfire ever, the Camp Fire ... has pushed the utility to explore “filing some or all of its business for bankruptcy protection as it faces billions of dollars in liabilities related to fatal wildfires in 2018 and 2017,” Reuters reported ... Since the Camp Fire began on November 8, PG&E’s stock value has plummeted 50 percent ... What’s driving financial fears and conversations about bankruptcy “is the fact that now the markets really believe fires like those [in 2017 and 2018] are the norm and will occur on an ongoing basis.”
Ancient climate change triggered warming that lasted thousands of years
Their study, published online in Nature Geoscience, provides new evidence of a climate feedback that could explain the long duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which is considered the best analogue for modern climate change. The findings also suggest that climate change today could have long-lasting impacts on global temperature even if humans are able to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The World’s Oceans Are Turning Into Bathtubs [note: a good intro/overview - in Esquire of all places]
A study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences published Wednesday and tracked by CNN found 2018 was the hottest year on record for the planet's oceans ... Want to know what the previous hottest year was? 2017. How about the top five hottest years on record for the oceans? All have occurred since 2014 ... ocean temperatures [is] both the best and most terrifying metric by which to monitor the pace at which human activity is throwing the planet into a state of critical imbalance. The same scientists who produced this study found, in a separate one last week, that the oceans are warming far faster than previously thought ... This is just part of what scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction event ... climate is changing, and we will not like what it looks like soon enough. Massive wildfires, drastic drought, powerful storms, coastal flooding, and mass migration due to all of these - along with food and water scarcity - are not futures to look forward to. Neither are the wars that will inevitably result.
North American glaciers melting much faster than 10 years ago – study
The jet stream - the currents of fast-flowing air in the atmosphere that affect weather - has shifted, causing more snow in the north-western US and less in south-western Canada, according to the study released in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Changes in the northern hemisphere jet stream are increasingly firmly linked to global warming.That warming from humans burning fossil fuels is also expected to continue to melt alpine glaciers, even under scenarios for more moderate greenhouse gas levels.
Bats dying 'on biblical scale' due to record-breaking Australia heatwave
Temperatures above 42C can kill flying foxes, and thousands have dropped dead from the trees in Adelaide, South Australia. Back in November, amid another heatwave, more than 23,000 spectacled flying foxes died in just two days in the northern city of Cairns. Residents were forced to move out of their homes due to the smell of rotting carcases, the ABC reported. The figure represents a third of Australia's spectacled flying foxes.
Insect collapse: 'We are destroying our life support systems'
The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming ... Earth's bugs outweigh humans 17 times over and are such a fundamental foundation of the food chain that scientists say a crash in insect numbers risks 'ecological Armageddon'.
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/115/44/E10397
Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic
Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases. So oceans are key, and they are telling us a clear story. The last five years were the five hottest on record. The numbers are huge: in 2018 the extra ocean heat compared to a 1981-2010 baseline amounted to 196,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. The current rate of ocean warming is equivalent to five Hiroshima-size atomic bombs exploding every second. The measurements have been published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
Fast Thaw - What Are Arctic Lakes Telling Us?
As lake bottoms thaw due to a warming climate, partially-decayed plants and animals, until now locked in permafrost, are starting to thaw and resume their decay, releasing carbon dioxide and methane ... But what Dr. Anthony found is even more troubling ... a steady eruption of grapefruit-sized bubbles rising to the lake surface. Carbon dating reveals that the gas is fossil methane, not the product of decaying material in permafrost, but gas from deeper geologic formations. Dr. Anthony surmises that as permafrost melts, it unseals fissures and crevices that connect to geologic gas deposits.
The oceans are warming faster than we thought, and scientists suggest we brace for impact
"The numbers are coming in 40 to 50 percent [warmer] than the last IPCC report," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author on the report, published in Science Magazine on Thursday ... Looking forward, there are two scenarios scientists are working with. The low-emissions scenario that the Paris climate change agreement was built around is no longer realistic, Trenberth said. The high-emissions, business-as-usual scenario will probably continue until about 2040 ... "Yes, we need to try and stop emitting greenhouse gas. But the inertia is large," Trenberth said.
see also https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/climate/ocean-warming-climate-change.html
reporting on a study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6423/128
Global warming of oceans equivalent to an atomic bomb per second
Global warming has heated the oceans by the equivalent of one atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years, according to analysis of new research. More than 90% of the heat trapped by humanity's greenhouse gas emissions has been absorbed by the seas, with just a few per cent heating the air, land and ice caps respectively. The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and combined measurements of the surface temperature of the ocean since 1871 with computer models of ocean circulation.
Natural gas is now getting in the way; US carbon emissions increase by 3.4%
"The US was already off track in meeting its Paris Agreement targets. The gap is even wider headed into 2019." That's the dire news from Rhodium Group, a research firm that released preliminary estimates of US carbon emissions in 2018 ... emissions have increased 3.4 percent in 2018 across the US economy, the second-largest annual increase in 20 years.
Climate change ravages Turner's majestic glaciers
A Royal Academician has followed in the footsteps of JMW Turner and John Ruskin to capture in photographs the breathtaking sites in the French Alps that 19th-century artists caught so strikingly. The resulting images reveal a stark depiction of how climate change has taken its toll on the glaciated landscape ... In June, the same month in which Ruskin produced his daguerreotypes (early photographs) of the Mer de Glace more than 160 years ago, Stibbon found his viewpoint for her own images ... While Turner and Ruskin observed the drama of a sea of ice almost at the level they stood, Stibbon looked down into an exposed deep valley with "a dark moraine-covered floor, almost completely devoid of ice ... it's unrecognisable."
Greenland melt drives continuous export of methane from the ice-sheet bed
Ice sheets are currently ignored in global methane budgets ... we find that subglacially produced methane is rapidly driven to the ice margin by the efficient drainage system of a subglacial catchment of the Greenland ice sheet. We report the continuous export of methane-supersaturated waters (CH4(aq)) from the ice-sheet bed during the melt season ... Stable-isotope analyses reveal a microbial origin for methane, probably from a mixture of inorganic and ancient organic carbon buried beneath the ice ... our results indicate that ice sheets overlie extensive, biologically active methanogenic wetlands and that high rates of methane export to the atmosphere can occur via efficient subglacial drainage pathways. Our findings suggest that such environments have been previously underappreciated and should be considered in Earth's methane budget.
A record-low start to the new year in Antarctica
On January 1, Antarctic sea ice extent stood at 5.47 million square kilometers (2.11 million square miles), the lowest extent on this date ... Extent declined at a rate of 253,000 square kilometers (97,700 square miles) per day through December, considerably faster than the 1981 to 2010 mean for December ... the rate of Antarctic ice extent loss for December 2018 is the fastest in the satellite record.
How right-wing nationalism fuels climate denial
As leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro call global warming a hoax, a new study shows the link between climate change denial and nationalism.
Until the mid-1980s, there was a strong consensus between politicians and scientists ... that we have to set up bodies of interdisciplinary research and policies and to tackle this threat together. Around the same time, the extractive industries - the oil and coal industries - started to fund climate change denial research to promote their own interests ... That type of counterfactual climate research had a huge impact on politics ... Funding from extractive industries also goes into right-wing think tanks, which are creating this type of distrust of climate science, which then also fuels this type of right-wing nationalist climate change denial.
Decline in climate resilience of European wheat
Food security under climate change depends on the yield performance of staple food crops. We found a decline in the climate resilience of European wheat in most countries during the last 5 to 15 y, depending on the country. The yield responses of all the cultivars to different weather events were relatively similar within northern and central Europe, within southern European countries, and specifically regarding durum wheat. We also found serious Europe-wide gaps in wheat resilience
Katowice climate talks run short of time
Despite some progress, the Katowice climate talks show political action still lags far behind the science ... the underlying message from Poland is that diplomatic efforts to prevent global temperatures increasing to dangerous levels are nowhere near what climate scientists say is needed ... there was little movement on the central question of how countries will step up their targets on making bolder cuts, and without that it is hard to see the Paris Agreement being able to have much practical effect.
Arctic permafrost might contain 'sleeping giant' of world's carbon emissions
As temperatures rise in the Arctic, permafrost, or frozen ground, is thawing. As it does, greenhouse gases trapped within it are being released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane ... "We call it the sleeping giant of the global carbon cycle," said Professor Örjan Gustafsson, an environmental scientist at Stockholm University in Sweden. "It’s not really accounted for in climate models."
The Next Climate Frontier: Predicting a Complex Domino Effect
The [fourth National Climate Assessment] report emphasizes that scientists need to look not only at how global warming is changing natural systems but also how those changes will set off their own ripple effects through other areas - for example, how the increasing threat of drought harms agriculture, which in turn affects the economy and food availability. "Reality is complex. In a changing climate, nothing is being affected all by itself," says Katharine Mach, a senior research scientist at Stanford University and one of the NCA authors.
Risks of 'domino effect' of tipping points greater than thought, study says
Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another. The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises. "So much is happening at the same time and at a faster speed than we would have thought 20 years ago. That’s a real concern ... We’re heading ever faster towards the edge of a cliff."
reporting on a study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6421/1379
Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change
Climate change and human activity are dooming species at an unprecedented rate via a plethora of direct and indirect, often synergic, mechanisms. Among these, primary extinctions driven by environmental change could be just the tip of an enormous extinction iceberg ... [In this study] we show how ecological dependencies amplify the direct effects of environmental change on the collapse of planetary diversity by up to ten times.
Climate change is 'shrinking winter'
Snowy mountain winters are being "squeezed" by climate change, according to scientists in California. Researchers who studied the winter snowfall in the mountains there revealed that rising temperatures are reducing the period during which snow is on the ground in the mountains - snow that millions rely on for their fresh water. They presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting - the world's largest gathering of Earth and space scientists. "Our winters are getting sick and we know why," said Prof Amato Evan, from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, who carried out the investigation. "It's climate change; it's rising temperatures."
Arctic reindeer numbers crash by half
The population of wild reindeer, or caribou, in the Arctic has crashed by more than half in the last two decades. A new report on the impact of climate change in the Arctic ... was released at the American Geophysical Research Union meeting. It revealed how weather patterns and vegetation changes are making the Arctic tundra a much less hospitable place for reindeer.
A larger issue looms over short-term Colorado River plan: climate change
With the water level in Lake Mead hovering near a point that would trigger a first-ever official shortage on the Colorado River, representatives of California, Arizona and Nevada are trying to wrap up ... a stopgap plan to get the region through the next several years until 2026 ... Looming over the negotiations is a long-term issue that is intensifying the strains on the river: climate change. "Lake levels are going down just too fast." The [stopgap plan] is simply to stop the free-fall ... Lake Mead is now just 38 percent full ... the reservoir is likely to fall below a threshold that would trigger a shortage declaration in 2020 ... Another round of more complex negotiations is scheduled to begin in 2020 on new guidelines to replace the existing rules starting in 2026. "I think some people see the real challenge is going forward with the renegotiation: What happens post-2026? And what is the arrangement for sharing less water?" said Sharon Megdal, a board member of the Central Arizona Project.
Greenland is losing ice at fastest rate in 350 years
Ice melt across Greenland is accelerating, and the volume of meltwater running into the ocean has reached levels that are probably unprecedented in seven or eight millennia. The findings, drawn from ice cores stretching back almost 350 years, show a sharp spike in melting over the past two decades ... "Climate change is impacting the cryosphere much sooner than we thought, and the impact is much larger than we thought"
Melting of Arctic mountain glaciers unprecedented in the past 400 years
Glaciers in Alaska's Denali National Park are melting faster than at any time in the past four centuries because of rising summer temperatures, a new study finds. New ice cores taken from the summit of Mt. Hunter in Denali National Park show summers there are least 1.2-2 degrees Celsius (2.2-3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than summers were during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. The warming at Mt. Hunter is about double the amount of warming that has occurred during the summer at areas at sea level in Alaska over the same time period, according to the new research. The warmer temperatures are melting 60 times more snow from Mt. Hunter today than the amount of snow that melted during the summer before the start of the industrial period 150 years ago, according to the study. More snow now melts on Mt. Hunter than at any time in the past 400 years, said Dominic Winski, a glaciologist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and lead author of the new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Permafrost Melt Could Destroy a Third of All Arctic Infrastructure, Affecting as Many as 4 Million People
Rising temperatures are melting frozen soil at an alarming clip with the changes visible before our very eyes today. But the future promises an even more dramatic shift according to a new study published Tuesday in Nature Communications. As the frozen ground turns to muck, it could result in millions of people left without homes or the infrastructure that makes living in one of the harshest environments on Earth possible. What’s more disconcerting is that even if the world slashes carbon emissions dramatically, these changes are basically locked ... 70 percent of infrastructure in the permafrost region - the equivalent of one-third of all Arctic infrastructure - sits on land that has a high potential for permafrost thaw by mid-century ... all due to warming already locked into the climate system. Because it takes the atmosphere so long to reach equilibrium with all the new carbon dioxide humans have added, the planet would continue to warm for decades even if all carbon emissions stopped tomorrow.
Climate Change Has Wiped Out Most of the World's Oldest Sea Ice
Rising air and ocean temperatures have sent old sea ice into a death spiral. It now stands as a shadow of its former self, its area diminished by 95 percent from where it stood just a little more than three decades ago. Federal scientists led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chronicled the changes afoot in the annual Arctic Report Card at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting.
Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a 'Rapid Unraveling' of the Region
Persistent warming in the Arctic is pushing the region into "uncharted territory" ... Dr. Osborne, the lead editor of the report and manager of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program, said the Arctic was undergoing its "most unprecedented transition in human history." ... Susan M. Natali, an Arctic scientist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts who was not involved in the research, said the report was another warning going unheeded. "Every time you see a report, things get worse, and we’re still not taking any action," she said.
2018 Officially The Sunniest Year Ever Measured In Netherlands
2018 is officially the sunniest year ever measured in the Netherlands, Weerplaza said on Thursday. With over 2,022 hours of sunshine, 2003's record of 2,021 hours and 40 minutes is officially broken. This is only the second time ever since measurements started in 1901 that the Netherlands had over 2000 hours of sunshine in a year. On average the Netherlands gets around 1,600 hours of sunshine per year. Around 30 years ago the Netherlands got an average of 1,480 hours of sunshine per year. "In the past it was not entirely unusual, for example, to have weeks of fog and no sunshine", the weather service said.
Climate protection: Germany falls farther behind
As greenhouse gas emissions increase, the Climate Change Performance Index 2019 shows that only a handful of nations have implemented strategies to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
It’s time to look at the (political) science behind climate change
The data show that, for all the evidence that climate change is real, manmade and dangerous, and despite wide public acceptance of those propositions, people in the United States do not necessarily want to stop climate change, in the sense of being willing to pay the cost - which is the only sense that really matters ... Slashing carbon emissions is a cause that "has no core constituency with a concentrated interest in policy change," while "a majority of people benefit from arrangements that cause" climate change ... It’s not easy to persuade citizens of a democracy to accept real financial sacrifice in the here and now for the sake of a diffuse benefit in the future ... [We] must either overcome that deficit or fail.
Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors
Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said. The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers ... [they] said current national pledges to cut carbon would lead to a catastrophic 3C of global warming and that plans must be dramatically increased by 2020.
An insurance company is the latest victim of the Camp Fire
[T]he company informed California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones that it was on the brink of insolvency. Concerned about making Camp Fire policyholders whole, Jones successfully petitioned a Merced County judge for permission to liquidate the company’s assets. The order enables the state’s insurance fund to begin paying claims for up to $500,000. (Insurers, not taxpayers, pay into the fund.) "We couldn’t remember the last time we saw a property casualty company go insolvent," said Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for Jones' office. According to Jones’ office, no insurers have contacted them to pull out of the state of California. But warning signs are growing.
Egypt's fertile Nile Delta threatened by climate change
The fertile arc-shaped basin is home to nearly half the country's population, and the river that feeds it provides Egypt with 90% of its water needs. But climbing temperatures and drought are drying up the mighty Nile - a problem compounded by rising seas and soil salinisation, experts and farmers say. Combined, they could jeopardise crops in the Arab world's most populous country, where the food needs of its 98 million residents are only expected to increase.
More bad news on the global warming front
[G]lobal warming is getting a lot worse, quickly ... warming is already accelerating ... on track to blow through the 1.5 degree level by 2030, a decade before the IPCC estimated, possibly even earlier ... Some of this failure simply reflects that politicians and diplomats have set goals that never, practically, could be achieved ... a large dose of fantasy about how quickly social and technological systems can change course. That’s a grim view of the future. It is one that spells a lot more warming. And it is probably realistic.
Global warming will happen faster than we think
Three trends - rising emissions, declining air pollution and natural climate cycles - will combine over the next 20 years to make climate change faster and more furious than anticipated ... First, greenhouse-gas emissions are still rising ... on track with the highest emissions trajectory the IPCC has modelled so far. Second, governments are cleaning up air pollution faster ... but aerosols reflect sunlight. This shield of aerosols has kept the planet cooler, possibly by as much as 0.7C. Third, there are signs that the planet might be entering a natural warm phase that could last for a couple of decades. These three forces reinforce each other. We estimate that rising greenhouse-gas emissions, along with declines in air pollution, bring forward the estimated date of 1.5C of warming to around 2030, with the 2C boundary reached by 2045. These could happen sooner with quicker shedding of air pollutants.
'We are in trouble.' Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018.
nearly 5 percent growth of emissions in China and more than 6 percent in India, researchers estimated, along with growth in many other nations ... Scientists have said that annual carbon dioxide emissions need to plunge almost by half by 2030 ... But emissions are far too high to limit warming to such an extent. And instead of falling dramatically, they're still rising.
New Study Shows Just How Frighteningly Fast Greenland Is Melting
Published today in Nature, the research finds that rates of melting at Greenland’s surface have skyrocketed in recent decades ... rapid rise in surface melting over the last two decades in particular suggests a 'non-linear' response to rising temperatures, meaning as global warming progresses this melting could greatly accelerate ... researchers estimated that ice-sheet-wide levels of meltwater runoff have jumped 50 percent in the past 20 years compared with pre-industrial times.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0752-4.epd
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a 'Speeding Freight Train' in 2018
Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to the new research, which was published by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from more than 50 academic and research institutions and one of the few organizations to comprehensively examine global emissions numbers ... third major scientific report in recent months to send a message that the world is failing to make sufficient progress to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Environmental Research Letters: Global energy growth is outpacing decarbonization
After a three-year hiatus with stable global emissions (Jackson et al 2016; Le Quéré C et al 2018a ; IEA 2018), CO2 emissions grew by 1.6% in 2017 to 36.2 Gt (billion tonnes), and are expected to grow a further 2.7% in 2018
"We have never been here before"
Ever since records starting being kept in 1850, sea ice had never been as scarce as it was during the winter months of 2017–2018, according to scientists ... Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service began receiving reports last May of dead and dying seabirds from communities along the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas. Investigators at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center examined carcasses and concluded that the birds died of starvation ... All signs point to a quickly changing environment in the northern Bering Sea. "Unprecedented is the word that is being used."
Bushfires in the tropics: Queensland faces terrifying new reality
Gray says the fire season in the north now lasts longer. "Climate change is having an impact on firefighting. There’s scientific data to back it up, but I like to think that because we are on the coal face that people are a little bit more aware of just how things have actually changed." In 2014 the Climate Council made six key findings about Australia’s fire season. That risk had increased; the fire season was becoming longer; fires were being fuelled by record conditions; the number of high-risk days would increase; communities should prepare for increasingly severe fires and "this is the critical decade".
Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe
As recent reports have made clear, the world may no longer be hovering at the edge of destruction but has probably staggered beyond a crucial point of no return. Climate catastrophe is now looking inevitable ... Although most discussions use  as a convenient cut-off point for describing Earth’s likely fate, the changes we have already triggered will last well beyond that date.
Indisputable Facts On Climate Change
National Climate Assessment Report ... contained dire warnings about the consequences to the U.S. as a result of climate change. Here are facts, accepted by almost everyone ... bottom line is we are conducting an unprecedented experiment on the ecosystem, and we can say with a high degree of confidence that further warming is in store. Given the risks, we should use every tool in our arsenal to address this issue.
Climate change: EU aims to be 'climate neutral' by 2050
Under the plan, emissions of greenhouse gases after that date would have to be offset by planting trees or by burying the gases underground. Scientists say that net-zero emissions by 2050 are needed to have a fighting chance of keeping global temperatures under 1.5C this century ... Climate campaigners say the step, though welcome, doesn't go far enough fast enough. They are worried that there is no plan to increase the intermediate targets for 2030, which many scientists say is crucial. They also want the net-zero date brought forward. "Going to net-zero by 2050 as the Commission proposes might need a lot of reliance on carbon removal techniques, there are lots of proposals but it is not clear that it can actually happen."
Tripled climate cuts needed to fulfil pledge
The emissions gap - the difference between the global emissions of greenhouse gases scientists expect in 2030 and the level they need to be at to honour the world’s promises to cut them - is the largest ever. The 2018 Emissions Gap Report is published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). While it is still possible to keep global warming below 2C, its authors say, the world’s current pace of action to cut emissions must triple for that to happen.
The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
[T]he study brought forth exactly the kind of longitudinal data they had been seeking ... indicating a vast impoverishment of an entire insect universe ... speed and scale of the drop were shocking ... showing how much the overall mass of insects dropped over time. When asked to imagine what would happen if insects were to disappear completely, scientists find words like chaos, collapse, Armageddon ... where most plants and land animals become extinct.
Monarch butterfly populations in the west are down an order of magnitude from last year
Far fewer of the insects were heading south this year, and those that have arrived did so a month late, according to Xerces, a non-profit conservation group for invertebrates ... an 86% decline.
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320717304809
Antarctica Is Melting Three Times as Fast as a Decade Ago
Antarctica is indeed melting, and a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the melting is speeding up ... Antarctica is, on balance, losing its ice sheets and raising the world’s sea levels.
Amazon rainforest deforestation 'worst in 10 years', says Brazil
About 7,900 sq km (3,050 sq miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed between August 2017 and July 2018 - an area roughly five times the size of London ... The Amazon is sometimes called the lungs of the planet ... The figures come amid concerns about the policies of Brazil's newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro. During the 2018 election campaign, Mr Bolsonaro pledged to limit fines for damaging forestry and to weaken the influence of the environmental agency.
Slow Arctic freeze raises risk of polar bear extinction, say scientists
A record slow freeze of many regions of the Arctic this winter is making it harder for pregnant polar bears to find birthing dens ... October also saw a huge departure from previous trends, particularly in the Barents Sea, which had freakishly warm weather in February and August. Scientists say these shifts, which are caused by the manmade heating of the globe, are disrupting the behaviour of species that depend on thick winter ice, such as narwhals, seals, belugas and polar bears ... [ice formation] was still the second lowest on record ... "Things can happen fast. I'm not optimistic about whether the bears will survive. If the sea ice disappears, then so will the bears."
Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change
[P]rimary extinctions driven by environmental change could be just the tip of an enormous extinction iceberg. As our understanding of the importance of ecological interactions in shaping ecosystem identity advances, it is becoming clearer how the disappearance of consumers following the depletion of their resources — a process known as ‘co-extinction’ — is more likely the major driver of biodiversity loss ... we show how ecological dependencies amplify the direct effects of environmental change on the collapse of planetary diversity by up to ten times.
White House admits Trump climate policies will cost Americans $500 billion a year
The congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) by hundreds of the country's top scientists warns that a do-nothing climate policy will end up costing Americans more than a half-trillion dollars per year ... projects a devastated America on our current path of unrestricted carbon pollution - widespread Dust-Bowlification and 7F to 8F warming over the entire inland portion of the country, even as coastal America is slammed by sea levels rising a foot per decade, resulting in ever-worsening storm surges ... "It is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent."
Major Trump administration climate report says damages are 'intensifying across the country'
The federal government on Friday released a long-awaited report with an unmistakable message: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening ... report is striking in its clear statement that climate change is not only already affecting the U.S., but that the effects are getting worse [and] suggests that by 2050, the country could see as much as 2.3 additional degrees of warming in the continental United States.
reporting on a study at https://nca2018.globalchange.gov
Camp Fire devastation worse than California's 10 other most destructive wildfires combined
The Camp Fire has destroyed almost as many structures as the subsequent 10 worst fires in the state's history combined ... of the most destructive fires .. half of them have occurred since 2010.
Texas Is About to Create OPEC's Worst Nightmare [and the climate's]
Permian producers expect to iron out distribution snags that will add three pipelines and as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day ... Saudi Arabia's output swelled to a record this month, according to industry executives. That means the three biggest producers - the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia - are pumping at or near record levels ... August saw the largest annual increase in U.S. oil production in 98 years, according to government data.
Global temperatures have been above average for 406 months in a row
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [reports] last month was the second hottest October ever recorded since 1880 when data collection began ... 2018 has been the fourth hottest year on record ... 406th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.
How Wildfires Are Making Some California Homes Uninsurable
Of the 20 worst wildfires in state history, four were just last year [and] it has not gotten any better this year. The Mendocino Complex Fire in August was the biggest in state history and the Camp Fire that wiped out the town of Paradise is the deadliest ... This has put pressure on property insurers, some of which have been declining to renew homeowners policies in fire-prone areas. When the houses that burned this year are rebuilt, their owners may find that no one is writing insurance there - at least not at affordable prices. "We’re not in a crisis yet, but all of the trends are in a bad direction," said California’s insurance commissioner. "We’re slowly marching toward a world that’s uninsurable."
Iceland Volcano And Glacier Are Releasing Huge Amounts Of Methane, Scientists Discover
The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first to show methane is released from glaciers on such a large scale ... while the study only focuses on Sólheimajökull and Katla, there are many other ice-covered active volcanoes that could produce methane in a similar way ... "greater connectivity with volcanic and geothermal areas buried beneath the ice ... means the methane can escape to the atmosphere rather than being trapped beneath the ice."
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35253-2
Climate change will bring multiple disasters at once, study warns
In the not-too-distant future, disasters won't come one at a time. Instead, according to new research, we can expect a cascade of catastrophes, some gradual, others abrupt, all compounding as climate change takes a greater toll ... researchers identified 467 distinct ways in which society is already being impacted by increasing climate extremes, and then laid out how these threats are likely to compound on top of each other in the decades ahead ... the team of 23 scientists reviewed more than 3,000 peer-reviewed papers ... this paper aggregates the impacts and shows how the threats are not isolated, but rather compound on top of each other.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0315-6
Iraq's climate stresses are set to worsen
Iraq and its 39 million people are facing the hazards of climate change; a prolonged drought and soaring temperatures earlier this year ruined crops. Swathes of land in what was, in ancient times, one of the richest agricultural regions on Earth are drying up and turning into desert ... over the past summer Iraq suffered from its worst water shortage crisis for 80 years ... As water levels have plummeted, salinity has increased dramatically, particularly in the south of the country, due to evaporation and saltwater intrusion from the Gulf. Often, because of salinity and pollution, there is little or no drinkable tap water in Basra, a city of more than 2 million.
reporting on a study at https://www.eastwest.ngo/sites/default/files/iraq-climate-related-security-risk-assessment.pdf
State of the climate
Global surface temperatures in 2018 are on track to be the fourth warmest since records began in the mid-1800s, behind only 2015, 2016 and 2017 ... the level of the world's oceans continued to rise in 2018 ... concentrations of greenhouse gases including CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) also reached record high levels in 2018 ... 2018 has set a new record for the total amount of warmth stored in the seas, known as ocean heat content (OHC) ... OHC represents a much better measure of climate change than global average surface temperatures [because] it is where most of the extra heat ends up and is much less variable on a year-to-year basis than surface temperatures.
Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds
China, Russia and Canada's current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries. The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07223-9
John Kerry: Europe must tackle climate change or face migration chaos
The ex-US secretary of state ... predicts mass movement from Africa
"[I]magine what happens if water dries up and you cannot produce food in northern Africa ... you are going to have hordes of people in the northern part of the Mediterranean knocking on the door."
Clean Energy Is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming
The global march toward clean energy still isn't happening fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments put forceful new policy measures in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. That's the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which on Monday published its annual World Energy Outlook, a 661-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2040. The world is still far from solving global warming. Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6 percent last year and are on track to climb again this year ... the agency expects global oil demand to keep rising through 2040.
The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.
The Rhine, a Lifeline of Germany, Is Crippled by Drought
One of the longest dry spells on record has left parts of the Rhine at record-low levels for months, forcing freighters to reduce their cargo or stop plying the river altogether. Parts of the Danube and the Elbe - Germany's other major rivers for transport - are also drying up ... virtually all freight shipped from seaports in the Netherlands and Belgium to the industrial southwest of Germany passes through here ... half of Germany's river ferries have stopped running. It's difficult to overstate the importance of the Rhine to life and commerce in the region. There are reasons to believe such weather will become more frequent with a warming climate.
Waterboard Expects More Droughts In 2019
Waterboard Rijn en IJssel expects more drought problems next spring, due to the extremely low groundwater level this year. For the water level to recover sufficiently to avoid dry waterways and irrigation bans, it will have to rain every day for months ... groundwater level is currently a meter lower than normal in parts of the Netherlands, and it is still falling
Male Insect Fertility Plummets After Heat Waves
For years, insect populations have been dropping worldwide without a clear explanation. A new paper suggests male infertility is at least one factor behind that decline. After a lab-simulated heat wave ... sperm production in the flour beetles dropped by half, the study showed. A second heat wave nearly sterilized them.
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/13/heatwaves-wipe-out-male-insect-fertility-beetles-study
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07273-z
Drought-induced Amazonian wildfires instigate a decadal-scale disruption of forest carbon dynamics
Our findings indicate that wildfires in humid tropical forests can significantly reduce forest biomass for decades by enhancing mortality rates of all trees, including large and high wood density trees, which store the largest amount of biomass in old-growth forests ... demonstrates that wildfires slow down or stall the post-fire recovery of Amazonian forests.
At Least 10 Bird Species On Brink Of Extinction In Netherlands: Report
At least 10 bird species are on the brink of disappearing due to the destruction of their habitats and the decline of insects ... In almost all habitats multiple bird species have deteriorated or even disappeared.
Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN
The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief ... The already high rates of biodiversity loss from habitat destruction, chemical pollution and invasive species will accelerate in the coming 30 years as a result of climate change and growing human populations. By 2050, Africa is expected to lose 50% of its birds and mammals, and Asian fisheries to completely collapse. The loss of plants and sea life will reduce the Earth’s ability to absorb carbon, creating a vicious cycle. "The numbers are staggering ... I hope we aren’t the first species to document our own extinction."
Taking the Oceans' Temperature, Scientists Find Unexpected Heat
A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature suggests that oceans are warming far faster than the estimates laid out by the IPCC ... found that between 1991 and 2016 the oceans warmed an average of 60 percent more per year than the panel’s official estimates ... could be another indication that the global warming of the past few decades has exceeded conservative estimates and has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0651-8
Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Just Lost Enough Ice to Cover Manhattan 5 Times Over
An enormous iceberg about five times the size of Manhattan broke off Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier ... a mere month after a crack first appeared, satellite imagery shows ... At 115 square miles (300 square kilometers), the enormous amount of ice that calved off the glacier's ice shelf is even larger than the mass that broke off last year ... However, the newborn iceberg didn't stay in one piece for long. Within a day, it had splintered into smaller pieces, with the largest piece measuring a substantial 87 square miles (226 square km) before it later broke apart even more.
The unseen driver behind the migrant caravan: climate change
Most members of the migrant caravans come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - three countries devastated by violence, organised crime and systemic corruption ... Experts say that alongside those factors, climate change in the region is exacerbating - and sometimes causing - a miasma of other problems including crop failures and poverty. And they warn that in the coming decades, it is likely to push millions more people north towards the US.
Two generations of humans have killed off more than half the world's wildlife populations, report finds
Human activity has annihilated wildlife on a scale unseen beyond mass extinction, and it has helped put humans on a potentially irreversible path toward a hot, chaotic planet stripped clean of the natural resources that enrich it, a new report has concluded. Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians have declined by 60 percent since 1970 ... the rate of animal population drop-off is 100 to 1000 times the rate of decline before human activity was a factor.
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/30/humanity-wiped-out-animals-since-1970-major-report-finds
EU forests can't help climate fight: study
"The amount of carbon captured over the next 90 years by trees—around 2 parts per million (ppm)—would be low compared to the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere under the most likely scenario—500 ppm," Guillaume Marie, a climate and environment scientist at the University of Paris-Saclay, told AFP.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0577-1
Geoengineering is no closer to working
One new study looks at all the tested and yet-to-be-explored mechanisms for either lowering global temperatures by reducing sunlight, or by harnessing new and old ways to capture the extra carbon dioxide released by two centuries of industrial growth. "None of the proposed technologies can realistically be implemented on a global scale in the next few decades"
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05938-3
Scientists Push for a Crash Program to Scrub Carbon From the Air
With time running out to avoid dangerous global warming, the [US] nation's leading scientific body on Wednesday urged the federal government to begin a research program focused on developing technologies that can remove vast quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in order to help slow climate change. The 369-page report, written by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, underscores an important shift. For decades, experts said that nations could prevent large temperature increases mainly by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and moving to cleaner sources like solar, wind and nuclear power. But at this point, nations have delayed so long in cutting their carbon dioxide emissions that even a breakneck shift toward clean energy would most likely not be enough.
Unexpected Future Boost of Methane Possible from Arctic Permafrost
New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost's expected gradual thawing [is] sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. The impact on the climate may mean an influx of permafrost-derived methane into the atmosphere in the mid-21st century, which is not currently accounted for in climate projections.
Our planet can't take many more populists like Brazil's Bolsonaro
History tells us that when environments deteriorate, societies turn to supposed strongmen and religious zealots rather than smart, pragmatic leaders. That is happening now ... underlying this is environmental stress, which has been building for over two centuries ... Now there are very few places left to absorb the impact. Competition for what is left is growing. So is violence and extremism ... The great fear climate scientists have is that a warming planet could create feedback loops that will make everything much worse. But there has not been enough study of economic and political feedback loops. How drought in China puts pressure on the Amazon to produce more food and clear more forest. Or how powerful business interests will choose a dictator over a democrat if it means easing environmental controls that threaten their ability to meet quarterly growth targets ... At some point, voters will realise that ecological stress is at the core of the world's current woes ... The danger is, by then it may be too late.
Climate change is exacerbating world conflicts, says Red Cross president
Climate change is already exacerbating domestic and international conflicts ... "When [populations] start to migrate in big numbers it leads to tensions between the migrating communities and the local communities."
There's one key takeaway from last week's IPCC report
IPCC ... concludes the world must embark on a World War II-level effort to transition away from fossil fuels, and also start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at large scales ... Realistically, this isn't going to happen ... with some nations moving in the wrong direction, like the US and potentially Brazil electing climate denier presidents, even staying below 2C is looking increasingly less likely.
This Remote Hawaiian Island Just Vanished
Hurricane Walaka, one of the most powerful Pacific storms ever recorded, has erased an ecologically important remote northwestern island from the Hawaiian archipelago ... [Scientists] thought it would take another couple decades or more for rising seas to swallow it up. Instead, a Category 4 hurricane eliminated it overnight. The hurricane's pathway wasn't a function of climate change, he said, but its strength and timing were consistent with the effects of a warming ocean and rising global temperatures that make storms more intense.
Polar jet circulation changes bring Sahara dust to Arctic, increasing temperatures, melting ice
Research scientists ... have identified a new mechanism by which warm dust travels from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle, which has been proven to affect rising temperatures and ice melt in Greenland ... enables the transport of dust, warm and moist air masses from subtropics and mid-latitudes to the Arctic.
Dust and Snowmelt in the Colorado Mountains
Scientists find the effect of dust on mountain snowpack can be the dominant driver of snowmelt and water supplies downstream
It Will Take Millions of Years for Mammals to Recover From Us
A sobering new study ... estimated how long it would take for mammals to evolve enough new species to replace the ones that we have eradicated ... 3 million to 7 million years. That's at least 10 times as long as we have even existed as a species.
The latest report on global warming makes grim reading
And what hope it does offer risks being frittered away
Given that the world is actually on track for a rise of more than 3C, regardless of the pieties of Paris, it was ... charged with finding out whether limiting the rise to 1.5C is in any way feasible ... a rise of 2C rather than 1.5C could also see 420m more people exposed regularly to record heat. "Several hundred million" more would have to contend with climate-induced poverty. Food security would decline and water scarcity increase, especially in poor and already-fragile areas ... chance of dangerous feedback loops. A two-degree temperature rise could lead to the thawing of 1.5m-2.5m km2 of permafrost - about the area of Mexico. That, in turn, would release methane, a potent greenhouse gas which would lead to further warming, thawing and so on ... keeping the temperature rise below 1.5C would take an epic effort. Of 90 published models purporting to chart the most economically efficient way to achieve this goal, the IPCC considers that just nine stay below the threshold ... even the existing target looks likely to be missed by a mile.
What's Not in the Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The "Much, Much, Much More Terrifying" New Research on Climate Tipping Points
"This is the scariest thing about the IPCC Report - it's the watered down, consensus version."
If the latest warnings contained in Monday's report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have you at all frightened or despondent, experts responding to the report have a potentially unwelcome message ... its been consistently true that some of the most recent (and increasingly worrying) scientific findings have not yet found enough support to make it into these major reports which rely on near-unanimous agreement [thus the IPCC report] "fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming."
Climate change will make the next global [financial] crash the worst
Even without the added complication of climate change, the challenge facing the finance ministers and central bank governors gathered in Bali would be significant enough ... Instead, the response to climate change looks similar to the response to the financial crisis: fail to recognise there is a problem until it is too late; panic; then muddle through. That's a sobering prospect.
Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change
The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies ... The people who are actively cranking up the global thermostat and threatening to drown 20 percent of the global population are the billionaires in the boardrooms of these companies ... the fossil-fuel industry's interests are too well-insulated by the mountains of cash that have been converted into lobbyists, industry-shilling Republicans and Democrats, and misinformation. To them, the rest of the world is just kindling.
The big lie we're told about climate change is that it's our own fault
The dominant narrative around climate change tells us that it's our fault. We left the lights on too long, didn't close the refrigerator door, and didn't recycle our paper. I'm here to tell you that is bullshit. If the light switch was connected to clean energy, who the hell cares if you left it on? The problem is not consumption - it's the supply. And your scrap paper did not hasten the end of the world. Don't give in to that shame. It's not yours. The oil and gas industry is gaslighting you.
UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It's Actually Worse Than That.
Barring the arrival of dramatic new carbon-sucking technologies, which are so far from scalability at present that they are best described as fantasies of industrial absolution, it will not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius. The IPCC is right that two degrees marks a world of climate catastrophe. [But] four degrees is ... where we are headed, at present - a climate hell twice as hellish as the one the IPCC says, rightly, we must avoid at all costs.
Climate report understates threat
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Global Warming ... dire as it is, misses a key point: Self-reinforcing feedbacks and tipping points - the wildcards of the climate system - could cause the climate to destabilize even further ... pushing the planet into chaos beyond human control.
Fire and drought threaten China and Europe
Now new research led by Spanish scientists and reported in the journal Nature Communications uses computer simulations and available data to take a look at the fires next time, as the temperatures rise. The authors warn [of] a consistent pattern: the higher the temperatures, the more sustained the droughts, and the larger the areas that will be incinerated.
Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn
Governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change. The report issued Monday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030.
Climate scientists are struggling to find the right words for very bad news
A much-awaited report from the UN's top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming.
... to limit the warming of the planet to just 1.5C, or 2.7F, when 1 degree C has already occurred and greenhouse gas emissions remain at record highs. "Half a degree doesn't sound like much til you put it in the right context ... It's 50 percent more than we have now." The idea of letting warming approach 2 degrees Celsius increasingly seems disastrous in this context. The window may now be as narrow as around 15 years of current emissions. And if we can't cut other gases such as methane ... the budget gets even narrower. "This would really be an unprecedented rate and magnitude of change." And that's just the point - 1.5 degrees is still possible, but only if the world goes through a staggering transformation.
Arctic sea ice continues its downward spiral
Arctic sea-ice cover following this summer’s melt was the sixth lowest on record ... Since satellite records began in 1979, the 12 lowest extents have all happened in the past 12 years.
Il n’a pas gelé depuis cent jours sur le pic du Midi
Une telle situation n’avait jamais été observée depuis les premiers relevés de température au sommet de cette montagne ... Les températures maximales dans les Pyrénées pourraient augmenterde 7,1C d’ici à la fin du siècle
[English translation:] It has not frozen for 100 days on the Pic du Midi (highest peak in the Pyrenees)
Such a situation had never been observed at any time since the first temperature readings at the top of this mountain ... The maximum temperatures in the Pyrenees could increase by 7.1C by the end of the century
Trump administration sees a 7-degree [F] rise in global temperatures by 2100
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century. A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed. The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket. "The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it," said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002 ... that NHTSA document projects that if the world takes no action to curb emissions, current atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide would rise from 410 parts per million to 789 ppm by 2100. "I was shocked when I saw it," Pettit said in a phone interview. "These are their numbers. They aren’t our numbers."
World 'nowhere near on track' to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target
The world’s governments are "nowhere near on track" to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit. A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is.
New Climate Debate: How to Adapt to the End of the World
Researchers are thinking about social collapse and how to prepare for it.
[A]s the U.S. stumbles through a second consecutive season of record hurricanes and fires, more academics are approaching questions once reserved for doomsday cults. Can modern society prepare for a world in which global warming threatens large-scale social, economic, and political upheaval? What are the policy and social implications of rapid, and mostly unpleasant, climate disruption? ... Propelling the movement are signs that the problem is worsening at an accelerating rate ... It might be tempting to dismiss Bendell and Gosling as outliers. But they're not alone in writing about the possibility of massive political and social shocks from climate change and the need to start preparing for those shocks. Since posting his paper, Bendell says he's been contacted by more academics investigating the same questions. A LinkedIn group titled 'Deep Adaptation' includes professors, government scientists, and investors. William Clark, a Harvard professor and former MacArthur Fellow who edited the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, is among those who worry about what might come next. "We are right on the bloody edge," he says.
New Evidence That Climate Change Poses a Much Greater Threat to Humanity Than Recently Understood Because the IPCC has been Systematically Underestimating Climate Change Risks
Three papers have been recently published that lead to the conclusion that human-induced climate change poses a much more urgent and serious threat to life on Earth than many have thought who have been relying primarily on the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ... attributes the overly conservative conclusions of the IPCC to the consensus building nature that IPCC must follow to get governments to approve IPCC final reports and scientific norms that condemn speculation. As a result the report concludes that much of the climate research on which IPCC has relied has tended to underplay climate risks ... if the positive feedbacks are fully considered [this] could result in around 5C of warming by 2100 according to a MIT study ... even if warming reaches 3C, most of Bangladesh and Florida would drown, while major coastal cities - Shanghai, Legos, Mumbai - would be swamped likely creating larger flows of climate refugees. Most regions of the world would see a significant drop in food production and an increasing number of extreme weather events, whether heat waves, floods or storms ... warming of 4C or more could reduce the global human population by 80% or 90%, and the World Bank reports "there is no certainty that adaptation to a 4C temperature rise would be possible." ... cites a recent study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center found that if global temperature rose 4C that extreme heat waves ... will begin to regularly affect many densely populated parts of the world, forcing much activity in the modern industrial world to stop.
reporting on three papers
1) PNAS: Trajectories in the Earth System in the Anthropocene http://macroecointern.dk/pdf-reprints/Steffen_PNAS_2018.pdf
2) Nature Communications: 21st-Century Modeled Permafrost Carbon Emissions Accelerated by Abrupt Thaw Beneath Lakes https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05738-9
3) Breakthrough Institute: What Lies Beneath: On the Understatement of Climate Change Risks https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/148cb0_a0d7c18a1bf64e698a9c8c8f18a42889.pdf
Thawing permafrost on Peel Plateau releasing acid that's breaking down minerals: study
Mineral weathering likely increasing carbon dioxide released into the air and water, says study
The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, found that as permafrost thaw accelerates, a process called mineral weathering intensifies. The growing research in this area shows the need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Zolkos said. Once these thaw slump features start, it's not really something you can stop, which I think is true of a lot of permafrost thaw in the Arctic."
[T]he methane venting from the lake seemed to be emerging not from the direct thawing of frozen Arctic soil, or permafrost, but rather from a reservoir of far older fossil fuels. If that were happening all over the Arctic ... could be similar to adding a couple of large fossil-fuel-emitting economies - say, two more Germanys - to the planet ... initial estimate that the lake was producing two tons of methane gas every day - the equivalent of the methane gas emissions from about 6,000 dairy cows (one of the globe’s biggest methane sources). That’s not enough to be a big climate problem on its own, but if there are many more lakes like this one ... coming years will probably reveal what’s behind Esieh and whether it has many cousins across the top of the world. By then, we may also see whether the Arctic’s great thaw will have thwarted attempts to stop global warming.
At this rate, Earth risks sea level rise of 20 to 30 feet, historical analysis shows
Temperatures not much warmer than the planet is experiencing now were sufficient to melt a major part of the East Antarctic ice sheet in Earth's past, scientists reported Wednesday ... sea levels were as much as 20 to 30 feet higher than they are now. "It doesn't need to be a very big warming, as long as it stays 2 degrees warmer for a sufficient time, this is the end game," said David Wilson, a geologist at Imperial College London and one of the authors of the new research, which was published in Nature. Scientists at institutions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Spain also contributed to the work.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0501-8.epdf
'We're moving to higher ground': America's era of climate mass migration is here
The era of climate migration is, virtually unheralded, already upon America ... sea level rise alone could displace 13 million people, according to one study, including 6 million in Florida [but] "there’s not a state unaffected ... [migration] from every coastal place in the US to every other place in the US" ... "I don’t see the slightest evidence that anyone is seriously thinking about what to do with the future climate refugee stream," said Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of coastal geology at Duke University ... suggestions that people from Central America are being nudged towards the US because of drought and hurricanes in their homelands, part of a trend that will see as many as 300 million climate refugees worldwide by 2050. A buyout of damaged and at-risk homes has already occurred in New York City’s Staten Island ... [b]ut the cost of doing this for all at-risk Americans would be eye-watering. Estimates range from $200,000 to $1m per person to undertake a relocation. "As a country we aren’t set up to deal with slow-moving disasters like this, so people around the country are on their own," said Joel Clement, a former Department of the Interior official who worked on the relocation of Alaskan towns. "In the Arctic I’m concerned we’ve left it too late. Younger people have left because they know the places are doomed."
Unprecedented Ice Loss in Russian Ice Cap
In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day ... dwarfs the ice's previous average speed of about 2 inches per day. Scientists have never seen such acceleration in this kind of ice cap before. The rapid collapse of the Vavilov Ice Cap has significant ramifications for glaciers in other polar regions, especially those fringing Antarctica and Greenland.
reporting on a study "Massive destabilization of an Arctic ice cap" at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X18305156
Florence is not the 'new normal'. We’ve destroyed normal forever.
[T]he problem is that the phrase is counter to both the latest climate science and the "normal" connotation of the word "normal" ... If each decade brings its own unique, ever worsening disasters - and if this never-stabilizing condition continues for a century (and, more likely, many centuries) - then there are no norms, no standards, no regular pattern or points of reference. Because things will keep changing with rising temperatures, with extremes becoming more extreme, there is no point at which one can plausibly say "This is the new normal, and this is what it is going to be like from now on." So, the "new normal" catchphrase is utterly misleading to the general reader and should not be used.
The world’s largest shipping company is trialing an Arctic route - and it’s a worrying sign for the future of the planet
The first container ship to tackle an Arctic route along [Bering Strait and] Russia’s north coast ... route was once impossible due to ice ... In January this year, Arctic sea ice hit a record low and in March an “extreme event” was declared. The sea ice in the Bering strait reached its lowest levels in recorded history as temperatures 30C above average were recorded. According to figures from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, sea ice cover this winter was less than a third of what it was five years ago.
Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings
In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million ? double the preindustrial level ? and that this would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 2°C over then-current levels (and even more compared to pre-industrial levels). Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections. Shell’s assessment foresaw ... disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of "five to six meters." Like Shell's experts, Exxon's scientists predicted devastating sea-level rise, and warned that the American Midwest and other parts of the world could become desert-like.
Another Heat Record Broken: Most Warm Days Ever Measured In Netherlands
Up to and including Thursday, the record number of official warm days is expected to climb to 120, according to the weather service.
Europe's meat and dairy production must halve by 2050, expert warns
Europe's animal farming sector has exceeded safe bounds for greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient flows and biodiversity loss, and urgently needs to be scaled back, according to a major report ... Livestock has the world's largest land footprint and is growing fast, with close to 80% of the planet's agricultural land now used for grazing and animal feed production ... huge sectoral "adjustments" will be needed by 2050 to rebalance the sector ... Long before then, policymakers, farmers and society as a whole face "deeply uncomfortable choices", according to Buckwell.
Got flood insurance? Thousands of homeowners in Hurricane Florence's path do not
Thousands of homeowners in inland North and South Carolina stand to be inundated by Hurricane Florence's drenching over the next few days, but hardly any of them carry federal flood insurance, leaving them at risk of a devastating loss, with little prospect of help from the federal government... Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Texas caused $8.3 billion in federally insured flood damages, and nearly $120 billion more in uninsured losses. Florence could cause similar destruction.
see also https://www.wsj.com/articles/thousands-of-homes-in-hurricane-florences-path-lack-flood-insurance-1536831000
More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution
The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it. Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place.
'Global cataclysm': 200 scientists and artists sign letter warning of looming disaster
'In a few decades, there will be almost nothing left. Humans and most living species are in a critical situation'
A host of Hollywood A-listers [and] prominent scientists ... "Collapse is underway," the letter said. Experts have warned human are indeed ushering in the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth. Writing in a special edition of the journal Nature last year, scientists warned that mammals, birds and amphibians are currently becoming extinct at rates comparable to the previous five mass extinctions.
Governments 'not on track' to cap temperatures at below 2 degrees: U.N.
Governments are not on track to meet a goal of the 2015 Paris agreement of capping temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius. Patricia Espinosa, head of the Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which steers the climate talks, said both the public and private sector need to act with urgency to avoid "catastrophic effects".
Permafrost thawing under Arctic lakes warming climate faster than expected: study
That's according to a recent study led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, published earlier this month in Nature Communications ... "the response of these thermokarst lakes [will] be a flash-thaw of permafrost ... peak of the formation is really only decades away - it's closer to about 2050 or 2060." Thermokarst lakes form in ice-rich areas when warming soil melts ground ice, causing the land surface to collapse and water to fill the sunken area, Anthony explained. This water in turn accelerates the thaw of permafrost deep beneath the expanding lake. Carbon that was stored in the permafrost - which is between 10,000 to 40,000 years old - then becomes food for microbes, Anthony said. The microbes make methane and carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere ... the lakes are "hotspots" that could more than double the amount of climate warming that's caused by carbon released from thawing permafrost, by the 2050s. The research, conducted by a team of U.S. and German researchers, is part of a 10-year project funded by NASA to better understand climate change effects on the Arctic. It was also supported by the National Science Foundation.
Study: Climate change could transform Arizona's forests, deserts, worsening drought and fire
Ecosystems across the world will dramatically transform as climate change's effects increase, a new study warns... The study says human-caused climate change could accelerate changes in vegetation around the globe, filling lush forests with flammable brush and worsening drought conditions where relief is needed most. The findings are part of a University of Arizona-led report published in the journal Science, which warns that the earth could warm as much as it did in the thousands of years since the last ice age if greenhouse gas emissions are not substantially reduced. Researchers found changing climates around the globe, but particularly in Arizona and the arid Southwest, where historic drought conditions are showing little signs of relief. "I think it's ubiquitous,' said co-author Jonathan Overpeck, University of Michigan dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability. "It's not just going to be isolated. It's going to be everywhere if we let climate change go unchecked."
reporting on a study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/920
[Australian] government is not even pretending to act on climate change any more
We have gone from a government under Malcolm Turnbull that at least tried to look like it was aiming to reduce emissions (even if it wasn’t) to one under Scott Morrison that is making no pretence about the fact it is beholden to the charlatans in the party who want to scam votes by lying about the facts of climate change.
Climate change could render many of Earth’s ecosystems unrecognizable
After the end of the last ice age ... the Earth’s ecosystems were utterly transformed. It’s about to happen again, researchers are reporting Thursday in the journal Science. "Even as someone who has spent more than 40 years thinking about vegetation change looking into the past … it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the magnitude of change we’re talking about,” said ecologist Stephen Jackson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and the lead author of the new study.
reporting on a study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/920
Global Warming Means More Insects Threatening Food Crops - A Lot More, Study Warns
Growing swarms of hungrier and hyperactive insects may wipe out big percentages of the world's three most important grain crops - wheat, corn and rice - even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius, the upper-end target of the Paris climate agreement, scientists warn. The biggest crop losses are expected in temperate areas where global warming will increase both insects' population growth and their metabolic rates. That includes the major breadbaskets of North America and Europe.
reporting on a study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/916
Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First
Miami-Dade is built on the Biscayne Aquifer, 4,000 square miles of unusually shallow and porous limestone ... without this abundant source of fresh water, made cheap by its proximity to the surface, this hot, remote city could become uninhabitable. Climate change is slowly pulling that machine apart... The economic effects will be devastating: Zillow Inc. estimates that six feet of sea-level rise would put a quarter of Miami’s homes underwater, rendering $200 billion of real estate worthless. But global warming poses a more immediate danger: The permeability that makes the aquifer so easily accessible also makes it vulnerable. "The minute the world thinks your water supply is in danger, you’ve got a problem," says James Murley, chief resilience officer for Miami-Dade ... Earlier this year, Pamela Cabrera, a graduate student at Harvard, mapped the Superfund sites in Miami-Dade County and their proximity to [freshwater] wellfields. Her hypothesis was simple: Increased flooding could dislodge the toxic chemicals that remain on Superfund and other industrial sites, pushing them into the aquifer... The slowest-moving threat to Miami’s drinking water is also the most sweeping: As the ocean rises, salt water is being pushed into the limestone ... As the saltwater front advances westward across the aquifer, reaching each of those intake valves and enveloping them in saline water, it risks rendering them useless.
State Of California Fourth Climate Change Assessment
Emerging findings for California show that costs associated with direct climate impacts by 2050 are dominated by human mortality, damages to coastal properties, and the potential for droughts and mega-floods. The costs are in the order of tens of billions of dollars ... direct and indirect risks to public health, as people will experience earlier death and worsening illnesses ... management practices for water supply and flood management in California may need to be revised for a changing climate. This is in part because such practices were designed for historical climatic conditions, which are changing and will continue to change during the rest of this century and beyond ... climate change is degrading California's coastal and marine environment. In recent years, several unusual events have occurred along the California coast and ocean, including a historic marine heat wave, record harmful algal bloom, fishery closures, and a significant loss of northern kelp forests.
Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism's Imminent Demise [due to climate change]
So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We're transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet's environmental resources. Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments... the new report says that these are not really separate crises at all. Rather, these crises are part of the same fundamental transition to a new era characterized by inefficient fossil fuel production and the escalating costs of climate change. Conventional capitalist economic thinking can no longer explain, predict, or solve the workings of the global economy in this new age, the paper says.
reporting on a paper at https://bios.fi/bios-governance_of_economic_transition.pdf
Warming of the interior Arctic Ocean linked to sea ice losses at the basin margins
Arctic Ocean measurements reveal a near doubling of ocean heat content relative to the freezing temperature in the Beaufort Gyre halocline over the past three decades (1987–2017) ... Summer solar heat absorption by the surface waters has increased fivefold over the same time period, chiefly because of reduced sea ice coverage.
Climate change is melting the French Alps, say mountaineers
Permafrost 'cement' is evaporating, making rocks unstable and prone to collapse with many trails now deemed too dangerous to use
[T]he mountaineers who climb among the snowy peaks know that it is far from business as usual - due to a warming climate, the familiar landscape is rapidly changing. "In the Alps, the glacier surfaces have shrunk by half between 1900 and 2012 with a strong acceleration of the melting processes since the 1980s," says Jacques Mourey, a climber and scientist who is researching the impact of climate change on the mountains above Chamonix. "If anyone doesn't believe that climate change exists, they should come to Chamonix to see it for themselves."
Arctic's strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record
Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary
The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer. This phenomenon - which has never been recorded before - has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere. One meteorologist described the loss of ice as "scary". Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand warming the longest. The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as "the last ice area" because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.
Summer weather is getting 'stuck' due to Arctic warming
Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds ... authors of the research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, warn this could lead to "very extreme extremes", which occur when abnormally high temperatures linger for an unusually prolonged period, turning sunny days into heat waves, tinder-dry conditions into wildfires, and rains into floods.
Headlines back in 1912 warned 'coal consumption affecting climate'
March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics on "The effect of the combustion of coal on the climate - what scientists predict for the future" [said] "It has been found that if the air contained more carbon dioxide, which is the product of the combustion of coal or vegetable material, the temperature would be somewhat higher ... Since burning coal produces carbon dioxide it may be inquired whether the enormous use of the fuel in modern times may not be an important factor in filling the atmosphere with this substance, and consequently indirectly raising the temperature of the earth." Indeed, the scientific understanding that certain gases trap heat and warm the planet dates back to the 1850s. Eunice Foote discovered CO2's warming properties in 1856, and was the first scientist to make the connection between CO2 and climate change. Irish physicist John Tyndall, who often gets all the credit, didn't make the connection until 1859. By the turn of the 19th century, Svante August Arrhenius was quantifying how CO2 contributed to the greenhouse effect and later made the connection between global warming and fossil fuel combustion. In a 1917 paper, Alexander Graham Bell wrote that the unrestricted burning of fossil fuels "would have a sort of greenhouse effect ... the net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house." Popular Mechanics alone has run articles on climate change in 1912, 1930, 1940, 1957, 1964, 1988, and on and on - as it explained in an article earlier this year.
Halfway to boiling: the city at 50C
It is the temperature at which human cells start to cook... Once an urban anomaly, 50C is fast becoming reality
Imagine a city at 50C (122F). The pavements are empty, the parks quiet, entire neighbourhoods appear uninhabited. Nobody with a choice ventures outside. The only people in sight are those who do not have access to air conditioning: the poor, the homeless, undocumented labourers. Society is divided into the cool haves and the hot have-nots. There are fewer animals overall; many species of mammals and birds have migrated to cooler environments, perhaps at a higher altitude - or perished. Power grids are overloaded by cooling units. At 50C heat becomes toxic. Human cells start to cook, blood thickens, muscles lock around the lungs and the brain is choked of oxygen. In dry conditions, sweat can lessen the impact. But this protection weakens if there is already moisture in the air. A wet-bulb temperature (which factors in humidity) of just 35C can be fatal after a few hours to even the fittest person, and even under the most optimistic predictions for emissions reductions almost half the world's population will be exposed to potentially deadly heat for 20 days a year by 2100. Several cities in the Persian Gulf are getting increasingly accustomed to such heat. Currently, 354 major cities experience average summer temperatures in excess of 35C; by 2050, climate change will push this to 970, according to the recent "Future We Don't Want" study by the C40 alliance of the world's biggest metropolises. 50C is also uncomfortably near for tens of millions more people. This year, Chino, 50km (30 miles) from Los Angeles, hit a record of 48.9C, Sydney saw 47C, and Madrid and Lisbon also experienced temperatures in the mid-40s. New studies suggest France "could easily exceed" 50C by the end of the century while Australian cities are forecast to reach this point even earlier. Kuwait, meanwhile, could sizzle towards an uninhabitable 60C.
C40: The Future We Don't Want
Analysis shows that, unless governments take urgent steps to cut emissions, over 1.6 billion people living in close to 1000 cities face regular, extreme heatwaves in under 30 years time... equivalent to more than 40 percent of today's total urban population.
from the full Impact 2050 study at https://c40-production-images.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/impact2050report.pdf
Climate Change: Hundreds Of Plants Will Disappear From Netherlands
Netherlands average temperature is currently around 10 degrees. According to meteorological institute KNMI's climate scenarios this will increase to between 11 and 14 degrees by 2085. If average temperature rises by 3 degrees the country will be too hot for nearly 500 plant species, according to research Wageningen University published on Thursday. That is around 40 percent of all plant species in the country.
US climate report confirms: 2017 among hottest years ever
In its 28th annual State of the Climate report, published by the American Meteorological Society, the US agency confirmed findings from a meta-analysis in January of this year that the last three years - 2015, 2016 and 2017 - have been the hottest ever ... 2017 average global CO2 concentration in the atmosphere - 405 parts per million - is the highest it has been in 38 years of record-taking, also higher than ice-core samples dating back up to 800,000 years ... the Arctic saw its sea ice coverage reach its smallest annual maximum in 2017, while in Antarctica, overall sea ice was well below the average of the past several decades ... global average sea level rise increased to a new record high ... average sea surface temperature in 2017 was above that of 2016, continuing a clear long-term upward trend ... wide swing of rainfall extremes, with some regions experiencing remarkable rainfall and others extended drought.
2018 Is Shaping Up to Be the Fourth-Hottest Year. Yet We’re Still Not Prepared for Global Warming.
This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the future that scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change [but temperatures] are still rising... On the horizon is a future of cascading system failures threatening basic necessities like food supply and electricity. "We are living in a world that is not just warmer than it used to be. We haven’t reached a new normal," Dr. Swain cautioned. "This isn’t a plateau." Against that background, industrial emissions of carbon dioxide grew to record levels in 2017, after holding steady the previous three years. Carbon in the atmosphere was found to be at the highest levels in 800,000 years.
Weather and climate disasters made 2017 costliest year for US
The final tally of natural disasters in the US was $306 billion dollars, a study has shown, making 2017 the most expensive year on record.
Immense rains are causing more flash flooding, and experts say it's getting worse
"Things are definitely getting more extreme," said Andreas Prein, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "You just have to look at the records. All areas of the continental U.S. have seen increases in peak rainfall rates in the past 50 years. ... And there is a chance that we are underestimating the risk, actually."
A warmer world means a greater risk rain lands on snow, triggering floods
Musselman and a group of colleagues used historical data to sketch out what the rain-on-snow flood risk looks like across western North America - and how that risk is likely to change in a warming world. Their paper, published in Nature Climate Change this week, finds that ... at higher elevations, where once there would have been snow falling on a snowpack, rising temperatures will now cause rain to fall on that snow. The Sierra Nevada, Canadian Rockies, and Colorado River headwaters saw the highest increases in risk, with floods twice as likely in some cases. "Levees and dams need to be re-analyzed to see if they can safely withstand and handle this new pattern of flooding." This is particularly crucial, he adds, since "most of these dams and levees are old, and a good percentage of them are currently operating under marginal conditions."
Methane uptake from forest soils has 'fallen by 77% in three decades'
The amount of methane absorbed by forest soils has fallen by an average of 77% in the northern hemisphere over the past 27 years, a new study finds. The research, which analysed soil data taken from more than 300 studies, suggests that the world is currently "overestimating the role that forest soils play in trapping gas". The discovery "means that methane will accumulate much faster in the atmosphere"
Disappointing New Problem With Geo-Engineering
On Wednesday, Proctor and his colleagues ... unveiled the first global economic projection of how solar geo-engineering will affect the world's crops. Its conclusions, which are not positive, should not inspire confidence. "You're in an arena with a big bear," he told me. (The bear is climate change.) "And the question is: Should you throw a lion into the arena? You know, maybe they'll fight and kill each other. Or maybe they'll just both kill you." That lion is looking worse and worse. Recently, a surge of academic research has revealed that solar geo-engineering will be anything but straightforward. The results were published in this week's edition of the scientific journal Nature. Proctor compared them to a disappointing clinical trial.
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0417-3
The world is losing the war against climate change
[G]reenhouse-gas emissions are up again. So are investments in oil and gas. In 2017, for the first time in four years, demand for coal rose. Subsidies for renewables, such as wind and solar power, are dwindling in many places and investment has stalled; climate-friendly nuclear power is expensive and unpopular. It is tempting to think these are temporary setbacks and that mankind, with its instinct for self-preservation, will muddle through to a victory over global warming. In fact, it is losing the war... One reason is soaring energy demand, especially in developing Asia. In 2006-16, as Asia's emerging economies forged ahead, their energy consumption rose by 40%. The use of coal, easily the dirtiest fossil fuel, grew at an annual rate of 3.1%. Use of cleaner natural gas grew by 5.2% and of oil by 2.9%. The second reason is economic and political inertia. The more fossil fuels a country consumes, the harder it is to wean itself off them. Coal generates not merely 80% of India's electricity, but also underpins the economies of some of its poorest states (see Briefing). Panjandrums in Delhi are not keen to countenance the end of coal, lest that cripple the banking system, which lent it too much money, and the railways, which depend on it. Last is the technical challenge of stripping carbon out of industries beyond power generation. Steel, cement, farming, transport and other forms of economic activity account for over half of global carbon emissions. Politicians have an essential role to play in making the case for reform and in ensuring that the most vulnerable do not bear the brunt of the change. Perhaps global warming will help them fire up the collective will. Sadly, the world looks poised to get a lot hotter first.
Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now
Human carbon pollution is melting the Arctic, but aerosol pollution is slowing it down
A recent paper just published in the Journal of Climate by the American Meteorological Society takes an in-depth look at how fast the Arctic ice is melting and why. It turns out 23% of the warming caused by greenhouse gases was offset by the cooling from aerosols. Unfortunately, this isn't good news. It means that if/when humans reduce our aerosol pollution, the warming in the Arctic and the ice loss there will be worse. "If reducing the emissions of aerosols leads to an even faster warming of the Arctic, this will only further decrease the temperature gradient between the pole and the equator, likely adding to the destabilisation of Northern Hemisphere weather patterns. Never mind the longer term risks tied to sea level rise, methane release and changes to ocean currents. Not reducing aerosols isn't an option, either, and so we find ourselves in quite a predicament."
reporting on a study at https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0552.1
Lake Tahoe is warmer than ever before, new study shows
The study ... found that surface water temperatures [were] the warmest on record ... more than six degrees warmer than the previous year ... Tahoe Basin will also continue to warm and dry up in the next few decades.
Pummeled by drought and climate change, beloved Lake Tahoe in hot water
Lake Tahoe and the community around it are increasingly battered by climate change and drought, with the lake’s temperature climbing 10 times faster than the historic average ... now sees summer conditions for 26 more days than it did in 1968, boosting the danger of devastating wildfires, while the spring snowmelt has moved up 19 days since 1961.
World's Hottest Rain Fell In California, Setting New Record
It was 119 degrees (Fahrenheit) on July 24 in Imperial, California when it rained, according to weather expert Jeff Masters, prompting the hottest ever rainfall.
Planet at Risk of Heading Towards Apocalyptic, Irreversible 'Hothouse Earth' State
We only have 10-20 years to fix this.
Hothouse Earth is an apocalyptic nightmare where the global average temperatures is 4 to 5 degrees Celsius higher (with regions like the Arctic averaging 10 degrees C higher) than today, according to the study, "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sea levels would eventually be 10-60 meters higher as much of the world's ice melts. In these conditions, large parts of the Earth would be uninhabitable.
Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a [2C above preindustrial] planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced ... the Earth System may be approaching a planetary threshold that could lock in a continuing rapid pathway toward much hotter conditions ... propelled by strong, intrinsic, biogeophysical feedbacks difficult to influence by human actions, a pathway that could not be reversed, steered, or substantially slowed.
New Study: The Arctic Carbon Cycle is Speeding Up
A new NASA-led study using data from the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)shows that carbon in Alaska's North Slope tundra ecosystems spends about 13 percent less time locked in frozen soil than it did 40 years ago. In other words, the carbon cycle there is speeding up -- and is now at a pace more characteristic of a North American boreal forest than of the icy Arctic.
California wildfires will only get worse in the future because of climate change, experts say
What we're seeing over the last few years in terms of the wildfire season in California [is] very consistent with what we can expect in the future as global warming continues... California recorded 9,560 wildfires in 2017 - about 2,000 more than the year before, according to the US Forest Service. As of this of July, however, California wildfires had destroyed three times the amount of land compared to the time same period last year... But he US is not alone in this battle: Mr Diffenbaugh's research team found that global warming had increased the odds of record-setting hot events for more than 80 percent of the globe in recent decades.
Fossil fuel industry spent nearly $2 billion to kill U.S. climate action, new study finds
Industry has out-lobbied environmentalists 10-to-1 on climate since 2000.
Legislation to address climate change has repeatedly died in Congress. But a major new study says the policy deaths were not from natural causes - they were caused by humans, just like climate change itself is. Climate action has been repeatedly drowned by a devastating surge and flood of money from the fossil fuel industry - nearly $2 billion in lobbying since 2000 alone. This is according to stunning new analysis in the journal Climatic Change on "The climate lobby" by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle.
Here's another climate change concern: Superheated bugs in the soil, belching carbon
Increased heat is activating microbes in the soil, converting organic matter into carbon dioxide at a heightened rate... In the past, many researchers assumed that increased carbon dioxide would trigger a boost in growth of forests and vegetation that would capture carbon and counteract impacts of more rapid soil decay. This week's study casts doubt on that theory... Forests and grasslands are obvious reservoirs of carbon, but the planet's soils are actually larger storehouses... Scientists have have long known that certain soils worldwide were increasing outputs of carbon dioxide, but this week's study is the first to synthesize all of that research and provide a global estimate of the increase. "This study asks the question on a global scale," said Vanessa Bailey, a soil scientist at the Pacific Northwest laboratory who contributed to the research. "We are talking about a huge quantity of carbon."
also in AAAS EurekAlert https://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2018-08/dnnl-atr072918.php
Your [south Florida] flood insurance premium is going up again, and that's only the beginning
The bottom line: your flood insurance premium is going up again - and under a policy change the Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering, it could skyrocket even more in coming years [because FEMA is] looking into switching to risk-based pricing in 2020, which would end the subsidies most coastal communities enjoy on their flood insurance premiums and show the true dollar cost of living in areas repeatedly pounded by hurricanes and drenched with floods. "That means insurance is about to become very expensive" ... by charging homeowners the real cost it takes to insure their properties from flood risk... If there is a lapse (and there have been several in the last year of extensions) it would prevent insurers from writing new policies. Since banks demand flood insurance policies on homes with mortgages, this could slow down home sales... vulnerable South Florida could face economic chaos.
Scientists shocked by mysterious deaths of ancient trees
International scientists have discovered that most of the oldest and largest African baobab trees have died over the past 12 years... "We suspect that the demise of monumental baobabs may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Africa ... associated with increased temperature and drought," Dr Patrut told BBC News. "It's shocking and very sad to see them dying."
reporting on a study in Nature Plants https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-018-0170-5
Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon
As temperatures rise, the cedars' ecological comfort zone is moving up the mountains to higher altitudes, chasing the cold winters they need to reproduce. But here in the Barouk forest, part of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, south of Beirut, there isn't much farther up to go... A generation ago, it typically rained or snowed 105 days a year in the mountains. High up, snow stayed on the ground for three to four months. This past winter, there were just 40 days of rain and a only month of snow cover. "Climate change is a fact here," said Nizar Hani, the Shouf Biosphere's director.
Climate change is making the Arab world more miserable
Already-long dry seasons are growing longer and drier, withering crops. Heat spikes are a growing problem too, with countries regularly notching lethal summer temperatures. Stretch such trends out a few years and they seem frightening - a few decades and they seem apocalyptic. Extreme temperatures of 46C (115F) or more will be about five times more likely by 2050 than they were at the beginning of the century, when similar peaks were reached, on average, 16 days per year. By 2100 "wet-bulb temperatures" - a measure of humidity and heat - could rise so high in the Gulf as to make it all but uninhabitable
Canada's high Arctic glaciers at risk of disappearing completely, study finds
Using satellite imagery, researchers catalogued more than 1,700 glaciers in northern Ellesmere Island and traced how they had changed between 1999 and 2015... the glaciers had shrank by more than 1,700 sq km of over a 16-year period, representing a loss of about 6%. A previous study of glaciers in the region...showed a loss of 927 sq km between 1959 and 2000, hinting that the pace of loss may be increasing.
reporting on study at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/area-change-of-glaciers-across-northern-ellesmere-island-nunavut-between-1999-and-2015/597055ECFD496885D0CF0CB8C9528E8E#
In India, Summer Heat Could Soon Be Unbearable. Literally.
"These cities are going to become unlivable unless urban governments put in systems of dealing with this phenomenon and make people aware," said Sujata Saunik, who served as a senior official in the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and is now a fellow at the Harvard University School of Public Health. "It's a major public health challenge." Indeed, a recent analysis of climate trends in several of South Asia's biggest cities found that if current warming trends continued, by the end of the century, wet bulb temperatures - a measure of heat and humidity that can indicate the point when the body can no longer cool itself - would be so high that people directly exposed for six hours or more would not survive.
Global Warming in South Asia: 800 Million at Risk
Climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia, a region that is already home to some of the world's poorest and hungriest people, if nothing is done to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank warned Thursday in an ominous new study... across South Asia annual average temperatures are projected to rise by 2.2 degrees Celsius (3.9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050 relative to 1981 to 2010 conditions under a high emissions scenario. Temperatures are projected to rise 1.6 degrees Celsius if steps are taken to reduce global emissions. In the high emissions scenario, 800 million people stand to be at risk. Under the reduced-emissions scenario, that number falls to 375 million.
reporting on a World Bank study https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/28723
Where the River Runs Dry
The Colorado and America's water crisis.
The compact granted 7.5 million acre-feet per year to each basin. (An acre-foot is the amount of water that would cover an acre to a depth of a foot - roughly three hundred and twenty-five thousand gallons.) The total was based on estimates by hydrologists that the average annual flow of the Colorado was at least seventeen million acre-feet a year. Subsequent studies, including tree-ring analyses, have proved that the hydrologists were wrong. It's now known that the years on which the original estimates were based, in the early twentieth century, had been the wettest since the sixteen-hundreds, and that 1922, the year of the agreement, was one of the very wettest. Since then, there have been years when the total flow was less than a third of what the negotiators assumed, and scientists have identified ancient dry periods that lasted for many decades... The legal right to use every gallon is owned or claimed by someone - in fact, more than every gallon, since theoretical rights to the Colorado's flow (known as "paper water") vastly exceed its actual flow (known as "wet water"). That imbalance has been exacerbated by the drought in the Western United States, now in its sixteenth year, but even if the drought ended tomorrow problems would remain. The river has been "over-allocated" since the states in its drainage basin first began to divide the water among themselves, nearly a century ago, and scientists expect climate change to strain it further, in part by reducing precipitation in the mountains that feed it... The impact on human activity has been less obvious than it might have been, because the river's two huge reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, have acted like lower-basin credit cards. In 1998, both lakes were essentially full and, between them, stored more than fifty million acre-feet of water - roughly two and a half years' worth of the river's average total flow. Today, they contain less than half that much. In a paper published in 2008, two scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography wrote that "currently scheduled depletions are simply not sustainable."
California's Priority over the Central Arizona Project
One of the things that Arizona had to agree to, in order to get the CAP authorized, was to allow California to have senior priority over the CAP. In Arizona, the Central Arizona Project, that is, will be reduced till the point that it has no water, before California's 4.4 million acre-feet is cut.That agreement, that Arizona was going to be the junior partner, is coming back to haunt us.
The Law of the Colorado River: Coping with Severe Sustained Drought
The Colorado River Basin Project Act specifically gave California higher priority to receive its 4.4 maf of water than any diversions to provide water for the Central Arizona Project (CAP;. Arizona agreed to sub ordinate its CAP diversion rights in return for Cali fornia's support for the project, which was authorized in 1968.
The Implications of the Drought in the Colorado River Basin on Arizona's Water Supply
Arizona can use up to 2.8 million acre-feet of water annually from the Colorado River when certain conditions are met. However, not all water rights along the Colorado River are equal. Arizona's rights to the Colorado River are junior to other states' rights in part due to the creation of the Central Arizona Project. The Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968 created the Central Arizona Project, but it did not come without a cost. In exchange for California's congressional support for federal funding for the Central Arizona Project, Arizona guaranteed California's Colorado River entitlement as a priority over Arizona's. This agreement will continue to affect Arizona as water supplies in the Colorado River Basin get more constrained.
Arizona swings closer to shortage on Colorado River system
If or when a [water shortage] call is declared, Arizona would face the largest water reduction among the lower basin states which also includes California and Nevada. Overall, Arizona has junior water rights on the river and would face the steepest water cuts under a stage one shortage call ... California's allocation of 4.4 million acre feet would not be cut.
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
"Most of the damage that's going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later," says Barford, an authority on the "physical internet" -- the buried fiber optic cables, data centers, traffic exchanges and termination points that are the nerve centers, arteries and hubs of the vast global information network. "That surprised us. The expectation was that we'd have 50 years to plan for it. We don't have 50 years." [B]y the year 2033 more than 4,000 miles of buried fiber optic conduit will be underwater and more than 1,100 traffic hubs will be surrounded by water. ... the effects ... would ripple across the internet, says Barford, potentially disrupting global communications. The peer-reviewed study study ... only evaluated risk to infrastructure in the United States.
The methane time bomb
During much of the upper Cenozoic, the accumulation of organic matter in Polar Regions, as well as in bogs in tropical and subtropical zones, has created large reservoirs of methane, the most potent common greenhouse gas, vulnerable to release upon a rise in temperature. Global warming, driving a mean rise of 3 to 8C in the Arctic early during 2015-2018, is leading toward the release of billions of tons of methane into the atmosphere, from permafrost, lakes, shallow seas and sediments ... The triggering of methane release induced by anthropogenic transfer of carbon to the atmosphere is leading to a major shift in state of the terrestrial atmosphere and habitats.
Survival of the Richest
The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind
[The 1% know full well that climate collapse is coming soon. They call it "The Event."] Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, "How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?" The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down. This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers?-?if that technology could be developed in time... The mental gymnastics required for such a profound role reversal between humans and machines all depend on the underlying assumption that humans suck. Let's either change them or get away from them, forever. [But what they don't understand is that] being human is not about individual survival or escape. It's a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.
Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week
No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming. But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world... These various records add to a growing list of heat milestones set over the past 15 months that are part and parcel of a planet that is trending hotter as greenhouse gas concentrations increase because of human activity
2018 In Top 5 Pct. Of Netherlands' Driest Years
On Sunday the Netherlands had an average precipitation shortage of 155 mm, placing 2018 officially in the 5 percent driest years since the beginning of rainfall measurements in 1906... Over the next week, the weather in the Netherlands is expected to remain sunny and dry with a dry northeast wind. On such days around 7 mm of water can evaporate per day. As a result, Weeronline expects that the precipitation deficit will rise to 210 mm by mid-July.
MIT Technology Review: We still have no idea how to eliminate more than a quarter of energy emissions
Air travel, shipping, and manufacturing are huge sources of carbon that we lack good options for addressing.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611498/we-still-have-no-idea-how-to-eliminate-more-than-a-quarter-of-energy-emissions/ reporting on a study in Science http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6396/eaas9793
Climate change has turned Peru's glacial lake into a deadly flood timebomb
[Lake Palcacocha is] swollen with glacial meltwater like an almost-overflowing bathtub... a breakaway chunk of glacier could displace up to 15bn litres of meltwater ... "There are around 50,000 people living in the danger zone... even if you were able to warn the people, there could still be about 20,000 fatalities."
Record Warm Second Quarter In Netherlands
The second quarter of 2018 was the warmest second quarter in the Netherlands since temperature measurements started in 1901... the average temperature for the second quarter [was]15.2 degrees - much warmer than the usual average temperature of 12.5 degrees.
2017 Was the Second-Worst Year on Record for Tropical Tree Cover Loss
In total, the tropics experienced 15.8 million hectares (39.0 million acres) of tree cover loss in 2017 ... the equivalent of losing 40 football fields of trees every minute for an entire year ... tree cover loss has been rising steadily in the tropics over the past 17 years. Natural disasters like fires and tropical storms are playing an increasing role, especially as climate change makes them more frequent and severe. But clearing of forests for agriculture and other uses continues to drive large-scale deforestation.
Barents Sea seems to have crossed a climate tipping point
[A] team of Norwegian scientists is suggesting it has watched the climate reach a tipping point: the loss of Arctic sea ice has flipped the Barents Sea from acting as a buffer between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to something closer to an arm of the Atlantic... Sea-ice drift into the Barents sea dropped enough so that the 2010-2015 average was 40 percent lower than the 1979-2009 mean. [T]he surface water in this area is exchanging heat with the atmosphere and absorbing more sunlight during the long Arctic summer days. These two have combined to heat the top 100m of water dramatically. If the mean of its temperature from 1970-1999 is taken as a baseline, the temperatures from 2010-2016 are nearly four standard deviations higher. 2016-the most recent year we have validated data for-was 6.3 standard deviations higher. This has the effect of heating the intermediate water from above. Meanwhile, the warm Atlantic water will heat it from below. As a result, the cold intermediate water has essentially vanished [which will] make it extremely difficult for the sea ice to re-establish itself during the winter: "Increased Atlantic water inflow has recently enlarged the area where sea ice cannot form, causing reductions in the sea-ice extent." The water both starts out warmer and has increased salt content, making [winter] freezing more difficult.
reporting on a study in Nature Climate Change, 2018 Arctic warming hotspot in the northern Barents Sea linked to declining sea-ice import
Rising seas: 'Florida is about to be wiped off the map'
Sea level rises are not some distant threat; for many Americans they are very real. In an extract from her chilling new book, Rising, Elizabeth Rush details how the US coastline will be radically transformed in the coming years
Palm oil 'disastrous' for wildlife but here to stay, experts warn
The deforestation it causes is decimating species such as orangutans and tigers - but the alternatives could be worse
The analysis, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found that rainforest destruction caused by palm oil plantations damages more than 190 threatened species on the IUCN's red list, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. It also found that palm oil certified as "sustainable" is, so far, only marginally better in terms of preventing deforestation. However, alternative oil crops, such as soy, corn and rapeseed, require up to nine times as much land and switching to them could result in the destruction of wild habitat in other parts of the world
Our Climate Is Changing Rapidly. It's Time to Talk About Geoengineering.
Experts have suggested a number of methods that we could use ... though the technical challenges for implementing each would be immense. Accomplishing these proposals would also require a precise and sustained collaboration between nearly every nation on Earth, a feat that has never been accomplished. On top of that, scientists are still divided over the safety of geoengineering... "All the models suggest that if, say, you were geoengineering from now into 2100, and then suddenly stopped in 2100 ... you would get all of the global warming accumulated in the business as usual model, in about five years," Haywood says. This rebound, known as the "termination effect," means that if humans want to use any geoengineering scheme ... we would also have to dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the amount of emissions we produce... Where does this leave us? To make a decision about anything related to climate change, no matter if it's with geoengineering or reducing emissions, the process on the human side is fundamentally the same: We all need to sit at the table and agree to collaborate to make it work. Even if a miracle-pill geoengineering technique were to emerge tomorrow, one that would guarantee a return to pre-industrial climate without side effects, we would still all have to decide to test and implement it together. So the problem moving forward probably won't be a lack of scientific wherewithal or political heft - it's simply that we have trouble agreeing. That's a problem harder than any scientific challenge, and one as old as our species. Yet, in order to avoid a worst-case scenario, it's one we'll have to overcome.
Climate Change May Already Be Hitting the Housing Market
Between 2007 and 2017, average home prices in areas facing the lowest risk of flooding, hurricanes and wildfires have far outpaced those with the greatest risk, according to figures compiled for Bloomberg News by Attom Data Solutions, a curator of national property data. Homes in areas most exposed to flood and hurricane risk were worth less last year, on average, than a decade earlier.
Deadly Tensions Rise as India's Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low
[mostly on Shimla but also this:] A government report released on Thursday said that India was experiencing the worst water crisis in its history, threatening millions of lives and livelihoods. Some 600 million Indians, about half the population, face high to extreme water scarcity conditions, with about 200,000 dying every year from inadequate access to safe water, according to the report. By 2030, it said, the country's demand for water is likely to be twice the available supply. "There's global warming all over India, and Shimla is no exception," said Vineet Chawdhry, chief secretary of the state of Himachal Pradesh, whose capital is Shimla. "There are around 90 cities in India which are water stressed. They face crisis today, tomorrow and the day after," Mr. Singh said. "Shimla got more media attention, but many areas are facing water scarcity."
Germany Signals It Won't Target Transport for Quick Carbon Cuts
Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday is reviewing an update of national carbon emissions that show a widening chasm between promise and reality... Cabinet ministers are at loggerheads over policy ... "I'm not going to support the destruction of the European car industry," Scheuer, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, told Der Spiegel magazine.
Disasters Are Getting Costlier, So the U.S. Government Is Buying Reinsurance
Reinsurance is coverage bought by insurers -- or, in this case, FEMA -- as protection against unexpectedly high claims... In 2014, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae began buying reinsurance to protect against a drop in the value of their mortgage loans,including losses caused by natural disasters.
Pollinators, but No Pollen: Spring Heat Left Europe's Plants, Insects Out of Sync
In Austria, butterflies hatched early with the heat, but their flowers hadn't opened yet. Bees are under pressure, too. 'You can see the climate change.'
About 80 percent of all wild plants rely on insect pollinators, and the majority of food crops benefit from them, according to the European Commission report. But 10 percent of pollinating insects are "on the verge of extinction," and a third of all butterfly and bee species are declining, the report states. It warns that the loss of pollinators would cost billions of dollars and could threaten food security. "It's pretty clear that bumblebees will take a big global warming hit," University of Sussex ecologist Dave Goulson said. "Many bumblebee populations are small and stressed already, and their habitat is really fragmented. That's going to greatly hamper their ability to shift in response to global warming"
Leaked UN draft report warns of urgent need to cut global warming
Human-induced warming would exceed 1.5C by about 2040 if emissions continued at their present rate, the report found, but countries could keep warming below that level if they made "rapid and far-reaching" changes ... if emissions continued on their present pathway, there was no chance of limiting global temperature rises even to 3C.
reporting on https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-report-exclusive/exclusive-global-warming-set-to-exceed-15c-slow-growth-un-draft-idUSKBN1JA1HD
Global vegetable supply could plummet by more than a third due to climate change, says study
The world's supply of vegetables could fall by more than a third by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to combat climate change, according to a new study. Global average yields of common crops such as soy beans and lentils are set to decrease as a result of increased temperatures and water shortages ... warn researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Our analysis suggests that if we take a 'business as usual' approach, environmental changes will substantially reduce the global availability of these important foods," said co-author Professor Alan Dangour.
'Australia doesn't realise': worsening drought pushes farmers to the brink
Liverpool plains farmer Megan Kuhn says cows are being slaughtered because there is no way of feeding them after years of extreme weather
December was the end of their seventh calendar year of below-average rainfall. In the 12 months to May this year, they have had just over 50% of their annual average rainfall. "We can't get over a string of really hot summers. With the sheer consistency of extreme temperatures, the rate of evaporating is so high. We don't have any surface water left on our property." Last week the Timor dam was at 23.6 % of its capacity
'Carbon bubble' could spark global financial crisis, study warns
Plunging prices for renewable energy and rapidly increasing investment in low-carbon technologies could leave fossil fuel companies with trillions in stranded assets and spark a global financial crisis, a new study has found. A sudden drop in demand for fossil fuels before 2035 is likely, according to the study ... published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that a sharp slump in the value of fossil fuels would cause this bubble to burst, and posits that such a slump is likely before 2035 based on current patterns of energy use... detailed simulations found the demand drop would take place even if major nations undertake no new climate policies, or reverse some previous commitments. That is because advances in technologies for energy efficiency and renewable power, and the accompanying drop in their price, have made low-carbon energy much more economically and technically attractive.
the study is at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0182-1
"Die off, soft landing or full-blown collapse": Maths model reveals three possible fates facing humanity, and none are pretty
a study from the University of Rochester in New York which has mathematically modelled the outcome of an intelligent species mining a planet's resources and growing their populations accordingly. There were three outcomes, and they're varying flavours of bad.
1) The Die Off: this was by far the most common outcome - if you wanted to bet on humanity's fate, this would have pretty short odds... the population explodes and burns through the planet's resources pushing the world away from comfortable conditions. The population exceeds the planet's limit, and the life rapidly dies off to a sustainable level... as high as 70% of the population dying before things level out... Professor Frank's words here: "In reality, it's not clear that a complex technological civilization like ours could survive such a catastrophe."
2) The Soft Landing: the best option, but that's not saying a great deal... the same population growth, leading to the planet irreversibly changing, but somehow civilisation transitions to a "new, balanced equilibrium." The planet transforms, but those to blame for its transformation get to live another day.
3) Full-blown Collapse: Like the previous two scenarios, the population explodes, but in this version of events the planet just can't cope. Planets facing this model had conditions that "deteriorated so fast the civilisation's population nose-dived all the way to extinction."
4) The researchers [also] tested a model where the planets would at some point switch from high-impact resources to low-impact - like if the whole of Earth abandoned fossil fuels and installed solar panels. In some of the scenarios, this made surprisingly little difference - and some planetary models still collapsed. For these poor planets, going green only delayed the inevitable
reporting on a study at https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2017.1671 which notes "In addition, values of L will be directly relevant to discussions of Fermi's paradox, as very low values could be seen as a solution to the question of "where are they" (the answer being "gone")."
Tourists told to stay away from Indian city of Shimla due to water crisis
Residents of the picturesque Indian hill station Shimla are begging tourists to stay away amid a severe drinking water shortage that is being compared to Cape Town's water crisis. Water supplies have been critically low for at least the past three years but ran out completely on 20 May.
A Deadly Heat Wave Is Sweeping Over Pakistan
Temperatures in [Karachi] reached 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday... temperatures could climb as high as 50C (122F) by the end of the month. Research published last year in Science Advances shows that extreme heat is likely to get worse in the region as the climate changes. The research focused on wet bulb temperature, which measures heat and humidity. The study identified a wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) as the "upper limit on human survivability in a natural (not air-conditioned) environment." The results show that if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, parts of South Asia could become uninhabitable at certain times of the year.
[Karachi] Is Running Out of Water
Karachi, home to more than 20 million people, is among the most water-stressed cities in the world, only able to meet half of its daily water demand. ... linked to myriad factors including climate change, mismanagement of water resources, and corruption. Most of all, however, a rising population increasing at a rate of 4.5 percent a year creates a strain on the finite water supply. Pakistan ranks in the top ten of countries worst affected by climate change, and water shortages are likely to deepen in both intensity and frequency in the coming decade. Pakistan's national water supply is predicted to reach critical levels of scarcity by 2025.
Earth's climate to increase by 4 degrees by 2084 [possibly by 2064]
new analysis that shows the Earth's climate would increase by 4 C, compared to pre-industrial levels, before the end of 21st century ... in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-018-7160-4) ... compared 39 coordinated climate model experiments from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (https://www.wcrp-climate.org/wgcm-cmip), which develops and reviews climate models to ensure the most accurate climate simulations possible. They found that most of the models projected an increase of 4C as early as 2064 and as late as 2095 in the 21st century, with 2084 appearing as the median year." https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-018-7160-4) ... compared 39 coordinated climate model experiments from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (https://www.wcrp-climate.org/wgcm-cmip), which develops and reviews climate models to ensure the most accurate climate simulations possible. They found that most of the models projected an increase of 4C as early as 2064 and as late as 2095 in the 21st century, with 2084 appearing as the median year.
What 'decarbonization'? The world will soon be burning 100 million barrels of oil per day
Within a year, world oil consumption will top 100 million barrels of oil per day ... percentage of fossil fuels in the world's energy mix - coal, oil and natural gas - is still lingering well above 80 per cent, a figure that has changed little in 30 years... despite being challenged by serious environmental policies, financial pressures, viable alternative systems, public awareness and social activism... Oil and gas are growing especially fast. Recently published data reminds us that we're consuming hydrocarbons faster than ever, at robust rates on a global absolute basis
The year is 2050, and as climate change takes hold the bees will be the first to fall
Using climate change models, Jeff Price, a biodiversity researcher at the University of East Anglia in Norwich has compiled a list of Norfolk-based species that are unlikely to stick around if global temperature increases carry on as projected. There are 13 bumblebee species on Price's list, as well as 24 birds, 15 trees and some 270 moths that could vanish altogether if global temperatures rise by 3.2 degrees centigrade.
In a Warming West, the Rio Grande Is Drying Up
With spring runoff about one-sixth of average and more than 90 percent of New Mexico in severe to exceptional drought, conditions here are extreme. Even in wetter years long stretches of the riverbed eventually dry as water is diverted to farmers, but this year the drying began a couple of months earlier than usual. A study last year of the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million people and is far bigger than the Rio Grande, found that flows from 2000 to 2014 were nearly 20 percent below the 20th century average... "Both of these rivers are poster children for what climate change is doing to the Southwest," said Jonathan T. Overpeck, dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and an author of the Colorado study.
Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things
Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/15/1711842115). The world's 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.Another surprise is that the teeming life revealed in the oceans ... turns out to represent just 1% of all biomass. The vast majority of life is land-based ... The new work reveals that farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% being wild. The picture is even more stark for mammals - 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals. [Comparisons with] the time before humans became farmers and the industrial revolution began reveal the full extent of the huge decline. Just one-sixth of wild mammals, from mice to elephants, remain, surprising even the scientists. In the oceans, three centuries of whaling has left just a fifth of marine mammals in the oceans ... Despite humanity's supremacy, in weight terms Homo sapiens is puny. Viruses alone have a combined weight three times that of humans, as do worms. Fish are 12 times greater than people and fungi 200 times as large. But our impact on the natural world remains immense."
Earth just had its 400th straight warmer-than-average month thanks to global warming
Last month marked the planet's 400th consecutive month with above-average temperatures, federal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. The cause for the streak? Unquestionably, it's climate change, caused by humanity's burning of fossil fuels.
April was Earth's 400th warmer-than-normal month in a row
In every single month after February 1985, the average global temperature has been warmer than normal - 400 months in a row.
Arctic Sea Ice Is Getting Younger. Here Is Why That Is a Problem.
Young, thin sea ice melts faster, putting Arctic ecosystems in danger
Since 1984, the percentage of multiyear ice cover has declined from 61 percent to just 34 percent, according to a new report from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). And the oldest sea ice-ice that's been frozen for at least five years-now accounts for just 2 percent of the ice cover.
Emissions of banned ozone-eating chemical somehow are rising
When a hole in the ozone formed over Antarctica, countries around the world in 1987 agreed to phase out several types of ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Production was banned, emissions fell and the hole slowly shrank. But starting in 2013, emissions of the second most common kind started rising, according to a study in Wednesday's journal Nature . The chemical, called CFC11, was used for making foam, degreasing stains and for refrigeration. "Emissions today are about the same as it was nearly 20 years ago,"
Uncertainty in long-run economic growth likely points toward greater emissions, climate change costs
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers from the University of Illinois and Yale University ... suggest more than a 35 percent probability that emissions concentrations will exceed those assumed in even the most severe of available climate change scenarios because of the larger range of growth rates. "In the absence of meaningful climate policy, higher baseline growth scenarios likely imply higher emissions growth around the world."
Scientists concerned by dramatic decline in [NL] insect population
The insect population of the Netherlands has fallen dramatically in the last 20 years, according to a detailed year-long study by the nature watchdog Natuurmonumenten ... the figures were in line with a German study of 63 rural areas, published last October, which found that the total volume of insects had fallen by 75%.
Shrinking glaciers, bigger fires and hotter nights: How climate change is altering California
As global warming accelerates, California is getting hotter and drier. Trees and animals are moving to higher ground. Air conditioning is an increasing necessity. More winter precipitation is falling as rain and there's less spring snowmelt to satisfy the water demands of farms and cities. "From record temperatures to proliferating wildfires and rising seas, climate change poses an immediate and escalating threat to California's environment, public health, and economic vitality," says a new report by dozens of scientists and compiled by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
CEPA report is at https://oehha.ca.gov/climate-change/report/2018-report-indicators-climate-change-california
Precipitation whiplash and climate change threaten California's freshwater
Almost two-thirds of California's freshwater originate in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The California Department of Water Resources found last month that the water content in the Sierra snowpack was about half its historical average for the beginning of April despite late winter storms.
Another extreme heat wave strikes the North Pole
In four of the past five winters, the North Pole has witnessed dramatic temperatures spikes, which previously were rare. Now, in the lead up to summer, the temperature has again shot up to unusually high levels at the tip of the planet. In just the past few days, the temperature at the North Pole has soared to the melting point of 32 degrees, which is about 30-35 degrees (17-19 Celsius) above normal. Much of the entire Arctic north of 80 degrees latitude is abnormally warm. The temperature averaged over the whole region appears to be the warmest on record for the time of year ... Already, Arctic sea ice is near its lowest extent on record. The Bering and Chukchi seas have never had so little ice in recorded history.
Pakistani city breaks April record with day of 50C heat
A Pakistani city has set a global record temperature for the month of April, with the mercury rising to more than 50C on Monday, prompting fears that people might leave to escape even higher temperatures when summer sets in.
see also: Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people
New analysis assesses impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the "wet bulb" temperature. Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.
from a journal article at http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322
Shock and Thaw - Alaskan Sea Ice Just Took a Steep, Unprecedented Dive
Winter sea ice cover in the Bering Sea did not just hit a record low in 2018; it was half that of the previous lowest winter on record (2001), says John Walsh, chief scientist of the International Arctic Research Center at The University of Alaska Fairbanks. "There's never ever been anything remotely like this for sea ice" in the Bering Sea going back more than 160 years, says Rick Thoman, an Alaska-based climatologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Earth's carbon dioxide levels continue to soar, at highest point in 800,000 years
Carbon dioxide - the gas scientists say is most responsible for global warming - reached its highest level in recorded history last month, at 410 parts per million. This amount is highest in at least the past 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Prior to the onset of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels had fluctuated over the millennia but had never exceeded 300 parts per million. "We keep burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide keeps building up in the air," said Scripps scientist Ralph Keeling, who maintains the longest continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth. "It's essentially as simple as that."
I Felt Despair About Climate Change-Until a Brush With Death Changed My Mind
Leukemia and climate change have more in common than you might think.
Inevitably, the climate will warm; whole ecosystems will be lost; and someday, there will be a last generation of humans on Earth. But the years we can postpone each loss, and each wild place and creature saved, are incalculably valuable. And so I keep teaching, and processing, and working to stave off the inevitable. I don't know if any of those things will truly prevent catastrophic changes on Earth; I suspect not. But I give these gifts freely, hopefully, and in the knowledge that they are all I have to give. Nothing we can do will prevent the Earth from being deeply transformed. Maybe the next generation, my children or grandchildren, will be the last to live in large-scale human civilization. Or, maybe the efforts of me, my students, and millions of other like-minded folks will push back the inevitable collapse for another 100 years, or 500 years, perhaps allowing us to coexist longer with the wonder of wild places and creatures. There is no preventing the inevitable, but the delay is precious. It is all we have.
A Population That Pollutes Itself Into Extinction (and It's Not Us)
Jeff Gore, a biophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his colleagues Christoph Ratzke and Jonas Denk, report that when a sample of Paenibacillus sp., a soil bacteria, is ... allowed to grow at will, the microbes end up polluting their local environment so quickly and completely that the entire population soon kills itself off. In essence, the researchers said, the microbes commit "ecological suicide."
Life on Earth Is Under Assault-But There's Still Hope
The Earth's life support system is failing. Nearly everywhere, the various forms of non-human life are in decline, according to a series of landmark international reports released Thursday in Medellin, Colombia. One of the studies in the assessment, published in the journal Science, found that 58 percent of Earth's land surface-where 71 percent of all humans live-has already lost enough biodiversity "to question the ability of ecosystems to support human societies."
Water shortages could affect 5bn people by 2050, UN report warns
Humans use about 4,600 cubic km of water every year, of which 70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and 10% to households, says the report, which was launched at the start of the triennial World Water Forum. Global demand has increased sixfold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at the rate of 1% each year. In drought belts encompassing Mexico, western South America, southern Europe, China, Australia and South Africa, rainfall is likely to decline. The shortage cannot be offset by groundwater supplies, a third of which are already in distress. Nor is the construction of more dams and reservoirs likely to be a solution... Water quality is also deteriorating. Since the 1990s, pollution has worsened in almost every river in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it is expected to deteriorate further in the coming two decades, mainly due to agriculture runoffs.. "We all know that water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration and even to conflict within and between countries ... Ensuring the sustainable use of the planet's resources is vital for ensuring long-term peace and prosperity."
'We're doomed': [UK scholar and political/social scientist] Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention
"The outcome is death, and it's the end of most life on the planet because we're so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so." Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his "last will and testament". His last intervention in public life. "I'm not going to write anymore because there's nothing more that can be said"
California's Water Whiplash Is Only Going To Get Worse
California was a land of extremes well before humans started pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but Swain says that natural drought-to-deluge boomerang is already turning into whiplash. Between 2013 and 2016 the state experienced the driest three years in state history. Toward the end of 2016 a cluster of atmospheric river storms set rainfall records, causing mudslides, a major bridge collapse, and a failure on the Oroville Dam's primary spillway. Months later the largest wildfire in state history burned 280,000 acres outside of LA followed shortly by more floods and deadly mudslides.This caroming between extremes year to year is only expected to increase as a warming climate allows the atmosphere to hold exponentially more water.
What Is Eating Away at the Greenland Ice Sheet?
A living carpet of microbes, dust and wind-blown soot is exacerbating ice melt as Arctic temperatures rise, and it's raising alarms about sea level rise.
The problem isn't just rising temperatures: soot from ships, wildfires and distant power plants, as well as dust and a living carpet of microbes on the surface of the ice, are all speeding up the melting.
One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true
The new research, based on ocean measurements off the coast of East Antarctica, shows that melting Antarctic glaciers are indeed freshening the ocean around them. And this, in turn, is blocking a process in which cold and salty ocean water sinks below the sea surface in winter... the melting of Antarctica's glaciers appears to be triggering a "feedback" loop in which that melting, through its effect on the oceans, triggers still more melting... it would be a Southern Hemisphere analogue of a process that has already caused great worry and drawn considerably more attention - a potential slowdown of the overturning circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, thanks to freshening of the ocean from the melting of Greenland.
North Atlantic ocean currents are slowing
The North Atlantic currents which help to warm north-west Europe have slowed significantly since the last century, scientists confirm.
"The evidence we're now able to provide is the most robust to date," says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute, who conceived the study. "We've analysed all the available sea surface temperature data sets, comprising data from the late 19th century until the present. The specific trend pattern we found in measurements looks exactly like what is predicted by the computer simulations as a result of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream system, and I see no other plausible explanation for it."
Germany agrees to take in 10,000 more migrants selected by UN refugee agency
[Woo hoo, ten thousand refugees. In a few years there will be ten million seeking entry.]
One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds
The State of the World's Birds, a five-year compendium of population data from the best-studied group of animals on the planet, reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by the expansion and intensification of agriculture... According to the report, at least 40% of bird species worldwide are in decline, with researchers blaming human activity for the losses.
Since 2016, Half of All Coral In the Great Barrier Reef Has Died
A new paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, reports that the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its corals since 2016. The authors inspected every one of its reefs, surveying them on an almost species-by-species basis, and found the damage to be widespread across the entire ecosystem. From the report: "On average, across the Great Barrier Reef, one in three corals died in nine months," said Terry Hughes, an author of the paper and the director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the Australian government's federal research program devoted to corals. "You could say [the ecosystem] has collapsed."
Western [US] Snowpack Trends
2011 and 2017 were the only two years this decade in which the snowpack was above normal... drought returned to California after last year's wet season, with extreme drought now extending eastward from California to the Southern Plains. Arizona and New Mexico are particularly dry, with each state receiving less than half of its normal snowfall through the end of March... While the West has a long history of droughts and wet periods, the droughts have been getting more intense over the past century. This has led to a depletion of deeper groundwater... water managers in 40 states expect water shortages in some parts of their states in the next 10 years.
World's largest high Arctic lake shows startling new evidence of climate change
Remote areas in Canada's Arctic region - once thought to be beyond the reach of human impact - are responding rapidly to warming global temperatures, the University of Toronto's Igor Lehnherr has found. His research, published in Nature Communications, is the first to aggregate and analyze massive data sets on Lake Hazen, the world's largest lake by volume located north of the Arctic Circle. "Even in a place so far north, it's no longer cold enough to prevent the glaciers from shrinking," says the U of T Mississauga geographer and lead author of the study. "If this place is no longer conducive for glaciers to grow, there are not many other refuges left on the planet."
Underwater melting of Antarctic ice far greater than thought, study finds
Warming waters have caused the base of ice near the ocean floor around the south pole to shrink by 1,463 square kilometres ... suggests climate change is affecting the Antarctic more than previously believed and is likely to prompt global projections of sea-level rise to be revised upward... "What's happening is that Antarctica is being melted away at its base. We can't see it, because it's happening below the sea surface," said Professor Andrew Shepherd, one of the authors of the paper.
An alarming 10 percent of Antarctica's coastal glaciers are now in retreat, scientists find
Antarctica's ocean-front glaciers are retreating, according a new satellite survey that raises additional concerns about the massive continent's potential contribution to rising sea levels... the more glaciers are retreating, the more one worries about sea-level rise. Retreating grounding lines can expose more ice to the ocean, allowing it to flow outward more rapidly.
Study indicates that climate change will wreak havoc on California agriculture
But the researchers focused on a different aspect of California agriculture: You can kiss much of it goodbye because of climate change. The paper, published in the journal Agronomy last month, is the most thorough review of the literature on the regional impact of climate change in recent memory. It makes grim reading. Disruption is already evident with some crops in some regions, the paper notes... but that's nothing compared to what lies ahead. "The increased rate and scale of climate change," the researchers say, "is beyond the realm of experience for the agricultural community."
reporting on a paper in Agronomy "Climate Change Trends and Impacts on California Agriculture: A Detailed Review" https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4405251/Agronomy-08-00025.pdf
The Artificial Intelligence apocalypse will be a corporate hostile takeover, not Skynet
1) an Artificial Intelligence (AI) can become an Algorithmic Entity (AE) -- a fully autonomous legal person -- when an AI is merged with a corporation as its owner and controller. 2) an AE - devoid of all human control - is likely to plunge into crime as the most efficient means of fulfilling its objectives and that an AE has the particular characteristics to make it an extremely successful and ruthless criminal. 3) how would a lawful AE comport itself? Goody Two-Shoes AE would still be an awful citizen even as it scrupulously obeyed the law. 4) The major powers are suspicious of the US under our current regime and unlikely to cooperate. Our own political leadership is in thrall to the ideology that the state should regulate next to nothing. The chances of preventatively dealing with this threat, internally or internationally, are virtually nil. So, in that spirit, I suggest you all join me in welcoming our new AE overlords. They'll be arriving soon.
Netherlands Butterfly Population Declined 40 Percent Since 1992
Since 1992, the number of butterflies in the country dropped by around 40 percent, ANP reports... because heathlands are closing up as a result of too high concentrations of nitrogen and its habitat is being destroyed.
Alarmed conservationists call for urgent action to fix 'America's wildlife crisis'
One-third of species in the US are vulnerable to extinction, a crisis that has ravaged swaths of creatures such as butterflies, amphibians, fish and bats, according to a report compiled by a coalition of conservation groups. A further one in five species face an even greater threat, with a severe risk of being eliminated amid a "serious decline" in US biodiversity, the report warns... 40% of freshwater fish species in the US now vulnerable or endangered. "Species are living in smaller patches of habitat and not interacting with other members," said Erle Ellis, a professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland. Ellis has co-authored research on how the world is moving toward its sixth great mass extinction event. "Extinctions are ramping up, and if that continues it will be one for the history books for the whole planet."
More Than 75 Percent of Earth's Land Areas Are 'Broken,' Major Report Finds
Once-productive lands have become deserts, are polluted, or deforested, putting 3.2 billion people at risk.
These once-productive lands have either become deserts, are polluted, or have been deforested and converted for unsustainable agricultural production. This is a major contributor to increased conflict and mass human migration, and left unchecked, could force as many as 700 million to migrate by 2050 ... It was written by more than 100 leading experts from 45 countries for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). IPBES is the 'IPCC for biodiversity,' a scientific assessment of the status of non-human life that makes up the Earth's life support system. Less than 25 percent of the Earth's land surface has escaped the substantial impacts of human activity-and by 2050, this will have fallen to less than 10 percent. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ne9nkq/how-will-we-produce-food-in-the-future-soil-degradation-climate-change-pollution
We've lost half our wildlife. Now's the time to shout about it
Intensive farming is the problem. Three generations of making agriculture more industrial have given Europe cheap food on a mammoth scale, but a terrible environmental price has eventually been paid, which we are only now understanding. The heart of the matter is universal pesticide use: we benefit from farming wholly based on poison, which has exterminated more and more of the insects at the base of myriad food chains in the natural world.
Paul Ehrlich: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades'
Fifty years after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge ... The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted "hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death" in the 1970s - a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture. Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.
When will the US feel the heat of global warming?
[The] authors developed a simple measure: the year in which half of the heat waves wouldn't have qualified as heat waves if it weren't for the influence of climate change. For the US West, that point was crossed in 2028. The West was followed by the Great Lakes, which crossed the threshold a decade later in 2037.... In the Northern Plains, the 50-percent threshold wasn't crossed until 2056, while the Southern Plains didn't have a clear signal of climate change until 2074... heat-related fatalities have been the biggest weather-related cause of death in the US. Identifying the areas most at risk of increased heat would help us prepare for a future where that's looking increasingly inevitable. And, in the case of the West Coast, it may be arriving in as little as a decade.
Last year dashed hopes for a climate change turnaround
After three flat years that had hinted at a possible environmental breakthrough, carbon dioxide emissions from the use of energy rose again by 1.4 percent in 2017. Global coal demand increased 1 percent last year, following two years of declines, the IEA found. Demand for oil and gas surged even more, at 1.6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
Flooding and heavy rains rise 50% worldwide in a decade, figures show [also: a complete "switch off of the gulf stream" increasingly thought possible]
1) Global floods and extreme rainfall events have surged by more than 50% this decade, and are now occurring at a rate four times higher than in 1980, according to a new report. Other extreme climatological events such as storms, droughts and heatwaves have increased by more than a third this decade and are being recorded twice as frequently as in 1980, the paper by the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (Easac) says. The paper, based partly on figures compiled by the German insurance company Munich Re, also shows that climate-related loss and damage events have risen by 92% since 2010. The Easac study, Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation, looked at new data and models focused on a potential slowdown of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, due to an influx of freshwater from melted ice sheets in Greenland. It was compiled by experts from 27 national science academies in the EU, Norway and Switzerland, although the paper was not peer-reviewed.
2) The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed the probability of a [gulf stream] slowdown before 2100 at more than 90% - or "very likely". However, a complete "switch off of the gulf stream - or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) - is increasingly thought possible by some scientists. Some studies say this could lower land temperatures in the UK, Greenland, Iceland and Scandinavia by up to 9C. UK arrays positioned in the north Atlantic measured a 30% drop in AMOC strength between 2009-10, the Easac study says. And while uncertainties persist about the pace and scale of possible future changes, the decline in Gulf Stream strength itself has now been "confirmed".
'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides
Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, because insects they feed on have disappeared
The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared. ... similar trends across Europe, estimating that flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years.
Plight of Phoenix: how long can the world's 'least sustainable' city survive?
Phoenix gets less than eight inches of rainfall each year; most of the water supply for central and southern Arizona is pumped from Lake Mead, fed by the Colorado river over 300 miles away. That river is drying up. This winter, snow in the Rocky Mountains, which feeds the Colorado, was 70% lower than average. Last month, the US government calculated that two thirds of Arizona is currently facing severe to extreme drought... The Hoover Dam holds much of the Colorado's flow in the vast Lake Mead reservoir, but the river itself is sorely depleted. That water has now dropped to within a few feet of levels that California, Nevada and Arizona, which all rely on it, count as official shortages. [BDS: at which point the CAP protocols kick in and AZ gets nothing.]
Climate change soon to cause mass movement, World Bank warns
Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating "hotspots" where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank... Such flows of people could cause enormous disruption, threatening governance and economic and social development
Part of the Great Barrier Reef exposed to more CO2; results are grim
Results from the ocean mimic those from the lab: We're screwed.
They provide homes to about a quarter of the world's fish, which many people rely on as a food source. They can act as a barrier to rising sea levels, and they can protect coastlines from eroding. But thanks to all the carbon we've pumped into the air, coral reefs are disappearing. Fast.
'Game changer': New vulnerability to climate change in ocean food chain
A team of researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) [demonstrated] how ocean acidification from the absorption of CO2 is affecting tiny plants known as phytoplankton...the team demonstrated how the microscopic plants require carbonate ions to acquire iron from the water to grow. As CO2 levels rise, the oceans have less carbonate, affecting phytoplankton's ability to secure sufficient nutrient iron for growth. In fact, the concentration of sea surface carbonate ions are on course to drop by half by the end of this century.
Research hints at tipping point in the Atlantic's currents
A new study, however, suggests that there's a tipping point for the Atlantic conveyor that could be reached much sooner. It only relies indirectly on warm temperatures; instead, it is driven by the melting of the Greenland Icecap. And the new research suggests we've already gone nearly halfway to the tipping point.
Wanna limit global warming to 1.5C? Get cracking
Analysis breaks down what it would take-and it's a lot.
...it should come as no surprise that 1.5-degree scenarios involve herculean transformations of our behavior. Global emissions would have to peak within the next few years and then drop like a rock...we would probably emit the maximum allowable total of greenhouse gas in less than a decade.
Drastic Arctic warm event stuns scientists, as record-breaking temperatures reach the North Pole
Not only was the region near the North Pole the warmest it has been during the month of February since at least the 1950s, but one of the northernmost land-based weather stations, known as Cape Morris Jesup, exceeded the freezing mark on an unprecedented nine separate days during the month. On Feb. 25, that weather station remained above freezing for about 24 hours, which is virtually unheard of during February, when there is no sunlight reaching the ground there. Arctic sea ice in the Bering Sea and to the north of Greenland actually declined during February, a time when sea ice usually expands toward its seasonal maximum in early to mid-March.
Spring is Springing Earlier, Especially at the Poles
The study, published in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports, found that for every 10 degrees north from the equator you move, spring arrives about four days earlier than it did a decade ago. For example, at southern to mid latitudes such as Los Angeles, New Orleans or Dallas, the study suggests spring might be arriving a mere one day earlier than it did a decade ago. Farther north, in Seattle, Chicago or Washington D.C., it might be arriving four days earlier. And if you live in the Arctic, it might be arriving as much as 16 days earlier.
journal article at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22258-0
Jason Box: Earth's Ice Is Melting Much Faster Than Forecast. Here's Why That's Worrying.
If the past decade of scientific inquiry is any indication, I'd say we are in for more surprises [because d]espite decades of progress by many clever scientists engaged with climate modeling, climate models used to inform policymakers don't yet encode key pieces of physics that have ice melting so fast ... climate models have under-predicted the loss rate of snow on land by a factor of four and the loss of sea ice by a factor of two. What ends up in global assessment reports intended to help guide policy decisions and national discussions of climate change are very conservative averages of dozens of models that don't include the latest, higher sensi tivity physics. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on it going faster than forecast.
Jason Box on Youtube explaining all this
"Freakishly Warm" Arctic Weather Has Scientists Reconsidering Worst-Case Scenarios on Climate Change
Jason Box interview, explaining what is going on
Climate Migrants Might Reach One Billion by 2050
Imagine a world with as many as one billion people facing harsh climate change impacts resulting in devastating droughts and/or floods, extreme weather, destruction of natural resources, in particular lands, soils and water, and the consequence of severe livelihoods conditions, famine and starvation.
Heat Waves Creeping Toward a Deadly Heat-Humidity Threshold
If global warming continues on its current pace, heat waves in South Asia will begin to create conditions so hot and humid that humans cannot survive outdoors for long ... About 1.5 billion people live in the crescent-shaped region identified as the highest-risk area in a new study by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University ... The researchers focused on a key human survivability threshold first identified in a 2010 study, when U.S. and Australian researchers showed there is an upper limit to humans' capacity to adapt to global warming. That limit is expressed as a wet-bulb temperature ... "Not even the fittest of humans can survive, even in well-ventilated shaded conditions, when the wet-bulb temperature stays above 35," said study co-author Jeremy Pal of Loyola Marymount University ... In 2015, a related study reached similar conclusions about the Persian Gulf region, projecting an even higher number of extremely hot days that could make some places unlivable ... East Asia (including parts of China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula) is another potentially vulnerable region.
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322
7,000 underground gas bubbles poised to 'explode' in Arctic
Scientists have discovered as many as 7,000 gas-filled 'bubbles' expected to explode in Actic regions of Siberia after an exercise involving field expeditions and satellite surveillance, TASS reported. Alexey Titovsky, director of Yamal department for science and innovation, said: 'At first such a bump is a bubble, or 'bulgunyakh' in the local Yakut language. 'With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas. This is how gigantic funnels form.'
Russian scientists find 7,000 Siberian hills possibly filled with explosive gas
Russian scientists recently discovered 7,000 earthen knobs erupting from the Siberian Arctic, each the size of a small hill. It was as though the permafrost had broken out into giant grass-covered mounds. What's more, an unknown number of these bubbles could contain methane and explode ... Such pingos are typically up to a kilometer in diameter (six-tenths of a mile) and several tens of yards high. But the smaller, methane-filled bulges do not fit the classical definition of a pingo ... When researchers drill straight down into a traditional pingo, they hit the kernel of ice at the center. But if someone were to take a drill to an alternative pingo? "That's not good news," as Romanovsky put it. The gas within the hill is not only under immense pressure but is quite flammable." ... It is possible that alternative pingos exist in North America. The conditions seem ripe for it in the natural gas fields of Canada and Alaska.
How Air Pollution Has Put a Brake on Global Warming
Norwegian climate scientist Bjørn H. Samset talks about the results of his team’s recent research showing that aerosols linked to human activities cool the planet far more than previously believed.
Scientists have long known that these aerosols serve to block incoming solar radiation and temporarily cool the planet, but now an international team of scientists has quantified that cooling effect ... the volume of human-created aerosols is so great that they have counteracted the effect of global warming to a certain extent. There is a kind of tug of war taking place between the warming greenhouse gases and the mainly cooling aerosols.
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017GL076079
If the Planet is Warming, Why am I Freezing? [wavy jet stream due to polar vortex breaking down]
Yale Climate Connections on what is happening with the polar vortex (= jet stream) and why this a bad sign for climate change
Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese
As the Earth's frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the surface through permafrost that's starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas, scientists said.
Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape
You can think of the Arctic permafrost as a giant kitchen freezer. If you put organic (carbon-based) matter in your freezer, the food will stay intact. But if the freezer compressor breaks, it will slowly heat up. As it heats up, bacteria begin to eat your food. The bacteria make the food go rotten. And as the bacteria consume the food, they produce carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases and chemicals that smell terrible. For tens of thousands of years, permafrost has acted like a freezer, keeping 1,400 gigatons (billion tons) of plant matter carbon trapped in the soil. (That’s more than double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.) ... When the bacteria turn the carbon in the Arctic into C02 and methane, it accelerates a feedback loop. The more methane and carbon released, the more warming ... the logic here is simple: The more warming, the greater the risk of kick-starting this feedback loop.
Timelapse video: shipping first as LNG tanker crosses Arctic in winter without icebreaker escort
vessel Eduard Toll set out from South Korea in December for Sabetta terminal in northern Russia, cutting through ice 1.8m thick. Last month, it completed the route... Arctic sea ice is steadily thinning and receding, with seasonal fluctuation, as global temperatures rise due to human activity. In January 2018, ice extent hit another record low for the month, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Sea ice extent in the Bering Sea (Arctic) continues its decline.
Sea Ice Plays a Pivotal Role in the Arctic Methane Cycle
Sea ice forms a natural barrier on the Central Arctic Ocean, limiting gas exchange between water and atmosphere. Over the past several years, the summer sea ice cover in the Arctic has rapidly decreased.
Top Climate Scientist: Humans Will Go Extinct if We Don't Fix Climate Change by 2023
James Anderson - a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University - warned that climate change is drastically pushing Earth back to the Eocene Epoch from 33 million BCE, when there was no ice on either pole... Anderson's assessment of humanity's timeline for action is likely accurate, given that his diagnosis and discovery of Antarctica's ozone holes led to the Montreal Protocol of 1987. Anderson's research was recognized by the United Nations in September of 1997. He subsequently received the United Nations Vienna Convention Award for Protection of the Ozone Layer in 2005, and has been recognized by numerous universities and academic bodies for his research... While some governments have made commitments to reduce carbon emissions (Germany has pledged to cut 95 percent of carbon emissions by 2050), Anderson warned that those measures were insufficient to stop the extinction of humanity by way of a rapidly changing climate.
What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative
As companies around the world grow concerned about the risks of climate change, they have started looking for clarity on how warming might disrupt their operations in the future. But governments in the United States and Europe have been slow to translate academic research on global warming into practical, timely advice for businesses or local city planners. Now some private companies, like Jupiter, are trying to fill the gap.
Countries made only modest climate-change promises in Paris. They're falling short anyway.
Even as renewable energy grows cheaper and automakers churn out battery-powered and more efficient cars, many nations around the world are nonetheless struggling to hit the relatively modest goals set in Paris. "It's not fast enough. It's not big enough," said Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in England. "There's not enough action."
Polar ice is lost at sea
Our planet reached another miserable milestone earlier this week: Sea ice fell to its lowest level since human civilization began more than 12,000 years ago... the overall pace of change is even worse. Global temperatures are rising at a rate far in excess of anything seen in recent Earth history.
'Silver bullet' to suck CO2 from air and halt climate change ruled out
Scientists say climate targets cannot be met using the technologies, which either risk huge damage to the environment or are very costly
The new report is from the European Academies Science Advisory Council(EASAC), which advises the European Union and is comprised of the national science academies of the 28 member states. It warns that relying on [negative emissions technologies] instead of emissions cuts could fail and result in severe global warming and "serious implications for future generations".
Half-Assed Solar Geoengineering Is Worse Than Climate Change Itself
A new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution pokes a hole in the idea that solar geoengineering is a quick fix for global warming... would be far more dire than if we never geoengineered at all.
Five-year forecast indicates further warming
A new forecast published by scientists at the Met Office indicates the annual global average temperature is likely to exceed 1 C and could reach 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels during the next five years (2018-2022) ... chance that at least one year in the period could exceed 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), although it is not anticipated that it will happen this year. It is the first time that such high values have been highlighted within these forecasts.
Bigger, Faster Avalanches, Triggered by Climate Change
The only other comparable event scientists have recorded was the 2002 collapse of the Kolka glacier in the Caucasus Mountains. Researchers thought that collapse was linked to factors specific to the region - the glacial equivalent of a freak accident. Then came the first collapse in Tibet. "We were thinking, 'It happened again. It's not only in the Caucasus. This is crazy, it can happen somewhere else,'" Dr. Ka'a'b said. "We were not even finished thinking that, then the second one came down." It's not certain what caused the Caucasus collapse. But scientists say the driving factor in Tibet was climate change.
Global temperature targets will be missed within decades unless carbon emissions reversed: new study
In their latest paper, published in the February issue of Nature Geoscience, Dr Philip Goodwin from the University of Southampton and Professor Ric Williams from the University of Liverpool have projected that if immediate action isn't taken, the earth's global average temperature is likely to rise to 1.5C above the period before the industrial revolution within the next 17-18 years, and to 2.0C in 35-41 years respectively if the carbon emission rate remains at its present-day value.
Study finds that global warming exacerbates refugee crises
Higher temperatures increase the number of people seeking asylum in the EU
NOAA: Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
During 2017, the U.S. experienced a historic year of weather and climate disasters ... tying 2011 for the record number of billion-dollar disasters ... 2017 arguably has more events than 2011 given that our analysis traditionally counts all U.S. billion-dollar wildfires, as regional-scale, seasonal events, not as multiple isolated events. More notable ... is the cumulative cost, which exceeds $300 billion in 2017 - a new U.S. annual record. The cumulative damage of these 16 U.S. events during 2017 is $306.2 billion, which shatters the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion (CPI-adjusted), established in 2005 due to the impacts of Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. [Highest in order: 2017, 2011, 2016, 2008, 2012, 2015]
The Unchained Goddess (1958)
The fourth Frank Capra film in the Bell Telephone Series. Released Feb. 12, 1958. Expresses an early concern about climate change at about 50 min.
Two minute excerpt at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-AXBbuDxRY&feature=youtu.be&t=43
On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming
Over 300 government officials, economists, historians, scientists, and industry executives were present for the Energy and Man symposium ... the American Petroleum Institute quietly received a report on air pollution it had commissioned from the Stanford Research Institute, and its warning on carbon dioxide was direct: "Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000, and these could bring about climatic changes. [...] there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe."
Global Warming Is Putting The Ocean's Phytoplankton In Danger
For decades, researchers have pointed to phytoplankton as one of the planet's most valuable resources. They form the basis of the marine food chain and provide half the ocean's oxygen ... [But] scientists say that phytoplankton is in serious danger of dying out. "Over the next 100 years, the climate will warm as greenhouses gases increase in our atmosphere," says Andrew Barton, oceanographer and associate research scholar at Princeton University. As the climate warms, Barton says, so will the oceans—bad news for phytoplankton ... Already, gradually warming ocean waters have killed off phytoplankton globally by a staggering 40 percent since 1950.
Exxon's Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too
Just as Exxon began tracking climate science in the late 1970s, when only small groups of scientists in academia and the government were engaged in the research, other oil companies did the same ... American Petroleum Institute together with the nation's largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983 ... The group's members included senior scientists and engineers from nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company, including Exxon, Mobil, Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio as well as Standard Oil of California and Gulf Oil, the predecessors to Chevron ... A background paper on CO2 informed API members in 1979 that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising steadily, and it predicted when the first clear effects of climate change might be felt, according to a memo by an Exxon task force representative. [API's work] estimated that the effects would be felt after 2000.
Population Trend of the World's Monitored Seabirds, 1950-2010
We found the monitored portion of the global seabird population to have declined overall by 69.7% between 1950 and 2010. This declining trend may reflect the global seabird population trend, given the large and apparently representative sample.
How Climate Change is Sinking Seabirds
In warming oceans, seabirds' food chains are headed straight to the bottom.
Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn
Areas starved of oxygen in open ocean and by coasts have soared in recent decades, risking dire consequences for marine life and humanity
Current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run ... Climate change caused by fossil fuel burning is the cause of the large-scale deoxygenation ... coastal dead zones result from fertiliser and sewage running off the land and into the seas.
reporting on: Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6371/eaam7240
How did half of the great Florida coral reef system disappear?
Corals are intolerant both of temperature and salinity change and it just takes a rise of 1C for a few weeks or extreme rainfall for them to begin to die. In the past 20 years, extreme weather linked to El Nino events and climate change has hit the world's shallow reefs hard.
Let it go: The Arctic will never be frozen again
The region is now definitively trending toward an ice-free state, the scientists said, with wide-ranging ramifications for ecosystems, national security, and the stability of the global climate system ... 2017 has seen the highest permafrost temperatures in Alaska on record. If that warming continues at the current rate, widespread thawing could begin in as few as 10 years.
California wildfire: Thousands flee third largest blaze in state's history [note: now LARGEST in state's history]
California's hellish fires: a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future
California's wildfire season normally ends in October. But fires are raging in Southern California two weeks shy of Christmas, impossible to contain due to intense Santa Ana winds... This was predicted by climate scientists. A 2006 study published in Geophysical Research Letters found that global warming would push the Southern California fire season associated with Santa Ana winds into the winter months.
Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California's rainfall
From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential ridge development... We conclude that sea-ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next decades could substantially impact California's precipitation, thus highlighting another mechanism by which human-caused climate change could exacerbate future California droughts.
The year is 2037. This is what happens when the hurricane hits Miami
Earth Will Likely Be Much Warmer in 2100 Than We Anticipated, Scientists Warn
Large emissions from floodplain trees close the Amazon methane budget
Wetlands are the largest global source of atmospheric methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas. However, methane emission inventories from the Amazon floodplain, the largest natural geographic source of CH4 in the tropics, consistently underestimate the atmospheric burden of CH4 determined via remote sensing and inversion modelling, pointing to a major gap in our understanding of the contribution of these ecosystems to CH4 emissions.
More-severe Climate Model Predictions Could Be The Most Accurate
The climate models that project greater amounts of warming this century are the ones that best align with observations of the current climate ... the models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on average, may be underestimating future warming.
also see: Bad news: Warmest climate models might also be most accurate
also see: Worst-case global warming predictions are the most accurate, say climate experts
The Dirty Secret of the World's Plan to Avert Climate Disaster
The plausibility of the Paris Climate Agreement's goals rested on what was lurking in the UN report's fine print: massive negative emissions achieved primarily through BECCS-an unproven concept to put it mildly. "negative emissions [is] "magical thinking"-a concept, he says, meant to keep the "story" of 2C, the longtime goal of international climate negotiations, alive. ... For that reason, in an article last year in Science, Anderson and Peters called relying on negative emissions "an unjust and high-stakes gamble" and a "moral hazard" that allows policymakers to avoid making tough emissions cuts right now.
As Oceans Warm, the World's Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear
Kelp forests - luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity - are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life.
NOAA: Climate Change: Global Temperature
By 2020, models project that global surface temperature will be more than 0.5C (0.9F) warmer than the 1986-2005 average, regardless of which carbon dioxide emissions pathway the world follows. This similarity in temperatures regardless of total emissions is a short-term phenomenon: it reflects the tremendous inertia of Earth's vast oceans. The high heat capacity of water means that ocean temperature doesn't react instantly to the increased heat being trapped by greenhouse gases. By 2030, however, the heating imbalance caused by greenhouse gases begins to overcome the oceans' thermal inertia, and projected temperature pathways begin to diverge, with unchecked carbon dioxide emissions likely leading to several additional degrees of warming by the end of the century.
The Doomsday Glacier
The trouble with Thwaites ... instead of melting slowly like an ice cube on a summer day, it is more like a house of cards: It's stable until it is pushed too far, then it collapses... could happen within decades. And its loss will destabilize the rest of the West Antarctic ice, and that will go too. Seas will rise about 10 feet in many parts of the world; in New York and Boston, because of the way gravity pushes water around the planet, the waters will rise even higher, as much as 13 feet.
also see: https://grist.org/article/antarctica-doomsday-glaciers-could-flood-coastal-cities/
Negative-emissions technology: What they don't tell you about climate change
Stopping the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is not enough. It has to be sucked out, too
Fully 101 of the 116 models IPCC uses to chart what lies ahead assume that carbon will be taken out of the air in order for the world to have a good chance of meeting the 2C target. The total amount of CO2 to be soaked up by 2100 could be a staggering 810bn tonnes, as much as the world's economy produces in 20 years at today's rate (see article). Putting in place carbon-removal schemes of this magnitude would be an epic endeavour even if tried-and-tested techniques existed. They do not.
The world is warming even faster than expected. Trump isn't going to act. The rest of us need to step up.
The global climate is in trouble, worsening faster than experts believed only two years ago, and ambitious international steps to address the problem have been insufficient thus far.
Abrupt Climate Justice
[We must change everything about how we live on the planet, very very fast, or it is game over very very soon.]
The three-degree world: the cities that will be drowned by global warming
The UN is warning that we are now on course for 3C of global warming. This will ultimately redraw the map of the world ... latest projections pointing to an increase of 3.2C by 2100 [and good chart on averages of projections]
reporting on IPCC report The Regional Impacts of Climate Change https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/regional/index.php?idp=91
Have psychologists found a better way to persuade people to save the planet? [no, but they found links between caring about equality and caring about the environment ... (duh?)]
Two recent studies relate people's views on social equality to how they think and act on environmental issues such as climate change and conservation.... Their conclusion: being accepting of social inequality ... makes a person less likely to take pro-environmental actions.
BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming despite publicly backing Paris climate agreement
Oil giants Shell and BP are planning for global temperatures to rise as much as 5°C by the middle of the century. The level is more than double the upper limit committed to by most countries in the world under the Paris Climate Agreement, which both companies publicly support. The discrepancy demonstrates that the companies are keeping shareholders in the dark about the risks posed to their businesses by climate change, according to two new reports published by investment campaign group Share Action. Many climate scientists say that a temperature rise of 5°C would be catastrophic for the planet.
Why the wiring of our brains makes it hard to stop climate change
Humans aren't well wired to act on complex statistical risks. We care a lot more about the tangible present than the distant future.
Are we headed for near-term human extinction? [Nov 2017]
Recent studies suggest it is irresponsible to rule out the possibility after last week's "warning to humanity" from more than 15,000 climate change scientists
A "warning to humanity" ... "of potentially catastrophic climate change" ... was published in the journal BioScience last week ... mounting evidence that points to a worst-case scenario unfolding of near-term human extinction.
reporting on a study at https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/67/12/1026/4605229
The New Climate
... it goes without saying that "ordinary folk" shouldn't have too many illusions about how the venture is going to turn out. You don't need to be very bright to foresee that the whole thing will end in a terrible conflagration. This is the only real parallel with the different fascisms. The challenge to be met is tailor-made for Europe, since it is Europe that invented the strange story of globalization and then became one of its victims. History will belong to those who can be the first to come to earth, to land on an earth that can be inhabited - unless the others, the dreamers of old-style realpolitik, have finally made that earth vanish for good.
Climate change 'will create world's biggest refugee crisis'
Senior US military and security experts: Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen.
Here's How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals
Worse, even if governments do take further steps to meet their individual pledges, the world will still be on pace to warm well in excess of 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels
The U.S. Is on the Threshold of the Biggest Oil and Gas Boom Ever
The IEA said the U.S. will account for 80% of the increase in global oil supply between now and 2025, as shale producers find ever more ways to pump oil profitably even at lower prices. By the late 2020s, the U.S. will become a net exporter of oil for the first time since the 1950s.
UN Environment: 2017 Emissions Gap Report
Documents the gap between what must be done to meet IPCC targets, and what is actually being done. TLDR: we aren't doing anywhere near enough
THE UNINHABITABLE VILLAGE
Hotter temperatures are forcing families in southern India to decide: Try to survive here, or leave?
UK is 30-40 years away from 'eradication of soil fertility', warns Gove
The UK is 30 to 40 years away from "the fundamental eradication of soil fertility" in parts of the country, the [Tory!] environment secretary Michael Gove has warned ... In 2014 Sheffield University researchers said that UK farm soils only had 100 harvests left in them [note: some places have more than one harvest annually], and a year later a UN spokesperson warned that at current rates of degradation, the world's topsoil could be gone within 60 years.
'We will be toasted, roasted and grilled': IMF chief sounds climate change warning
"If we don't address these issues... we will be moving to a dark future" in 50 years, she told a major economic conference ... "we will be toasted, roasted and grilled" if the world fails to take "critical decisions" on climate change.
Global wine production predicted to slump to 50-year low
"This drop is the consequence of climate hazards," said Aurand. "In the European Union extreme weather events - from frost to drought - significantly impacted 2017 wine production, which was historically low." [and so it begins...]
Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year
In the coming decade, economic losses from extreme weather combined with the health costs of air pollution spiral upward to at least $360 billion annually, potentially crippling U.S. economic growth
Extreme Weather, Climate Change Costing Taxpayers Billions
The economic impacts are already enormous, yet this is just the beginning.
There's Only One Way to Avoid Climate Catastrophe: 'De-growing' our Economy
Study after study shows the same thing: keeping global warming below 2 degrees is simply not compatible with continued economic growth.
Hurricane Maria May Be a Preview of Climate-Fueled Migration in America
Influx could strain housing, services in East Coast cities
This Isn't 'the New Normal' for Climate Change - That Will Be Worse
[W]e have not, at all, arrived at a new normal. It is more like we've taken one step out on the plank off a pirate ship ... The last few months of climate disasters may look like about as much as the planet can take. But things are only going to get worse.
Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces
"We are not saying the astronomical forces of our solar system or geological processes have disappeared, but in terms of their impact in such a short period of time they are now negligible compared with our own influence," Steffen said.
also in https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120951-simple-equation-shows-how-human-activity-is-trashing-the-planet/
Chipocalypse: potato shortage in New Zealand sparks crisp crisis
Fears grow of 'potatogeddon' after up to 30% of the crop are hit by heavy rains blamed on climate change
"You can go for a week without politics but try going for a week without potatoes. It is a food staple and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop" Potato crops planted last year have either rotted in the soil due to the heavy rains, or had to remain unharvested because of the torrential downpours. Next year's crop will also be affected because the ground has not been dry enough for planting.
Tropical forests are a net carbon source based on aboveground measurements of gain and loss
Are tropical forests a net source or net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide? Baccini et al. used 12 years of MODIS satellite data to determine ... that the tropics are a net carbon source, with losses owing to deforestation and reductions in carbon density within standing forests being double that of gains resulting from forest growth.
'Antibiotic apocalypse': doctors sound alarm over drug resistance
At present about 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections. However, this global figure is growing relentlessly and could reach 10 million a year by 2050. "In the Ganges during pilgrimage season, there are levels of antibiotics in the river that we try to achieve in the bloodstream of patients" ... "In the end, the problem posed to the planet by antimicrobial resistance is not that difficult," says O'Neill. "All that is required is to get people to behave differently. How you achieve that is not so clear, of course."
September  sets alarming global temperature record and negates a favorite denier talking point
It was also the most active month on record for North Atlantic hurricanes.
2017 is so unexpectedly warm it is freaking out climate scientists
"Extremely remarkable" 2017 heads toward record for hottest year without an El Nino episode.
Brazil's worst month ever for forest fires blamed on human activity
September saw more fires than any month on record, as experts say uptick is due to expansion of agriculture and reduction of oversight and surveillance
Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies
Plant and animal species that are the foundation of our food supplies are as endangered as wildlife but get almost no attention, a new report reveals
Three-quarters of the world's food today comes from just 12 crops and five animal species and this leaves supplies very vulnerable to disease and pests that can sweep through large areas of monocultures, as happened in the Irish potato famine when a million people starved to death. Reliance on only a few strains also means the world's fast changing climate will cut yields just as the demand from a growing global population is rising.
Chips, chocolate and coffee - our food crops face mass extinction too
Up to 22% of wild potato species are predicted to become extinct by 2055 due to climate change. In Ghana and Ivory Coast, where the raw ingredient for 70% of our chocolate is grown, cacao trees will not be able to survive as temperatures rise by two degrees over the next 40 years. Coffee yields in Tanzania have dropped 50% since 1960.
Thresholds of catastrophe in the Earth system [mass extinction by 2100]
perturbations of Earth's carbon cycle lead to mass extinction if they exceed either a critical rate at long time scales or a critical size at short time scales. By analyzing 31 carbon isotopic events during the past 542 million years, I identify the critical rate with a limit imposed by mass conservation. Identification of the crossover time scale separating fast from slow events then yields the critical size. The modern critical size ... is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100.
The great nutrient collapse
The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.
Due to rising CO2 levels "[a]cross nearly 130 varieties of plants and more than 15,000 samples collected from experiments over the past three decades, the overall concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron had dropped by 8 percent on average. The ratio of carbohydrates to minerals was going up. The plants ... were becoming junk food."
Red list: ash trees and antelopes on the brink of extinction
Native ash trees, abundant across North America, are on the brink of extinction as an invasive beetle ravages forests... list now includes more than 25,000 species at risk of extinction... species that were thought to be safe, are now disappearing faster than they can be counted.
Do the math! Because climate sensitivity is logarithmic, 1.5C target was already breached at 400 ppm
According to ‘conventional climate science’ the currently already emitted amount of CO2 (404 ppm) leads to a committed warming of 1.56 degrees Celsius. To keep ‘the promise of Paris’ – the CO2 concentration must go down, down to below 400 ppm on the decades timescale, and (yes, Hansen was right there too) closer to 350 ppm to also prevent ‘the slow climate catastrophe’ ... let’s just for a moment be very simplistic and say there are ‘two types of climate inertia’. Decades-timescale climate inertia (close to the definition of ‘Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity’) and the longer timescale climate inertia (‘Earth System Sensitivity’). Both add extra warming (ECS in the order of 0.5 degrees, ESS possibly an additional 1-2 degrees) to the currently observed temperatures, without requiring a further rise in CO2 ... at the 400 ppm CO2 level (official measurement during COP21 climate summit) we had already breached the 1.5 degrees target. To be more precise: 400 ppm equals 1.53 degrees, and at 404 we’re currently already at 1.56 degrees! This is if you stick to rather conventional estimates of climate sensitivity (3 degrees warming for a doubling of CO2) and still ignore other climate forcers we’re emitting.
World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns
animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020.
The Ends of the World is a page-turner about mass extinction
Brannen shows us how [all] past extinction crises were in fact climate crises... For instance, at the end of the Permian 252 million years ago, colossal lava flows in what is now Siberia poisoned the atmosphere with deadly gases. Geologists call it "The Great Dying" for a reason... as Penn State geoscientist Lee Kump dryly notes in the book: "the rate at which we're injecting CO2 into the atmosphere today, according to our best estimates, is ten times faster than it was during the End-Permian."
Stop talking right now about the threat of climate change. It's here; it's happening
This is a race against time. Global warming is a crisis that comes with a limit - solve it soon or don't solve it
The World's Largest Chocolate Maker Is Committing $1 Billion to Fight Climate Change
Grant Reid, CEO of Mars, explained the rationale behind the investment, noting that "most scientists are saying there's less than a 5% chance we will hit Paris agreement goals...which is catastrophic for the planet." He argued that the global supply chain is broken, requiring "transformational, cross-industry collaboration" to fix it.
Today's Extreme Heat May Become Norm Within a Decade
When 2015 blew the record for hottest year out of the water, it made headlines around the world. But a heat record that was so remarkable only two years ago will be just another year by 2040 at the latest, and possibly as early as 2020, regardless of whether theStadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet are curtailed
A Runaway Greenhouse Event
The world is probably at the start of a runaway Greenhouse Event which will end most human life on Earth before 2040. This will occur because of a massive and rapid increase in the carbon dioxide concentration in the air which has just accelerated significantly.
Alaska's Permafrost Is Thawing
By 2050, much of this frozen ground, a storehouse of ancient carbon, could be gone.
NASA: Carbon Dioxide July 2017 406.69 ppm
Historic comparison of CO2 ppm. Going back hundreds of thousands of years it never exceeded about 300 ppm and was usually much lower. In 1958 it was 315 ppm, 1968 about 320 ppm. Since then it's been accelerating, especially the last 25 years. 1993 it was about 360, today it's 406. At this rate it will be 450 in 20 years and we're headed to Venus. [my paraphrase]
Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people
New analysis assesses impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the "wet bulb" temperature. Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.
from a journal article at http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322
A third of the world now faces deadly heatwaves as result of climate change
Study shows risks have climbed steadily since 1980, and the number of people in danger will grow to 48% by 2100 even if emissions are drastically reduced
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says
If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century.
The Uninhabitable Earth
Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak - sooner than you think.
and the annotated edition (with citations for every claim) at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans-annotated.html
Earth's sixth mass extinction event already under way, scientists warn
The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eschews the normally sober tone of scientific papers and calls the massive loss of wildlife a "biological annihilation" that represents a "frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation".
study at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114.abstract
As a river dies: India could be facing its 'greatest human catastrophe' ever
As crops and farmers die, experts blame a man-made "drought of common sense" for the drying up of Southern India's Cauvery River, once a lifeline to millions.
Third-hottest June globally puts 2017 on track to make one of three hottest years
2017 will almost certainly make a hat-trick of annual climate records, with 2015, 2016 and 2017 being the three hottest years since records began. ... warming is now at levels not seen for 115,000 years, and leave some experts with little hope for limiting warming to 1.5C or even 2C. ... Pitman said the ongoing trend was "entirely inconsistent" with the target of keeping warming at just 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. ... Current trends suggest the 1.5C barrier would be breached in the 2040s, with some studies suggesting it might happen much sooner.
Stephen Hawking issues dire warning about the threat Trump poses to a livable climate
Famed physicist warns that by exiting the Paris climate deal, the president could render Earth uninhabitable.
Study suggests melting of Arctic permafrost may release massive amounts of nitrous oxide
[N]itrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas, but because far less of it is emitted into the atmosphere, it has not generated the same degree of interest as carbon dioxide. But that might have to change, as the researchers suggest that the impact of melting permafrost might lead to the release of massive amounts of the gas. This could be a problem because nitrous oxide causes more blanketing in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide-prior research has shown it to be 300 times as heat retaining.
Tipping points are real: Gradual changes in carbon dioxide levels can induce abrupt climate changes
During the last glacial period, within only a few decades the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in Greenland [my note: ...and we're pumping CO2 (etc) into the atmosphere much faster now than happened then...]
Rising seas could result in 2 billion refugees by 2100
By 2060, about 1.4 billion people could be climate change refugees, according to the paper. Geisler extrapolated that number to 2 billion by 2100.
World has three years left to stop dangerous climate change, warn experts
"Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned ... if emissions can be brought permanently lower by 2020 then the temperature thresholds leading to runaway irreversible climate change will not be breached." [my note: yeah, like that's gonna happen.]
Scientists stunned by Antarctic rainfall and a melt area bigger than Texas
Is the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet inevitable?
Short answer: yes. "[U]nder medium and high scenarios, collapse is unstoppable."
reporting on a study in Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v526/n7573/abs/nature15706.html
Half the global population could face 'unknown' climates by mid-century
The results suggest that by the 2030s, around half of the global population can expect to experience "unfamiliar" climates (compared to 1986-2005), and "unknown" climates by mid-century. By 2100, only 20% of the world's population would avoid living in "unknown" climates, the paper says.
https://www.carbonbrief.org/half-global-population-could-face-unknown-climates-by-mid-century reporting on a study in Nature Climate Change https://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n6/full/nclimate3297.html (see also Tropics to see 'unprecedented' climates under future warming https://www.carbonbrief.org/video-tropics-to-see-unprecedented-climates-under-future-warming)
The Nightmare Scenario for Florida's Coastal Homeowners
Demand and financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house.
...banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending prices lower still... causing more sales and another drop in revenue. And all of that could happen before the rising sea consumes a single home.
Earth could break through a major climate threshold in the next 15 years, scientists warn
Using model projections of future climate warming under a business-as-usual scenario, they suggest that the Earth could hit the 1.5-degree temperature threshold as early as 2025 ... The scientists explored all but the last scenario in their paper and found that the projected year for crossing the 1.5-degree threshold varied slightly among them. Generally, however, the models suggested it would occur between 2025 and 2029 (most likely around 2026) ... the 2025 date for hitting the 1.5-degree temperature threshold is looking more and more likely.
Major Report Prompts Warnings That the Arctic Is Unraveling
The report increases projections for global sea-level rise ... IPCC's middle estimates for sea-level rise should now be considered minimum estimates.
also in Nature http://www.nature.com/news/huge-arctic-report-ups-estimates-of-sea-level-rise-1.21911 Huge Arctic report ups estimates of sea-level rise
Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau, the man is a disaster for the planet. by Bill McKibben
Last month speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there." 173 billion barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tarsands. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris. Canada's oil will use up a third of the earth's remaining carbon budget.
900 miles of the Great Barrier Reef have bleached severely since 2016
In 2016, two thirds of corals in the northern sector of the reef died after severe bleaching from unusually warm waters. 2017 has seen the major bleaching shift southward.
'It scares me': Permafrost thaw in Canadian Arctic sign of global trend
Like a popsicle taken out of the freezer and left on the counter, the permanently frozen ground in the northern reaches of this country is thawing at an ever faster rate ... Scientists in the Northwest Territories, Alaska and Siberia are now realizing that as the ground under them melts, it will not only make life harder for the people living in the Arctic, but will in fact speed up climate change around the globe.
Japan's Biggest Coral Reef Devastated by Bleaching
Almost three-quarters of Japan's biggest coral reef has died [due to] rising sea temperatures caused by global warming.
Rise in methane emissions in 10 years surprises scientists
Scientists have been surprised by the surge, which began just over 10 years ago in 2007 and then was boosted even further in 2014 and 2015.
Climate change escalating so fast it is 'beyond point of no return'
New study rewrites two decades of research and author says we are 'beyond point of no return' Global warming is beyond the “point of no return”, according to the lead scientist behind a ground-breaking climate change study. The full impact of climate change has been underestimated because scientists haven't taken into account a major source of carbon in the environment ... The findings, which say temperatures will increase by 1C by 2050, are already being adopted by the United Nations ... study found that 55bn tonnes in carbon, not previously accounted for by scientists, will be emitted into the atmosphere by 2050.
Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming
The majority of the Earth's terrestrial carbon is stored in the soil. Our empirical relationship suggests that global soil carbon stocks in the upper soil horizons will fall by 30 +/- petagrams of carbon under [just] one degree of warming [and more with further warming]. Under the conservative assumption that the response of soil carbon to warming occurs within a year, a business-as-usual climate scenario would drive the loss of 55 +/- petagrams of carbon from the upper soil horizons by 2050. [about the same amount as entire US economy]
'Last Chance' to Limit Global Warming to Safe Levels, UN Scientists Warn
unless nations ramp up their carbon-reduction pledges before 2020, it will be nearly impossible to keep warming to 2 degrees.
Before the Flood - Full Movie
National Geographic's climate change documentary "Before The Flood," featuring actor-activist Leonardo DiCaprio and produced by Martin Scorsese
Melting Ice Raised Sea Levels More Than Previously Thought, Study Says
Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming
The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies by co-authors of this paper. Those results are consistent with the 97% consensus reported by Cook et al (Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024) based on 11 944 abstracts of research papers
see also https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024/meta
World wildlife 'falls by 58% in 40 years'
decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020.
Rapid submarine ice melting in the grounding zones of ice shelves in West Antarctica
Extraordinarily rapid melting of the bottom 1000 to 1500 feet of solid ice of west Antarctica's Smith glacier
This Lady Scientist Defined the Greenhouse Effect But Didn't Get the Credit, Because Sexism
Eunice Foote's career highlights the subtle forms of discrimination that have kept women on the sidelines of science.
"Three years later, the well-known Irish physicist John Tyndall published similar results demonstrating the greenhouse effects of certain gases... Presently, Tyndall's work is widely accepted as the foundation of modern climate science, while Foote's remains in obscurity."
Climate change could cross key threshold in a decade: scientists
The planet could pass a key target on world temperature rise in about a decade, prompting accelerating loss of glaciers, steep declines in water availability, worsening land conflicts and deepening poverty, scientists said this week.
Obituary: Great Barrier Reef (25 Million BC-2016)
No one knows if a serious effort could have saved the reef, but it is clear that no such effort was made.
more details at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/07/the-great-barrier-reef-a-catastrophe-laid-bare
Empty skies after 9/11 set the stage for an unlikely climate change experiment
On the morning of September 11 2001 [FAA ordered] every aircraft in U.S. airspace, about 4,000 of them, to land somewhere, anywhere, immediately ... About a year after the attacks [scientists] argued in a paper that thin clouds created by contrails reduce the range of temperatures. By contributing to cloud cover during the day, they reflect solar energy that would otherwise have reached the earth’s surface. At night, they trap warmth that would otherwise have escaped. Other studies have tended to back up the research. The effect during the three days that flights were grounded was strongest in populated regions where air traffic was normally densest. The increase in range came to about two degrees Celsius.
Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun
For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States' coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical. The inundation of the coast has begun.
Times of London: From SIX DEGREES: What will climate change do to our planet?
A summary of each degree-related level described in the Mark Lynas book SIX DEGREES
copy at: http://www.adishakti.org/_/to_the_end_of_the_earth_six_degrees.htm
original at: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/article60990.ece
Global Warming Rate 'Unprecedented'
The world has already experienced a peak temperature that is dangerously close to the 1.5 degree Celsius limit the international community agreed to in last year's landmark Paris climate accord... warming at a pace the world hasn't experienced in the past 1,000 years, NASA's top climate scientist warns. "Maintaining temperatures below the 1.5 degree Celsius guardrail requires significant and very rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions or co-ordinated geo-engineering," Schmidt said. "That is very unlikely."
Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever
We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound - and terrifying - it will leave its legacy for millennia.
Dangerous global warming will happen sooner than thought - study
Australian researchers say a global tracker monitoring energy use per person points to 2C warming by 2030
The world is on track to reach dangerous levels of global warming much sooner than expected...University of Queensland and Griffith University researchers have developed a "global energy tracker" which predicts average world temperatures could climb 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2020. That forecast, based on new modelling using long-term average projections on economic growth, population growth and energy use per person, points to a 2C rise by 2030.
The Crazy Scale of Human Carbon Emission
Want some perspective on how much carbon dioxide human activity produces? Here it is Between 1751 and 1987 fossil fuels put about 737 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Between just 1987 and 2014 it was about the same mass: 743 billion tons. Total CO2 from industrialized humans in the past 263 years: 1,480 billion tons. A coniferous forest fire can release about 4.81 tons of carbon per acre [so] to release an equivalent CO2 mass to the past 263 years of human activity would require about 1.5 billion acres of forest to burn every year during that time. That's 6 million square kilometres of burning forest every year for more than two centuries. Except that is for an average output, spread across 263 years. Estimates of today's CO2 production go as high as about 40+ billion tons per year. That'd take something like 10 Billion acres of forest burning each year, which is about 42 million square kilometres. The entire continent of Africa is a mere 30 million square kilometres. So [Africa] plus another third, on fire, each year.
A lower limit for future climate emissions
A comprehensive new study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change. In previous projections for the maximum carbon we can burn and still stay within a 2C rise we have been overestimating the available budget by 50% to more than 200%.
Less than 2C warming by 2100 unlikely
IPCC projections to 2100 give likely ranges of global temperature increase ... However, these projections are not based on a fully statistical approach ... The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9C, with median 3.2C and [only] a 5% (1%) chance that it will be less than 2C (1.5C)
Trees and plants reached 'peak carbon' 10 years ago
New data shows 'peak carbon', when vegetation consumed its largest carbon dioxide feast, occurred in 2006, and since then appetite has been decreasing ... the new data reveals that trees and plants are already 10 years beyond peak carbon. In 2014 alone, the shortfall in carbon absorption was equivalent to a year's worth of human-produced emissions from China. “By next year the shortfall might equate to the emissions of China plus Australia, for example,” Curran explains. “Every year it is getting a little bit worse.” ... as the plants' appetite continues to decline, the fight to tackle global warming will become even harder.
Even ExxonMobil says climate change is real. So why won't the GOP?
With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic ... 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.
Smoldering-Peat Megafires: The Largest Fires on Earth
Smoldering megafires are the largest and longest burning fires on Earth. They destroy essential peat land ecosystems and are responsible for 15% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. This is the same amount attributed to all the combustion engine vehicles in the world, yet it is not accounted for in global carbon budgets ... the burning of deep peat affects older soil carbon that has not been part of the active carbon cycle for centuries to millennia, and thus creates a positive feedback to the climate system.
Study finds more evidence for link between wavy jet stream and extreme weather
Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth's middle latitudes. A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country.
Global warming: Four degree rise will end vegetation 'carbon sink', research suggests
Meet the Money Behind The Climate Denial Movement
Nearly a billion dollars a year is flowing into the organized climate change counter-movement The overwhelming majority of climate scientists, international governmental bodies, relevant research institutes and scientific societies are in unison in saying that climate change is real, that it's a problem, and that we should probably do something about it now, not later. And yet, for some reason, the idea persists in some peoples' minds that climate change is up for debate, or that climate change is no big deal. Actually, it's not “for some reason” that people are confused. There's a very obvious reason. There is a very well-funded, well-orchestrated climate change-denial movement, one funded by powerful people with very deep pockets. In a new and incredibly thorough study, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle took a deep dive into the financial structure of the climate deniers, to see who is holding the purse strings ... “This is how wealthy individuals or corporations translate their economic power into political and cultural power,” he said. “They have their profits and they hire people to write books that say climate change is not real. They hire people to go on TV and say climate change is not real ... the tactics that this movement uses were developed and tested in the tobacco industry first, and now they’re being applied to the climate change movement, and in fact, some of the same people and some of the same organizations that were involved in the tobacco issue are also involved in climate change" ... The climate denial movement is a powerful political force, says Brulle. They've got to be, too, to outweigh in the public's mind the opinions of pretty much every relevant scientist.
New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant
"Rapid" and "instantaneous" are words geologists don't use very often. But Rutgers geologists use these exact terms to describe a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago. In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade - all in the space of about 13 years. Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years.
No way out? The double-bind in seeking global prosperity alongside mitigated climate change
[Garrett, 2011] introduced a simple economic growth model designed to be consistent with general thermodynamic laws [with] a hypothesis that the global economy's current rate of primary energy consumption is tied through a constant to a very general representation of its historically accumulated wealth. Observations support this hypothesis [and] allows for treatment of seemingly complex economic systems as simple physical systems ... Extending the model to the future, the model suggests that the well-known IPCC SRES scenarios substantially underestimate how much CO2 levels will rise for a given level of future economic prosperity ... For atmospheric CO2 concentrations to remain below a "dangerous" level of 450 ppmv ... it appears that civilization may be in a double-bind. If civilization does not collapse quickly this century, then CO2 levels will likely end up exceeding 1000 ppmv; but, if CO2 levels rise by this much, then the risk is that civilization will gradually tend towards collapse.
Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent Since 1950
The microscopic plants that form the foundation of the ocean's food web are declining, reports a study published July 29 in Nature. The tiny organisms, known as phytoplankton, also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world's oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land ... Researchers at Canada's Dalhousie University say the global population of phytoplankton has fallen about 40 percent since 1950. That translates to an annual drop of about 1 percent of the average plankton population between 1899 and 2008 ... [The researchers] believe that rising sea temperatures are driving the decline. As surface water warms, it tends to form a distinct layer that does not mix well with cooler, nutrient-rich water below, depriving phytoplankton of some of the materials they need to turn CO2 and sunlight into energy.
Is Global Warming Unstoppable?
University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions - the major cause of global warming - cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses ... "It looks unlikely that there will be any substantial near-term departure from recently observed acceleration in carbon dioxide emission rates," says the new paper by Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. ... "I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem" ... Garrett treats civilization like a "heat engine" that "consumes energy and does 'work' in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy," he says. "If society consumed no energy, civilization would be worthless," he adds. "It is only by consuming energy that civilization is able to maintain the activities that give it economic value.
also see https://physicsworld.com/a/modelling-civilization-as-heat-engine-could-improve-climate-predictions/
reporting on a paper at https://arxiv.org/abs/0811.1855
Only five years left before 1.5C carbon budget is blown
In 2014, IPCC laid out estimates of how much CO2 we can emit and still keep global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5C, 2C or 3C above pre-industrial levels. That same year, Carbon Brief used these estimates to calculate how many years of current emissions were left before blowing these budgets. Updating this analysis for 2016, our figures suggest that just five years of CO2 emissions at current levels would be enough to use up the carbon budget for a good chance - a 66% probability - of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C.
Naomi Klein: Climate Change "Not Just About Things Getting Hotter... It's About Things Getting Meaner"
Melting permafrost could blow world's remaining carbon budget
Sea level rise will swallow Miami, New Orleans: study
Say goodbye to Miami and New Orleans. No matter what we do to curb global warming, these and other beloved US cities will sink below rising seas
Climate Change, Blue Water Cargo Shipping and Predicted Ocean Wave Activity
The effects of climate change increasing blue-water wave height and power will obsolete the entire global merchant fleet within a few decades making the sea-based shipping on which our entire global economy is based impossible in a warming world. "If the ships cannot handle the seas (NO ship is designed, or can cost effectively be designed, to handle anywhere near 100 tons per square meter of force on her hull), shipping itself will no longer be cost effective unless cargo ships morph into cargo submarines. The cost of doing that is staggering... CONCLUSIONS: Global Civilization is threatened within 25 years or less."
Part 1: http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/climate-change/global-warming-is-with-us/msg4045/#msg4045
Part 2: http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/climate-change/global-warming-is-with-us/msg4050/#msg4050
Part 3: http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/climate-change/future-earth/msg4074/#msg4074
Maximum warming occurs about one decade after a carbon dioxide emission
Using conjoined results of carbon-cycle and physical-climate model intercomparison projects (Taylor et al 2012, Joos et al 2013), we find the median time between an emission and maximum warming is 10.1 years, with a 90% probability range of 6.6–30.7 years.
When The End Of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can't really talk about it.
Economist Magazine: Investors could lose $4.2 trillion due to impact of climate change
Scientific American: Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return?
Global megatrend #8: Resource stress
Food, Energy, Water And The Climate: A Perfect Storm Of Global Events?
By John Beddington CMG FRS
Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government, Government Office for Science
For Insurers, No Doubts on Climate Change
How Climate Change Will Destroy Your Country's Credit Rating
NCAR: Widespread Loss Of Ocean Oxygen To Become Noticeable In 2030s
A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2015GB005310
Hot, crowded, and running out of fuel: Earth of 2050 a scary place
A new report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development paints a grim picture of the world in 2050 based on current global trends. It predicts a world population of 9.2 billion people, generating a global GDP four times the size of today's, requiring 80 percent more energy. And with a worldwide energy mix still 85 percent reliant on fossil fuels by that time, it will be coal, oil, and gas that make up most of the difference, the OECD predicts. Should that prove the case, and without new policy, the report warns the result will be the "locking in" of global warming, with a rise of as much as 6 C (about 10.8 F) predicted by the end of the century.
Abandon All Hope
Global temperature to rise 3.5 degrees C. by 2035: International Energy Agency
Unless governments cut subsidies for fossil fuels and adopt new policies to support renewable energy sources, the Copenhagen Accord to hold global warming to less than a 2-degree increase will not be reached.
Climate change taken seriously by insurance industry, study says
Paying out billions of dollars here and billions of dollars there has made the global insurance industry a believer in climate change, according to a new study that shows insurance companies are staunch advocates for reducing carbon emissions and minimizing the risk posed by increasingly severe weather events.
World Bank: Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change
Climate change will be an economic disaster for rich and poor, new study says
will have devastating effects on the global economy, reducing average global incomes by nearly one-fourth relative to a world without climate change and widening the gap between rich and poor countries.
Alarm as study reveals world's tropical forests are huge carbon emission source
Forests globally are so degraded that instead of absorbing emissions they now release more carbon annually than all the traffic in the US, say researchers
Washington state drought
South Florida water
National water outlook
South America drought
Pine Island glacier
This Changes Everything book by Naomi Klein
They are also making a documentary from the book, out sometime this year: http://thischangeseverything.org/the-documentary/
Royal Society/Hansen 2013: Climate sensitivity, sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide
We use a global model, simplified to essential processes, to investigate state dependence of climate sensitivity, finding an increased sensitivity towards warmer climates, as low cloud cover is diminished and increased water vapour elevates the tropopause. Burning all fossil fuels, we conclude, would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.
What the World Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted
The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas.
Chasing Ice documentary
Hansen 2011: Earth’s energy imbalance and implications
Most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols ... If understated aerosol forcing is the correct explanation, producing a too-large net forcing that compensates for ocean models that mix heat too efficiently ... it means that aerosols have been counteracting half or more of the [greenhouse gas] forcing. In that event, humanity has made itself a Faustian bargain more dangerous than commonly supposed.
PNAS May 25 2010: An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress
Any exceedence of 35C [wet bulb temperature] for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible.
James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'
Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists ... by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater ... Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable. "It's just too late for it," he says. "Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time." ... What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."
Reducing emissions could speed global warming
A rapid cutback in greenhouse gas emissions could speed up global warming ... because current global warming is offset by global dimming - the 2-3ºC of cooling cause by industrial pollution, known to scientists as aerosol particles, in the atmosphere. "Any economic downturn or planned cutback in fossil fuel use, which lessened aerosol density, would intensify the heating. If there were a 100 per cent cut in fossil fuel combustion it might get hotter not cooler. We live in a fool's climate. We are damned if we continue to burn fuel and damned if we stop too suddenly."
Why the Sun seems to be 'dimming'
Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought ... Dr Stanhill called it "global dimming", but his research, published in 2001, met a skeptical response from other scientists. It was only recently, when his conclusions were confirmed by Australian scientists using a completely different method to estimate solar radiation, that climate scientists at last woke up to the reality of global dimming ... perhaps the most alarming aspect of global dimming is that it may have led scientists to underestimate the true power of the greenhouse effect [as] it now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming ... this is bad news, according to Dr Peter Cox, one of the world's leading climate modellers. "[T]he cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up. That means we'll get reducing cooling and increased heating at the same time and that's a problem for us," says Dr Cox. Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards.
==== earlier references eaten by gmail, this is what's left =============
John B. Calhoun's famous rodent habitat studies documented that even while providing all requirements for a population, simple overcrowding will always lead to extinction, with notable exhibition of bizarre and self-defeating behaviors along the way, and especially towards the end of the habitat's cycle. A consideration of whether his findings apply to our current situation may well be in order. A few articles are listed below. More at https://johnbcalhoun.com
2009 - The urban animal: population density and social pathology in rodents and humans
John B Calhoun ... placed several rats in a laboratory in a converted barn where - protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding - they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space... Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight. But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control... Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction.
1973 - Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population by John B Calhoun MD
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine Volume 66 January 1973
John Calhoun's presentation on Universe 25 (one of his last) and what this might mean for humans. "For an animal so simple as a mouse, the most complex behaviours involve the interrelated set of courtship, maternal care, territorial defence and hierarchical intragroup and intergroup social organization. When behaviours related to these functions fail to mature, there is no development of social organization and no reproduction. As in the case of my study reported above, all members of the population will age and eventually die. The species will die out. For an animal so complex as man, there is no logical reason why a comparable sequence of events should not also lead to species extinction."
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair)
However, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is © Barry Smiler and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license.