Climate Research

xkcd: timeline of earth's average temperature xkcd.com/1732/

I've been following the scientific literature regarding climate change for quite a while, and saved articles and studies I found especially interesting. These 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. To observe the accelerating pace of climate change, read this list from bottom to top. Or if that seems daunting, read just the last few years. To seek a specific topic use your browser's Search to find keywords on this page. This list will be updated as I find more to add. Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Those interested in the history of the climate crisis might like the 2000 and earlier section of this page, which covers discoveries, presentations and warnings from the mid-1800s (beginning of modern climate science) until our current era.

The timeline of earth's average temperature is from xkcd. Click it to go to the original.

Go to reports, articles, and studies published in:
2022 · 2021 · 2020 · 2019 · 2018 · 2017 · 2016 · 2015-2011 · 2010-2001 · 2000 and earlier

 

Growing storms push shrinking Louisiana insurers into failure
[Ten] insurers have left the state, others are declining to write new policies, and many insurers are refusing to cover at-risk properties ... Louisiana’s crisis could get even worse as insurers start paying tens of billions of dollars in claims for Hurricane Ian in Florida. Although Ian did not hit Louisiana, many Louisiana insurers also write policies in Florida, where they face huge losses. ... recent losses nearly rival the $28 billion in claims in Louisiana from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 ... Eleven property-insurance companies became insolvent between July 2021 and September 2022, according to the insurance department ... Rates will more than double in two parishes and will hit astronomical levels on the coast [yet] astronomical as they are, the rate hikes may be inadequate, according to the insurance department’s recent report.
https://www.eenews.net/articles/growing-storms-push-shrinking-la-insurers-into-failure/

The Australian suburbs where more than half of properties will be uninsurable by 2030
Data from Climate Valuation shows there are at least 17 Australian suburbs where more than half its properties will be uninsurable by 2030. The chief executive of Climate Valuation, Karl Mallon, said the prediction that properties would become too expensive to insure due to global heating is unfolding faster than expected ... “We are now hearing about traditional insurance companies saying, well, we don’t want to keep offering coverage in this particular town. We thought we had a bit of time but I think things are unraveling fairly quickly now.” Mallon predicted a severe price shift in insurance is on the cards [for] “frankly any flood zones” around Australia ... “We’re now seeing that the system is not able to cope with climate change.” Mallon predicts 2023 will bring “quite a big insurance shock [with] a very rapid mortgage shock to follow. It’s going get harder to start to sell these properties because they’re going to be harder to buy.”
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/26/australias-unraveling-climate-risk-leaving-more-homes-uninsurable-against-flooding-expert-warns

Climate change will clearly disrupt El Niño and La Niña this decade – 40 years earlier than we thought
Australians must prepare for more floods and droughts
El Niño alternates with La Niña every few years. El Niño typically brings drier conditions to much of Australia. Together, the two phases are known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation – the strongest and most consequential factor driving Earth’s weather. Our new research sheds light on the question. It found climate change will clearly influence the El Niño-Southern Oscillation by 2030 ... four decades earlier than previously thought. Australians, in particular, must prepare for more floods and droughts as climate change disrupts the natural weather patterns of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-clearly-disrupt-el-nino-and-la-nina-this-decade-40-years-earlier-than-we-thought-194529
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33930-5

Drier, hotter, wetter: CSIRO, BoM confirm Australia’s weather to get even worse
Australia’s weather will become even more chaotic in coming years and decades, the State of the Climate report warns ... with more frequent droughts, heatwaves and declining rain over the south-east of the continent. Brown said greenhouse gases had reached record levels in the atmosphere that had raised Australia’s average temperature by 1.47 degrees since 1910. While the past decade was warmer than any in the previous century, it was expected to be the coolest 10 years in the entire 21st century ... The report found the number of extreme heat days, in the top 1 per cent of average daily temperatures for each month, were increasing and fire seasons lengthening. But the flip side of hotter temperatures was downpours, which meant the overall drying trend would be marked by increasingly intense cloudbursts of rain and flash flooding.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/drier-hotter-wetter-csiro-bom-confirm-australia-s-weather-to-get-even-worse-20221122-p5c09x.html
reporting on a study at https://www.csiro.au/en/research/environmental-impacts/climate-change/state-of-the-climate

China and Russia Continue to Block Protections for Antarctica
For the sixth year in a row, members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)—part of the Antarctic Treaty System—failed to agree on any new marine protected areas in the fragile Southern Ocean. That’s despite the support of a majority of CCAMLR’s member parties. Just two nations—China and Russia—declined to support new marine protected areas, or MPAs, this year. The same two members have blocked similar proposals in other recent years ... In recent years, these kinds of stalemates have included disagreements over catch limits for certain fisheries around Antarctica and new protections for species such as emperor penguins.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-and-russia-continue-to-block-protections-for-antarctica

Eight warmest years on record witness upsurge in climate change impacts
eight warmest years 2022 The past eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record, fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat. Extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating flooding have affected millions and cost billions this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s provisional State of the Global Climate in 2022 report. The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change are becoming more dramatic. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993 ... past two and a half years alone account for 10 percent of the overall rise in sea level since satellite measurements started nearly 30 years ago ... Greenland ice sheet lost mass for the 26th consecutive year and it rained (rather than snowed) there for the first time in September.
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/eight-warmest-years-record-witness-upsurge-climate-change-impacts

Equipment that’s designed to cut methane emission is failing
Aerial surveys have documented huge amounts of methane wafting from oil and gas fields in the United States and beyond ... Yet some of the best equipment for reducing emissions is already installed on oil and gas infrastructure ... “I haven’t seen anything from a practical standpoint that makes me believe there’s any reality to reductions on the ground,” said Tim Doty, an environmental scientist and former air quality inspector for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. “Maybe they’re making progress, but are they making enough progress to slow down climate change? I don’t think so.”
https://apnews.com/article/inflation-science-technology-government-and-politics-texas-ed246fb005e484962db30403ecc31daf

Global heating to drive stronger La Niña and El Niño events by 2030, researchers say
Stronger La Niña and El Niño events due to global heating will be detectable in the eastern Pacific Ocean by 2030, decades earlier than previously expected, new modelling suggests ... In an El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the central or eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than average, and the trade winds weaken or reverse. The result is reduced rainfall over India, Indonesia and northern Australia. Previous research had suggested that climate change-driven variability of ENSO events would not be detectable until 2070.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/17/global-heating-to-drive-stronger-la-nina-and-el-nino-events-by-2030-researchers-say

Arctic vegetation has a major impact on warming
The Arctic is warming three times faster than the global average. In areas where snow and ice used to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere, melted terrain now absorbs heat into the earth's surface. There has long been speculation about the degree to which vegetation emerging from melting snow has on warming ... Using new analyses of data measured at 64 Arctic sites from 1994-2021, an international research team has become the first to document the great importance of vegetation for Arctic warming. The study has been published in Nature Communications. "Theoretically, it has long been understood that surface vegetation helps heat an area as plants absorb solar radiation. In our new study, we confirm this theory through actual measurements," says Professor Thomas Friborg of the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management ... "In many ways, the Arctic is the canary in the coal mine - it is where we first and most powerfully see global warming. But at the same time, it is incredibly complex to predict. We are currently witnessing warming of 3-4 degrees, which is higher than quite a few of the models predicted 20 years ago. As such, there is a constant need to refine models and include as much data as possible in them," concludes Professor Friborg.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221116133846.htm
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-34049-3

Sperm counts worldwide are plummeting faster than we thought
Five years ago, a study describing a precipitous decline in sperm counts sparked extreme concerns ... Now a new study shows that sperm counts have fallen further and the rate of decline is speeding up. The initial study, published in July 2017, revealed that sperm counts—the number of sperm in a single ejaculate—plummeted by more than 50 percent among men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011 ... In a new meta-analysis, which appears in the journal Human Reproduction Update, researchers analysed studies of semen samples published between 2014 and 2019 and added this to their previous data. The newer studies have a more global perspective and involved semen samples from 14,233 men ... The upshot: Not only has the decline in total sperm counts continued—reaching a drop of 62 percent—but the decline per year has doubled since 2000 ... male and female fertility challenges are each responsible for about one-third of infertility cases; the remaining cases are due to a combination of male and female factors ... environmental and lifestyle factors may be to blame. These include exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (which mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones), smoking, and obesity.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/sperm-counts-worldwide-plummeting-fast-infertility-lifestyle
reporting on a study at https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/23/6/646/4035689

Humans could face reproductive crisis as sperm count declines, global study finds
Mean sperm concentration by fertility and geographic groups A study published in the journal Human Reproduction Update suggests that the average sperm concentration fell from an estimated 101.2m per ml to 49.0m per ml between 1973 and 2018 – a drop of 51.6%. Total sperm counts fell by 62.3% during the same period. The rate of decline appears to be increasing: looking at data collected in all continents since 1972, the researchers found sperm concentrations declined by 1.16% per year. However, when they looked only at data collected since the year 2000, the decline was 2.64% per year. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals or other environmental factors may play a role. The trend appeared to be a worldwide phenomenon.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/nov/15/humans-could-face-reproductive-crisis-as-sperm-count-declines-study-finds
reporting on a study at https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/23/6/646/4035689

Greenland Is Disappearing Quickly, and Scientists Have Found a New Reason Why
A new study finds that rising air temperatures are working with warm ocean waters to speed the melting of Greenland’s seaside glaciers. The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shed new light on the forces driving ice loss on the world’s second largest ice sheet ... Warm air temperatures cause melting to occur on the surface of the ice sheet—that process accounts for about half the ice Greenland loses each year. The other half comes from glaciers at the ice sheet’s edge crumbling into the sea. Losses from these seaside glaciers have, until now, been mainly attributed to warm ocean waters licking at the edge of the ice. But the new research finds that rising air temperatures have a big influence as well ... Lead study author Donald Slater, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh, likened the process to ice cubes in a glass of water. They clearly melt faster when the water is warmer. But they also melt faster when the water is stirred. They found that glaciers in south Greenland are melting the fastest. That wasn’t a surprise—these glaciers are closest to the warm Atlantic Ocean. In these areas, the models suggest that warm waters play the dominant part in melting the ice.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/greenland-is-disappearing-quickly-and-scientists-have-found-a-new-reason-why
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-022-01035-9

Belching lakes, mystery craters, ‘zombie fires’: How the climate crisis is transforming the Arctic permafrost
Thawing permafrost [is] dramatically transforming the polar landscape, which is now peppered with massive sinkholes, newly formed or drained lakes, collapsing seashores and fire damage ... The vast amount of carbon stored in the northernmost reaches of our planet is an overlooked and underestimated driver of climate crisis ... Warmer summers — the Arctic is warming four times faster than the global average — have weakened and deepened the top or active layer of permafrost ... This thawing is waking up the microbes in the soil that feast on organic matter, allowing methane and carbon dioxide to escape from the soil and into the atmosphere. It can also open pathways for methane to rise up from reservoirs deep in the earth. “We’re just talking about a massive amount of carbon ... even if a small fraction of that does get admitted to the atmosphere, that’s a big deal.”
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/11/12/world/permafrost-climate-change-explainer-scn/index.html

Asia’s ‘water tower’ is in trouble, and Chinese scientists are sounding the alarm
Global warming is slowly turning one of the world’s most important sources of fresh water into toxic mud The Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding mountain regions, known in environmental circles as the “Asian water tower”, is the source of Asia’s 10 major rivers, delivering water to almost 2 billion people – about a quarter of the world’s population. Chinese researchers have called for urgent action to improve the water quality in both the upstream and downstream areas of the region, which they believe will rapidly deteriorate as global temperatures rise ... In an article published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment on October 11, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said climate change would accelerate glacier melt, increasing upstream flows of sediments and other contaminants that will compromise water quality downstream ... The Asian water tower is home to most glaciers outside the Arctic and Antarctica and is highly sensitive to climate change.
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3199350/asias-water-tower-trouble-and-chinese-scientists-are-sounding-alarm

Scientists just found a hidden 6th [or 7th, see note] mass extinction in Earth's ancient past
A global drop in oxygen levels about 550 million years ago led to Earth's first known mass extinction, new evidence suggests
80% of life on Earth disappeared, leaving no traces in the fossil record. Now, a new study suggests that these missing fossils point to the earliest known mass extinction event on Earth. These first communities of large, complex animals were killed by a steep global decline in oxygen ... Why oxygen levels plummeted in the waning years of the Ediacaran remains a mystery [but] regardless of how it happened, this mass extinction likely influenced the subsequent evolution of life on Earth and may have implications for scientists studying how animal life got started. "Ediacaran animals are pretty strange — most don't look anything like the animals we know," Evans said. "After this extinction event, we start to see more and more animals that look like ones around today. It may be that this early event paved the way for more modern animals."
https://www.livescience.com/1st-mass-extinction-oxygen-drop
Note: arguably the first known mass extinction was 2.5 billion years ago, see this entry below.

Ice loss from Northeastern Greenland significantly underestimated
Ice is continuously streaming off Greenland's melting glaciers at an accelerating rate, dramatically increasing global sea levels. New results published today in Nature indicate that existing models have underestimated how much ice will be lost during the 21st century. Hence, its contribution to sea-level rise will be significantly higher ... "Our previous projections of ice loss in Greenland until 2100 are vastly underestimated," said first author Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Professor at DTU Space ... "Our data show us that what we see happening at the front reaches far back into the heart of the ice sheet. We can see that the entire basin is thinning, and the surface speed is accelerating" ... "It is possible that what we find in northeast Greenland may be happening in other sectors of the ice sheet" ... "We foresee profound changes in global sea levels, more than currently projected by existing models," said coauthor Eric Rignot, professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine.
https://phys.org/news/2022-11-ice-loss-northeastern-greenland-significantly.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05301-z

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels will hit record high in 2022
GCP fossil fuel emissions 2022 The finding represents a brutal contrast with the need to cut emissions by half by 2030 [with] no sign of the decline needed, the researchers said ... other scientists described the news as “bleak” and “deeply depressing” ... The analysis by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) found fossil fuel related CO2 is on course to rise by 1% to 36.6bn tonnes, the highest ever ... The GCP’s 2022 analysis is published in the journal Earth System Science Data and was produced by more than 100 scientists from 80 organisations around the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/10/carbon-emissions-from-fossil-fuels-will-hit-record-high-in-2022-climate-crisis
reporting on a study at https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/14/4811/2022/

Jordan Is Running Out of Water, a Grim Glimpse of the Future
Population growth, diminished water supplies and climate change have all taken their toll, while damaged and inefficient infrastructure and the considerable challenges posed by Jordan’s geography and topography have only made things worse ... the country’s major water sources are near the borders ... Rainfall has decreased precipitously in recent decades and warmer temperatures mean that what rain does come evaporates rapidly ... The country’s namesake river is nearly running dry. The flow in the Jordan River is less than 10 percent of its historical average ... The vulnerable are hardest hit by the water shortages. The poor cannot afford to buy from private trucks and have less capacity to store water.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/09/world/middleeast/jordan-water-cop-27.html

India at 75: Melting glaciers, heatwaves and climate crisis
Hindu faithful dream of trekking at least once in their lives to Gaumukh, where the waters of India's holiest river, the Ganges, emerge from a Himalayan glacier. But the ice at the end of the arduous journey is receding rapidly and portends an increasingly dry future for a country of 1.4 billion people facing existential challenges from climate change ... The Ganges flows for around 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) across India and is central to both Hindu identity and the survival of 500 million people who depend on its water for their daily farming, domestic and industrial needs ... India is one of the world's most water-stressed countries. It has 17% of the world's population but only four per cent of its water resources [and] 600 million people already face "high to extreme water stress".
https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-at-75-melting-glaciers-heatwaves-and-climate-crisis/article66119226.ece

Why scientists are using the word scary over the climate crisis
Back in the 1980s, when climate research began to really take off, scientists were desperate to retain their credibility as they unraveled the potentially dire consequences of the “new” phenomenon of global warming. Most journalists tiptoed round this topic because no one wanted to lose their reputation by scaremongering. [But now] more scientists are admitting publicly that they are scared by the recent climate extremes, such as the floods in Pakistan and west Africa, the droughts and heatwaves in Europe and east Africa, and the rampant ice melt at the poles. That is not because an increase in extremes was not predicted. It was always high on the list of concerns. It is the suddenness and ferocity of recent events that is alarming researchers, combined with the ill-defined threat of tipping points, by which aspects of heating would become unstoppable ... one of the Royal Society’s leading members, Prof Sir Brian Hoskins [told me] “Climate models have generally projected very smooth changes, whereas the real world is suffering rapid regional changes. The rise in globally averaged temperature is a useful metric of how far climate change has got, but it doesn’t bring home the message of the likely local and regional impact. So, land warms more than oceans; higher latitudes warm more than low latitudes, especially in winter; the warming is non-uniform which means weather changes; air that is 6C warmer can hold 50% more water and generally does, so rain storms are that much stronger; sea level rise means storm surges are more devastating. I have been surprised and alarmed at the record temperatures and floods we have seen in many places around the world – with only 1.1C warming [globally].” In July this year the UK had its first 40C day. Two years previously, researchers said the chances of that happening this decade were 100 to 1 ... And that is just with 1.1C of warming. Before long we will crash through the 1.5C threshold – and unless much more radical action is taken we are heading for between 2C and 3C warming ... So the scientists are in a bind. They are sure things will get worse. They don’t know exactly when, and by how much. They know that if they appear to be campaigning, that could lose credibility. But increasing numbers of them are so alarmed they are trying to strike different notes to jolt politicians and the public.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/07/why-scientists-are-using-the-word-scary-over-the-climate-crisis

Glaciologists Produce Timelapse of Glacier Melt
Glaciologists in Italy’s Lombardy region have produced a timelapse film of the summer melting of the country’s Fellaria glacier, which accelerated dramatically, as did the melt of most other glaciers in the Alps, during the long hot summer of 2022 ... “It is not easy to find the right adjectives to describe what has happened in the last four months on the Lombardy, Italian and Alpine glaciers. It is true that in a climatic regime characterized by rising temperatures, records are beaten more easily, but the hydrological year 2021-2022 was something more, something so anomalous that it forced us to update all the graphical scales,” said glaciologists Riccardo Scotti and Matteo Oreggioni, who added, “Something we hoped could not come so quickly and with this force. All the forecasts made in June, when we recorded a 70% snow deficit, were confirmed and made worse still by the tropical temperatures that raged from May to August.”
https://www.snow-forecast.com/whiteroom/glaciologists-produce-timelapse-of-glacier-melt/

Sea levels might rise much faster than thought, data from Greenland suggest
Greenland's largest ice sheet is thawing at a much higher rate than expected, a new study has revealed, suggesting it will add six times more water to the rising sea levels than previously thought. And the trend may not be limited to Greenland ... acceleration started after the Zachariae Isstrøm glacier that protected the coastal part of the ice stream broke off in 2012, allowing warmer sea water to penetrate deeper inland ... "We foresee profound changes in global sea levels, more than currently projected by existing models," Eric Rignot, a professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, who is also a co-author of the paper, said.
https://www.space.com/greenland-ice-melting-satellite-data-climate-change
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05301-z

World faces ‘terminal’ loss of Arctic sea ice during summers, report warns
The climate crisis has pushed the planet’s stores of ice to a widespread collapse that was “unthinkable just a decade ago”, with Arctic sea ice certain to vanish in summers and ruinous sea level rise from melting glaciers now already in motion, a major new report has warned ... “There’s nothing we can do about that now, we’ve just screwed up and let the system warm too much already,” said Julie Brigham-Grette, a scientist at University of Massachusetts Amherst and report co-author, about the sea ice. “We can’t stuff the genie back into the bottle.” Disappearance of sea ice will open up the dark Arctic ocean, which will absorb – rather than reflect – heat, causing global heating to escalate further ... “It’s a terminal diagnosis and now we have to live with consequences,” said Robbie Mallett, a sea ice expert at University College London Earth Sciences. “We are driving a whole environment to extinction.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/07/melting-arctic-sea-ice-summer-report
reporting on a study at https://iccinet.org/statecryo22/

Wells are running dry in drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas
The alfalfa fields of Al Dahra Farms dwarf Wenden Arizona Gary Saiter, a longtime resident and head of the Wenden Water Improvement District, said the water was being pumped rapidly out of the ground by a neighboring well belonging to Al Dahra, a United Arab Emirates-based company farming alfalfa in the Southwest [while] shallower wells run dry amid the Southwest’s worst drought in 1,200 years. Much of the frustration is pointed at the area’s huge, foreign-owned farms growing thirsty crops like alfalfa, which ultimately get shipped to feed cattle and other livestock overseas ... groundwater laws [allow] farms to pump unlimited water as long as they own or lease the property. But rural communities in La Paz County know the water is disappearing beneath their feet. in Wenden the water table has dropped from about 100 feet in the late 1950s to about 540 feet in 2022, already far beyond what an average residential well can reach ... In 2018, Saudi Arabia finalized a ban on growing thirsty crops like alfalfa and hay to feed livestock and cattle. The reason was simple: the arid Middle East – also struggling with climate change-fueled drought – is running out of water, and agriculture is a huge consumer. So, they needed to find water somewhere else ... Valued at $14.3 billion, the Almarai Company – which owns about 10,000 acres of farmland in Arizona under its subsidiary, Fondomonte – is one of the biggest players in the Middle East’s dairy supply ... there is nothing illegal about foreign-owned farming in the US. And many American farmers use the West’s water to grow crops which are eventually exported around the globe. But amid the worst drought in centuries, residents and officials have questioned the merit of allowing countries, which themselves are running out of water, unlimited access to a resource as good as gold in the Southwest ... “We are literally exporting our economy overseas,” Campbell said.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/11/05/us/arizona-water-foreign-owned-farms-climate/index.html

Heatwaves will make entire regions uninhabitable within decades, report warns
The Red Cross and the United Nations have published a report warning that within decades heatwaves will become so extreme in some parts of the world that human life there will be unsustainable. Heatwaves are predicted to "exceed human physiological and social limits" in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and south and south-west Asia – with extreme events triggering "large-scale suffering and loss of life", the organisations said on Monday.
https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20221011-heatwaves-will-make-entire-regions-uninhabitable-within-decades-report-warns
reporting on a study at https://reliefweb.int/report/world/extreme-heat-preparing-heatwaves-future-october-2022

UN: Climate Plans Remain Insufficient
Efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius ... the combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius ... current commitments will increase emissions by 10.6% by 2030 [but] UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report indicated that CO2 emissions needed to be cut 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels ... “The fact that only 24 new or updated climate plans were submitted since COP 26 is disappointing. Government decisions and actions must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change.”
https://unfccc.int/news/climate-plans-remain-insufficient-more-ambitious-action-needed-now

UNESCO says a third of World Heritage glaciers will vanish by 2050
A third of global glaciers located at World Heritage sites will disappear by 2050, UNESCO warned [and] those glaciers will melt regardless of efforts to limit temperature increases ... it is possible to save the remaining two thirds of glaciers [but] to do so, global heating must not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels ... glaciers have been retreating at an accelerated rate since the turn of the century due to carbon dioxide emissions [yet] half of humanity depends either directly or indirectly on glaciers as a source of water for domestic consumption, agriculture and power.
https://thehill.com/policy/equilibrium-sustainability/3717866-unesco-says-a-third-of-world-heritage-glaciers-will-vanish-by-2050/
reporting on a study at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000383551

More bad news for the planet: greenhouse gas levels hit new highs
[A]tmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide all reached new record highs in 2021, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) ... the biggest year-on-year jump in methane concentrations in 2021 since systematic measurements began ... The increase in carbon dioxide levels from 2020 to 2021 was larger than the average annual growth rate over the last decade [and] continues to rise in 2022 ... Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas. [Its] increase from 2020 to 2021 was slightly higher than that observed from 2019 to 2020 and higher than the average annual growth rate over the past 10 years.
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/more-bad-news-planet-greenhouse-gas-levels-hit-new-highs

Don’t Look Down
As permafrost thaws, the ground beneath Alaska is collapsing.
As the climate warms, the ancient ice that used to cover an estimated 85 percent of Alaska is thawing. As it streams away, there are places where the ground is now collapsing. Many of the valley’s spruce trees lean drunkenly. Sometimes, only a thin layer of soil covers yawning craters where the ice has vanished [and] fundamentally changed how — and where — people can live ... “It was thought to be permanent — that any changes happened on a scale of tens of thousands of years,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a leading permafrost researcher ... “Those who live on permafrost have a pretty good understanding of what will happen in 20 years — they don’t need scientists to tell them,” Streletskiy said. “It’s the people who live in D.C. or Moscow who need to pay attention.”
https://grist.org/science/alaska-permafrost-thawing-ice-climate-change/

California tree carnage: A decade of drought and fire killed a third of Sierra Nevada forests
A new UC Berkeley study [finds that] nearly a third of southern Sierra conifer forests have died in the last decade. California has seen devastating bouts of drought and record-breaking wildfire events in the last several years. From 2011-2020, a combination of fire, drought and drought-related bark beetle infestations killed 30% of forests in the Sierra Nevada mountain range between Lake Tahoe and Kern County, according to the analysis. On top of the overall decline in total conifer forest in the region, half of mature forest habitat and 85% of high-density mature forests were either wiped out entirely or became low-density forests. The Sierra Nevada region of California covers almost 27 million acres that provide habitat for thousands of wildife species and is home to dozens of conifer species.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article267885597.html
reporting on a study at https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eap.2763

World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies
All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days. The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”. Current pledges for action by 2030, even if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C, a level that would condemn the world to catastrophic climate breakdown, according to the UN’s climate agency. Only a handful of countries have ramped up their plans in the last year, despite having promised to do so at the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last November. The UN’s meteorological agency reported that all the main heating gases hit record highs in 2021, with an alarming surge in emissions of methane ... [A study] published in September found five dangerous climate tipping points may already have been passed.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/world-close-to-irreversible-climate-breakdown-warn-major-studies

The World’s Biggest Source of Clean Energy Is Evaporating Fast
Climate change-fueled heatwaves and droughts have shrunk rivers that feed giant hydropower plants
Dams are the world’s largest source of clean energy, yet extreme weather is making them less effective in the battle against climate change ... hydropower generates more electricity than nuclear and more power than wind and solar combined ... Except when there’s no water. The worst drought in 1,200 years this year in the US West means parched reservoirs can only churn out half of the power they normally supply ... In Brazil, which typically relies on hydro for more than 60% of its electricity, a drought last year brought the country to the verge of power rationing ... No country has built more dams though than China, where the worst drought in at least 60 years in Sichuan, a province the size of Germany, cut generation by 50% in August just as air-conditioning demand soared to counter a heat wave. Officials had to shut off power to many local factories for nearly two weeks ... Hydro's struggles underline the difficulty of building a robust renewable energy network to replace fossil fuels.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-10-26/drought-from-china-to-us-hits-hydro-dams-slashing-the-top-clean-energy-source

Antarctica’s Collapse Could Begin Even Sooner Than Anticipated
Two expeditions to the Thwaites Ice Shelf have revealed that it could splinter apart in less than a decade
For the past 20 years, as the planet has warmed, scientists using satellites and aerial surveys have been watching the Thwaites Ice Shelf deteriorate. The decline has caused widespread alarm because experts have long viewed the Thwaites Glacier as the most vulnerable part of the larger West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The ice shelf acts as a dam, slowing its parent glacier’s flow into the ocean. If the shelf were to fall apart, the glacier’s slide into the sea would greatly accelerate. The Thwaites Glacier itself holds enough ice to raise the global sea level by 65 centimeters (about two feet). The loss of the Thwaites Glacier would in turn destabilize much of the rest of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with enough ice to raise sea levels by 3.2 meters ... In every scenario, the eastern ice shelf will meet a fate similar to the western ice tongue: its constituent shards will disconnect and drift away ... The team was so alarmed that Pettit and Wild decided they will return this December to install a new instrument station: “BOB,” short for Breakup Observer. They hope BOB will survive long enough to record the final throes of the ice shelf as it fractures into shards. It might not take long.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antarcticas-collapse-could-begin-even-sooner-than-anticipated

Rising temperatures see beetles and fire ravage European forests
Since 2018 Germany has lost half a million hectares of forest. In particular, spruce species have been heavily impacted. "Here, in the Frankenwald (Franconian Forest) we have large-scale forest dieback. It is a catastrophe. What was built up through generations, was destroyed in just three years,” explains Matthias Lindig, Forester, and Bavarian State Forest Office Agent. Matthias's team fights the bark beetle, but already one-quarter of the spruce forest in north-eastern Bavaria is dead. Overlooking just one beetle spruce can lead to widespread infestation and in a few weeks, 400 further trees can become infected and die.
https://www.euronews.com/2022/10/20/climate-crisis-how-beetles-and-fire-are-devouring-european-forests

A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions
The state’s record-breaking 2020 fire season, which saw more than 4 million acres burn, spewed almost twice the tonnage of greenhouse gases as the total amount of carbon dioxide reductions made since 2003, according to a study published recently in the journal Environmental Pollution ... The findings challenge the notion that wildfire emissions should be considered differently than the emissions of tailpipes, industry and other sources ... California’s 2020 greenhouse gas targets, set in 2006, were “focused on the root cause of climate change, which is energy and combustion of fossil fuels in the state. [But what] we didn’t know then, and what we’ve learned now, is that the climate impacts have accelerated.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-20/california-wildfires-offset-greenhouse-gas-reductions
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749122011022#bib1

Only 5% of plastic waste generated by US last year was recycled, report says
The plastics problem is not just down to wanton consumerism or laziness – in fact the situation would still be bad even if every household separated every piece of plastic and disposed of it in a dedicated recycling plant, according to Greenpeace. Not a single type of plastic packaging in the US meets the definition of recyclable used by either the Federal Trade Commission or the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new plastic economy initiative, the report found.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/23/us-plastic-waste-recycled-2021-greenpeace

The U.S. could see a new 'extreme heat belt' by 2053
An "extreme heat belt" reaching as far north as Chicago is taking shape, a corridor that cuts through the middle of the country and would affect more than 107 million people over the next 30 years, according to new data on the country's heat risks. The report, released Monday by the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation, found that within a column of America's heartland stretching from Texas and Louisiana north to the Great Lakes, residents could experience heat index temperatures above 125 degrees Fahrenheit by 2053 — conditions that are more commonly found in California's Death Valley or in parts of the Middle East. The projections are part of First Street Foundation's new, peer-reviewed extreme heat model [which] uses high-resolution measurements of land surface temperatures and incorporates the effects of canopy cover, proximity to water and other factors that determine local temperature variability.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/us-see-new-extreme-heat-belt-2053-rcna42486

U.S. Winter Outlook: Warmer, drier South with ongoing La Nina
Drought to persist in Great Plains, parts of West and expand
This year La Niña returns for the third consecutive winter, driving warmer-than-average temperatures for the Southwest and along the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard, according to NOAA’s U.S. Winter Outlook ... [from] December 2022 through February 2023, NOAA predicts drier-than-average conditions across the South with wetter-than-average conditions for areas of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.
https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/us-winter-outlook-warmer-drier-south-with-ongoing-la-nina

Bodies of water all over North America are drying up due to drought, climate change
Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the 22-year megadrought affecting the West would not only intensify but also move eastward. That prediction appears to be coming into fruition, with about 82% of the continental U.S. currently showing conditions between abnormally dry and exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And while the U.S. and North America continue to witness water levels dropping in crucial rivers, lakes and reservoirs, a mixture of climate change and poor water management policies are causing similar events all over the world ... so much damage has already been done, that even drastic improvements or reductions in emissions will not immediately impact reducing the stress on water levels.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/bodies-water-north-america-drying-due-drought-climate/story?id=91737496

'It's life or death': Why one Hawaii island’s severe drought problem should scare everyone
Mauna Kahalawai Maui drought Oct 2022 Mauna Kahalawai [the West Maui Mountains] provides water to most of Maui, and the forest is essential to the watershed [but] the loss of native trees, due to past pineapple farming within the encompassing 8,304 acres of the watershed, has resulted in decreased rain capture. “It’s life or death,” [said] Kainoa Pestana, a field tech for Puu Kukui Watershed Preserve. “If we don’t have a forest, then we basically don’t have life for the west side.” Maui County currently has the worst drought conditions in the state. In August, Maui hit seven record-high temperatures, and in September, the National Weather Service moved Maui’s central valley to “exceptional drought,” the highest category in the drought monitoring system ... conditions are predicted to continue to worsen.
https://www.sfgate.com/hawaii/article/maui-faces-severe-drought-problem-17522662.php

'Iraq is turning into a desert, but our politicians don't care'
Three quarters of the agricultural land has already been lost.
In Iraq's Diyala province, a three-hour drive north of Baghdad it is early September and almost 45 degrees. The air above the asphalt quivers with heat. On both sides the road offers a view over a parched plain. Two years ago, that plain was still covered by the Hamrin reservoir, says Zarkoushi, the governor of the area. “The water was so high in winter that this road flooded,” he says. “On the edges of the lake we grew vegetables and pistachios. We even organized boat trips for tourists. That is all a thing of the past.” Zarkoushi overlooks the desert. The earth is bursting with drought. It hurts to see this, says the governor, who grew up here ... Climate change is taking apocalyptic proportions in Iraq. Temperatures in the country are rising seven times faster than the global average. Summer temperatures of 50 degrees are no longer an exception. In the past three years, three quarters of Iraq 's irrigated farmland has been lost. The Euphrates and Tigris are expected to completely dry up by 2040.
https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2022/10/23/irak-verandert-in-een-dorre-woestijn-a4146044

Global warming could collapse the Atlantic circulation system
The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is a vast system of ocean currents which carry warm water from the tropics into the North Atlantic ocean and transport cold water from the northern to the southern hemisphere, thus playing a major role in the regulation of the Earth’s climate. This system has collapsed in the past ... “The process begins with an apparently insignificant weakening of AMOC, which causes subsurface warming at high latitudes of the North Atlantic. This warming melts the glaciers’ sea snouts, moving the glaciers rapidly seaward and releasing colossal armadas of icebergs. As the icebergs melt, surface water salinity decreases in the region. The surface water isn’t dense enough to sink, and AMOC collapses,” Chiessi explained. In recent decades, monitoring of AMOC has shown evidence that it is once more weakening due to three main reasons: the intensification of rainfall at high latitudes; the melting of the ice cap over Greenland; and the warming of the Earth’s surface. According to the experts, all three causes are associated with greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities. The new findings regarding AMOC’s collapse in the past suggest that the current weaker AMOC could melt glaciers in Greenland, ultimately leading to another AMOC collapse and thus exacerbating the current climate crisis. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
https://www.earth.com/news/global-warming-could-collapse-the-atlantic-circulation-system

Glaciers in the Alps are melting faster than ever – and 2022 was their worst summer yet
Over the 19 years that I have visited and studied the glaciers in Switzerland, I have not seen a summer like 2022. The scale of change is staggering. Glaciologists like me used to use the word “extreme” to describe annual ice loss of around 2% of a glacier’s overall volume [but] this year Switzerland’s glaciers have lost an average of 6.2% of their ice ... The protective layers of snow have not been thick enough to offset the warming summer temperatures and on average glaciers around the world have been wasting away ... research just published has shown that Austrian glaciers have also lost more glacial ice in 2022 than they have in 70 years of observations and therefore it is quite clear that severe melt has been the norm in 2022.
https://theconversation.com/glaciers-in-the-alps-are-melting-faster-than-ever-and-2022-was-their-worst-summer-yet-189197

How the Great Plains Dust Bowl drought spread heat extremes around the Northern Hemisphere
It has only been in the twenty-first century that human populations in these regions of the Northern Hemisphere have experienced heat extremes comparable to the 1930s. This demonstrates that humans influenced Northern Hemisphere temperature and heat extremes through disastrous and unprecedented regional land use practices over the Great Plains, and points to the possibility that future intense regional droughts could affect heat extremes on hemispheric scales.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-22262-5

U.S. winter wheat farmers plant into dust as Plains drought persists
2023 U.S. hard red winter wheat crop is already being hobbled by drought in the heart of the southern Plains ... drought threatens Kansas, the top winter wheat growing state, and Oklahoma in two ways: discouraging farmers who have not yet planted from trying, while threatening crops already in the ground from developing properly ... Without moisture, wheat shoots may fail to emerge from the ground. Even a delayed emergence would threaten yield potential by narrowing the window for plants to develop a hardy root system and push out more stems, known as tillers, before winter. "That puts a nail in the coffin," said Mark Hodges, an agronomist for Plains Grains Inc, an Oklahoma-based group that tests wheat for quality. Hodges said, "If you don't have the tillers in the fall, it's really hard to make up that number in the spring" ... About two-thirds of wheat in the United States, among the top five global exporters, is grown as a winter crop rather than spring ... Poor emergence could have a longer-term cost as well. Wheat helps anchor topsoil in the Plains, protecting it from wind erosion.
https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2022-10-17/u-s-winter-wheat-farmers-plant-into-dust-as-plains-drought-persists

Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act?
“It’s as low as I can ever remember it being,” [Mayor Eric] Garcetti said of the reservoir from the back seat of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power helicopter. “You can see the bathtub ring.” The aerial survey of L.A.'s water infrastructure came at a critical moment [with] the city facing what is sure to be one of the hottest, driest and most challenging climate eras on record ... supplies from the State Water Project are heavily dependent on annual snowpack and rainfall in the Sierra, which are no longer a guarantee under the state’s shifting climate regime. What’s more, long-reliable federal supplies from the Colorado River are rapidly drying up, with the river’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, nearing dangerously low levels.
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-10-13/as-election-nears-future-l-a-water-supply-gains-focus

Next pandemic may come from melting glaciers, new data shows
The findings imply that as global temperatures rise owing to climate change, it becomes more likely that viruses and bacteria locked up in glaciers and permafrost could reawaken and infect local wildlife, particularly as their range also shifts closer to the poles ... The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggested that the risk of viruses spilling over to new hosts was higher at locations close to where large amounts of glacial meltwater flowed in – a situation that becomes more likely as the climate warms ... other recent research has suggested that unknown viruses can, and do, loiter in glacier ice. For instance, last year, researchers at Ohio State University in the US announced they had found genetic material from 33 viruses – 28 of them novel – in ice samples taken from the Tibetan plateau in China. Based on their location, the viruses were estimated to be approximately 15,000 years old. In 2014, scientists at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research in Aix-Marseille managed to revive a giant virus they isolated from Siberian permafrost, making it infectious again for the first time in 30,000 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/oct/19/next-pandemic-may-come-from-melting-glaciers-new-data-shows
reporting on a study at https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2022.1073

Impending economic crisis will dwarf coronavirus crisis, says credit insurer Allianz
The looming economic crisis will make the coronavirus crisis look like nothing, according to credit insurer Allianz Trade. “It is an atypical, multiple crisis. Everything points downwards. Rarely have so many negative facts come together simultaneously,” Johan Geeroms, director of risk underwriting in the Benelux for Allianz, said in a press statement. “One figure is more serious than the other,” Geeroms said. Bankruptcies are expected to skyrocket this and next year, inflation is at historically high rates, interest rates are rising, and raw material costs are getting more and more expensive. “What we are going to see is that the available fiscal space of countries is completely exhausted. Budgets derail. Especially at a time when a lot of money is also needed for the energy translation and climate measures. It is almost inevitable that sustainability will fade into the background in the near future,” Geeroms said. The Allianz director doesn’t expect the situation to change any time soon.
https://nltimes.nl/2022/10/17/impending-economic-crisis-will-dwarf-coronavirus-crisis-says-credit-insurer-allianz

Pesticide use around world almost doubles since 1990, report finds
Global pesticide use has soared by 80% since 1990, with the world market set to hit $130bn next year, according to a new Pesticide Atlas. But pesticides are also responsible for an estimated 11,000 human fatalities and the poisoning of 385 million people every year, the report finds. Their use has hit biodiversity, driving falls of around 30% in populations of field birds and grassland butterflies since 1990 ... “The evidence is staggering; the current food system based on the heavy use of poisonous chemicals is gravely failing farmers and consumers and feeding biodiversity collapse” ... A quarter of all pesticides are sold in the EU, which is also the world’s top exporter of crop protection products ... In 2018, European agrochemical companies planned to export 81,000 tonnes of pesticides prohibited on their own fields, the atlas says. In the same year, more than 40% of all pesticides used in Mali and Kenya were found to be highly hazardous, as were 65% of all pesticides used in four states of Nigeria.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/18/pesticide-use-around-world-almost-doubles-since-1990-report-finds

If you think Bitcoin Spews Carbon, Wait Till You Hear About...Banking
Crypto's bad, and Citi, Chase et al are 79 times worse
Because Bitcoin and many of its peers require “miners” to perform strenuous mathematical exercises with vast banks of computers in order to mint the currency, the energy use for running and cooling servers can be prodigious. But if you’re worried about finance and its state of the climate, it turns out you should concentrate instead on the regular old banking system [because it uses] seventy nine times more than crypto mining. If these banks were a country, they would be the world’s fifth largest emitter, right behind Russia ... "The Carbon Bankroll” report, which looked at the carbon emissions from bank deposits and investments held by some of the biggest companies in the country [found that] Microsoft generates three times more carbon from its cash and investments than from everyone using all of its products, and Amazon more carbon from its treasury than its delivery vans ... It’s somehow easier to see a brand-new problem: crypto is brash and noisy, so we pay attention. But it’s the stately old brick-and-mortar banks that are eating the planet.
https://billmckibben.substack.com/p/if-you-think-bitcoin-spews-carbon

More than 80 percent of the U.S. is facing troubling dry conditions
US drought monitor 11 oct 2022 Severe to exceptional drought conditions remain common in the West, which has been battling its driest period in the past 1,200 years. But the drought is now far more widespread, with unusual dryness continuing in parts of the Northeast and expanding extreme drought conditions in the Midwest.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/10/14/drought-conditions-record-westernus-climate/

Mississippi River levels are dropping too low for barges to float
Areas of persistent and developing drought stretch across much of the Mississippi basin, which itself covers 41 percent of the contiguous United States ... long-term forecasts suggest that unusually dry weather is likely to continue ... Repeatedly over the past week, water levels have become too low for barges to float, requiring the corps to halt maritime traffic on the river and dredge channels deep enough even for barges carrying lighter-than-normal loads. Days after a queue of stalled river traffic grew to more than 1,700 barges during emergency dredging near Vicksburg, Miss., a separate 24-hour dredging closure began Tuesday near Memphis ... Drought is pronounced across much of the country west of the Mississippi, including some two-thirds of the northern Plains states that drain to the Missouri River and then the Mississippi [and] dry conditions are predicted to resume for the latter part of October and into early November.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/10/12/mississippi-river-drought-low-levels-agriculture

Australian wheat yields plummet after decades of global heating, study finds
Global heating in the Indian Ocean has shifted a climate pattern towards drier conditions across Australia’s globally important wheat belt causing a severe drop in yields over the past three decades, according to a new study. Scientists from Australia and China warned as global heating continues, wheat-growing conditions would become more challenging. The study, published in Nature Food, analysed different climate phenomena that influenced Australia’s rainfall since the late 1800s and used models to see how this affected wheat yields.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/oct/14/australian-wheat-yields-plummet-after-decades-of-global-heating-study-finds

Northern Hemisphere’s extreme summer drought ‘virtually impossible’ without human-made climate change
Drought across the Northern Hemisphere this summer — which scorched soil, dried up rivers and triggered mass crop failure — was made at least 20 times more likely by the climate crisis, a new analysis has found. The research, published Wednesday by the World Weather Attribution initiative, found that without the climate crisis, the drought that hit swaths of North America, Asia and Europe this summer would historically be a 1-in-400-year event. But global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels has made a drought of this magnitude a 1-in-20-year occurrence, the scientists found. The soaring temperatures experienced this summer, which contributed to the drought and killed tens of thousands of people across Europe and China, would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change ... “In Europe, drought conditions led to reduced harvests. This was particularly worrying, as it followed a climate change-fueled heatwave in South Asia that also destroyed crops” ... The Northern Hemisphere can expect extreme temperatures — like those experienced this summer — much more frequently, the analysis found.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/10/05/world/northern-hemisphere-drought-climate-intl/index.html

The uninsurables: how storms and rising seas are making coastlines unliveable
Most of Canada’s major cities are built on the frontlines of a changing climate – along rivers and coastlines or on flood plains. This has long troubled the risk-averse insurance industry across the globe ... Canada is far from alone in the crisis. Indonesia, which has the second-longest coast, has lost much of its natural protection against the encroaching sea ... thawing permafrost has shed thousands of hectares of Russian coastline into the ocean ... stretches of Australia’s Gold Coast are at severe risk from erosion and storm-surge damage ... Over the past 15 years, insurance claims from severe weather events in Canada have more than quadrupled ... a federally run fund, meant to help communities build disaster-resilient infrastructure, is quickly running out of money ... the costs could be too high for insurance companies to operate in certain markets around the world where extreme weather disasters are increasingly common.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/13/the-uninsurables-how-storms-and-rising-seas-are-making-coastlines-unlivable

Lake Mead water crisis is exposing volcanic rock from eruptions 12 million years ago
Lake Mead's falling water level has exposed several shocking things in recent months. Now scientists are reporting a new discovery on Lake Mead's dry bed: rocks laced with volcanic ash that rained down on southern Nevada during explosive eruptions roughly 12 million years ago ... The West's climate change-fueled drought and overuse of the Colorado River's water has pushed Lake Mead levels to unprecedented lows. As of September, the lake's water level was just 1,045 feet above sea level, or around 27% of full capacity.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/10/12/us/lake-mead-volcanic-ash-exposed-climate/index.html

As winters warm, nutrient pollution threatens 40% of US
Winters are the fastest warming U.S. season, and the seasonal snowpack in much of the U.S. has become less stable. Increased rain-on-snow, snowmelt, and rainfall events now carry nutrients and soil into streams and rivers during winter when dormant vegetation cannot absorb them. As a result, winter runoff impacts on nutrient pollution has quickly progressed from rare or nonexistent to far worse than during other times of the year. The study was published in Environmental Research Letters by a team of scientists from the University of Vermont, University of Colorado, University of Kansas, and University of Michigan ... Of particular concern are so-called “rain-on-snow” events, researchers say, which can cause large, economically and environmentally devastating floods.
https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/966321
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac8be5

Billions of snow crabs have disappeared from the waters around Alaska. Scientists say overfishing is not the cause
The Alaska snow crab harvest has been canceled for the first time ever [because] the snow crab population shrank from around 8 billion in 2018 to 1 billion in 2021 ... Officials cited overfishing [but] “it wasn’t overfishing that caused the collapse, that much is clear.” Litzow says human-caused climate change is a significant factor in the crabs’ alarming disappearance. Snow crabs are cold-water species and found overwhelmingly in areas where water temperatures are below 2 degrees Celsius, Litzow says. As oceans warm and sea ice disappears, the ocean around Alaska is becoming inhospitable for the species. Climate change has triggered a rapid loss in sea ice in the Arctic region, particularly in Alaska’s Bering Sea, which in turn has amplified global warming.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/10/16/us/alaska-snow-crab-harvest-canceled-climate/index.html

Extreme drought across Midwest impacting crop conditions
Dry soil conditions continue to plague many Midwestern states [and] agricultural professionals are asking themselves what this year's crops might look like. The area produces over 33% of the world's corn and 34% of the world's soybeans, but drought conditions in some locations could limit this year's yield ... stress is being felt the most across the Central Plains, where extreme and even exceptional drought is taking place. In Nebraska, only about 40% of the corn crop is in good or excellent shape with 35% of the crop labeled as poor or very poor.
https://khqa.com/news/local/extreme-drought-across-midwest-impacting-crop-conditions

Mississippi River Barge Backlog Swells as Water Levels Shrink
Commercial barge traffic on southern stretches of the Mississippi River was at a standstill on Tuesday as low water levels halted shipments of grain, fertilizer and other commodities on the critical waterway,shipping sources said. The supply chain snarl comes just as harvesting of corn and soybeans, the largest U.S. cash crops, is ramping up and as tight global supplies and strong demand for food and fuel have sent inflation soaring. Around 100 tow boats hauling some 1,600 barges were lined up for miles waiting to pass through one trouble spot near Lake Providence, Louisiana, that has been largely closed since late last week, shipping sources said. At least two other sections of the lower Mississippi have also been closed at times, disrupting the flow of grain to U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals, where some 60% of U.S. corn, soybean and wheat exports exit the country, they said ... “There’s not a lot of relief in sight in the weather forecast,” said Merritt Lane, president and chief executive of barge operator Canal Barge Company.
https://gcaptain.com/mississippi-river-barge-backlog-swells-as-water-levels-shrink/

The Monsoon Is Becoming More Extreme
Across South Asia, climate change is making the monsoon more erratic, less dependable and even dangerous, with more violent rainfall as well as worsening dry spells. For a region home to nearly one-quarter of the world’s population, the consequences are dire. At Mr. Gagre’s farm in late August, dryness was the problem — the monsoon had begun to feel all but absent ... In other parts of South Asia, the problem was too much rain, too quickly. Pakistan, to India’s northwest, was struck by relentless downpours, leaving much of the nation underwater ... Scientists blame global warming from the burning of fossil fuels for the changes in the monsoon ... the scientists also see what farmers like Mr. Gagre are experiencing: greater uncertainty ... The monsoon is becoming more erratic because of a basic bit of science: Warmer air holds more moisture. The moisture accumulates in the atmosphere and can stay there longer, increasing the length of dry spells. But then, when it does rain, “it dumps all that moisture in a very short time,” Dr. Koll said. “It can be a month’s rainfall or a week’s rainfall in a few hours to a few days.”
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/10/04/climate/south-asia-monsoon-climate-change.html

The Mediterranean Sea Is So Hot, It’s Forming Carbonate Crystals [and releasing CO2]
As the eastern Mediterranean Sea heats up in the summer, it can no longer absorb [CO2] and instead starts releasing it ... the sea begins burping up great quantities of CO2 that the water can no longer hold. And Bialik and his colleagues have discovered that ... aragonite is forming abiotically. That’s another sign that the water is getting so warm that it’s releasing its carbon load ... as these crystals form, they release CO2. So much so, Bialik calculates, that they account for perhaps 15 percent of the gas that the Mediterranean Sea emits to the atmosphere.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-mediterranean-sea-is-so-hot-its-forming-carbonate-crystals/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-20446-7

Thousands of salmon found dead as Canada drought dries out river
Tens of thousands of dead wild salmon scattered along a creek bed are the latest casualty of a drought that has gripped the province of British Columbia for more than a month and left communities bracing for more devastation ... Wild salmon typically wait for rains as their signal to journey up creeks and rivers – an indicator that water levels will rise and provide easier passage to natal streams. Housty says a brief afternoon rain 10 days ago, coupled with a high tide, gave the salmon a false signal to start. No more rain came and the creek dried up, leaving the fish stranded. A biologist estimated 65,000 dead salmon were in the creek bed, more than 70% of which failed to spawn.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/05/canada-dead-salmon-drought-british-columbia

Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Gathering Pipelines in the Permian Basin
The rapid reduction of methane emissions, especially from oil and gas (O&G) operations, is a critical part of slowing global warming ... we use methane emission measurements collected from four recent aerial campaigns in the Permian Basin, the most prolific O&G basin in the United States, to estimate a methane emission factor for gathering lines [pipes that transport natural gas from well sites to processing plants, or directly to the transmission system] ... Each of [our] four aerial surveys covered at least 16000 km in linear distance of gathering pipelines, while the largest ground survey of gathering pipelines (in a published study) covered 187 km. We argue that the limited scope of ground surveys is often insufficient to locate high-emitting pipeline sources ... Our results suggest that pipeline emissions are underestimated [by] an emission factor 14–52 times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national estimate for gathering lines and 4–13 times higher than the highest estimate derived from a published ground-based survey of gathering lines ... a small percentage of the highest-emitting sources account for >50% of total emissions.
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00380

California wells run dry as drought depletes groundwater
More than 1,200 wells have run dry this year statewide, a nearly 50% increase over the same period last year ... Shrinking groundwater supplies reflect the severity of California’s drought, which is now entering its fourth year ... more than 94% of the state is in severe, extreme or exceptional drought. California just experienced its three driest years on record, and state water officials said Monday they’re preparing for another dry year ... Farmers are getting little surface water from the state’s depleted reservoirs, so they’re pumping more groundwater to irrigate their crops. That’s causing water tables to drop across California. State data shows that 64% of wells are at below-normal water levels [and well drillers] must now drill down a couple hundred feet deeper than older wells.
https://apnews.com/article/california-droughts-climate-and-environment-e49c8c5c34ead7ef7f83b770082f20bc

Climate change drives rapid decadal acidification in the Arctic Ocean from 1994 to 2020
The Arctic is warming at a rate faster than any comparable region on Earth, with a consequently rapid loss of sea ice there [causing] more uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by surface water ... Here, we report rapid acidification there, with rates three to four times higher than in other ocean basins, and attribute it to changing sea ice coverage ... sea ice melt exposes seawater to the atmosphere and promotes rapid uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide, lowering its alkalinity and buffer capacity and thus leading to sharp declines in pH ... We predict a further decrease in pH, particularly at higher latitudes where sea ice retreat is active.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abo0383

World Bank criticised over climate crisis spending
The World Bank has come under fire for failing to show that its claimed spending on the climate crisis is real, in a report suggesting up to 40% of its reported climate-related spending is impossible to account for. The findings are the latest blow to the World Bank over its climate finance activities [and the] future of Malpass as president is in doubt: the Guardian understands that some countries behind the scenes are looking at ways to oust the Trump appointee.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/03/world-bank-criticised-over-climate-crisis-spending

T. Rowe Slams Goal-Linked ESG Bonds Doing Little Good
Companies globally have been rushing to issue SLBs to get cheaper borrowing costs by tapping into the tide of cash that’s flowing into environmental, social and good-governance [ESG] investment funds. Sales of the bonds reached a record $110 billion in 2021 and Moody’s ESG Solutions is expecting $150 billion by the end of this year. T. Rowe, which oversees some $1.4 trillion of investments, is the latest bond-buying titan to raise doubts about how well the bonds advance the stated goals. Last year Nuveen, another big investor, said it saw little impact from the securities and has continued to focus its efforts on structures that clearly identify their use of proceeds and impact outcomes ... [for example] Tesco Plc’s inaugural sustainability-linked bond ... tied the 750 million-euro, 8.5-year bond to a pledge to cut 60% of its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions through 2025-26, with 2015-16 as the baseline. But the company had already achieved a 50% cut in those emissions by the time the deal was sold.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-14/t-rowe-slams-goal-linked-esg-bonds-that-are-doing-little-good

Study links in utero ‘forever chemical’ exposure to low sperm count and mobility
PFAS, now found in nearly all umbilical cord blood around the world, interfere with hormones crucial to testicle development
The study, published on Wednesday in Environmental Health Perspectives, examined semen characteristics and reproductive hormones in 864 young Danish men born to women who provided blood samples during their pregnancies’ first trimesters between 1996 and 2002. The study builds on others that found similar issues, but it is the first to look for exposure to more than two PFAS [suspected endocrine disruptors] and to assess exposure during early pregnancy, which is the male reproductive organ’s “primary developmental period” ... The ubiquitous chemicals are estimated to be in 98% of Americans’ blood, and they can cross the placental barrier and accumulate in the growing fetus.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/oct/05/pfas-sperm-count-mobility-testicle-development

Temporal decline of sperm concentration: role of endocrine disruptors
A number of studies have reported a decrease in sperm production in the last forty years. Although the reasons are still undefined, the change in environmental conditions and the higher exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), namely bisphenol A, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl esters, dichlorodiphenyl-dichloroethylene, pesticides, and herbicides, organophosphates, and heavy metals, starting from prenatal life may represent a possible factor justifying the temporal decline in sperm count.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12020-022-03136-2

As Himalayan Glaciers Melt, a Water Crisis Looms in South Asia
New research suggests that the area of Himalayan glaciers has shrunk by 40 percent since the Little Ice Age maximum between 400-700 years ago, and that in the past few decades ice melt has accelerated ... More than a billion people depend on the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra river systems, which are fed by snow and glacial melt from the Hindu Kush Himalaya region ... meltwater can be a lifesaver at a time when other water sources are much diminished. But increased melt may also trigger landslides or glacial lake outburst floods, known as GLOFs, scientists warn. Or it could aggravate the impact of extreme rainfall, like the deluge that caused recent massive flooding in Pakistan ... glacial lakes have increased in number and size since the 1990s. Lake formation is an outcome of glacier melt [and] more glacial lakes means greater risk of glacial lake outburst floods, when land or ice holding back a lake can suddenly give way, releasing a huge volume of water. One study projects almost a threefold rise in the risk of lake outbursts in the region.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/himalayas-glaciers-climate-change

More frequent, intense and extensive rainfall events in a strongly warming Arctic
Here, we use state-of-the-art models ... to project the number of days with rainfall, the intensities and onset dates of rainfall events in the Arctic under the strong emission scenario (RCP8.5) ... larger increase in the rainy days over the Pacific and Atlantic sectors (up to 12 days/month) during the cold seasons (October-May) and over the Arctic Ocean (up to 14 days/month) during the warm seasons (June-September) as compared with the present day (2006-2015) ... 67%-93% of the increases in rainy days is contributed by the local warming and the remainder by the increase in total precipitation ... rainfall in spring will occur much earlier than the present day by more than one month, and the extent of rainfall will further expand towards the center of the Arctic Ocean and the inland Greenland in the future ... the timing of rainfall in spring will be significantly advanced, taking the Chukchi Sea and the Northern Barents Sea as an example; the first spring rainfall in these areas at the end of this century will occur three months earlier than the present-day. All these trends will make rainfall a new force, accelerating the melting of snow and ice in the Arctic in the future.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021EF002378

Insects will struggle to keep pace with global temperature rise
A new study assessed how well 102 species of insect can adjust their critical thermal limits to survive temperature extremes [and] found that insects have a weak capacity to do so, making them particularly vulnerable to climate change ... A weak ability to adjust to higher temperatures will mean many insects will need to migrate to cooler climates in order to survive [which] could upset the delicate balance of ecosystems [and] increases the possibility of introducing infectious diseases to higher latitudes ... Insect species incapable of migrating may also become extinct. This is of concern because many insects perform important ecological functions. Three quarters of the crops produced globally are fertilised by pollinators. Their loss could cause a sharp reduction in global food production. The vulnerability of insects to temperature extremes means that we face an uncertain and worrying future if we cannot curb the pace of climate change.
https://theconversation.com/insects-will-struggle-to-keep-pace-with-global-temperature-rise-which-could-be-bad-news-for-humans-190791
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32953-2

Iraq’s mighty Tigris river is drying up
Tigris tributary Diyala The Tigris is dying. Human activity and climate change have choked its once mighty flow through Iraq, where, with its twin river the Euphrates, it made Mesopotamia a cradle of civilisation thousands of years ago. Iraq may be oil rich but the country is plagued by poverty after decades of war and by droughts and desertification ... Hellish summers see the mercury top a blistering 50 degrees Celsius, near the limit of human endurance, with frequent power cuts ... the level of the Tigris entering Iraq has dropped to just 35 percent of its average over the past century [and] authorities have been forced to reduce Iraq’s cultivated areas by half ... salt water from the Gulf is pushing ever further upstream as the river flow declines ... rising salination is already hitting farm yields, in a trend set to worsen as global warming raises sea levels.
https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2022/9/21/photos-iraq-mighty-tigris-river-is-drying-up

Half world's birds in decline, species moving 'ever faster' to extinction
Almost half of all bird species are in decline globally and one in eight are threatened with extinction, according to a major new report warning that human actions are driving more species to the brink and nature is "in trouble" ... Using data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the report said 49 percent of bird species worldwide have declining populations, with populations falling even in species not normally rare or at risk. Roughly 13 percent are considered threatened. "The natural world is in trouble. Human actions are driving species rapidly towards extinction, undermining ecosystem functions and services vital to our own survival," the report said.
https://phys.org/news/2022-09-world-birds-decline-species-faster.html
reporting on a study at http://datazone.birdlife.org/2022-annual-update

Wildfires in All Seasons?
Wildfire [has become] year-round for much of the United States and the Forest Service is shifting to the concept of a fire year. Wildfire season has become longer based on conditions that allow fires to start and to burn—winter snows are melting earlier and rain is coming later in the fall ... Other factors contributing to longer fire seasons include extended drought, tree mortality from pine beetles and invasive species such as cheat grass that allow fire to ignite easily and spread rapidly ... All these conditions are making wildfires harder to control and allowing forests to hold fire longer [so] Forest Service crews plan for wildfire year-round. They know that it isn’t a matter of if there will be a fire, but when.
https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2019/06/27/wildfires-all-seasons

Where Thick Ice Sheets in Antarctica Meet the Ground, Small Changes Could Have Big Consequences
The international team of researchers modeled how the giant slabs of ice behave where they meet the ground, sometimes thousands of feet below the surface, and the results suggested that just a little bit of thawing could make [East Antarctica] a big new source of sea level rise, said Eliza Dawson, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford’s radio glaciology lab who led the study published today in Nature Communications ... The new paper focuses on one of the big uncertainties—what happens at the base of the ice sheet. “Suppose you started an ice sheet in a really cold place. The bed initially would be frozen, with the ice sticking to it strongly.” But like a partially defrosted refrigerator, the ice slides out pretty easily when there is a bit of water in the mix. One factor that could create more heat is “a positive feedback in ice dynamics, whereby enhanced ice deformation releases more deformational heat, which makes the ice softer, which further enhances ice deformation,” said William Colgan, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “I can say, yup, the specter of widespread basal thaw looms large over ice-sheet stability,” he said.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14092022/antarctica-ice-sheet/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32632-2

A lost world returns with a warning
America’s mega-drought is revealing natural wonders unseen in decades. But their return from the watery depths heralds a deepening crisis.
“Lake” can be a misleading way to think of Lake Powell, the water backed up behind the 200-metre-high Glen Canyon dam wall. Powell is a huge tentacle-like body of water stretching 300km across southern Utah and northern Arizona, covering what was Glen Canyon and extending into almost 100 side canyons. Its 3,000km of shoreline tells the story of a region gripped by a 20-year drought, of the impact of climate change and a river running dry. The high-water marks of previous years are clearly visible from the water. Eerie white bathtub rings, created by mineral build-up in the red rock once submerged below the waterline, serve as a bleak barometer of the unfolding crisis ... the reservoir is now only a third full, its lowest level since the canyon was first dammed ... The sheer magnitude of the water loss is staggering. Jack, on his first visit, is awe-struck by the re-emergence of these ancient landscapes inundated decades ago in the name of water development. “I’m not sure I’m smart enough to know what words to use, but it is amazing,” he says. For Jack, it’s also alarming. As director of the Centre for Colorado River Studies at the University of Utah, he’s an expert on the health of the river system. The plummeting water level in Lake Powell represents “a critical moment for Western society,” he says, challenging the idea we can sustain “abundant metropolises and ever-growing agriculture in a land with a very limited water source.”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-08/cathedral-in-the-desert-colorado-river-crisis/101407422

Florida insurance crisis deepens as rates soar, companies fall
Long known as the nation’s most hurricane-prone state, Florida has achieved a new status that is aggravating hurricane anxieties and threatening real-estate values ... Four Florida insurance companies have declared bankruptcy since April, and others are canceling or not renewing policies. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to buy property coverage through the state-created insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. “Every day, there’s another company that seems to be going insolvent,” Citizens CEO Barry Gilway said at a recent public meeting. Floridians now have the highest property-insurance rates in the nation, according to the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute. The average premium is $4,231 — nearly triple the U.S. average ... since [May], three Florida insurers have gone bankrupt, affecting 170,000 policies, and others have announced they are withdrawing from Florida — a process that involves not renewing policies as they expire. A fourth insurer, Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Co., went bankrupt in April ... the number of Citizens-insured properties has doubled since September 2020, the value of the insured properties has nearly tripled to $360 billion, growth has been concentrated in hurricane-prone southeastern Florida [and] Gilway, the Citizens CEO, said at a July meeting that Citizens has $13.6 billion in reserves to pay insurance claims ... “One major hurricane event or a series of hurricane events like Louisiana had in the past few years could easily wipe out Citizens’ reserves to pay claims,” Friedlander said.
https://www.eenews.net/articles/fla-insurance-crisis-deepens-as-rates-soar-companies-fall/

Nigeria battling floods ‘beyond control’ as warning given of dams overflowing
The floods in 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states and capital city have affected half a million people, including 100,000 displaced and more than 500 injured, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said. The disaster has also destroyed thousands of hectares of farmland, worsening fears of a disruption of food supply in Africa’s most populous country ... Nigeria’s disaster management agency alerted more than a dozen states of “serious consequences” in the coming weeks as two of the country’s dams started to overflow ... floods have also destroyed crops, mostly in Nigeria’s northern region, which produces much of what the country eats.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/19/nigeria-battling-worst-floods-in-a-decade-with-more-than-300-people-killed-in-2022

Wildfires ‘no longer seasonal’: New federal task force meets in Utah, aims to combat changing fire risk.
A new federal wildfire commission formed last year met for the first time in Salt Lake City last week with an eye for fighting blazes that are starting to spark 365 days a year, regardless of traditional wildfire seasons. “Wildfire is an entity that is now no longer seasonal,” U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell, who advises the new commission, said last week ... One of the biggest challenges the commission faces: climate change. Moore-Merrell said the states often at highest risk for wildfires are those experiencing severe drought — which leads to more dry fuels for possible fire starts.
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/09/21/wildfires-no-longer-seasonal-new

UCSB Scientists See the End of ‘Normal’ Climate
Researcher Asks: ‘What Happens If You Know the Drought Is Never Going to End?’
“We are experiencing extreme, sustained drought conditions in California and across the American West. Our warming climate means that a greater share of the rain and snowfall we receive will be absorbed by dry soils, consumed by thirsty plants, and evaporated into the air” ... “Drought is already normal in much of the western United States and other parts of the world, such as western Europe,” Stevenson said. “Part of the reason I wrote the paper was to try to say that we need to think about what we mean when we say ‘drought,’ because we’ve been using these definitions based on expectations from 40 years ago. What happens if you know the drought is never going to end?” Stevenson’s work finds that “the soil moisture changes are so large that conditions that would be considered a megadrought” in western Europe and North America will become average. Stevenson said that the team’s modeling shows that the drying trend has in fact already emerged from the data in our region. What scientists call “megadrought” has become our norm. Peter Gleick, a prominent researcher in water and climate in California at the Pacific Institute since the 1980s, seconded Stevenson’s finding ... “In general, the science about increasing drought severity and “aridification” is strong and worrisome, and builds on concerns about climate and water that scientists have been raising for literally decades,” Gleick said.
https://www.independent.com/2022/09/19/ucsb-scientists-see-the-end-of-normal-climate/

Climate change & doomsday: Irreversible tipping points may mean end of human civilization
Here is the simplest possible example - the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica. “Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails,’ said Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist who co-authored the study, [and] “could potentially fall into the sea within three years.” If it collapses, it will raise sea levels by many feet, inundating and destroying coastal cities and beaches [with] no possible way to undo it. And this is just one of the tipping points that humanity now faces ... Once the irreversible tipping points kick in, things will become far worse. Any one of these events is terrible. All of them together is how we get to the point of discussing the collapse of human civilization and the destruction of the planetary ecosystem.
https://wraltechwire.com/2022/09/16/climate-change-doomsday-irreversible-tipping-points-may-mean-end-of-human-civilization/

‘Forever chemicals’ detected in all umbilical cord blood in 40 studies
Studies collectively examined nearly 30,000 samples over the past five years in ‘disturbing’ findings PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals commonly used to make products resist water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, and accumulate in human bodies and the environment. The federal government estimates that they are found in 98% of Americans’ blood. The chemicals are linked to birth defects, cancer, kidney disease, liver problems and other health issues, and the EPA recently found effectively no level of exposure to some kinds of PFAS in water is safe. Humans are exposed to the ubiquitous chemicals via multiple routes. PFAS are estimated to be contaminating drinking water for over 200 million people in the US, and have been found at alarming levels in meat, fish, dairy, crops and processed foods. They are also in a range of everyday consumer products, like nonstick cookware, food packaging, waterproof clothing, stainguards like Scotchgard and some dental floss. PFAS in products can be absorbed through the skin, swallowed or breathed in as they break off from products and move through the air. “The presence of these chemicals is also a threat to pregnant people, serving as first contacts with PFAS before they can pass from the uterus to the developing fetus by way of the umbilical cord,” Uche said. Scientists focused on umbilical cord blood because the cord is the lifeline between mother and baby. The findings are especially troubling because fetuses are “more vulnerable to these exposures because their developing bodies don’t have the mechanisms to deal with the [endocrine disruptor] chemicals”, Uche added. PFAS can remain in the body for years or even decades, and some studies link fetal exposure to effects throughout childhood and adulthood, including on cognitive function, reproductive function, changes in weight, eczema and altered glucose balance.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/23/forever-chemicals-found-umbilical-cord-blood-samples-studies

Alaska's newest lakes are belching methane
Big Trail Lake is a thermokarst lake, which means it formed due to permafrost thaw. Permafrost is ground that stays frozen year round; the permafrost in interior Alaska also has massive wedges of actual ice locked within the frozen ground. When that ice melts, the ground surface collapses and forms a sinkhole that can fill with water. Thus, a thermokarst lake is born. “Lakes like Big Trail are new, they’re young, and they are important because these lakes are what’s going to happen in the future,” she explained. They’re also belching methane – a potent greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere ... At Big Trail Lake and other thermokarst lakes in the Arctic, microbes digest dead plants and other organic matter in the previously frozen soil in a process that produces carbon dioxide and methane. ... Walter Anthony says she has something to show us and paddles over to what looks like a piece of trash: an upside down plastic bottle sticking out of the water. It’s a methane collection device, she says, explaining that the bottle traps methane as it bubbles up through the water. Walter Anthony turns a valve and collects a sample of the gas in a smaller bottle, which her team will chemically analyze to determine the age and concentrations of the various gases within. But there’s a faster way to know if the lake is releasing methane. Walter Anthony opens the valve, lights a match, and holds it to the opening. A burst of flame ignites. She lets the flame burn for a few seconds and then turns off the valve. It’s like a more extreme version of lighting a gas stove.
https://blogs.nasa.gov/earthexpeditions/2022/09/22/alaskas-newest-lakes-are-belching-methane/

Thermokarst acceleration in Arctic tundra driven by climate change and fire disturbance
We used a remote sensing dataset unprecedented in spatiotemporal scales and resolutions to characterize regional patterns of thermokarst formation in the ice-rich Arctic tundra ecosystem. Our results show complex thermokarst patterns, intimately regulated by climate change, fire disturbance, and landscape attributes. Though sporadic and short lived, tundra fires have enduring legacy (up to 8 decades) on initiating thermokarst, even with low fire severity. On a regional scale, however, climate warming is the principle factor driving widespread thermokarst acceleration over past decades.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S259033222100659X

‘The climate crisis is now’: haunting video spotlights California wildfires
The short video, titled “I love you, California” [the California state song], sees the camera pan slowly over the aftermath of megafires: apocalyptic scenes of smoldering canyons, communities reduced to rubble and once lush hillsides turned to blackened moonscapes ... Fires have always been part of the landscapes across the US west, and are an essential part of many ecosystems that evolved alongside them. But the climate crisis has turned up the dial, fueling a brutal new kind of wildfire more likely to leave devastation in its wake. In the last six years, the state has seen its eight largest fires on record, 13 of the top 20 most destructive blazes, and three of the top five deadliest fires ... “The climate crisis is no longer an abstract future or a news article about a far-off country. It’s here – it’s now,” said Katharina Maier, national coordinator of Fridays for Future US ... Rising temperatures have escalated drought conditions across the American west, leaving parched plants primed to burn. Drying and dying vegetation has turned to tinder that spurs flames faster and higher, creating conflagrations that can’t be controlled. These types of fires are increasingly harmful to the environments they once helped, and far more dangerous to communities that lay in their paths.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/23/greta-thunberg-fridays-for-future-california-wildfires-video

China lost its Yangtze River dolphin. Climate change is coming for other species next
Experts have expressed grave concern that other rare native Yangtze animal and plant species are likely to suffer a similar fate to the baiji river dolphin as worsening climate change and extreme weather conditions take their toll on Asia’s longest river. China has been grappling with its worst heat wave on record and the Yangtze, the third longest river in the world, is drying up. With rainfall below average since July, its water levels have plunged to record lows of 50% of their normal levels for this time of year, exposing cracked river beds and even revealing submerged islands. The drought has already had a devastating effect on China’s most important river, which stretches an estimated 6,300 kilometers (3,900 miles) from the Tibetan plateau to the East China Sea near Shanghai and provides water, food, transport and hydroelectric power to more than 400 million people ... “Rivers around the world, from Europe to the United States, have declined to historically low flow levels that are negatively impacting ecosystems,” said [World Wildlife Fund] lead scientist Jeff Opperman.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/17/china/china-yangtze-river-climate-change-endangered-species-scn-intl-hnk-dst/index.html

‘Very Dire’: Devastated by Floods, Pakistan Faces Looming Food Crisis
Nearly all of the country’s crops along with thousands of livestock and stores of wheat and fertilizer have been damaged — prompting warnings of a looming food crisis. Since a deluge of monsoon rains lashed Pakistan last week, piling more water on top of more than two months of record flooding that has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of millions, the Pakistani government and international relief organizations have scrambled to save people and vital infrastructure in what officials have called a climate disaster of epic proportions. Floodwater now covers around a third of the country, including its agricultural belt, with more rain predicted in the coming weeks. The damage from the flood will likely be “far greater” than initial estimates ... Pakistan is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of cotton and rice — crops that have been devastated by the flood ... floodwaters also threaten to derail Pakistan’s wheat planting season this fall, raising the possibility of continued food shortfalls and price spikes through next year. It is an alarming prospect in a country that depends on its wheat production to feed itself ... “We’re in a very dire situation,” said Rathi Palakrishnan, deputy country director of the World Food Program in Pakistan. “There’s no buffer stocks of wheat, there’s no seeds because farmers have lost them. If the flood levels don’t recede before the planting season in October, we’re in big trouble.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/11/world/asia/pakistan-floods-food-crisis.html

The upstream water used to keep Lake Powell afloat is running out
[O]fficials took emergency steps in May to use water from upstream reservoirs to boost Lake Powell's level and buy the surrounding communities more time to plan for the likelihood the reservoir will soon fall too low for the Glen Canyon Dam to generate hydropower. The dam is ... at high risk of being forced offline should the lake's level drop below 3,490 feet above sea level. Lake Powell's water level was at around 3,529 feet as of Thursday, or 24% full ... "What this is doing is just buffering us for a year, and we probably have an opportunity to do that maybe two more times, and then there will be no more capacity." [But] this is not a surprise at all. "There's really only one upstream reservoir — Flaming Gorge — that has any significant capacity," Kuhn said. "And they've used it two years in a row" ... The total capacity of all federal reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin is about 58 million acre feet, 50 million of which is Lake Powell and Lake Mead combined. "If one adds all of the water in all of the reservoirs, then the system is now at 34% of capacity," Schmidt said ...The Colorado River Basin provides water and electricity for more than 40 million people living across seven Western states and Mexico.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/16/us/colorado-river-water-lake-powell-flaming-gorge-climate/index.html

The Colorado River is drying up — but basin states have ‘no plan’ on how to cut water use
One month after states missed a federal deadline to propose ways to drastically cut their use of water supplied by the Colorado River, water managers who met for a seminar in Grand Junction said they still didn’t have comprehensive solutions ready to help bolster the imperiled river system ... While the problems the basin faces were apparent in the day-long discussions about the state of the river, solutions were not ... While the representatives for the governments agreed that solutions need to be collaborative, no one offered to be the first to make big cuts ... “I think the honest answer is right now there is no plan,” J.B. Hamby of the Imperial Irrigation District in California said in response to a question from the audience about how significant cutbacks would be achieved.
https://www.cpr.org/2022/09/17/colorado-river-drought-basin-states-water-restrictions/

Oceans rise, houses fall: The California beach dream home is turning into a nightmare
Tyree Johnson loved his apartment that overlooked the Pacific Ocean – until it started to crumble down a cliff into the sea ... A decade later, a UCLA report warned that Johnson’s story will not be unique: Tens of thousands of people who live along California’s coast may be forced to flee in coming decades as climate change leads to rising seas and makes swaths of the state’s iconic coast uninhabitable ... as sea level rise projections grow more dire, experts now say permanently living on the ocean edge isn't sustainable. Authorities are already making moves to retreat.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/15/climate-change-and-sea-level-rise-threaten-california-beach-living/7837590001/

Fossil fuel reserves contain 3.5 trillion tonnes of CO2
Burning the world's remaining fossil fuel reserves would unleash 3.5 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions -- seven times the remaining carbon budget ... United Nations estimates that Earth's remaining carbon budget -- how much more pollution we can add to the atmosphere before the 1.5C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is missed -- to be around 360 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, or nine years at current emission levels. The UN's annual Production Gap assessment last year found that governments plan to burn more than twice the fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 1.5C world [but] remaining fossil fuel reserves contain seven times the emissions of the carbon budget for 1.5C.
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220918-fossil-fuel-reserves-contain-3-5-tn-tonnes-of-co2-database

Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests'
A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing "dramatic rates of decline" around the world. The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles. But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom. The general insect decline is being caused by intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change. Insects make up the majority of creatures that live on land. Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies. But this new paper takes a broader look. Published in the journal Biological Conservation, it reviews 73 existing studies from around the world published over the past 13 years. The researchers found that declines in almost all regions may lead to the extinction of 40% of insects over the next few decades. With many species of birds, reptiles and fish depending on insects as their main food source, it's likely that these species may also be wiped out as a result. [However] "Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47198576
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320718313636

The great nutrient collapse
Rising CO2 revs up photosynthesis, the process that helps plants transform sunlight to food. This makes plants grow, but it also leads them to pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other nutrients that we depend on [so] key crops are getting less nutritious ... elevated CO2 has been shown to drive down important minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc and iron ... the same conditions have been shown to drive down the protein content ... 150 million people could be put at risk of protein deficiency, particularly in countries like India and Bangladesh. Researchers found a loss of zinc, which is particularly essential for maternal and infant health, could put 138 million people at risk. They also estimated that more than 1 billion mothers and 354 million children live in countries where dietary iron is projected to drop significantly, which could exacerbate the already widespread public health problem of anemia ... some researchers look at the growing proportion of sugars in plants and hypothesize that a systemic shift in plants could further contribute to our already alarming rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/09/13/food-nutrients-carbon-dioxide-000511/
see also https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/09/220912152903.htm

World Meteorological Organisation’s climate report: Key messages
The World Meteorological Organisation has said that without much more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change “will be increasingly devastating” across the planet ... atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide continue to rise ... Annual mean global near-surface temperature for each year from 2022-2026 is predicted to be between 1.1 and 1.7 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels ... national mitigation pledges for 2030 show some progress, but are insufficient. These pledges would need to be four times higher to get on track to limit warming to 2 degrees - and seven times higher to get on track to 1.5 degrees. Global warming during the 21st century is estimated (with 66 per cent probability) at 2.8 degrees (range 2.3-3.3 degrees), assuming a continuation of current policies.
https://www.irishtimes.com/world/2022/09/13/world-meteorological-organisations-climate-report-key-messages/
reporting on a study at https://library.wmo.int/index.php?lvl=notice_display&id=22128

Europe just had its hottest summer on record
Europe just notched its hottest summer in recorded history, new data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service shows. It was the second historic summer in a row for the continent, higher than the previous record set just last year ... Officials have attributed thousands of deaths to the long stretches of oppressively hot weather. Crops withered and forests turned brown and barren, as Western Europe was gripped by the worst drought in centuries. Wildfires raged from the Caucasus Mountains to the Atlantic coast ... sea ice around Antarctica hit a record low for July. Human greenhouse gas pollution is heating the planet at a pace unparalleled since before the fall of the Roman Empire, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/09/08/europe-record-hot-summer-extreme-heat/

World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points, study finds
The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study. It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed ... At 1.5C of heating, the minimum rise now expected, four of the five tipping points move from being possible to likely, the analysis said. Also at 1.5C, an additional five tipping points become possible, including changes to vast northern forests and the loss of almost all mountain glaciers. In total, the researchers found evidence for 16 tipping points, with the final six requiring global heating of at least 2C to be triggered ... Prof Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was part of the study team, said: “The world is heading towards 2-3C of global warming. This sets Earth on course to cross multiple dangerous tipping points that will be disastrous for people across the world” ... The analysis, published in the journal Science, assessed more than 200 previous studies on past tipping points, climate observations and modelling studies.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/08/world-on-brink-five-climate-tipping-points-study-finds
reporting on a study at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn7950

The energy historian who says rapid decarbonization is a fantasy
Vaclav Smil rarely agrees to interviews. Too many in the media have portrayed him as a tool of Big Oil, he says — because he insists on pointing out how deeply dependent humanity is on fossil fuels and how difficult it will be to give them up. The economist and professor emeritus at Canada’s University of Manitoba [is] no global warming denier. He recognizes the need to move away from plastics, but asks readers to note how often they touch plastic every day and ask themselves how rapid they think the switch can be. His mission: lay out facts. “I’m not an optimist or a pessimist,” he likes to say. “I’m a scientist.” He’s highly regarded and frequently cited in academic circles and counts Bill Gates among his most famous fans ... [We asked him,] people and policymakers seem to think with enough money and willpower, we can rapidly switch to renewable energy. You believe this is a delusion ... "It’s not a matter of belief. What is decisive is the size of the global energy system, its economic and infrastructural inertia. Fossil fuels now supply about 83% of the world’s commercial energy, compared to 86% in the year 2000. The new renewables (wind and solar) now provide (after some two decades of development) still less than 6% of the world’s primary energy, still less than hydroelectricity. What are the chances that after going from 86% to 83% during the first two decades of the 21st century the world will go from 83% to zero during the next two decades? Especially as a few weeks ago China announced additional 300 million tons of new coal production for 2022, and India additional 400 million tons by the end of 2023. We are still running into fossil fuels, not away from them ... most people think of decarbonization as just an electricity problem. They do not realize the amount of energy used directly, as fuels and electricity, and indirectly as feedstocks to make materials that define modern civilization. Without modern nitrogen fertilizers we could feed only about half of today’s humanity. They start with ammonia, and ammonia synthesis is based mostly on natural gas. No material is made in larger quantity than cement, the key ingredient of concrete, the ubiquitous construction material. Steel comes second and iron smelting needs coke made from coal. Synthesis of plastics needs natural gas and oil as feedstocks and fuel. Making just these four materials requires nearly 20% of the world’s total energy supply generating about 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative, non-carbon, ways of making these materials are known — but none is available for immediate large-scale commercial deployment. Decarbonizing this massive demand cannot be done in a matter of years [and] so far, we are not even seriously trying."
https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-09-05/the-energy-historian-who-says-rapid-decarbonization-is-a-fantasy

China's unrivaled 70-day heat wave
The extreme heat and drought that has been roasting a vast swath of southern China for at least 70 straight days has no parallel in modern record-keeping in China, or elsewhere around the world for that matter. More than 260 weather stations saw their highest-ever temperatures during the long-running heat wave, according to state media reports. It has coincided with a severe drought that has shriveled rivers and lakes and throttled back some of China's hydropower production.
https://www.axios.com/2022/08/22/china-heat-wave-drought-unprecedented

Copernicus tracks effects of Arctic Circle wildfires
CAMS, implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Union, has been tracking the emissions and activity of more than 100 wildfires occurring across the Arctic Circle in the Sakha Republic of Siberia and Alaska for a prolonged period, from early June onwards. Based on 17 years of observations, the wildfires are unprecedented ... High-intensity wildfires have been increasing in frequency, partly as a result of extreme weather driven by climate change, with hot and dry conditions being one of the biggest risk factors. In addition, wildfires are responsible for far greater air pollution than industrial emissions.
https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/copernicus-tracks-effects-arctic-circle-wildfires

Arctic Lakes Are Vanishing a Century Earlier Than Predicted
Models had predicted that as warmer weather thaws the Arctic, melting ice would feed into lakes, [then] those lakes would drain and dry out sometime later this century according to earlier projections. But satellite imagery reveals that lakes across the Arctic are shrinking rapidly today. Researchers tracked a distinct downward trend in Arctic lake cover from 2000 to 2021, observing declines across 82 percent of the study area, which included large swaths of Canada, Russia, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Alaska. As warmer air and more abundant autumn rainfall melt permafrost around and beneath Arctic lakes, water is draining away, scientists say. The effect of rainfall was unaccounted for in prior models, which showed the lakes draining much later. The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/arctic-lakes-drying-climate-change
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01455-w

For first time on record, Greenland saw extensive melting in September
In Greenland, an unusually late heat wave last weekend caused extensive melting across the ice sheet — the kind of melt typically seen in the middle of summer. The first day of September typically marks the end of the Greenland melt season, as the sun moves lower in the sky and temperatures usually cool. Yet over the weekend, temperatures began rising when a warm jet of air pushed northward across Baffin Bay and the western coast of Greenland. As a result, tens of billions of tons of ice were lost ... “It’s truly amazing to see a heat wave like this cover Greenland in September,” Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado, said. “For the first time on record, temperatures at summit exceeded the melting point in September.” The heat spurred melting across about 35 percent of the ice sheet last weekend.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/09/06/greenland-ice-melt-heat-wave-summer/

Over-consumption and drought reduce lake in vital Spanish wetland to puddle
The largest permanent lake in Spain’s Doñana national park, one of Europe’s biggest and most important wetlands, has shrivelled to a small puddle as years of drought and overexploitation take their toll on the aquifer that feeds the area ... “The Santa Olalla lake, the largest permanent lake in Doñana and the last one that still had water in August, has dried up,” the CSIC said in a statement. “In recent days, it has been reduced to a small puddle” ... Water supplies [in this area] have declined drastically over the past 30 years because of climate breakdown, farming, mining pollution and marsh drainage.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/05/santa-olalla-lake-dries-up-in-vital-spanish-wetland-blamed-on-overexploitation

Northern California wildfire wipes out neighborhood with frightening speed
[The fire] spread to nearby homes in the historically Black community of Lincoln Heights within minutes, said Weed Mayor Kim Greene. It quickly became an urban conflagration as flames raced from house to house, the majority of them older wooden structures. “Wildfire is no longer in the wilderness,” she said. “It’s right inside the city limits” ... the latest fire to bring major property losses inside established communities ... “Most of the community of Lincoln Heights is gone,” Greene said ... fires were fueled by gusty winds, high temperatures, low relative humidity and vegetation desiccated by the ongoing drought. Scientists have found this to be the driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years and concluded that climate change has intensified the megadrought’s severity.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-03/mill-fire-destroys-neighborhood-displaces-thousands

We’ve Lost 35 Percent of Forests in the Past 300 Years
Since 1990, an estimated 178 million hectares of forest have been lost worldwide ... equivalent to an area the size of Libya. From 2015-2020, an estimated 10 million hectares worldwide were deforested each year ... Globally, 35 percent of forests have been lost in the past 300 years. Of those that have survived, 82 percent have been compromised by human activity. More than half the world’s forests are now found in just five countries — Brazil, Canada, China, Russia and the US ... Tropical rainforests are currently the target of deforestation, and environmental scientists warn that if this vital area is destroyed, the entire planet will suffer ... reports [are not] optimistic. The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 wants to increase global forest area by 3 percent [but the] plan is not on track, and while some regions like Europe, Asia and Oceania are keeping pace, South America continues to lose more hectares each year than are rebuilt.
https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/weve-lost-35-percent-of-forests-in-the-past-300-years

Large parts of Amazon may never recover, major study says
Environmental destruction in parts of the Amazon is so complete that swathes of the rainforest have reached tipping point and might never be able to recover, a major study carried out by scientists and Indigenous organisations has found. “The tipping point is not a future scenario but rather a stage already present in some areas of the region,” the report concludes. “Brazil and Bolivia concentrate 90% of all combined deforestation and degradation. As a result, savannization is already taking place in both countries” ... [the report covers] all nine of the nations that contain parts of the Amazon. It found that only two of the nine, tiny Suriname and French Guiana, have at least half their forests still intact.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/05/large-parts-of-amazon-may-never-recover-major-study-says

US farmers face plague of pests as global heating raises soil temperatures
Agricultural pests that devour key food crops are advancing northwards in the US and becoming more widespread as the climate hots up, new research warns ... heat stress is already affecting yields, with harvests of staple crops in Europe down this year as a result of heatwaves and drought. Pest invasions have serious implications for food security ... [range] is predicted to double in size by the end of the century, as the other zones get smaller, according to the paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/06/us-farmers-face-plague-of-pests-as-global-heating-raises-soil-temperatures

‘Greenwashing’: Tree-Planting Schemes Are Just Creating Tree Cemeteries
[O]pen space at the edge of King’s Lynn, a quiet market town in the east of England, was supposed to be a new carbon sink for Norfolk, offering 6,000 trees to tackle the climate crisis. The problem is that almost all of the trees that the guards were supposed to protect have died. Not only were they planted at the wrong time of year, but they were planted on species-rich grassland that was already carbon negative, which has now been mostly destroyed by tree planting. Environmentalists also point out that the trees were planted so shallowly into the ground that most were unlikely to ever take root ... Tree-planting initiatives have become an increasingly popular way to offset carbon, with companies and governments around the world committing to reforestation schemes as they deal with the climate crisis. But critics say that tree planting takes decades to benefit the environment, and can be used as ‘greenwashing’ – a way of companies looking good while failing to fully commit to decarbonisation and divesting from the fossil-fuel industry.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7v75a/tree-planting-schemes-england

New technique shows old temperatures were much hotter than thought
Results imply Earth may be more sensitive to carbon dioxide than previously known In a paper recently published in Science, Professor Nele Meckler of the University of Bergen and colleagues argue that the climate between around 35 and 60 million years ago may have been considerably warmer than we thought. Their finding suggests that a given level of CO2 might produce more warming than prior work indicated ... indicates that between 57 and 52 million years ago, the North Atlantic abyss was about 20°C. That’s a big difference from the oxygen isotope data, which yielded temperatures of 12–14°C. “That's a whole lot warmer,” said Meckler. For comparison, today’s equivalent is around 1–2°C.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/08/ancient-deep-ocean-may-have-been-hotter-than-we-thought/
reporting on a study at https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abk0604

Carbon capture and storage (CCS): Carbon capture is not a solution to net zero emissions plans, report says
Carbon capture and storage schemes, a key plank of many governments’ net zero plans, “is not a climate solution”, the author of a major new report on the technology has said. Researchers for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found underperforming carbon capture projects considerably outnumbered successful ones by large margins. Of the 13 projects examined for the study – accounting for about 55% of the world’s current operational capacity – seven underperformed, two failed and one was mothballed, the report found. “Many international bodies and national government are relying on carbon capture in the fossil fuel sector to get to net zero, and it simply won’t work,” Bruce Robertson, the author of the IEEFA report, said.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/01/carbon-capture-is-not-a-solution-to-net-zero-emissions-plans-report-says
reporting on a study at https://ieefa.org/resources/carbon-capture-crux-lessons-learned

Historic monuments resurface as severe drought shrinks Spain’s reservoirs
After a prolonged dry spell, Spain’s reservoirs – which supply water for cities and farms – are at just under 36% capacity ... climate crisis has left parts of Spain at their driest in more than 1,000 years and winter rains are expected to diminish further, a study published in July by the Nature Geoscience journal showed.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/30/historic-monuments-resurface-as-severe-drought-shrinks-spains-reservoirs

'Doomsday glacier,' which could raise sea level by several feet, is holding on 'by its fingernails,' scientists say
Antarctica's so-called "doomsday glacier" -- nicknamed because of its high risk of collapse and threat to global sea level -- has the potential to rapidly retreat in the coming years, scientists say, amplifying concerns over the extreme sea level rise that would accompany its potential demise ... In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists mapped the glacier's historical retreat ... "Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails, and we should expect to see big changes over small timescales in the future -- even from one year to the next -- once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ridge in its bed," Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist and one of the study's co-authors from the British Antarctic Survey, said ... The Thwaites Glacier, located in West Antarctica, is one of the widest on Earth and is larger than the state of Florida. But it's just a fraction of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which holds enough ice to raise sea level by up to 16 feet, according to NASA ... in 2021, a study showed the Thwaites Ice Shelf, which helps to stabilize the glacier and hold the ice back from flowing freely into the ocean, could shatter within five years ... Monday's findings [suggest that] Thwaites is capable of receding at a much faster pace than recently thought.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/05/world/thwaites-doomsday-glacier-sea-level-climate/index.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-022-01019-9

Major sea-level rise caused by melting of Greenland ice cap is ‘now inevitable’
Major sea-level rise from the melting of the Greenland ice cap is now inevitable, scientists have found, even if the fossil fuel burning that is driving the climate crisis were to end overnight. The research shows the global heating to date will cause an absolute minimum sea-level rise of 27cm (10.6in) from Greenland alone as 110tn tonnes of ice melt. With continued carbon emissions, the melting of other ice caps and thermal expansion of the ocean, a multi-metre sea-level rise appears likely ... the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change used satellite measurements of ice losses from Greenland and the shape of the ice cap from 2000-19. This data enabled the scientists to calculate how far global heating to date has pushed the ice sheet from an equilibrium where snowfall matches the ice lost. This allowed the calculation of how much more ice must be lost in order to regain stability. “It is a very conservative rock-bottom minimum,” said Prof Jason Box from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (Geus), who led the research ... The 27cm estimate is a minimum because it only accounts for global heating so far and because some ways in which glacier ice is lost at the margins of the ice sheet are not included ... Mountain glaciers in the Himalayas and the Alps are already on course to lose a third and half of their ice respectively, while the west Antarctic ice sheet is also thought by some scientists to be past the point at which major losses are inevitable. Warming oceans also expand, adding to sea-level rise.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/29/major-sea-level-rise-caused-by-melting-of-greenland-ice-cap-is-now-inevitable-27cm-climate
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01441-2

Severe heat and droughts are wreaking havoc across the globe
Lake Powell in AZ at record low 24pct capacity The summer of 2022 has seen significant, sustained drought across the globe, from Europe to China to the US and Africa, and has brought with it serious ripple effects, from energy shortages to severe food insecurity [and] doesn’t paint a particularly hopeful picture for our collective climate future ... heat waves are likely to get more severe in the future contributing to further drought. That means more wildfires, more challenges for agriculture, particularly in poor countries, and more displacement and famine ... exacerbated by the human behavior, primarily industrialization and fossil fuel use ... “extremely unlikely” to have happened without human-made climate change ... “This is exactly what climate models projected was going to happen: intensifying extreme weather, severe public health consequences, [and] no reasonable scenario where the warming stops at 1.2°C, so it’s definitely going to get worse.”
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2022/8/21/23315264/droughts-extreme-heat-climate-crisis

Droughts Hurt World’s Largest Economies
Parts of China are experiencing their longest sustained heat wave since record-keeping began in 1961, according to China’s National Climate Center, leading to manufacturing shutdowns owing to lack of hydropower. The drought affecting Spain, Portugal, France and Italy is on track to be the worst in 500 years, according to Andrea Toreti, a climate scientist at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center. In the American West, a drought that began two decades ago now appears to be the worst in 1,200 years, according to a study led by the University of California, Los Angeles ... In the U.S., agricultural forecasters expect farmers to lose more than 40% of the cotton crop, while in Europe the Spanish olive-oil harvest is expected to fall by as much as a third amid hot and dry conditions ... rivers such as the Rhine and Italy’s Po that serve as arteries for trade are running at historic lows, forcing manufacturers to cut shipments. Falling river levels also have reduced hydropower generation ... Heat has forced France to lower production at several nuclear reactors because the river water that cools them is too warm ... smaller snowpacks in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California have sharply reduced water supplies in the region, home to the nation’s largest agriculture industry ... the Colorado River has fallen so much that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Aug. 16 declared a second consecutive annual shortage, triggering a second straight year of mandatory water cuts to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico ... Water levels along some sections of the Yangtze—China’s longest river and a crucial source of hydropower, transport and water for crops—have fallen to their lowest since record-keeping began, according to China’s Ministry of Water Resources ... American and European climate scientists say global warming has amplified the severity of the effect of La Niña. A warmer atmosphere sucks up more moisture from land, increasing the risk of drought, said Isla Simpson, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/droughts-hurt-worlds-largest-economies-11661087554

China’s Growing Water Crisis
China is on the brink of a water catastrophe. A multiyear drought could push the country into an outright water crisis. Such an outcome would not only have a significant effect on China’s grain and electricity production; it could also induce global food and industrial materials shortages on a far greater scale than those wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Given the country’s overriding importance to the global economy, potential water-driven disruptions beginning in China would rapidly reverberate through food, energy, and materials markets around the world and create economic and political turbulence for years to come ... Four decades of explosive economic growth, combined with food security policies that aim at national self-sufficiency, have pushed northern China’s water system beyond a sustainable level, and they threaten to do the same in parts of southern China as well ... The overpumping of aquifers under the Northern China Plain is a core driver of China’s looming water crisis. According to data from NASA GRACE satellites, the North China Plain’s groundwater reserves are even more overdrawn than those of the Ogallala Aquifer under the Great Plains of the United States, one of the world’s most imperiled critical agricultural water sources. These data further suggest that the most populous portion of China north of the Yangtze River—an area from eastern Sichuan to southern Jilin that is home to more than a billion people—has for much of the past 15 years seen steady declines in the amount of water in the region’s lakes, rivers, and aquifers. In parts of North China, groundwater levels have declined by a meter per year, causing naturally occurring underground water storage aquifers to collapse ... farms and cities are pumping water far faster than nature can replenish it ... If the North China Plain were to suffer a 33 percent crop loss because of water insufficiency, China would potentially need to compensate by importing approximately 20 percent of the world’s internationally traded corn and 13 percent of its traded wheat [and] if a drought were to curtail rice yields in southern China or Heilongjiang (in China’s fertile Northeast), that could create even larger market shocks given China’s disproportionate share of rice consumption ... China’s energy sector—the world’s largest—also faces significant water risks. If China lost 15 percent of its hydropower production in a year because of low water levels behind dams—a plausible scenario based on real-world experiences in Brazil—it would have to increase electricity output by an amount equal to what Egypt generates in a year. In China’s energy system, only coal-fired plants could potentially boost output by hundreds of terawatt-hours on short notice [but] the coal mining and preparation process is often highly water intensive ... China’s power shortfalls would directly affect global supply chains, as industrial facilities account for over 65 percent of electricity use ... China is by far the world’s largest producer of aluminum, ferro-silicon, lead, manganese, magnesium, zinc, most rare earth metals, and many other specialty metals and materials ... China produces an overwhelming portion of the polysilicon used for solar cells and the rare earth metals used in wind turbines around the world. The country also dominates raw materials refining and cell production for electric vehicle batteries ... China-centric supply chains took decades to build and cannot be easily or quickly moved elsewhere ... Today’s global supply chains are woefully unprepared for a Chinese drought that could disrupt grain trade patterns and key industrial materials production across multiple continents. As China continues overexploiting groundwater amid intensified weather volatility, it moves closer each year to a catastrophic water event.
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/china/chinas-growing-water-crisis

Extreme China heatwave could lead to global chaos and food shortages
Global shortages and soaring prices are almost certain as China's seemingly never-ending heatwave sears on. It's the most extreme heat event ever recorded in world history. For more than 70 days, the intense heat has blasted China's population, factories and fields. Lakes and rivers have dried up. Crops have been killed. Factories have been closed. More than 900 million people across 17 Chinese provinces are subjected to record-breaking conditions [with] far-reaching effects. Energy, water, and food supplies are being hit across the country. Rivers are drying up. Dams are emptying. Hydroelectric plants are shutting down ... factories are being closed to divert available electricity towards residential use. In the fields, crops and animals are wilting – as are their human tenders. Hundreds of thousands of acres have already been seared, with serious worldwide repercussions expected on food supplies ... "There is nothing in world climatic history which is even minimally comparable to what is happening in China," weather historian Maximiliano Herrera told New Scientist. "This combines the most extreme intensity with the most extreme length with an incredibly huge area all at the same time" ... Shipping cargo routes are blocked. Long-lost Buddhist statues are being exposed among the drying mud. And drinking water is being rationed ... But the most immediate problem will be food [with likely] severe shortfalls in the autumn harvest of rice and wheat in the Yangtze basin. And analysts say that's likely to be yet another stressor on global food prices. [Meanwhile] the European Drought Observatory reports some 60 per cent of the European Union is officially drought affected. The US weather service has judged 41 per cent of the United States to also be in drought.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/extreme-china-heatwave-could-lead-to-global-chaos-and-food-shortages/D3FVWMBGHJQD355FDM5R43MG4I/

What it’s like to toil in India’s dangerous, unrelenting heat
The men spent most of their days in conditions that would test even world-class athletes ... Jay, the physiologist, noted that the Australian Open has canceled matches when the wet bulb globe temperature exceeded 32.5C. That number, he said, “is the threshold for elite, elite, highly conditioned athletes competing for millions of dollars for playing a sport.” He added: “And these guys [Hussain and Shaw] are supposed to stay in that just to do their jobs.” During the two days The Post spent with Hussain and Shaw, both men dealt with wet bulb globe temperatures up to 33.8C ... The problem is almost always worse in low-income areas. A 2019 study found that such neighborhoods in Delhi could be as much as 6C hotter than a wealthy neighborhood on the same night. “Heat illness is a disease of vulnerability,” said emergency physician Cecilia Sorenson, director of the Global Consortium on Climate Health and Education at Columbia University. “Those who can protect themselves, do. And those who can’t, don’t” ... “[W]hat keeps me up at night,” said Sorenson, [is] imagining the death and devastation of today’s heat waves multiplied by 10, or 30 or 100. “We’re deeply underequipped to deal with what’s going to come.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2022/india-extreme-heat-climate-change/

Current Siberian heating is unprecedented during the past seven millennia
The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth ... we provide long-term perspective by reconstructing past summer temperature variability at Yamal Peninsula – a hotspot of recent warming – over the past 7638 years [and] demonstrate that the recent anthropogenic warming interrupted a multi-millennial cooling trend. We find the industrial-era warming to be unprecedented in rate and to have elevated the summer temperature to levels above those reconstructed for the past seven millennia ...undoubtedly of concern for the natural and human systems that are being impacted by climatic changes that lie outside the envelope of natural climatic variations for this region.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32629-x

The world's rivers are drying up from extreme weather. See how 6 look from space
A painful lack of rain and relentless heat waves are drying up rivers in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Many are shrinking in length and breadth. Patches of riverbed poking out above the water are a common sight. Some rivers are so desiccated, they have become virtually impassable. The human-caused climate crisis is fueling extreme weather across the globe, which isn't just impacting rivers, but also the people who rely on them. Most people on the planet depend on rivers in some way, whether for drinking water, to irrigate food, for energy or to ship goods.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/20/world/rivers-lakes-drying-up-drought-climate-cmd-intl/index.html

Ethiopia Braces for Deeper Drought As IGAD Predicts Fifth Failed Rainy Season
Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia's drought-stricken regions will not get enough rain until the end of the year. It is a major setback for authorities in Ethiopia that were expecting rainfall conditions to improve this year. Drought has killed almost 3.5 million cattle in Ethiopia. At least 36.1 million people in the Horn of Africa are presently impacted by the drought, which started in October 2020. This number includes 24.1 million in Ethiopia, 7.8 million in Somalia, and 4.2 million in Kenya. Guleid Artan, director of IGAD'S Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), says Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. About 4.6 million children are acutely malnourished in these three countries. Two million of them are in Ethiopia ... Opposite to the drought in the southern part of Ethiopia, the northern part of the country is likely to witness flooding in the coming rainy season.
https://allafrica.com/stories/202208270045.html

Australia's 'Black Summer' fires affected ozone layer: study
Australia's catastrophic "Black Summer" bushfires significantly affected the hole in the Earth's ozone layer, according to a new report published Friday. The report, which appeared in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, traced a link from the unprecedented smoke released by the fires to the ozone hole above Antarctica. The fires, which burned through 5.8 million hectares of Australia's east in late 2019 and early 2020, were so intense they caused dozens of smoke-infused pyrocumulonimbus clouds to form ... The result was "millions of metric tons of smoke and associated gases being injected into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere" [that] prolonged the Antarctic ozone hole, which appears above Antarctica each spring and "reached record levels in observations in 2020".
https://phys.org/news/2022-08-australia-black-summer-affected-ozone.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-15794-3

Europe's drought the worst in 500 years - report
GDO Europe drought Aug 2022 Two-thirds of Europe is under some sort of drought warning, in what is likely the worst such event in 500 years. The latest report from the Global Drought Observatory says 47% of the continent is in "warning" [and] 17% is on "alert" ... EU forecasts for harvest are down 16% for grain maize, 15% for soybeans and 12% for sunflowers. The drought observatory is part of the European Commission's research wing.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62648912
reporting on a study at https://edo.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/news/GDO-EDODroughtNews202208_Europe.pdf

Study: Already shrunk by half, Swiss glaciers melting faster
Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers have lost more than half their total volume since the early 1930s, a new study has found, and researchers say the ice retreat is accelerating at a time of growing concerns about climate change. ETH Zurich, a respected federal polytechnic university, and the Swiss Federal Institute on Forest, Snow and Landscape Research on Monday ... estimated that ice volumes on the glaciers had shrunk by half over the subsequent 85 years - until 2016. Since then, the glaciers have lost an additional 12%, over just six years. By area, Switzerland’s glaciers amount to about half of all the total glaciers in the European Alps.
https://apnews.com/article/science-switzerland-glaciers-climate-and-environment-9d4d5984f79b4a0300a673669d7b9d01

Two-Thirds of Alaska’s Kenai Fjords Glaciers In Retreat, Study Finds
Almost half of Kenai Fjords National Park, which sits on the southern coast of Alaska, is covered in glacial ice. As temperatures rise, almost two-thirds of the park’s glaciers are in retreat, a new study finds. Of the 19 glaciers dotting the park, 13 have shrunk substantially ... findings were published in the Journal of Glaciology.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/alaska-kenai-fjords-glaciers-retreat

How the Western drought is pushing the power grid to the brink
About 40 percent of water withdrawals — water taken out of groundwater or surface sources — in the United States go toward energy production. The large majority of that share is used to cool power plants ... where an expansive, decades-long drought is forcing drastic cuts in hydroelectric power generation. At the same time, exceptional heat has pushed energy demand to record highs. As the climate changes, these stresses will mount. “Water supplies for agriculture, fisheries, ecosystems, industry, cities, and energy are no longer stable given anthropogenic climate change,” Camille Calimlim Touton, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, told Congress in June.
https://www.vox.com/23292669/drought-2022-power-energy-grid-lake-mead-climate-heat-hoover-dam

The century of climate migration: why we need to plan for the great upheaval
People driven from their homes by climate disaster need protection. And ageing nations need them
A great upheaval is coming. Climate-driven movement of people is adding to a massive migration already under way to the world’s cities. The number of migrants has doubled globally over the past decade, and the issue of what to do about rapidly increasing populations of displaced people will only become greater and more urgent ... Large populations will need to migrate, and not simply to the nearest city, but also across continents. Those living in regions with more tolerable conditions, especially nations in northern latitudes, will need to accommodate millions of migrants while themselves adapting to the demands of the climate crisis.
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/aug/18/century-climate-crisis-migration-why-we-need-plan-great-upheaval

American farmers are killing their own crops and selling cows because of extreme drought
Nearly three quarters of US farmers say this year's drought is hurting their harvest -- with significant crop and income loss, according to a new survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation ... 37% of farmers said they are plowing through and killing existing crops that won't reach maturity because of dry conditions. That's a jump from 24% last year, according to the survey ... Farmers in [Texas] reported the largest reduction in herd size, down 50%, followed by New Mexico and Oregon at 43% and 41% respectively.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/17/business/west-drought-farmers-survey-climate/index.html

Climate change: 'Staggering' rate of global tree losses from fires
Data from Global Forest Watch suggests that across the globe, the amount of tree cover being burned has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. Climate change is a key factor in the increase as it leads to higher temperatures and drier conditions. Of the 9 million hectares of trees consumed by fire in 2021, over five million were in Russia. "It is staggering," says James MacCarthy, an analyst with Global Forest Watch. "What's most concerning is that fires are becoming more frequent, more severe and have the potential to unlock a lot of the carbon that's stored in soils there."
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62569394

Irreversible declines in freshwater storage projected in parts of Asia by 2060
The Tibetan Plateau, known as the "water tower" of Asia, supplies freshwater for nearly 2 billion people who live downstream. New research led by scientists at Penn State, Tsinghua University and the University of Texas at Austin projects that climate change, under a scenario of weak climate policy, will cause irreversible declines in freshwater storage in the region, constituting a total collapse of the water supply for central Asia and Afghanistan and a near-total collapse for Northern India, Kashmir and Pakistan by the middle of the century. "In a 'business as usual' scenario, where we fail to meaningfully curtail fossil fuel burning in the decades ahead, we can expect a near collapse—that is, nearly 100% loss—of water availability to downstream regions of the Tibetan Plateau."
https://phys.org/news/2022-08-irreversible-declines-freshwater-storage-asia.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01443-0

Weeks of heat above 100F will be the norm in much of US by 2053, study finds
2053 US dangerous heat days Almost two-thirds of Americans, who live in mostly southern and central states, will be at risk from the critical temperature increases, according to a Washington Post analysis of data ... by 2053, the record heat being experienced this year in several states will have become normal.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/15/extreme-heat-risk-temperatures-2053-study
see also https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2022/extreme-heat-risk-map-us/

Risk of catastrophic California ‘megaflood’ has doubled due to global warming, researchers say
Global warming has doubled the likelihood that weather conditions will unleash a deluge as devastating as the Great Flood of 1862, according to a UCLA study released Friday. In that inundation 160 years ago, 30 consecutive days of rain triggered monster flooding that roared across much of the state ... If a similar storm were to happen today, the study says, up to 10 million people would be displaced, major interstate freeways such as Interstates 5 and 80 would be shut down for months, and population centers including Stockton, Fresno and parts of Los Angeles would be submerged — a $1-trillion disaster larger than any in world history. It would also probably be “bigger in almost every respect” than what scientists have come to call the “ARKStorm scenario” of 1862, said climate scientist Daniel Swain, co-author of the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances ... an ARKStorm event would result in a disaster zone stretched across thousands of square miles.
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-08-12/risk-of-catastrophic-megaflood-has-doubled-for-california
reporting on a study at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq0995

‘Soon it will be unrecognisable’: total climate meltdown cannot be stopped, says expert
This is just the beginning, insists McGuire, who is emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London. As he makes clear in his uncompromising depiction of the coming climatic catastrophe, we have – for far too long – ignored explicit warnings that rising carbon emissions are dangerously heating the Earth. Now we are going to pay the price for our complacency in the form of storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves that will easily surpass current extremes. The crucial point, he argues, is that there is now no chance of us avoiding a perilous, all-pervasive climate breakdown. We have passed the point of no return.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/30/total-climate-meltdown-inevitable-heatwaves-global-catastrophe

Rainwater everywhere on Earth unsafe to drink due to ‘forever chemicals’, study finds
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large family of human-made chemicals that don’t occur in nature. They are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down in the environment. They [are] in household items like food packaging, electronics, cosmetics and cookware. But now researchers at the University of Stockholm have found them in rainwater in most locations on the planet - including Antarctica. There is no safe space to escape them ... The health risks of being exposed to these substances have been researched widely. Scientists say that they could be linked to fertility problems, increased risk of cancer and developmental delays in children.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/08/04/rainwater-everywhere-on-earth-unsafe-to-drink-due-to-forever-chemicals-study-finds

Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios
Prudent risk management requires consideration of bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Yet, for climate change, such potential futures are poorly understood. Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? ... We outline current knowledge about the likelihood of extreme climate change, discuss why understanding bad-to-worst cases is vital, articulate reasons for concern about catastrophic outcomes, define key terms, and put forward a research agenda.
https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2108146119
see also https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62378157

Rampant wildfires once led to global mass extinction, scientists say. Can it happen again?
A long time ago, the carbon was rock, buried in the earth. Then an environmental catastrophe of unprecedented scale began ... By the time it was over, most living things on Earth—up to 95% of ocean species, and more than 70% of those on land—were dead. New research suggests the accelerating fires of this apocalyptic period 252 million years ago were not just a symptom of a warming planet, but a driver of extinction in their own right. Increasingly frequent fires overwhelmed plants' ability to adapt and set off chains of events that threatened life in habitats untouched by flames themselves—just as scientists fear they are doing today.
https://phys.org/news/2022-07-rampant-wildfires-global-mass-extinction.html

The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the globe since 1979
In recent decades, the warming in the Arctic has been much faster than in the rest of the world, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Numerous studies report that the Arctic is warming either twice, more than twice, or even three times as fast as the globe on average. Here we show, by using several observational datasets which cover the Arctic region, that during the last 43 years the Arctic has been warming nearly four times faster than the globe, which is a higher ratio than generally reported in literature.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-022-00498-3

Map shows ‘desert’ crossing UK as Met Office warns of ‘scary’ heatwave
europe drought Aug 2022 small The Met Office has raised its Fire Severity Index to its highest level of exceptional today for scorched southern England ... as the nation roasts under its second record-breaking heatwave of the year. James Cheshire, professor of geographic information and cartography at the University College London’s geography department, has branded the map ‘the scarred landscape of the climate crisis ... is unlike anything I’ve seen before.’
https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/11/map-shows-desert-crossing-uk-as-experts-warn-of-scary-heatwave-17164636/

Rivers across Europe are too dry, too low, and too warm
Extended heat and low rainfall across Europe are causing major rivers to dry up ... The Rhine is one of the busiest waterways in the world, but low levels mean severe restrictions for cargo ships. If water levels don't rise soon, some ships won't be able to pass at all ... The Thames is as much a part of London as Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Parliament, but it originates near the village of Kemble in southwest England. Or it did — until recently. Conditions have gotten so bad that the Thames surfaces over 8 kilometers downstream from its official starting point ... Water temperatures in the Danube are already dangerously high this summer — and water levels are low. The heat affects the oxygen content of the water, which could drop below six parts per million — a level that low would spell death for some fish.
https://www.dw.com/en/rivers-across-europe-are-too-dry-too-low-and-too-warm/a-62758853

Dry, hot summers put Dutch dikes at risk
Often made of peat, dike walls are more likely to dry out and become unstable due to lack of rain. After weeks of drought and intense summer heat, the Netherlands has declared a state of emergency ... Two-thirds of the population live in regions below sea level. Rotterdam and Amsterdam would be flooded without intact dikes and pumping systems.
https://www.dw.com/en/dutch-dikes-at-risk-of-climate-change-drought/a-62771283

Netherlands officially has a water shortage due to ongoing drought
The scarce water will be distributed according to legal agreements so that dikes, peatlands, and very vulnerable nature areas are supplied with water for as long as possible. More measures may follow in the coming weeks.
https://nltimes.nl/2022/08/03/netherlands-officially-water-shortage-due-ongoing-drought

No aquatic life for miles in River Thames drought
The source of the River Thames has dried up so much that there are no signs of aquatic life for 10 miles, experts say. It comes after weeks of dry weather and record-breaking temperatures across the UK.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-62490782

Mass crop failures expected in England as farmers demand hosepipe bans
Environment Agency classified eight of the 14 areas of England as being in a drought ... Half of the potato crop is expected to fail as it cannot be irrigated, and even crops that are usually drought-tolerant, such as maize, have been failing. The group was told “irrigation options are diminishing with reservoirs being emptied fast”, and losses of 10-50% are expected for crops including carrots, onions, sugar beet, apples and hops. Milk production is also down nationally because of a lack of food for cows, and wildfires are putting large areas of farmland at risk.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/12/mass-crop-failures-expected-in-england-as-farmers-demand-hosepipe-bans

Farmers banned from taking river water in Fife
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said the majority of water abstraction licences would be suspended from midnight on Saturday. "It is not a step we take lightly, but the evidence is clear, and it is one we can no longer avoid."
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-62518164

Wales' green landscape at risk from climate change
Wales could face regular repeats of this summer's prolonged hot and dry weather, says expert. [It] saw just 61% of average rainfall from March to July.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-62505426

[Portugal] Hottest July in 92 years
The month of July was the hottest in the last 92 years, with temperatures almost always above normal and with a record of 47ºC registered in Pinhão.
https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2022-08-07/hottest-july-in-92-years/69283

Centuries-old warnings emerge from riverbed as Europe faces historic drought
The recent droughts in Europe once again made visible the "Hunger Stones" in some Czech and German rivers. These stones were used to mark desperately low river levels... one, in the Elbe river, is from 1616 and says: "If you see me, cry" ... Scientists at the European Drought Observatory said that the [current] drought is on track to be the worst one in 500 years.
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article264446131.html

Drought on the Rhine: 'We have 30cm of water left'
It's not unusual for water levels to drop here but, Captain Kimpel says, it's happening more frequently. "We used to have a lot of floods. Now we have a lot of low waters." On the riverbank nearby, there's an old measuring station. Any skipper wanting to enter the Upper Rhine will refer to the official water level recorded here ... Travel a little further upstream and the challenge is obvious. At the town of Bingen, great swathes of the riverbed are exposed, bleached stones powder dry in the baking sun. People from the nearby town pick their way over the rocks, take photographs. In normal times they'd be underwater.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62519683

Swiss mountain pass will lose all glacier ice ‘in a few weeks’ for first time in [millenia]
scex pass 2022 The pass between Scex Rouge and Tsanfleuron has been iced over since at least the Roman era. But as both glaciers have retreated, the bare rock of the ridge between the two is beginning to emerge – and will be completely ice-free before the summer is out. “The pass will be entirely in the open air in a few weeks,” the Glacier 3000 ski resort said in a statement.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/11/swiss-mountain-pass-scex-rouge-tsanfleuron-glacier-melts-climate-crisis

Fate of ‘sleeping giant’ East Antarctic ice sheet ‘in our hands’ – study
The fate of the world’s biggest ice sheet rests in the hands of humanity, a new analysis has shown. If global heating is limited to 2C, the vast East Antarctic ice sheet should remain stable, but if the climate crisis drives temperatures higher, melting could drive up sea level by many metres. The East Antarctic ice sheet (EAIS) holds the vast majority of Earth’s glacier ice. Sea levels would rise by 52 metres if it all melted. It was thought to be stable, but is now showing signs of vulnerability, the scientists said ... Sea level is rising faster today than for at least 3,000 years, as mountain glaciers and the Greenland ice cap melt, and ocean waters expand as they heat. Even a few metres of sea level rise will redraw the map of the world ... new analysis, published in the journal Nature, assessed the sensitivity of the EAIS to global heating ... Prof Nerilie Abram, a co-author of the analysis at the Australian National University, said: “A key lesson from the past is that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is highly sensitive to even relatively modest warming scenarios. It isn’t as stable and protected as we once thought.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/10/east-antarctic-ice-sheet-in-our-hands-climate-action

NASA Studies Find Previously Unknown Loss of Antarctic Ice
Two studies published Aug. 10 and led by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California reveal unexpected new data about how the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been losing mass in recent decades. One study, published in the journal Nature, maps how iceberg calving – the breaking off of ice from a glacier front – has changed the Antarctic coastline over the last 25 years. The researchers found that the edge of the ice sheet has been shedding icebergs faster than the ice can be replaced [and] doubles previous estimates of ice loss from Antarctic’s floating ice shelves since 1997, from 6 trillion to 12 trillion metric tons ... The other study, published in Earth System Science Data, shows in unprecedented detail how the thinning of Antarctic ice as ocean water melts it has spread from the continent’s outward edges into its interior, almost doubling in the western parts of the ice sheet over the past decade. “Antarctica is crumbling at its edges,” says JPL scientist Chad Greene, lead author of the calving study.
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3206/nasa-studies-find-previously-unknown-loss-of-antarctic-ice/

Wildfires Have Burned Through California's 100-Year Carbon Insurance in 10 Years, Study Finds
95 percent of the buffer planned for 100 years of wildfires depleted after less than a decade, a new study warns ... in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change ... the buffer account is not nearly large enough to make up for the devastating wildfires and disease affecting trees in the offset program’s portfolio ... 95 percent of those credits, which were supposed to last for 100 years, have already been exhausted ... “you know you have a problem when the liabilities that are coming are bigger than what you’ve prepared for.”
https://www.vice.com/en/article/88qqjx/wildfires-have-burned-through-californias-100-year-carbon-insurance-in-10-years-study-finds

The End of Snow Threatens to Upend 76 Million American Lives
Since most of the [western US] region gets little rain in the summer, even in good years, its bustling cities and bountiful farms all hinge on fall and winter snow settling in the mountains before slowly melting into rivers and reservoirs. [But] with the Southwest gripped by its worst drought in 1,200 years, there’s less precipitation of any kind these days across the region, especially the crucial frozen variety with its multi-month staying power ... What little winter precipitation does arrive now often lands as rain and runs off, long gone by summer ... the region will get less precipitation overall in the coming decades than it once did. Columbia University climate scientist Richard Seager’s lab has been modeling the next two decades of rainfall in the US Southwest, and all of the projections show the area will be drier than in the 1980s and 1990s ... “given the trends in water supply and aridification of the Southwest, it’s probably going to happen sooner rather than later.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2022-western-us-snowpack-drought/

The West’s forever fire season
How climate change makes wildfire more likely to happen all year round. In fact, there is no end or beginning to fire season anymore. It’s year-round. And while [the many] big blazes that burned across the West before summer even began can be tied directly to climate change, this new forever fire season can. Warming temperatures can affect snowfall, cause snow to melt earlier, and increase atmospheric thirst, thereby drying out all the fuels that have built up over the last hundred years or more, making them that much more flammable — even during early spring ... “Since the 1970s, human-caused increases in temperature and vapor pressure deficit have enhanced fuel aridity across Western continental U.S. forests, accounting for approximately over half of the observed increases in fuel aridity during this period. These anthropogenic increases in fuel aridity approximately doubled the Western U.S. forest fire area beyond that expected from natural climate variability alone.”
https://www.hcn.org/issues/54.8/infographic-the-wests-wildfire-forever-fire-season

How deforestation is pushing the Amazon toward a tipping point
Deforestation has already claimed 17 percent of its area. Climate change and deforestation have weakened as much as 75 percent of what remains, researchers say ... if between 20 and 25 percent is lost — which, if trends continue, could occur within a decade — the Amazon could hit a tipping point, when it can no longer maintain its own ecology and swaths are converted into degraded open savanna ... The Amazon has historically acted as a vast carbon sink, helping to absorb carbon emissions and curb the rise of global temperatures. But scientists worry that the biome, if it passes the tipping point, could be so weakened that it becomes a “carbon bomb.” There are already portions of the forest that are emitting more carbon gases than are absorbed.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/14/amazon-rainforest-deforestation/

Heat waves thawing Arctic permafrost
In the northernmost region of the earth the arctic permafrost is melting at an accelerated rate ... Their findings, recently published in the European Geosciences Union journal The Cryosphere, reveal substantial changes ... a strong, 43-fold increase in retrogressive thaw slump activity and a 28-fold increase in carbon mobilization. The increase also happens to coincide with an extreme heat wave that occurred in northern Siberia in 2020 in which temperatures reportedly reached 38 degrees Celsius (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)—record-breaking temperatures for the Arctic region ... Arctic permafrost reportedly encases approximately 1.5 trillion metric tons of organic carbon, about twice as much as currently contained in the atmosphere.
https://phys.org/news/2022-07-arctic-permafrost.html

Humanity faces ‘collective suicide’ over climate crisis, warns UN chief
Wildfires and heatwaves wreaking havoc across swathes of the globe show humanity facing “collective suicide”, the UN secretary general has warned, as governments around the world scramble to protect people from the impacts of extreme heat. António Guterres told ministers from 40 countries meeting to discuss the climate crisis on Monday: “Half of humanity is in the danger zone, from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction.” He added: “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/18/humanity-faces-collective-suicide-over-climate-crisis-warns-un-chief

A Crisis Historian Has Some Bad News for Us
America and the world are living through what Adam Tooze, the internet’s foremost historian of money and disaster, describes as a “polycrisis” ... War, raising the specter of nuclear conflict. Climate change, threatening famine, flood, and fire. Inflation, forcing central banks to crush consumer demand. The pandemic, closing factories and overloading hospitals. Each crisis is hard enough to parse by itself; the interconnected mess of them is infinitely more so. And he feels “the whole is even more dangerous than the sum of the parts” ... much of the world faces a series of self-reinforcing financial and geopolitical pressures, building, perhaps, to some ominous end ... As Tooze sees it, the forces of central-bank tightening, war, inflation, and climate change are reinforcing one another. He is offering no reassurance about where that might head.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/adam-tooze-chartbook-substack-newsletter-inflation-crisis/661467/

30% Less Than Average: Antarctic Sea Ice Levels Lowest Ever Recorded
Antarctic sea ice extent was the lowest since satellite monitoring started in 1978, according to a recent report from the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Japan ... “sea ice extent on February 20, 2022, was 2,128,000 km2, the smallest in over 40 years of observations,” said Project Professor Hironori Yabuki of NIPR "[which] is also a minimal value (73.3%) compared to the average minimum extent of 2,902,000 km2 for each year from 2012 to 2021.”
https://scitechdaily.com/30-less-than-average-antarctic-sea-ice-levels-lowest-ever-recorded

In ominous sign for global warming, feedback loop may be accelerating methane emissions
Tropical wetlands, getting wetter with climate change, emerge as hot spots for heat-trapping gas
If carbon dioxide is an oven steadily roasting our planet, methane is a blast from the broiler: a more potent but shorter lived greenhouse gas that’s responsible for roughly one-third of the 1.2°C of warming since preindustrial times. Atmospheric methane levels have risen nearly 7% since 2006, and the past 2 years saw the biggest jumps yet ... Two new preprints trace it to microbes in tropical wetlands ... climate change itself might be fueling the trend by driving increased rain over the regions. If so, the wetlands emissions could end up being a runaway process beyond human control [says] Paul Palmer, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Edinburgh and co-author of one of the studies ... Studies are now implicating the Sudd in South Sudan, the continent’s largest swamp [where] Palmer and his colleagues were able to show the Sudd had grown as a methane hot spot since 2019 ... A second study, posted in late June by Harvard University researchers and submitted to Environmental Research Letters, finds nearly the same story, especially the surge in East Africa. When combined with smaller increases from the Amazon and the northern forests, it largely explains the observed rise in the atmosphere.
https://www.science.org/content/article/ominous-sign-global-warming-feedback-loop-may-be-accelerating-methane-emissions

The Trash Mountains of South Asia That Threaten the Climate
Dumps, landfills and waste sites in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are huge emitters of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
More clouds of the powerful greenhouse gas — which has 84 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere — were spotted in India than any other country except for the US during the first half of this year, according to European Space Agency satellite observations analyzed by Kayrros SAS. Pakistan ranked fourth and Bangladesh sixth ... Last year, more than half of all methane emissions measured globally from landfills by Canada-based monitoring company GHGSat Inc. were in Asia. India accounted for nearly a quarter of the total. “Having landfills around cities is not unique to South Asia, but what is different is the landfill gas management systems,” said Brody Wight, sales director at GHGSat. “Whether they exist or not to begin with is probably the primary factor” ... Plenty of waste sites outside Asia are also major emitters. Despite activating a 5-megawatt power station last summer that runs off methane collected from the massive Norte III landfill in Buenos Aires, GHGSat said its satellites continue to observe emissions from the site and from many land disposal sites globally.
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2022-methane-landfills-south-asia-climate-health-hazard/

The amount of Greenland ice that melted last weekend could cover West Virginia in a foot of water
Several days of unusually warm weather in northern Greenland have triggered rapid melting, made visible by the rivers of meltwater rushing into the ocean. Temperatures have been running around 60 degrees Fahrenheit -- 10 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year ... "The northern melt this past week is not normal, looking at 30 to 40 years of climate averages," said Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado ... The latest research points to a more and more precarious situation on the Northern Hemisphere's most icy island. "Unprecedented" rates of melting have been observed at the bottom of the Greenland ice sheet, a study published in February found, caused by huge quantities of meltwater trickling down from the surface. This water is particularly concerning because it can destabilize the sheet above it and could lead to a massive, rapid loss of ice. And in 2020, scientists found that Greenland's ice sheet had melted beyond the point of no return. No efforts to stave off global warming can stop it from eventually disintegrating, said researchers at The Ohio State University. The rate of melting in recent years exceeds anything Greenland has experienced in the last 12,000, another study found ... they have been trying to get flights into the camp so they can ship out the ice cores they have recently collected. But the warmth is destabilizing the landing site. "The temperatures we are seeing right now are simply too hot for the ski-equipped planes to land,"
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/20/world/greenland-heat-wave-ice-melting-climate

China endures summer of extreme weather as record rainfall and scorching heat wave cause havoc
Scientists have been warning for years that the climate crisis would amplify extreme weather, making it deadlier and more frequent. Now, like much of the world, China is reeling from its impact. Since the country's rainy season started in May, heavy rainstorms have brought severe flooding and landslides to large swathes of southern China, killing dozens of people, displacing millions and causing economic losses running into billions of yuan. In June, extreme rainfall broke "historical records" in coastal Fujian province, and parts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. At the same time, a heat wave began to envelop northern China, pushing temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). That heat wave has now engulfed half the country, affecting more than 900 million people ... The stifling heat has coincided with a surge in Covid cases, making government mandated mass testing all the more excruciating for residents -- including the elderly -- who must wait in long lines under the sun ... the worst might be still to come, according to Yao Wenguang, a Ministry of Water Resources official overseeing flood and drought prevention. "It is predicted that from July to August, there will be more extreme weather events in China."
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/20/china/china-summer-extreme-weather-climate-change-intl-hnk-mic/index.html

A critical shipping lane in Europe’s economic heart is drying up in the searing heat
80% of inland waterway goods transport relies on the [Rhine] river. If low water levels are prolonged, Europe’s largest economy Germany will experience a hit to its manufacturing sector and economic growth ... low water levels mean that river barges will have to travel with reduced freight to limit their draft or even cease operating altogether ... can also affect production in industrial and power plants that rely on river water for cooling ... levels at [a measuring station] at Kaub — seen as a key chokepoint for water-borne freight — have dropped throughout the week and stood at 71cm on Wednesday, data from Germany’s Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration showed. A normal water level would be around the 200cm mark.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/20/germanys-rhine-river-levels-running-low-putting-economy-at-risk.html

Even in the Midst of Winter, Antarctic Sea Ice Sets New Record Low
After setting a new record for lowest summer extent earlier this year, Antarctic sea ice saw a new record low going into winter as well ... In 2022, from Feb 8 to March 8, the minimum fell below 2 million sq km for the first time in the satellite record. A new record low extent was set on Feb. 25 of just 1.924 million sq km. The sea ice has been expanding since then, as temperatures drop and that region of the world is plunged into the darkness of winter. However, as of June 20, the day before the start of southern winter, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been setting daily record lows for this time of the year ... West Antarctica is experiencing more than just sea ice loss. Glaciers in that region of the continent have been particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming. New research has found that the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers, both located along the coast of the Amundsen Sea, are now retreating at a rate faster than anything seen in the past 5,500 years.
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/en/news/climate/impacts/even-in-the-midst-of-winter-antarctic-sea-ice-sets-new-record-low

This is not a drought. This is aridification.
By definition, a drought is a period of abnormally dry weather that eventually ends. What Utah and much of the American West face is better termed “aridification.” This is the process of a region becoming drier through decreased precipitation and/or rising temperatures. And it refers to long-term permanent change. Changes such as diminished rain and snowfall, dying vegetation, declining reservoirs and water tables, increased forest fires and a record breaking low for the Once Great Salt Lake. The list of water worries is long: toxic lake bed dust storms, birdlife crashes, water recreation and skiing economies threatened, wells going dry, livelihoods endangered, dead lawns, dying trees and rising temperatures.
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2022/07/15/eric-c-ewert-this-is-not-drought/

Thousands evacuated as wildfires sweep across western Europe
Huge wildfires swept across western Europe on Saturday, destroying swathes of land and forcing thousands from their homes amid a record-breaking heatwave that shows no signs of easing. Firefighters were battling to bring blazes under control in parts of France, Spain and Portugal, with blistering summer temperatures that have allowed them to flourish expected to continue this week. n the region of Gironde in south-western France, more than 12,000 people were evacuated as strong winds frustrated efforts to contain a fire that raced across pine forests. “We have a fire that will continue to spread as long as it is not stabilised,” said Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect for Langon in Gironde. One resident living near La Teste-de-Buch in Gironde described the conditions as “post-apocalyptic”. In neighbouring Spain, firefighters were battling a series of fires after days of unusually high temperatures which reached up to 45.7C.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/16/thousands-evacuated-as-wildfires-sweep-across-western-europe
See also https://www.dw.com/en/wildfires-continue-to-rage-in-france-and-spain/a-62499603

A hypothetical weather forecast for 2050 is coming true next week
The climate crisis is pushing weather to the extreme all over the world. [In 2020] meteorologists at the UK Met Office -- the official weather forecast agency for the UK -- dove in to the super long-range climate models to see what kind of temperatures they'd be forecasting in about three decades. Well, on Monday and Tuesday, the "plausible" becomes reality -- 28 years early ... a sign of how rapidly the climate crisis is altering our weather.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/15/weather/2050-uk-forecast-comes-true-in-2022/index.html

A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation
[W]e brought together 30 scientists, policymakers and practitioners with transdisciplinary expertise in marine and coastal systems to identify new issues that are likely to have a significant impact on the functioning and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity over the next 5–10 years. Most identified issues are expected to have substantial negative impacts if not managed or mitigated appropriately. This imbalance highlights the considerable emerging pressures facing marine ecosystems that are often a byproduct of human activities. Four issues identified in this scan related to ongoing large-scale (hundreds to many thousands of square kilometres) alterations to marine ecosystems. Another set of issues related to anticipated increases in marine resource use and extraction. The final set of issues related to new technological advancements [with] some having potentially unintended negative consequences on marine and coastal biodiversity.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-022-01812-0

A year’s worth of Northern California’s rainfall has gone missing since 2019
Much of Northern California received only two-thirds of its normal rainfall for the last three years, according to meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services. “It’s like working for three years and only getting paid for two,” he said. Some places, such as Ukiah, Santa Rosa and Mount Shasta City, did even worse, logging about half or less of their normal precipitation ... the northern part of the state is much more consequential [since] most of California’s significant precipitation occurs in the north ... the “bellwether” [Northern Sierra 8-Station Index] stood at 61% of normal for 2019 through 2022, less than two-thirds of what would be expected ... According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of the state is in at least severe drought, and about half of the state is in extreme drought. Nearly 12% of California is considered to be in exceptional drought, the worst category. Because of the state’s Mediterranean climate of generally rain-free summer months, there’s no immediate prospect for relief ... Rising temperatures and an ever drier climate due to climate change are amplifying drought in what is the driest 22-year period in the West in 1,200 years.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-07/a-years-worth-of-california-rainfall-has-gone-missing

Rate of Arctic warming faster than previously thought
For years scientists have known the Arctic is among the most rapidly warming regions of the planet, with temperatures rising significantly faster than the global average. Now they say it may be heating up even faster than previous research suggested. Several recent studies indicate the Arctic is now warming around four times as fast as the rest of the globe. It’s a substantial update: Until recently, scientific papers and news reports alike have typically stated the Arctic is warming at two to three times the global average ... A new study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, is one of the latest to weigh in. Prior to the start of the 21st century, the study suggests, the Arctic was indeed warming two to three times as fast as the rest of the planet. But the warming rate has increased over the last 50 years, and it’s reached four times the global average in recent decades ... And that’s all looking at the Arctic as a whole. In recent years, scientists have pointed out that certain local warming rates, in specific areas within the Arctic, may be even higher. One recent study, for instance, found that the part of the Arctic around the northern Barents Sea is currently warming a stunning five to seven times faster than the global average.
https://www.eenews.net/articles/rate-of-arctic-warming-faster-than-previously-thought/
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2022GL099371

‘All that’s needed is a spark’: why the US may be headed for a summer of mega-fire
Following an explosive spring that unleashed major wildfires from the US south-west to Alaska, the west is now bracing for a summer of blazes as the parched landscapes risk turning into tinderboxes. Fire activity is expected to increase in several US states over the coming months, according to a newly released outlook from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), with parts of the Pacific north-west, northern California, Texas, Hawaii and Alaska forecast to be among those hardest hit by fire conditions in the months ahead ... the climate crisis and human-caused warming has turned up the dial on risk-factors with more intense conditions and a greater frequency with which these conditions align. “No matter which way you slice it, it is going to be bad,” said Jim Wollmann, a meteorologist at the NIFC ... the desiccated landscapes are primed to burn. “It is dire across the board,” said Dr Craig Clements, the director of the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center at San Jose State University.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/06/us-west-wildfire-summer

[European Central Bank] stress test shows most euro zone banks don’t include climate risk in their credit models
[M]ost euro zone banks do not sufficiently incorporate climate risk into their stress-testing frameworks and internal models ... the world’s leading climate scientists have warned humanity has reached “now or never” territory [however] roughly 60% of banks do not yet have a climate risk stress-testing framework. Similarly, the ECB said most banks do not include climate risk in their credit risk models and just 20% consider climate risk as a variable when granting loans. As for the reliance of banks on carbon-emitting sectors, the ECB said that on aggregate, almost two-thirds of banks’ income from non-financial corporate customers stems from greenhouse gas-intensive industries ... results warned that credit and market losses could amount to around 70 billion euros ($70.6 billion) on aggregate this year for the 41 directly supervised banks. The ECB noted, however, that this “significantly understates the actual climate-related risk” as it reflects only a fraction of the actual hazard.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/08/ecb-stress-test-shows-most-banks-dont-include-climate-risk-in-credit-models.html

‘Carbon Capture’ Is No Fix. Big Oil’s Known for Decades
More than three decades ago, the Exxon-owned oilsands producer [Imperial Oil] undertook one of Canada’s first major studies of “underground carbon dioxide disposal.” The company’s findings, which were published in a newly reviewed 1991 Imperial Oil research paper, were not encouraging. The technology requires massive expenditures, would only mitigate a small fraction of Canada’s carbon output and comes with “large net costs to society,” Imperial concluded ... A report last year from the Global CCS Institute, a proponent of the technology whose membership includes Exxon, found that the global capacity of carbon capture and storage projects was slightly lower in 2021 than it was a decade earlier. “This represents a decade of very limited progress in terms of CCS project development,” noted a separate report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research ... “Despite years of hype,” a libertarian think tank called the Manhattan Institute concluded in 2018, “CCS still costs too much and cannot come close to matching the scale of growing global carbon-dioxide emissions.” The institute has reportedly received more than $1 million in donations from Exxon ... So why is [Exxon subsidiary] Imperial Oil, a top oilsands producer, continuing to push carbon capture and storage technology despite knowing for decades that it’s a subpar solution to the climate crisis? That’s simple, Stewart told The Tyee. “It extends the life of fossil fuels.”
https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/07/07/Carbon-Capture-No-Fix-Big-Oil-Known-Decades/

Climate Change Isn’t a Threat Multiplier. It’s the Main Threat
In the security sector itself, thinking about climate change is dominated by Sherri Goodman’s original framing of global warming as a “threat multiplier” introduced in a 2007 CNA report ... Consequently, defense forces the world over are ambling toward lower-emission technologies, preparing for more natural disasters, and debating the near-term consequences of a degrading global-security environment. These debates miss the main point: that we are moving toward “a shift to a climate inhospitable for most forms of life” that will bring ecological collapse, violence, hardship, and death on nearly unimaginable scales ... A new approach called PLAN E frames climate and environmental issues not as an influence upon the threat environment, but as the main threat—indeed, a new kind dubbed the hyperthreat ... The rationale for this approach and the methods used are outlined in the Spring 2022 issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies. To prompt broader imagining of what a new threat posture could look like, Marine Corps University has published a notional PLAN E grand strategy. To be precise, PLAN E is the conceptualization and planning phase of a six-phase “hyper-response”: a civilian-led, whole-of-society mobilization (note: not militarization) ... The hyper-response could be described as a predominantly bottom-up solution; it operates from homes, communities, and workplaces, and up to the geopolitical level. It shifts resources and decision-making capacity to key locations and local governments while also working to restore nation-state agency and fostering eco-multilateralism and regional solutions. This is not just a way to account for the fears and risks associated with securitization of the climate response; it is in fact crucial to success. The enormous amount of work needed in a short time can only be done by harnessing Earth’s large human population; call it a “humans-as-ants” strategy.
https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2022/07/climate-change-isnt-threat-multiplier-its-main-threat/368814/

Skies Are Sucking More Water from the Land
Drought is typically thought of as a simple lack of rain and snow. But evaporative demand—a term describing the atmosphere's capacity to pull moisture from the ground—is also a major factor. And the atmosphere over much of the U.S. has grown a lot thirstier over the past 40 years, a new study in the Journal of Hydrometeorology found. [Evaporative demand] increases exponentially, says study lead author Christine Albano, an ecohydrologist at the Desert Research Institute in Reno ... Rising evaporative demand adds to the strain as the West continues to endure megadrought conditions that have not been seen for 1,200 years. The increase contributed to low spring runoff from the Sierra Nevada in 2021, when much less stream water came from snow than predicted ... A thirstier atmosphere also dried out Western forests, leading to larger wildfires.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/skies-are-sucking-more-water-from-the-land/

Summer in America is becoming hotter, longer and more dangerous
Across the country, heat waves are arriving more frequently, more intensely and earlier in the year. Nights are warming at a slightly higher rate than days in most parts of the United States, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment, harming people’s ability to cool down after hot days. A Climate Central study found that in just more than half of cities analyzed, high-heat days arrived at least a week earlier, on average, than 50 years ago. Three-fourths of places had more “extremely hot” days. In the West and Southwest, the wildfire season is lengthening, and a historic drought is emptying reservoirs. On the East Coast, hotter-than-usual temperatures are contributing to more severe flooding and heavy downpours. As hot weather arrives, the nation’s electric grid is under growing strain, with regulators from the Midwest to the Southwest warning of rolling power outages this summer ... drought is expected to grip parts of the nation’s Corn Belt and the Middle Mississippi Valley. The country is also facing the likelihood of another active wildfire season and the seventh straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season ... Researchers have found that some heat waves in recent years, including the one that struck the Pacific Northwest last year, would have been virtually impossible without human-caused global warming ... “It’s a totally different environment out there these days, and it’s not like it’s going to get back to normal anytime soon,” said Flagstaff City Manager Greg Clifton.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/07/02/summer-2022-climate-change-heat/

How heatwaves are creating a pollen crisis
Many of the crops we rely on need to be pollinated to produce food, but extreme heat can destroy pollen ... Even with adequate water, heat can damage pollen and prevent fertilisation in canola and many other crops, including corn, peanuts, and rice. For this reason, many farmers aim for crops to bloom before the temperature rises. But as climate change increases the number of days where temperatures reach over 90F (32C) in regions across the globe, and multi-day stretches of extreme heat become more common, getting that timing right could become challenging, if not impossible ... At stake is much of our diet. Every seed, grain, and fruit that we eat is a direct product of pollination, explains biochemist Gloria Muday of North Carolina's Wake Forest University. "The critical parameter is the maximum temperature during reproduction," she says ... at temperatures starting around 90F (32C) for many crops, the proteins that power a pollen grain's metabolism start to break down, Westgate says. In fact, heat hinders not only tube growth but other stages of pollen development as well. The result: a pollen grain may never form, or may burst, fail to produce a tube, or produce a tube that explodes ... At Michigan State University, Jenna Walters is studying how temperature affects pollen [and found that] that at temperatures above 95 degrees, pollen tubes fail to grow.
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220701-how-heatwaves-are-creating-a-pollen-crisis

Spain and Portugal suffering driest climate for 1,200 years, research shows
Most rain on the Iberian peninsula falls in winter as wet, low-pressure systems blow in from the Atlantic. But a high-pressure system off the coast, called the Azores high, can block the wet weather fronts ... The scientists said the more frequent large Azores highs could only have been caused by the climate crisis, caused by humanity’s carbon emissions. “The number of extremely large Azores highs in the last 100 years is really unprecedented when you look at the previous 1,000 years,” said Dr Caroline Ummenhofer, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, and part of the research team ... the Tagus River, the longest in the region, is at risk of drying up completely, according to environmentalists. The new research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, analysed weather data stretching back to 1850 and computer models replicating the climate back to AD850.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/04/spain-and-portugal-suffering-driest-climate-for-1200-years-research-shows

Rice fields dry up as Italy's drought lingers on
Italy’s largest river is turning into a long stretch of sand due to the lack of rain ... drought stress is the most damaging factor for rice, especially in the early stages of its growth. Heat waves, like those repeatedly hitting Italy with peaks of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), can significantly reduce the yield of surviving rice. The region’s main water sources, the rivers Po and Dora Baltea, are eight times lower than the average seasonal levels ... most areas are continuing to worsen ... threatening some 3 billion euros ($3.1 billion) in agriculture ... Italy’s confederation of agricultural producers estimates the loss of 30-40% of the seasonal harvest.
https://apnews.com/article/politics-agriculture-italy-f7d0055025659135e8f262ccb2035e57

Japan swelters in its worst heatwave ever recorded
The blistering heat has drawn official warnings of a looming power shortage ... Tokyo charted temperatures above 35C on Wednesday for a fifth straight day, marking the worst documented streak of hot weather in June since records started in 1875. Meanwhile, the city of Isesaki, north-west of the capital, saw a record 40.2C - the highest temperature ever recorded in June for Japan.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-61976937

Flooding Chaos in Yellowstone, a Sign of Crises to Come
The floodwaters that raged through Yellowstone this week changed the course of rivers, tore out bridges, poured through homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of visitors from the nation’s oldest national park ... scientists are raising the alarm that in the coming years destruction related to climate change will reach nearly all 423 national parks ... “Every single one of our more than 400 national parks are suffering,” said Stephanie Kodish, the director of the climate change program at the National Parks Conservation Association.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/15/us/yellowstone-national-park-floods.html

Powerful links between methane and climate change
Findings show how climate drives dangerous increases in the greenhouse gas Using data gathered over the last four decades to study the effects of temperature changes and rain on the atmospheric concentration of methane, scientists have concluded that Earth could be both delivering more, and removing less, methane into the air than previously estimated, with the result that more heat is being trapped in the atmosphere. The study, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on 23 June, addresses the large uncertainty about the impact of climate change on atmospheric methane. The study finds that this impact could be four times greater than that estimated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220630083306.htm

World pledged to cut methane. Emissions rising instead, study finds.
Kayrros, a firm that analyzes satellite data, says emissions of the potent greenhouse gas ‘appear to be going in the wrong direction’ [M]ethane emissions have climbed despite the launch of the Global Methane Pledge at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, last fall ... “This is an alarm call for the fossil fuel industry,” said Antoine Halff, co-founder and chief analyst at Kayrros. About 110 countries have signed on to the Global Methane Pledge, vowing to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 ... In the Permian Basin, the most prolific U.S. oil and gas basin, methane emissions in the first quarter of 2022 jumped 33 percent from the previous quarter, and soared by 47 percent from the first quarter a year earlier. The increase in methane emissions outstripped oil and gas output, thus increasing the methane intensity ... Emissions also climbed in the Appalachian coal fields ... The Kayrros report also looks at some of the richest fossil fuel reserves in other parts of the world and finds continuing leaks from infrastructure.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/06/27/methane-emissions-rising-report/

Circling the drain: the extinction crisis and the future of humanity
Authors: Rodolfo Dirzo, Gerardo Ceballos and Paul R. Ehrlich
Humanity has triggered the sixth mass extinction ... centered on the intersection of two complex adaptive systems: human culture and ecosystem functioning, [and] rooted in three factors. First, relatively few people globally are aware of its existence. Second, most people who are, and even many scientists, assume incorrectly that the problem is primarily one of the disappearance of species, when it is the existential threat of myriad population extinctions. Third, while concerned scientists know there are many individual and collective steps that must be taken to slow population extinction rates, some are not willing to advocate the one fundamental, necessary, ‘simple’ cure, that is, reducing the scale of the human enterprise. We argue that compassionate shrinkage of the human population by further encouraging lower birth rates while reducing both inequity and aggregate wasteful consumption—that is, an end to growthmania—will be required.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Ecological complexity and the biosphere: the next 30 years’.
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2021.0378

A Warming Climate Takes a Toll on the Vanishing Rio Grande
Rising temperatures and an unprecedented drought pose a grave and growing peril to the river and its ecosystems. [W]ater levels are historically low and dropping precipitously. Experts predict the Rio Grande will dry up completely all the way to Albuquerque this summer ... to make things even more uncertain, the drought is accompanied by an aridification of the West—a prolonged drying that scientists say may become a permanent fixture in the region. The number and scope of wildfires are also increasing sharply ... much of the Rio Grande [is] on a trajectory to disappear.
https://www.wired.com/story/a-warming-climate-takes-a-toll-on-the-vanishing-rio-grande/

Extreme temperatures in major Latin American cities could be linked to nearly 1 million deaths
With climate change, heat waves and cold fronts are worsening and taking lives worldwide: about 5 million in the past 20 years, according to at least one study. In a new study published today in Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers estimates that almost 900,000 deaths in the years between 2002 and 2015 could be attributable to extreme temperatures alone in major Latin American cities. This is the most detailed estimate in Latin America, and the first ever for some cities.
https://www.science.org/content/article/extreme-temperatures-major-latin-american-cities-could-be-linked-nearly-1-million

Wildfires may have sparked ecosystem collapse during Earth's worst mass extinction
Researchers at University College Cork (UCC) and the Swedish Museum of Natural History examined the end-Permian mass extinction (252 million years ago) that eliminated almost every species on Earth [and] discovered a sharp spike in wildfire activity from this most devastating of mass extinctions. Promoted by rapid greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes, extreme warming and drying led to wildfires across vast regions that were previously permanently wet. Instead of capturing carbon from the atmosphere, these wetlands became major sources of atmospheric carbon, enhancing the sharp warming trend ... in today's world, wildfires have caused shocking mass animal die-offs [and] our warming global climate has led to prolonged droughts and increased wildfires in typically wet habitats, such as the peat forests of Indonesia and the vast Pantanal wetlands of South America ... "The potential for wildfires as a direct extinction driver during hyperthermal events, rather than a symptom of climatic changes deserves further examination ... we have the opportunity to prevent the burning of the world's carbon sinks and help avoid the worst effects of modern warming."
https://phys.org/news/2022-06-wildfires-ecosystem-collapse-earth-worst.html

Blaming Russia’s War, G7 Leaders Rescind Another Global Climate Pledge
In May, members of the Group of Seven—a coalition of the world’s largest developed economies, known as G7 for short—pledged to stop funding fossil fuel projects in other countries by the end of the year, saying such development was out of sync with the Paris Agreement. The group’s members consist of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. But at a G7 summit in Germany that began over the weekend, most of the coalition’s members supported nullifying that promise as they scramble to replace ubiquitous Russian fossil fuels amid sky-high energy costs and rising global inflation, according to several news reports. Germany, France and Italy all lobbied for the move.
https://insideclimatenews.org/todaysclimate/blaming-russias-war-g7-leaders-rescind-another-global-climate-pledge/

Alaska’s fire agencies are preparing for more starts during an already historic wildfire season
The amount of acreage burned by wildland fires in Alaska hit 1 million on June 15, the earliest in decades if not history. Blazes that prompted evacuations in some Southwest villages scorched huge swaths of tundra in a dangerously dry, warm summer that’s just getting started ... Nearly half the state was considered abnormally dry as of late June, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Anchorage is “very likely” to have the warmest June on record, according to Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the International Arctic Research Center Alaska at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This is also expected to be the first June on record that Anchorage hit at least 60 degrees every day, Thoman said.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2022/06/24/alaskas-fire-agencies-are-preparing-for-more-starts-during-an-already-historic-wildfire-season/

Research reveals northernmost glaciers on the globe are melting at record speed
In the Arctic, temperatures are rising more than in the rest of the world, and this is causing the northernmost glaciers in Greenland to melt at record speed. This is shown in a new study by researchers led by DTU Space in collaboration with Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Utrecht University, University of Bristol, Technical University Munich, and the University of Copenhagen ... These peripheral glaciers make up only about four percent of Greenland's ice-covered areas but they contribute as much as 11 percent of the total loss of ice from Greenland's ice-covered areas. Thus, they are a major contributor to global sea level rise. The new study shows that the melting of the peripheral glaciers has increased dramatically over the past two decades.
https://phys.org/news/2022-06-reveals-northernmost-glaciers-globe.html
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2022GL098915

Dire Italian drought worsening, breaking records, water authority says
Drought conditions are rapidly spreading through Italy, with rivers and reservoirs drying up and the forecast of higher temperatures likely to make things worse ... Several Italian regions have already declared a state of emergency ... agricultural output is set to plunge this year in key growing areas ... Italy's longest river, the Po, which crosses the major northern regions and accounts for around a third of the country’s agricultural production, is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years. "The Po continues to record an epoque-making low along its entire course," ANBI said. "The flow rate has halved in two weeks" ... the rate needed to be at 450 cm/s to prevent salt water entering from the sea and wrecking farm land ... hot weather had raised the surface temperature of the Mediterranean by about 4C above the 1985-2005 average.
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/dire-italian-drought-worsening-breaking-records-water-authority-2022-06-23/

Here’s The Latest Data On Climate And Food And It’s Not Good
wsj noaa temps 2020-22 Agricultural areas are among the places in the U.S. experiencing the highest temperature increases ... The regions America relies on most to feed its people are drying up. As populations have grown, more water has been pumped to residential areas as well as large-scale farms ... Soil degradation is expected to be one of the central threats to human health in the coming decades. In America’s Midwest over the past 160 years, nearly 60 billion metric tons of topsoil have eroded. Too much is lost every year due to man-made influences like pollution from fertilizers, agricultural chemicals and antibiotics runoff ... Modern agriculture has been built on three key assumptions, says David Barber, a partner at agriculture and food investors Astanor Ventures: Cheap energy, free water and consistent weather. “The whole system does not function without that,” Barber says. “It reveals some of this for the house of cards that it is. Our legacy food system is now a food system in transition.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chloesorvino/2022/06/26/heres-the-latest-data-on-climate-and-food-and-its-not-good/

Louisiana’s insurance market is collapsing, just in time for hurricane season
As another hurricane season promises to bring extra-strong storms driven by high ocean temperatures, Louisiana’s insurance market is headed for a tailspin. The damage from Hurricane Ida caused at least seven private insurance companies to collapse or cancel their policies, and several more could be on their way out [which] threatens to leave tens of thousands of homeowners uninsured during the most dangerous time of year. Following on the heels of upheaval in the fire and flood insurance markets, the turmoil in Louisiana is yet another glaring signal that property and insurance markets aren’t prepared to deal with the financial fallout of climate-driven disasters ... Even insurers that didn’t face financial ruin have moved to exit the state market, canceling all their policies rather than risk having to make an enormous payout this hurricane season. A dozen insurance companies in total have either failed or left the state over the past two years.
https://grist.org/housing/louisiana-homeowner-insurance-hurricane-season

California’s largest reservoirs at critically low levels – signaling a dry summer ahead
This week, officials confirmed that Lake Oroville, the state’s second-largest reservoir, was at just 55% of its total capacity when it reached its highest level for the year last month. Meanwhile, Shasta Lake, California’s largest reservoir, was at 40% capacity last month – after the state endured its driest start to a year since the late 19th century. It’s a dire sign for a state already struggling to manage water during the most severe megadrought in 1,200 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/24/california-drought-reservoirs-water-levels

Lake Mead nears dead pool status as water levels hit another historic low
Lake Mead's water level on Wednesday was measured at 1,044.03 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake was filled in the 1930s. If the reservoir dips below 895 feet Lake Mead would reach dead pool, carrying enormous consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Mexico ... At roughly this same time last year, Lake Mead's elevation was measured at around 1,069 feet, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. In 2020, water levels at the end of June were around 1,087 feet.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/lake-mead-nears-dead-pool-status-water-levels-hit-another-historic-low-rcna34733

Methane levels surged in 2020 despite lockdowns
In situ methane measurements from 2020 showed the largest annual increase of methane concentrations since the 1980s, with this record surpassed in 2021. The year of 2020 was unique owing to the global pandemic, yet methane concentrations continued to rise despite a reduction in economic activity. Anthropogenic emissions of methane have contributed to an additional 23% to the radiative forcing—a direct measure of the amount of Earth's energy budget that is out of balance—in the troposphere since 1750.
https://phys.org/news/2022-06-methane-surged-lockdowns.html

Australian methane emissions massively underestimated - report
The US, the EU and Indonesia - the world's biggest coal exporter - were among more than 100 countries that last year promised a 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030. Australia ranks second for coal exports and is among the world's top methane emitters, but it did not sign on to the pledge. Methane has more than 80 times the heating power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. It is estimated to be responsible for almost a third of the globe's warming since pre-industrial times ... But the new report by UK think-tank Ember has found current methods of calculating those emissions are wrong - in the worst case by a factor of 10. Previous estimates have been based on how much coal is produced rather than measuring how much gas leaked from mines, the report said. Recent research using satellites have given a more accurate picture of pollution and have been adopted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61727940

Climate regulating ocean plants and animals are being destroyed by toxic chemicals and plastics
Marine survival against pH We have lost 50% of all marine life over the last 70 years ... Every second breath we take comes from marine photosynthesis ... Of particular concern from a climate change perspective is the level of carbonic acid in the oceans [as] atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves into the oceans ... [Studies note] an acceleration of the ocean acidification process [and] forecast that [by 2045] pH will drop to 7.95, and estimate that with this, 80% to 90% of all remaining marine life will be lost [causing] a tipping point: a planetary boundary from which there will be no return ... the oceans are already showing signs of instability today at pH 8.04.
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3860950

New Zealand records largest ever bleaching of sea sponges
Researchers say tens of millions of sponges may have been affected by protracted marine heatwave New Zealand is experiencing the largest bleaching of sea sponges ever recorded, scientists say, after extreme ocean temperatures turned millions of the aquatic creatures white. The discovery comes after researchers raised the alarm in May, when sea sponges off New Zealand’s southern coastline were found bleached for the first time. Initially, researchers estimated hundreds of thousands of the sponges had been bleached – but over the past month, scientists conducted investigations at coastlines around the country, and found that millions – possibly tens of millions – had been transformed bone-white. “As far as we’re aware, it’s the largest scale and largest number of sponges bleached in one event that’s been reported anywhere in the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/23/new-zealand-records-largest-ever-bleaching-of-sea-sponges

Hundreds of thousands affected by floods, landslides as heaviest rain in 60 years hits southern China
Almost half a million people have been affected by floods and landslides in the Chinese province of Guangdong, according to authorities, after parts of southern China were hit by the heaviest downpours in 60 years over the weekend ... Guangdong is one of at least seven provinces where the record rainfall has caused severe landslides and flooded roads, according to state media. In southwestern Guizhou province, swollen rivers spilled over roads, sweeping away cars and homes, videos on social media showed. The downpours come amid warnings by experts that extreme weather is becoming more frequent ... China's annual flood season ... has been growing more intense and dangerous in recent years and experts have warned things could get worse.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/20/world/southern-china-southern-severe-flood-rain-climate-crisis-intl-hnk/

'Biodiversity loss is humanity's greatest threat'
According to scientists, the world may lose nearly 1 million species by 2030, with one species becoming extinct every 10 minutes. This is catastrophic, because a world that lacks diversity is a dangerous place for all species. Why are so many species going extinct? The answer is human beings. As Earth Overshoot Day illustrates, every year we consume more of our planet's resources than can be replenished ... contributing to an extinction rate that's now 1,000 times higher than it would be without humans around ... never before has so much biodiversity disappeared in such a short space of time ... between 1970 and 2014, the global population of vertebrates declined by 60%, while in South and Central America, that figure is almost 90%. The number of species living in freshwater environments decreased by 83% during the same period.
https://www.dw.com/en/biodiversity-loss-is-humanitys-greatest-threat/a-62113416

Here’s what happens if the world loses its rainforests
Forests like the Amazon or the Congo Basin are gigantic reservoirs of biodiversity [and] key for the regulation of water availability at regional levels. The Congo Basin, for example, influences rainfall patterns as far away as North Africa ... some of these systems may be close to tipping points ... the Amazon [is] losing resilience. The Amazon is like a gigantic recycler, a water pump. Water may be recycled up to five times as it travels from the southeast to the northwest of the Amazon. You stop this water pump and the whole system may transform into a savannah because there is not enough water left to sustain a tropical forest. There will be a cascade of impacts following the disappearance of an ecosystem like that. It will probably be more than society as we know it can withstand.
https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/heres-what-happens-if-world-loses-its-rainforests

Over a third of US population urged to stay indoors amid record-breaking heat
More than 125 million people under heat alerts as record high temperatures set throughout US
National Weather Service forecast for high temperatures on 11 jun Record high temperatures were set throughout the US, particularly in the south-west, prompting cities to try to find ways to cope with potentially lethal heat ... Cities in the midwest have also struggled, with government officials racing to provide cooling options for vulnerable people ... Scientists have repeatedly warned that recurring and intense heatwaves could become the norm as the climate crisis intensifies. Other symptoms of increasing temperatures, including wildfires and extreme flooding, have occurred in recent weeks.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/15/us-weather-heat-warnings-alerts-record-temperatures

Climate change is turning more of Central Asia into desert
As global temperatures rise, desert climates have spread north by up to 100 kilometres in parts of Central Asia since the 1980s, a climate assessment reveals. The study, published on 27 May in Geophysical Research Letters, also found that over the past 35 years, temperatures have increased across all of Central Asia, which includes parts of China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the same period, mountain regions have become hotter and wetter — which might have accelerated the retreat of some major glaciers.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01667-2

Most major U.S. cities are underprepared for rising temperatures
UCLA-led analysis highlights gaps in municipal planning for often dangerous heat
Their new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analyzed municipal planning documents from 50 large cities across the country. The researchers found that 78% of these cities’ climate plans mentioned heat as a problem, but few offered a comprehensive strategy to address it. Even fewer addressed the disproportionate impact heat has on low-income residents and communities of color ... Heat, exacerbated by climate change, has become one of the deadliest weather hazards in the nation, the researchers said, accounting for more deaths in a typical year than hurricanes, floods or tornadoes ... The team found that, overall, solutions to rising temperatures didn’t match the severity or complexity of the problem.
https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/most-cities-underprepared-for-rising-temperatures

What caused Yellowstone's 'unprecedented' flooding? Scientists saw it coming
Extreme rainfall rates and rapid snowmelt prompted the flash flooding in Yellowstone National Park early this week, washing out roads and bridges in the park and causing "significant" damage to the town of Gardiner, Montana, at the park's entrance. Abnormally warm temperatures and torrential rain triggered a wave of snowmelt over the weekend which produced nearly a foot of water runoff by Monday ... The extreme rainfall combined with snowmelt led to a massive deluge of water equivalent to the area receiving two to three months worth of summer precipitation in just three days.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/15/us/what-caused-yellowstone-flooding-climate/index.html

Research into falling sperm counts finds 'alarming' levels of chemicals in male urine samples
Scientists searching for the causes of falling sperm counts are getting a clearer picture of the role played by chemical pollutants - and it’s not a pretty one. A study of urine samples from nearly 100 male volunteers has uncovered "alarming" levels of endocrine disruptors known to reduce human fertility. Cocktails of chemicals such as bisphenols and dioxins, which are believed to interfere with hormones and affect sperm quality, were present at levels up to 100 times those considered safe. The median exposure to these chemicals was 17 times the levels deemed acceptable. "Our mixture risk assessment of chemicals which affect male reproductive health reveals alarming exceedances of acceptable combined exposures," wrote the authors of the study, published on Thursday in the journal Environment International.
https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/06/10/research-into-falling-sperm-counts-finds-alarming-levels-of-chemicals-in-male-urine-sample

EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought
The new health advisories for a ubiquitous class of compounds known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, underscore the risk facing dozens of communities across the country. Linked to infertility, thyroid problems and several types of cancer, these “forever chemicals” can persist in the environment for years without breaking down. “People on the front-lines of PFAS contamination have suffered for far too long,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “That’s why EPA is taking aggressive action.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/06/15/epa-pfas-forever-chemicals/

New data reveals extraordinary global heating in the Arctic
Temperatures in the Barents Sea region are ‘off the scale’
North Barents Sea [is] a region where fast rising temperatures are suspected to trigger increases in extreme weather in North America, Europe and Asia. The researchers said the heating in this region was an “early warning” of what could happen across the rest of the Arctic. The new figures show annual average temperatures in the area are rising across the year by up to 2.7C a decade, with particularly high rises in the months of autumn of up to 4C a decade. This makes the North Barents Sea and its islands the fastest warming place known on Earth. Recent years have seen temperatures far above average recorded in the Arctic, with seasoned observers describing the situation as “crazy”, “weird”, and “simply shocking”. Some climate scientists have warned the unprecedented events could signal faster and more abrupt climate breakdown ... “This study shows that even the best possible models have been underestimating the rate of warming in the Barents Sea,” said Dr Ruth Mottram, climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, and not part of the team. “It’s really on the edge right now and it seems unlikely that sea ice will persist in this region for much longer.” The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is based on data from automatic weather stations on the islands of Svalbard and Franz Josef Land.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/15/new-data-reveals-extraordinary-global-heating-in-the-arctic

Nepal to move Everest base camp from melting glacier
Nepal is preparing to move its Everest base camp because global warming and human activity are making it unsafe. The camp, used by up to 1,500 people in the spring climbing season, is situated on the rapidly thinning Khumbu glacier. A new site is to be found at a lower altitude, where there is no year-round ice ... Researchers say melt-water destabilises the glacier, and climbers say crevasses are increasingly appearing at base camp while they sleep ... The Khumbu glacier, like many other glaciers in the Himalayas, is rapidly melting and thinning in the wake of global warming, scientists have found. A study by researchers from Leeds University in 2018 showed that the segment close to base camp was thinning at a rate of 1m per year.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-61828753

Congo peat: The 'lungs of humanity' which are under threat
A giant slab of carbon-rich peat, discovered in central Africa, is under threat from uncontrolled development - posing a significant risk for future climate change ... "This peat is so important in the context of climate change. We have a very large amount - some 30 billion tonnes - of carbon stored here. And if it is released into the atmosphere it is going to accelerate global change," said Suspense Ifo, Congo-Brazzaville's leading expert on the peatlands ... "That's about 20 years of US fossil fuel emissions" ... the peat, which has taken thousands of years to build up, can be destroyed within a matter of weeks if allowed to dry out ... [There is a] possibility of significant oil deposits being confirmed and exploited, close to the peatlands. Congo-Brazzaville's government has already begun parcelling out blocks of land and looking for potential investors ... "You can't ask us to keep our natural resources under wraps. If we need to exploit them, we shall exploit them."
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-61708452

Raft by Raft, a [Congo] Rainforest Loses Its Trees
The mighty Congo River has become a highway for sprawling flotillas of logs ... For months at a time, crews in the Democratic Republic of Congo live aboard these perilous rafts, piloting the timber in pursuit of a sliver of profit from the dismantling of a crucial forest. The biggest rafts are industrial-scale, serving mostly international companies that see riches in the rainforest ... Forests like these pull huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air, making them essential to slow global warming [so the] Congo Basin rainforest, second in size only to the Amazon, is becoming increasingly vital as a defense against climate change as the Amazon is felled. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo for several years in a row has been losing more old-growth rainforest, research shows, than any country except for Brazil ... Industrial logging in Congo is laden with corruption, according to a recent government audit [and] nearly all the logging, Congolese officials say, today is in some fashion illegal.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/14/climate/congo-rainforest-logging.html

Western Kansas wheat crops are failing just when the world needs them most
This time of year, the wheat growing in this part of western Kansas should be thigh-high and lush green. But as a months-long drought continues to parch the region, many fields tell a different story. “There’s nothing out there. It’s dead,” farmer Vance Ehmke said, surveying a wheat field near his land in Lane County. “It’s just ankle-high straw.” Across western Kansas, many fields planted with wheat months ago now look like barren wastelands ... Kansas isn’t called the Wheat State for nothing. It produced nearly one quarter of all American wheat harvested last year. But this year’s Kansas wheat crop has been through a lot of hardship since seeds went into the ground this past fall. Every inch of western Kansas remains blanketed by some level of drought ... In other parts of the High Plains, the outlook is even more grim. To the west in Colorado, projections say nearly one-third of wheat fields won’t produce enough to bother harvesting. In Texas, around three-quarters of the crop will likely be abandoned.
https://www.kcur.org/news/2022-06-09/western-kansas-wheat-crops-are-failing-just-when-the-world-needs-them-most

Thousands of Cattle Reported Dead
The current heat wave blazing through Kansas feedlots has killed an estimated 10,000 head of fat cattle ... temperatures in the area were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, there was humidity, and there was little to no wind to help cool the animals ... veterinarian A.J. Tarpoff, who works with Kansas State University Extension, explained that when there is a "perfect storm" of too much heat and no opportunity for nighttime cooling, cattle can accumulate heat and die from the stress.
https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/article/2022/06/14/heat-stress-kills-estimated-10-000

Italy's largest river dries up, exposing World War II barge that sank in 1943
Water is so low in large stretches of Italy's largest river that local residents are walking through the middle of the expanse of sand and shipwrecks are resurfacing. Authorities fear that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious shortage of water for drinking and irrigation for farmers and local populations across the whole of northern Italy ... The drying up of the Po, which runs 652 kilometers (405 miles) from the northwestern city of Turin to Venice, is jeopardizing drinking water in Italy's densely populated and highly industrialized districts and threatening irrigation in the most intensively farmed part of the country, known as the Italian food valley. Northern Italy hasn't seen rainfall for more than 110 days and this year's snowfall is down by 70%. Aquifers, which hold groundwater, are depleted ... The water shortage won't just hamper food production, but energy generation, too. If the Po dries up, numerous hydroelectric power plants will be brought to a halt.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/po-river-italy-dries-up-exposes-1943-shipwreck-zibello/

'The moment of reckoning is near': Feds warn huge cuts needed to shore up Lake Mead, Colorado River
Lake Mead 2022 A top federal water official told Congress on Tuesday that shortages on the Colorado River system have taken an even grimmer turn, with a whopping 2 million to 4 million acre-feet of reduction in water use needed by 2023 just to keep Lake Mead functioning and physically capable of delivering drinking water, irrigation and power to millions of people. Levels at the reservoir have dropped to an all-time low of 28% of capacity, with no relief in sight, said Camille Touton, Bureau of Reclamation commissioner ... "There is so much to this that is unprecedented," Touton said. "But unprecedented is now the reality and the normal in which Reclamation must manage our system, for warmer, drier weather is what we are facing." Touton said accelerating climate change — including hotter temperatures leading to earlier and less snowfall, drier soil and other conditions — have created declines in reclamation systems never seen before ... “What has been a slow-motion train wreck for 20 years is accelerating, and the moment of reckoning is near," said John Entsminger, general manager of of Southern Nevada Water Authority. "We are 150 feet (of elevation in Lake Mead) from 25 million Americans losing access to Colorado River water."
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/06/16/water-cuts-needed-lake-mead-colorado-river/7638011001/

'We beg God for water': Chilean lake turns to desert, sounding climate change alarm
The Penuelas reservoir in central Chile was until twenty years ago the main source of water for the city of Valparaiso, holding enough water for 38,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Water for only two pools now remains ... Amid an historic 13-year drought, rainfall levels have slumped in this South American nation that hugs the continent's Pacific coast. Higher air temperatures have meant snow in the Andes, once a key store of meltwater for spring and summer, is not compacting, melts faster, or turns straight to vapor ... Behind the issue, academic studies have found, is a global shift in climate patterns [where] naturally occurring warming of the sea off Chile's coast, which blocks storms from arriving, has been intensified by rising global sea temperature, according to a global study on sea temperature and rainfall deficits. Ozone depletion and greenhouse gasses in the Antarctic, meanwhile, exacerbate weather patterns that draw storms away from Chile.
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/we-beg-god-water-chilean-lake-turns-desert-sounding-climate-change-alarm-2022-06-13/
reporting on a study at https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8V12DD7

NOAA's "new normal" climate report is anything but normal
Updated maps show how U.S. temperatures and rainfall patterns are shifting – and reveal some clues about the future.
temperature-distribution-shift-since-1950-sml Just a quick glance at the new U.S. Climate Normals maps published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Tuesday is enough for most climate scientists to say, "I told you so" ... because for decades climate scientists and their computer models have projected the regions that should expect the most warming, the most drying and the biggest increase in precipitation due to human-caused climate change. NOAA's new maps are clear evidence that this impact is now being felt ... the data reveals [that] since the 1800s the globe has warmed by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Nine out of 10 of the warmest years on record worldwide have all occurred in the past decade. A recent study by NASA proves that all recent warming is related to humans' burning of fossil fuels and the resultant amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere. "We're really seeing the fingerprints of climate change in the new normals," said Michael Palecki, the project manager of NOAA's latest climate normals update.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-new-normal-temperature-noaa

California’s drought has caused entire towns to sink nearly a foot in just one year
The ground is sinking in parts of California as the continued drought strains reservoirs, increasing reliance on the state’s already precarious groundwater reserves depleted by years of well-pumping. In just one year, from October 2020 to September 2021, satellite-based estimates showed entire towns in the Central Valley, including in Kings and Tulare counties, sinking by nearly a foot ... land subsidence happens when excessive pumping dries out the water reserves underground and collapses the space where water used to be.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/climate/article/California-drought-groundwater-17202022.php

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work
The United States in 2021 had a dismal recycling rate of about 5 percent for post-consumer plastic waste, down from a high of 9.5 percent in 2014, when the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled—even though much of it wasn’t ... The first problem is that there are thousands of different plastics, each with its own composition and characteristics. They all include different chemical additives and colorants that cannot be recycled together, making it impossible to sort the trillions of pieces of plastics into separate types for processing ... Another problem is that the reprocessing of plastic waste—when possible at all—is wasteful. Plastic is flammable, and the risk of fires at plastic-recycling facilities affects neighboring communities ... Plastic products can include toxic additives and absorb chemicals, and are generally collected in curbside bins filled with possibly dangerous materials such as plastic pesticide containers. According to a report published by the Canadian government, toxicity risks in recycled plastic prohibit “the vast majority of plastic products and packaging produced” from being recycled into food-grade packaging ... plastic recycling is simply not economical. Recycled plastic costs more than new plastic because collecting, sorting, transporting, and reprocessing plastic waste is exorbitantly expensive ... Despite this stark failure, the plastics industry has waged a decades-long campaign to perpetuate the myth that the material is recyclable.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/05/single-use-plastic-chemical-recycling-disposal/661141/

Lake Mead falls below 30% capacity
Lake Mead 2022 For the first time since Lake Mead was filled in the 1930s, it is now below 30% full. According to the Bureau of Reclamation’s weekly report for the Lower Colorado River water supply, Lake Mead’s at 29% capacity. Upriver Lake Powell is currently at 27% capacity ... The last time Lake Mead was at its maximum depth, or ‘full pool’ was the summer of 1983.
https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-news/lake-meads-capacity-falls-below-30/

City of Phoenix Stage 1 Water Alert
The City of Phoenix has declared a Stage 1 Water Alert and activated its Drought Management Plan. The City is taking this action to address the mandatory reduction of Colorado River water and deeper cuts that are likely to occur in the future. The levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead continue to fall precipitously, and the projections show conditions will worsen significantly. “The situation on the Colorado River is unprecedented, and we are taking it very seriously,” said Mayor Kate Gallego.
https://azbigmedia.com/business/heres-what-the-city-of-phoenix-stage-1-water-alert-means

Severe drought all over Portugal in May
Every area in the country saw significant increases in drought at the end of May, with 97.1% of the country experiencing “severe drought” during that period, the Portuguese Maritime and Atmospheric Institute (IPMA) has announced. The figure represents a sharp increase from the end of the previous month, where the drought affected just 4.3% of the country ... the month of May was the hottest in 92 years.
https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2022-06-09/severe-drought-all-over-portugal-in-may/67801

Cocktail of chemical pollutants linked to falling sperm quality in research
Chemicals such as bisphenols and dioxins are thought to interfere with hormones and damage sperm quality, and the study found combinations of these compounds are present at “astonishing” levels, up to 100 times those considered safe ... Sperm counts and concentration had undergone an alarming decline in western countries for decades, the scientists said, with sperm counts halving in the last 40 years ... The study team “were astonished by the magnitude of the hazard index” ... The research, published in the journal Environment International, assessed measurements of nine chemicals, including bisphenol, phthalates and paracetamol ... Paracetamol has been shown to cause a decline in sperm quality in laboratory animals and increase risk of non-descending testes in boys born to mothers using the painkiller during pregnancy.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/10/cocktail-of-chemical-pollutants-linked-to-falling-sperm-quality-in-research
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412022002495

Antarctic glaciers losing ice at fastest rate in 5,500 years, finds study
[T]he glaciers have begun retreating at a rate not seen in the last 5,500 years. With areas of 192,000 km2 (nearly the size of the island of Great Britain) and 162,300 km2 respectively, the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers have the potential to cause large rises in global sea level. Co-author Dr. Dylan Rood of Imperial's Department of Earth Science and Engineering says that they "reveal that although these vulnerable glaciers were relatively stable during the past few millennia, their current rate of retreat is accelerating and already raising global sea level." The paper is published in Nature Geoscience.
https://phys.org/news/2022-06-antarctic-glaciers-ice-fastest-years.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-022-00961-y

'The West Antarctic ice sheet was gone in the past': Scientists are spooked about South Pole's stability
The ice holds enough fresh water to raise sea level by nearly 200 feet ... For most of the past few centuries, the ice sheet has been stable [but] now, as the surrounding air and ocean warm, areas of the Antarctic ice sheet that had been stable for thousands of years are breaking, thinning, melting, or in some cases collapsing in a heap. As these edges of the ice react, they send a powerful reminder: If even a small part of the ice sheet were to completely crumble into the sea, the impact for the world’s coasts would be severe ... As recently as 120,000 years ago, this area was probably an open ocean – and definitely so in the past 2 million years. This is important because our climate today is fast approaching temperatures like those of a few million years ago.
https://www.alternet.org/2022/06/scientists-spooked-south-pole-stability/

Southern Company Knew About Climate Change for Decades While Funding Climate Denial, Report Finds
One of the largest and most profitable electric utility companies in the U.S. knew about climate change for decades and yet continued to build fossil fuel facilities while funding groups that contribute to climate misinformation, a report released Wednesday has found. Executives at Southern Company, which serves 9 million customers across six states, had been involved in discussions about the impact of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere as early as the 1960s ... The report uses archived documents, including Securities and Exchange Commission filings from Southern Company, as well as documents previously recovered in other investigations and litigation to compile a timeline of Southern Company’s involvement in climate research.
https://gizmodo.com/southern-company-knew-about-climate-change-for-decades-1849033258

Singapore's dengue 'emergency' is a climate change omen for the world
The Southeast Asian city-state has already exceeded 11,000 cases -- far beyond the 5,258 it reported throughout 2021 -- and that was before June 1, when its peak dengue season traditionally begins. Experts are warning that it's a grim figure not only for Singapore -- whose tropical climate is a natural breeding ground for the Aedes mosquitoes that carry the virus -- but also for the rest of the world. That's because changes in the global climate mean such outbreaks are likely to become more common and widespread in the coming years ... The outbreak in Singapore has been made worse by recent extreme weather, experts say, and its problem could be a harbinger of what is to come elsewhere as more countries experience prolonged hot weather spells and thundery showers that help to spread both the mosquitoes and the virus they carry.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/06/asia/health-dengue-singapore-emergency-climate-heat-intl-hnk/index.html

Scientists find new indicators of Alaska permafrost thawing
More areas of year-round unfrozen ground have begun dotting Interior and Northwest Alaska and will continue to increase in extent due to climate change, according to new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute scientists. The scientists said the spread of taliks -- volumes of unfrozen ground within areas of permafrost -- has major implications ... findings were reported today in the journal Nature Geoscience ... "We're in a transition phase where we commonly see talik formation but also can see them refreeze if we have a year with low snow ... After approximately 2030, however, our air temperatures in the summer and winter will warm up enough that we're going to have talik formation no matter what the snow does. I think it's important for people to know that what we have seen so far with permafrost degradation in Fairbanks, for example, is not a steady state. The rate and extent of permafrost degradation is probably going to accelerate as talik development really kicks in."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220607121021.htm

As California's big cities fail to rein in their water use, rural communities are already tapped out
Biggs, 72, still remembers when the family property had a thriving orchard. "Now, it's all dirt ... central California is dying. We're becoming a wasteland. Climate change is here, and California is a poster child for it. I tell my grandkids [to] get out, leave this area, go somewhere where there's water, because this place is dying" ... Gov. Gavin Newsom has pleaded with urban residents and businesses to reduce their water consumption by 15%, but water usage in March was up by 19% in cities compared to March 2020, the year the current drought began.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/05/us/california-rural-groundwater-crisis-climate/index.html

How humid air, intensified by climate change, is melting Greenland ice
On Aug. 14, 2021, the system drew exceptionally warm and moist air from southern latitudes northward, increasing temperatures around 32 degrees F (18C) higher than normal. Rain, not snow, fell on Greenland’s summit for the first time on record. Melting persisted over the next two weeks, covering 46 percent of the ice sheet. This was the largest melt event to occur so late in the year ... Amid rising temperatures, Greenland has lost more ice mass than it gained for 25 years in a row. In a study released Thursday, Box and his colleagues illuminate how an atmospheric river caused the August 2021 melt event and brought rain to the summit. The explanation foretells a future that could be increasingly common as global temperatures rise due to human-caused climate change, accelerating sea level rise.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/06/02/greenland-melt-warm-climate-change/
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021GL097356

Record Methane Spike Boosts Heat Trapped by Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases trapped 49 percent more heat in 2021 than in 1990, as emissions continued to rise rapidly, according to NOAA [who] released its “Annual Greenhouse Gas Index” last week. [Its] observational method means it “contains little uncertainty,” according to the agency. “Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. NOAA found that carbon dioxide, the most plentiful and long-lived gas, expanded at the most rapid rate over the last 10 years. But the most potent global warmer also broke records: methane increased more than it has since at least the early 1980s, when NOAA began its current measuring record ... As these greenhouse gas emissions accumulate, climate change impacts are multiplying, in the form of more frequent extreme weather such as droughts, wildfires and heat waves.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/record-methane-spike-boosts-heat-trapped-by-greenhouse-gases/#

Current policies will bring ‘catastrophic’ climate breakdown, warn former UN leaders
The policies currently in place to tackle the climate crisis around the world will lead to “catastrophic” climate breakdown, as governments have failed to take the actions needed to fulfil their promises, three former UN climate leaders have warned. There is a stark gap between what governments have promised to do to protect the climate, and the measures and policies needed to achieve the targets ... the policies and measures passed and implemented by governments would lead to far greater temperature rises, of at least 2.7C, well beyond the threshold of relative safety, and potentially as much as 3.6C. That would have “catastrophic” impacts, in the form of extreme weather, sea-level rises and irreversible changes to the global climate. “The further climate change progresses, the more we lock in a future featuring more ruined harvests, and more food insecurity, along with a host of other problems including rises in sea level, threats to water security, drought and desertification.” Actions by developed countries have so far been “disappointing”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/02/current-policies-will-bring-catastrophic-climate-breakdown-warn-former-un-leaders

Physicists predict Earth will become a chaotic world, with dire consequences
Humans aren't just making Earth warmer, they are making the climate chaotic, a stark new study suggests ... "The implications of climate change are well known (droughts, heat waves, extreme phenomena, etc)," study researcher Orfeu Bertolami told Live Science in an email. "If the Earth System gets into the region of chaotic behavior, we will lose all hope of somehow fixing the problem" ... Some years would experience sudden flashes of extreme weather, while others would be completely quiet. Even the average Earth temperature may fluctuate wildly, swinging from cooler to hotter periods in relatively short periods of time. "A chaotic behavior means that it will be impossible to predict the behavior of Earth System in the future even if we know with great certainty its present state," Bertolami said. "It will mean that any capability to control and to drive the Earth System towards an equilibrium state that favors the habitability of the biosphere will be lost."
https://www.livescience.com/humanity-turns-earth-chaotic-climate-system

Major New Zealand salmon producer shuts farms as warming waters cause mass die-offs
New Zealand’s biggest king salmon farmer says it is shutting some of its farms after warming seas prompted mass die-offs of fish, warning that it is a “canary in the coalmine” for climate change. New Zealand is the world’s largest producer of king, or “chinook” salmon, a highly valued breed which fetches a premium on the world market. The country’s farms account for about 85% of global supply, New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said. Now, increasingly warm summer seas mean the fish at some sites are dying en masse before they can reach maturity, leaving farmers dumping thousands of tonnes of dead fish into local landfills. “There should be alarm bells,” Rosewarne said. “When I joined this company, I never heard of the term ‘marine heatwave’…. Recently, there’s been three of them.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/26/major-new-zealand-salmon-producer-shuts-farms-as-warming-waters-cause-mass-die-offs

The Middle East's $13 billion sandstorm problem is about to get worse
Thousands of people in the Middle East flooded hospitals, unable to breathe properly. In Syria, medical units stockpiled canisters of oxygen. Businesses and schools were shut in Baghdad, while Tehran suspended flights and Kuwait halted maritime traffic. Sandstorms know no borders ... Experts are warning that the phenomenon is only getting worse. It's driven partly by climate change that's making the region's landscapes hotter and drier, and warping weather patterns to create more intense storms ... Iraq has been especially hard hit, with storms occurring on an almost weekly basis this spring ... an Iraqi official warned this year that the country is now facing an average of 272 "dust days" a year, with 300 days of dust predicted by 2050.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/25/middleeast/climate-change-sand-storms-mime-intl/index.html

The Vanishing Rio Grande: Warming Takes a Toll on a Legendary River
The story of the Rio Grande is similar to that of other desert mountain rivers in the U.S. Southwest, from the Colorado to the Gila. The water was apportioned to farmers and other users at a time when water levels were near historic highs. Now, as a megadrought has descended on the West, the most severe in 1,200 years, the flows are at crisis levels. And to make things even more uncertain, the drought is accompanied by an aridification of the West — a prolonged drying that scientists say may become a permanent fixture in the region ... The Rio Grande was once a perennial river [but] as agriculture and municipal use took more of the water, the river’s flow became intermittent, and by the mid-1900s only 20 percent of its flow reach the mouth. This year, the river has been hit by unprecedented drought, and the lower Rio Grande, the border between Texas and Mexico, is now dry for hundreds of miles ... Because it’s in an arid part of the world, its existence and the life it supports are already on a knife’s edge. Profound anthropogenic changes have exacerbated that, and in many places there has been ecosystem collapse, with more in the offing.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/warming-and-drought-take-a-toll-on-the-once-mighty-rio-grande

Defiance, acceptance and cries of ‘bull—’ as sweeping L.A. water restrictions begin
Earlier this year, California water officials said they could only allocate 5% of requested supplies from the State Water Project after the driest-ever January, February and March left meager snowpack and reservoirs near record lows. Despite the deficits, the region’s residents responded by using about 27% more water in March compared to the same month in 2020, the year the current drought began. “We must do more. Our situation is critical,” said Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to the DWP. But as the sun rose on Wednesday, some residents were less than enthusiastic about the new restrictions ... In Beverlywood, the sprinklers at one house on Hillsboro Avenue were running at full blast, sending water streaming down the sidewalks and into the streets even though Wednesdays are now, technically, non-watering days.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-02/angelenos-begin-the-first-day-of-historic-water-restrictions

Sweeping water restrictions begin in Southern California as drought worsens
Households are now forbidden from watering their lawns more than once a week in many jurisdictions. The goal is to slash water use by 35% as the state enters its third straight year of drought. The rules come after California officials in March announced they were cutting State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5% of normal amid declining reservoir levels and reduced snowpack. California’s two largest reservoirs have already dropped to critically low levels, and the state this year experienced its driest January, February and March on record ... The megadrought in the U.S. West has produced the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years. Conditions are likely to continue through 2022 and could persist for years. Researchers publishing in the journal Nature Climate Change have estimated that 42% of the drought’s severity is attributable to human-caused climate change.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/01/southern-california-water-restrictions-start-today-amid-drought.html

City of Phoenix issues water alert amid drought
The City of Phoenix declared a stage 1 water alert during the afternoon City Council meeting. The alert means officials are urging people to cut back on their water use that’ll have a minimal impact on their daily lives. The city points to watering landscape correctly as one of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve water. Since the water reductions are voluntary, the city will focus on customer outreach and education on the drought conditions rather than enforcement. There is less and less water in the Colorado River, and the federal government is working with the seven states who use the water to manage the changing conditions. The record-low levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead are also troubling and experts’ predictions say it’ll only get worse ... Officials say Phoenicians shouldn’t be worried as the city has a 100-year assured water supply.
https://www.azfamily.com/2022/06/02/city-phoenix-issues-water-alert-amid-drought/

Energy experts sound alarm about US electric grid: 'Not designed to withstand the impacts of climate change'
Power operators in the Central US, in their summer readiness report, have already predicted "insufficient firm resources to cover summer peak forecasts" ... "The reality is the electricity system is old and a lot of the infrastructure was built before we started thinking about climate change," said Romany Webb, a researcher at Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "It's not designed to withstand the impacts of climate change."
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/31/us/power-outages-electric-grid-climate-change/index.html

Climate change already causing storm levels only expected in 2080
An Israeli study published on Thursday found that climate change is already causing a “considerable intensification” of winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere to a level not anticipated until 2080. The study published by the Weizmann Institute of Science in the Nature Climate Change journal is part of an effort by scientists around the world to use 30 massive, intricate computer networks to better model and predict climate change. The study, which compared previous predictions of human-caused intensification of winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere with current storm observations, found that the “bleak” reality was far worse than expected.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-study-climate-change-already-causing-storm-levels-only-expected-in-2080/

Global food crisis looms as fertilizer supplies dwindle
[A]ccording to noted Canadian energy researcher Vaclav Smil, two-fifths of humanity—more than three billion people—are alive because of nitrogen fertilizer, the main ingredient in the Green Revolution that supercharged the agricultural sector in the 1960s ... “I’m not sure it’s possible any more to avoid a food crisis,” says World Farmers’ Organization President Theo de Jager. “The question is how wide and deep it will be ... In many regions farmers simply can’t afford to bring fertilizers to the farm, or even if they could, the fertilizers are not available to them. And it’s not just fertilizers, but agrichemicals and fuel as well” ... it’s the agricultural powerhouses in Latin America that are the most vulnerable to fertilizer disruptions, particularly Brazil, which imports about 85 percent of its fertilizer, a quarter of it typically from Russia. If farmers there cut back on fertilizers and their yields fall, it could have a significant impact on global food supplies.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/global-food-crisis-looms-as-fertilizer-supplies-dwindle

Apocalypse now? The alarming effects of the global food crisis
António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said [the] result could be “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine in a crisis that could last for years” – and increase the chances of a global recession. The World Food Programme estimates about 49 million people face emergency levels of hunger. About 811 million go to bed hungry each night. The number of people on the brink of starvation across Africa’s Sahel region, for example, is at least 10 times higher than in pre-Covid 2019. Many governments had exhausted their financial and material reserves fighting Covid and incurred large debts. Now the cupboard is bare ... As the food “apocalypse” approaches, the poorest peoples will suffer, as they always do, while the wealthiest may be insulated, up to a point. But it is feared that the pain will rapidly move up the global food chain ... It is no longer controversial to assert that destroyed crops, lost livelihoods and impoverished communities – key micro-ingredients of mass hunger emergencies – are intimately connected to, and affected by, climate change ... Horn of Africa countries such as Somalia, for example, are experiencing the worst drought in 40 years amid unprecedentedly high temperatures. As Foreign Policy magazine reported recently, when the rains did come, they were extreme and short-lived, causing flooding and breeding swarms of locusts. It is claimed that about 3 million livestock have perished in southern Ethiopia and semi-arid parts of Kenya since last year.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/21/apocalypse-now-the-alarming-effects-of-the-global-food-crisis

India’s wheat farmers count cost of 40C heat that evokes ‘deserts of Rajasthan’
[As] farmers across north India began to harvest their wheat crop in mid-April, amid temperatures that were regularly above 40C, they were confronted with damaged, shrivelled grain. Unseasonable winter rain and then a scorching summer heatwave that arrived two months early – both markers of climate change – had stunted crop growth and laid waste to his grain and therefore his livelihood ... It hasn’t rained in Baras since January; the usual showers that traditionally come in April and May, after the wheat harvest and before they plant the rice, simply never arrived.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/21/india-wheat-farmers-40c-heat-food-security

Global Power Grids Face Biggest Test in Decades With Summer Blackouts Expected
Energy markets across the planet have been put through the wringer over the past year [but] things are on track to get even worse. Blame the heat. Summer in much of the Northern Hemisphere is a typical peak for electricity use. This year, it’s going to be sweltering as climate change tightens its grip. It’s already so hot in parts of South Asia that the air temperatures are blistering enough to cook raw salmon. Scientists are predicting scorching months ahead for the US. Power use will surge as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners. The problem is that energy supplies are so fragile that there just won’t be enough to go around, and power cuts will put lives at risk when there are no fans or air conditioners to provide relief from searing temperatures ... The world is grappling with “more than two years of global supply chain distress caused by the pandemic, the spreading fallout from the war in Ukraine and extreme weather caused by climate change,” said Henning Gloystein, an analyst at Eurasia Group. “The main risk is that if we see major blackouts on top of all the aforementioned problems this year, that could trigger some form of humanitarian crisis in terms of food and energy shortages on a scale not seen in decades.”
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2022/05/23/668755.htm

Electricity Shortage Warnings Grow Across U.S.
[E]lectric-grid operators are warning that power-generating capacity is struggling to keep up with demand, a gap that could lead to rolling blackouts during heat waves or other peak periods as soon as this year. California’s grid operator said Friday that it anticipates a shortfall in supplies this summer, especially if extreme heat, wildfires or delays in bringing new power sources online exacerbate the constraints. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which oversees a large regional grid spanning much of the Midwest, said late last month that capacity shortages may force it to take emergency measures to meet summer demand and flagged the risk of outages. In Texas, where a number of power plants lately went offline for maintenance, the grid operator warned of tight conditions during a heat wave expected to last into the next week.
https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/electricity-shortage-warnings-grow-across-u-s-11652002380

Facing a sizzling summer, large parts of the U.S. risk blackouts, government agency warns
In its annual summer assessment released this week, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation noted that the Upper Midwest is facing a capacity shortfall leading to a "high risk of energy emergencies." The entire Western U.S. also could face a power outage emergency in the event of spikes in energy use. "We've been doing this for close to 30 years. This is probably one of the grimmest pictures we've painted in a while," [said] John Moura, NERC's director of reliability assessment and performance analysis ... Drought conditions across much of the West means less water available for hydroelectric power. Drought also affects power plants that run on coal, gas or nuclear power, which create heat and need water for cooling.
https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/summer-blackouts-rising-risk-power-grid-nerc

How climate is making Australia more unliveable
In the past three years, record-breaking bushfire and flood events have killed more than 500 people and billions of animals. Drought, cyclones and freak tides have gripped communities ... Australia is facing an "insurability crisis" with one in 25 homes on track to be effectively uninsurable by 2030, according to a Climate Council report. Nowhere is this a bigger issue than in Queensland. It is home to almost 40% of the 500,000 homes projected to be effectively uninsurable. Queensland has been ravaged by floods in recent months. In February, the state capital Brisbane had more than 70% of its average yearly rainfall in just three days. Insurers say the floods - which also battered New South Wales - will become Australia's most expensive flood event ever. But even before this year, insurance costs were skyrocketing. Though rising property prices are one factor, Australia's peak insurance industry body points the finger at climate change. After massive bushfires in 2019-20, Australians were warned to prepare for an "alarming" future of simultaneous and worsening disasters.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61432462

Summer Wildfires Ravage Forest-Rich Siberia
Large swathes of Siberia are in flames as what looks to be another record-breaking wildfire season sets in. Environmental group Greenpeace said last month that this year's wildfires are already twice as large as those of the same time last year ... Climate experts have sounded the alarm over the increasingly intense annual wildfires, saying the burning trees release massive amounts of carbon while melting methane-rich permafrost. The wildfires have become increasingly destructive in recent years as Russia's northern regions warm faster than the rest of the world. The 2021 wildfire season was Russia's largest ever.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/15/summer-wildfires-ravage-forest-rich-siberia-in-photos-a77647

Key Iraq irrigation reservoir close to drying out
Iraq's Lake Hamrin, a once-vast reservoir northeast of Baghdad that is the sole source of water for irrigation across Diyala province, has nearly dried out, a senior official said Friday. Successive years of low rainfall and a sharp reduction in the flow of water down the Sirwan River from neighbouring Iran have reduced much of the lake to a dust bowl ... “There are no other sources of water in the province -- the volume arriving in Lake Hamrin is the volume used in the province” ... Iraq's upstream neighbours Iran, Turkey and Syria experience similar shortfalls, meaning that its appeals for help generally fall unheeded.
https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/23/Key-Iraq-irrigation-reservoir-close-to-drying-out-#

Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk
Climate and land use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated species of wildlife. In some cases, this will facilitate zoonotic spillover—a mechanistic link between global environmental change and disease emergence ... driving the novel cross-species transmission of their viruses an estimated 4,000 times ... we find that this ecological transition may already be underway, and holding warming under 2C within the century will not reduce future viral sharing.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04788-w

Yes, The Drought Really Is That Bad
Shrinking snowpacks, parched topsoil and depleted reservoirs are symptoms of the West’s worst set of dry years since 800 AD ... A study published in Nature Climate Change in February predicted a 94% chance the drought stretches through 2023; the chances of it persisting through 2030 are 75% ... According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of the West is in “moderate” to “severe drought.” Certain regions, like eastern and southwestern Oregon, California’s Central Valley, southern Nevada and eastern New Mexico are in “extreme” to “exceptional” drought ... Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoirs, are at record lows - 24% full and 31% full, respectively ... researchers are seeing widespread and severe low-snow and low-runoff conditions across the region ... California’s largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, are at ‘critically’ low levels ... More than a third of [Oregon] has been in drought since the year 2000 ... Glaciers in Washington’s Olympic National Park could be gone by 2070, with permanent impacts on an important source of summer water, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-drought-yes-the-drought-really-is-that-bad

Rice is Sacramento Valley’s gift to the world. Can it withstand California’s epic drought?
The drought, in its third punishing year, is drying up wide swaths of California’s farm economy, and the rice industry is getting hit especially hard. Plantings are minimal [and] the Valley’s rites of spring — farm trucks clogging the roads, agricultural airplanes dropping seeds — have been shut off like a faucet. “A lot of our system is going to be dry,” said Thad Bettner, general manager of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, one of the largest supplier of water to farmers in California ... Last year the drought erased $1.2 billion worth of farm output across California, according to a UC Merced study, and this year is practically guaranteed to be worse ... The drought will likely affect almost every commodity in California’s $50 billion-a-year farm economy.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/water-and-drought/article260998317.html

The longest river in Italy is drying up
At a monitoring station in Boretto, Alessio Picarelli, head of the Interregional Body of the Po River (AIPO), received results that the Po was measuring 2.9 metres below the zero gauge height, drastically below the seasonal average. During its course, the great waterway nourishes the expansive fertile plains of northern Italy where farmers have thrived for generations. Dubbed Italy’s breadbasket, these flatlands covered with crops are responsible for some 40 per cent of Italy's GDP. At the moment, however, the normally life-giving waters of the Po River have suddenly become an unexpected threat. The dramatically low water levels of the river have been causing seawater to be sucked back upstream. “This is because the vacuum left by the lack of river water is being filled by seawater,” which can be seen flowing back upstream in some areas [which] means saltwater seeping into the earth and poisoning crops, which are blackened and wilting. These record-low water levels, which the AIPO would normally only measure in August, are partly a result of the lack of rainfall that northern Italy has been suffering. “Normally it should rain once every one or two weeks,” says Mantovani, “but now it hasn’t rained for three months.” The problems start, however, in the mountains, where snowfall has been at its lowest for 20 years measuring 50 per cent less than the seasonal average. The glaciers of the Alps, which act as reservoirs to feed the river, are also shrinking.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/05/14/the-longest-river-in-italy-is-drying-up-what-does-this-mean-for-those-who-rely-on-it-for-f

After Visiting Both Ends of the Earth, I Realized How Much Trouble We’re In
Glieck climate inaction graph The poles ... are warming faster than anywhere else on earth, with untold consequences for those who live at the planet’s more accommodating latitudes ... the domino effect of climate change is already starting to reach uncomfortably close to home ... There is an incomprehensible disconnect between what climate science says must be done—an immediate shift in how we produce energy, travel, and eat—and what we, and our leaders, are willing to do. At what point does the distant threat of ecological collapse assume the fierce urgency of now? When the sea ice is entirely gone? When the penguins are? By then it will be too late. Permafrost, the layer of permanently frozen ground that undergirds both poles, is a carbon bomb waiting to go off. As the soil thaws it releases greenhouse gases, warming the region further and setting off a perpetual feedback loop. We tend to think of the earth’s polar regions as victims of our own carbon profligacy. But if we push them past the tipping point, they will become perpetrators.
https://time.com/6174966/north-south-pole-melting-climate-change

Climate change isn't just making cyclones worse, it's making the floods they cause worse too
Although wind speeds within these storms can reach 270 km/h, the largest loss of life comes from the flooding they cause—known as a "storm surge"—when sea water is pushed onto the coast. Climate change is predicted to worsen these floods, swelling cyclone clouds with more water and driving rising sea levels that allow storm surges to be blown further inland ... Our findings were clear: exposure to flooding from cyclone storm surges is extremely likely to increase ... other cyclone-related hazards are also projected to worsen, including deadly heatwaves following cyclones hitting land.
https://phys.org/news/2022-05-climate-isnt-cyclones-worse.html

Every heatwave enhanced by climate change: experts
All heatwaves today bear the unmistakable and measurable fingerprint of global warming ... Burning fossil fuels and destroying forests have released enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to also boost the frequency and intensity of many floods, droughts, wildfires and tropical storms, they detailed in a state-of-science report. "There is no doubt that climate change is a huge game changer when it comes to extreme heat," Friederike Otto, a scientist at Imperial College London's Grantham Institute, told AFP ... "Every heatwave in the world is now made stronger and more likely to happen because of human-caused climate change," Otto and co-author Ben Clarke of the University of Oxford said in the report, presented as a briefing paper for the news media.
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220511-every-heatwave-enhanced-by-climate-change-experts

Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), was responding to an investigation in the Guardian that revealed fossil fuel companies were planning huge “carbon bomb” projects that would drive climate catastrophe. The IEA advised almost exactly a year ago that no new gas, oil or coal development could take place from this year onwards if the world was to limit global heating to 1.5C ... But many countries, and private sector companies, have ignored the advice [thus eliminating] any hope of staying within the 1.5C threshold.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/12/oil-gas-mega-projects-climate-iea-fatih-birol-carbon-bombs-global-energy-crisis-fossil-fuel

Revealed: the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown
The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts ... in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating. Their huge investments in new fossil fuel production could pay off only if countries fail to rapidly slash carbon emissions, which scientists say is vital. The oil and gas industry is extremely volatile but extraordinarily profitable, particularly when prices are high, as they are at present [and] the lure of colossal payouts in the years to come appears to be irresistible to the oil companies, despite the world’s climate scientists stating in February that further delay in cutting fossil fuel use would mean missing our last chance “to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”. As the UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned world leaders in April: “Our addiction to fossil fuels is killing us” ... plans include 195 gigantic oil and gas projects that would each result in at least a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifetimes, in total equivalent to about 18 years of current global CO2 emissions. About 60% of these have already started pumping ... Experts have been warning since at least 2011 that most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves could not be burned without causing catastrophic global heating ... “Either the scientists have spent 30 years working on this issue and have got it all wrong – the big oil CEOs know better – or, behind a veil of concern, they have complete disregard for the more climate vulnerable communities, typically poor, people of colour and far away from their lives. Equally worrying, they are disinterested in their own children’s future.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2022/may/11/fossil-fuel-carbon-bombs-climate-breakdown-oil-gas

Why our continued use of fossil fuels is creating a financial time bomb
We know roughly how much more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere before we exceed our climate goals. From that, we can figure out how much more fossil fuel we can burn before we emit that much carbon dioxide. But [to] reach our climate goals, we'll need to leave a third of the oil, half of the natural gas, and nearly all the coal we're aware of sitting in the ground, unused. Yet we have - and are still building - infrastructure that is predicated on burning far more than that ... If we're to reach our climate goals, some of those things will have to be intentionally shut down and left to sit idle before they can deliver a return on the money they cost to produce [creating] assets that, if we were to get serious about climate change, would see their value drop to zero. At that point, they'd be termed "stranded assets," and their stranding has the potential to unleash economic chaos on the world.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/05/why-our-continued-use-of-fossil-fuels-is-creating-a-financial-time-bomb/

More measures taken as Netherlands' spring drought continues
Most of the Netherlands hasn't seen significant rain since the beginning of March. The next two weeks will be even warmer, with hardly any rain expected. The water level in the major rivers is low for the time of year and is expected to fall further ... deficit in May could exceed that of the record year 1976 ... farmers and horticulturists raised concerns that this early drought would result in failed harvests and potential food shortages.
https://nltimes.nl/2022/05/09/measures-taken-netherlands-spring-drought-continues

A climate scientist on India and Pakistan’s horror heatwave, and the surprising consequences of better air quality
The record-shattering heatwave that engulfed most of India and Pakistan through March and April brought temperatures exceeding 45℃ in many areas, leading to critical electricity and water shortages ... the severe heat has strained healthcare systems across both nations, which are already stretched due to the continuing high numbers of COVID cases [and] affected hundreds of millions of people in one of the most densely populated and vulnerable regions of the world ... in less wealthy areas such as in India and Pakistan, millions of people work outdoors, with few ways to find relief from the brutal heat. Landfills are reportedly catching fire. Critical wheat crops are dying in the dry heat. And the electricity network is also less able to cope, with spikes in demand and frequent hours-long power outages.
https://theconversation.com/a-climate-scientist-on-india-and-pakistans-horror-heatwave-and-the-surprising-consequences-of-better-air-quality-182516

Antarctic Heatwave: A Rapid Analysis of the March 2022 Dome C Record Heatwave
The heat wave on the Antarctic plateau lasted ~8 days and peaked at nearly nearly 40C above average ... temperature measurements from the manned station at Vostok, 560 km away from Dome C, also registered an extraordinary heatwave at the same time as the observers on the ground at Dome C ... This Antarctic heatwave appears to have set a new world record for the largest temperature excess above normal.
https://berkeleyearth.org/antarctic-heatwave-rapid-attribution-review-dome-c-record

The 2021 western North America heat wave among the most extreme events ever recorded globally
In June 2021, western North America experienced a record-breaking heat wave outside the distribution of previously observed temperatures ... Characterizing the relative intensity of an event as the number of standard deviations from the mean, the western North America heat wave is remarkable, coming in at over four standard deviations. [Globally] only five other heat waves were found to be more extreme since 1960.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abm6860

[Arizona] braces for additional water cuts amid megadrought
Arizona water authorities are bracing for additional cuts to the quantity of water supplied by the Colorado River ... These expected cuts stem from the effects of a decades-long megadrought, which has been greatly exacerbated by the climate crisis. Moreover, the Colorado River, which provides water to almost 40 million people, has been imperiled due to decades of overuse. The river’s reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, have seen worsening declines in their water levels ... Buschatzke said that if water from the Rocky Mountain snowpack does not boost the reservoirs in 2023, a more serious shortage could impact Arizona cities’ water supplies.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/07/arizona-water-cuts-megadrought-colorado-river

Farmers in the Plains are in 'dire straits' due to drought, wildfire conditions
More than 80% of the Nebraska-Kansas-Oklahoma region is abnormally dry, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s most recent data. And more than half of the area is severely dry. Even with a few recent rains, much of the Great Plains are in a drought. Wildfires have swept across the grasslands and farmers are worried about how they’ll make it through the growing season ... the dryness has exceeded expectations. “We’re currently seeing a tremendous amount of drought. And it’s getting to be more intense from South Dakota, down into Nebraska, Kansas and all the way into Texas.”
https://www.iowapublicradio.org/2022-05-05/great-plains-drought

Officials worry Southern California won't have enough water to get through summer
"Some would consider this a wake-up call. I disagree," Wade Crowfoot, California's secretary for natural resources, told CNN. "The alarm's already gone off." Scientists reported earlier this year that the West's current megadrought is the worst in at least 1,200 years and that the human-caused climate crisis has made it 72% worse. For the past two decades, weather in the West has been characterized by extended periods of drought with fleeting bursts of wintertime precipitation which have never been enough to overcome the region's severe water shortage ... In a normal year, snow melt would provide 30% of the state's water, according to the Department of Water Resources. But by April, at the end of this year's wet season, California's snowpack was only 4% of normal. By May there was no snow at all ... At Lake Mead, the waterline has dropped so low in the lake that it has exposed a water intake valve that had been in service since 1971 [which shows] "how serious the situation is on the Colorado River right now," said Colby Pellegrino, deputy general manager of resources for Southern Nevada Water Authority. "Reservoir levels are lower than they've ever been in both Lake Powell and Lake Mead since the time that they filled."
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/04/us/california-drought-water-restrictions-climate/index.html

‘Canaries in the coalmine’: loss of birds signals changing planet
Billions of birds are disappearing because of humanity’s impact on Earth, global review finds
“Birds are a much more powerful taxa [than others] to tell us a story about the health of the planet,” said Alexander Lees, at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and who led the review. “We know so much about them ... Currently, we’re triaging the species at risk, but we’re not stopping the flow of species towards extinction.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/05/canaries-in-the-coalmine-loss-of-birds-signals-changing-planet

Tropical forest losses emitted as much CO2 emissions as India in 2021
The loss of humid tropical rainforests continued at a blistering pace in 2021, contributing 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the annual fossil fuel co2 emissions of India – the world's fourth largest emitter, an authoritative new report finds. The report, put together by Global Forest Watch and the University of Maryland, shows the stark challenge of reining in forest loss. Forests are a key repository of carbon, which, if released into the atmosphere, will accelerate human-caused global warming. Protecting forests, particularly those that are rich in stored carbon such as tropical forests, is a key component of plans to curb global warming. The top 10 list of countries for tropical primary forest loss last year was topped once again by Brazil, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, Cameroon, Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia, respectively.
https://www.axios.com/tropical-forest-loss-emitted-co2-emissions-india-4fda9012-a45a-428e-906b-5331249d52ef.html

Climate crisis is speeding the water cycle, satellite data reveals
New research published in Scientific Reports last month found satellite evidence that the water cycle is speeding up, as fresh ocean water becomes fresher and salty ocean water becomes saltier. “The acceleration of the water cycle has implications both at the ocean and on the continent, where storms could become increasingly intense,” study lead author Estrella Olmedo of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM) in Barcelona said in a press release. The climate crisis is naturally speeding this process because warmer temperatures cause water to evaporate faster, the press release explained. In addition to raising the risk of extreme weather events like heavy rainstorms and drought, a faster water cycle could contribute to the melting of polar ice. “This higher amount of water circulating in the atmosphere could also explain the increase in rainfall that is being detected in some polar areas, where the fact that it is raining instead of snowing is speeding up the melting,” Olmedo said in the press release.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/05/climate-crisis-is-speeding-the-water-cycle-satellite-data-reveals/

Flood and cyclone-prone areas in eastern Australia may be ‘uninsurable’ by 2030, report suggests
The most at-risk areas were mostly found to be in flood and cyclone-prone areas of Queensland and in parts of Victoria built over flood plains near major rivers. “Uninsurable” is defined in the report as an area where the required type of insurance product was expected to be not available, or only available at such high cost that no one could afford it. Nicki Hutley, an economist and member of the Climate Council who wrote the report, said insurance costs were already rising sharply and people were struggling to get insurance in parts of the country. She said people were seeing changes, citing the black summer bushfires and the recent devastating floods in northern New South Wales.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/03/flood-and-cyclone-prone-areas-in-eastern-australia-may-be-uninsurable-by-2030-report-suggests

Lake Powell officials face an impossible choice in the West’s megadrought: Water or electricity
Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, is drying up. The situation is critical: if water levels at the lake were to drop another 32 feet, all hydroelectricity production would be halted at the reservoir’s Glen Canyon Dam. The West’s climate change-induced water crisis is now triggering a potential energy crisis for millions of people in the Southwest who rely on the dam as a power source. Over the past several years, the Glen Canyon Dam has lost about 16 percent of its capacity to generate power. The water levels at Lake Powell have dropped around 100 feet in the last three years.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/30/us/west-drought-lake-powell-hydropower-or-water-climate/index.html

New [US] government maps show nearly all of the West is in drought and it's not even summer yet: "This is unprecedented"
US Drought Map Nearly all of the West is in drought, and 95% of California is suffering severe or extreme drought ... reservoirs across the West are draining. Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the nation formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, needs a new pump to ensure water can flow to Las Vegas ... "We're just starting to see the dominoes fall. It's drier, we're starting to see less water in our reservoirs, and we have fires, and in California, there's just this series of consequences that we anticipate."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/west-climate-change-water/

India’s Heat Wave Is a Grim Warning for Deadly ‘Wet Bulb’ Temperatures
Climate models once anticipated that these temperatures would not occur until the mid-21st century, but they’re already here
An abnormally early heat wave has brought India the highest temperatures it’s seen in 122 years this month—and climatologists are concerned. For starters, heat waves are the deadliest form of natural disaster, they typically place socially vulnerable populations at disproportionate risk, and, in this part of the world, are only expected to worsen. But another factor could prove lethal for India as the severity and frequency of extreme heat worsens: wet bulb conditions. Wet bulb temperature is a metric that accounts for both heat and humidity—it can perhaps most intuitively be thought of as “how effectively a person sheds heat by sweating” ... When there’s enough moisture in the air, the body can’t perform one of its primary cooling functions: Sweating ... There is a point at which wet bulb temperatures become, as Radley Horton, Lamont Research Professor at the Columbia Climate School put it in a 2020 paper in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, “too severe for human tolerance.” A wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees fahrenheit) is the upper physiological limit, his paper notes. An exceedance of 35 degrees celsius would be deadly.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjbq5p/indias-heat-wave-is-a-grim-warning-for-deadly-wet-bulb-temperatures

UN says up to 40% of world’s land now degraded
Human damage to the planet’s land is accelerating, with up to 40% now classed as degraded, while half of the world’s people are suffering the impacts, UN data has shown. The world’s ability to feed a growing population is being put at risk by the rising damage ... Many people think of degraded land as arid desert, rainforests maimed by loggers or areas covered in urban sprawl, but it also includes apparently “green” areas that are intensely farmed or stripped of natural vegetation. Growing food on degraded land becomes progressively harder as soils rapidly reach exhaustion and water resources are depleted.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/27/united-nations-40-per-cent-planet-land-degraded

Ocean life projected to die off in mass extinction if emissions remain high
Marine animals could die off at a level rivaling the biggest mass extinctions in geologic history [says] a study published Thursday in the journal Science, which found that many ocean creatures could face conditions too warm and with too little oxygen to survive if we don't turn things around. The more warming, the fewer species are likely to survive, the results show.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/ocean-life-mass-extinction-emissions-high-rcna26295

Climate change increases risk of new viruses emerging: Research
Climate change will drive animals towards cooler areas where their first encounters with other species will vastly increase the risk of new viruses infecting humans, researchers warned on Thursday. There are currently at least 10,000 viruses “circulating silently” among wild mammals that have the capacity to cross over into humans, mostly in the depths of tropical forests. As rising temperatures force those mammals to abandon their native habitats, they will meet other species for the first time, creating at least 15,000 new instances of viruses jumping between animals by 2070, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/28/climate-change-increasing-risk-of-new-viruses-emerging-research

Global warming risks most cataclysmic extinction of marine life in 250m years
Accelerating climate change is causing a “profound” impact upon ocean ecosystems that is “driving extinction risk higher and marine biological richness lower than has been seen in Earth’s history for the past tens of millions of years”, according to the study. The world’s seawater is steadily climbing in temperature due to the extra heat produced from the burning of fossil fuels, while oxygen levels in the ocean are plunging and the water is acidifying from the soaking up of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ... the planet could slip into a “mass extinction rivaling those in Earth’s past”, states the new research, published in Science. The pressures of rising heat and loss of oxygen are, researchers said, uncomfortably reminiscent of the mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the Permian period about 250m years ago. This cataclysm, known as the “great dying”, led to the demise of up to 96% of the planet’s marine animals.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/28/global-warming-risks-cataclysmic-mass-extinction-marine-life

The world is on course to experience 560 major disasters each year
By 2030, the world may be experiencing around 560 disasters, ranging from fires to chemical accidents, every single year. That’s an average of more than one major disaster each day. And even this might be an underestimate as climate change worsens ... according to the newest Global Assessment Report (GAR2022), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), an astounding 350 to 500 medium- or large-scale disasters happen every year—and this has been the case for the past two decades. But it hasn’t always been so. Between 1970 to 2000, only about 90 or 100 disasters of this size were reported each year ... “These are the events that can wipe out hard-earned development gains, leading already vulnerable communities or entire regions into a downward spiral,” co-author Markus Enenkel of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative told the Associated Press. The situation with insurance is also dire. Only 40 percent of disaster-related losses since 1980 were insured, with that number sinking devastatingly close to zero in some developing countries, according to the report [and] over the past five years, the number of people who die in disasters has increased as incidents become more dangerous and unpredictable. And as climate events hit even more unpredictable locations, conflicts erupt, and pandemics spread, those events exacerbate each other.
https://www.popsci.com/environment/climate-disaster-planning/

Groundbreaking study reveals 20 percent of reptile species face extinction from climate change
One-fifth of all reptile species face the risk of extinction, according to a comprehensive new study, with crocodiles and turtles most threatened. It's the first study of its kind for reptiles and involved 961 scientists in 24 countries across six continents and took 15 years to complete. Similar global assessments for other classes of animal have revealed that 40.7% of amphibians, 25.4% of mammals and 13.6% of bird species face the threat of extinction.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/27/world/reptiles-extinction-threat-scn/index.html

Freshwater planetary boundary “considerably” transgressed: New research
Humanity’s modification of the water cycle has pushed the world further beyond a safe operating space for continued life on Earth, say scientists. A reassessment of the planetary boundary for freshwater that now includes rainfall, soil moisture and evaporation — so-called “green water” — found the boundary to be “considerably transgressed,” with the situation likely to worsen before any reversals in the trend will be observed. Based on the findings, water is now the sixth boundary to be transgressed, out of the nine identified by the Planetary Boundaries Framework. Published in 2009 and updated regularly, the framework demarcates a safe operating space for humanity, beyond which civilization could collapse, and life altered as we know it. The other boundaries already transgressed are climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows (nitrogen and phosphorous pollution), land-system change, and also since 2022, novel entities, which includes pollution by plastics and other humanmade substances. The findings were published this week in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.
https://news.mongabay.com/2022/04/freshwater-planetary-boundary-considerably-transgressed-new-research/

Five charts that show why our food is not ready for the climate crisis
The industrialization of agriculture in the last century boosted production around the world – but that success also made our food systems much more vulnerable to the growing climate crisis. Modern agriculture depends on high-yield monocrops from a narrow genetic base that needs lots of fertilisers, chemicals and irrigation ... Like an investor with stocks, savings and real estate, diversity in the field spreads the risk: so if an early season drought wipes out one crop, there will be others which mature later or are naturally more drought tolerant, so farmers aren’t left with nothing. Here are five key graphics from our recent special report on the precariousness of our modern food system.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/22/climate-food-biodiversity-five-charts

Siberian wildfires burning unchecked because Russian military units which usually fight them are at war
Vast blazes have become an increasingly common occurrence in the region from spring to autumn. Because they release huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the Arctic atmosphere, they are a major cause of climate change concern. Scientists have repeatedly said they need putting out as soon as possible. But this year several of the fires are said to have been left burning because many of the military units which are responsible for tackling them have been dispatched to help with the Ukraine invasion. The revelation comes three days after The Independent reported a monster blaze in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia ... The fires thaw permafrost, which releases carbon dioxide and methane emissions into the atmosphere. Methane in particular has particularly potent greenhouse heating impacts in the short-term. Land temperature in the Arctic Circle reached a record-breaking 48 degrees Celsius during a “persistent heatwave” in Siberia last summer.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/siberian-wildfires-climate-crisis-russia-b2063988.html

Massive wildfires raging in Russia are ‘already double last year’
Video, published by The Siberian Times, showed a huge blaze in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia. The footage shows fire crews outlined against a smoke-filled orange sky, trying to tackle the blaze. In another clip, a family of elk can be seen in the distance fleeing the flames ... Governments are unprepared for the scale and ferocity of these events, the UN Environment Program said, which could increase more than 50 per cent by 2100. Wildfires are part of a concerning feedback loop in Siberia, which sits within the Arctic Circle. The fires thaw permafrost, which releases carbon dioxide and methane emissions into the atmosphere. Methane in particular has particularly potent greenhouse heating impacts in the short-term.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/russia-siberia-wildfires-smoke-omsk-b2061003.html

Europe's summer of floods and fire was its hottest on record, report finds
Europe swung from unusually cold temperatures in the spring to its hottest summer on record last year, smashing temperature and daily rain records [says] the fifth European State of the Climate report, published Friday, which found the summer of 2021 was 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the 1991-2020 average. The average air temperature in Europe has risen about 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to the report ... These impacts are unsurprising, said Vamborg, considering the continued emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, which are both generated primarily by the burning of fossil fuels ... The climate crisis is fueling extreme weather around the world. The summer of 2021 was also the hottest on record in the US, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/22/europe/europe-climate-copernicus-summer-2021-intl/index.html

‘We Woke Up and We Lost Half Our Water’ - How climate change sparked a multistate battle over the Colorado River
Starting in the early 20th century, much of the Colorado’s natural majesty was corralled into a system of reservoirs, canals, and dams that now provides drinking water for 40 million people, irrigation for 5 million acres of farmland, and sufficient power to light up a city the size of Houston. Not so long ago, there was more than enough rainfall to keep this vast waterworks humming ... Then the drought arrived. And never left. After the driest two-decade stretch in 12 centuries, both Mead and Powell fell below one-third of their capacity last year, throwing the Southwest into crisis. On January 1, mandatory cuts went into effect for the first time ... Bill Hasencamp, a water manager from Southern California, says, “The reservoir is still going down ... I don’t think we’ll ever not have a shortage going forward” ... most scientists agree that America’s deserts will only get drier as the climate crisis worsens.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/04/the-multistate-battle-over-the-colorado-river.html

Ozone in the atmosphere found to have weakened one of Earth’s main cooling mechanisms
According to new research, ozone may be weakening one of the planet’s most important cooling mechanisms, making it a more significant greenhouse gas than previously thought. Changes in ozone levels in the upper and lower atmosphere were found to be responsible for nearly a third of the warming seen in ocean waters bordering Antarctica in the second half of the twentieth century, according to a new study.
https://scitechdaily.com/ozone-may-be-weakening-one-of-the-earths-most-important-cooling-mechanisms-heating-the-planet-more-than-we-realize/

Record low Antarctic sea ice extent could signal shift
Sea ice around Antarctica shrank to the smallest extent on record in February, five years after the previous record low, researchers said Tuesday, suggesting Earth's frozen continent may be less Sea ice around Antarctica shrank to the smallest extent on record in February, five years after the previous record low, researchers said Tuesday, suggesting Earth's frozen continent may be less impervious to climate change than thought. In late February, the ocean area covered by ice slipped below the symbolic barrier of two million square kilometres (around 772,000 square miles) for the first time since satellite records began in 1978, according to a study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. Researchers found that the key driver of ice loss was change in temperature, though shifts in ice mass also played a lesser role. Both the North and South pole regions have warmed by roughly three degrees Celsius compared to late 19th-century levels, three times the global average ... Ice sheets atop West Antarctica hold the equivalent of six metres of sea level rise, whereas East Antarctica's massive glaciers would raise global oceans by more than 50 metres.
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220419-record-low-antarctic-sea-ice-extent-could-signal-shift

Dead rivers, polluted oceans: Industry adds to world's mounting water crisis, report warns
[F]or industries across the globe, water is deeply undervalued, leading to irresponsible usage and pollution that can harm humans and animals alike ... The report, two years in the making, draws from nearly 200 scientific studies, government documents and white papers to assess myriad threats to the world's waters. It paints a picture of a planet with deep problems, ranging from dwindling supplies of groundwater to oceans overloaded with microplastics, lakes choked with algae and waterways contaminated by mineral mining booms. Half of all river basins across the world are now "severely affected" by water diversion projects, which can exacerbate drought conditions and lead to human conflict, the report says. About the same percentage of lakes and reservoirs in Asia, Europe and North America also show eutrophication, an excess of nutrients that can lead to algae blooms and ecosystem collapse ... [in California] millions of acres of crop land have gone unplanted in recent years because of groundwater depletion. The heavy withdrawal of groundwater in India, which uses more than any other country, has led to decreases in yields of wheat, rice and maize, and they could fall by 68% in some regions by 2025. In Chile and China, the mining of metals like lithium for next-generation batteries to power electric cars requires up to 56% more water than what was used for traditional batteries, stressing local groundwater supplies.
https://phys.org/news/2022-04-dead-rivers-polluted-oceans-industry.html

Backed-up pipes, stinky yards: Climate change is wrecking septic tanks
From Miami to Minnesota, septic systems are failing, posing threats to clean water, ecosystems and public health ... Many systems are clustered in coastal areas that are experiencing relative sea-level rise ... Solutions are expensive, beyond the ability of localities to fund them. Permitting standards that were created when rainfall and sea-level rise were relatively constant have become inadequate ... For decades, septic systems have been designed with the assumption that groundwater levels would remain static. That’s no longer true. “Systems that were permitted 40, 50 years ago and met the criteria at that time now wouldn’t,” said Charles Humphrey, an East Carolina University researcher who studies groundwater dynamics. In North Carolina’s Dare County, which includes Outer Banks destinations such as Nags Head and Rodanthe, groundwater levels are a foot higher than in the 1980s. That means there’s not enough separation between the septic tank and groundwater to filter pollutants. The threat isn’t only along the coasts. More intense storms dumping inches of rain in a few hours soak the ground inland, compromising systems for weeks ... Miami-Dade County has a porous limestone bedrock problem. The soil under its 2.7 million South Florida residents allows septic tank effluent to reach groundwater, a problem intensified by climate change. About half of the area’s 120,000 septic tanks were compromised during storms or wet years, according to a study. Roughly 9,000 are vulnerable to compromise or failure under current conditions. That number is expected to rise to 13,500 by 2040 ... “The septic system is the canary in the coal mine,” Stiles said. “If you’ve got a house and the septic is starting to flood, it won’t be long before the house goes.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/04/12/backed-up-pipes-stinky-yards-climate-change-is-wrecking-septic-tanks/

Methane in atmosphere hits new high, rising at fastest rate recorded, NOAA says
Atmospheric methane levels rose by 17 parts per billion in 2021, NOAA said in a Thursday news release. Total levels of atmospheric methane are 162 percent greater than preindustrial levels and about 15 percent higher than they were several decades ago ... “Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a news release. “Reducing methane emissions is an important tool we can use right now to lessen the impacts of climate change in the near term, and reduce the rate of warming.” The most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change analysis estimated that methane’s potential contribution to global warming is more than 81 times that of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide when impacts are measured over 20 years.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/methane-atmosphere-hits-new-high-rising-fastest-rate-recorded-noaa-say-rcna23487

Even the Cactus May Not Be Safe From Climate Change
The hardy cactus — fond of heat and aridity, adapted to rough soils — might not seem like the picture of a climate change victim. Yet even these prickly survivors may be reaching their limits as the planet grows hotter and drier ... The study looks at 408 cactus species, or roughly a quarter of all known cactus species, and how their geographic range could shift under three different trajectories for global warming in this century. To the researchers’ surprise, their results did not vary much between different pathways for climate change, Mr. Pillet said: Even if the planet heats up only modestly, many types of cactus could experience declines in the amount of territory where the climate is hospitable to them ... global warming could put 60 percent of cactus species at greater risk of extinction.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/14/climate/cactus-climate-change.html

70 MPH Winds and High Heat: Tuesday's Wicked Weather May Be the Final Nail in the Coffin for Texas' Winter Wheat
Farmers have battled multiple wind events already this year, along with intensifying drought. The situation has hammered the crop planted last fall, with the majority of the dryland winter wheat crop across the Panhandle and southern Plains already zeroed out by crop adjusters ... “Now we're at that stage where the little bit of wheat that was there has blown out and is pretty much non- existent. We've been seeing zero-bushel yield across the farm on a lot of stuff. It just is not looking good right now” ... USDA said none of the Texas winter wheat was considered excellent. Only 7 percent is fair. 79 percent is already rated poor to very poor.
https://www.agweb.com/news/crops/wheat/70-mph-winds-and-high-heat-tuesdays-wicked-weather-may-be-final-nail-coffin-texas

Driven by climate change, thawing permafrost is radically changing the Arctic landscape
Massive lakes, several square miles in size, have disappeared in the span of a few days. Hillsides slump. Ice-rich ground collapses, leaving the landscape wavy where it once was flat, and in some locations creating vast fields of large, sunken polygons. It’s evidence that permafrost, the long-frozen soil below the surface, is thawing. That’s bad news for the communities built above it – and for the global climate ... These frozen soils maintain the structural integrity of many northern landscapes, providing stability to vegetated and unvegetated surfaces, similar to load-bearing support beams in buildings. As temperatures rise and patterns of precipitation change, permafrost and other forms of ground ice become vulnerable to thaw and collapse ... Under the surface, something else is active – and it is amplifying global warming. When the ground thaws, microbes begin feasting on organic matter in soils that have been frozen for millennia. These microbes release carbon dioxide and methane, potent greenhouse gases. As those gases escape into the atmosphere, they further warm the climate, creating a feedback loop: Warmer temperatures thaw more soil, releasing more organic material for microbes to feast on and produce more greenhouse gases ... permafrost is estimated to hold twice as much carbon as the atmosphere today.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/driven-by-climate-change-thawing-permafrost-is-radically-changing-the-arctic-landscape

Climate toll on Arctic bases: Sunken runways, damaged roads
U.S. military bases in the Arctic and sub-Arctic are failing to prepare their installations for long-term climate change as required, even though soaring temperatures and melting ice already are cracking base runways and roads and worsening flood risks up north, the Pentagon’s watchdog office said Friday. The report from the inspector general of the Department of Defense provides a rare bit of public stock-taking of the military’s state of readiness – or lack of readiness – for the worsening weather of a warming Earth. The U.S. military long has formally recognized climate change as a threat to national security. That’s in part because of the impact that intensifying floods, wildfires, extreme heat and other natural disasters are having and will have on U.S. installations and troops around the world ... For years, laws, presidential orders and Pentagon rules have mandated that the military start planning and work so that its installations, warships, warplanes and troops can carry out their missions despite increasingly challenging conditions as the use of fossil fuels heats up the Earth [but] inspectors visiting the United States’ six northernmost military bases last June and July found none were carrying out the required assessments and planning to prepare their installations and operations against long-term climate change ... Of 79 U.S. military installations overall, the Department of Defense says two-thirds are vulnerable to worsening flooding as the climate worsens and half are vulnerable to increasing drought and wildfires.
https://apnews.com/article/wildfires-climate-floods-arctic-fires-9c55de05afeabcdbb6aca2ba322d0458

Increase in atmospheric methane set another record during 2021
Carbon dioxide levels also record a big jump
For the second year in a row, NOAA scientists observed a record annual increase in atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful, heat-trapping greenhouse gas that’s the second biggest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide. NOAA’s preliminary analysis showed the annual increase in atmospheric methane during 2021 was 17 parts per billion (ppb), the largest annual increase recorded since systematic measurements began ... Meanwhile, levels of carbon dioxide also continue to increase at historically high rates ... the 10th consecutive year that carbon dioxide increased by more than 2 parts per million, which represents the fastest sustained rate of increase in the 63 years since monitoring began ... “Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. “The evidence is consistent, alarming and undeniable.”
https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/increase-in-atmospheric-methane-set-another-record-during-2021

Storms batter aging power grid as climate disasters spread
[A] warming climate stirs more destructive storms that cripple broad segments of the nation’s aging electrical grid, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Forty states are experiencing longer outages — and the problem is most acute in regions seeing more extreme weather, U.S. Department of Energy data shows ... “The electric grid is our early warning,” said University of California, Berkeley grid expert Alexandra von Meier. “Climate change is here and we’re feeling real effects.”
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Storms-batter-aging-power-grid-as-climate-17060281.php

No longer a last resort: Pulling CO2 from the air [is ineffective]
To save the world from the worst ravages of climate change, slashing carbon pollution is no longer enough — CO2 will also need to be sucked out of the atmosphere and buried, a landmark UN report is expected to say on Monday ... If humanity had started to curb greenhouse gas emissions 20 years ago, an annual decrease of two percent out to 2030 would have put us on the right path ... Instead, the emissions climbed another 20 percent to more than 40 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2021. This means an abrupt drop in emissions of six or seven percent a year is needed [and] staying under the safer aspirational threshold of 1.5C would mean an even steeper decline ... Hence the need for carbon dioxide removal (CDR), or "negative emissions" [but] even under the most aggressive carbon-cutting scenarios, several billion tonnes of CO2 will need to be extracted each year from the atmosphere by 2050, and an accumulated total of hundreds of billions of tonnes by 2100. As of today, however, CO2 removal is nowhere near these levels. The largest direct air capture facility in the world removes in a year what humanity emits in three or four seconds.
https://phys.org/news/2022-04-longer-resort-co2-air.html

World’s biggest carbon removal machine ‘freezes over’ in Iceland
[T]he Orca machine outside Reykjavik is running behind schedule and is still yet to hit its target of removing 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air each year. The system, run by Swiss company Climeworks, was launched in September 2021 and works by drawing in air using giant fans and fabric tubes ... Though it is the world’s largest such machine, the device is still operating on a small scale. Even when it hits full capacity, sucking up 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year will deal with a tiny fraction of global emissions, which totalled 31.5 billion tonnes in 2020.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/iceland-carbon-removal-orca-freeze-b2060663.html

Bird populations in Panama rainforest in severe decline, study finds
A new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the majority of sampled species had declined in abundance, many of them severely. Twice a year over four decades, the authors deployed mist nets in multiple study sites, identifying and banding thousands of birds ... Of the species sampled, 35 out of 40 lost more than 50% of their initial abundance. Only two species increased in numbers. The declines extended across different bird families and were generally independent of ecological traits.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/04/bird-populations-in-panama-rainforest-in-severe-decline-study-finds

Arizona farmers getting slammed by water cuts
Farming in the desert has always been a challenge for Arizona’s farmers, who grow water-intensive crops like cotton, alfalfa and corn for cows. But this year is different. An intensifying drought and declining reservoir levels across the Western U.S. prompted the first-ever cuts to their water supply from the Colorado River. The canals that would normally bring water from an eastern Arizona reservoir to Caywood’s family farm have mostly dried up ... Farmers here fear additional water restrictions in the coming weeks as a warming climate continues to reduce the amount of water that typically fills the Colorado River from rainfall and melting snow [and] farmers will only be able to pump groundwater for so long until it runs out entirely.
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/03/arizona-farmers-are-slammed-by-water-cuts-in-the-west-amid-drought.html

Stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric ozone increases drive Southern Ocean interior warming
Both stratospheric and tropospheric ozone changes have contributed to Southern Ocean interior warming with the latter being more important ... Our results highlight that tropospheric ozone is more than an air pollutant and, as a greenhouse gas, has been pivotal to the Southern Ocean warming.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01320-w

'A year after year disaster:' The American West could face a 'brutal' century under climate change
[A study] predicts the growth of wildfires could cause dangerous air quality levels to increase during fire season by more than 50% over the next 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and parts of northern California. A second shows how expected increases in wildfires and intense rain events could result in more devastating flash floods and mudslides across a broad portion of the West ... “These studies reinforce the likelihood of a brutal future for the West,” said Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist and dean of the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2022/04/02/climate-change-american-west-air-pollution-fires-floods-studies/7213780001/

Subsidence in Coastal Cities Throughout the World Observed by InSAR
Satellite data indicate that land is subsiding faster than sea level is rising in many coastal cities throughout the world. If subsidence continues at recent rates, these cities will be challenged by flooding much sooner than projected by sea level rise models ... The most rapid subsidence is occurring in South, Southeast, and East Asia. However, rapid subsidence is also happening in North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Human activity — primarily groundwater extraction — is likely the main cause of this subsidence.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2022GL098477

As drought pushes east, more intense wildfires are sparking in new areas
They've been popping up in places like Colorado and Texas, and have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in the past few weeks alone ... "there is a key difference about this spring, which is that the drought has expanded eastward, pushing 70% of Texas -- which was less impacted over the last two years -- into severe drought," [said] Justin Mankin, assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and co-lead of NOAA's Drought Task Force, told CNN. Texas has been besieged by wildfires over the past few weeks as severe drought took hold ... and nearly 10 million people in the Plains were under red flag warnings on Tuesday as forecasters warned a significant wildfire outbreak was possible.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/29/weather/wildfires-texas-colorado-drought-climate/index.html

Many glaciers could disappear in a decade, scientists warn
New Zealand’s glaciers had lost mass most years over the past decade, said Dr Lauren Vargo from Victoria University. “But what was more striking to me is how much smaller and more skeletal so many of the glaciers are becoming.” The country is experiencing more frequent temperature extremes, four to five times more extreme than would be expected in a climate with no long-term warming [and] 2021 was New Zealand’s hottest year on record.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/31/many-of-new-zealands-glaciers-could-disappear-in-a-decade-scientists-warn

Underwater Permafrost Is a Big, Gassy Wild Card for the Climate
Submarine permafrost is largely unstudied, owing to its inaccessibility. Now, in an alarming paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of scientists give us a rare look at what’s going on down there ... The result is the worrisome image shown above—a massive sinkhole indicating that the subsea permafrost has thawed and collapsed.
https://www.wired.com/story/underwater-permafrost-is-a-big-gassy-wild-card-for-the-climate/

Flash Droughts Coming on Faster, Global Study Shows
“Globally, the flash droughts that come on the fastest — sending areas into drought conditions within just five days — have increased by about 3%-19%. And in places that are especially prone to flash droughts — such as South Asia, Southeast Asia and central North America — that increase is about 22%-59%.
https://news.utexas.edu/2022/04/01/flash-droughts-coming-on-faster-global-study-shows/

Warmer summers and meltwater lakes are threatening the fringes of the world’s largest ice sheet
This research, published today in Nature Communications, is the first time that meltwater lakes have been studied over consecutive melt seasons across the whole ice sheet ... "Due to climate change, air temperatures in Antarctica will continue to rise and our study suggests that this will lead to an increase in the number and volume of supraglacial lakes, which will in turn put some East Antarctic ice shelves at risk of meltwater-driven collapse."
https://phys.org/news/2022-03-warmer-summers-meltwater-lakes-threatening.html

In Tahoe's 'year of extremes,' final Sierra Nevada snowpack measurements come in far below average
Historically, scientists chose April 1 as the big day for snow measurements because, at the end of the winter, it should be when the snowpack is at its deepest. That’s not the case this year. This year, after a record-setting December, the snowpack peaked months ago and has been flat-lining ever since. Today, the Sierra Nevada snowpack will clock in well below average after one of the driest periods from January through March on record ... “We’ve had the deepest December on record, driest period in January and February on record, and now our snow is effectively melting off about a month before it was [melting] even last year,” Schwartz continued. “And you know, last year was definitely not a great year either.”
https://www.sfgate.com/renotahoe/article/tahoe-snowpack-well-below-average-17045070.php

Antarctic ice shelves are shattering. How fast will seas rise?
The size of Florida, the Thwaites Glacier holds enough ice to raise global sea levels two feet. It’s also a bottleneck protecting the larger West Antarctic ice sheet, which would raise sea level 10 feet if it were to melt completely ... “It is the most important glacier in the world,” says Julia Wellner, a marine geologist at the University of Houston ... it's clear where sea level is headed: Up, possibly a lot, possibly soon.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/antarctic-ice-shelves-are-shattering-how-fast-will-seas-rise

Heat wave shatters records across California, spells trouble for drought-dried state
California’s record-dry start to the year is converging with record-high temperatures ... The heat wave spells trouble for the drought-dried state, which is already experiencing dwindling snowpack and shrinking reservoirs after an arid start to the year. January and February were the driest on record in California, and officials say March could follow suit. The three-month stretch is typically the heart of the state’s rainy season.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-23/early-spring-heat-wave-shatters-temperature-records

Antarctic ice shelf nearly the size of Los Angeles collapsed as temperatures soared to 40 above normal
The Conger Ice Shelf, spanning approximately 460 square miles, collapsed around March 15. It was around the time temperatures soared to minus-12 degrees Celsius, more than 40 degrees warmer than normal, at the Concordia research station. "I don't think there has been a shelf collapse like this in East Antarctica since we've been able to receive satellite data," Rob Larter, a marine geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey, told CNN ... When a shelf collapses, there tends to be an increase in the ice that flows from the land into the ocean, which leads to sea level rise— a phenomenon that threatens coastal communities around the world ... warming temperatures are making the collapse of ice shelves more likely. There has been a series of ice shelf collapses over the past 40 years, but those have mainly been in West Antarctica, which is warmer compared to the east.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/25/world/antarctic-conger-ice-shelf-collapse-climate/index.html

‘Can’t Cope’: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Suffers 6th Mass Bleaching Event
A wide stretch of the Great Barrier Reef has been hit by a sixth mass bleaching event, the marine park’s authority said on Friday, an alarming milestone for the coral wonder that points to the continued threat of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions ... Bleaching events have now occurred in four of the past seven years, with 2022 offering a disturbing first — a mass bleaching in a year of La Niña, when more rain and cooler temperatures were supposed to provide a moment of respite for sensitive corals to recover ... “We’re seeing that coral reefs can’t cope with the current rate of warming and the frequency of climate change,” said Dr. Neal Cantin, a coral biologist who led one of the teams observing the state of the reef ... bleaching is often called a climate change warning system, a canary in the coal mine of a struggling earth. It indicates that corals are under intense stress from the waters around them, which have been growing steadily warmer. Last year, scientists recorded the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans — for the sixth year in a row.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/25/world/australia/great-barrier-reef-bleaching.html

Permafrost thawing faster than expected due to extreme summer rainfall
In the past 50 years, the Arctic region has been warming three times faster than the average rate of global warming [and] research published in Nature Communications has revealed that extreme summer rainfall is accelerating this process ... "We were not surprised that the permafrost thawed to a greater depth during wet summers, but that the effect would be so extreme and last for several years was really unexpected ... If we only take warmer temperatures into account, we will underestimate how much permafrost is thawing as a result of climate change, and how much extra CO2 and methane is being released," explains Magnusson.
https://phys.org/news/2022-03-permafrost-faster-due-extreme-summer.html

Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists
Temperatures in Antarctica reached record levels at the weekend, an astonishing 40C above normal in places. At the same time, weather stations near the north pole also showed signs of melting, with some temperatures 30C above normal, hitting levels normally attained far later in the year. At this time of year, the Antarctic should be rapidly cooling after its summer, and the Arctic only slowly emerging from its winter, as days lengthen. For both poles to show such heating at once is unprecedented.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/20/heatwaves-at-both-of-earth-poles-alarm-climate-scientists

Satellites show Arctic sea ice is melting even faster than scientists realized
A new study based on NASA and ESA satellite data shows that Arctic sea ice is thinning at a "frightening rate." [P]olar scientists Sahra Kacimi of the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ron Kwok of the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory observed that it thinned 5 feet (1.5 meters) during that period. "We weren't really expecting to see this decline, for the ice to be this much thinner in just three short years," Kacimi said in a statement released by the American Geophysical Union, which published the new research in one of its journals ... the scientists determined that the Arctic sea ice has lost one-third of its volume over the past two decades due to the decrease in multiyear ice and the increase in seasonal ice. "Current models predict that by the mid-century we can expect ice-free summers in the Arctic, when the older ice, thick enough to survive the melt season, is gone," said Kacimi.
https://www.space.com/arctic-sea-ice-thinning-frightening-rate

Climate change: Wildfire smoke linked to Arctic melting
The dense plumes of wildfire smoke seen in recent years are contributing to the warming of the Arctic, say scientists. Their study says that particles of "brown carbon" in the smoke are drifting north and [heating] the polar region. The authors believe the growing number of wildfires helps explain why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. They're concerned that this effect will likely increase.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60782084

Algarve [Portugal] rain not enough to boost dams
The Algarve dams of Odeleite and Beliche, both in the east of the Algarve, and those of Odelouca and Bravura, to the west, maintain levels below 50% of their useful storage volumes, with Bravura, in the municipality of Lagos, the one with the most worrying situation, at only 14.5% of its usable capacity. Teresa Fernandes stressed that the amount of rain that has fallen in the region “until now, has been insufficient” to alleviate the extreme drought that the region faces.
https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2022-03-25/algarve-rain-not-enough-to-boost-dams/66003

Sunniest March ever recorded in Netherlands
On average, the Netherlands only gets about 146 hours of sunshine in March. As [March] still has nearly a week to go, Weer.nl expects the record to be around 250 hours of sunshine in March - almost 50 hours more than a typical summer month [and summer does not begin for three months] ... this month could also set the record for driest March on record.
https://nltimes.nl/2022/03/25/sunniest-march-ever-recorded-netherlands

California slashes State Water Project allocation as year begins with record dryness
After a record dry start to 2022, California water officials announced Friday that they were cutting State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5%, and warned residents to brace for a third year of drought ... after the driest January and February on record — and a March on track to follow suit — officials said they had to make reductions. “We are experiencing climate change whiplash in real time with extreme swings between wet and dry conditions” ... “Reservoirs are low, the snowpack is low, so we’re not going to see much refilling of those reservoirs as the snow melts, and as a result we just have less water to go around.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-18/california-cuts-state-water-project-allocation-to-5-percent

U.S. fires became larger, more frequent, and more widespread in the 2000s
[A]verage fire events in regions of the United States are up to four times the size, triple the frequency, and more widespread in the 2000s than in the previous two decades. Moreover, the most extreme fires are also larger, more common, and more likely to co-occur with other extreme fires. This documented shift in burning patterns across most of the country aligns with the palpable change in fire dynamics noted by the media, public, and fire-fighting officials.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abc0020

Permafrost peatlands approaching tipping point
Researchers warn that permafrost peatlands in Europe and Western Siberia are much closer to a climatic tipping point than previous believed. The frozen peatlands in these areas store up to 39 billion tons of carbon -- the equivalent to twice that stored in the whole of European forests ... projections indicate that even with the strongest efforts to reduce global carbon emissions, and therefore limit global warming, by 2040 the climates of Northern Europe will no longer be cold and dry enough to sustain peat permafrost.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/03/220314120647.htm
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01296-7

It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted.
The coldest location on the planet has experienced an episode of warm weather this week unlike any ever observed, with temperatures over the eastern Antarctic ice sheet soaring 50 to 90 degrees [F] above normal ... “completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system” ... He likened the event to the June heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, which scientists concluded would have been “virtually impossible” without human-caused climate change ... massive heat wave by Antarctic standards.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/03/18/antarctica-heat-wave-climate-change/

Record ‘bomb cyclone’ bringing exceptional warmth to North Pole
The mild temperatures are also accompanied by liquid rain at far northern latitudes, hastening the seasonal melting of sea ice. “Looking back over the last few decades, we can clearly see a trend in warming, particularly in the 'cold season’ in the Arctic,” Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, wrote in an email. “It’s not surprising that warm air is busting through into the Arctic this year. In general we expect to see more and more of these events in the future.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/03/15/north-pole-melting-arctic-climate/

A drowning world: Kenya’s quiet slide underwater
Lake Nakuru, which was previously enclosed by a national park, now extended beyond it. It had increased in size by 50% ... Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. And this seems to be just the start of the disaster ... In 2019, Kenya received the third most rainfall it had ever recorded ... In October 2021, the government [released a report that] stated that greater levels of rainfall, caused by the climate crisis, was the main cause. Other forms of human interference with the environment – such as deforestation – had also led to landslides and increased water runoff, which had in turn contributed to the rising water levels.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kenya-quiet-slide-underwater-great-rift-valley-lakes-east-africa-flooding

Tropical deforestation emitting far more carbon than previously thought: Study
The rate at which carbon escaped from the deforestation of tropical forests more than doubled in the first two decades of the 21st century, according to new research. Earlier assessments relied primarily on government statistics on the land, which “painted a much different picture” ... Improvements in satellite technology and the monitoring work that remote-sensing scientists such as Matt Hansen and his colleagues are doing at the University of Maryland have put more detailed information at the fingertips of researchers around the world ... The data set has a resolution of 30 square meters (323 square feet), making it much “more reliable” than tabulations based on government-gathered statistics ... evidence also suggests global climate goals may be slipping out of reach ... Ziegler said the changes at these high-level meetings aren’t translating into action that will address the problem. “We get together and shake hands, we make a pact, and then it really doesn’t make a change,” he said.
https://news.mongabay.com/2022/03/tropical-deforestation-emitting-far-more-carbon-than-previously-thought-study/

Amazon rainforest reaching tipping point, researchers say
There are signs of a loss of resilience in more than 75% of the forest, with trees taking longer to recover from the effects of droughts largely driven by climate change ... Around a fifth of the rainforest has already been lost, compared to pre-industrial levels ... The findings, based on satellite data from 1991 to 2016, are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60650415

Newest satellite data shows remarkable decline in Arctic sea ice over just three years
In the past 20 years, the Arctic has lost about one-third of its winter sea ice volume, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington and the California Institute of Technology. That decline is largely due to loss of older, multiyear sea ice. New satellite data also show that wintertime Arctic sea ice is likely thinner than previous estimates. The study was published March 10 in Geophysical Research Letters. “Current models predict that by the mid-century we can expect ice-free summers in the Arctic, when the older ice, thick enough to survive the melt season is gone,” [said lead author Sahra Kacimi at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory].
https://www.washington.edu/news/2022/03/10/newest-satellite-data-shows-remarkable-decline-in-arctic-sea-ice-over-just-three-years/

Extremely Hot, Humid Weather Could Kill a Person Far More Easily Than We Thought
The human body might not cope with nearly as much heat and humidity as [wetbulb] theory predicts. One of the first studies to directly assess humid heat stress among young people has found that when humidity is at an absolute max, the upper limit of human adaptability is just 31°C (87 °F). That's four degrees less than theoretical [wet bulb] estimates, and for older people, the threshold is probably even lower.
https://www.sciencealert.com/human-survival-in-hot-and-humid-conditions-is

The Arctic Seafloor Is Degrading and Could Be a Climate Time Bomb
Up to a trillion tons of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, may be locked away in the decaying ocean floor of a vast Arctic continental shelf. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) extends for some 770,000 square miles—an area bigger than Mexico—off the coast of Siberia, making it the widest and shallowest continental shelf in the world’s ocean. The shelf contains enormous reserves of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, that have been locked up for thousands of years under an impermeable layer of permafrost, which is a type of frozen sediment. However, expeditions to the shelf led by Evgeny Chuvilin, a geoscientist at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)—a private university founded in partnership with MIT—in Moscow, Russia, “demonstrate progressive degradation of subsea permafrost which controls the scales of [methane] release from the sediment into the water-atmospheric system,” according to a recent study published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology [which] confirms previous studies that raised alarms ... Scientists are concerned both by the gargantuan volume of gas reserves and the shallow depth of the ocean over much of the shelf, which makes it easier for greenhouse gasses to bubble up to the surface and into the atmosphere.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/7kbmzb/the-arctic-seafloor-is-degrading-and-could-be-a-climate-time-bomb

The World’s Fastest-Growing Cities Are Facing the Most Climate Risk
United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that the effects of melting glaciers and thawing permafrost are now approaching irreversibility, that half the world is now living with annual periods of severe water scarcity, and that we can expect global increases in heat-related deaths without more efforts toward adaptation. In a world that continues to urbanize, cities in developing countries will feel the brunt of these drastic shifts most strongly ... Cities across the world are already showing vulnerabilities to climate change, the report notes.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-28/global-south-cities-face-dire-climate-impacts-un-report

Global excess deaths due to pandemic are 3 times higher than official Covid toll, study finds
The number of people worldwide who died because of the pandemic in its first two years may total more than 18 million, according to a sobering study released Thursday. That's three times more than the reported global death toll from Covid-19, which crossed 6 million earlier this week. The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, analyzed data from 74 countries and 266 states and territories between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021.
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/excess-pandemic-deaths-are-3-higher-official-covid-toll-study-rcna19497

Climate Change Brings Extreme, Early Impact to South America
Scientists have long been warning that extreme weather would cause calamity in the future. But in South America — which in just the last month has had deadly landslides in Brazil, wildfire in Argentine wetlands and flooding in the Amazon so severe it ruined harvests — that future is already here ... Global warming is altering the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as El Nino and La Nina, the natural heating and cooling of parts of the Pacific that alters weather patterns around the globe. These events have also become more difficult to predict, causing additional damage ... most governments across the region have failed to heed the IPCC's warnings and stop the destruction. Many South American leaders have remained silent about illegal logging and mining activities in sensitive regions.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-01/climate-change-brings-extreme-early-impact-to-south-america

UN panel's grim climate change report: 'Parts of the planet will become uninhabitable'
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report is a "dire warning about the consequences of inaction" on climate change. It's not just ecosystems and weather being affected by warming: People are suffering and dying, experts say. In North America, human life, safety and livelihood will be at risk from sea-level rise, severe storms and hurricanes, especially in coastal areas ... Life in some locations on the planet is rapidly reaching the point where it will be too hot for the species that live there to survive, international climate experts said in a report Monday. “With climate change, some parts of the planet will become uninhabitable,” said German scientist Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of Working Group II for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which produced the report released in Berlin.
https://eu.statesman.com/story/news/world/2022/02/28/un-climate-change-report/6927625001/

UN 'house on fire' climate report key to action
A new science report from the United Nations spells out in excruciating detail the pain of climate change to people and the planet with the idea—the hope really—that if leaders pay attention, some of the worst can be avoided or lessened. Monday's report is about the impacts, what climate change has done, is doing and will do to people and the world we live in. One scientist calls it the "Your House is On Fire" report ... "It is a massive compendium of how climate change is affecting us here, now, in ways that matter to our lives."
https://phys.org/news/2022-02-house-climate-key-action.html

Antarctic sea ice falls to lowest level since measurements began in 1979
Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center showed the Southern Ocean sea ice coverage had fallen below 2m sq km for the first time since satellite measurement began more than 40 years ago ... Dr Walt Meier, a senior research scientist with the NSIDC, said it coincided with strong winds over part of the Ross Sea that had pulled ice to the north, where it melted in warmer waters or was broken up by waves. This pushed the sea ice extent – the area of the ocean covered by at least 15% floating ice – to below the previous record low.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/23/antarctic-sea-ice-falls-to-lowest-level-since-measurements-began-in-1979

Wildfires likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns UN
The escalating climate crisis and land-use change are driving a global increase in extreme wildfires ... Wildfires are becoming an expected part of life on every continent, except Antarctica, destroying the environment, wildlife, human health and infrastructure, according to the report, which was written in collaboration with GRID-Arendal, a non-profit environmental communications centre. The report warned of a “dramatic shift in fire regimes worldwide”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/23/climate-crisis-driving-increase-in-wildfires-across-globe-says-report-aoe

As drought lingers, larger and more destructive wildfires pose new threats to water supply
In a UCLA-led study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers determined that increasing forest fire activity is “unhinging” western U.S. stream flow from its historical predictability. In areas where more than a fifth of the forest had burned, stream flow increased by an average of 30% for six years after the fire. On its surface, increased stream flow — the rate at which water is carried by rivers and streams — could be seen as a boon for the drought-stricken region. But too much water comes with hazards, including increased erosion, flooding and debris flows. “Water is a really heavy, destructive thing, so when there’s too much of it, or when we get surprised by a large amount of water at once, it’s definitely not a good thing,” said Park Williams, an associate professor of geography at UCLA and one of the study’s lead authors. The findings underscore how extreme wildfire can alter long-established water cycles. Now, as the state moves into a new era of heat, flames and dryness driven by climate change, the conversation around water in the West must increasingly account for fire. “We need to be adapting quickly, because the fires are increasing in size and intensity, despite our best efforts to continue controlling them,” Williams said. “We — and our hydrological infrastructure — are not really suited to deal with it.”
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-02-21/growing-wildfires-pose-new-problems-for-water-supply

Climate change is intensifying Earth’s water cycle at twice the predicted rate, research shows
Rising temperatures pushing much more freshwater towards poles than climate models previously estimated Scientists have long known that rising global temperatures are intensifying the global water cycle, with dry subtropical regions likely to get drier as freshwater moves towards wet regions. Last August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report concluded that climate change will cause long-term changes to the water cycle, resulting in stronger and more frequent droughts and extreme rainfall events. Sohail said the volume of extra freshwater that had already been pushed to the poles as a result of an intensifying water cycle was far greater than previous climate models suggest.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/24/climate-change-is-intensifying-earths-water-cycle-at-twice-the-predicted-rate-research-shows
reporting on a study at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04370-w

Climate scientist in Antarctica speaks to Metro Vancouver officials about 'doomsday' glacier
The water underneath an ice shelf is 3 C above the freezing point, which has frightening implications for how fast the glacier is melting. “This is absolutely massive. So this ice sheet that I’m standing on is melting from the bottom and is melting in some places by 100 metres per year, which is an enormous number. It’s the largest melt anywhere on Earth,” said Holland, who is also a professor of mathematics and atmosphere/ocean science at New York University. “This is why this has garnered worldwide attention.” Holland is part of an international team on two research icebreakers sent to the Antarctic about two months to figure out how fast the widest ice shelf on Earth is breaking apart. Cracks in the glacier have raised the alarm that it could collapse sooner than expected ... this latest research in the Antarctic isn’t included in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s prediction of a sea level rise of one metre by 2100, which means it could be much higher than policy-makers are anticipating in their climate action plans ... Thwaites could break up within five years but scientists are still trying to figure out what will happen to the sea level once it does because it acts as a cork to Antarctica’s ice.
https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/climate-scientist-in-antarctica-speaks-to-metro-vancouver-officials-about-doomsday-glacier

In One Part of Europe, Soil Is Rapidly Degrading. It's a Warning to Us All In the Mediterranean region, the soil is degrading, and land is turning to desert faster than anywhere else in the European Union, according to a new analysis. Experts warn that the combined effects of unsustainable land practices and climate change have depleted a finite resource to a critical point. A recent publication by a European commission on soil health found up to 70 percent of soils in the EU were losing the capacity to provide crucial ecological functions ... Droughts have been increasing in the Mediterranean since the 1950s, and it's already forced some farmers to abandon their land, risking desertification. This can also increase the chance of wildfires.
https://www.sciencealert.com/experts-warn-mediterranean-soil-is-reaching-a-critical-limit
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969721051810

Unexpected Fish and Squid Found Thriving in Rapidly Warming Central Arctic Ocean The Arctic region is the most hastily warming part of the Earth. As a consequence, the marine environment across the North Pole, the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO), is in rapid transition from a permanently to a seasonally ice-blanketed ocean. This implies a massive environmental change of Earth's northernmost surroundings, which includes deep intercontinental basins and submarine ridges overlaying an area of 3.3 million km.
https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/49500/20220219/unexpected-fish-squid-found-central-arctic-ocean.htm

Drought Worries Return After Driest January and February in California History The first two months of 2022 are shaping up to be the driest January and February in California history, prompting state officials to warn of dire water conditions ahead ... the past six weeks — usually among the wettest months in California — have seen precipitation totals plateau at roughly half the yearly average in the state’s major watersheds. The dry spell follows the driest year in California since 1924, as aridity continues to dominate the West. The prolonged drought, which began in early 2020, leaves many water suppliers leaning more on their stored water supplies or shifting to other sources, such as groundwater. Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the State Water Contractors, an association of water agencies in Southern and Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley that receive supplies from the State Water Project, called the storms late last year “a blip” that meant little to California’s water supplies.
https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2022/02/19/drought-worries-return-after-driest-january-and-february-in-california-history/

Flourishing plants show warming Antarctica undergoing ‘major change’
The increase in plants since 2009 has been greater than the previous 50 years combined ... primary driver of change is warming summer air, according to the study, which provides one of the longest records of changes in vegetation in Antarctica. A secondary reason is there are fewer fur seals on the island, which trample on the plants. It is not known why the number of seals has declined but it is likely to be related to changes in food availability ... Warming trends are expected to continue, with more ice-free areas created over the coming decades ... “Our findings support the hypothesis that future warming will trigger significant changes in these fragile Antarctic ecosystems,” researchers wrote in the paper, published in Current Biology.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/14/flourishing-plants-show-warming-antarctica-undergoing-major-change-aoe

UN science report to sound deafening alarm on climate
Nearly 200 nations kick off a virtual meeting Monday to finalise what promises to be a harrowing scientific overview of accelerating climate impacts ... driven largely by the burning of fossil fuels, with last year seeing a cascade of deadly floods, heatwaves and wildfires across four continents ... [will] outline in stark detail what the best available science tells us are the impacts of the changing climate ... species extinction, ecosystem collapse, crippling health impacts from disease and heat, water shortages — all will accelerate in the coming decades even if the carbon emissions that drive global warming are drawn down ... the report will probably emphasise more than ever before dangerous "tipping points", invisible temperature trip wires in the climate system for irreversible and potentially catastrophic change. Some of them — such as the melting of permafrost housing twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere — could fuel global warming all on their own.
https://phys.org/news/2022-02-science-deafening-alarm-climate.html

Western megadrought is worst in 1,200 years, intensified by climate change, study finds
The extreme dryness that has ravaged the American West for more than two decades now ranks as the driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years, and scientists have found that this megadrought is being intensified by humanity’s heating of the planet ... judging from the past, may persist for years ... “drought conditions we are facing now are substantially worse because of climate change,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA and the study’s lead author ... “there is quite a bit of room for drought conditions to get worse” ... The scientists pointed out that the flow of the Colorado River during the 2020 and 2021 water years shrank to the lowest two-year average in more than a century of recordkeeping. The river supplies water across seven states, from Wyoming to California, and to northern Mexico. But it has been chronically overused, and the drought has compounded the problems. Over the past year, its two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, declined to their lowest levels on record ... 96% of the Western U.S. is now abnormally dry or worse, and 88% of the region is in drought [so] the research should serve as a warning that the drying could get much worse in the years and decades to come.
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-02-14/western-megadrought-driest-in-1200-years
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01290-z

Serious, Salty Trouble Is Brewing Under Antarctic Glaciers
Alarming new research suggests warm seawater is rushing under the ice, perhaps doubling the rate of melting. The problem isn’t so much that the sun’s beating down on them, but that the warming sea is uppercutting them. The bit of a glacier that’s resting on land is known as an ice sheet, and the bit floating on the ocean is the ice shelf. The exact divider between them, where the ice lifts off, is called the grounding line. As the world rapidly warms, that line is falling back. And as a result, Antarctica’s glaciers may be degrading far faster than scientists anticipated ... current glacier melt models don’t account for a phenomenon called tidal pumping. Whenever the tide rises, it heaves Thwaites’ ice sheet upward, allowing relatively warm seawater to rush farther upstream underneath the glacier. That drives melting along its belly, making the ice sheet more prone to fracture. “It means that warm water that is at the bottom of the glacier can infiltrate up to several kilometers upstream” [and] the more of the glacier’s underside that’s exposed to seawater, the more melting.
https://www.wired.com/story/serious-salty-trouble-may-be-brewing-under-antarctic-glaciers/

Oil firms’ climate claims are greenwashing, study concludes
Accusations of greenwashing against major oil companies that claim to be in transition to clean energy are well-founded, according to the most comprehensive study to date ... study found a sharp rise in mentions of “climate”, “low-carbon” and “transition” in annual reports in recent years, especially for Shell and BP, and increasing pledges of action in strategies. But concrete actions were rare and the researchers said: “Financial analysis reveals a continuing business model dependence on fossil fuels along with insignificant and opaque spending on clean energy ... If they were moving away from fossil fuels we would expect to see, for example, declines in exploration activity, fossil fuel production, and sales and profit from fossil fuels. But if anything, we find evidence of the reverse happening.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/16/oil-firms-climate-claims-are-greenwashing-study-concludes

How Climate Change Is Destroying Arctic Coasts
Global warming is causing permafrost in the Arctic to thaw and sea ice to melt. As a result, coasts are less protected and are being eroded, while carbon stored in the soil and carbon dioxide are being released into the ocean and atmosphere. In a first, researchers at Universität Hamburg have now calculated the future scale of these processes for the entire Arctic. Their conclusion: each degree of warming accelerates them considerably. Their findings have now been published in the journal Nature Climate Change [which] has for the first time calculated the future balance for the Arctic as a whole – an important achievement, since coastal erosion varies greatly from region to region.
https://www.uni-hamburg.de/en/newsroom/presse/2022/pm6.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01281-0

Corn ethanol no better — and probably worse — than burning gasoline, study says
For over a decade, the US has blended ethanol with gasoline in an attempt to reduce the overall carbon pollution produced by fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks. But a new study says that the practice may not be achieving its goals. In fact, burning ethanol made from corn—the major source in the US—may be worse for the climate than just burning gasoline alone. Corn drove demand for land and fertilizer far higher than previous assessments had estimated. Together, the additional land and fertilizer drove up ethanol’s carbon footprint to the point where the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions—from seed to tank—were higher than that of gasoline. Some researchers predicted this might happen, but the new paper provides a comprehensive and retrospective look at the real-world results of the policy.
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2022/02/us-biofuel-mandate-likely-increased-carbon-emissions-inflated-crop-prices-20-30/
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/119/9/e2101084119

Climate Change Is Dramatically Changing Birdlife Across Europe
By contributing to global warming, humans are causing major disruptions to birdlife ... annual northward bird migration between Africa and Europe, which traditionally starts this month, is being impacted. Migrants are arriving earlier, staying longer, and in some cases not returning south ... Global warming and increasing desertification has been changing habitats and food availability in Africa, thus making Portugal and all other European spring and summer breeding grounds even more attractive than they used to be. Studies forecast that many of the commonest migrants will continue to spend as much as two months longer in Europe before returning south in the autumn or winter - and that an increasing number may cease to be long-distance travellers ever again ... overall population of birds in Europe has decreased by around 600 million since 1980. Most of them are common species such as sparrows, starlings and skylarks. Many have been wiped out by agricultural developments, land clearance, air pollution and insecticides ... equivalent population decrease over the same period in the United States and Canada is estimated to be more than two billion.
https://algarvedailynews.com/wildlife/20144-climate-change-is-dramatically-changing-birdlife-across-europe

Co-occurring droughts could threaten global food security
[C]ontinuing fossil fuel dependence will [create] an approximately ninefold increase in agricultural and human population exposure to severe co-occurring droughts ... a result of a warming climate coupled with a projected 22% increase in the frequency of El Niño and La Niña events, the two opposite phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)... projections show that nearly 75% of compound droughts in the future will coincide with these irregular but recurring periods of climatic variation.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220209093355.htm
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01276-3

Scientists raise alarm over ‘dangerously fast’ growth in atmospheric methane
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere raced past 1,900 parts per billion last year, nearly triple preindustrial levels, according to data released in January by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ... The growth of methane emissions slowed around the turn of the millennium, but began a rapid and mysterious uptick around 2007. The spike has caused many researchers to worry that global warming is creating a feedback mechanism that will cause ever more methane to be released, making it even harder to rein in rising temperatures ... estimate that microbes are responsible for around 85% of the growth in emissions since 2007, with fossil-fuel extraction accounting for the remainder ... “Is warming feeding the warming? It’s an incredibly important question,” says Nisbet. “As yet, no answer, but it very much looks that way.”
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00312-2

Greenhouse gas emission impact from peatland fires underestimated by 200–300 percent
Deforestation fires in Brazil and Indonesia accounted for 3 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of the planet's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 and 2020, finds a new study ... showing a severe underrepresentation by previous estimations ... forest fires in 2019 and 2020, such as the wildfires in Australia and California, and the deforestation fires in Brazil and Indonesia, accounted for between 10 percent and 15 percent of global GHG emissions ... Comparing the results of the study with previous GHG estimates shows that the prior data is underestimating the true impact of deforestation fires by two- to threefold.
https://phys.org/news/2022-02-greenhouse-gas-emission-impact-peatland.html

‘We no longer have a fire season. We have a fire year.’ Heat, winds fuel two winter blazes in Southern California
A wind-driven brush fire that broke out in the hills in Laguna Beach amid high temperatures and winds forced residents to flee ... “This is exactly what fire service in state of California has been talking about for the last couple of years,” the chief said. "We no longer have a fire season. We have a fire year. It’s Feb. 10. This is supposed to be the middle of winter and we’re anticipating 80 to 90 degree weather. Even though the hillsides are green it doesn’t take but low humidity and wind to cause fires to occur. If this is any sign of what’s to come throughout the rest of the winter and spring we’re in for a long year.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-02-10/brush-fire-near-laguna-beach-threatens-homes

Water Supplies From Glaciers May Peak Sooner Than Anticipated
In the tropical Andes, for instance, the study estimated glacier volume to be 27 percent less than the scientific consensus as of a few years ago. In parts of Russia and northern Asia, glacier volume was 35 percent smaller, the study found ... melting of glaciers is threatening livelihoods and reshaping landscapes in North America, Europe, New Zealand and many places in between ... In the upper Indus basin of the Himalayas, which straddles Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan, glacial melt accounts for nearly half of river flow ... With 1.5 billion people benefiting from the water and other resources of the Himalayas, while also facing growing risks of severe floods, the region “is just waiting for a disaster to happen” ... the big picture globally — that the glaciers will thin substantially during this century — is unlikely to change much, Dr. Hock said. “There is only so much ice, and then it’s gone.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/07/climate/glaciers-water-global-warming.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-021-00885-z

Water reserves in Spain fall to 45%
This situation in the reservoirs is added to the lack of rain, which in the first four months of this hydrological year - from October 2021 to September 2022 - resulted in a deficit of 35%. According to the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), forecast models suggest that in the coming months there is a 50% probability that rainfall will be below average and only 20% that it will be above average, in a period of the year when it is usually the most intense rainfall recorded.
https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2022-02-08/water-reserves-in-spain-fall-to-45/65124

Ghost village emerges in Spain as drought empties reservoir
A [submerged town] has emerged as drought has nearly emptied a dam on the Spanish-Portuguese border ... reservoir at 15% of its capacity, details of a life frozen in 1992, when the Aceredo village in Spain’s north-western Galicia region was flooded to create the Alto Lindoso reservoir ... “this is what will happen over the years due to drought and all that, with climate change.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/11/ghost-village-emerges-in-spain-as-drought-empties-reservoir-aceredo

Maximum [Portugal] temperature in January was the highest in 90 years, extreme drought increases in the South
Last January was hot and very dry in mainland Portugal, announced the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) in its climate report [with] “daily values of maximum air temperature almost always higher than the monthly average value” ... lack of rain and higher temperatures led to “a very significant worsening of the meteorological drought situation, with an increase in area and intensity” ... at the end of last month, the entire [country] was in drought.
https://www.sulinformacao.pt/en/2022/02/temperatura-maxima-em-janeiro-foi-a-mais-alta-dos-ultimos-90-anos-seca-extrema-aumenta-no-sul/

The extinction crisis that no one’s talking about
Coffee, wine, and wheat varieties are among the foods we could lose forever
There are just two species of coffee plants on which the entire multibillion-dollar industry is based: One of them is considered poor-tasting, and the other, which you’re likely familiar with, is threatened by climate change and a deadly fungal disease. Thankfully there’s another kind of coffee out there, known as stenophylla. It has a higher heat tolerance, greater resistance to certain fungal pathogens, and it tastes great. [But] Stenophylla is just one of dozens of important foods that are threatened with extinction ... As we grow and harvest fewer varieties of plants and animals, the foods you can buy in the grocery store may become less nutritious and flavorful, and — as the current state of coffee demonstrates — the global food system could become less resilient.
https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22906478/food-diversity-extinction-dan-saladino

Preparing for Category 6 hurricanes, a new facility will test winds of 200 mph and storm surge
National Science Foundation (NSF) just awarded a $12.8 million grant to FIU's Extreme Events Institute for the design of a full-scale testing facility capable of producing winds of 200 mph, along with a water basin to simulate storm surge and wave action in extreme winds ... storms are getting stronger, moving slower and are holding more water than ever before. They are also rapidly intensifying, meaning the winds are increasing ... "The scientific consensus is that we're going to see more intense storms, so we have to research and test for more intense storms."
https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/07/weather/category-6-hurricane-wxn/index.html

Climate Change Has Likely Begun To Suffocate The World’s Fisheries
[M]id-ocean depths that support many fisheries worldwide are already losing oxygen at unnatural rates and passed a critical threshold of oxygen loss in 2021 ... as the oceans warm due to climate change, their water can hold less oxygen. Scientists have been tracking the oceans’ steady decline in oxygen for years, but the new study provides new, pressing reasons to be concerned sooner rather than later. The new study is the first to use climate models to predict how and when deoxygenation, which is the reduction of dissolved oxygen content in water, will occur throughout the world’s oceans outside its natural variability ... The results were published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.
https://news.agu.org/press-release/climate-change-has-likely-begun-to-suffocate-the-worlds-fisheries

A satellite finds massive methane leaks from gas pipelines
Thomas Lauvaux, a researcher with the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France, says there's been a persistent discrepancy between official estimates of methane emissions and field observations. "For years, every time we had data [on methane emissions] — we were flying over an area, we were driving around — we always found more emissions than we were supposed to see," he says. Researchers turned to satellites in an effort to get more clarity. The European Space Agency launched an instrument three years ago called the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) that can measure the methane in any 12-square-mile block of the atmosphere, day by day. Lauvaux says that TROPOMI detected methane releases that the official estimates did not foresee. "No one expects that pipelines are sometimes wide open, pouring gas into the atmosphere," he says. Yet they were ... Lauvaux and his colleagues published their findings this week in the journal Science.
https://www.npr.org/2022/02/03/1077392791/a-satellite-finds-massive-methane-leaks-from-gas-pipelines
see also https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60203683

As Earth warms, air conditioning use could exceed power supply in next decade
[R]esidents can expect more rolling blackouts like those seen during the punishing heatwave of August 2020, or even prolonged outages like the ones that followed severe winter storms that hit Texas in February 2021, according to the authors of the study, which appeared in Earth’s Future, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. The researchers projected an even bigger increase in air conditioner-less days in some Southern and Midwestern states. Researchers predicted an average of 13.9 days for Missouri and 13.5 days for Illinois.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-02-04/as-earth-warms-air-conditioning-could-exceed-power-supply

Countries Back Away from Pledge to Update Climate Goals This Year
[E]ven before the ink was dry on the Glasgow pact, questions about how many nations would actually honor their pledges were already circulating ... in 2021, the first year such updates were due, some countries like Australia and Indonesia submitted targets that did nothing to limit their emissions. Others, like India, didn’t submit new plans at all ... U.S. would not submit a new target ... Australia and Canada are also unlikely to put forward new NDCs ... [China] says the nation will “peak” its [CO2] emissions before 2030, but it doesn’t put a ceiling on that peak [and] did not join an international pledge to cut methane 30 percent this decade.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/countries-back-away-from-pledge-to-update-climate-goals-this-year/

Remnant of Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf Disintegrates
Twenty years after the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegrated in spectacular fashion, a remaining portion of that ice shelf dramatically broke apart last month ... appears that warm, wet weather — once unheard of in this part of Antarctica — may have melted and destabilized the embayment ... Antarctic Peninsula has been steadily warming in recent decades, causing the Larsen A Ice Shelf to collapse in 1995 and the 1,250-square-mile Larsen B to collapse in early 2002. The Larsen B embayment was a portion of the defunct ice shelf that refroze in 2011 ... shelves act as dams that hold back the land-based glaciers behind them, and the loss of the shelves dramatically increases the rate at which the glaciers flow into the sea, which does raise sea levels ... with sea ice now gone in the Larsen B embayment, “the likelihood is that backstress will be reduced on all glaciers in the [embayment] and that additional inland ice losses will be coming soon.”
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/remnant-portion-of-antarcticas-larsen-b-ice-shelf-disintegrates
see also https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/149410/larsen-b-embayment-breaks-up

Everest’s highest glacier has lost 2,000 years of ice in 30 years
The study, published in the Nature Portfolio Journal Climate and Atmospheric Research, found that Mount Everest’s South Col Glacier, which climbers traverse on their way to the summit, may have lost half its mass since the 1990s as a result of warming temperatures in the region ... expedition head and lead scientist Paul Mayewski [said] “It was the most complete scientific experiment ever conducted on the south side of Everest” ... mountain glaciers around the world are in rapid retreat as a result of climate change. But, says Mayewski, a glaciologist who is director of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, there is relatively little information about glaciers at the highest elevations ... radiocarbon dating revealed that the ice at the surface was approximately 2,000 years old. In other words, any ice that had been laid down on the glacier in the past two millennia was simply gone ... most of this loss has occurred since the 1990s.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/perpetual-planet-everests-highest-glacier-has-lost-2000-years-of-ice-in-30-years
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-022-00230-0

Study ties environmental conservation to pandemic prevention
Reduced deforestation, better management of wildlife trade and hunting, and better surveillance of zoonotic pathogens before they spill over into human populations should be considered “primary pandemic prevention,” according to the report published in Science Advances, which calculates their annual costs at $20 billion. That’s less than 5 percent of the lowest estimated value of lives lost from emerging infectious diseases every year, from the coronavirus to HIV. In particular, the paper says, current funding for monitoring and surveillance of the wildlife trade is inadequate and enables zoonotic diseases to cross over to humans by increasing human-animal contact.
https://www.eenews.net/articles/study-ties-environmental-conservation-to-pandemic-prevention/
reporting on a study at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abl4183

Catastrophe-Bond Market Hits a Record $12.8 Billion as Extreme Weather Worsens
Catastrophe bonds reached a record in 2021, with more than $12.8 billion of new issuance, surpassing the previous annual high set a year earlier. The insurance-linked securities market also saw a dozen companies issue cat bonds for the first time, despite a “challenging year of catastrophe losses,” Swiss Re AG said in a report Thursday. Last year’s new issuance topped 2020’s $11.3 billion total. The growth in the cat-bond market, which helps provide capital for risks from natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, comes as insurers hunt for ways to deal with increasing costs brought on by worsening extreme weather events.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-03/catastrophe-bond-market-hits-record-at-12-8-billion-in-issuance

Plants in the UK flower a month earlier under recent warming
Global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate, but environmental responses are often difficult to recognize and quantify ... we present 419354 recordings of the first flowering date [FFD] from 406 plant species in the UK between 1753 and 2019 CE ... study reveals that the UK's community-wide mean FFDs advanced by almost one month from the mid-1980s compared to all phenological observations of the preceding years since 1753 CE ... our observed phenological trends and extremes are much greater than those reported by the UK Spring Index that informs the British government and is used for public guidance ... we conclude that if plants in the UK continue to flower earlier, and if the frequency, intensity and duration of climatic extremes increase further, the functioning and productivity of biological, ecological and agricultural systems will be at an unprecedented risk.
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2021.2456

All coral will suffer severe bleaching when global heating hits 1.5C, study finds
Almost no corals on the planet will escape severe bleaching once global heating reaches 1.5C, according to a new study of the world’s reefs ... at 1.5C of global heating, only 0.2% of the area covered by reefs is in water cool enough to avoid bleaching at least once every five years – a frequency considered too short to allow corals to recover ... Even areas with strong currents that can protect corals from heat, such as those in Panama, Florida and the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia, would be overwhelmed by the heat ... the study, published in the journal PLOS Climate, showed corals worldwide were at even greater risk from climate change than previously thought.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/01/all-coral-will-suffer-severe-bleaching-when-global-heating-hits-15c-study-finds

The past’s extreme ocean heat waves are now the new normal
A new analysis of surface ocean temperatures over the past 150 years reveals that in 2019, 57 percent of the ocean’s surface experienced temperatures rarely seen a century ago, researchers report February 1 in PLOS Climate. [The study] analyzed monthly sea-surface temperatures from 1870 through 2019, mapping where and when extreme heat events occurred decade to decade. Looking at monthly extremes rather than annual averages revealed new benchmarks in how the ocean is changing. More and more patches of water hit extreme temperatures over time, the team found. Then, in 2014, the entire ocean hit the “point of no return,” Van Houtan says. Beginning that year, at least half of the ocean’s surface waters saw temperatures hotter than the most extreme events from 1870 to 1919 ... This study emphasizes that ocean heat extremes are also now the norm, Van Houtan says. “Much of the public discussion now on climate change is about future events, and whether or not they might happen,” he says. “Extreme heat became common in our ocean in 2014. It’s a documented historical fact, not a future possibility.”
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ocean-extreme-heat-wave-past-climate-new-normal
reporting on a study at https://journals.plos.org/climate/article?id=10.1371/journal.pclm.0000007

Scientists raise alarm over ‘dangerously fast’ growth in atmospheric methane
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere raced past 1,900 parts per billion last year, nearly triple pre-industrial levels, according to data released in January by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ... spike has caused many researchers to worry that global warming is creating a feedback mechanism that will cause ever more methane to be released, making it even harder to rein in rising temperatures.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00312-2

Pioneering research forecasts climate change set to send costs of flooding soaring
Climate change could result in the financial toll of flooding rising by more than a quarter in the United States by 2050—and disadvantaged communities will bear the biggest brunt, according to new research ... Lead author Dr. Oliver Wing, Honorary Research Fellow at the university's world-renowned Cabot Institute for the Environment, said: "Climate change combined with shifting populations present a double whammy of flood risk danger and the financial implications are staggering. Typical risk models rely on historical data which doesn't capture projected climate change or offer sufficient detail. Our sophisticated techniques using state-of-the-science flood models give a much more accurate picture of future flooding and how populations will be affected."
https://phys.org/news/2022-01-climate-soaring.html

More 'snowmageddon' and 'bomb cyclone' winter storms are in our future
[A]s the globe warms in response to relentless emissions of greenhouse gases, the Arctic warms much faster than the rest of the world ... loss of snow and ice makes the planet less reflective and increases the absorption of solar radiation. The weaker temperature contrast between the high and low latitudes makes the jet stream more sinuous, which allows cold Arctic air to penetrate southward, creating “polar vortex” events that can mean more extreme cold, storminess and snow ... oceans have absorbed more than over 90 percent of the human-caused warming, and warmer oceans contribute more water vapor to the atmosphere. Just as hurricanes are getting supercharged by warmer atmosphere and ocean temperatures, the warmer atmosphere and ocean likely helped increase snowfall rates ... [and] sea-level rise has been nonstop over the last century due to global warming, and this serves to amplify coastal flooding due to storm surges ... As the climate continues to warm, we can expect to see even more extreme winter storms. But with time, they won’t all be snowstorms. As temperatures rise, major winter storms will shift to producing mixed snow and rain, freezing rain or simply intense rain, creating a different range of hazards.
https://seas.umich.edu/news/more-snowmageddon-and-bomb-cyclone-winter-storms-are-our-future

Barely 15% of the world’s coastal regions remain ecologically intact, study says
The study, led by researchers at the University of Queensland, used satellite data to examine the extent to which human activities have encroached on coastlines around the globe. It found that up to 2013 – the latest year for which the data was available – few intact coastlines remained, with even remote areas such as the Kimberley region of Western Australia affected by fishing and mining. The research, published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology, builds on previous work that examined human activities within terrestrial and marine ecosystems ... very few intact areas and often high levels of degradation were found in island nations, much of Europe, and countries including Vietnam, India and Singapore. Coastal regions containing seagrasses, savannah and coral reefs had the highest levels of human pressure.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/04/barely-15-of-the-worlds-coastal-regions-remain-ecologically-intact-study-says

A third of Americans already face above-average warming
The US as a whole has heated up over the past century due to the release of planet-warming gases from burning fossil fuels, and swathes of the US west, northeast and upper midwest – representing more than 124.6 million people – have recorded soaring increases since federal government temperature records began in 1895 ... “The warming isn’t distributed evenly,” said Brian Brettschneider, an Alaska-based climate scientist who collated the county temperature data from [NOAA] ... counties that include many of America’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Boston, have all seen their average temperatures rise far beyond the national average ... California is in the grip of its most severe drought in 1,200 years and scientists say this is fueling the heat seen in many places in the state – Los Angeles has warmed by 2.3C (4.2F) since 1895, while Santa Barbara has jumped by 2.4C (4.38F) ... It’s the more northern latitudes that have experienced the most extreme recent heat, however, with counties in Alaska making up all of the top six fastest warming places since 1970 (comparable temperature data for Alaska does not go back further than the 1920s). Alaska’s North slope, situated within the rapidly warming Arctic, has heated up by an enormous 3.7C (6.6F) in just the past 50 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/05/americans-above-average-temperature-increase-climate-crisis

Alaska permafrost thaw is clue in mystery of Arctic methane explosions
[T]his episode of the public television program Nova ... follows University of Alaska Fairbanks [UAF] researchers investigating the appearance of craters, sometimes big ones, in northern regions. That’s where a rapidly warming climate has thawed permafrost and allowed more methane to percolate upward [via] a kind of tube, not unlike magma in a volcano, and then builds up pressure at the surface until it erupts ... Longtime permafrost researcher Dr. Vladimir Romanovsky with UAF’s Geophysical Institute, a professor emeritus as of this week, is featured in the Nova episode ... Romanovsky says there are several reasons to keep an eye on the exploding methane phenomenon. [Full transcript and audio at the link]
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2022/02/03/alaska-permafrost-thaw-is-clue-in-mystery-of-arctic-methane-explosions

The future of hurricanes is full of floods—a lot of them
[T]he combined frequency of intense storm surge and rainfall that clobbers the coastline may increase by seven to 36 times in the southern US and 30 to 195 times in the Northeast. “The results that are presented in the paper give us a pretty good idea of what to possibly expect in the future,” says Thomas Wahl, a coastal engineer at the University of Central Florida who wasn’t involved in the research. “There will likely be a pretty dramatic change in…the likelihood that different flooding drivers occur simultaneously” ... climate change is altering the intensity, size, track, and frequency of hurricanes, says Ning Lin, an environmental engineer at Princeton University and coauthor of the new findings. These storm characteristics and sea level rise both influence how much damage hurricanes can wreak on coastal cities ... “In the future climate it’s more likely that we’ll get extreme surge and extreme rainfall at the same time, so that you will have much higher total flooding,” she says.
https://www.popsci.com/science/hurricanes-extreme-flooding/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01272-7

Measuring climate change: It’s not just heat, it’s humidity
Researchers say temperature by itself isn’t the best way to measure climate change’s weird weather and downplays impacts in the tropics. But factoring in air moisture along with heat shows that climate change since 1980 is nearly twice as bad as previously calculated, according to their study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The energy generated in extreme weather, such as storms, floods and rainfall is related to the amount of water in the air ... “There are two drivers of climate change: temperature and humidity,” Ramanathan said. “And so far we measured global warming just in terms of temperature.” But by adding the energy from humidity, “the extremes — heat waves, rainfall and other measures of extremes — correlate much better” ... water vapor is a potent heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere that increases climate change, he said. From 1980 to 2019, the world warmed about 1.42 degrees (0.79 degrees Celsius). But taking energy from humidity into account, the world has warmed and moistened 2.66 degrees (1.48 degrees Celsius), the study said. And in the tropics, the warming was as much as 7.2 degrees (4 degrees Celsius).
https://apnews.com/article/climate-floods-science-environment-and-nature-42655c2d26ebef9f76383a59bd1e6df0
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/119/6/e2117832119

Permafrost carbon emissions in a changing Arctic
Anthropogenic warming threatens to release an unknown quantity of this carbon to the atmosphere ... Abrupt thaw and thermokarst could emit a substantial amount of carbon to the atmosphere rapidly (days to years), mobilizing the deep legacy carbon sequestered in Yedoma. Carbon dioxide emissions are proportionally larger than other greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic, but expansion of anoxic conditions within thawed permafrost and soils stands to increase the proportion of future methane emissions. Increasingly frequent wildfires in the Arctic will also lead to a notable but unpredictable carbon flux.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-021-00230-3

Study: Gas stoves worse for climate than previously thought
Hottest year coldest year WMO Gas stoves are contributing more to global warming than previously thought because of constant tiny methane leaks while they’re off, a new study found ... Even when they are not running, U.S. gas stoves are putting 2.6 million tons of methane — in carbon dioxide equivalent units — into the air each year, a team of California researchers found in a study published in Thursday’s journal Environmental Science & Technology. That’s equivalent to the annual amount of greenhouse gases from 500,000 cars.
https://apnews.com/article/climate-science-california-united-states-environment-5750b9cec67fb0ae3075d654eddad2f6

Parasites that thrive in a warming planet are killing Minnesota’s moose
Since 2006, the population in the state has fallen by 64 percent. “The moose is declining directly as a result of climate change,” said Seth Moore, a biologist who studies the animals ... the leading cause of moose death in northeast Minnesota [is] a type of parasitic brainworm. An odd downstream effect of climate change is that these 2- to 3-inch long critters are catching rides in from elsewhere — and are overwhelming the moose [having] slipped into this region via white-tailed deer, a host that the worms have co-evolved with and don’t cause any harm to (even though they burrow into the deer’s brains) ... Warmer winters are also driving the second-biggest moose killer that Moore and his team discovered: ticks. Climate change has caused a tick explosion by melting away what has typically kept their numbers in check ... Ice and snow used to kill a sizable portion of them [but that] is melting earlier than ever, so now more ticks survive, resulting in skyrocketing populations. It’s enough for fatal tick infestations. Moore and his colleagues have found moose covered in thousands of ticks.
https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/2022/1/28/22872494/climate-change-moose-minnesota-brainworm-ticks-deer

Great Barrier Reef on verge of another mass bleaching after highest temperatures on record
In the three months leading up to 14 December, an analysis from scientists at NOAA says heat stress over the corals reached a level “unprecedented in the satellite record” for that time of year. According to the analysis, temperatures were so hot that between mid-November and mid-December, the minimum temperatures over more than 80% of the reef were higher for that period than previous maximums ... “There’s never been heat stress like that in our records ... almost certainly a climate change signal.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/29/great-barrier-reef-on-verge-of-another-mass-bleaching-after-highest-temperatures-on-record

Birds [are] disappearing from our world
In the past half century, North America has lost more than one-fourth of its birds. Nearly everywhere, they are in decline. Massive die-offs ... thousands of birds “falling out of the sky” – have been recorded in recent years in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Nebraska ... Today only 30% of all birds are wild; the other 70% are mostly poultry chickens ... Of all the species that have ever existed, more than 99% are now gone, most having winked away during five major extinction events, the last caused by an asteroid that struck Earth some 66 million years ago. Today, given global habitat loss and widespread persistent toxins, we modern humans are the asteroid. The sixth mass extinction is here.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/28/birds-are-remarkable-and-beautiful-animals-and-theyre-disappearing-from-our-world

Rio Verde Foothills [Arizona] Homes to Lose Water Source
The area known as Rio Verde Foothills looks abundant, from the desert landscaping to the red-tile roofs. But one thing isn’t abundant: water. The wealthy community north of Scottsdale is the site of the latest skirmish in a coming water war ... usage of wells and water haulers was doable until the drought worsened in Arizona. Scottsdale will cut off its supply at the end of 2022 as a part of its drought contingency plan, the city's Nov. 1 announcement said. “We’ve been telling them for five years since this began that we are not their permanent water solution,” said Valerie Schneider, Scottsdale Water’s public information officer. “At some point, we have to realize this is our water, we’re in a drought, we’re in a Colorado River shortage” ... “In most of the United States, people expect water access as a given ... We are very lucky in that regard because less than one percent of the world’s population has clean, running water 24/7. We are spoiled in that regard.”
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/arizona/articles/2022-01-22/exchange-rio-verde-foothills-homes-to-lose-water-source

Thawing permafrost can accelerate global warming
Thawing permafrost in the Arctic could be emitting greenhouse gasses from previously unaccounted-for carbon stocks, fuelling global warming [says] a study published in Frontiers in Earth Science [on] so-called 'yedoma' permafrost [which] contains up to 80 per cent ice [and] can thaw very abruptly, causing the bedrock to collapse and erode. Such processes, known as thermokarst, make carbon previously stored in the frozen ground accessible to microorganisms, which break it down and release it as carbon dioxide and methane. The greenhouse gas release amplifies global warming ... A large proportion of the carbon—up to 80 per cent—comes from ancient organic matter that was freeze-locked into the sediments more than 30,000 years ago [but] in addition, the team found out for the first time that up to 18 per cent of carbon dioxide comes from inorganic sources. "We did not expect that this previously unnoticed carbon source would account for such a high proportion of the total amount of greenhouse gasses released," said first author of the study Jan Melchert from the University of Cologne.
https://phys.org/news/2022-01-permafrost-global.html
reporting on a study at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2021.737237/full

U.S. crop insurance payouts rise sharply as climate change worsens droughts, floods
The report reinforces concerns that insuring the nation’s crops will get more expensive for insurance companies, farmers and taxpayers as climate change drives more erratic weather events that disrupt agriculture ... Insurance payments to farmers due to drought rose more than 400% between 1995 and 2020 to $1.65 billion, while payments due to excess moisture – like floods - rose nearly 300% to $2.61 billion ... “As extreme weather has become more frequent, the climate crisis has already increased insurance payments and premium subsidies. These costs are expected to go up even more, as climate change causes even more unpredictable weather conditions," EWG said in the report.
https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/us-crop-insurance-payouts-rise-sharply-climate-change-worsens-droughts-floods-2022-01-27/

Only 38% of 2021’s Natural Disaster Losses of $343B Were Covered by Insurance: Aon
Reporting on Aon Insurance “2021 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight” study
This was the third-highest loss on record for such events ... “Many global communities are exposed to increasingly volatile weather conditions that are in part enhanced by the growing effects of climate change. This includes record-setting episodes of extreme temperatures, rainfall and flooding, droughts and wildfires, rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones and late season severe convective storms,” said Steve Bowen, meteorologist and head of Catastrophe Insight at Aon, in a statement.
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2022/01/26/650983.htm
full report available at https://www.aon.com/weather-climate-catastrophe/index.aspx

Pesticides released into Brazil’s Amazon to degrade rainforest and facilitate deforestation
Pesticides have been dropped [from aircraft] with the aim of evading IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental agency, for years as a method to clear remote and hard-to-reach areas of the Amazon rainforest. That practice — used more frequently since 2018 — takes longer than clear-cut deforestation (the removal of all existing vegetation using heavy machinery). On the other hand, pesticide use cannot be detected via real-time satellite imagery. According to IBAMA, some pesticides work as defoliants. The dispersion of those chemicals over native forest is the initial stage of deforestation, causing the death of leaves — and a good part of the trees. The material is burned and surviving trees are removed with chainsaws and tractors.
https://news.mongabay.com/2022/01/pesticides-released-into-brazils-amazon-to-degrade-rainforest-and-facilitate-deforestation/

Deep Frozen Arctic Microbes Are Waking Up
Thawing permafrost is releasing microorganisms, with consequences that are still largely unknown
In the last 10 years, warming in the Arctic has outpaced projections [leading] to glacier melt and permafrost thaw levels that weren’t forecast to happen until 2050 or later ... Permafrost covers 24 percent of the Earth’s land surface ... As the permafrost thaws with increasing rapidity, scientists’ emerging challenge is to discover and identify the microbes, bacteria and viruses that may be stirring ... evidence of genes moving between thawing ecosystems indicates a restructuring at multiple levels. In the Arctic Ocean, planktonic Chloroflexi bacteria recently acquired genes used for degrading carbon from land-based Actinobacteria species. As melt-swollen Arctic rivers carried sediments from thawing permafrost to the sea, the genes for processing permafrost carbon were also transported ... Organisms that co-evolved within now-extinct ecosystems from the Cenozoic to the Pleistocene may also emerge and interact with our modern environment in entirely novel ways ... there are microbes that are entirely unfamiliar to scientists, which may represent a novel threat.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/deep-frozen-arctic-microbes-are-waking-up/

Shell’s Massive Carbon Capture Plant Is Emitting More Than It’s Capturing
A first-of-its-kind “green” Shell facility in Alberta is emitting more greenhouse gases than it’s capturing ... Shell’s Quest carbon capture and storage facility captured 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the hydrogen produced at its Scotford complex between 2015 and 2019. [But] the hydrogen plant emitted 7.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in the same timeframe—including methane, which has 80 times the warming power of carbon during its first 20 years in the atmosphere, and accounts for about a quarter of man-made warming today. To put that in perspective, the “climate-forward” part of the Scotford plant alone has the same carbon footprint per year as 1.2 million fuel-powered cars.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/7kb43x/shell-quest-carbon-capture-plant-alberta

UN report: The world’s farms stretched to ‘a breaking point’
Almost 10% of the 8 billion people on earth are already undernourished with 3 billion lacking healthy diets, and the land and water resources farmers rely on stressed to “a breaking point” ... farmers have been able to boost agricultural productivity by irrigating more land and applying heavier doses of fertilizer and pesticides. But the report says these practices are not sustainable: They have eroded and degraded soil while polluting and depleting water supplies and shrinking the world’s forests ... the report makes clear that climate change is further stressing agricultural systems and amplifying global food production challenges ... by making weather more extreme and less reliable. Extreme heat can stress crops and farm workers while increasing evaporation of water from soil and transpiration from plants.
https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2022/01/un-report-the-worlds-farms-stretched-to-a-breaking-point/

Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists
The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said. Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals ... Chemical pollution threatens Earth’s systems by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life ... “There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team ... The chemical pollution planetary boundary is the fifth of nine that scientists say have been crossed.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/18/chemical-pollution-has-passed-safe-limit-for-humanity-say-scientists
reporting on a study at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.1c04158

One of the world's wealthiest oil exporting nations is becoming unliveable
Kuwait — one of the hottest countries on the planet — is fast becoming unlivable ... Dead birds appear on rooftops in the brutal summer months, unable to find shade or water. Vets are inundated with stray cats, brought in by people who’ve found them near death from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Even wild foxes are abandoning a desert that no longer blooms after the rains for what small patches of green remain in the city, where they’re treated as pests ... Kuwait is OPEC’s number 4 oil-exporter. Home to the world’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund and just over 4.5 million people, it’s not a lack of resources that stands in the way of cutting greenhouse gases and adapting to a warmer planet.
https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/one-of-the-world-s-wealthiest-oil-exporting-nations-is-becoming-unliveable-122011601067_1.html

Bubbles of methane rising from seafloor in Puget Sound
A University of Washington team has discovered 349 plumes of methane gas bubbling up from the seafloor in Puget Sound, which holds more water than any other U.S. estuary. The columns of bubbles are especially pronounced off Alki Point in West Seattle and near the ferry terminal in Kingston, Washington, according to a study in the January issue of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. “There’s methane plumes all over Puget Sound,” said lead author Paul Johnson, a UW professor of oceanography. “Single plumes are all over the place, but the big clusters of plumes are at Kingston and at Alki Point.”
https://www.washington.edu/news/2022/01/19/bubbles-of-methane-rising-from-seafloor-in-puget-sound/

Rising ground ozone pollution causes crop loss worth $63b in East Asia
Ground ozone, a greenhouse gas known for contributing massively to climate change, also impacts the growth of crops. A team of researchers studied the impact of the pollutant on three major crops of the region: wheat, rice and maize. Wheat suffers the highest production loss in East Asia, amounting to $22 billion, followed by rice around $33 billion and maize $7.8 billion, according to a study published in the journal Nature Food on Tuesday. But “the highest relative yield losses were found in China – namely 33 percent, 23 percent and 9 percent for wheat, rice and maize, respectively,” said the study.
https://china-environment-news.com/2022/01/19/rising-ground-ozone-pollution-causes-crop-loss-worth-63b-in-east-asia/

The Great Siberian Thaw
Permafrost contains microbes, mammoths, and twice as much carbon as Earth’s atmosphere. What happens when it starts to melt?
“The problem is, you can’t just turn off, let alone reverse, permafrost thaw,” Natali said. At a certain point, nature takes over. Even the most forward-thinking legislature in the world can’t pass a law banning emissions from permafrost. As Natali put it, “It won’t be possible to refreeze the ground and have it go back to how it was.”
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/17/the-great-siberian-thaw

Gulf of Maine waters warmed to highest fall temperatures on record
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland announced its findings Wednesday in its seasonal warming report, which showed average sea surface temperatures in the gulf hit 59.9 degrees, or more than 4 degrees above the long-term average ... the Gulf of Maine [is] warming faster than 96 percent of the world’s oceans ... GMRI’s report noted the gulf experienced marine heatwave conditions for almost the entirety of 2021.
https://www.pressherald.com/2022/01/12/gulf-of-maine-waters-spiked-to-record-warm-levels-in-fall-2021/

Last nine years all among 10 hottest-ever, says US
The nine years spanning 2013-2021 all rank among the 10 hottest on record ... "this is driven by increasing concentrations of heat trapping gases like carbon dioxide," Russell Vose, a senior climatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told reporters ... Climate scientists say it is crucial to hold end-of-century warming to within a 1.5C [but at] the present rate of heating, the planet might hit 1.5C in the 2030s ... Land heat records were broken in parts of northern Africa, southern Asia, and southern South America in 2021, while record-high sea surface temperatures were observed across parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There were no cold records broken for land or ocean areas.
https://phys.org/news/2022-01-years-hottest-ever.html

Strong evidence shows Sixth Mass Extinction of global biodiversity in progress
[E]xperts warn that a Sixth Mass Extinction crisis is underway, this time entirely caused by human activities. A comprehensive assessment of evidence of this ongoing extinction event was published recently in the journal Biological Reviews by biologists from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. "Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction," said Robert Cowie, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST).
https://phys.org/news/2022-01-strong-evidence-sixth-mass-extinction.html
reporting on a study at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/brv.12816

The world's insatiable appetite for electricity is setting up a climate disaster
A report published Friday by the International Energy Agency found that global demand for electricity surged 6% in 2021 [and] drove both prices and carbon emissions to new records ... IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the report contained a stark warning for the future ... "underscores the massive changes needed for the electricity sector to fulfill its critical role in decarbonizing the broader energy system," Birol said in a statement. In the United States, coal-fired electricity generation spiked by 19% in 2021 ... emissions will remain high. The IEA found that emissions from the power sector will "remain around the same level from 2021 to 2024," even though they need to decline "sharply" for the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/14/energy/iea-electricity-climate/index.html

The US 'megadrought' sets another stunning record
At least 40% of the Lower 48 has gone more than 17 months in drought conditions ... Almost all of the US drought is located west of the Mississippi River, with extraordinarily dry conditions in far Western states, which scientists warn is a consequence of the climate crisis. Much of the West's drought is actually a long-term phenomenon, persisting from year to year without enough precipitation to lead to a full recovery, said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the US Department of Agriculture. "The Southwest has been experiencing what many scientists have termed a 'megadrought' for about two decades ... Despite the promising start to the Western winter wet season, additional storminess will be needed in early 2022 to sustain the recovery from a multiyear drought ... Tremendous gains in precipitation only go so far when you're starting from such a low number", Rippey said.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/13/weather/us-west-california-drought-record-68-weeks-climate/index.html

Nearly quarter of world’s population had record hot year in 2021
There were record-high temperatures in parts of northern Africa, south Asia and parts of South America last year, Arctic sea ice continued its decline and the oceans recorded yet another record year for heat content. “The oceans are storing a heck of a lot of heat,” said Russell Vose, a senior climate scientist at NOAA. “If it weren’t for the large heat storage capacity of the oceans, the atmosphere would’ve warmed a lot more rapidly” ... scientists said last year was yet another demonstration of the long-term global heating that is being caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now at levels not seen on Earth in the past 4 million years.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/13/hot-year-temperatures-climate-crisis-2021

Rivers speeding up Arctic ice melt at alarming rate, experts say
[T]he northern regions of the world are warming faster than the rest – a trend scientists refer to as Arctic amplification ... Freshwater flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the continent is thought to exacerbate Arctic amplification ... New research led by Panyushkina measures how the flow of the Yenisei River — the largest freshwater river that flows into the Arctic Ocean — has changed over the last few hundred years, and describes the impact freshwater has had on the Arctic ... recent research, including Panyushkina's study, suggests that the primary driver is actually degradation of permafrost ... "We found an unprecedented increase in the winter flow rate over the last 25 years," Panyushkina said ... In turn, melting sea ice also exacerbates global warming.
https://news.arizona.edu/story/rivers-speeding-arctic-ice-melt-alarming-rate-experts-say
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac3e20

Thawing Permafrost Is Poised to Unleash Havoc in The Arctic, Scientists Warn
Thawing Arctic permafrost laden with billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases not only threatens the region's critical infrastructure but life across the planet, according to a comprehensive scientific review. Nearly 70 percent of the roads, pipelines, cities, and industry – mostly in Russia – built on the region's softening ground are highly vulnerable to acute damage by mid-century, according to one of half-a-dozen studies on permafrost published this week by Nature. Another study warns that methane and CO2 escaping from long-frozen soil could accelerate warming and overwhelm global efforts to cap the rise in Earth's temperature at livable levels. Exposure of highly combustible organic matter no longer locked away by ice is also fueling unprecedented wildfires, making permafrost a triple threat, the studies report. Blanketing a quarter of the northern hemisphere's land mass, permafrost contains twice the carbon currently in the atmosphere, and triple the amount emitted by human activity since 1850.
https://www.sciencealert.com/thawing-permafrost-is-putting-more-than-just-our-global-climate-at-risk

Projection: $110 Billion in Repairs for Russian Pipelines on Permafrost
Russia produces 80% of its natural gas in the Arctic, where rising temperatures are thawing ground that has been frozen for tens [to] hundreds of thousands of years. “Natural gas pipelines appear to be particularly vulnerable,” said Meredydd Evans, an Earth scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ... Most Russian pipelines are underground, making them particularly vulnerable to shifting soil. Soil settling unevenly deflects and deforms pipelines, and water pooling around the pipes corrodes them ... “Sixty-five percent of Russia’s territory is located in the permafrost zone, but this is not mentioned in a single federal program document, despite the fact that the permafrost area is a vital component in the natural environment, of which the landscape, vegetation and coastline is dependent,” Aleksander Kozlov, Russian minister of natural resources and the environment, said in a statement. More than 40% of Russia’s northern buildings are starting to collapse, he said.
https://eos.org/articles/projection-110-billion-in-repairs-for-russian-pipelines-on-permafrost

Another Record: Ocean Warming Continues through 2021 despite La Niña Conditions
The world ocean, in 2021, was the hottest ever recorded by humans, and the 2021 annual OHC value is even higher than last year’s record value, [due] to an increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. The year-to-year variation of OHC is primarily tied to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In the seven maritime domains of the Indian, Tropical Atlantic, North Atlantic, Northwest Pacific, North Pacific, Southern oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea, robust warming is observed ... Four out of seven domains showed record-high heat content in 2021.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-022-1461-3

A Vivid View of Extreme Weather: Temperature Records in the U.S. in 2021
“We do not live in a stable climate now,” said Robert Rohde, the lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, an independent organization focused on environmental data science. “We will expect to see more extremes and more all-time records being set” ... Numerous records set in 2021 were broken by double digits. To explain these extremes, Dr. Rohde made a comparison with world records in the 100-meter dash. Runners typically break world records by hundredths of a second. Among the new temperature records, Dr. Rohde said, “it’s like someone came in and seemed to be running an entirely different race because they just blew past everything we’ve come to expect” ... climate change has pushed the extremes of temperature ranges around the world. “What were hot days in the past are becoming more common,” Dr. Rohde said.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/01/11/climate/record-temperatures-map-2021.html

How the speed of climate change is unbalancing the insect world
Excerpted from The Insect Crisis: the fall of the tiny empires that run the world
At 3.2C of warming, which many scientists still fear the world will get close to [about] half of all insect species will lose more than half of their current habitable range. This is about double the proportion [for] vertebrates and higher even than for plants, which lack wings or legs to quickly relocate themselves. This huge contraction in livable space is being heaped on to the existing woes faced by insects from habitat loss and pesticide use ... “Climate change is tricky because it’s hard to combat,” says Matt Forister, a professor of biology at the University of Nevada. “Pesticides are relatively straightforward by comparison but climate change [is] multifaceted." Insects are under fire from the poles to the tropics ... “climate change is going to be the nail in the coffin for quite a lot of creatures which are already in much reduced numbers,” says Dave Goulson, a University of Sussex ecologist.
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/jan/11/climate-change-insect-world-global-heating-species
full book review at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/jan/14/the-insect-crisis-by-oliver-milman-review-strange-and-fragile-beauty

Emissions roared back last year after pandemic drop, figures show
Planet-heating emissions roared back in the United States in 2021, dashing hopes that the pandemic would prove a watershed moment in greening American society to address the climate crisis, new figures have shown ... These forecasts may well have been baseless, however, with the new research showing that US emissions rose by 6.2% last year, compared to 2020.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/10/us-emissions-climate-crisis-global-heating

Climate Change Is Causing Europe's Largest Glacier Mass to Rapidly Melt
Iceland's third-largest glacier and the largest glacier mass in Europe is now dissolving at rates never before seen in human history. That's because of human-caused climate change. Ice all over the planet is rapidly melting. Scientists say all that water rushing into the world's oceans is not only making sea levels rise but could also be changing the ocean's circulation and fueling more extreme weather events like hurricanes and heatwaves. Glaciologist Dr. M Jackson and her fellow researchers are bringing attention to the very real possibility that Iceland could lose nearly all of its ice in the next 100 years. They produced a short film called "After Ice" using historical pictures and new drone footage to show how quickly the landscape has changed. [Note: the video to the right is the film "After Ice" in full. Watch it fullscreen. It is stunning.]
https://www.insideedition.com/climate-change-is-causing-europes-largest-glacier-mass-to-rapidly-melt-72287

Last seven years the hottest on record, 2021 data shows
The last seven years were the world’s hottest on record ... The assessment of the year, by the European climate agency Copernicus, also found carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached record levels and that the potent greenhouse gas methane surged “very substantially”, also to a new record ... Europe suffered its hottest summer on record and broke its maximum temperature record ... Extreme heat also caused the “mother of all heatwaves” in the west of the US and Canada. Temperature records were smashed by 5C and scientists calculated the event was made at least 150 times more likely by global heating ... China’s meteorological agency recently announced that 2021 was the country’s hottest year on record ... Copernicus data shows 21 of the 22 hottest years have come since the year 2000 ... Vincent-Henri Peuch, at Copernicus, said: “CO2 and methane concentrations are continuing to increase year-on-year and without signs of slowing down” ... Other temperature datasets for 2021 will be published in coming weeks by the UK and Japanese Met Offices and NASA and NOAA in the US, with similar results expected.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/10/climate-crisis-last-seven-years-the-hottest-on-record-2021-data-shows

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations globally affect photosynthesis of peat-forming mosses
Although peatlands cover only three percent of the global land surface, they store a third of the global soil carbon. Thus, uptake of CO2 by peat mosses is important [so] researchers from five continents collected peat cores from ten locations worldwide ... century-old peat mosses were then compared [which] revealed that increasing CO2 during the last 100 years has reduced photorespiration, which has probably boosted carbon storage in peatlands to date and dampened climate change. However, increasing atmospheric CO2 only reduced photorespiration in peatlands when water levels were intermediate, not when conditions were too wet or too dry ... Although peatlands have dampened CO2-driven climate change so far, the changes have already had devastating effects ... The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
https://phys.org/news/2022-01-atmospheric-co2-globally-affect-photosynthesis.html

'There's nothing here': Oregon's southernmost glacier has completely melted
In a shock to researchers, the Lathrop Glacier, a glacier in Southern Oregon that has been there for as long as anyone can remember, has disappeared. It was Oregon's southernmost glacier, located in the Cascade Range in Douglas County. "It was documented in 1966," said Anders Carlson, president of the Oregon Glaciers Institute. "It's been then there probably for hundreds, if not thousands, of years." When Carlson went to check on the glacier in August 2020, it was gone. "I was shocked by how many glaciers have retreated and disappeared," he said. "And this one was the first one we really saw and were just like, 'Wow, there's nothing here.'" What was a sheet of ice and snow was just bare bedrock.
https://www.kgw.com/article/tech/science/climate-change/theres-nothing-here-oregons-southernmost-glacier-has-completely-melted/283-5da2a0c3-47c8-4d2e-9988-50fc5e84e31e

For 25th year in a row, Greenland ice sheet shrinks
The data from the Danish Arctic monitoring service Polar Portal – which forms part of the UN weather agency WMO’s annual State of the Climate report - shows that early summer was cold and wet, with unusually heavy and late snowfall in June, which delayed the onset of the melting season. After that, however, a heatwave at the end of July, led to a considerable loss of ice. In terms of “total mass balance” (the sum of surface melting and loss of ice chunks from icebergs, in addition to the melting of glacier “tongues” in contact with seawater), the ice sheet lost around 166 billion tonnes during the 12-month period ending in August 2021.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/01/1109352

Record levels of greenhouse gas methane are a ‘fire alarm moment’
According to data compiled by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), average atmospheric concentrations of methane reached a record 1900 parts per billion (ppb) in September 2021, the highest in nearly four decades of records ... methane levels have been climbing since 2007, thought to be driven primarily by changes in wetlands and agriculture in the tropics and – to a lesser degree – by leaks from oil and gas production. “The September data continues the exceptional trends that we’ve been seeing over the past few years,” says Keith Shine at the University of Reading, UK. However, the rate at which concentrations are rising is concerning researchers, with 2020 marking the biggest annual jump since records began in 1983.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2303743-record-levels-of-greenhouse-gas-methane-are-a-fire-alarm-moment/

Severe Climate Risk Threatens 40% of World Fossil [Fuel] Reserves
Nearly half of the world’s fossil fuel reserves are vulnerable to extreme weather brought on by climate change, according to an assessment published last month by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft ... “flooding, high temperatures, and rising sea levels are putting more than 600 billion barrels equivalent of recoverable oil and gas at risk, with reserves from the Middle East and North Africa—in particular Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq—at the greatest risk” ... a record 55 Gulf of Mexico oil spills triggered by Hurricane Ida last summer [are] an example of the risk. Rigzone says Ida shut down nearly all the oil production in the Gulf, while listing the deadly deep freeze in Texas last February and melting permafrost in Russia as additional examples of the climate impacts confronting the industry. “These types of events are going to become more frequent and more extreme.”
https://www.theenergymix.com/2022/01/03/40-of-world-fossil-reserves-face-severe-weather-risk-brought-on-by-climate-change/

Algae blooms: “I never saw the ice as dark as this”
Greenland ice algae Box Professor Jason Box and two PROMICE colleagues landed on what could appear to be tarmac during a field trip to a glacier near Narsaq in the Southwest of Greenland. However, the dark surface was in fact glacier ice hit by a heavy bloom of algae adapted to ice surfaces, called ice algae ... Box explained how the algae blooms makes the ice darker causing it to absorb more sunlight and thus melt faster. “I never saw the ice as dark as this ... Ice algae have started to colonize larger parts of Greenland. They’ve become an x-factor in the melting process,” Box said.
https://promice.org/2022/01/05/algae-blooms-i-never-saw-the-ice-as-dark-as-this/

This Isn’t the California I Married
In hindsight, it’s clear that this romance between California and her citizens was fundamentally unstable, built on a lousy foundation and crumbling for years ... Living in California now meant accepting that fire was no longer an episodic hazard, like earthquakes ... Our lives are going to become — or, really, they already are (the desire to keep talking about the present as the future is intense) — defined by “constant engagement with ecological realities” ... I asked Zeke Lunder, the best wildfire analyst that I knew, who should be worried. He rejected the whole premise of the question. Worried? Ha. We’ve passed that stage ... “We need to accept that there’s going to be a fire,” he said. “It’s going to burn the whole town down” ... It’s a real, grown-up, look-mortality-in-the-eye moment we face ... [But] we’re not used to thinking about the world that way.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/magazine/california-widfires.html

Wildfires Are Digging Carbon-Spewing Holes in the Arctic
Permafrost is now thawing so rapidly that it’s creating massive sinkholes in the earth, up to 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep, a process known as thermokarst [which] creates pits of melted ice and organic matter, which absorb far more solar energy ... Permafrost is basically a refrigerator for organic matter—and if it warms and thaws, microbes start to proliferate within it, just as they would on your food if you unplugged your fridge. Only these tundra microbes are chewing through millennia-old organic matter, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide. (If there isn’t standing water in the thawed permafrost and the plant material is drier, the microbes will release CO2 instead, but that’s less likely because the craters tend to create little ponds.) “With thermokarst you expose deeper and deeper layers of permafrost to the thawing, much more efficiently than without thermokarst,” says University of Alaska Fairbanks permafrost geophysicist Vladimir Romanovsky, who wasn’t involved in the work. “The thermokarst process can turn a surface which was relatively dry into some sort of wetland, and wetlands are producers of of methane” ... So a landscape that was once fairly dry, with carbon locked in the ground, is now much more actively belching emissions ... climate models just aren’t equipped to consider such complexity. “Presently, most studies—especially modeling works—are focused on gradual permafrost thaw, which releases carbon from ground surface,” says Chen. “However, thermokarst formation will expose ancient carbon deep in the soil column to active decomposition. Once initiated, the carbon loss from these horizons may never recover.” According to one study from a separate international team of scientists, without taking this kind of abrupt thaw into account, scientists may be underestimating the climate effect of thawing permafrost by 50 percent ... while the team’s modeling only looked at northern Alaska, Lara says that this tundra system is similar to others around the world, particularly in Siberia ... “A lot of the implications for the amount of thermokarst could be applicable to what they're seeing over there as well.”
https://www.wired.com/story/wildfires-are-digging-carbon-spewing-holes-in-the-arctic/
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S259033222100659X

The Lancet: Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey
Climate change has important implications for the health and futures of children and young people, yet they have little power to limit its harm, making them vulnerable to climate anxiety. This is the first large-scale investigation of climate anxiety in children and young people globally and its relationship with perceived government response. We surveyed 10 000 children and young people (aged 16–25 years) in ten countries (Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, the UK, and the USA; 1000 participants per country) ... Respondents across all countries were worried about climate change (59% were very or extremely worried and 84% were at least moderately worried). More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning, and many reported a high number of negative thoughts about climate change (eg, 75% said that they think the future is frightening and 83% said that they think people have failed to take care of the planet). Respondents rated governmental responses to climate change negatively and reported greater feelings of betrayal than of reassurance.
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00278-3/fulltext

It Keeps on Raining Too Much Too Fast
On the Gulf Coast and in the mid-Atlantic, the wettest days keep getting wetter. This is one of climate change’s twisted bits of logic: Where it was dry, it was too dry. But where it was wet, it was way too wet. In New York City, nearly 15 years after the mayor’s office began announcing bold strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation, the rain made a mockery of those plans [when] more than six inches of rain on New York City in a few hours. Roughly half of that rainfall—3.15 inches—fell within the first hour. An inch or two of rain might not sound like much [but] an inch of water in a more expansive container, say one the size of Central Park, works out to be more than 20 million gallons of water. On that scale, it’s easy to grasp how what feels like a small amount of rain can flood a city, especially when that rain falls quickly ... experts warn that across the country, including parts of the East Coast, the North and Midwest, and the Caribbean, climate change is making this kind of extreme precipitation happen more frequently ... the rate at which the city is adapting to these threats is lagging behind the speed at which rain is drowning it ... This kind of extreme rainfall is not going away ... It is going to get worse.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/12/new-york-city-rain-sewage-system-flood/621129/

Accelerated mass loss of Himalayan glaciers since the Little Ice Age
Himalayan glaciers are undergoing rapid mass loss ... Here, we reconstruct the extent and surfaces of 14,798 Himalayan glaciers during the Little Ice Age (LIA) [and] show that they have lost at least 40 % of their LIA area ... The LIA was a period of pronounced climate cooling that culminated between 400 and 700 years ago across the Himalaya13. It represents the last period of widespread glacier expansion in the Himalaya and is therefore the benchmark position from which modern glaciers are currently receding ... the mass balance of glaciers across the Himalaya has become dramatically more negative in recent decades in response to climatic forcing.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-03805-8

How the loss of Bering Sea ice is triggering cascading effects for the ecosystem
In 2018, the Bering Sea held the least amount of winter ice in any winter in the past 5,500 years [and] is thinner, weaker and more ephemeral ... ice loss is feeding into a self-perpetuating spiral ... [Rick Thoman of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks] started his Alaska career working for the National Weather Service in Nome in the 1980s, and he well knows how the ice used to be. In his Nome days, he said, he would walk with his dogs onto the ice pack, where there were tall rafts of ice reaching well above his head. Those conditions are history, he said.
https://www.arctictoday.com/how-the-loss-of-bering-sea-ice-is-triggering-cascading-effects-for-the-ecosystem-and-the-people-and-wildlife-that-depend-on-it/

‘Extraordinary is no longer extraordinary’: US scientists on a year of climate disasters
"The extraordinary and unprecedented is no longer extraordinary or unprecedented because it’s starting to happen so often ... a lot of these impacts of climate change are outpacing our efforts to deal with them. Emergency management systems, transportation infrastructure and water conveyance infrastructure is failing" (Daniel Swain, Climate scientist, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles) ... "Everything that happened has followed the trend that has been predicted 10, 20 years ago" (Simon Wang, Professor of climate dynamics at Utah State University) ... "These supersized disasters just keep coming and coming ... it’s not only that individual events themselves are getting more dangerous and more damaging. It’s that there’s no respite. It’s like being knocked over by a wave. You’re struggling to your feet, when another one comes ... there’s no time to recover" (Katharine Hayhoe, Climate scientist and chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/30/climate-crisis-emergency-climate-disaster

The Next Disaster Coming to the Great Plains
Acute [water] scarcity drives the search for water underground
The signs are subtle but unequivocal: dry riverbeds, fields of sand, the sound of irrigation motors straining to pump from dwindling aquifers ... It is no secret that one of the worst droughts in 1,000 years is intensifying heat waves and megafires; that historic drops in surface-water levels coincide with historic spikes in demand as the region grows hotter, drier, and more populated; or that conflicts are escalating over who gets to use how much of what remains. Acute scarcity drives the search for water underground. But the West’s major aquifers are in trouble, too.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/12/kansas-aquifer-ogallala-water-crisis-drought/621007/

Himalayan glaciers are melting at an extraordinary rate, research finds
Glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an “exceptional” rate, according to new research that shows the massive ice sheets in the region have shrunk 10 times faster in the past four decades than during the previous seven centuries. The research, published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports, found that mass ice loss from nearly 15,000 ice sheets in the Himalayas is especially rapid compared with other parts of the world ... The ice melt threatens agriculture and water supply for millions of people in South Asia, the report said, and will contribute to rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities across the world.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/20/himalayan-glaciers-melting-at-extraordinary-rate-research-finds-.html

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: The Puzzling Link Between Western Wildfires and Arctic Sea Ice
Presented today at the 2021 AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans [is] a link between dwindling sea ice and worsening wildfires in the western United States ... researchers describe this relationship—its existence previously known, but its underlying mechanism now described for the first time ... as Arctic sea ice melts and the surrounding land and sea surfaces warm, a vortex strengthens in the atmosphere above the heated area. This vortex, spinning counterclockwise like a cyclone, is spawned by differences in air pressure. The powerful vortex constantly pushes the polar jet stream out of its typical pattern, diverting moist air away from the western United States. With the now wavier jet stream nudged off its usual course, a second vortex, spinning clockwise, forms under the ridge of the polar jet above the western United States. This second vortex—similar to the vortex responsible for the Pacific Northwest’s extreme heat earlier this summer—brings with it clear skies, dry conditions and other fire-favorable weather ... “This dynamics-driven connection warms and dries out the western United States region,” said Yufei Zou, lead author and data scientist ... Arctic sea ice is projected to continue declining.
https://www.pnnl.gov/news-media/fire-and-ice-puzzling-link-between-western-wildfires-and-arctic-sea-ice
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-26232-9

Global coal use to hit record high despite climate fight
Global coal-fired power generation is expected to rise 9% and hit an all-time high by the end of 2021, despite efforts to slash carbon emissions, the International Energy Agency said Friday. Overall coal demand — including its use in steelmaking, cement and other industrial activities — is expected to grow by 6% in 2021 to 8.11 billion tonnes, the Paris-based group said in its annual report. That puts demand on track to reach a new record high in early 2022 and to remain at that level for the following two years, it said.
https://www.mining.com/global-coal-use-to-hit-record-high-despite-climate-fight/

Current coal phaseout pledges ‘absolutely not enough’, warn experts
[C]oal-fired power is not being phased out quickly enough to meet climate goals and avoid catastrophic global heating [says] a new report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air ... the International Energy Agency has made clear that if [coal] is not rapidly retired the world has no hope of staying within 1.5C of global heating ... still a long way to go, says Flora Champenois, a research analyst at Global Energy Monitor ... “it’s slow and difficult to change the status quo.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/dec/23/why-cop26-coal-power-pledges-dont-go-far-enough-visualised

Rainfall in Arctic Will Soon Be More Common Than Snowfall – Decades Earlier Than Thought
More rain than snow will fall in the Arctic and this transition will occur decades earlier than previously predicted, a new study led by the University of Manitoba (UM) and co-authored by scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at CU Boulder reports. Projections from the latest models, published by an international team of researchers led by UM in the journal Nature Communications, show a steep increase in the rate and range of precipitation expected to fall in the Arctic, and that most of these future events will be rain. This shift is occurring due to rapid warming, sea ice loss, and poleward heat transport in the Arctic. “There are huge ramifications of these changes, which we note in the paper, such as a reduction of snow cover, increased permafrost melt, more rain-on-snow events, and greater flooding events from increased river discharge, all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods,” says lead researcher Michelle McCrystall, a postdoctoral fellow in UM’s Centre for Earth Observation Science in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.
https://scitechdaily.com/rainfall-in-arctic-will-soon-be-more-common-than-snowfall-decades-earlier-than-thought/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-27031-y

Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the world
It’s almost a mantra in climate science: The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. But that figure, found in scientific studies, advocacy reports, the popular press, and even the 2021 U.N. climate assessment, is incorrect, obscuring the true toll of global warming on the north, a team of climate scientists reports this week. In fact, the researchers say, the Arctic is warming four times faster than the global average. “Everybody knows [the Arctic] is a canary when it comes to climate change,” says Peter Jacobs, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who presented the work on 13 December at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “Yet we’re misreporting it by a factor of two.”
https://www.science.org/content/article/arctic-warming-four-times-faster-rest-world

Winter without snow is coming
Across the Central Rockies, it’s been an unseasonably warm, dry year. Denver smashed the record for its latest first measurable winter snow. Colorado ski resorts delayed opening because temperatures were too high to even produce fake snow. And Salt Lake City was entirely snowless through November, for only the second time since 1976. These snowless scenarios, while still an exception, are set to become much more common as early as 2040, according to a paper published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment ... The Mountain West has already lost 20% percent of its snowpack since the 1950s ... in April 2015, the Sierra Nevada’s peak snowpack was only 5% of normal, something the researchers describe as an “extreme” event. And while extreme events will continue to happen with greater frequency, what will also start to become common are “episodic low-to-no snow” events, when at least half of a mountain basin experiences low-to-no snow for five consecutive years ... About 75% of the water used in the Western U.S. comes from snowmelt. The Colorado River, for example, is fed by mountain snow and supplies drinking water for more than 40 million people. Western rivers also generate electricity and provide irrigation for millions of acres of farmland. “Every state in the West that is dry or uses Colorado River water is being impacted,” said Nolin. That includes Lake Mead, which is fed by the Colorado ... Other dry areas, like California’s San Joaquin Valley, are already facing a water crisis brought about by drought and shrinking aquifers.
https://www.hcn.org/articles/north-climate-change-winter-without-snow-is-coming
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-021-00219-y.epdf

A frenzy of well drilling by California farmers leaves taps running dry
In the verdant San Joaquin Valley, one of the nation's most productive farming regions, domestic wells like McDowell's are drying up at an alarming pace as a frenzy of new well construction and heavy agricultural pumping sends the underground water supply to new lows during one of the most severe droughts on record ... The Los Angeles Times analyzed state groundwater data from the hard-hit San Joaquin Valley ... The sobering results show a region in which agriculture has vastly outgrown its water supply ... Michael Hagman, executive director of the East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency, calls the region the “poster child” for groundwater overuse. “We’re doing it wrong. We’re destroying our groundwater.”
https://www.latimes.com/projects/california-farms-water-wells-drought/

Climate change is driving supply chain shortages — and your supermarkets are not prepared
As weather continues to warm, crops that depend on precise temperatures at specific times will be thrown off kilter or possibly wiped out. While moderate warming and carbon dioxide increases will help some plants grow faster, even they will ultimately be harmed by the droughts and floods that will harm so many other crops ... In addition to climate change, there is also the built-in structural problem of capitalism itself: Concentration of power, and the fact that supply chain disruptions also exist because the global economic system is built around what individual powerful corporations have decided will maximize their profits. A system that prioritizes profitability over everything else will make choices about who gets what first based on how they can make the most money, not on who needs it most or what will be most efficient. That means that supply chain disruptions, though not ideal, are also not viewed as a company's absolute worst case scenario.
https://www.salon.com/2021/12/19/climate-change-is-driving-supply-chain-shortages--and-your-supermarkets-are-not-prepared/

Unprecedented die-offs, melting ice: Climate change is wreaking havoc in the Arctic and beyond
In the last five years, scientists have observed animal die-offs of unprecedented size, scope and duration in the waters of the Beaufort, Chukchi and northern Bering seas, while recording the displacement and disappearance of entire species of fish and ocean-dwelling invertebrates ... Historically long stretches of record-breaking ocean heat and loss of sea ice have fundamentally changed this ecosystem from bottom to top ... A team from The Times traveled to Alaska and spoke with dozens of scientists conducting field research in the Bering Sea and high Arctic to better understand these dramatic changes. Their findings suggest that this vast, near-polar ecosystem — stable for thousands for years and resilient to brief but dramatic swings in temperature — is undergoing an irreversible transition. “It’s like the gates of hell have been opened,” said Lorenzo Ciannelli, a fisheries oceanographer at Oregon State University ... “Globally, cold-water ecosystems support the world’s fisheries ... this is the majority of the food source for the world,” said NOAA’s Duffy-Anderson. The potential ripple effect could shut down fisheries and leave migrating animals starving for food ... “Alaska is a bellwether for what other systems can expect,” she added. “It’s really just a beginning” ... Due to atmospheric warming, the world’s oceans hold so much excess heat that it’s improbable the Chukchi Sea will ever be covered again with thick, multiyear ice ... A 2020 study published in the journal Science documented a reduction in ice extent unlike any other in the last 5,500 years: Its extent in 2018 and 2019 was 60% to 70% lower than the historical average ... Data from a Bering Sea mooring shows the average temperature throughout the water column has risen markedly in the last several years: in 2018, water temperatures were 9 degrees above the historical average ... “One of the things I’m really concerned about is that the whole food web dynamic kind of comes apart” [Duffy-Anderson] said. “And that is what we’re beginning to see.”
https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-12-17/north-pacific-arctic-ecosystem-collapse-climate-change

NOAA Arctic Report Card: Climate change transforming Arctic into ‘dramatically different state’
NOAA’s 2021 Arctic Report Card documents the numerous ways that climate change continues to fundamentally alter this once reliably-frozen region, as increasing heat and the loss of ice drive its transformation into a warmer, less frozen and more uncertain future. This year’s Arctic Report Card is the 16th annual volume of original, peer-reviewed environmental observations and analysis that documents rapid and dramatic shifts in weather, climate, terrestrial and oceanic conditions in the circumpolar region ... October-December 2020 period was the warmest Arctic autumn on record dating back to 1900 ... Arctic continues to warm more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe ... Greenland ice sheet has now lost mass almost every year since 1998, with record ice loss in 2012 and 2019. In August, rainfall was observed at the Greenland ice sheet’s 10,500-foot summit for the first time ever ... Some of the fastest rates of ocean acidification around the world have been observed in the Arctic Ocean.
https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/arctic-report-card-climate-change-transforming-arctic-into-dramatically-different-state

Barrage of droughts weakens Amazon’s capacity to bounce back, study finds
Severe droughts over the past two decades have affected the resilience of the Amazon Rainforest, a new study shows, with stretches of affected forest taking between one and three years to recover their usual growth rate ... impacts were particularly severe during the droughts of 2005, 2010 and 2015, considered the worst of the century and a warning that events like these are becoming more frequent ... “The more intense and ample the drought, the greater the debt for the forest to recover ... Our work shows that the deficit in resilience can increase in two scenarios: due to a greater intensity of drought, as in 2010, when the drop was greater, or because of an extension in the recuperation process, as in 2015.” According to Machado-Silva, the results are concerning, especially because global warming threatens to hit the Amazon particularly hard ... the situation is even more critical considering the rising trend of deforestation in the region, a problem that is itself driving changes in precipitation levels and the forest’s capacity to retain carbon.
https://news.mongabay.com/2021/12/barrage-of-droughts-weakens-amazons-capacity-to-bounce-back-study-finds/
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2021GB007004

Melting permafrost could release potentially deadly ancient viruses and bacteria, Russian scientists fear
Nikolay Korchunov, a senior Russian diplomat who chairs the Arctic Council, said Monday that there is a risk of microbes trapped in the frost for tens of thousands of years 'waking up' as the ground thaws due to global warming. Korchunov said the Council has now established a 'biosafety' project to study the risks and possible effects posed by the reemergence of diseases which may have been frozen since at least the last ice age ... 65 per cent of Russian territory is classed as permafrost ... Jean Michel Claverie, a virologist at Aix-Marseille University, warned last year of 'extremely good' evidence that 'you can revive bacteria from deep permafrost.' Professor Claverie even discovered one such virus himself ... While the pithovirus, which had been frozen for some 30,000 years before the experiment, is harmless to humans, Professor Claverie said it demonstrates that long-frozen viruses can 'wake up' and begin re-infecting hosts.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10307853/Melting-permafrost-release-potentially-deadly-ancient-viruses-Russia-warns.html

Disappearing Lake Tuz
Lake Tuz Turkey 1988-2020 Lake Tuz was once the second-largest lake in Turkey. Flamingos flocked there to feed and nest. People visited to witness the lake’s seasonal color changes and to steep in the mineral rich water, mud, and salt. Now, the lake rarely spans an area much larger than a puddle. In some summers it completely dries up ... Lake Tuz’s decline coincided with the “excessive use of groundwater and surface-water resources feeding the lake.” For example, some streams were rerouted to irrigate agriculture, and some were dammed to meet the water needs of the surrounding provinces. And as surface water dwindled during intense drought, people turned to the groundwater that historically fed the springs. “The future is quite uncertain for the lake.”
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/149211/disappearing-lake-tuz

Deep-sea mining may push hundreds of species to extinction
Almost two-thirds of the hundreds of mollusc species that live in the deep sea are at risk of extinction, according to a new study that rings another alarm bell over the impact on biodiversity of mining the seabed. The research, led from Queen’s University in Belfast, has led to 184 mollusc species living around hydrothermal vents being added to the global red list of threatened species ... The paper was published in Frontiers in Marine Science and supported by Ireland’s Marine Institute.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/09/mining-may-push-hundreds-of-deep-sea-mollusc-species-to-extinction

Climate change is intensifying extremes, even in the oceans
A study led by ETH Zurich uses models to show for the first time that marine heatwaves, and extremes with high acidity or low oxygen can also occur conjointly—with difficult to foresee consequences for marine life ... It has long been known that global warming is causing not only longer and more intense heatwaves, but also, depending on the region, more severe droughts, rains and storms. Moreover, these kinds of extreme weather events increasingly occur in combination, compounding each other ... Probably the most prominent example of a marine heatwave is the "Blob," as it is known—a giant bubble of warm water that spread in the northeast Pacific Ocean and along the US West Coast from Alaska to the equator from 2013 to 2015. It killed millions of marine birds, fish and other creatures. Researchers at ETH Zurich, the University of Bern and the University of Tasmania used a high-resolution ocean model to analyze this extreme weather event from a new perspective [and] concluded that it was not solely the high water temperatures that caused the mass die-off, but probably a combination of extreme events that occurred simultaneously ... "When marine life is confronted with multiple stressors at once, it has difficulty acclimatizing," Gruber says. "For a fish species that's already living at the upper end of its optimal temperature range, an added oxygen deficiency can mean death." That's why, in their study—which was just published in the journal Nature—the researchers called on the scientific community to pay greater attention to compound extreme events in the ocean ... sudden occurrence of environmental changes makes many kinds of adaptation strategies impossible.
https://phys.org/news/2021-12-climate-extremes-oceans.html

Fall in fertility rates may be linked to fossil fuel pollution, finds study
Over the past 50 years childbirth has steadily decreased ... Falling birthrates are often chalked up to cultural and socioeconomic factors, such as the rise of access to planned parenthood, contraception and abortion, and the changing role of women in society, as education and participation in the workforce has delayed childbearing, for example. But data shows that pregnancies were already declining before the rollout of the contraceptive pill, overall abortion numbers are decreasing over the years, and unintended pregnancy loss has been increasing by 1-2% since 1990. Instead, a growing body of research has shown growing rates of human infertility due to biological reasons including 74,000 yearly cases of testicular cancer, insufficient sperm and egg quality, premature puberty in young women, and an increase in the number of congenital malformations in male infant genitalia ... Fossil fuels are ubiquitous and they have been found in people’s blood, urine, semen, placenta and breast milk, as well as their fatty tissue. Many fossil fuel pollutants are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with the body’s hormonal systems and have a negative effect on reproductive health ... studies have shown that endocrine-disrupting chemicals might be substantially linked to male reproductive diseases.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/dec/15/fall-fertility-rates-may-be-linked-fossil-fuel-pollution-finds-study
reporting on a study at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41574-021-00598-8

Climate change has destabilized the Earth’s poles, putting the rest of the planet in peril
Thwaites ice shelf could collapse within the next three to five years, unleashing a river of ice that could dramatically raise sea levels. Aerial surveys document how warmer conditions have allowed beavers to invade the Arctic tundra, flooding the landscape with their dams. Large commercial ships are increasingly infiltrating formerly frozen areas, disturbing wildlife and generating disastrous amounts of trash ... The rapid transformation of the Arctic and Antarctic creates ripple effects all over the planet. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift and ecosystems will be altered ... This year’s edition of the [Arctic] report card, which was presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting Tuesday, describes a landscape that is transforming so fast scientists struggle to keep up. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average. The period between October and December 2020 was the warmest on record, scientists say. Separately on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed a new temperature record for the Arctic: 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020. These warm conditions are catastrophic ... “It’s an ecosystem collapse situation,” said Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, whose business Ikaagun Engagement facilitates cooperation between scientists and Alaska Native communities. The consequences of this loss will be felt far beyond the Arctic.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/12/14/climate-change-arctic-antarctic-poles/

Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier ice shelf could collapse within five years
[A]n ice shelf that’s holding [Thwaites Glacier] back from the sea could collapse within three to five years, scientists reported December 13 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in New Orleans. Thwaites Glacier is “one of the largest, highest glaciers in Antarctica — it’s huge,” Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the Boulder, Colo.–based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, told reporters ... were the whole thing to fall into the ocean, it would raise sea levels by 65 centimeters, or more than two feet ... [the Thwaites ice shelf] is about to lose its tenuous grip on the seafloor [leading] to imminent collapse, within as little as three to five years.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/antarctica-thwaites-glacier-ice-shelf-collapse-climate-5-years

All coral reefs in western Indian Ocean ‘at high risk of collapse in next 50 years’
“But while we estimate 50 years into the future, whether we can meet the 1.5C [rise] future or not depends on what we do in the next 10 years. So, it’s really a 10-year horizon that we have to be concerned about,” [said David Obura, chair of the IUCN corals group, who led the study].
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/06/all-coral-reefs-in-western-indian-ocean-at-high-risk-of-collapse-next-50-years-global-heating-aoe

Iraq’s mighty rivers Tigris and Euphrates ‘will soon run dry’
Iraq’s two main rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, will run completely dry within two decades unless action is taken, a report by the country’s water ministry has warned. The two rivers, which originate in Turkey and run through Syria, are the source of up to 98 per cent of Iraq’s surface water supply. “Iraq will be a land without rivers by 2040,” headlines in local media read after the study was released this week. Within three years the impact of severe droughts will be “very clear” across the country and the Euphrates, the longest river in western Asia at nearly 3,000km, could be almost completely dry towards the south.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/iraqs-mighty-rivers-tigris-and-euphrates-will-soon-run-dry-q5h72g5sk

The Lancet: Save our only planet
The climate crisis is the result of human activities (primarily the burning of fossil fuels) that have fundamentally increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere. However, even with overwhelming evidence on the health impacts of climate change, countries are still not delivering responses proportionate to the rising risks their populations face ... We cannot waste our last chances to take strong measures to limit the damage caused by the climate crisis.
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00720-9/fulltext

Rain to replace snow in the Arctic as climate heats, study finds
Climate models show switch will happen decades faster than previously thought, with ‘profound’ implications
Today, more snow falls in the Arctic than rain. But this will reverse, the study suggests, with all the region’s land and almost all its seas receiving more rain than snow ... Even if the global temperature rise is kept to 1.5C or 2C, the Greenland and Norwegian Sea areas will still become rain dominated. Scientists were shocked in August when rain fell on the summit of Greenland’s huge ice cap for the first time on record. The research used the latest climate models, which showed the switch from snow to rain will happen decades faster than previously estimated ... increasing extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves in Europe, Asia and North America by changing the jet stream ... Scientists already agree that precipitation will increase significantly in the Arctic in future, as more water evaporates from increasingly warmer and ice-free seas. But the research, published in the journal Nature Communications, found this would be hugely dominated by rain.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/30/rain-replace-snow-arctic-climate-heats-study
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-27031-y

The staggering scale of glacier melt demands swift climate action
267 billion metric tons of water is roughly half the volume of Lake Erie ... From 2000 to 2019, glaciers other than the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost an average of 267 billion metric tons of water each year, give or take 16 billion metric tons, according to research McNabb co-authored in the journal Nature. Melting accelerated over that span, from 227 billion metric tons a year in the early 2000s to 292 billion metric tons a year from 2015 to 2018 ... one study estimated that our greenhouse gases have caused practically all glacial loss since 1850, and possibly more than 100 percent because some glaciers might [otherwise] have grown.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/the-staggering-scale-of-glacier-melt-demands-swift-climate-action

Climate Impact of Decreasing Atmospheric Sulphate Aerosols and the Risk of a Termination Shock
Recent SOx emission reductions are realized for health and environmental regulation through conversion to low sulphur fuels ... the most immediate SOx reduction is of shipping with ~90% in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) from Jan 1st, 2015 and ~80% globally from Jan 1st, 2020, through sulphur fuel content regulation from the International Maritime Organization (IMO 2020) ... Aerosols have a cooling effect on the climate through increased scattering of solar radiation to space [the aerosol masking effect] and by acting as cloud condensation nuclei ...The SOx emission reduction provides a real-world research opportunity of the effects ... Here we show that the global and regional reduction in albedo and increase in EEI coincides with a significant reduction in anthropogenic SOx emissions and an increase in the net positive anthropogenic forcing on the Earth system. CERES TOA EEI trend in Absorbed Solar Radiation (ASR) shows a factor of 4 increase after 2014 compared to prior to 2014 ... Even stronger global forcing effects are expected from IMO 2020 ... The possibility of a termination shock, whereby rapid anthropogenic aerosol emission reductions cause rapid global warming, cannot be excluded.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356378673_Climate_Impact_of_Decreasing_Atmospheric_Sulphate_Aerosols_and_the_Risk_of_a_Termination_Shock

Eight worst wildfire weather years on record happened in the last decade: study
The world's eight most extreme wildfire weather years have occurred in the last decade, according to a new study that suggests extreme fire weather is being driven by a decrease in atmospheric humidity coupled with rising temperatures ... the team examined extreme fire weather trends from 1979 to 2020 using common fire weather indexes that provide estimates for fire intensity and rate of fire spread, as well as changes in vapor pressure, or humidity. The results link trends in rising global temperatures and decreases in humidity to the likelihood that naturally occurring extreme fire events will happen more often, spread to new areas and burn more intensely than ever before in recorded history. Living with wildfire also means living with the consequences of fire ... "When you remove the vegetation, the rain is not being intercepted by the trees, the roots aren't picking up the moisture, there is nothing to give the soil stability—you're much more likely to see land- and mudslides in burnt areas. This has been documented in California for years." He noted even if global warming stopped tomorrow, the wildfire threat would continue to loom large for decades ... The research was published in Nature Climate Change.
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-worst-wildfire-weather-years-decade.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01224-1

Wildfires are erasing [US] western forests. Climate change is making it permanent.
Kimberley Davis is a plant ecologist at the University of Montana and the lead author of an influential study on how climate change is altering forest regeneration after fire, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In her research, she found site after site where new climatic conditions no longer supported the growth of young pines. Adult trees can survive in conditions that kill their seedlings [but] when a fire eventually passes through that is strong enough to wipe out mature trees, it means the woods are gone for good ... The general trend: fewer forests, more shrublands. Examples of this ecological shift abound ... “It’s already happening, it’s not just something we are modeling in the future,” Davis said. “We are definitely at a point where we are all noticing significant impacts of climate change in terms of lack of forest regeneration across the West.”
https://grist.org/climate/climate-change-forest-loss/
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/116/13/6193

Marine Oxygen Levels are the Next Great Casualty of Climate Change
Last summer, more than 100 miles of Florida’s coastal waters became an oxygen-depleted dead zone, littered with fish ... Dungeness crabs were washing onto Oregon’s shoreline, unable to escape from water that has become seasonally depleted of oxygen over the past two decades. While much of the conversation around our climate crisis focuses on the emission of greenhouse gases and their effect on warming, precipitation, sea level rise and ocean acidification, little is said about the effect of climate change on oxygen levels ... warmer water holds less oxygen. This decrease in oxygen content, coupled with a large-scale die-off of oxygen-generating phytoplankton ... compromises ecosystems, asphyxiating marine life and leading to further die-offs. Large swaths of the oceans have lost 10–40 percent of their oxygen, and that loss is expected to accelerate with climate change ... compounding climate-related feedback mechanisms.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/marine-oxygen-levels-are-the-next-great-casualty-of-climate-change/

Australia’s spy agency predicted the climate crisis 40 years ago - and fretted about coal exports
About 40 years ago this week, the spooks at Australia’s intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA), delivered the 17-page report to prime minister Malcolm Fraser. The subject? “Fossil Fuels and the Greenhouse Effect”. Michael Cook, the agency’s director general, wrote in an introduction how his team had looked at the implications of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “with special reference to Australia as a producer and exporter of coal”. Cook wrote: “Scientists now agree that if such emissions continue it will some time in the next century lead to a discernible ‘greenhouse effect’ whereby the Earth’s atmosphere becomes measurably warmer with related climatic changes.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/28/australias-spy-agency-predicted-the-climate-crisis-40-years-ago-and-fretted-about-coal-exports

Yes, it hasn’t snowed yet in Denver. But it’s Colorado’s meager snowpack that should worry you.
[T]he entire state is facing drought conditions and about 40% of Colorado is facing “severe to exceptional” drought levels, further depleting low reservoir levels. Snowpack is below average ... “it’s just been bone dry, we’ve been living basically in the desert for the last six months,” Bianchi said. “That, to me, is a classic sign that we are experiencing the effects of climate change.”
https://coloradosun.com/2021/12/02/no-snow-denver-bad-mountain-snowpack/

Unrelenting drought leaves millions who rely on Colorado River facing an uncertain future
The Colorado River is a critical resource for the western U.S. But a megadrought, one significantly exacerbated by climate change, is jeopardizing the river's future and threatening to upend how its water is used and longstanding agreements between states ... around the year 2000, a drought took hold and has not let go. This means less snow on those peaks in the Rockies year after year, and thus a steady reduction of water to feed the river. The two largest reservoirs in the river basin, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are now at all-time low levels.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/unrelenting-drought-leaves-millions-who-rely-on-colorado-river-facing-an-uncertain-future

Iconic Mediterranean mussel, one of world's largest, faces ‘imminent extinction’
The fan mussel, an iconic Mediterranean Sea species, can grow 1.2 meters tall and live some 50 years. But the survey found not a single living specimen. “We were shocked,” recalls Vázquez-Luis, a marine ecologist at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. “We couldn’t understand what was going on.” Studies soon revealed the animals had succumbed to a mysterious new parasite that may have arrived via ships. Since then, the parasite, perhaps abetted by other microbes, has erased fan mussel populations throughout the Mediterranean, raising fears that the storied mussel could be facing extinction.
https://www.science.org/content/article/iconic-mediterranean-mussel-faces-imminent-extinction

Insecticides can reduce bee fertility, causing lasting harm across generations
[O]ne of the most widely used agricultural chemicals, a neonic called imidacloprid, does not just harm blue orchard bees immediately, but [also] has negative effects that can be seen across generations. As described in a study published November 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, descendants of wild-caught bees exposed to small amounts of imidacloprid as larvae—from tainted pollen and nectar given to them by their mothers—produced 20 percent fewer offspring than blue orchard bees not exposed to the insecticide. Some of the bees were exposed more than once throughout life, and each exposure additionally reduced their fertility ... That’s important, since bees often encounter the pesticides repeatedly throughout their lives in the environment ... The paper builds on abundant evidence that neonicotinoids play a role in the decline of bees and other beneficial insects—but what is new here is the suggestion that effects can persist across generations.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/insecticide-exposure-harms-bees-across-generations
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/118/48/e2109909118

Wildfires torched up to a fifth of all giant sequoia trees
[W]ildfires killed thousands of giant sequoias this year, leading to a staggering two-year death toll that accounts for up to nearly a fifth of Earth's largest trees, officials said Friday. [Fires] tore through more than a third of groves in California and torched an estimated 2,261 to 3,637 sequoias, which are the largest trees by volume. Nearby wildfires last year killed an unprecedented 7,500 to 10,400 giant sequoias ... trees once considered nearly fire-proof ... In 2013, the park had done climate modeling that predicted extreme fires wouldn't jeopardize sequoias for another 50 years, Brigham said. But that was at the start of what became a punishing five-year drought that essentially broke the model.
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Thousands-of-giant-sequoias-killed-in-California-16635506.php

Connecting the dots between B.C.’s floods, landslides and the clearcut logging of old forests
The combination of climate change, clearcut logging and poor forestry practices are being blamed as contributing factors ... the hydrology of an area changes as soon as the forest cover is removed, whether by logging or fire, and that contributes to floods and landslides ... “you go past a certain threshold and you are in danger of the whole hillside collapsing ... pressure on the system has been increasing with climate (change).”
https://thenarwhal.ca/bc-floods-clearcut-logging

Storms at Canada’s Biggest Port Leave Grain Stuck in Prairies
Mountains of wheat and canola are stranded in Canada after storms blocked access to the Port of Vancouver during peak shipping season. There’s no rail access to Canada’a biggest port after days of torrential rain and landslides ... it will take an “extended period of time” before some other roads open ... Canada is one of the world’s largest grain exporters and about half of its shipments go through Vancouver. “This is disastrous,” Quorum President Mark Hemmes said. “You’ve got rail lines that run into the terminal from Canadian origins cut off. All of the highways are cut off. And it’s Canada’s biggest port.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-18/storms-at-canada-s-biggest-port-leaves-grain-stuck-in-prairies

How locust swarms ‘the size of Luxembourg’ are plaguing East Africa
When the locusts settled on trees, there were “so many of them that branches broke under the weight”. Locust swarms can vary from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres. There can be at least 40 million and sometimes as many as 80 million locust adults in each square kilometre. One swarm ... was reported to have reached 2,400 square kilometres in size – an area the size of Luxembourg. Locusts eat their body weight in food every day; a small swarm covering one square kilometre can eat the same amount as 35,000 people.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/science-health/954861/east-africa-locust-plagues

South Africa’s next big crisis is water
South Africa’s next crisis will be water and that could be far worse than rolling power blackouts we’ve endured for about 14 years now. The emerging reality for many residents in small towns, rural areas and cities, is that their own Day Zero is looming — or is already here.
https://mg.co.za/editorial/2021-11-18-editorial-south-africas-next-big-crisis-is-water/

Brazil: Amazon sees worst deforestation levels in 15 years
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest has hit its highest level in over 15 years, official data shows. A report by Brazil's space research agency (Inpe) found that deforestation increased by 22% in a year. Brazil was among a number of nations who promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 during the COP26 climate summit [but] according to the latest data, some 13,235 sq km (5110 sq miles) was lost during the 2020-21 period, the highest amount since 2006.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-59341770

Antarctic ice sheet destabilized within a decade
After the natural warming that followed the last Ice Age, there were repeated periods when masses of icebergs broke off from Antarctica into the Southern Ocean. A new data-model study led by the University of Bonn (Germany) now shows that it took only a decade to initiate this tipping point in the climate system [and] that today's accelerating Antarctic ice mass loss also represents such a tipping point ... "the acceleration of Antarctic ice-mass loss in recent decades may mark the beginning of a self-sustaining and irreversible period of ice sheet retreat and substantial global sea level rise," says study leader Dr. Michael Weber from the University of Bonn.
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-antarctic-ice-sheet-destabilized-decade.html
see also https://www.sciencealert.com/warming-events-could-destabilize-the-antarctic-ice-sheet-in-just-10-years
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-27053-6

Ice on the edge of survival: Warming is changing the Arctic
Arctic ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking, with some glaciers already gone. Permafrost, the icy soil that traps the potent greenhouse gas methane, is thawing. Wildfires have broken out in the Arctic. Siberia even hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) ... What's happening in the Arctic is a runaway effect ... “The Arctic isn’t just changing in temperature,” Abdalati said. “It’s changing in state. It’s becoming a different place” ... those changes, scientists say, can contribute to more extreme weather events, such as floods, drought, the February Texas freeze, or more severe wildfires.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/ice-edge-survival-warming-changing-arctic-81006330

Global warming speeds up the frequency of extreme hot weather and rainfall
The frequency of extreme hot weather and record temperatures and rainfall has increased around the world as a result of global warming, according to an international research project headed up by Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and involving the participation of the Geoscience Institute (CSIC-UCM). The study, published in npj Climate and Atmosphere Science estimates that the occurrence of record temperatures is eight times higher than what would have been expected without global warming.
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-global-frequency-extreme-hot-weather.html

The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change
Code red for a healthy future
The Lancet Countdown is an international collaboration that independently monitors the health consequences of a changing climate [and] represents the consensus of leading researchers from 43 academic institutions and UN agencies. The 44 indicators of this report expose an unabated rise in the health impacts of climate change and the current health consequences of the delayed and inconsistent response of countries around the globe—providing a clear imperative for accelerated action that puts the health of people and planet above all else.
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01787-6/fulltext

The forgotten oil ads that told us climate change was nothing
The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multibillion dollar disinformation, propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions ... with headlines ranging from “Lies they tell our children” to “Oil pumps life” – seeking to convince the public that the climate crisis is not real, not human-made, not serious and not solvable. The campaign continues to this day ... 30-plus year evolution of fossil fuel industry propaganda.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/18/the-forgotten-oil-ads-that-told-us-climate-change-was-nothing
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab89d5

Drought, overpumping cut Morocco river link to sea
"It's the first time ever that the Moulouya has stopped flowing into the sea," said Benata, a retired agronomist. "The flow has been weakened by over-pumping of the water. It's pretty dramatic." And as the fresh water of the river recedes, salty seawater is creeping up the groundwaters around the riverbed, spelling ruin for farmers as much as 15 kilometres inland ... "Everything's dead because there's hardly any rain and the river is salty" ... What was the mouth of the river is now also filling up with rubbish, spoiling one of the richest natural reserves in the area ... "the situation is getting worse and worse ... all the region's young people are thinking of emigrating."
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-drought-overpumping-morocco-river-link.html

Cop26 targets too weak to stop disaster, say Paris agreement architects
[T]he proposed targets agreed at the Cop26 summit are too weak to prevent disastrous levels of global heating, the three architects of the Paris agreement have warned ... The last-ditch intervention by such senior figures, with the Glasgow talks reaching their final hours, reveals the heightened alarm among many experts over the chasm between carbon targets and the deep cuts necessary to limit temperature rises ... Current national plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – would lead to 2.4C of heating, according to an influential analysis this week by Climate Action Tracker.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/11/cop26-targets-too-weak-to-stop-disaster-say-paris-agreement-architects

New source of the strong greenhouse gas nitrous oxide found in Siberian permafrost
A previously unknown source of the strong greenhouse gas nitrous oxide has been found in East Siberian Yedoma permafrost. Published in Nature Communications today, the observation was made by an international group of researchers, with the lead of researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the third-most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane, and per unit mass an almost 300 times stronger warming agent than carbon dioxide. It is produced in soils as a result of microbial activity. The discovery of nitrous oxide release from the late-Pleistocene-aged Yedoma permafrost is important due to the large area of the Yedoma region, and its large carbon and nitrogen stocks and high ice content, which makes it vulnerable for abrupt thaw ... [release] increased within less than a decade to high rates, exceeding typical emissions from permafrost-affected soils by one to two orders of magnitude (10–100 times). The increase in nitrous oxide emissions was related to drying and stabilization of the Yedoma sediments after thaw, and to associated changes in the microbial community participating in soil nitrogen cycle
https://phys.org/news/2021-12-source-strong-greenhouse-gas-nitrous.html

Coastal States In Mumbai, Kolkata & Four Other Indian Cities Will Be Underwater By 2030 Finds Report
A new study shows that [by 2030] parts of Mumbai, almost the entirety of Navi Mumbai, the coastal areas of Sunderbans, and the surrounding areas of West Bengal’s capital, Kolkata, along with Cuttack in Odisha, may be below tide-level ... For Kerala too, the area surrounding Kochi and other coastal cities, the threat of being below tide-level is drastically high.
https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/coastal-states-in-mumbai-kolkata-four-other-indian-cities-will-be-underwater-by-2030-finds-report-10122571.html

Extreme Greenland ice melt raised global flood risk: study
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers said that Greenland's meltwater runoff had risen by 21 percent over the past four decades. More strikingly, the data provided by the European Space Agency showed that the ice sheet had lost 3.5 trillion tonnes of ice since 2011, producing enough water to raise oceans globally and put coastal communities at higher risk of flood events. One-third of the ice lost in the past decade came in just two hot summers -- 2012 and 2019 -- the research showed ... "As we've seen with other parts of the world, Greenland is also vulnerable to an increase in extreme weather events," said Thomas Slater, from the University of Leeds Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling and lead author. "As our climate warms, it's reasonable to expect that the instances of extreme melting in Greenland will happen more often."
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20211101-extreme-greenland-ice-melt-raised-global-flood-risk-study

‘Rapid and concerning’: Chesapeake Bay is getting warmer, researchers say
In the course of 30 years, the Chesapeake Bay warmed up by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s according to researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science ... “We’re really concerned about this elevated summer warming because warmer waters can help expand and worsen the annually occurring dead zone that happens in the bay when oxygen levels are low,” he said. Lower oxygen levels can impact crab habitat and fisheries ... “There’s not a lot of mitigation that can be done, besides limiting greenhouse gas emissions, which would reduce future warming in the atmosphere, which is what’s ultimately driving most of these trends,” Hinson said ... The study’s findings are based on data stored by the Chesapeake Bay Program, which is an office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The readings were collected by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.
https://wtop.com/science/2021/11/how-much-water-temperatures-have-been-rising-in-the-chesapeake-bay-over-30-years/

U.S. Power Grid Is Becoming Less Reliable, Thanks to Extreme Weather
The U.S. power grid is becoming less resilient and reliable, with extreme weather leaving more Americans without electricity more often over the past several years, analysts for Fitch Ratings said. Weather accounted for 25% of utility company downgrades from 2017 to 2021, analysts said during a presentation Monday at the Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference in Hollywood, Florida. U.S. power networks are also less reliable than those in other industrialized countries, they said. “Climate change is expected to continue to challenge electric reliability,” said Fitch analyst Barbara Chapman.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-08/u-s-power-grid-becoming-less-reliable-due-to-extreme-weather

2021 was a bad year for glaciers in western North America — and it’s about to get much worse
In late June, the so-called heat dome settled over the west, creating exceptional warming that melted snow cover on the glaciers and exposed ice in a matter of days. The timing was especially bad, as it coincided with days when energy from sunlight is at its maximum. The hot weather also helped spark wildfires in British Columbia, Oregon and California that spread through the mountains. When soot, dust and debris from wildfires settle on snow and ice, it darkens the surface, causing them to absorb more solar energy and melt more ... glacier mass loss over the past two decades in western North America has accelerated, with losses in the past decade that were four times greater than the decade before ... recent study [projects] nearly complete deglaciation in mid- to southern areas of British Columbia and Alberta even under moderate future emission scenarios.
https://theconversation.com/2021-was-a-bad-year-for-glaciers-in-western-north-america-and-its-about-to-get-much-worse-170847

Business-as-usual will lead to super and ultra-extreme heatwaves in the Middle East and North Africa
Global climate projections suggest a significant intensification of summer heat extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) ... Our results, for a business-as-usual pathway, indicate that in the second half of this century unprecedented super- and ultra-extreme heatwave conditions will emerge ... Peak temperatures during future heatwaves could exceed 56C in some locations in the Middle East, and our analysis indicates that this is a conservative estimate. This will be life-threatening for humans, and even high-temperature tolerant animals such as camels cannot survive in such conditions ... we anticipate that the maximum temperature during “super-extreme” and “ultra-extreme” heatwaves in some urban centers and megacities in the MENA could reach or even exceed 60C ... the MENA countries need to prepare for exceedingly hot summers.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-021-00178-7

One Billion People to Face Deadly Heat Stress If World Warms 2C
A study by the Met Office, the U.K.’s national meteorological service, warned that a 2C rise could lead to a 15-fold increase of a potentially fatal cocktail of heat and humidity across the planet. A 4°C rise would mean that nearly half of the world’s population could be living in affected areas, according to the research, released at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The Met Office used an indicator which combines warmth and humidity, known as wet-bulb temperature, to assess heat stress risk. Once this measure passes 32°C, people are at extreme risk of adverse health effects, particularly those with physical outdoor jobs, according to Andy Hartley, climate impacts lead at the Met Office. The study was derived from the EU-funded Helix project ... Richard Betts, leader of the Helix project, warned that most regions of the world are likely to suffer from the impacts of climate change.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-09/cop26-climate-change-puts-1-billion-people-at-risk-of-heat-stress-at-2c

Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds
Across the world, many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations, a Washington Post investigation has found. An examination of 196 country reports reveals a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be vs. the greenhouse gases they are sending into the atmosphere ... At the low end, the gap is larger than the yearly emissions of the United States. At the high end, it approaches the emissions of China and comprises 23 percent of humanity’s total contribution to the planet’s warming ... That means the challenge is even larger than world leaders have acknowledged. “In the end, everything becomes a bit of a fantasy,” said Philippe Ciais, a scientist with France’s Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences ... The gap comprises vast amounts of missing carbon dioxide and methane emissions as well as smaller volumes of powerful synthetic gases. It is the result of questionably drawn rules, incomplete reporting in some countries and apparently willful mistakes in others.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2021/greenhouse-gas-emissions-pledges-data/

Global Climate Change Impact on Crops Expected Within 10 Years, NASA Study Finds
Global Climate Change Impact on Crops Expected Within 10 Years, NASA Study Finds NASA study published in the journal, Nature Food [projects that] crop yields are projected to decline 24%, while wheat could potentially see growth of about 17% ... the change in yields is due to projected increases in temperature, shifts in rainfall patterns, and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations from human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3124/global-climate-change-impact-on-crops-expected-within-10-years-nasa-study-finds/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00400-y

‘Reality check’: Global CO2 emissions shooting back to record levels
Global carbon emissions are shooting back to the record level seen before the coronavirus pandemic levels, new analysis has shown. Scientists said the finding is a “reality check” ... emissions driving the climate crisis reached their highest ever levels in 2019, before global coronavirus lockdowns saw them fall by 5.4%. However, fossil fuel burning has surged faster than expected in 2021 ... data shows world leaders have failed to build back greener, with just a small proportion of pandemic spending going to sustainable sectors ... scientists said 2022 could set a new record for global emissions.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/04/reality-check-global-co2-emissions-shooting-back-to-record-levels

Top climate scientists are sceptical that nations will rein in global warming
Nature conducted an anonymous survey of the 233 living IPCC authors last month and received responses from 92 scientists — about 40% of the group. Their answers suggest strong scepticism that governments will markedly slow the pace of global warming, despite political promises made by international leaders as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Six in ten of the respondents said that they expect the world to warm by at least 3C by the end of the century, compared with what conditions were like before the Industrial Revolution. That is far beyond the Paris agreement’s goal to limit warming to 1.5–2C. Most of the survey’s respondents - 88% - said they think global warming constitutes a ‘crisis’, and nearly as many said they expect to see catastrophic impacts of climate change in their lifetimes.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02990-w

Twenty-four trillion pieces of microplastics in the ocean and counting
The team found 24.4 trillion pieces (82,000--578,000 tons) of microplastics in the world's oceans, but the actual amount is likely to be much greater ... To create the new dataset, which was published in the journal
Microplastics and Nanoplastics, the researchers collected, calibrated, and gridded data from a total of 8,218 pelagic microplastic samples taken from oceans around the world between 2000 and 2019 [however] "the total amount of microplastics is still likely to be much greater since this is just what we can estimate on the surface."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211027122120.htm

Climate threats: living in the shadow of a crumbling mountain
The climate crisis is slowly transforming the Swiss Alps. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting, and thawing permafrost is undermining the stability of mountain slopes ... measurements paint a bleak picture: permafrost temperatures have reached record levels in many high-altitude locations ... Higher temperatures have melted ice, allowing water to penetrate the underlying rock and contribute to the instability. “Over the past three years we have really observed that the whole mountain is slowly melting,” says Robert Kenner, a permafrost expert at the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (WSL).
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/cop26-slpine-climate-threats-living-in-the-shadow-of-the-spitzer-stein-mountain-switzerland/47011992

Get Ready for More Volcanic Eruptions as the Planet Warms
Scientists have noted volcanic eruptions tended to increase as glaciers melted. In a recent study published in Geology researchers ... found the number of eruptions indeed dropped significantly as the climate cooled and ice expanded ... when glaciers retreat, the pressure lifts and volcanic activity surges.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/get-ready-for-more-volcanic-eruptions-as-the-planet-warms/

World is failing to make changes needed to avoid climate breakdown, report finds
Every corner of society is failing to take the “transformational change” needed to avert the most disastrous consequences of the climate crisis, with trends either too slow or in some cases even regressing, according to a major new global analysis. Across 40 different areas spanning the power sector, heavy industry, agriculture, transportation, finance and technology, not one is changing quickly enough to avoid 1.5C in global heating beyond pre-industrial times, a critical target of the Paris climate agreement, according to the new Systems Change Lab report ... Atmospheric levels of planet-heating gases hit a new record high last year, and the UN has warned the amount of fossil fuel extraction planned by countries “vastly exceeds” the limit needed to keep below the 1.5C threshold ... the report found that no indicator was showing the required progress to cut emissions in half this decade before eliminating greenhouse gases completely by 2050, which would give the world a chance to keep below 1.5C.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/28/world-failing-make-changes-avoid-climate-breakdown-report

Climate change damage becoming increasingly uninsurable, AFM warns
Many damages resulting from climate change cannot be insured, while the cost of claims will increase sharply in the coming years. The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) warns ... Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme weather. The damage caused by floods in the first ten years of this century in the European Union averaged 4 billion euros per year. According to estimates, this will rise to 24 billion euros per year by 2050. The AFM cites subsidence as an example. In 2016, four insurers still covered this risk. Since last year, none did so anymore, while the Netherlands is increasingly faced with prolonged periods of drought and subsidence risks.
https://nltimes.nl/2021/10/28/climate-change-damage-becoming-increasingly-uninsurable-afm-warns

Changing ocean currents are driving extreme winter weather
A pair of researchers studied the Atlantic portion of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, and found that winter weather in the United States critically depends on this conveyor belt-like system. As the AMOC slows because of climate change, the U.S. will experience more extreme cold winter weather. The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment was led by Jianjun Yin, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences and co-authored by Ming Zhao, a physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory ... "This circulation transports an enormous amount of heat northward in the ocean," Yin said. "The magnitude is on the order of 1 petawatts, or 10 to the 15 power watts. Right now, the energy consumption by the entire world is about 20 terawatts, or 10 to the 12 power watts. So, 1 petawatt is enough to run about 50 civilizations." But as the climate warms, so does the ocean surface. At the same time, the Greenland ice sheet experiences melting, which dumps more freshwater into the ocean. Both warming and freshening of the water can reduce surface water density and inhibit the sinking of the water, slowing the AMOC. If the AMOC slows, so does the northward heat transport ... "So, if the ocean heat transport slows or shuts down, the weather becomes more extreme."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211020140042.htm

Unprecedented rise of heat and rainfall extremes in observational data
Observation data analysis reveals a 90-fold increase in the frequency of monthly heat extremes, so-called 3-sigma-events that deviate strongly from what is normal in a given region, in the past ten years compared to 1951-1980. Record daily rainfall events also increased in a non-linear way -- on average, 1 in 4 rainfall records in the last decade can be attributed to climate change. Seemingly small amounts of additional warming push up extreme events substantially.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211007122218.htm

Increasing large wildfires over the western United States linked to diminishing sea ice in the Arctic
Here we show that increasing large wildfires during autumn over the western U.S. are fueled by more fire-favorable weather associated with declines in Arctic sea ice during preceding months on both interannual and interdecadal time scales. Our analysis demonstrates and explains the Arctic-driven teleconnection through regional circulation changes with the poleward-shifted polar jet stream and enhanced fire-favorable surface weather conditions.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-26232-9

‘Receding before our eyes:’ [Vancouver Island] glaciers likely to be all gone by mid-century
“They are receding before our eyes,” says Brian Menounos, a professor of Earth sciences at the ­University of Northern B.C. who has extensively studied glaciers on B.C.’s coast. Menounos estimates all of the Island’s ice packs will be gone by mid-century ... “human-induced climate change” is the real culprit, said Menounos, as increased amounts of ­greenhouse gases in the atmosphere alter weather ­patterns and temperatures ... There are 17,000 glaciers across British Columbia, and most are facing demise. Glaciologists estimate 22 billion cubic metres of water are lost from the province’s glaciers every year.
https://www.coastreporter.net/bc-news/receding-before-our-eyes-island-glaciers-likely-to-be-all-gone-by-mid-century-4546405

Permafrost: a ticking carbon time bomb
Carbon stores, long locked in the permafrost, are now seeping out. Between carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, permafrost contains some 1,700 billion tonnes of organic carbon, almost twice the amount of carbon already present in the atmosphere. Methane lingers in the atmosphere for only 12 years compared to centuries for CO2 but is about 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas over a 100-year period. Thawing permafrost is a carbon "time bomb", scientists have warned [and] the thawing and accompanying carbon release will continue even if human emissions are cut ... humanity cannot emit more than 400 billion tonnes of CO2, the IPCC recently concluded. At current rates of emissions, our "carbon budget" would be exhausted within a decade. But carbon budgets do "not fully account for" the wild card of a rapid discharge in greenhouse gases from natural sources in the Arctic, warned a study this year, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
https://phys.org/news/2021-10-permafrost-carbon.html

Climate scientists fear tipping points (maybe you should too)
Anyone who has leaned back in a chair balancing on two legs knows there is a threshold beyond which you irrevocably crash to the floor. That portal between two stable states -- in this case, an upright versus a fallen-over chair -- is a tipping point, and Earth's complex, interlocking climate system is full of them ... Accelerating melt-off from the Greenland ice sheet, for example, is almost certainly slowing down the conveyor belt of ocean currents known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This, in turn, could push Earth's tropical rain belt southward and weaken the African and Asian monsoons, upon which hundreds of millions depend for rain-fed crops. Scientists cannot rule out the possibility that the AMOC will stall altogether, as it has in the past. If this happened, European winters would become much harsher and sea levels in the North Atlantic basin could rise substantially. There are dozens of other ways in which facets of the climate system are intertwined ... the ultimate tipping point [is] "hothouse Earth". The last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 matched today's levels, some three million years ago, temperatures were at least 3C more and sea levels five-to-25 metres higher ... In Antarctica, more than half the ice shelves that prevent glaciers from sliding into the ocean and lifting sea levels are at risk of crumbling due to climate change.
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20211025-climate-scientists-fear-tipping-points-maybe-you-should-too

Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: Another Year Another Record
The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year, with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average. That trend has continued in 2021, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the pre-industrial level. Methane (CH4) is 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1750 when human activities started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium. The economic slowdown from COVID-19 did not have any discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates, although there was a temporary decline in new emissions. As long as emissions continue, global temperature will continue to rise. Given the long life of CO2, the temperature level already observed will persist for several decades even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero.
https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/greenhouse-gas-bulletin-another-year-another-record

Rising Arctic Temperatures Mean Migrating North No Longer Worth It for Many Species, Study Finds
As temperatures rise in northern regions, migrating species are seeing less benefit from heading north for the summer months, according to scientists who reviewed 25 recent studies. In the warm months, birds, mammals, and insects head north to access food, escape predators, and avoid diseases made worse by summer heat. But with climate change, many species are seeing shrinking food supplies and encountering new parasites and pathogens in the Arctic. This has stunted reproduction and increased mortality among migrating species, the scientists write in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/rising-arctic-temperatures-mean-migrating-north-no-longer-worth-it-for-many-species-study-finds

Shell Not Meeting Own Sustainability Goals: Report
Shell will not meet their emission targets, a climate report showed. The Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company was also far behind in a court judgment ... emissions will increase until 2030, instead of a mandatory reduction of 45 percent determined by the Dutch court ... Shell said they will make new plans in due time. The company has said that it will gradually reduce its emissions to become carbon neutral by 2050. According to the research report, the company does not seem to be able to achieve its targets after 2022 ... The report stated that fuel emissions will increase by 66 percent, which means net greenhouse emissions will rise by 4.4 percent. At the end of May, the court in The Hague ruled that the oil and gas company is obliged to reduce their CO2 emissions drastically. The judges determined that by 2030 emissions need to be reduced by 45 percent compared to 2019.
https://nltimes.nl/2021/10/23/shell-meeting-sustainability-goals-report

TotalEnergies accused of downplaying climate risks
French oil company TotalEnergies knew at least 50 years ago about a link between burning fossil fuels and global warming ... An article from 1971 in the company's magazine, Total Information, mentioned partial melting of ice caps [and] also predicted the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ... The research, which follows similar studies about US oil giant ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch [Shell], was carried out by three historians and published on Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Global Environment Change ... by the late 1980s Total "began promoting doubt regarding the scientific basis for global warming", moving from "denial to delay," the researchers said ... Professor Andy Shepherd, director of the Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling, said the evidence is "pretty clear cut. Total can claim they weren't aware of the dangers, but few people will believe that. In fact the article was remarkably prescient."
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58989374

Climate change: Fossil fuel production set to soar over next decade
Plans by governments to extract fossil fuels up to 2030 are incompatible with keeping global temperatures to safe levels, says the UN. The UNEP production gap report says countries will drill or mine more than double the levels needed to keep the 1.5C threshold alive. Oil and gas recovery is set to rise sharply with only a modest decrease in coal. There has been little change since the first report was published in 2019 [and] despite the flurry of net zero emission goals and the increased pledges of many countries, some of the biggest oil, gas and coal producers have not set out plans for the rapid reductions in fossil fuels that scientists say are necessary to limit temperatures in coming years ... instead of curbing carbon, many of the biggest emitting countries are also planning to significantly increase their production of fossil fuels, according to the UN.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58971131
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/20/planned-fossil-fuel-output-vastly-exceeds-climate-limits-says-un

White House, intelligence agencies, Pentagon issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security
The Pentagon report in particular marks a shift in how the U.S. military establishment is incorporating climate issues into its security strategy, analysts said. Until now, when the Defense Department has considered climate change, it has tended to focus on how floods and extreme heat can affect military readiness rather than the broader geopolitical consequences of a warming world. Now it is worried that climate change could lead to state failure ... builds on other grim warnings from national security officials about how a changing climate could upend societies and topple governments. “We assess that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge,” the document states. It also concludes that while momentum to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases is growing, “current policies and pledges are insufficient” to meet the goals that countries laid out in the landmark Paris climate accord [and] offers a dim assessment of the prospects for unified international action. “Countries are arguing about who should act sooner and competing to control the growing clean energy transition,” it states, concluding that “most countries will face difficult economic choices and probably will count on technological breakthroughs to rapidly reduce their net emissions later” ... The report’s warnings build on years of intelligence analysis that also painted a bleak picture. Just six months ago, in its quadrennial “Global Trends” report, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence forecast that climate change could spawn social upheaval and political instability.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/intelligence-pentagon-climate-change-warnings/2021/10/21/ea3a2c84-31d3-11ec-a1e5-07223c50280a_story.html

Where civilization emerged between the Tigris and Euphrates climate change is poisoning the land and emptying the villages
Iraq’s climate woes have exacerbated shortages in everything from food to electricity generation. Fisheries have been depleted. In the country’s north, wheat production is expected to decline by 70 percent, aid groups say. In provinces without access to rivers, families are spending ever larger portions of their monthly income on drinking water. The result, increasingly, is migration. According to the International Organization of Migration, more than 20,000 Iraqis were displaced by lack of access to clean water in 2019, most of them in the country’s south. But as they flee to towns and cities, they’re further straining services already hollowed out by widespread corruption and weak job markets where unemployment is high ... Climate scientists warn that the extreme temperatures facing places like southern Iraq are a small taste of what will follow elsewhere. Iraq’s climate woes have exacerbated shortages in everything from food to electricity generation. Temperatures in Iraq topped a record 125 degrees this summer.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2021/iraq-climate-change-tigris-euphrates/

Report: Plastic May Soon Overtake Coal as a Climate Killer
A new report from Beyond Plastics, an initiative at Bennington College to reduce plastic pollution [is] the first to look at the full climate impacts of plastic, analyzing publicly available data of 10 stages of plastics production, usage, and disposal. The results are startling. Among the findings: The U.S. plastics industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants; In 2020, the plastics industry’s reported emissions increased by 10 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 2019; Construction is currently underway in the U.S. on another 12 plastics facilities, and 15 more are planned. Altogether these expansions may emit more than 40 million more tons of greenhouse gases annually by 2025; Plastics are on track to contribute more climate change emissions than coal plants by 2030. Oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil have a huge presence in the plastics business and it’s getting bigger ... expanding into plastics is the plan B for a fossil fuel industry that sees its future being squeezed by a shift to cleaner, cheaper forms of energy and an increasingly broad social mandate to reduce carbon pollution. “They are losing money on power, on electrification, on the rise of electric cars,” says Enck. “So under the radar, they are investing billions in a petrochemical build-out that few people know about, except impacted communities” ... report also blows up industry claims about recycling. Regular recycling has in fact stagnated at less than 9 percent. Now the plastics industry is touting “chemical recycling,” a term used to describe the processing of plastic waste into fuel. There are only a few chemical recycling plants in operation now, but by 2025, new capacity may cause the release of 18 million tons of greenhouse gases each year — equivalent to nine coal-fired power plants.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/plastic-pollution-climate-change-1245402/
reporting on a study at https://www.beyondplastics.org/plastics-and-climate

Extreme rain over California's burn scars causes mudslides: This is what cascading climate disasters look like
Wildfires strip away vegetation and leave the soil less able to absorb water. A downpour on these vulnerable landscapes can quickly erode the ground as fast-moving water carries debris and mud with it ... communities and government agencies aren't prepared. Big-time precipitation is expected for the West Coast over the next 10 days. An atmospheric river will dump inches of rain and feet of snow across California, Oregon, and Washington as numerous storm systems roll in off the Pacific ... Several research studies have shown that compound events with both drought and heat waves have become more severe and frequent in recent years. One study attributed the increase in the risk of these dry-warm events in California to human-caused global warming and projected that the increased risk of dry-warm conditions will continue in the future ... At the same time, extreme rainfall events are expected to intensify in a warming climate. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, leading to wetter storms. This means there will likely be more burned acres exposed to potentially extreme rainfall events in a warmer world.
https://phys.org/news/2021-10-extreme-california-scars-mudslides-cascading.html

Vapor Storms Are Threatening People and Property
More moisture in a warmer atmosphere is fueling intense hurricanes and flooding rains
In mid-July, storms in western Germany and Belgium dropped up to eight inches of rain in two days. Floodwaters ripped buildings apart and propelled them through village streets. A week later a year’s worth of rain—more than two feet—fell in China’s Henan province in just three days [and] mid-August a sharp kink in the jet stream brought torrential storms to Tennessee that dropped an incredible 17 inches of rain in just 24 hours ... None of these storm systems were hurricanes or tropical depressions. Soon enough, though, Hurricane Ida swirled into the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth named tropical storm in the year’s busy North Atlantic season. On August 28 it was a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. Less than 24 hours later Ida exploded to Category 4 ... As the oceans and atmosphere warm, additional water evaporates into the air. Warmer air, in turn, can hold more of that vapor before it condenses into cloud droplets that can create flooding rains [and] a juicier atmosphere provides extra energy and moisture ... fueling what might be called “vapor storms” that are unleashing more rain and snow than storms did only a few decades ago. Measurements confirm that heavy-precipitation events are hitting harder and occurring more often ... water vapor is also making global warming worse. Even though carbon dioxide gets most of the attention, water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It absorbs much more of the infrared energy radiated upward by Earth’s surface than do other greenhouse gases, thereby trapping more heat ... As human activities continue to produce more heat-trapping gases, the oceans and atmosphere will continue to warm, and additional water will evaporate, leading to more frequent vapor storms and debilitating steam waves. Hurricanes in the strongest categories will occur more often, as will storms that intensify rapidly.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vapor-storms-are-threatening-people-and-property

Gaping hole opened up in 'Last Ice Area' of the Arctic, NASA images show
Arctic sea ice has starkly declined over the last 40 years, though polar scientists believed a region dubbed the "Last Ice Area" was largely resistant to melting as the planet warmed. Yet new research published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters shows a hole nearly the size of Rhode Island opened up there in 2020, meaning even places with robust ice some 15-feet thick (or more) is increasingly susceptible in today's warming climate. "The scary thing is this area might not be as resilient as we think it is," Arctic scientist Kent Moore told Mashable. Moore is a professor of physics at the University of Toronto Mississauga who led the research.
https://mashable.com/article/arctic-climate-change

One in five of Europe’s bird species slipping towards extinction
From the Azores in the west to the Ural mountains in the east, birds that have been the cornerstones of European ecosystems are disappearing ... 30% of species assessed are showing population decline ... 13% of birds are threatened with extinction and a further 6% are near threatened.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/14/one-in-five-of-europes-bird-species-slipping-towards-extinction-aoe

California records driest year in a century
[A] total of 11.87 inches of rain and snow fell in California in the 2021 water year. That’s half of what experts deem average during a water year in California ... California’s major reservoirs are below their average storage level ... drought effects have been worsened by accelerated climate change ... California recorded its hottest summer this year, and the extreme heat has parched the landscape. And as the newest water year begins, the state could be in for more of the same. La Niña conditions that typically bring dry winters to California and the Southwest have emerged in the Pacific Ocean, NOAA reported Thursday. “We’ve already had this dry year, we’re in a drought situation, and then trends are that it potentially could be below the low rainfall season again this winter,” said Jayme Laber, senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Oxnard. “All those things add up to not looking good.” NOAA climatologists forecast the present drought to last into 2022 and potentially longer.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-10-18/california-records-driest-year-in-a-century

Increasing heat and rainfall extremes now far outside the historical climate
Over the last decade, the world warmed by 0.25 °C, in-line with the roughly linear trend since the 1970s. Here we present updated analyses showing that this seemingly small shift has led to the emergence of heat extremes that would be virtually impossible without anthropogenic global warming. Also, record rainfall extremes have continued to increase worldwide and, on average, 1 in 4 rainfall records in the last decade can be attributed to climate change.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-021-00202-w

Global emissions plans will fall 60% short of 2050 net zero target
In its annual World Energy Outlook ... IEA predicted that carbon emissions would decrease by just 40% by the middle of the century if countries stick to their climate pledges. The organisation said the difference between current plans and the change necessary to reach the net zero target was “stark.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/13/carbon-emissions-will-drop-just-40-by-2050-with-countries-current-pledges

Climate Change Is Melting Russia’s Permafrost—and Challenging Its Oil Economy
The melting of the thick layer of the earth known as permafrost is a result of climate change, according to scientists and Russia government research. Two-thirds of the country sits on such soil, including much of its oil and gas infrastructure ... Mines and plants are experiencing increasing corrosion leaks and cracks, stemming in large part from defrosting ground. In the pipeline industry, braces and other mechanisms, previously anchored into permafrost, often corrode, twist and bend when the earth below changes ... “In the near past, everybody believed that permafrost would have an impact on infrastructure by the end of the century. Now we know we don’t have much time,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Oil, gas, villages—it’s all on the line.” Russian economic officials and scientists estimate that thawing permafrost could affect more than a fifth of Russian infrastructure. The economy stands to lose more than $68 billion by 2050, a government minister said in May. The government says that 40% of buildings and infrastructure facilities in permafrost-covered areas have already been damaged.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-change-permafrost-oil-gas-economy-russia-11633443474
see also https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-10-18/russias-remote-permafrost-thaws-threatening-homes-and-infrastructure

Why the American west’s ‘wildfire season’ is a thing of the past
What the US Forest Service once characterized as a four-month-long fire season starting in late summer and early autumn now stretches into six to eight months of the year ... More than half of the 20 largest fires in California history burned in just the last four years. Eight of the top 20 fires in Oregon occurred in that time frame too. Last year, Arizona saw the most acres burned in its history ... the climate emergency is a leading culprit. [It] has amplified drought and heat, two factors that have always been natural parts of western landscape, but play crucial roles in driving bigger blazes ... the highest danger for fire may not yet have passed. More than 95% of the west remains mired in drought, with more than half of the region classified in extreme or exceptional. It’s the most “expansive and intense” drought seen in this century, according to the US Drought Monitor.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/10/wildfire-climate-emergency-us-west

[US] Defense Department warns climate change will increase conflicts over water and food
Climate change poses a serious threat to U.S. military operations and will lead to new sources of global political conflict, the Department of Defense wrote in its new climate adaptation plan ... Water shortages could become a primary source of friction or conflict between U.S. military overseas and the countries where troops are based, it warned ... The DOD was among 20 federal agencies unveiling the plans, which reveal the biggest threats global warming poses to their operations and suggest how they could handle them.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/08/defense-department-warns-climate-change-will-increase-conflicts.html

Saltwater Intrusion Intensifies Coastal Permafrost Thaw
Along coastlines globally, sea-level rise is causing saltwater to intrude into terrestrial environments and freshwater reservoirs (i.e., saltwater intrusion) ... Results show that sea-level rise causes saltwater to intrude into the unfrozen pore space of permafrost. With a lower freezing temperature than freshwater, saltwater intrusion triggers permafrost thaw and lateral retreat. The combination of atmospheric and oceanic warming and sea-level rise has the potential to drive extensive permafrost loss along Arctic coastlines.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2021GL094776

The American Bumblebee Has Vanished From Eight States
In two decades, the insect’s population has declined by nearly 90 percent
The American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus)—once abundant and found lazily floating around in grasslands, open prairies, and some urban areas throughout the United States—now face a rapidly declining population ... the species' population has dropped nearly 90 percent [but] despite dwindling population numbers, the American bumblebee is not protected in any state or by federal law. American bumblebees are a vital pollinator for wildflowers and crops, and their decline could have severe consequences for the environment. The species has completely vanished from eight states ... Researchers can trace the bee's plummeting population numbers back to multiple threats, including pesticides, habitat loss, climate change, diseases and competition from non-native honeybees. States with the most significant dip in bee numbers have the largest increase in the use of pesticides like neonicotinoids, insecticides, and fungicides, per Live Science.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/american-bumblebee-has-vanished-from-eight-us-states-180978817/

U.N. weather agency says world ill-prepared for ‘looming water crisis’
Floods, droughts and other water-related disasters are on the rise due to global warming, the World Meteorological Organization said in a new report published Tuesday. At the same time, swelling populations and dwindling resources around the globe have led to increased water scarcity in multiple regions, the U.N. agency said ... more than 2 billion people live in "water-stressed countries” where they lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation, according to the report “The State of Climate Services 2021: Water” ... The WMO and other agencies said that “urgent action” is needed to ramp up sustainable investment in drought and flood early warning systems, improve water management and integrate water and climate policies. “Time is not on our side.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/10/05/united-nations-world-meteorological-organization-water-crisis/

Andrew Forrest criticises use of carbon capture and storage saying it fails ‘19 out of 20 times’
‘It’s a good soundbite but it doesn’t work’
As the [Australian] government moves to award carbon credits to fossil fuel projects that promise to capture and store carbon dioxide, the mining billionaire has told a podcast such projects had failed “19 out of 20 times” ... “in my own home state of Western Australia, we have some of the biggest gas developments in the world who’ve been granted permission to develop on carbon sequestration. And it failed. And that’s quite normal around the world. So to suddenly say, well, carbon sequestration, we’re going to wave a wand, it’s going to work reliably. Well, you know that, actually – if you’re a realist – is a bridge way too far. It’s good in a soundbite, but it doesn’t work in reality.”
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/04/andrew-forrest-criticises-use-of-carbon-capture-storage-saying-it-fails-19-out-of-20-times

The Ground Is Literally Exploding Due to Climate Change in Siberia, and It’s Going to Get Worse
Huge gas explosions are erupting in the icy soils of Siberia, a recent phenomenon that is linked to climate change ... a team led by Evgeny Chuvilin, a leading research scientist at the Skoltech Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery in Moscow, has proposed a new formation model [that is] published in the journal Geosciences ... the surface permafrost “caps” become weakened by this thawing process, which makes them more vulnerable to pressure from pools of methane gas that build up deep underground [and] the pressure from the gas pools reaches a tipping point that triggers the immense explosions. Given the direct link to climate change, Chuvilin and his colleagues expect these blowouts to continue in the future.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx5mmq/the-ground-is-literally-exploding-due-to-climate-change-in-siberia-and-its-going-to-get-worse

Critical groundwater supplies may never recover from drought
In the largest study of its kind, scientists found that this recovery time only applies to aquifers that aren’t touched by human activity, and the recovery time might be even longer in regions with excessive pumping. For groundwater levels to recover after a drought, new precipitation requires time to percolate through the soil and recharge the depleted aquifer. The researchers show that this process can take several years longer in areas with deeper groundwater levels. “If people pump groundwater without first letting it recharge, groundwater levels keep going down, the cost of pumping goes up, and the land sinks,” explained Hoori Ajami, UCR groundwater hydrologist and study co-author and principal investigator on this project. Published in the Journal of Hydrology, the new study is the first to examine groundwater response to droughts on a continental scale ... “Excessive pumping lowers the groundwater level, creating a downward spiral in which restoring the aquifer becomes harder and harder,” added study co-author Adam Schreiner-McGraw.
https://news.ucr.edu/articles/2021/09/30/critical-groundwater-supplies-may-never-recover-drought

U.S. military consumes more hydrocarbons than most countries -- massive hidden impact on climate
[T]he US military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries. The majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting routinely focuses on civilian energy use and fuel consumption, not on the US military. This new study, published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, calculates part of the US military's impact on climate change through critical analysis of its global logistical supply chains [and] reports that if the US military were a nation state, it would be the 47th largest emitter of GHG in the world.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190620100005.htm
reporting on a study at https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tran.12319

Triple jeopardy: Children face dark future of climate disasters
The outlook is troubling if the pace of global warming continues unchecked, said Wim Thiery, a climate scientist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, who led the research. "We found that everyone under 40 today will live an unprecedented life in terms of their lifetime exposure to heat waves, droughts and floods," Thiery said. "This is true even under the most conservative scenarios" ... Thiery said it's likely that impacts on people's lives will be even greater than the study estimates. That's because the researchers focused only on the frequency of extreme events, which doesn't take into account how long and severe they are. Studies have shown that climate change is making events like heat waves, droughts and wildfires not only more likely to occur, but also more intense.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/triple-jeopardy-children-face-dark-future-climate-disasters-rcna2304
reporting on a study at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abi7339

A major Pacific current system is poised to heat up — with potentially devastating repercussions
Just as the Gulf Stream controls the motion of the ocean along North America's east coast, the Kuroshio Current and Extension form the main western boundary current as part of the North Pacific ocean gyre (meaning a large system of circulating currents) that spans from the North American Pacific Coast to Polynesia. The KCE helps move heat from the tropics to colder regions in the north Pacific ... the KCE may be in danger of heating extensively and/or altering its flow because of climate change. That is the conclusion of this new study, co-authored by Lam and recently published in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology ... the Kuroshio Current has warmed by between 1° and 2.5° degrees Celsius between 1900 and 2008, which would amount to a heating rate twice or three times faster than the global mean surface ocean temperature.
https://www.salon.com/2021/09/30/kuroshio-current-extension-heating/
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021PA004318

US to declare ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more species extinct
The ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species are expected to be declared extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday. It’s a rare move for wildlife officials to give up hope on a plant or animal, but government scientists have exhausted efforts to find these 23 species and warned that the climate crisis, on top of other pressures, could make such disappearances more common ... “it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change,” Fahey said.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/29/us-bird-species-ivory-billed-woodpecker-extinct

In the Arctic, Less Sea Ice and More Snow on Land Are Pushing Cold Extremes to Eastern North America
Arctic sea ice this year is once again near a record low, and medium range forecasts call for relatively cold and snowy conditions in Siberia ... Disruptions of the polar vortex—a belt of strong, high altitude winds usually circling the central Arctic—have become more frequent in the last 40 years, the new research found. In the study, the researchers write that the lack of sea ice in the Barents-Kara Seas and heavier snowfall over Siberia combine to build a wave of high pressure in the atmosphere between Northern Europe and the Ural Mountains, along with low pressure over East Asia ... the new pattern, shaped by global warming, intensifies the waves [and] if that energy bounces downward off the polar vortex it distorts the vortex, pushing one end of the cold dumbbell over Siberia and the other toward the eastern half of the United States.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/02092021/arctic-polar-vortex-ice-snow-extreme-freeze/

The world's biggest carbon-removal plant just opened. In a year, it'll negate just 3 seconds worth of global emissions.
This carbon capture and storage facility, named Orca, turned on two weeks ago after more than 18 months of construction. The fans are embedded in shipping container-sized boxes ... Orca can trap and sequester 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year — making it the largest facility of its kind in the world (though there are currently only two running) ... "Nothing else can do what this tech does." According to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon capture and storage is a necessary part of our best-case climate scenarios. [But] climate scientist Peter Kalmus has done the math: "If it works, in one year it will capture three seconds worth of humanity's CO2 emissions."
https://www.businessinsider.com/carbon-capture-storage-expensive-climate-change-2021-9

Rice feeds half the world. Climate change’s droughts and floods put it at risk
California is the second-largest U.S. producer of rice [and] climate change is expected to worsen the state’s extreme swings in precipitation, researchers reported in 2018 in Nature Climate Change ... “If we lose our rice crop, we’re not going to be eating,” says plant geneticist Pamela Ronald of the University of California, Davis. Climate change is already threatening rice-growing regions around the world, says Ronald, who identifies genes in rice that help the plant withstand disease and floods. “This is not a future problem. This is happening now.”
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/rice-agriculture-feeds-world-climate-change-drought-flood-risk

‘Out of control’ durum wheat market expected to cause pasta shortage
Inclement weather in Canada and Europe is resulting in a spike in the price of raw material, which – along with increases in freight – is spiralling the durum wheat market ‘completely out of control’ ... Canada – the world’s leading durum wheat producer – has experienced extreme heat and scarce rainfall since seeding ... Poor weather in Europe is also affecting the harvest, with French wheat, in particular, experiencing a poor year due to excessive rain. Durum is the second most cultivated species of wheat after common wheat ... “The market is completely out of control and as a result there has been an approximately 90% increase in raw material prices as well as increases in freight,” said Jason Bull, director of Eurostar Commodities. “This is a dire situation hitting all semolina producers and all buyers of durum wheat across the globe. Companies are buying at record high prices and farmers are holding onto wheat and driving the price up. “We expect to see shortages on supermarket shelves and increasing prices.”
https://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/Article/2021/09/10/Out-of-control-durum-wheat-market-expected-to-cause-pasta-shortage

Paraguay on the brink as historic drought depletes river, its life-giving artery
“Twelve barges had to leave today, but only six will make it out: there’s no time, the water’s dropping too fast,” said Krivenchuk, general manager of the Trociuk private port in southern Paraguay. “It’s the first time that any have left in two months.” The Paraná River, which winds through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, has dropped to its lowest levels in 77 years as a severe drought that began in late 2019 continues to punish the region ... levels are rapidly falling. The drought has threatened water supplies in Argentina, driven up energy prices in Brazil, and helped drive rampant wildfires across the region. Paraguay, which has no coast and relies on its rivers for countless social, environmental, and commercial services, faces dire strain ... The world’s third-largest river fleet moves 96% of Paraguay’s international imports and exports along two great waterways, the Paraná and the Paraguay ... The CAF–Development Bank of Latin America lists Paraguay as the country most vulnerable to the climate emergency in South America. It has also seen enormous deforestation. Only 7% of the Atlantic forest that until recent decades covered the country’s east remains, and the western Chaco forest faces some of the world’s highest deforestation rates ... no end to the drought in sight.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/sep/27/paraguay-severe-drought-depletes-river

Dying crops, spiking energy bills, showers once a week. In South America, the climate future has arrived.
From the frigid peaks of Patagonia to the tropical wetlands of Brazil, worsening droughts this year are slamming farmers, shutting down ski slopes, upending transit and spiking prices for everything ... So low are levels of the Paraná running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina that some ranchers are herding cattle across dried-up riverbeds typically lined with cargo-toting barges ... droughts this year are extensions of multiyear water shortages ... offering a taste of the challenges ahead in securing an increasingly precious commodity: water. “[This] is not a coincidence,” said Lisa Viscidi, energy and climate expert with the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue. “It’s definitely because we’re seeing the effects of climate change” ... spots severe enough to cause widespread crop losses, water shortages and elevated fire risk are now present in every continent outside Antarctica [and] disasters, scientists say, will worsen as the planet warms ... In a country long known as a global breadbasket, where 70 percent of exports are food commodities such as soybeans and corn, the drought is slamming farmers — and the broader economy ... Analysts fear the droughts are a harbinger of a new normal.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/24/argentina-brazil-south-america-drought/

Lake Powell Reaches New Low
As North America approaches the end of the 2021 water year, the two largest reservoirs in the United States stand at their lowest levels since they were first filled ... Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir by capacity in the United States [and on] September 20, 2021 [the] lake held just 30 percent of its capacity ... Downstream in the Colorado River water management system, Lake Mead is filled to just 35 percent of capacity. More than 94 percent of the land area across nine western states is now affected by some level of drought, according to the September 23 report from the U.S. Drought Monitor ... NOAA Drought Task Force offered some context for the low water levels across the region. “Successive dry winter seasons in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, together with a failed 2020 summer southwestern monsoon, led precipitation totals since January 2020 to be the lowest on record since at least 1895 over the entirety of the Southwest. At the same time, temperatures across the six states considered in the report (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah) were at their third highest on record. Together, the exceptionally low precipitation and warm temperatures reduced snowpack and increased evaporation of soil moisture, leading to a persistent and widespread drought over most of the American West.“
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/148861/lake-powell-reaches-new-low

Fires in the Amazon have already impacted 90% of plant and animal species
Since 2019, deforestation and fires have caused the Brazilian Amazon to lose about 10,000 square kilometers of forest cover per year – a high and alarming increase over the previous decade, when the annual reduction in forest area was close to 6,500 square kilometers, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). However, until very recently, experts had measured only the vegetation in areas destroyed; never had the biodiversity loss caused by fires been assessed. A new scientific study published in Nature – “How deregulation, drought and increasing fire impact Amazonian biodiversity” – translates this impact into numbers: to a greater or lesser extent, 93 to 95% of 14,000 species of plants and animals have already suffered some kind of consequence of the Amazon’s fires. The study, which involved researchers from universities and institutions in the U.S., Brazil and the Netherlands, analyzed data on the distribution of fires in the Amazon between 2001 and 2019, when the region saw record rates of major fires, despite high rainfall.
https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/fires-in-the-amazon-have-already-impacted-more-than-90-of-animal-and-plant-species-in-the-biome/

Climate change: EU-backed study shows alarming state of oceans
Ocean temperatures and water levels are continuing to rise as a result of human intervention.
The state of the world's oceans is worsening, according to an environmental report released on Wednesday by a European Commission-funded marine monitoring service ... The Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service report highlighted the speed of change in oceans due to human intervention ... "Climate change, pollution and overexploitation have caused unprecedented stress on the ocean," Karina von Schuckmann, chair of the Ocean State Report, said in a statement accompanying the report.
https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-eu-backed-study-shows-alarming-state-of-oceans/a-59261525

Study: Increased heat-drought combinations could damage crops globally
Heat and drought events may coincide more often due to climate change, with negative consequences for agriculture, according to a new study. Crop yields often drop during hot growing seasons, and combined heat and drought can magnify the effect, say the authors. The study was just published in the journal Nature Food ... "Our study uncovers a new risk to crop production from climate warming that we believe is overlooked in current assessments. As the planet continues to warm, water and heat may get more strongly interrelated in many regions, making droughts hotter and heat waves drier," said lead author Corey Lesk, a researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
https://phys.org/news/2021-09-heat-drought-combinations-crops-globally.html

Southwest U.S. drought, worst in a century, linked by NOAA to climate change
Human-caused climate change has intensified the withering drought gripping the Southwestern United States, the region's most severe on record, with precipitation at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, a U.S. government report said on Tuesday. Over the same period, from January 2020 through August 2021, the region also experienced the third-highest daily average temperatures measured since record-keeping began near the end of the 19th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) drought task force. The study warned that extreme drought conditions are likely to worsen and repeat themselves "until stringent climate mitigation is pursued and regional warming trends are reversed" ... The report focuses on drought in six states comprising the American Southwest, home more than 60 million people, but its implications stretch beyond that region, the authors said. "Half of the United States is in an unprecedented drought."
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/southwest-us-drought-worst-century-linked-by-noaa-climate-change-2021-09-21/

With Climate Change, There May Be No Best Place to Live
If you’re looking to move somewhere in the U.S. to ride out the climate apocalypse, bad news: The list is growing shorter.
The heat wave of 2021 may eventually be viewed as a dividing line between the Before and After Times in the Northwest. “The problem with calling this a once-in-a-1000-year event is that the climate system is not in a balanced state,” the Oregon Climate Office tweeted in June. “The past is no longer a reliable guide for the future. These events are becoming more frequent and intense, a trend projected to continue.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-09-19/neither-portland-maine-or-oregon-is-refuge-from-climate-change

As climate pledges fall short, U.N. predicts globe could warm by catastrophic 2.7 degrees Celsius
The United Nations warned Friday that based on the most recent action plans submitted by 191 countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the planet is on track to warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — far above what world leaders have said is the acceptable upper limit of global warming ... U.N. Secretary General António Guterres in a statement said, “The world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7-degrees of heating.” He warned that “there is high risk of failure” at the coming climate summit.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/17/un-climate-2030-biden/

The Rate of Global Warming During Next 25 Years Could Be Double What it Was in the Previous 50
Former NASA climate scientist James Hansen ... expects reduced aerosol pollution to lead to a steep temperature rise
Plunging [aerosol masking] emissions from industrial sources, particularly shipping, could lead global temperatures to surge well beyond the levels prescribed by the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as 2040 ... doubling of the rate of global warming would put the planet in the fast lane of glacial melting, sea level rise and coral reef ecosystem die-offs, as well as escalating heatwaves, droughts and floods ... In Hansen’s latest warning, he said scientists are dangerously underestimating the climate impact of reducing sulfate aerosol pollution ... IPCC report also highlighted that declining aerosol pollution will speed warming.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/15092021/global-warming-james-hansen-aerosols/

What Is ‘Fire Weather,’ and Why Is It Getting Worse?
A new study of the American West shows that climate change is driving more days that are hot, dry, and windy
"It's not just that it's hot. It's not just that it's dry. It's that all these conditions are happening at the same time ... there's very clearly an increase in these fire weather days that's been happening since the early 1970s across most of the western United States." Weber analyzed data from 225 weather stations from 17 western states going back to 1973, looking at temperature, humidity, and wind speeds, the three main variables that drive catastrophic fires ... the Southwest, in particular, has gotten much hotter and drier [plus] the region is seeing far more windy days, when an ignition is liable to turn into a speedy, intense blaze.
https://www.wired.com/story/what-is-fire-weather-and-why-is-it-getting-worse/
reporting on a study at https://medialibrary.climatecentral.org/uploads/general/FireWeatherReport2021.pdf

The amount of energy required by direct air carbon capture [DAC] proves it is an exercise in futility
Removing CO2 directly from the air requires almost as many joules as those produced by burning the fossil fuel in the first place
In 2020, the world used 462 exajoules (EJ) of energy from fossil fuels, which resulted in 32 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. Capturing that carbon dioxide through DAC — which sucks the greenhouse gas out of the air — would require 448EJ, according to calculations by Australian maths-as-a-service company Keynumbers. That 448EJ is the equivalent of 124,444TWh — more than five times the annual global electricity consumption in 2020 (23,177TWh, according to Enerdata). And that doesn’t even include the energy that would be required to then transport and store the captured CO2 ... The world’s largest DAC facility, Climeworks’ $10m-15m Orca plant, was opened in Iceland last week, and is due to capture 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air every year — the equivalent to the emissions from about 870 cars. The captured CO2 is then mixed with water and injected into basalt rock 1km underground, where it slowly turns into a solid carbonate mineral over a two-year [period]. So, theoretically, eight million such plants would be needed to capture the world’s annual carbon emissions, at a cost of $80trn-120trn.
https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/the-amount-of-energy-required-by-direct-air-carbon-capture-proves-it-is-an-exercise-in-futility/2-1-1067588

Coral Reef Cover, Biodiversity, and Fish Catches Have Declined by Half Since the 1950s
[G]lobal coverage of living corals has declined by about half since the 1950s. So, too, has the capacity of coral reefs to provide ecosystem services ... catches of fishes on the coral reef reached its peak nearly two decades ago and has been in decline ever since despite an increase in fishing effort. The catch per unit effort (CPUE), often used as an indication of changes in biomass, is now 60% lower than it was in 1950.
https://scitechdaily.com/coral-reef-cover-biodiversity-and-fish-catches-have-declined-by-half-since-the-1950s/

Stunning photos show drought’s impact on huge California reservoir
The California drought has been brutal over the past few years, but to see just how devastating it has been, you need to see before-and-after pictures side by side. Bay Area News Group photojournalist Nhat V. Meyer went out to the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County this week and took pictures in approximately the same places that he did in January 2019. The reservoir is one of the largest in California. The results are startling.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/09/17/before-and-after-see-the-impact-of-the-california-drought-on-san-luis-reservoir/

Not a single G20 country is in line with the Paris Agreement
None of the world's major economies -- including the entire G20 -- have a climate plan that meets their obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to an analysis published Wednesday ... While many governments have committed to net zero, Hare said that without a real action soon, achieving net zero will be "virtually impossible."
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/15/world/climate-pledges-insufficient-cat-intl/index.html
see also https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/sep/15/governments-falling-short-paris-climate-pledges-study

Animals died in 'toxic soup' during Earth's worst mass extinction: A warning for today
A recent study published by an international team of researchers including Professor and Head of the Department of Geosciences Tracy Frank and Professor Chris Fielding, both newly arrived at UConn, has identified a new cause of extinction during extreme warming events: toxic microbial blooms. In a healthy ecosystem, microscopic algae and cyanobacteria provide oxygen to aquatic animals as a waste product of their photosynthesis. But when their numbers get out of control, these microbes deplete free oxygen, and even release toxins into the water ... systems then seethed with algae and bacteria, delaying the recovery of animals for perhaps millions of years ... Today, humans have been following this recipe, and freshwater microbial blooms have been on the rise ... "The other big parallel is that the increase in temperature at the end of the Permian coincided with massive increases in forest fires. One of the things that that destroyed whole ecosystems was fire, and we're seeing that right now ... we are used to thinking in terms of timescales of years, maybe tens of years [but] the end-Permian mass extinction event took four million years to recover from. That's sobering," says Fielding.
https://phys.org/news/2021-09-animals-died-toxic-soup-earth.html

Climate Scientists Forecast High Temperatures Into the Fall
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said during a news conference that the forecast for October called for above-normal temperatures across much of the country ... the withering drought that currently ranges from the West Coast through the Southwest, the Rockies, the Northern Plains and into Central Minnesota will likely expand eastward ... spreading to nearly all of Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/16/climate/climate-change-drought-temperature.html

Report: Climate change could see 200 million move by 2050
World Bank report published Monday examined how the impacts of slow-onset climate change such as water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels could lead to millions of what it describes as “climate migrants” by 2050 ... Under the most pessimistic scenario, with a high level of emissions and unequal development, the report forecasts up to 216 million people moving ... regions are Latin America; North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; and East Asia and the Pacific ... worst-case scenario is still plausible if collective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in development isn’t taken soon.
https://apnews.com/article/africa-climate-environment-and-nature-immigration-europe-69cada32a7c13f80914a2a7b48fb5b9c
reporting on a study at https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/36248

Why a Warming Arctic Has the U.S. Coast Guard Worried About the Rest of the Country
The Arctic is warming at roughly twice the rate as the rest of the world, and summer sea ice cover has declined to unprecedented lows [so] what would have been work for an icebreaker 40 years ago was largely smooth sailing this time around. [But] it’s likely to get a lot harder. “A warming Arctic means more work for the Coast Guard,” says Admiral Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. And not just in the Arctic, but across the United States. “There is that old saying that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” he says. “Well, what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic” ... could start seeing consistently ice-free Arctic summers as early as 2035 [because] the more the ocean absorbs the sun’s rays, the warmer it gets, which in turn melts even more ice in a continuous feedback loop. The effect stays through the winter, resulting in a decline of multi-year ice [so] at the beginning of the following summer, there is even less of an ice base to start from ... the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest earlier this summer as well as the droughts and subsequent wildfires that have plagued the Southwest and California can be attributed to this effect. So too can the rapid intensification of Hurricane Ida and unusually wet summers on the east coast. So even though those extremes seem like polar opposites, they are, in fact, two manifestations of the same phenomenon ... A warming Arctic means the Coast Guard will be navigating a more challenging route, both north of the Arctic Circle as well as further afield.
https://time.com/6095064/arctic-climate-change-coast-guard/

Scientists scramble to harvest ice cores as glaciers melt
Late last year, German-born chemist Margit Schwikowski and a team of international scientists attempted to gather ice cores from the Grand Combin glacier, high on the Swiss-Italian border, for a United Nations-backed climate monitoring effort. In 2018, they had scouted the site by helicopter and drilled a shallow test core. The core was in good shape, said Schwikowski: It had well-preserved atmospheric gases and chemical evidence of past climates, and ground-penetrating radar showed a deep glacier. Not all glaciers in the Alps preserve both summer and winter snowfall; if all went as planned, these cores would have been the oldest to date that did, she said. But in the two years it took for the scientists to return with a full drilling set-up, some of the information that had been trapped in the ice had vanished. Freeze-thaw cycles had created icy layers and meltwater pools throughout the glacier, what another team member described as a water-laden sponge, rendering the core useless ... The mission on Grand Combin underscores the major challenge scientists face today in collecting ice cores: Some glaciers are disappearing faster than expected. The realization is prompting renewed urgency ... Almost all of the world’s glaciers are shrinking, according to the United Nations. In its most comprehensive climate report to date, published in August, the UN concluded that “human influence is very likely the main driver of the near-universal retreat of glaciers” ... The pace at which glaciers are losing mass is also increasing ... Another member of the Grand Combin expedition, Italian climate scientist Carlo Barbante, said the speed at which the ice on the Alpine massif had melted in the last few years was “much higher than it was before.”
https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/scientists-scramble-harvest-ice-cores-glaciers-melt-2021-09-13/

Pune: Low pollution during lockdown linked to warmer seas, say studies
Three recent studies [of aerosol masking] have linked last year’s Covid-19 lockdown in March to an abnormal increase in the surface temperatures of both water bodies. The IIT Bhubaneswar and IISER Pune study, exploring the impact of lockdown, said a decline in pollution aerosols over the Bay of Bengal last year caused the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) to warm ... “With a reduction in these aerosols during lockdown because there were less industrial and transport activities, more solar radiation could reach the ocean surface, causing the warming,” Vinoj said. “Pre-existing high summer SSTs, climate change enhanced ocean heat content and lockdown induced decline in aerosols and clouds, can be the perfect ingredients for intensification of any cyclonic activity.” Cyclones are much more likely to gather intensity over warmer waters. Heating of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal is deeply connected to the recent intense cyclones and extreme rainfall events in India ... Kunal Chakraborty, senior scientist from INCOIS, said less pollution aerosols can reduce the deflection of solar radiation which then could have increased the temperature of the Indian Ocean during the lockdown period.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/low-pollution-during-lockdown-linked-to-warmer-seas-studies/articleshow/86182276.cms

To limit warming to 1.5°C, huge amounts of fossil fuels need to go unused
A massive amount of fossil fuels will need to stay in the ground if the world is to reach its goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5ºC, a new study shows. A paper from faculty members at the University College London uses modeling to decipher what would need to happen for a 50 percent chance of reaching this climate goal ... The study builds on a piece of research from 2015 that looked at the possibility of hitting the 2ºC goal. The earlier work used modeling to suggest that, globally, one-third of all oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and more than 80 percent of coal reserves need to remain unused to reach the goal. The new UCL paper’s recommendations are even stricter [saying] nearly 60 percent of existing oil and fossil methane gas and 90 percent of global coal reserves need to go unused through at least 2050—and this action would only yield a 50 percent chance of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. [But] the necessary emission cuts have yet to materialize. For example, a 2019 UN report stated that the world’s governments expect to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030. “[T]he current and indicated fossil fuel trajectories globally are moving us in the wrong direction,” Welsby said.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/09/to-limit-warming-to-1-5oc-huge-amounts-of-fossil-fuels-need-to-go-unused/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03821-8

The United States Isn’t Ready for the New Phase of Climate Change
For decades, scientists have warned that climate change would unleash ferocious natural disasters unlike anything in recorded human history [but decision-makers] treated climate-fueled disasters as the stuff of a distant future ... In 2021, however, the natural disasters long foretold by scientists arrived with a vengeance. Extreme weather events ... pummeled the globe, leaving swaths of destruction that underscored the grave inadequacy of vital systems and infrastructure ... It is past time to finally heed these calls to action. Climate change is an all-hands-on-deck problem, and escalating crises will not wait for Washington to adapt. Although the United States must continue to cut harmful pollution, it must also begin to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change.
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2021-09-08/united-states-isnt-ready-new-phase-climate-change

Forget plans to lower emissions by 2050 – this is deadly procrastination
Dr. Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UCLA's Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering
The world has by and large adopted “net zero by 2050” as its de facto climate goal, but two fatal flaws hide in plain sight within those 16 characters. One is “net zero.” The other is “by 2050”. These two flaws provide cover for big oil and politicians who wish to preserve the status quo. Together they comprise a deadly prescription for inaction and catastrophically high levels of irreversible climate and ecological breakdown ... To lower the odds of civilizational collapse, society must shift into emergency mode. It will be easy to tell when society has begun this shift: leaders will begin to take actions that actually inflict pain on big oil, such as ending fossil fuel subsidies and placing a moratorium on all new oil and gas infrastructure. Then rapid emissions descent could begin ... the speed and scale now required is staggering. There is no longer any incremental way out ... As a climate scientist, I am terrified by what I see coming. I want world leaders to stop hiding behind magical thinking and feel the same terror.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/10/net-zero-2050-deadly-procrastination-fossil-fuels

Authorities race to contain deadly Nipah virus outbreak in India
Nipah is a zoonotic virus, or one that is transmitted from animals to humans. Transmission generally occurs when humans either come into direct contact with the animals, or through consumption of contaminated food. But a high number of human-to-human transmission cases of Nipah have also been reported. Fruit bats [are] the natural carriers of Nipah. They are known to transmit the virus to other animals including pigs, dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep ... There is no cure or vaccine for Nipah ... up to 75% of Nipah infections prove fatal ... 2004 Bangladesh outbreak was traced back to humans consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated ... Nipah is considered less contagious than the coronavirus, but its much higher mortality rate, a longer incubation period of up to 45 days, and its ability to infect a much wider variety of animals all make Nipah a cause of significant concern for epidemiologists trying to predict and prevent the next pandemic ... as the climate warms and humans destroy more natural habitat of species like the fruit bats in Asia, opportunities for new zoonotic variants to emerge increase.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nipah-virus-outbreak-india-kerala/

For Russians, climate change is taking the ground beneath their feet
[D]amage to houses, roads and other infrastructure such as gas pipelines is becoming more frequent. When permafrost thaws, buildings are more likely to collapse ... Almost two-thirds of the ground area in Russia is [permafrost]. A large amount of animal and plant remains that have not yet been decomposed by microbes are contained in the frost. But in many regions, temperatures are rising and the frost is thawing ... In Russia alone, 20 per cent of all buildings and 19 per cent of infrastructure could be affected by global warming's consequences.
https://nordot.app/807553790163288064

Emergent biogeochemical risks from Arctic permafrost degradation
The Arctic cryosphere is collapsing, posing overlapping environmental risks. In particular, thawing permafrost threatens to release biological, chemical and radioactive materials that have been sequestered for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. As these constituents re-enter the environment, they have the potential to disrupt ecosystem function, reduce the populations of unique Arctic wildlife and endanger human health. Here, we review the current state of the science to identify potential hazards currently frozen in Arctic permafrost. We also consider the cascading natural and anthropogenic processes that may compound the impacts of these risks, as it is unclear whether the highly adapted Arctic ecosystems have the resilience to withstand new stresses.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01162-y

Europe will miss its 2030 climate goal by 21 years at current pace
At the current pace, Europe will only reach its 2030 target for a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases in 2051, a study by Enel Foundation and the European House-Ambrosetti said ... The study, presented on Saturday, said investments of around €3.6 trillion were needed across the bloc to reach 2030 goals ... at the current pace Europe would only reach its 2030 target of raising the share of renewable energy to 40 per cent of final consumption in 2043.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/09/06/europe-will-miss-its-2030-climate-goal-by-21-years-at-current-pace

Ida’s fatal power didn’t shock scientists who study how climate change primed the pump
”Ida fed on an extreme level of heat content in the Gulf of Mexico,” Michael Mann, a Penn State climate scientist and director of the school’s Earth System Science Center, said in an email. “That record heat is tied directly to human-caused warming. That heat favored the dramatic, rapid intensification of Ida. So in short, yeah — this is climate change” ... Scientists say the connection between warming and climate change is well understood. A warmer, moister atmosphere generates more energy for storms to feed on ... During Ida, the Schuylkill at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia rose to 16.28 feet. Flood stage is nine feet, and 14 feet is considered a major flood. The average flow at the location is 1,460 cubic feet per second. It reached a flow of 125,000 cubic feet per second on Thursday. Dozens of sewage and storm-water pipes overflowed, emptying untreated water directly into Philadelphia’s major waterways.
https://www.inquirer.com/science/climate/ida-climate-change-philadelphia-flooding-tornado-20210904.html

Extreme sea levels at different global warming levels
Here, we use a multimethod approach to describe changes in extreme sea levels driven by changes in mean sea level associated with a wide range of global warming levels, from 1.5 to 5 °C, and for a large number of locations, providing uniform coverage over most of the world’s coastlines. We estimate that by 2100 ~50% of the 7,000+ locations considered will experience the present-day 100-yr extreme-sea-level event at least once a year, even under 1.5C of warming, and often well before the end of the century.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01127-1

How easily the climate crisis can become global chaos
[O]ne of the greatest threats of climate change [is] extreme droughts and floods hitting multiple major grain-producing "breadbaskets" simultaneously. The scenario is similar to one outlined by insurance giant Lloyds of London in a "Food System Shock" report issued in 2015. Lloyds gave uncomfortably high odds of such an event occurring ... What’s more, these odds are steadily increasing as humans burn fossil fuels and pump more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the air. A warming planet provides more energy to power stronger storms, and more energy to intensify droughts, heatwaves and wildfires when storms are not present ... If business-as-usual is allowed to continue, a civilization-threatening climate catastrophe will occur. Mother Nature’s primal fury of 2021 is just a preview of what is coming ... this year may well be the coolest year of the rest of our lives. Catastrophic extreme weather events will grow exponentially worse with 3 degrees Celsius of warming — the course we are currently on.
https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/570284-how-easily-the-climate-crisis-can-become-global-chaos

Permafrost Thaw in Siberia Creates a Ticking 'Methane Bomb' of Greenhouse Gases, Scientists Warn
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the study of satellite photos of a previously unexplored site in Siberia detected large amounts of methane being released from exposed limestone ... Another report echoes these anxieties. Published by the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG), it calls for a “global state of emergency” as temperatures continue to climb in Siberia and other Arctic regions. Permafrost covers 65 percent of Russian lands, but it’s melting fast. “Scientists have been shocked that the warm weather conducive to permafrost thawing is occurring roughly 70 years ahead of model projections,” the CCAG warning states [and] cautions that warming temperatures could be pushing the Arctic toward an “irreversible” tipping point, causing the release of methane and other gases, as well as crumbling infrastructure in Siberia, including dams and a nuclear power plant. “The story is simple,” the report concludes. “Climate change is happening faster than anticipated.”
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ticking-timebomb-siberia-thawing-permafrost-releases-more-methane-180978381/

Weather disasters jump fivefold and will get worse: UN
Disasters caused by extreme weather have become much more frequent and costly since the 1970s ... according to a report published by the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Wednesday. The report looked at damages and loss of life incurred through extreme climate and weather incidents between 1970 and 2019. Counting some 11,000 events, it noted that such disasters have increased fivefold in the past 50 years, largely due to climate change. On average, that comes out to one climate- or weather-related disaster per day. "The number of weather, climate and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.
https://www.dw.com/en/weather-disasters-jump-fivefold-and-will-get-worse-un/a-59048127

The Middle East Is Becoming Literally Uninhabitable
As extreme temperatures and severe droughts ravaged the region, forests burned, and cities became islands of unbearable heat [but] this is just the start of a trend. The Middle East is warming at twice the global average and by 2050 will be 4 degrees Celsius warmer as compared with the 1.5 degree mark that scientists have prescribed to save humanity ... According to Germany’s Max Planck Institute, many cities in the Middle East may literally become uninhabitable ... the Middle East has overtaken the European Union in greenhouse gas emissions even though it is “particularly strongly affected” by climate change. “In several cities in the Middle East, temperatures have been soaring well in excess of 50 degrees Celsius,” Lelieveld said. “If nothing changes, cities may experience temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius in the future.”
https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/08/24/the-middle-east-is-becoming-literally-uninhabitable/

The Middle East is running out of water, and parts of it are becoming uninhabitable
The region has witnessed persistent drought and temperatures so high that they are barely fit for human life ... projections for the future of water here are grim ... "declining rainfall and increasing demand in these countries are causing many rivers, lakes, and wetlands to dry up" ... "The problem is, with this whole temperature rise, whatever rainfall will come will evaporate because it is so hot," Mansour Almazroui, director at the Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research at Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz University, told CNN. "The other thing is, this rain is not necessarily going to be usual rain. There's going to be extreme rainfall, meaning that floods like those happening in China, in Germany, in Belgium, these floods will be a big problem for the Middle East. This is really a big climate change issue."
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/22/middleeast/middle-east-climate-water-shortage-iran-urmia-intl/index.html

Wildfire smoke is transforming clouds, making rainfall less likely
[A]ccording to a study published recently in Geophysical Research Letters: Smoke particles make some clouds denser and more tightly packed with tiny droplets—a combination that means the water in them is less likely to fall as rain ... a feedback loop like this could make drought, and so fire cycles, worse ... smoke-induced drop in rainfall probably happens across much of the planet ... “Because of the extra heat the wildfires are more frequent. And because they’re more frequent, you get the drier [conditions], which means less precipitation.”
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/wildfire-smoke-is-transforming-clouds-making-rainfall-less-likely

Rain has fallen on the summit of Greenland’s huge ice cap for the first time on record
Scientists at the US National Science Foundation’s summit station saw rain falling throughout 14 August but had no gauges to measure the fall because the precipitation was so unexpected. Across Greenland, an estimated 7bn tonnes of water was released from the clouds. The rain fell during an exceptionally hot three days in Greenland when temperatures were 18C higher than average in places. As a result, melting was seen in most of Greenland ... Ted Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado [said] “What is going on is not simply a warm decade or two in a wandering climate pattern. This is unprecedented. We are crossing thresholds not seen in millennia, and frankly this is not going to change until we adjust what we’re doing to the air.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/20/rain-falls-peak-greenland-ice-cap-first-time-on-record-climate-crisis

One in three trees face extinction in wild, says new report
Experts say 17,500 tree species are at risk - twice the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined. Conservation groups are calling for urgent protection efforts amid threats such as deforestation, logging and climate change. "We have nearly 60,000 tree species on the planet, and for the first time we now know which of these species are in need of conservation action, what are the greatest threats to them and where they are," said Dr Malin Rivers of the charity Botanic Gardens Conservation International in Kew, London.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58394215

Tennessee floods show a pressing climate danger across America: ‘Walls of water’
There is no place in the United States where you shouldn’t be resetting your expectations about Mother Nature disrupting your life,” said Roy Wright, president of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety and former head of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. “Climate change has come barging through the front doors of America. For years, scientists have warned that humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels, would raise the risk of flooding around the country ... climate change makes it possible even during a regular rainstorm.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/08/23/tennessee-floods-show-pressing-climate-danger-across-america-wall-water/

Wildfires Near Russia’s Nuclear Research Center Spark State of Emergency
Russian authorities have declared an interregional state of emergency as tough-to-contain forest fires threaten the country’s top-secret nuclear weapons research center ... the research center makes nuclear warheads and is believed to be developing Russia’s strategic missiles, including its highly touted hypersonic arsenal. Firefighters have struggled to contain the fires due to hard-to-reach terrain, dead wood that remained after the 2010 wildfires and poor weather conditions.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/08/24/wildfires-near-russias-nuclear-research-center-spark-state-of-emergency-a74878

Drought worsens in Southern California, with Ventura County in worst category
As sweltering drought conditions continue to worsen throughout California, Ventura and other Southern California counties have shifted from “extreme” to “exceptional” drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor Report ... Almost all of California is facing detrimental drought conditions, with 50 of the state’s 58 counties under a state of emergency amid excessive drought conditions ... Last week, the MWD issued a supply alert, calling on all of Southern California to conserve water amid the continued drought, a move that brings the state’s largest population center closer to tough water restrictions that have been imposed on communities elsewhere. The alert came one day after U.S. officials declared the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-23/parts-of-southern-california-now-in-exceptional-drought

Climate crisis made deadly floods ‘up to nine times more likely’
The record-shattering rainfall that caused deadly flooding across Germany and Belgium in July was made up to nine times more likely by the climate crisis, according to research. The study also showed that human-caused global heating has made downpours in the region up to 20% heavier. The work reinforces the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s landmark report this month that there is “unequivocal” evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause of worsening extreme weather.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/23/climate-crisis-made-deadly-german-floods-up-to-nine-times-more-likely

A billion children at ‘extreme risk’, says Unicef
Almost half the world’s 2.2 billion children are already at “extremely high risk” from the impacts of the climate crisis and pollution, according to a report from Unicef. The UN agency’s head called the situation “unimaginably dire”. Nearly every child around the world was at risk from at least one of these impacts today, including heatwaves, floods, cyclones, disease, drought, and air pollution, the report said. But 1 billion children live in 33 countries facing three or four impacts simultaneously. The countries include India, Nigeria and the Philippines, and much of sub-Saharan Africa.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/20/a-billion-children-at-extreme-risk-from-climate-impacts-unicef

Climate change is driving the North Water Polynya toward collapse, study finds
The North Water Polynya [NOW] ... an area of year-round open water wedged between Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere and Devon islands [is] heading toward another collapse — this time driven by human-caused climate warming, concludes a new study published in Nature Communications. The “unprecedented speed” of changes, the study warns, poses serious threats ... “On our present climate trajectory, the NOW will likely cease to exist as a globally unique ice-bounded open-water ecosystem, and a winter refuge for keystone High Arctic species,” the study says ... Two signs of instability can be readily witnessed through satellite observations. “One is that the ice arches are breaking up earlier than they used to, due to sea ice being thinner and warming temperatures, and the other is that they are failing to form at all some years.”
https://www.arctictoday.com/climate-change-is-driving-the-north-water-polynya-toward-collapse-study-finds

Biggest US reservoir declares historic shortage, forcing water cuts across west
Officials have declared a dire water shortage at Lake Mead, the US’s largest reservoir, triggering major water cuts in Arizona and other western states. The US Bureau of Reclamation’s first-ever declaration of a “tier 1” shortage represents an acknowledgment that after a 20-year drought, the reservoir that impounds the Colorado River has receded to its lowest levels since it was created in the 1930s. Already, the lake is at about 35% capacity [and] is projected to fall even lower by the end of the year, prompting cutbacks in January 2022, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday. Arizona will be hardest hit, losing nearly a fifth of the water it receives from the Colorado River. In Pinal county, farmers and ranchers will see the amount of water they get from the river drop by half next year, and disappear altogether by 2023 ... Lake Mead, which was formed after the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, has been declining faster than many experts predicted, amid a devastating drought and intense heatwaves ... the Colorado River system overall is now at half its capacity, according to the US interior department. The past 16 years have been the driest period the basin has seen in 1,200 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/16/lake-mead-drought-reservoir-water-level-cuts

Property insurers update risk modelling as Canada braces for climate impacts
The average annual cost of claims for property damage or losses due to severe weather has more than quadrupled over the last decade to about $2 billion, said Craig Stewart, the bureau's vice-president of federal affairs ... climate crisis is fuelling "more frequent, but also more severe weather events," Stewart said, pointing to flooding across Eastern Canada in recent years, higher-intensity tornadoes and dangerous wildfires on a nearly seasonal basis ... "Reinsurers have lost billions of dollars in this country over the last decade," Stewart said. "So they are upping their rates, insurers are paying more. And of course, that gets passed down in terms of increased premiums to customers."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/property-insurance-climate-change-1.6141901

Turns Out a Wild Geoengineering Plan to Refreeze Arctic Sea Ice Isn't the Best Idea
As the world spins closer to climate catastrophe, fringe ideas are inching toward the mainstream ... including ones focused on saving polar ice by pumping massive amounts of seawater onto the surface of ice, where it will refreeze quicker and strengthen all icepack against melting. The refreezing idea has been proposed for both poles and would be massively expensive. But a new study shows that, in the Arctic, saving sea ice would do little to slow the climate crisis elsewhere. And it would unleash shocking and unintended consequences in the Arctic itself. The paper, published in Earth’s Futures on Thursday, takes its inspiration from a previous study that first raised the prospect of an Arctic geoengineering project. That study outlined a proposal to install wind turbines across the Arctic that would power pumps to draw water to the surface of the remaining sea ice ... the new paper picks up at that point [concluding] that the process would radically alter the climate in the Arctic while doing very little to fix the global climate overall.
https://gizmodo.com/turns-out-a-wild-geoengineering-plan-to-refreeze-arctic-1840270787

It’s official: July was Earth’s hottest month on record
Limits to Growth BAU July 2021 has earned the unenviable distinction as the world’s hottest month ever recorded, according to new global data released today by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded. This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.” With last month’s data, it remains very likely that 2021 will rank among the world’s 10-warmest years on record, according to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook. Extreme heat detailed in NOAA’s monthly NCEI reports is also a reflection of the long-term changes outlined in a major report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeoffsite link. “Scientists from across the globe delivered the most up-to-date assessment of the ways in which the climate is changing,” Spinrad said in a statement. “It is a sobering IPCC report that finds that human influence is, unequivocally, causing climate change, and it confirms the impacts are widespread and rapidly intensifying.”
https://www.noaa.gov/news/its-official-july-2021-was-earths-hottest-month-on-record

The World’s Biggest Fires May Reach Moscow
The fires, which started in May in Yakutia, are now larger than all wildfires around the planet combined ... For months, Russian authorities have been saying that the situation was under control. Finally, on Thursday, the minister of Emergency Situations, Yevgeny Zinichev, traveled to the epicenter of the disaster in Yakutia and concluded: the fires will reach Moscow, if nobody stops them. There are more than 3,000 miles between Moscow and Yakutia ... Bagdan Bakaleiko, a Rain TV journalist covering the crisis in Yakutia, [said] “Firefighters tell us that everything that has never burnt before is burning now” ... this summer has been unusually hot, with unprecedented droughts and strong winds fueling the disaster ... other Russian regions are suffering from wildfires in the Urals, Far East and in the central parts of Russia. Earlier this month, wildfires spread in the national park of Republic of Mordovia, 352 miles from Moscow.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-worlds-biggest-fires-may-reach-moscow-thanks-to-vladimir-putin

California’s Dry Season Is Turning Into a Permanent State of Being
The Climate Prediction Center just issued a forecast water managers in the Western U.S. didn't want to hear. The latest report, released Thursday, puts the odds in favor of a second straight year of La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina tends to steer the storm track north of California, leaving most of the state and the Southwest parched. Last year's La Nina is one of the reasons for the current drought ... "If we want to see improvement of the drought across the West, the last thing you want to see is a back-to-back La Nina,'' said Tom Di Liberto, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ... California has already suffered through two dry years, leaving the soil so parched that what little snow fell in the Sierra Nevada Mountains last winter either evaporated into the air this spring or sunk straight into the dirt, leaving little runoff for rivers and reservoirs. Even with average winter rain and snowfall, runoff would remain low just because the land is so dry ... most climate models don't predict more rain. To make matters worse, his tree-ring study showed that the 20th century was actually an unusually wet period. Our expectations of "normal" rainfall, in other words, have always been a little skewed ... "there aren't any models saying that water availability in the Southwest will get better with climate change," he said. "It's a case of less bad or more bad."
https://phys.org/news/2021-08-california-season-permanent-state.html

Heatwave Scorches Mediterranean in Latest Sign of Climate Change Impacts
A dangerous heatwave is sweeping across the Mediterranean, the latest in a series of recent extreme weather events that underscore the real-world impacts of climate change ... authorities across the Mediterranean are warning their populations to take precautions as temperatures soar ... comes just days after the world’s top climate scientists said in a landmark report that the past decade was most likely hotter than any period in the last 125,000 years and that global temperatures will only keep rising without drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers found that climate change has caused heatwaves to become more frequent and intense across the world, leading to the deaths of vulnerable people ... “It’s a taste of things to come.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-12/mediterranean-heatwave-linked-to-climate-change

Dead zones spread along Oregon coast and Gulf of Mexico, study shows
Scientists recently surveyed the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico around Louisiana and Texas and what they discovered was a larger-than-average area of oxygen-depleted water – a “dead zone” where nothing can live. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists announced their findings this week: about 4m acres of habitat in the Gulf are unusable for fish and bottom-dwelling species ... this was a record year in Oregon as well: the dead zone emerged earlier this year than in the past 35 years. Dead zones develop when fertilizers and nutrients from farmland drain into oceans or lakes, creating an algae bonanza that eventually dies and decomposes. As the algae decomposes, it depletes the waters of oxygen, suffocating species that live in the area.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/06/dead-zones-oregon-coast-gulf-mexico-study

Greenhouse gas emissions must peak within 4 years, says leaked UN report
Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak in the next four years, coal and gas-fired power plants must close in the next decade and lifestyle and behavioural changes will be needed to avoid climate breakdown, according to the leaked draft [of] the forthcoming third part of the landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the first part of which was published on Monday, warning of unprecedented changes to the climate, some of them irreversible ... the leak reflected the concern of some of those involved in drawing up the document that their conclusions could be watered down before publication in 2022. Governments have the right to make changes to the “summary for policymakers”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/12/greenhouse-gas-emissions-must-peak-within-4-years-says-leaked-un-report

Earth is warming faster than previously thought, scientists say, and the window is closing to avoid catastrophic outcomes
"Bottom line is that we have zero years left to avoid dangerous climate change, because it's here," Michael E. Mann, a lead author of the IPCC's 2001 report, told CNN. Unlike previous assessments, Monday's report concludes it is "unequivocal" that humans have caused the climate crisis and confirms that "widespread and rapid changes" have already occurred, some of them irreversibly ... due in part to the breakneck pace at which the planet has been recently warming, faster than scientists have previously observed ... Dave Reay, the director of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, said world leaders "must have the findings of this report seared into their minds" at the November conference and take urgent action. "This is not just another scientific report," Reay said. "This is hell and highwater writ large" ... Michael Byrne, a climate researcher at the University of Oxford, said that's what's different about this report is "the effects of global warming are no longer in the distant future ... it's here."
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/09/world/global-climate-change-report-un-ipcc/index.html

Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity'
Human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways, a major UN scientific report has said. The landmark study warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. The report "is a code red for humanity", says the UN chief ... warming we've experienced to date has made changes to many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia. The oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic. Mountain and polar glaciers will continue melting for decades or centuries. "The consequences will continue to get worse ... for many of these consequences, there's no going back" ... pact aims to keep the rise in global temperatures well below 2C this century and to pursue efforts to keep it under 1.5C [but] new report says that under all the emissions scenarios considered by the scientists, both targets will be broken this century unless huge cuts in carbon take place.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58130705

Farm Bureau Survey: Drought Forces 85% Reduction
Nearly 80% of the [US] West, including North and South Dakota, is in severe drought. That percentage is even more staggering when compared to the 20% of the region that fell into the severe drought range this time last year ... In California, where 50 of the state’s 58 counties are under a drought state of emergency, Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order asking all Californians to voluntarily reduce water use ... water supplies for one-quarter of the state’s irrigated farmland has already been reduced by 95%, and more than half of that farmland is getting no surface water at all.
https://www.drovers.com/news/industry/farm-bureau-survey-drought-forces-85-reduction

Agriculture Is Killing Way More Bees Than We Realized, Huge Study Reveals
A new meta-analysis of dozens of published studies over the last 20 years looked at the interaction between agrochemicals, parasites and malnutrition on bee behaviors and health. Researchers found that when these different stressors interacted they had a negative effect on bees, greatly increasing the likelihood of death. The study published in Nature also found that pesticide interaction was likely to be "synergistic", meaning that their combined impact was greater than the sum of their individual effects. These "interactions between multiple agrochemicals significantly increase bee mortality," said co-author Harry Siviter, of the University of Texas at Austin.
https://www.sciencealert.com/huge-metastudy-says-pesticide-threat-to-bees-likely-underestimated

Global economic policies driving toward a climate crisis
The study, carried out by leading international academics and published in Nature Energy, shows that existing growth-driven economic scenarios rely heavily on increased energy use in the future, and the use of carbon capture and storage technologies which are as-yet untested on a commercial scale ... Existing scenarios of climate mitigation rely on unproven technologies and improved efficiency of our economies, but do not consider the need for societal and economic transformations. "Take for example the question of negative emissions. Most scenarios assume it is perfectly feasible to transform the land of the size of India into a bioenergy plantation yet find it impossible to assume that rich countries could at some point stop growing their economies, even though growth is proven to be a major driver of environmental impacts," says Giorgos Kallis, ICTA-UAB researcher and co-author of the study. Other strategies—such as direct air carbon capture and storage—consume massive amounts of electricity, creating difficulties in decarbonising energy supply.
https://phys.org/news/2021-08-global-economic-policies-climate-crisis.html

A critical ocean system may be heading for collapse due to climate change, study finds
Human-caused warming has led to an “almost complete loss of stability” in the system that drives Atlantic Ocean currents, a new study has found — raising the worrying prospect that this critical aquatic “conveyor belt” could be close to collapse. In recent years, scientists have warned about a weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which transports warm, salty water from the tropics to northern Europe and then sends colder water back south along the ocean floor ... the new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change, draws on more than a century of ocean temperature and salinity data to ... suggest that the AMOC is running out of steam, making it more susceptible to disruptions that might knock it out of equilibrium ... If the circulation shuts down, it could bring extreme cold to Europe and parts of North America, raise sea levels along the U.S. East Coast and disrupt seasonal monsoons that provide water to much of the world. “This is an increase in understanding … of how close to a tipping point the AMOC might already be.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/08/05/change-ocean-collapse-atlantic-meridional
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/05/climate-crisis-scientists-spot-warning-signs-of-gulf-stream-collapse
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01097-4

As wildfires worsen, more California farms are deemed too risky to insure
Insurance companies in California have taken a staggering blow from wildfires — the industry’s losses in 2017 and 2018 eclipsed its total profits from the previous 25 years — and have started to drop customers by the thousands ... foreshadows a larger confrontation over so-called managed retreat in one of the country’s all-important breadbaskets ... An estimated 400,000 residential customers received nonrenewal notices in 2018 and 2019, with numbers spiking by more than 200 percent in the most vulnerable counties in California. Thousands of commercial businesses and farms have also been dropped ... If an insurance company is paying out more money in claims than it is taking in from premiums, the logical solution is to raise premiums to cover the difference. When an insurance company drops thousands of customers, though, it is saying that it cannot raise prices high enough to turn a profit off those customers — saying, in other words, that their farms are impossible to insure.
https://grist.org/agriculture/as-wildfires-worsen-more-california-farms-are-deemed-too-risky-to-insure/

As drought worsens, regulators impose unprecedented water restrictions on California farms
Amid intensifying drought, state water regulators voted Tuesday to enact a drastic emergency order that will bar thousands of Californians — primarily farmers — from using stream and river water ... the scope of Tuesday’s order — which will apply to thousands of senior water rights across a wide swath of the state — is unprecedented, officials said. While the move has been protested by some farmers, irrigation districts and others, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross called the decision “a necessary step,” saying the fact that senior water rights holders were included “speaks to the severity of the hydrology and what climate change has presented this year.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-03/water-regulators-impose-restrictions-on-california-farmers

Siberian heatwave led to new methane emissions, study says
The Siberian heatwave of 2020 led to new methane emissions from the permafrost ... fossil methane gas leaked from rock formations known to be large hydrocarbon reservoirs ... Prof Nikolaus Froitzheim, at Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn, Germany, and who led the Siberian research, said: “We observed a significant increase in methane concentration starting last summer. This remained over the winter, so there must have been a steady steady flow of methane from the ground ... We don’t know how dangerous [methane releases] are, because we don’t know how fast the gas can be released. It’s very important to know more about it,” Froitzheim said. If, at some point in the future, large global temperature rises lead to a big volume being released, “this methane would be the difference between catastrophe and apocalypse” ... “We think that with this [heatwave], the surface became unstable, which released the methane,” Froitzheim said.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/02/climate-crisis-siberian-heatwave-led-to-new-methane-emissions-study-says
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/118/32/e2107632118

Yukon permafrost thaw reaching 'critical point' in some areas, says researcher
Permafrost in Canada's northwest is thawing much faster than researchers predicted 20 years ago, according to the president of the International Permafrost Association ... "In some places, the ground is reaching a critical point where it's very close to thawing out completely" ... Burn, a professor at Carleton University, has been studying permafrost in Yukon for four decades. In 2018, he was awarded the governor general's Polar Medal for his ongoing research work. He's become increasingly alarmed by what he's seen in recent years. It's not just that permafrost is thawing faster, but also that new things are happening as a result ... Burn thinks it's too late to turn things around. He says there's already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and so it's impossible to "go back to some wonderful land that was there 200 years ago."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-permafrost-thaw-infrastructure-chris-burn-1.6125023

As China Boomed, It Didn’t Take Climate Change Into Account. Now It Must.
China’s breakneck growth over the last four decades erected soaring cities where there had been hamlets and farmland ... Now those cities face the daunting new challenge of adapting to extreme weather caused by climate change, a possibility that few gave much thought to when the country began its extraordinary economic transformation. China’s pell-mell, brisk urbanization has in some ways made the challenge harder to face ... reflects a global trend that has seen deadly flooding recently in Germany and Belgium, and extreme heat and wildfires in Siberia. The flooding in China also highlights the environmental vulnerabilities that accompanied the country’s economic boom and could yet undermine it ... [the] question is whether it is too late. Even if countries like China and the United States rapidly cut greenhouse gases, the warming from those already emitted is likely to have long-lasting consequences.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/world/asia/china-climate-change.html

The amount of Greenland ice that melted on Tuesday could cover Florida in 2 inches of water
It's the third instance of extreme melting in the past decade, during which time the melting has stretched farther inland than the entire satellite era, which began in the 1970s. Greenland lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on Tuesday, and 18.4 billion tons since Sunday, according to the Denmark Meteorological Institute ... "It's a significant melt," Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, told CNN. "July 27th saw most of the eastern half of Greenland from the northern tip all the way to the southern tip mostly melted, which is unusual." As human-caused climate change warms the planet, ice loss has increased rapidly ... "Overall, we're seeing that Greenland melts more often," said Scambos, who also authors the National Snow and Ice Data Center's Greenland updates. "In previous decades or centuries, it's extremely rare to get above freezing temperatures at the summit of Greenland" ... Scientists say the trends at which climate change is accelerating are quite clear, and that unless emissions are curbed, such extreme events will continue to occur more frequently.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/29/us/greenland-ice-melting-climate-change/index.html

Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made
David Wallace-Wells on the choices facing us now
From here, even an astonishing pace of decarbonisation will still deliver us a warmer world than we have today, full of more eye-opening extremes and more deeply disruptive disasters of the kind, we are learning this summer, that even the wealthiest and most climate-conscious countries are unprepared for. No one is. That is what Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, meant when he wrote, with the capital inundated, that the city was now on the frontline of the climate emergency and it is the central lesson of the Met Office’s annual report on the state of the UK climate, which found that mild British weather was already a relic of a bygone era. The Climate Crisis Advisory Group, led by Sir David King, recently declared that greenhouse gas levels were already so high that they foreclosed a “manageable future for humanity”. “Nowhere is safe,” King said ... perhaps the most harrowing of this summer’s extreme weather events, even more than the model-breaking Pacific heat dome, was the devastating flooding in Henan province, China ... At the last count, 99 people died in the flooding, not to mention millions of chickens and other livestock. In Henan, all told, 2.59m acres of crops were damaged. The cost of the disaster, according to still-growing estimates, was more than $14bn (£10.7bn), of which only a small fraction would be covered by insurance ... even the world’s vanguard infrastructure – the built kind, the natural kind and the human kind – is failing the test of even today’s climate, which is the mildest and most benign we will ever see again.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/01/adapt-or-die-that-is-the-stark-challenge-to-living-in-the-new-world-we-have-made

Earth's energy imbalance removes almost all doubt from human-made climate change
Researchers studying Earth's absorption of the sun's energy found a less than 1 percent probability that the recent changes occurred naturally. Stability in Earth's climate hinges on a delicate balance between the amount of energy the planet absorbs from the sun and the amount of energy Earth emits back into space. But that equilibrium has been thrown off in recent years — and the imbalance is growing, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. The changes to Earth's energy system have major ramifications for the planet's future climate and humanity's understanding of climate change. The Princeton University researchers behind the paper found that there's a less than 1 percent probability that the changes occurred naturally. The findings undercut a key argument used by people who do not believe human activity is responsible for the bulk of climate change to explain trends in global warming, demonstrating that the planet's energy imbalance cannot be explained just by Earth's own natural variations.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/earths-energy-imbalance-removes-almost-doubt-human-made-climate-change-rcna1562
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-24544-4

Colorado River Basin Reservoirs Begin Emergency Releases To Prop Up A Troubled Lake Powell
Federal officials laid out details of how reservoirs upstream of Lake Powell will release water in an attempt to keep producing hydropower ... The releases will result in an additional drop of 4 feet in Flaming Gorge, 2 feet in Navajo and 8 feet in Blue Mesa. The water released from the upstream reservoirs is projected to raise Lake Powell by an additional 2.6 feet, according to Reclamation hydrologists. That should be enough of a buffer to maintain hydropower production in the short-term, said Christopher Cutler, manager for the agency’s water and power services division. If the basin’s dry conditions continue into 2022, the situation could become more dire. "There comes a point where we can't engineer our way out of this," Cutler said.
https://www.kunc.org/environment/2021-07-15/colorado-river-basin-reservoirs-begin-emergency-releases-to-prop-up-a-troubled-lake-powell

New climate models forecast a warming surge
A host of global climate models developed for the United Nations's next major assessment of global warming, due in 2021, are [now] running hotter than they have in the past. In earlier models, doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide over preindustrial levels led models to predict somewhere between 2°C and 4.5°C of warming once the planet came into balance. But 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 [in models] which in many cases simulate the Earth system better than ever before.
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6437/222

Critical measures of global heating reaching tipping point, study finds
Overall, the study found some 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content and ice mass, set worrying new records. “There is growing evidence we are getting close to or have already gone beyond tipping points associated with important parts of the Earth system,” said William Ripple, an ecologist at Oregon State University who co-authored the new research, in a statement ... “Policies to alleviate the climate crisis or any of the other threatened planetary boundary transgressions should not be focused on symptom relief but on addressing their root cause: the overexploitation of the Earth,” the report says.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/27/global-heating-critical-measures-tipping-point-study

Climate Migration Is Already Here And It's Going To Get Worse
A migration crisis is already underway, and it's caused, at least in part, by climate change, according to modeling by ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine. Their expert analysis shows that without the proper preparation and political will, it will continue to worsen ... a certain level of climate change is already baked into the system ... governments must restructure their thinking around climate change to focus not just on emissions, but also extreme weather response ... long-standing migration networks exist between the United States, Mexico and Central America [so] to prevent a migratory crisis on our southern border we [must] provide Central American countries with the foreign aid they need to mitigate climate change there.
https://www.wgbh.org/news/science-and-technology/2021/07/19/climate-migration-is-already-here-and-its-going-to-get-worse

Europe’s deadly floods leave scientists stunned
“We should not be seeing this number of people dying in 2021 from floods. It just should not be happening.” For years, scientists have warned climate change will mean more flooding in Europe and elsewhere. Warmer air holds more moisture, which can translate into heavier rainfall ... Some European rivers are already exhibiting climate-related changes, says Fred Hattermann, a hydrologist and flood expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research ... new research suggests such risks could grow if climate change slows the jet stream causing drenching rainstorms to linger longer over flood-prone landscapes. Storms that stall over Europe were once exceedingly rare. But according to a study published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, in a worst case scenario such storms could become as much as 14 times more common ... In the Netherlands, decades of preparation appear to have helped ... Dutch policies aimed at making “room for the river” have widened and deepened river channels, and set aside land where floodwaters can spread out. Those measures were projected to reduce flood peaks [and appear to be successful] “When we look at how bad the flooding is, it’s much less than what happened in the ’90s.”
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/europe-s-deadly-floods-leave-scientists-stunned

Flash floods will be more common as climate crisis worsens, say scientists
Dr Jess Neumann, a hydrologist at the University of Reading, said: “Flooding from intense summer rainfall is going happen more frequently. No city, town or village is immune to flooding and we all need to take hard action right now if we are to prevent impacts from getting worse in the future.” Climate policy in the UK has focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which is a primary concern, to reduce the human impact on the climate and ensure global heating does not reach catastrophic levels. But the government has also been warned frequently that measures to cope with the impacts of extreme weather are urgently needed ... Insurers are among those most concerned about the impacts of climate breakdown, and have warned that UK households and businesses in some areas could find themselves uninsurable if stronger action is not taken.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/26/flash-floods-will-be-more-common-as-climate-crisis-worsens-say-scientists-london-floods

Permafrost is ablaze with hundreds of wildfires in world’s coldest region
Wildfires on permafrost are ravaging Yakutia - or the Sakha Republic, the largest and coldest entity of the Russian Federation. The scale is mesmerising. There are some separate 300 fires, now covering 12,140 square kilometres - but only around half of these are being tackled, because they pose a threat to people. The rest are burning unchecked, with some of the world’s most remote wilderness destroyed by uncontrolled fires [in] an area almost the same size as India ... this year’s summer fire season was worse than 2020 ... in a region where winter temperatures can drop below minus 60C.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/features/permafrost-is-ablaze-with-hundreds-of-wildfires-in-worlds-coldest-region/

‘Record-shattering’ heat becoming much more likely, says climate study
The study is a stark new warning on the rapidly escalating risks the climate emergency poses to lives ... the world had yet to see anything close to the worst impacts possible, even under the global heating that had already happened. The research found that highly populated regions in North America, Europe and China were where the record-shattering extremes are most likely to occur.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/26/record-shattering-heat-becoming-much-more-likely-says-climate-study

World’s Food Supplies Get Slammed by Drought, Floods and Frost
Extreme weather is slamming crops across the globe ... Brazil’s worst frost in two decades brought a deadly blow to young coffee trees in the world’s biggest grower. Flooding in China’s key pork region inundated farms and raised the threat of animal disease. Scorching heat and drought crushed crops on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. And in Europe, torrential rains sparked the risk of fungal diseases for grains and stalled tractors in soaked fields ... underscores what scientists have been warning about for years: Climate change and its associated weather volatility will make it increasingly harder to produce enough food for the world, with the poorest nations typically feeling the hardest blow ... “We’ve underestimated as a world is just how frequently” weather would start to have serious impacts. “Some communities are already living through the nightmares of climate change” ... extreme weather seems to be pounding almost every region of the globe.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-24/world-s-food-supplies-get-slammed-by-drought-floods-and-frost

How will the West solve a water crisis if climate change continues to get worse?
A study published in Science Magazine in 2020 warned that the West is exiting an unusually wet time in its history and heading toward an unusually dry time that could last years -- even centuries ... 42% of California's population is now under a drought emergency ... water levels in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, hit historic lows [and] Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., is seeing similar patterns. Lake Mead and Lake Powell will likely never refill to previously normal levels ... Farming uses the largest chunk of water supply, accounting for 80% of consumptive water use in the U.S. and more than 90% in many Western states ... "But if you don't have the water, then over the long term you just can't sustain it."
https://abcnews.go.com/US/west-solve-water-crisis-climate-change-continues-worse/story?id=78566068

Apocalypse Right Now
Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica. Florida’s red tide has become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish ... The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather ... when it comes to climate, the fear has a basis in reality. We should be scared out of our minds watching the weather run amok. “Everything we worried about is happening, and it’s all happening at the high end of projections, even faster than the previous most pessimistic estimates,” John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, contended.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/24/opinion/sunday/climate-change-floods-wildfires.html

What Climate Scientists Are Saying About This Catastrophic Summer
By all accounts, the climate crisis is already here. No one should be surprised by this. For decades, scientists have been ringing the alarm bell about anthropogenic climate change. Over 30 years ago, NASA scientist James Hansen told the U.S. Congress that the “greenhouse effect is here.” And long before then, in the 1800s, scientists like Svante Arrhenius calculated that doubling the amount of CO2 that was in the atmosphere in 1895 would lead to global warming of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius in average global temperatures. “That wasn’t too far off,” said Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory ... I asked several climate scientists how the constant onslaught of tragedy affects where they put us on the climate timeline. What they had to say was not particularly reassuring. “It’s already worse than what I imagined. I feel like the heat dome event in the Pacific Northwest moved up my sense of where we are at by about a decade, or even more,” said Kalmus. “I think a lot of my colleagues probably feel the same.”
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/07/scientists-fast-climate-change-summer.html

A water crisis is creating nightmare conditions across the Middle East
[W]ater has been become a worryingly scarce resource as wars, crumbling infrastructure and, in some instances, unprecedented economic collapse, have led to rolling power outrages that have become disastrous when coupled with record high temperatures [and] will only get worse as the summer and the miseries drag on ... [UNICEF] warned that Lebanon’s water supply system is on the verge of complete collapse. In just a few weeks four million people, including one million refugees, are at risk of losing access to safe water ... the country’s economic collapse [is] among the world’s worst in the past 150 years. It has bankrupted the state ... Iranians had taken to the streets across dozens of towns due to the escalating drought, which environmentalists say the state has failed to handle, as temperatures have pushed towards 50C. Across the border in Iraq, water shortages have also driven people to the streets, particularly in the south of the country.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/opinion/water-crisis-iran-lebanon-climate-b1890133.html

CO2 emissions set to hit record levels in 2023 and there’s ‘no clear peak in sight,’ IEA says
IEA’s analysis notes that, as of the second quarter of this year, the world’s governments had set aside roughly $380 billion for “energy-related sustainable recovery measures.” This represents approximately 2% of recovery spending, it said. In a statement issued alongside its analysis, the IEA laid out a stark picture of just how much work needed to be done in order for climate related targets to be met. “The sums of money, both public and private, being mobilised worldwide by recovery plans fall well short of what is needed to reach international climate goals,” it said.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/20/co2-emissions-will-hit-record-levels-in-2023-iea-says.html

Carbon capture is expected to [but likely will not] play a pivotal role in the race to net zero emissions
A report published by CIEL earlier this month concluded that these technologies are not only “ineffective, uneconomic and unsafe,” but they also prolong reliance on the fossil fuel industry and distract from a much-needed pivot to renewable alternatives. “The unproven scalability of CCS technologies and their prohibitive costs mean they cannot play any significant role in the rapid reduction of global emissions necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C ... Despite the existence of the technology for decades and billions of dollars in government subsidies to date, deployment of CCS at scale still faces insurmountable challenges of feasibility, effectiveness, and expense ... and has a history of over-promising and under-delivering.” In short, the study said reliance on CCS is “not a solution” to confronting the world’s climate challenge
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/20/climate-crisis-and-carbon-capture-why-some-are-worried-about-its-role.html

India: on the frontline of climate change
In the first seven months of this year alone the impoverished nation of 1.3 billion people has experienced two cyclones, a deadly glacier collapse in the Himalayas, a sweltering heatwave and killer floods ... 10,000 glaciers are receding ... Cyclones [are] becoming more frequent and severe as sea temperatures rise ... India's average temperature rose around 0.7C between the beginning of the 20th century and 2018 [and] will rise another 4.4C by 2100, according to a recent government report [yet] just five percent of Indian households have air conditioning ... already the world's third-largest carbon emitter ... climate change is making the monsoon stronger, according to a report from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in April [which] warned of potentially severe consequences for food, farming and the economy affecting nearly a fifth of the world's population.
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-india-frontline-climate.html

Glacier Ice Reveals Previously Unknown Viruses
Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old ... at least 28 of them are novel. About half of them seemed to have survived at the time they were frozen not in spite of the ice, but because of it ... two previous studies have identified viruses in ancient glacier ice. In 2015, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the 30,000 year old virus Mollivirus sibericum could still infect modern amoeba. In 2020, a preprint study of ice cores taken from a Tibetan glacier described ancient viruses in a melting glacier. "We know very little about viruses and microbes in these extreme environments, and what is actually there," senior author of the study glaciologist Lonnie Thompson clarifies. "The documentation and understanding of that is extremely important: How do bacteria and viruses respond to climate change?" In the worst-case scenario, meltwater from glaciers and ice caps could release harmful pathogens into the environment. Researchers have found still intact smallpox and the Spanish flu viruses in 100-year-old frozen tissue samples.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2021/07/21/melting-glaciers-reveal-previously-unknown-viruses

Western Drought Has Lasted Longer than the Dust Bowl
Half of the U.S. population lives in a drought-stricken area ... “In Oregon, a wildfire the size of Los Angeles is burning now,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said, referring to the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, which started July 6 and has burned an area that is actually about 20% larger than L.A.’s 503 square miles. “And this is only the start of the wildfire season out West” ... conditions have been building for over 20 years due to above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation. Drought conditions now afflict 96% of seven Western states — Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — the highest percentage since record keeping began in 2000. “Starting around 2000 or the late 1990s, we’ve seen many years of below-normal precipitation,” said climatologist David Simeral of the Desert Research Institute.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/western-drought-has-lasted-longer-than-the-dust-bowl/

Is any country installing renewables fast enough to reach climate goals?
The answer is a pretty clear "no." If we work backward from climate-stabilization scenarios, we'd need wind to roughly double its current rate, going from 0.6 percent to 1.2 percent. Based on the experience of several large countries, that would be the equivalent of reaching their maximum growth rate and then staying there. Solar would need to see its current global rate triple, with capacity additions equal to 1 percent of the electric supply every year. And both of those examples are based on the numbers for limiting climate change to 2ºC, when countries have agreed that 1.5ºC is a preferable goal ... As the authors of the paper put it, current scenarios that meet our climate goals require decades of growth in renewables at rates higher than those observed during the peak growth periods of most countries ... if countries aren't in the process of improving their policy situation, they either need to start pursuing alternatives (like efficiency and carbon capture [CCS]) or acknowledge that they don't actually intend to reach their commitments.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/07/renewable-growth-rates-arent-high-enough-to-reach-climate-goals/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-021-00863-0

‘No One Is Safe’: Extreme Weather Batters the Wealthy World
The week’s events have now ravaged some of the world’s wealthiest nations, whose affluence has been enabled by more than a century of burning coal, oil and gas — activities that pumped the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that are warming the world ... “We’ve got to adapt to the change we’ve already baked into the system and also avoid further change by reducing our emissions, by reducing our influence on the climate,” said Richard Betts, a climate scientist at the Met Office in Britain and a professor at the University of Exeter. That message clearly hasn’t sunk in among policymakers, and perhaps the public as well, particularly in the developed world, which has maintained a sense of invulnerability ... because there aren’t political incentives to spend money on adaptation. “By the time they build new flood infrastructure in their community, they’re probably not going to be in office anymore,” said Samantha Montano, a professor of emergency management at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “But they are going to have to justify millions, billions of dollars being spent.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/17/climate/heatwave-weather-hot.html

Top US scientist on melting glaciers: ‘I’ve gone from being an ecologist to a coroner’
Now an entomologist at the University of Montana, [Dr. Diana Six] has spent the last 30 years researching how bark beetles are decimating pine forests. But a constant, haunting depression has taken over her life. A recent trip to Glacier National Park spurred her to vent some of this emotion in a tweet that went viral and resonated with many: “Glacier National Park. 97F in June. Little snow left. 75F degree water. Glaciers disappearing. That is what we hear. But the worst is what most never see” ... the climate crisis isn’t just decimating glaciers ... “The ice is really just the canary in the coalmine. To have 97, 98 degrees in Glacier National Park for days on end is insane. This is not just some fluke ... When I went up Glacier with my students a few weeks ago, the flowers were curling up. At some of the lower elevations, glacier lilies were shriveled, lupins didn’t even open ... Any insects or birds that depend upon them, like bees or hummingbirds, are in trouble, their food is gone ... There have been total losses of a lot of baby birds this year. You see these ospreys and eagles sitting on top of the trees in their nests and those young, they just can’t take the heat ... People seem to think of extinctions as some silent, painless statistic. It’s not. You look at birds that can no longer find fish because they’ve moved too far off shore. They’re emaciated, they’re starving to death. We are at the point that there’s nothing untouched ... My whole life has been documenting how life works, how we can conserve species that are in trouble. I was no longer cataloging life and finding ways to prevent ecosystems from reaching tipping points. I had actually hit my own tipping point. Somewhere along the way, I had gone from being an ecologist to a coroner. I am no longer documenting life. I’m describing loss, decline, death.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/21/climate-crisis-glacier-diana-six-ecologist

Global satellite data shows clouds will amplify global heating
The research, by scientists at Imperial College London and the University of East Anglia, is the strongest evidence yet that clouds will amplify global heating over the long term, further exacerbating climate change. The results [are] published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... found it was very likely (more than 97.5% probability) that clouds will amplify global heating, by both reflecting less solar radiation and enhancing the greenhouse effect. These results also suggest that a doubling of CO2 concentrations will lead to around 3.2°C of warming. This is the highest confidence of any study so far, and is based on data from global observations, rather than local regions or specific cloud types.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210719153522.htm
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/118/30/e2026290118

Australia’s giant carbon capture project fails to meet key targets
The world’s largest carbon capture and storage [CCS] project has failed to meet a crucial target of capturing and burying an average of 80 per cent of the carbon dioxide produced from gas wells in Western Australia over five years. The energy giant Chevron agreed to the target with the West Australian government when developing its $54 billion Gorgon project to extract and export gas from fields off the WA coast ... the oil and gas industry and the federal government [declared] the success of carbon capture and storage to be crucial in tackling climate change while making use of fossil fuels ... project has been marked by delays, cost overruns [and] has never operated at full capacity ... Tim Baxter, a senior researcher with the Climate Council, said he was not aware of a single large carbon capture and storage project linked to fossil fuels in the world that had delivered on time, on budget, and capturing the agreed amount of carbon.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-s-giant-carbon-capture-project-fails-to-meet-key-targets-20210719-p58b3i.html
see also https://reneweconomy.com.au/chevron-concedes-ccs-failures-at-gorgon-seeks-deal-with-wa-regulators/

‘It Is All Connected’: Extreme Weather in the Age of Climate Change
The images from Germany are startling and horrifying ... But in an era of climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more common ... “all major weather these days is being affected by the changes in climate,” said Donald J. Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois ... warmer air holds more moisture, making it more likely that a specific storm will produce more precipitation. The world has warmed by a little more than 1 degree Celsius since the 19th century, when societies began pumping huge amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. For every 1 Celsius degree of warming, air can hold 7 percent more moisture. As a result, said Hayley Fowler, a professor of climate change impacts at Newcastle University in England, “These kinds of storm events will increase in intensity” ... One effect in summer and fall, Dr. Fowler said, is that the high-altitude, globe-circling air current is weakening and slowing down. “That means the storms have to move more slowly,” Dr. Fowler said. The storm that caused the recent flooding was practically stationary, she noted. The combination of more moisture and a stalled storm system can lead to extra-heavy rains over a given area [so] extreme events like heat waves and pounding rains are likely to go on and on.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/16/climate/europe-floods-climate-change.html

Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese
Deeply thawed pockets of permafrost, the research suggests, are releasing 17 percent of all the methane measured in the region, even though the emissions hotspots only make up 1 percent of the surface area ... peak concentrations of methane emissions were found to be 13 times higher than levels usually caused by bacterial decomposition—a well-known source of methane emissions from permafrost—which suggests the methane is likely [from geologic deposits and] will “increase emissions of geologic methane that is currently still trapped under thick, continuous permafrost, as new emission pathways open due to thawing permafrost,” the authors wrote in the journal Scientific Reports ... A 2012 [Alaska] study made similar findings near the edge of permafrost areas and around melting glaciers ... “Together, these studies suggest that the geologic methane sources will likely increase in the future as permafrost warms and becomes more permeable ... you do not have to completely thaw thick permafrost to increase these geologic methane emissions ... It is enough to warm permafrost and accelerate its thaw.”
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19072017/arctic-permafrost-melting-methane-emissions-geologic-sources-study/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/42/eabb6546

As Frozen Land Burns, Siberia Fears: ‘If We Don’t Have the Forest, We Don’t Have Life’
Last year, wildfires scorched more than 60,000 square miles of forest and tundra, an area the size of Florida. That is more than four times the area that burned in the United States during its devastating 2020 fire season. This year, more than 30,000 square miles have already burned in Russia, with the region only two weeks into its peak fire season. Scientists say that the huge fires have been made possible by the extraordinary summer heat in recent years in northern Siberia, which has been warming faster than just about any other part of the world [and] may potentially accelerate climate change by releasing enormous quantities of greenhouse gases ... Last year, the record-setting fires in the remote Siberian region of Yakutia released roughly as much carbon dioxide as did all the fuel consumption in Mexico in 2018 ... [Russia is] uniquely vulnerable, with two-thirds of its territory composed of permafrost.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/17/world/europe/siberia-fires.html

Collapse Raises New Fears About Florida’s Shaky Insurance Market
The Surfside collapse ... adds to growing concern among economists about a new issue in the climate crisis: whether some parts of the United States are becoming too risky to insure, at least at a cost that most people can afford. That shift has already started. Days after the collapse, insurance companies sent letters threatening to cut off coverage to older buildings that did not pass mandatory safety inspections. In California, insurers have begun fleeing fire-prone areas; in other parts of the West, officials say they are seeing similar reports of insurers refusing to renew policies ... “It all comes down to profitability for the insurance companies” [who] have been losing money for years, and those losses were growing. Many insurers started dropping customers in high-risk areas, and refusing to take on new ones. In some parts of the state, it has become all but impossible for homeowners to buy private insurance ... Jim Gorman, CEO of American Property Insurance, said that since the building in Surfside collapsed, his company has started getting more calls from insurance brokers trying to find new coverage for clients that have either had their insurance canceled or seen their rates go up.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/17/us/miami-building-collapse-condo-surfside.html

MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse [Middle Of] This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.
Limits to Growth BAU A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that [the 1972 Limits to Growth study] from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate ... The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has [again] received stunning vindication [this time] from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG ... published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology in November 2020 and is available on the KPMG website. It concludes that the current business-as-usual trajectory of global civilization is heading toward the terminal decline of economic growth within the coming decade - and at worst, could trigger societal collapse by around 2040 ... Previous studies [also showed] the model’s worst-case scenarios accurately reflected real-world developments. However, the last study of this nature was completed in 2014. Herrington’s new analysis ... found that the latest data most closely aligns with [BAU2 and CT] scenarios [which] “show a halt in growth within a decade or so from now,” the study concludes. “Both scenarios thus indicate that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, is not possible.”
https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xw3x/new-research-vindicates-1972-mit-prediction-that-society-will-collapse-soon
reporting on a study at https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2021/limits-to-growth.html
see also 'Limits to Growth' entries elsewhere on this page

Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs
The Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb, scientists have confirmed for the first time. The emissions amount to a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to a study. The giant forest had previously been a carbon sink, absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis, but is now causing its acceleration, researchers said. Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land ... “Imagine if we could prohibit fires in the Amazon – it could be a carbon sink,” said Gatti. “But we are doing the opposite – we are accelerating climate change.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/amazon-rainforest-now-emitting-more-co2-than-it-absorbs
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03629-6

Desert plant life in California disappearing due to climate change, UC Irvine study says
The steady decline of plants in Southern California’s portion of the Sonoran Desert ... is caused by climate change-driven heat increases, according to a new UC Irvine study. That area grew hotter by 3 degrees over the study period, 1984 to 2017, with vegetation decreasing an average of about 1% a year ... growing body of evidence that manmade climate change is reducing the amount of vegetation in drylands — primarily desert areas — worldwide, [and] 41% of the Earth’s land mass is drylands, according to the UCI report.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/07/13/desert-plant-life-disappearing-due-to-climate-change-uc-irvine-study-says/

Greenland could lose more ice this century than it has in 12,000 years
Greenland is on track to lose more ice this century than it has at any other point in the Holocene, the 12,000-year period in which human civilization has flourished, an alarming new study has found. The study, published today in the journal Nature, offers the latest evidence that Earth’s northernmost ice sheet, which contains enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by 24 feet, has entered a period of rapid decline and may melt away entirely if humanity continues burning fossil fuels at current levels. The research also puts to rest the notion that Greenland’s recent deterioration might be part of a natural cycle, by showing just how fast the current meltdown is compared with the ups and downs of the geologic past.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/greenland-could-lose-more-ice-this-century-than-it-has-in-12000-years

Scorched, Parched, and Now Uninsurable: Climate Change Hits [California] Wine Country
If the heat and drought trends worsen, “we’re probably out of business,” said Cyril Chappellet, president of Chappellet Winery, which has been operating for more than half a century. “All of us are out business” ... [After the 2020 Glass Fire, the Green & Red winery’s] insurer wrote to the owners, Raymond Hannigan and Tobin Heminway, listing the changes needed to reduce its fire risk ... “We spent thousands and thousands of dollars upgrading the property,” Mr. Hannigan said. A month later, Philadelphia Insurance Companies sent the couple another letter, canceling their insurance anyway. The explanation was brief: “Ineligible risk — wildfire exposure does not meet current underwriting guidelines.” [They] have been unable to find coverage from any other carrier ... [Chappellet Winery] is one of the lucky ones — he still has insurance. It just costs five times as much as it did last year. His winery now pays more than $1 million a year, up from $200,000 before the [Glass] fire. At the same time, his insurers cut by half the amount of coverage they were willing to provide. “It’s insane,” Mr. Chappellet said. “It’s not something that we can withstand for the long term.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/18/climate/napa-wine-heat-hot-weather.html

As California wineries lose insurance, some fear this fire season will be their last
[Winemakers] are discovering that the one fallback they’d counted on — insurance in case their properties are damaged or destroyed by flames — is either impossible to get or exorbitantly expensive ... With a severe drought and a fire already sparking in early July, the insurance difficulties underscore a challenging reality: California wineries have very few ways to prepare for a worst-case wildfire scenario this year ... some carriers that cover wineries have simply withdrawn from the market ... The implications for an uninsured winery are far-reaching. Anyone with a mortgage on their property may be in violation of that agreement, because mortgages usually require insurance. And if a vintner decides to sell a property, the inability to insure the parcel may make it tough to find a buyer. Wineries are hardly the only entities facing wildfire-insurance woes in California. Many homeowners, too, have had trouble finding coverage through traditional insurance companies.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/wine/article/winery-fire-insurance-california-16304533.php

Trouble in Alaska? Massive oil pipeline is threatened by thawing permafrost
Thawing permafrost threatens to undermine the supports holding up an elevated section of the [Trans-Alaska] pipeline, jeopardizing its structural integrity and raising the potential of an oil spill in a delicate and remote landscape ... “This is a wake-up call,” said Carl Weimer, a special projects adviser for Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog organization based in Bellingham, Washington. “The implications of this speak to the pipeline’s integrity and the effect climate change is having on pipeline safety in general” ... Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc., a pipeline consulting firm, said it wouldn’t be wise for pipeline operators to count on permafrost remaining solid in the same way as in the past. Assessing pipelines to determine if years-old structural designs can withstand the changing conditions and accelerated rate of permafrost thaw is prudent, he said. “Operators need to understand this new world being brought about by climate change,” he said. “What was true in the past may not be true today.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trouble-alaska-massive-oil-pipeline-threatened-thawing-permafrost-n1273589

Combating ecosystem collapse from the tropics to the Antarctic
Collapsing ecosystems are a dire warning that nations face urgent and enormous challenges ... With the advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2019) and the undertakings of the Paris Climate Agreement from 2016, there is an increasing expectation that urgent action will occur, despite indications that current progress is falling well short of meeting targets ... study reveals the manifestation of widespread, pervasive environmental degradation, and highlights global climate and regional human pressures acting together to erode biodiversity. The pressures identified are individually recognisable and universal in nature and impact. Urgent global recognition is required of both collapsing ecosystems and their detrimental consequences, especially in political and decision-making domains ... For instance, major disruption of food production and shortages of safe drinking water pose challenges for health and well-being, and have serious security implications. Pivotal for the future of life on Earth is a reduction of pressures that lead to ecosystem collapse, some of which can only be achieved through significant change in our collective behaviours.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.15539

India's poor can't afford to beat the heat
Many here - and elsewhere in India - don't even have running water ... Only a lucky few have air conditioning, with most people using fans and cheaper air coolers - in between power cuts - and thick green curtains called tarpals to block out the sun. "Us poor are hit the hardest," said local resident Kuldeep Kaur ... Along the city's irrigation canals, boys and men young and old - but not women in socially conservative Rajasthan - cool off in the muddy water ... India's average temperature rose around 0.7 Celsius between the beginning of the 20th century and 2018. It is set to rise another 4.4 degrees by 2100, according to a recent government report.
https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/indias-poor-cant-afford-to-beat-the-heat-1.1625901233257

Thawing permafrost prompts Denali National Park to reimagine its future
In the 1950s, 75 percent of Denali had near-surface permafrost, which ... dropped to around 50 percent in the 2000s and is projected to drop to 6 percent by the 2050s ... mean annual air temperature increased by at least 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) from 2014 to 2019 in the study area when compared with the previous 30-year period, with a near 3.6°F (2°C) increase in Denali and most Arctic parks. The increase rose to around 5.4°F (3°C) in certain western coastal park areas ... “If the warm temperatures observed during 2014 to 2019 persist, there will be widespread degradation of permafrost in portions of these national parks and similar environments across Alaska,” the authors wrote. Projections show Denali temperatures will likely continue to rise.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/thawing-permafrost-forces-denali-national-park-to-reimagine-its-future

How Bad Are U.S. Wildfires? Even Hawaii Is Battling a Surge.
Hawaii [is] increasingly vulnerable to wildfires. Heavy rains encourage unfettered growth of invasive species, like guinea grass, and dry, hot summers make them highly flammable. Similar to the American West, where dozens of large blazes have raged in recent weeks and fire seasons have grown worse over the years because of extreme weather patterns and climate change, about two-thirds of Hawaii faces unusually dry conditions this summer ... More than 60 percent of land across Hawaii is currently considered “abnormally dry” [and will likely] intensify this summer on the Big Island and some other parts of Hawaii.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/05/us/hawaii-wildfires.html

Reservoirs are drying up as consequences of the Western [US] drought worsen
Many reservoirs are at or approaching historic low levels due to lackluster rainy seasons combined with increasing temperatures due to climate change. The drought crisis is perhaps most apparent in the Colorado River basin, which saw one of its driest years on record, following two decades of less-than-adequate flows. The nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, is at its lowest level since the lake filled after the construction of the Hoover dam in the 1930s ... California’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, are on track for potential record lows this summer, now at 37 percent and 31 percent of their total capacities, respectively. Amid a warm spring and early-season heat, mountain snowpack never made it into rivers and reservoirs — it simply seeped into bone-dry soils ... As the summer progresses, the levels will continue their decline.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/07/09/western-reservoirs-drought-california-nevada/

Scientists Studying Temperature at Which Humans Spontaneously Die With Increasing Urgency
Originally, conditions like this weren't expected until the mid 21st century, according to climate models. But they are actually already here. [A study] found over 7,000 instances of so-called "wet bulb" conditions, which can lead to human deaths. Wet bulb temperature is the point at which humidity and heat hit a point where evaporation due to sweat no longer works to cool a person. Most of these wet bulb conditions were concentrated in South Asia, the coastal Middle East, and southwest North America ... A growing number of other regions are nearing this point: The Southeast US, the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Australia.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/93ynm5/scientists-studying-temperature-at-which-humans-spontaneously-die-with-increasing-urgency

As Arctic melt sets early July record, hard times lie ahead for ice: Studies
Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean hit a record low on Monday for this time of year ... situation in the Laptev Sea, one of the large marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean, has been bad. The Laptev has experienced record sea ice lows since last year ... the town of Oymyakon, Russia, considered the coldest inhabited place on Earth, reached 31.6 degrees Celsius (88.8 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 29, the hottest it’s ever been at this time of year ... researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute found that increasing air temperatures and the intrusion of warm water from the North Atlantic into the Barents and Kara Seas — a climate change-driven process known as Atlantification — are overpowering the ice’s ability to regrow in winter ... sea ice in coastal areas may be thinning at up to twice the pace as previously thought ... sea ice in these regions is not surviving the summer melt.
https://news.mongabay.com/2021/07/as-arctic-melt-sets-early-july-record-hard-times-lie-ahead-for-ice-studies/

The Era of Megafires
[I]t’s going to get worse, warn climate scientists, much worse. Temperatures will rise. Wildfires will become larger, more unpredictable ... “We will be hotter and we will be drier,” says Stephen Saunders, a former undersecretary in the Department of the Interior who was the lead author of that study. “If you have increased temperature and the same amount of precipitation, you will indeed be drier.” That observation is borne out last week by a PowerPoint presentation by Russ Schumacher, the Colorado state climatologist. The first slide shows standardized precipitation index for Colorado since 1900. There are periods of wet and periods of dry—including during the 21st century. But the [data] tells a very different story during the 21st century. There are no peaks in the 21st century; only valleys of drought ... There’s no escaping the rising temperatures. If the atmospheric emissions ended tomorrow, temperatures will continue rising for decades. “That is baked into our system,” says Veblen.
https://www.aspentimes.com/news/the-era-of-megafires/

‘We are entering uncharted territory’: Climate crisis made North America’s deadly heatwave ‘150 times more likely’
North America’s deadly heatwave, which smashed temperature records across Canada and the western US, was made at least 150 times more likely by the climate crisis ... new temperature records have left the scientists stunned. “It’s an extraordinary event,” Dr Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a climate scientist and co-leader of the World Weather Attribution initiative, a group of researchers tracking the fingerprint of the climate crisis on extreme weather events, told a press briefing held on Wednesday. “Within our knowledge, this [heatwave] is basically impossible. It’s surprising and shaking that our theoretical picture of how heatwaves behave has been broken so [dramatically].” “We are entering uncharted territory,” added co-author Prof Sonia Seneviratne, a climate scientist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/north-america-heatwave-climate-crisis-b1879763.html

‘Hanging on by a thread’: Canadian farmers hope for rain as canola, wheat wither
Hot, dry weather has swept through western North America, contributing to hundreds of deaths, igniting wildfires and roiling canola and wheat markets in one of the world’s most fertile regions ... Spring wheat, another major Canadian export, is also struggling on the Prairies and in North Dakota, the biggest U.S. producer of the crop. In that state, 50 percent of spring wheat is in poor or very poor condition as of July 4, according to the North Dakota Wheat Commission. Southwestern Manitoba is Canada’s ground zero for a drought that also stretches west across southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to the federal government’s Canadian Drought Monitor ... “We are right on the brink,” he said.
https://www.producer.com/news/hanging-on-by-a-thread-canadian-farmers-hope-for-rain-as-canola-wheat-wither/

Farmers and experts anticipate worst wheat harvest in years after extreme heat and drought levels fields
“This is probably going to be the worst harvest we’ve had for the 35 years we’ve been doing this,” Green said. Experts hold little to no optimism about this year’s wheat harvest after droughts during the spring and summer, and the record heat wave, shriveled fields in the Inland Northwest ... “We have had complete crop failures in Benton and Yakima counties,” said Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers ... “Almost every Pacific Northwest farm is in some kind of trouble.”
https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jul/08/farmers-and-experts-anticipate-worst-wheat-harvest/

Utah’s Great Salt Lake has been shrinking for years. Now it faces a drought
For years the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River has been shrinking. And a drought gripping the American west could make this year the worst yet ... Sailboats have been hoisted out of the water to keep them from getting stuck in the mud. More dry lakebed getting exposed could send arsenic-laced dust into the air that millions breathe. “A lot us have been talking about the lake as flatlining,” said Lynn de Freitas, the executive director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake. The lake’s levels are expected to hit a 170-year low this year. It comes as the drought has the US west bracing for a brutal wildfire season and coping with already low reservoirs.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/06/utah-great-salt-lake-shrinking-drought

Thirsty Iran faced with scorching summer
The head of the National Center for Drought and Crisis Management Ahad Vazifeh warned recently that precipitation has declined by over 40 percent so far this year compared with Iran’s long-term average. This is expected to put further pressure on already-strained groundwater resources in a country that has been digging deeper and deeper wells. With summer already here, there are now fears of water cuts and rationing. Iranian media are replete with pleas for people to economize on the water as demand is expected to surge dramatically in the usually dry season.
https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/462780/Thirsty-Iran-faced-with-scorching-summer

Nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, is on the rise from ocean dead zones
[S]ediments below oxygen-depleted waters are a significant source of nitrous oxide (N2O) ... a potent greenhouse gas, 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Global emissions of N2O are increasing as a result of human activities that stimulate its production. The oceans currently account for around 25 percent of global N2O emissions, and scientists are working to improve estimates of marine contributions. Most research has focused on oxygen minimum zones, which are known as hotspots of N2O emissions. Warming of the ocean due to climate change is driving the expansion of marine oxygen minimum zones globally. This has led to speculation that N2O emissions from the oceans will continue to increase and further accelerate climate change.
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-nitrous-oxide-powerful-greenhouse-gas.html

A hotter future is already here — and Canada is not ready
Two weeks ago, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices released a report on the public health impacts of climate change and the need for action to adapt to a new reality of extreme threats ... "We are now committed to a certain degree of warming in the world because of the emissions of the past," Ryan Ness, the adaptation research director for the institute and co-author of the report, said in an interview on Friday. "So while, in the longer term, it's absolutely critical to reduce greenhouse gases as much as possible, as fast as possible, to keep things from getting even worse, there is a certain amount of climate change that we can no longer avoid. And the only way to really deal with that is to prepare, to adapt and to become more resilient to this change in climate" ... we no longer need to look to the future to imagine what that change could look and feel like. The climate crisis is here.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/climate-change-lytton-heat-wave-wildfires-1.6088767

‘A scourge of the Earth’: grasshopper swarms overwhelm US west
A massive population of grasshoppers is proliferating in the sweltering American west, where a deep drought has made for ideal conditions for grasshopper eggs to hatch and survive into adulthood. “I can only describe grasshoppers in expletives,” said Richard Nicholson, a cattle rancher in Fort Klamath, a small community in southern Oregon, who once recalled seeing grasshopper bands eat 1,000 acres a day and cover the ground like snow ... Oregon and Montana have been the hardest hit by the insatiable eaters, particularly in the arid eastern flank of both states. Thirteen other states are also facing grasshopper damage ... “The biggest biomass consumer in the country are not cattle, are not bison. They are grasshoppers,” said Helmuth Rogg, an entomologist and agricultural scientist who works for the Oregon department of agriculture.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/04/grasshopper-swarms-us-west-drought

World must remove 1 billion tonnes CO2 by 2025 to meet climate goal - report
“Without action to deliver 1 Gigatonne (Gt) of negative emissions globally by 2025, keeping global warming within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C cannot be achieved,” said the report by the Coalition for Negative Emissions (CNE), and consultancy firm McKinsey. It said countries will need to remove a billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2025, if the Paris target is to be met, and more than one billion tonnes annually thereafter. The current pipeline of projects in development could remove only around 150 million tonnes of CO2 by 2025, well short of what’s needed, the report said.
https://www.reuters.com/world/world-must-remove-1-bln-tonnes-co2-by-2025-meet-climate-goal-report-2021-06-29/

Wild Weather Plagues North America Grain Crops as Demand Surges
The U.S. and Canada are seeing unusual variability in climate, with some crops withering from severe heat and drought while others see flooding. Meanwhile, demand is surging as economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic ... With output in major exporters like Brazil already diminished, the wild weather is contributing to more volatility in crop markets with canola prices hitting a record and spring wheat at multiyear highs. “Rain, hail, drought, we’ve had it all,” said April Hemmes, a fourth-generation farmer in north central Iowa. In the past, both drought and rainfall would normally be milder and more widespread. But the world’s climate is changing and getting more extreme.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-29/wild-weather-plagues-north-america-grain-crops-as-demand-surges

Power Grids Getting Fried by Heat in Preview of What’s to Come
Heat waves like the one hitting Oregon and Washington used to be rare, but extreme weather [is making them] more frequent ... “All your expectations about the conditions you’re going to face need to be adjusted, because of climate change,” Mike Jacobs, senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said ... “We saw our equipment get to its limits,” Heather Rosentrater, Avista’s senior vice president of energy delivery, said ... Nuclear reactors as well as sites that burn coal or natural gas all generate heat to produce electricity, and eventually must shed that heat. Many use water for cooling, but heat waves can drive up the water temperature ... these issues are going to be more common as climate change continues to disrupt weather patterns.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-29/power-grids-getting-fried-by-heat-in-preview-of-what-s-to-come

The scientists hired by big oil who predicted the climate crisis long ago
As early as 1958, the oil industry was hiring scientists and engineers to research the role that burning fossil fuels plays in global warming. The goal at the time was to help the major oil conglomerates understand how changes in the Earth’s atmosphere may affect the industry – and their bottom line. But what top executives gained was an early preview of the climate crisis, decades before the issue reached public consciousness. What those scientists discovered – and what the oil companies did with that information – is at the heart of two dozen lawsuits attempting to hold the fossil fuel industry responsible for their role in climate change. Many of those cases hinge on the industry’s own internal documents that show how, 40 years ago, researchers predicted the rising global temperatures with stunning accuracy ... "I was invited to join a research group at Exxon and one of my conditions to join was that we would publish our scientific research in peer-reviewed journals. It was a bunch of geeks trying to figure out how the planetary atmosphere works. We were doing very good work at Exxon. We had eight scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, including a prediction of how much global warming from carbon dioxide buildup would be 40 years later. We made a prediction in 1980 of what the atmospheric warming would be from fossil fuel burning in 2020. We predicted that it would be about one degree celsius. And it is about one degree celsius." (Dr Martin Hoffert, physicist and Exxon consultant from 1981 to 1987) ... "Most of the scientists at the time accepted that these types of changes in CO2 emissions were going to affect temperature and precipitation. The public did not, of course, and the industries did not, and the governments generally did not. But most of the scientific community was close to unanimous. It was nothing really new to any of us." (Steve Lonergan, 71, Exxon consultant 1989-90)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/02/scientists-climate-crisis-big-oil-climate-crimes

Arctic’s ‘last refuge’ for polar bears may be more vulnerable to climate crisis than first thought, study says
Sea ice in the region has already declined dramatically ... last 14 years have seen the 14 lowest Arctic sea ice levels since satellite records began ... the region is expected to act as a critical last refuge for mammals such as polar bears and walruses as sea ice disappears across much of the Arctic Ocean. However, last summer scientists observed an episode of extreme melting in this region, with sea ice levels falling to a record low of 50 per cent on 14 August ... results fit with what is known about how the climate crisis is driving unprecedented change in the Arctic, adds Prof Jonathan Bamber, a leading polar scientist from the University of Bristol who was not involved in the study. “Parts of the Arctic experienced record temperatures and wildfires in 2020. These extreme events have been predicted by climate models for some time as the Arctic warms at a rate more than twice the global average.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/arctic-last-ice-climate-change-b1876309.html

Running out of water: how climate change fuels a crisis in the US west
The American west is drying out as the region faces an unprecedented drought ... “There’s not enough water to go around, and that is going to be the case for the indefinite future,” said Jeff Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center ... “We would catch more fish in one day back when I was a child than we do in the whole season now,” said Ron Reed, cultural biologist for the Karuk tribe. “When I was growing up, you could practically walk across the river on salmon” ... Water scarcity is becoming the new normal in the west, with multiple watersheds coping with extreme drought this year and chronically dry conditions for decades.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/01/water-scarcity-climate-change-exacerbating-crisis

Arctic Circle land temperature reaches 48C during ‘persistent heatwave’ in Siberia
The European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said land surface temperature “widely exceeded” 35C across the Russian region on the first day of summer. Siberia has been hit by wildfires and hotter than usual temperatures in recent years. Scientists found the heatwave experienced by the far northeastern region last year would have “effectively impossible” without the man-made climate crisis. It appears parts of Siberia in the Arctic Circle are once again recording record-breaking temperatures this year ... Last month, scientists called the heatwave gripping the Arctic “mindboggling” as temperature records in Siberia were once again broken. Temperatures rose above 30C in areas of the Arctic in May, which is much higher than the average for the time of year. Rising temperatures are causing ice and permafrost to melt, which causes previously trapped methane to be released into the atmosphere - which contributes to global warming.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/arctic-circle-summer-global-warming-b1875285.html

Climate Change Could Destroy America's Roads
Many roads aren't built to withstand extreme heat, an increasingly common occurrence in many parts of the country. As the Earth's temperature rises and extreme heat waves become more common, all kinds of formerly rare and manageable issues are becoming bigger problems. One example: roads getting so hot they jump up from the Earth, or "buckle," causing delays at best and closures requiring major repairs at worst ... road buckling is just the beginning of the potential problems climate change will have on American roads ... greater temperature fluctuations with more extremes on either end of the scale will stress pavement and make maintaining roads more difficult, more expensive, and vulnerable to major flaws that cause delays, increase vehicle maintenance costs, reduce fuel or electric-propulsion efficiency, and generally make our infrastructure worse.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/3aqpxn/roads-buckling-heatwave-climate-change

Nowhere is safe, say scientists as extreme heat causes chaos in US and Canada
Climate scientists have said nowhere is safe from the kind of extreme heat events that have hit the western US and Canada in recent days and urged governments to dramatically ramp up their efforts to tackle the escalating climate emergency. The devastating “heat dome” has caused temperatures to rise to almost 50C in Canada and has been linked to hundreds of deaths, melted power lines, buckled roads and wildfires. Experts say that as the climate crisis pushes global temperatures higher, all societies – from northern Siberia to Europe, Asia to Australia – must prepare for more extreme weather events ... the climate was being destabilised in part by the dramatic warming of the Arctic and said existing climate models were failing to capture the scale of what was happening. “Climate models are actually underestimating the impact that climate change is having on events like the unprecedented heatwave we are witnessing out west right now.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/01/nowhere-is-safe-say-scientists-as-extreme-heat-causes-chaos-in-us-and-canada

What’s causing the drought in the West — and why it’s so bad
Several Western states, including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Oregon and Colorado, are in the grips of a historic drought that has depleted key water sources to a frightening level as temperatures rise and wildfire risk increases. Many scientists are ringing alarm bells that it could mark a tipping point in the water crisis that threatens life in the West as we know it, particularly agriculture. “The word drought just doesn’t do it anymore,” said John Fleck, a professor in water policy at the University of New Mexico. “Drought implies a dry spell that ends with a wet spell. And climate change is fundamentally changing things” … The conditions seen across much of the West this summer are part of what some scientists have called a “megadrought” that started in the year 2000 ... “It’s one of the longest droughts that we’ve had in 100 years. The longest and the most severe,” said Brian Richter, president of Sustainable Waters. “It would have been bad even without climate change, but climate warming is accentuating it.”
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/whats-causing-the-drought-in-the-west-and-why-its-so-bad

The looming Arctic collapse: more than 40% of north Russian buildings are starting to crumble
The melting of the permafrost is about to cause huge damage to buildings and infrastructure across the country Global warming is now leading to quick and irreversible change ... The country’s Minister of Natural Resources Aleksandr Kozlov confirms that more than 40 percent of all buildings in the North are now experiencing deformation in their building structure. And the construction of roads and railways is getting increasingly difficult ... melting ground is today the underlying reason for 23 percent of all technical system failure in the region, and up to 29 percent of oil and gas production facilities can no longer be operated.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2021/06/looming-arctic-collapse-more-40-north-russian-buildings-are-starting-crumble

Mountaintop Glacier Ice Is Disappearing In Tropics Globally
Glacier ice on the mountaintop now covers significantly less area in the tropical region compared to 50 years ago ... study was published in the journal Global and Planetary Change—a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal. Researchers found that a glacier near Puncak Jaya, in Papua New Guinea, lost about 93% of its ice over a 38-year period from 1980 to 2018. In another instance between 1986 and 2017 the area covered by glaciers on top of Kilimanjaro in Africa decreased by nearly 71% ... shows that climate change is causing these glaciers, which have long been sources of water for nearby communities, to disappear and indicates that those glaciers have lost ice more quickly in recent years.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2021/06/29/mountaintop-glacier-ice-is-disappearing-in-tropics-globally

Flesh-Eating Parasites May Be Expanding Their Range As Climate Heats Up
[Leishmania] parasites are currently endemic in Texas and Oklahoma, and new studies suggest that they might be present in other states, including Florida [and] may soon be on the rise: As climate change pushes rodent and sand fly habitat northward, scientists caution that in the future, an increasing number of U.S. residents could be exposed to different varieties of the flesh-eating parasite ... "It's a pretty striking difference for a disease that we used to think of as limited to South America now extending as far north as Canada," she said, "potentially within the next several decades."
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/06/25/1009885640/flesh-eating-parasites-may-be-expanding-their-range-as-climate-heats-up

Rising greenhouse gases pose continued threat to Arctic ozone layer
The new findings call into question the commonly held assumption that ozone loss would grind to a halt in just a few decades following the 2010 global ban on the production of ozone depleting chemicals ... published in the journal Nature Communications ... data from the study showed the lowest Arctic polar vortex temperatures and the highest ozone losses on record in 2020, beating the previous records set nine years ago in 2011 ... the researchers confirmed that the Arctic is already experiencing a significant trend toward lower stratospheric temperatures and associated increases in ozone losses. What's more, their observations reveal that these trends are occurring at rate consistent with the fastest climate models.
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-greenhouse-gases-pose-threat-arctic.html

California Homeowners Insurance Could Be Ending For More Than 2.1 Million Residents
California’s moratorium on insurance companies dropping homeowners insurance is quickly coming to an end. The mortarium was put in place last year to give homeowners peace of mind as Governor Newsom declared states of emergencies for fires and other extreme weather. When this moratorium ends in November, more than 2.1 million residents could lose insurance on their homes ... Residents living in “high risk” areas are facing the consequences of having their home insurance dropped just because they live in a certain area. “This wildfire insurance crisis has been years in the making, but it is an emergency we must deal with now if we are going to keep the California dream of home ownership from becoming the California nightmare, as an increasing number of homeowners struggle to find coverage,” said Commissioner Lara, California’s insurance commissioner ... Residents will be stuck in these areas as they will not be able to sell their homes.
https://www.sandiegonewsdesk.com/2021/06/california-homeowners-insurance-could-be-ending-for-more-than-2-1-million-residents/

Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: draft UN report
Climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth ... Species extinction, more widespread disease, unliveable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas—these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30 ... dangerous thresholds are closer than once thought, and dire consequences stemming from decades of unbridled carbon pollution are unavoidable in the short term ... a reality check against a slew of ill-defined net-zero promises by governments and corporations worldwide. The challenges it highlights are systemic, woven into the very fabric of daily life. They are also deeply unfair: those least responsible for global warming will suffer disproportionately, the report makes clear. And it shows that even as we spew record amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are undermining the capacity of forests and oceans to absorb them, turning our greatest natural allies in the fight against warming into enemies ... raising the question of whether humanity is sowing the seeds of its own demise. "Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems," it says. "Humans cannot" ... on current trends, we're heading for three degrees Celsius [or higher] ... the world must face up to this reality and prepare for the onslaught, "Current levels of adaptation will be inadequate to respond to future climate risks," it cautions ... outlines the danger of compound and cascading impacts, along with point-of-no-return thresholds known as tipping points [where] a dozen temperature trip wires have now been identified in the climate system for irreversible and potentially catastrophic change ... in the more immediate future, some regions—eastern Brazil, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, central China—and coastlines almost everywhere could be battered by multiple climate calamities at once: drought, heatwaves, cyclones, wildfires, flooding ... simply swapping a gas guzzler for a Tesla or planting billions of trees to offset business-as-usual isn't going to cut it, the report warns. 
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-climate-impacts-sooner.html

Antarctic nearing climate disaster despite landmark historic treaty
As the planet heats up, glaciers whose collapse would deluge coastal cities from New York to Jakarta are melting and growing less stable ... current policies will heat the world by almost 3 C, according to Germany-based research group Climate Action Tracker. A study published in the journal Nature in May found that a global temperature rise of 3 C would lead to an "abrupt jump" in the pace of Antarctic ice loss that would, in turn, trigger "rapid and unstoppable" sea-level rise. A second study, published in June in the journal Science Advances, found that an ice shelf that supports the 175,000-square-kilometer (68,000-square-mile) Pine Island Glacier is breaking up into the water faster and faster. The glacier is responsible for more than a quarter of Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise and will melt faster if it collapses into warm waters.
https://www.dw.com/en/antarctic-treaty-system-climate-change/a-57993681

Moscow sees hottest June day for 120 years with more to come
Moscow has sweltered through its hottest June day for 120 years after the temperature hit 34.7C with even hotter weather expected over the coming days. Russia’s weather service Roshydromet blamed climate change for the soaring temperatures ... Russia has set numerous records in recent years and in June 2020 registered 38C in the town of Verkhoyansk – the highest temperature recorded above the Arctic Circle since measurements began. The rising mercury levels have contributed to devastating floods and forest fires that have affected Siberia with increasing regularity. They are also contributing to the melting of permafrost, which covers about two-thirds of Russia’s large territory.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/23/moscow-sees-hottest-june-day-for-120-years-with-more-to-come

Fish are swimming to cooler waters as climate change heats our oceans
[T]he oceans absorb the majority of the excess heat in our climate system ... having a direct impact on fish populations, with those species which are able to move to new habitats now shifting into areas to the north or south where the temperatures better suit their metabolisms. The reason is that fish are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, due to being cold-blooded animals. They also live in habitats close to their upper temperature limit, meaning that even a slight change in temperature can impact their ability to feed and breed.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/06/14/how-fish-are-swimming-to-cooler-waters-as-climate-change-heats-our-oceans

Wildfires erupt after hottest week in history across parts of the West ignited them
On Monday, 7 million people were under red flag warnings across six Western states where the combination of hot temperatures, wind gusts to 40 mph and bone-dry humidity lead to a critical fire threat ... With climate change making heat waves three times more likely compared to 100 years ago and contributing to the current 22-year megadrought, wildfire seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer into the year. As the gap closes, experts say there isn't so much a defined wildfire season in the West anymore, but instead it lasts year round.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/wildfires-erupt-after-hottest-week-history-across-parts-west-ignited-n1271603

Shocking scene as a major tree die-off hits East Bay parks
The East Bay Regional Park District said they began noticing "sudden tree mortality" in October 2020. Unlike years prior when certain species, like California oaks, were under siege, this year the die-off is affecting all kinds of trees. Eucalyptus, acacia, bay, pine and more are dying at alarming rates and filling the hills with dry tinder. In April, the park district said they've seen at least 1,000 acres of tree die-off, primarily in Redwood Regional Park, Tilden Park and Anthony Chabot Regional Park ... "The cause of tree mortality and dieback is not fully known but most likely has a direct correlation to drought caused by climate change."
https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/bay-area-drought-dead-trees-oaks-acacia-eucalyptus-16256034.php

‘It’s brutal’: Las Vegas cooks amid blazing heatwave – and it’s going to get worse
[T]emperatures in the desert city hovered close to historic highs, peaking at 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 Celsius), and setting a new record for such dangerously hot weather so early in the year ... Heatwaves are not only getting hotter, they are also becoming more frequent ...  heat-related deaths are on the rise ... those exposed to high temperatures have higher rates of chronic kidney disease. Hot weather also adds to air quality issues, trapping harmful pollutants while spikes in energy use from air conditioning increase emissions. Studies show that heat affects the brain, slowing cognitive function ... Meanwhile, the construction continues. Housing developments in various stages of completion are on full display at the fringes of the city, and even on the hottest days, workers brave the elements to complete them. “It’s hard and it’s hot but if we don’t work we don’t get money,” said Ignacio Regrelar, who is finishing drywall on a development during the 116 degree day. He and his team work for 8 hours through the extreme heat. “The problem is, if the boss says he is ready, and you don’t do it, he will take other people,” he said.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/19/las-vegas-heatwave-nevada-us-west-temperatures

The Record Temperatures Enveloping The West Are Not Your Average Heat Wave
"It's not only unusual for June, but it is pretty extreme even in absolute terms," says Daniel Swain, climate scientist at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Palm Springs, Calif., recently hit 123 degrees, equaling its highest recorded temperature. Phoenix reached a record 118 degrees, the earliest the city has hit that high a mark. Sacramento, Calif., set a new daily record of 109 degrees. The National Weather Service just extended its excessive heat warning through Sunday night in the Central Valley and parts of northern California. Denver this week hit 100 for three straight days, the earliest date of such a streak on record. And in the Plains, several cities including Omaha, Neb., set records. [The heat is] also coinciding with worsening record drought across big parts of the West. These two things, Daniel Swain says, are now making each other worse. "That's sort of the vicious cycle of drought and extreme heat in a warming climate," he says. The excessive heat and widening drought continues to elevate wildfire risk across much of the West. The number of new wildfires in the U.S. so far this year is at a 10-year high, signaling a long, potentially dangerous summer and fall for wildfires. Experts say this current heat dome is yet more evidence of the impact of human-caused climate change.
https://www.npr.org/2021/06/19/1008248475/the-record-temperatures-enveloping-the-west-is-not-your-average-heat-wave

California Walking a ‘Tight Rope’ as Hydropower Supply Fades
The catastrophic drought that’s gripping the U.S. West is claiming a new victim: the hydropower dams that much of the region depends on for electricity supplies ... at a time when electric grids across the West are already forecast to be stretched this summer as heat waves send power demand surging. With less hydropower, the challenge of meeting peak demand may get even tougher, especially in California [which] is already being swamped with demand as temperatures are forecast to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) ... hydropower is down about 40% this month compared with June 2020, according to BNEF. At the Hoover Dam, on the Nevada-Arizona border, capacity has fallen about 25%, with the site’s reservoir at its lowest point since 1937 ... As of June 10, 85% of California was in extreme or exceptional drought. The parched conditions mean wildfire threat is high and farmers are struggling to irrigate crops ... the Pacific Northwest will also see a decline in electricity generated from conventional hydropower this year.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-15/california-is-walking-a-tight-rope-as-hydropower-supply-fades

Record heat bakes Middle East as temperatures top 125 degrees
Five countries joined the 50-degree Celsius club, which equates to 122 degrees Fahrenheit ... a full month before high temperatures reach their annual average peak ... temperatures hit 123.8 degrees in the United Arab Emirates. Iran also climbed to 123.8 degrees ... Kuwait, on the Persian Gulf, managed 123.6 degrees ... Oman logged a high of 122.2 degrees ... Pakistan did the same ... Following Saturday’s blowtorch, somehow Sunday turned it up a notch, when the mercury soared to an astonishing 125.2 degrees in United Arab Emirates, becoming both a monthly and record high. It’s also the hottest June temperature ever observed in the United Arab Emirates and ties the nation’s record ... This early-season scorcher is the result of building high pressure, also known as a heat dome. That kinks the jet stream northward and suppresses rain chances, allowing heat to become established while diverting cooling clouds, fronts and disturbances. It is worth noting that this heat dome isn’t particularly intense, yet temperatures are already at record values [due to] human-induced climate change [pushing] what might otherwise be more routine fluctuations into record territory. Heat extremes have already been documented dramatically increasing in frequency in the Middle East and North Africa. There is even research to suggest that parts of the Middle East might become uninhabitable.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/06/07/record-june-heat-wave-middle-east/

The Earth is now trapping an 'unprecedented' amount of heat, NASA says
The amount of heat Earth traps has roughly doubled since 2005, contributing to more rapidly warming oceans, air and land, according to new research from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented," said Norman Loeb, a NASA scientist and lead author of the study, which was published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "The Earth is warming faster than expected" ... "It is a massive amount of energy," said Gregory Johnson, an oceanographer for NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and co-author of the study ... That extra heat, especially in the oceans, will mean more intense hurricanes and marine heat waves. "I hope the heating doesn't keep going at this clip," Loeb said. "It's not good news."
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/The-Earth-is-now-trapping-an-unprecedented-16252934.php
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021GL093047

The Arctic’s ice is thinning faster than expected. It’s an ominous sign.
A group of British scientists has concluded that the Arctic’s coastal sea ice is thinning much faster than experts had previously estimated. ... The British team’s new calculations indicate that Arctic ice is thinning 70 to 100 percent faster — that is, at roughly double the rate — than previously thought. This finding is just another in a long string of warnings from scientists that many of global warming’s predicted effects may be occurring faster or in a more severe manner than anticipated.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/thinning-arctic-ice-is-yet-another-ominous-climate-signal/2021/06/04/78b5401c-c56d-11eb-9a8d-f95d7724967c_story.html

Irreversible warming tipping point possibly triggered, Arctic mission chief says
A tipping point for irreversible global warming may have already been triggered, the scientist who led the biggest-ever expedition to the Arctic warned Tuesday. “The disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic is one of the first landmines in this minefield, one of the tipping points that we set off first when we push warming too far,” said Markus Rex. “And one can essentially ask if we haven’t already stepped on this mine and already set off the beginning of the explosion.” Rex led the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole, an expedition involving 300 scientists from 20 countries. The expedition returned to Germany in October after 389 days drifting through the Arctic, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/06/16/world/science-health-world/climate-change-tipping-point/

Leading scientists warn of global impacts as Antarctic nears tipping points
Expert Working Group of leading Antarctic scientists warns that climate change is pushing this remote polar region, which connects all our ocean basins and keeps our planet habitable, towards numerous tipping points with global ramifications for humanity and biodiversity ... The report, "Climate Change and Southern Ocean Resilience," the result of the Expert Working Group discussions, is a unique collaboration across scientific disciplines, and identifies key interconnected Southern Ocean processes that are being impacted by climate change, and which will result in widespread changes well beyond the Antarctic region.
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-scientists-global-impacts-antarctic-nears.html

UK warned it is unprepared for climate chaos
The UK is woefully unprepared to deal with changes occurring to the climate, government advisers say. A report by the independent Climate Change Committee predicts warming will hit the UK harder than first thought. It warns of more severe heatwaves, especially in big cities, and more intense rainfall, with an increased flood risk across most of the UK. It says homes, infrastructure and services must be made resilient to floods, heat and humid nights ... The committee, also known as the CCC, says the UK is even worse prepared than it was five years ago, at the time of its last report on the risks of climate change.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57487943

Lake Mead falls to lowest level since 1930s amid worsening drought
The record low is due to a combination of years of punishing drought that's worsening across the Southwest ... expected subsequent drops in the lake, are almost certain to trigger a federal "water shortage" declaration later this summer, which would set off cuts in water allocations to several states. Lake Mead, which sits along the border between Nevada and Arizona, is part of the vast Colorado River basin that provides water for agriculture and human consumption to seven states ... levels this low have not been seen since the reservoir was originally filled in 1937 ... region is currently in a longer-term "megadrought" that is the second-worst such event in at least 1,200 years [and] is likely to continue to intensify and expand across the West and Southwest throughout the summer.
https://www.axios.com/lake-mead-drought-record-0b2eac6a-6aac-4a81-8654-a03d00f309f9.html
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/10/lake-mead-reservoir-drought-low

As early season heat roasts U.S., records tumble in Middle East
At the same time as much of the Lower 48 states are seeing temperatures soar through the 90s, an unusually severe early season heat wave has enveloped the Middle East and South Asia, prompting temperatures to spike above the 50°C (122°F) mark in at least five countries: Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran and Pakistan. Typically, the hottest time of year in the Persian Gulf region as well as Pakistan comes in July ... climate change could result in a Middle East that's virtually uninhabitable for several months a year by the middle of this century. Already, temperatures have flirted with such inhospitable levels.
https://www.axios.com/extreme-heat-records-us-middle-east-9b7f40b7-ac72-41ce-b71c-20e98f1290c5.html

Edge of Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf is ripping apart, causing key Antarctic glacier to gain speed
For decades, the ice shelf helping to hold back one of the fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica has gradually thinned. Analysis of satellite images reveals a more dramatic process in recent years: From 2017 to 2020, large icebergs at the ice shelf’s edge broke off, and the glacier sped up. Since floating ice shelves help to hold back the larger grounded mass of the glacier, the recent speedup due to the weakening edge could shorten the timeline for Pine Island Glacier’s eventual collapse into the sea ... “We may not have the luxury of waiting for slow changes on Pine Island; things could actually go much quicker than expected,” said lead author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. “The processes we’d been studying in this region were leading to an irreversible collapse, but at a fairly measured pace. Things could be much more abrupt if we lose the rest of that ice shelf.”
https://www.washington.edu/news/2021/06/11/edge-of-pine-island-glaciers-ice-shelf-is-ripping-apart-causing-key-antarctic-glacier-to-gain-speed/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/24/eabg3080

Interacting tipping elements increase risk of climate domino effects under global warming
With progressing global warming, there is an increased risk that one or several tipping elements in the climate system might cross a critical threshold, resulting in severe consequences for the global climate, ecosystems and human societies ... we explicitly study the effects of known physical interactions among the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and the Amazon rainforest [and] analyse the risk of domino effects being triggered ... We find that the interactions tend to destabilise the network of tipping elements.
https://esd.copernicus.org/articles/12/601/2021/

An Alaska glacier hurtles downhill in a rare exhibition of ‘this amazing science’
[This] began last fall some 12 miles uphill. That's where the glacier initially started sliding ... at speeds up to 100 times faster than normal ... [normally] the Muldrow moves only about three inches a day. Scientists estimate it is now gaining 30 to 60 feet daily ... across the Alaska Range, glaciers are losing mass because of climate change. "These are glaciers that are born in really tall mountains with really cold weather systems throughout a lot of the year," Young said. "In the past, they've had the opportunity to grow really large. In Alaska and everywhere else in the world, we're seeing volume loss and retreat in these glaciers as the summer season is getting longer and warmer and they are getting less snow throughout the course of the winter."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/alaska-glacier-surge-muldrow-climate/2021/06/04/dade503a-c315-11eb-9a8d-f95d7724967c_story.html

World leaders ‘ignoring’ role of destruction of nature in causing pandemics
The root cause of pandemics – the destruction of nature – is being ignored, scientists have warned ... the spillover of disease from animals to humans ... razing of forests and hunting of wildlife is increasingly bringing animals and the microbes they harbour into contact with people and livestock. About 70% of new infectious diseases have come from animals, including Covid-19, Sars, bird flu, Ebola and HIV. However, preventing this root cause of spillover is scarcely mentioned by leaders and authorities, said the scientists behind a new independent taskforce ... hosted by Harvard University in the US ... “Covid-19 was a warning shot from the whole of nature to our species,” said Aaron Bernstein, a doctor at Harvard’s Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment who is leading the taskforce. “But so far world leaders are far from acting. You hear from [them] about the actions to supposedly prevent pandemics, but the idea of preventing their root causes is scarcely even mentioned.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/04/end-destruction-of-nature-to-stop-future-pandemics-say-scientists

Oregon fall firestorms cautionary tale in worsening drought
Pushed by unusually strong winds, fires ripped through temperate rainforest just a few minutes’ drive from the ocean, crept to within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of downtown Portland, leveled thousands of homes and businesses along Interstate 5 and wiped out communities that cater to outdoors enthusiasts. It was a wake-up call for the Pacific Northwest as climate change brings destructive blazes that feel more like California’s annual fire siege to wet places and urban landscapes once believed insulated from them. And as the U.S. West enters yet another year of drought, Oregon is now starting fire season amid some of the worst conditions in memory ... “I thought we still had a generation or so to get our ducks in a row to prepare for this, and these last couple fire seasons here have been a huge wake-up call that we are experiencing it now,” said [Larry O’Neill, Oregon’s state climatologist].
https://apnews.com/article/nv-state-wire-oregon-fires-climate-change-nm-state-wire-0fcfcde1ab4a5a9b05877e2c40547855

World’s soils ‘under great pressure’, says UN pollution report
The world’s soils, which provide 95% of humanity’s food, are “under great pressure”, according to a UN report on soil pollution. Soils are also the largest active store of carbon, after the oceans, and therefore crucial in fighting the climate crisis. But the report said industrial pollution, mining, farming and poor waste management are poisoning soils ... future for soils looks “bleak” ... A 2017 report found that a third of the planet’s land is severely degraded and that fertile soil was being lost at the rate of 24bn tonnes a year.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/04/soils-great-pressure-un-pollution-report-food-farming-mining
reporting on a study at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb4827en

Brazilian Amazon deforestation hits record for May
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a record for the month of May this year, the space research institute INPE said. A total of 1,180 square kilometers of the Amazon was lost in May, representing a 41 percent increase compared to the same month in 2020. It was the third straight month in which such a record was set and raises serious questions over President Jair Bolsonaro's commitments to protecting the rainforest.
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-brazilian-amazon-deforestation.html

Climate crisis will collapse our financial system, IMF official warns
Climate change could “absolutely” ignite a financial crisis, according to a top official from the International Monetary Fund [who] pointed to recent examples of extreme typhoons in the Bahamas and the Philippines causing immense economic ruin. In the US, meanwhile, historic snow storms in Texas caused billions of dollars of damage and killed numerous people. Officials within the US and top executives in the financial sector are beginning to take this message to heart. In a recent report, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission wrote that "climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the US financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy”.
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/climate-change-wall-street-imf-b1859419.html

‘Birthplace of Ice’ in Russia’s Arctic Sees Record-Breaking Start to Melting Season
In 2020 the Laptev Sea stayed ice-free until November for the first time in documented history. The sea, which plays a crucial role in generating ice coverage for the entire Arctic, has broken another record with its annual ice melt starting earlier in the spring than ever before. “We are off to a record-breaking start to the sea ice melt season in the Laptev Sea (again),” Labe tweeted, citing data from the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The ice-free season in the Laptev Sea, located between the Kara and East Siberian seas, has grown longer in recent decades, a pattern that is likely to continue for the rest of the century.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/06/02/birthplace-of-ice-in-russias-arctic-sees-record-breaking-start-to-melting-season-a74079

Scientists Said The West Was Entering A Megadrought. Now It’s Twice As Bad
Lake Powell is within just a few feet of its low level ever observed ... California’s reservoirs are 50 percent lower than they should be at this time of year ... drought in the western US at historic levels. In [a 2020 study] scientists said the nearly two decades between 2000 and 2018 in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico was the driest such span since the late 1500s [but] in the past half year drought in the west has reached new levels that make the trend described in that study seem quaint. As of Tuesday, 26 percent of the western US is in exceptional drought status - the highest level of dryness - while 96 percent of the west is suffering from at least some level of drought ... [2000-2019] were dry enough to drive talk of a megadrought or even of “permanent drought” in the west. And now the extent of exceptional drought is more than double what was seen during that period.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2021/06/03/scientists-said-the-west-was-entering-a-megadrought-now-its-twice-as-bad/

A 20-Foot Sea Wall? Miami Faces the Hard Choices of Climate Change.
In Miami, the U.S. metropolitan area that is perhaps most exposed to sea-level rise, the problem is not climate change denialism. Not when hurricane season, which begins this week, returns each year with more intense and frequent storms. Not when finding flood insurance has become increasingly difficult and unaffordable ... South Florida, flat and low-lying, sits on porous limestone, which allows the ocean to swell up through the ground. Even when there is no storm, rising seas contribute to more significant tidal flooding, where streets fill with water even on sunny days. The expanding saltwater threatens to spoil the underground aquifer that supplies the region’s drinking water, and to crack old sewer pipes and aging septic tanks. It leaves less space for the earth to absorb liquid, so floodwaters linger longer, their runoff polluting the bay and killing fish. And that is just sea-level rise. Temperatures have gotten so sweltering over recent summers that Miami-Dade County has named a new interim “chief heat officer.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/us/miami-fl-seawall-hurricanes.html

Climate crisis is suffocating the world’s lakes, study finds
The climate crisis is causing a widespread fall in oxygen levels in lakes across the world, suffocating wildlife and threatening drinking water supplies ... new research shows that the decline in lakes has been between three and nine times faster in the past 40 years ... Rising temperatures driven by global heating is the main cause, because warmer water cannot hold as much oxygen. Furthermore, rising summer heat leaves the top layer of lakes hotter and less dense than the waters below, meaning mixing is reduced and oxygen supply to the depths falls ... The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed 45,000 dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles collected from nearly 400 lakes worldwide.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/02/climate-crisis-is-suffocating-the-worlds-lakes-study-finds

Satellites may have been underestimating the planet's warming for decades
The global warming that has already taken place may be even worse than we thought. That's the takeaway from a new study that finds satellite measurements have likely been underestimating the warming of the lower levels of the atmosphere over the last 40 years. Basic physics equations govern the relationship between temperature and moisture in the air, but many measurements of temperature and moisture used in climate models diverge from this relationship, the new study finds. That means either satellite measurements of the troposphere have underestimated its temperature or overestimated its moisture, study leader Ben Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, said in a statement ... The datasets that best followed the rules for water vapor and temperature ratios tended to be those showing the most warming.
https://www.livescience.com/satellites-underestimated-global-warming.html
reporting on a study at https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/aop/JCLI-D-20-0768.1/JCLI-D-20-0768.1.xml

Humans have ‘stressed out’ Earth far longer, and more dramatically, than realized
According to a research team led by Ondrej Mottl and Suzette G.A. Flantua of the University of Bergen in Norway, the vegetation of the planet began changing dramatically between 4,600 and 2,900 years ago, and it’s likely that the primary cause was human activity—agriculture, deforestation, and the use of fire to clear landscapes. “[H]umans likely impacted the planet strongly not just in recent decades or centuries, but thousands of years ago,” Mottl says of their research, published today in the journal Science. The landscape changes of the last century or two, as dramatic as they have been, appear to be continuations of trends several thousands of years in the making ... a 2019 study that surveyed 250 archaeologists about past human agricultural activity around the globe came to similar conclusions: By 3,000 years ago, much of the planet’s terrestrial surface had been markedly transformed by human activity. The lead author of that study, Lucas Stephens, an archaeologist and environmental policy expert at Duke University, says the two studies in tandem paint a compelling picture.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/humans-have-stressed-out-earth-far-longer-and-more-dramatically-than-realized
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6544/860

Brazil’s Worst Water Crisis in 91 Years Threatens Power Supplies
“Brazil is going through the biggest water crisis of the past 91 years,” Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said in a Thursday interview. The country of 212 million is hugely water dependent because as much as 70% of its energy mix depends on hydroelectricity, Albuquerque estimates. “This is very bad for a country that relies” so heavily on water for power, he said. Brazil is also a global agricultural powerhouse. Drought has now turned so severe that farmers are worried they’ll run out of the water reserves that help keep crops alive.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-28/brazil-s-worst-water-crisis-in-91-years-threatens-power-supplies

As rising 'heat shocks' ruin rice crops, Bangladesh faces hunger risk
Two days of sudden, intensely hot air that swept across the country in April disrupted the rice's growth ... The heat stress - caused by a mix of high temperatures, low rainfall and low humidity - ruined thousands of hectares of crops in Bangladesh's main rice-growing region this spring ... temperatures reached as high as 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) for two consecutive days in early April ... more than 68,000 hectares of rice were either partially or completely destroyed over the two days, affecting more than 300,000 farmers and resulting in losses of an estimated 3.3 billion taka ($39 million). Bangladesh already faces increasingly extreme weather - including droughts, floods and storms ... Romij Uddin, an agronomy professor at Bangladesh Agricultural University, said heat stress on crops is directly linked to global warming and rice is particularly vulnerable to high temperatures.
https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/05/29/as-rising-heat-shocks-ruin-rice-crops-bangladesh-faces-hunger-risk

Follow the warning signs: California is facing a devastating drought.
Water from snowmelt that hydrologists had expected only a few weeks ago to replenish foothill reservoirs is vanishing. It’s being absorbed by the parched soil or dissipating into the thin mountain air ... Major Northern California reservoirs currently contain only half the water they normally do in late spring. It’s a warning sign of a potentially devastating new drought. More than that, it’s an undeniable mark of dramatic climate change. “The past two decades have been exceptionally warm and dry, and included the hottest drought — 2012-16 — in the state’s recorded history,” the PPIC report reads. “Warming is making droughts more intense” ... Both the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project have announced they intend to deliver only 5% of requested [agricultural water] this year ... farmers keep overpumping groundwater. Aquifers have been so raided that the land has sunk alarmingly in many places, cracking canals and ruining roads and bridges.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-24/skelton-water-drought-newsom-budget-california

Experts predict Iraq-like weather for Spain in the near future
“Forget about the Iberian peninsula,” concluded a renowned German atmospheric physicist, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, in view of the extreme heat that the south of Europe will have to bear in the not-too-distant future ... Dominic Royé, a climatologist, postdoc researcher and lecturer at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain’s Galicia region, quotes Schellnhuber when discussing his latest article on heatwave projections ... published in the scientific journal Atmospheric Research. The article indicates a significant increase in the intensity, frequency, duration and impact of these extreme heat episodes ... “the worst summers so far will be ... considered cool by [our] children.”
https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2021-05-27/experts-predict-iraq-like-weather-for-spain-in-the-near-future.html
see also https://english.elpais.com/society/2021-05-18/global-warming-accelerates-in-spain-average-temperature-rises-13c-in-60-years.html
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169809521002076

Arctic sea ice succumbs to Atlantification
With alarm bells ringing about the rapid demise of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, satellite data have revealed how the intrusion of warmer Atlantic waters is reducing ice regrowth in the winter ... there is an undeniable trend of declining ice as climate change tightens its grip on this fragile polar region ... "Over the last decades we observed the tendency that the less ice you have at the beginning of the freezing season, the more it grows in the winter season. However, what we've found now is that in the Barents Sea and Kara Sea regions, this stabilizing effect is being overpowered by ocean heat and warmer temperatures that are reducing the ice growth in winter." This new process is called Atlantification, meaning that heat from the Atlantic Ocean carried to higher latitudes is causing the edge of the sea ice to retreat.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-arctic-sea-ice-succumbs-atlantification.html

Canada Faces Mega-Hurricanes if Climate Change Pushes Storms North: Swiss Re Warns
Climate change is making hurricanes bigger and stronger, and it may soon push them farther north. Yet Canada’s homeowners, businesses and insurers underestimate that escalating risk, according to one of the world’s leading reinsurance firms ... as ocean surfaces warm, the frequency, duration and intensity of storms increase. That’s extending their range and making Canada, where just one or two tropical cyclones make landfall each year, more vulnerable, according to the Zurich-based company [Swiss Re], which provides reinsurance to 15% of the country’s insurance industry. “You have an increased likelihood of hurricanes making landfall further north and eventually making landfalls at higher latitudes than what we’ve ever seen before,” Monica Ningen, head of Swiss Re Canada, said in an interview.
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/05/21/615351.htm

3 Florida Insurers to Drop Thousands of Policies, Make Moves to Stay Afloat
More than 50,000 Florida policyholders will soon be looking for a new carrier for their homeowners insurance after three Florida-based companies were approved by the state regulator to drop the policies. The moves come just a few weeks before the official start of hurricane season ... insurers will remove the policies over the next 45 days ... The regulator’s actions are the most recent indicators of Florida’s stressed insurance marketplace that has been described as “spiraling towards collapse.”
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2021/05/12/613541.htm

Trees Fell Faster in the Years Since Companies and Governments Promised to Stop Cutting Them Down
In the seven years since governments and corporations promised to stop deforestation, the clear cutting of critically important tropical forests has instead increased by more than 50 percent, a new report shows ... The research looks at the period, starting in 2014, when dozens of governments, organizations and companies signed onto the New York Declaration on Forests, a voluntary agreement to halve deforestation by 2020 and stop it altogether by 2030. The researchers found that, since those commitments, an area nearly twice the size of California has been cleared of trees, mostly for commercial agriculture, which is the largest driver of deforestation and the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions from land use.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19052021/deforestation-climate-change-forest-trends-companies-governments/

Arizona’s current historic drought may be ‘baseline for the future’
Arizona drought map 18 May 2021 Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel Tuesday. The period from last April to this March was the driest in the last 126 years for Arizona and other Western states, witnesses said. It caps a two-decade stretch that was the driest in more than 100 years that records have been kept – and one of the driest in the past 1,200 years based on paleohydrology evidence, one official said. “We have never seen drought at the scale and intensity that we see right now, and it is possible that this may be the baseline for the future,” Elizabeth Klein, a senior counselor to the secretary of Interior, said in her testimony. More than half of Arizona is currently experiencing “exceptional” drought conditions, the most severe level of drought.
https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2021/05/25/arizonas-current-historic-drought-may-be-baseline-for-the-future/

Widespread Drought in Mexico
Nearly 85 percent of the country is facing drought conditions as of April 15, 2021. Large reservoirs across the country are standing at exceptionally low levels. Water levels have continued to decline. Villa Victoria [reservoir] is filled to about one third of its normal capacity. According to the newspaper El País, roughly 60 other large reservoirs, mostly in northern and central Mexico, were below 25 percent capacity ... According to Mexico’s National Meteorological Service, the northwest and northeast have recently moved from severe to extreme drought.
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/148270/widespread-drought-in-mexico

Get Ready for Financial Shocks From Climate Change, Biden Tells Officials
Experts warn of two broad types of financial risk posed by a hotter planet: The growing cost to businesses and investors as climate-related disasters damage or destroy buildings, crops or supply chains; and the potential for a sudden drop in the value of companies that depend on fossil fuels, as governments or consumers embrace wind, solar and other sources of energy that do not produce the carbon emissions driving global warming ... “Our modern financial system was built on the assumption that the climate was stable,” Brian Deese, head of President Biden’s National Economic Council, said Thursday on a call with reporters. “It’s clear that we no longer live in such a world.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/20/climate/biden-climate-change-economy.html

Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns
Nations around the world would need to immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline-powered vehicles if they want to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday. In a sweeping new report, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed road map of what it would take for the world’s nations to slash carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 ... first time the International Energy Agency has outlined ways to accomplish such drastic cuts in emissions. That’s significant, given the fact that the influential agency is not an environmental group but an international organization that advises world capitals on energy policy ... For now, the world remains off course. Last month, the agency warned that global carbon dioxide emissions were expected to rise at their second-fastest pace ever in 2021 ... half the emissions cuts by 2050 would come from technologies that are still in the demonstration or prototype stage, the report said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/climate/climate-change-emissions-IEA.html
see also https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

Greenland ice sheet on brink of major tipping point, says study
Scientists say ice equivalent to 1-2 metres of sea level rise is probably already doomed to melt
A significant part of the Greenland ice sheet is on the brink of a tipping point, after which accelerated melting would become inevitable even if global heating was halted, according to new research ... The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, used temperature records, ice cores, and modelling to reconstruct the ice sheet’s elevation and melting rates since 1880. Careful examination of the size and duration of changes during this time series revealed the warning signals of an imminent tipping point, by showing that the ice sheet’s ability to recover from melting is diminishing fast.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/17/greenland-ice-sheet-on-brink-of-major-tipping-point-says-study
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/118/21/e2024192118

Blazes That Refuse to Die: ‘Zombie Fires’
According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, fires in far northern forests that smolder throughout the wet, cold winters and pop up again in the spring could become more common because of climate change ... Arctic is warming far faster than the rest of the planet, and warming is associated with summer temperature extremes, with fires covering large areas, and with deep burning. Those factors interconnect: High temperatures lead to longer fire seasons and larger burn areas as well as drier soils that are friendly to fire. And because the fires occur in peat and peat-like soils high in carbon content [which are very difficult to put out] their burning can emit disproportionately large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane that contribute to global warming. In Alaska, Dr. Veraverbeke noted, only 10 percent of carbon emissions from fires comes from trees; 90 percent comes from burning soil.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/climate/climate-change-zombie-forest-fires.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03437-y

Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C
Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only around 50 scenarios avoid significantly overshooting 1.5°C. Of those only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, for instance the rate and scale of carbon removal from the atmosphere or extent of tree planting, a new study shows. All 20 scenarios need to pull at least one mitigation lever at 'challenging' rather than 'reasonable' levels, according to the analysis. Hence the world faces a high degree of risk of overstepping the 1.5°C limit ... The researchers drew from existing research to define bounds that delineate between the 'reasonable', 'challenging', and 'speculative' use of each of the levers by mid-century. The bounds quantify the range of emissions reduction potentials of each of the aggregate levers, which result from technological, economic, social and resource considerations ... Those scenarios classified by the analysis as unrealistically optimistic most frequently tend to over-estimate carbon capture and storage potentials.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-realistic-scenarios-left-limit-global.html
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abfeec

Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk
A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water ... PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging, clothing and carpeting water and stain resistant ... they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems ... published on Thursday in the Environmental Science and Technology journal.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/13/pfas-forever-chemicals-breast-milk-us-study

Microplastics: A Threat for Male Fertility
One of the main consequences of industrialization is the production, use and discharge of several environmental pollutants that can result as harmful for animal, human and environmental health ... sunlight, wind, and wave action break down plastic waste into small particles ... These non-biodegradable materials can act as a vector for environmental pollutants, can be ingested by humans in food and water, and can enter and accumulate in human tissues with a possible risk for heath. Recent studies revealed the deleterious effects of MPs exposure in male reproduction and sperm quality, making them a potential hazard to reproductive success.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967748/

U.S. has entered unprecedented climate territory, EPA warns
The destruction of year-round permafrost in Alaska, loss of winter ice on the Great Lakes and spike in summer heat waves in U.S. cities all signal that climate change is intensifying, the EPA said in its report ... which languished under the Trump administration for three years ... the nation has entered unprecedented territory, in which climate effects are more visible, changing faster and becoming more extreme ... Heat waves are occurring about three times more often than they did in the 1960s, the agency found ... Americans are blasting air conditioners to stay cool during the hot months, which has nearly doubled summer energy use over the past half-century and added even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere ... in Alaska, permafrost has warmed since 1978. The biggest temperature increases were found in the northernmost reaches of the state.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/12/us-has-entered-unprecedented-climate-territory-epa-warns/

Asian Cities Face Greatest Environmental Risks, Report Shows
Of the 100 most vulnerable cities, 99 are in Asia, according to the report released on Thursday. Of those, 37 are in China and 43 are in India, the world’s first and third biggest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively. Globally, 1.5 billion people live in 414 cities that are at high risk from pollution, water shortages, extreme heat, natural hazards and the physical impacts of climate change.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-12/asian-cities-face-greatest-environmental-risks-report-shows
reporting on a study at https://www.maplecroft.com/insights/analysis/asian-cities-in-eye-of-environmental-storm-global-ranking/

Germany’s 2045 Net-Zero Goal Means Accepting Unpopular Technologies
Germany would have to phase out coal by the end of the decade — eight years earlier than planned — while boosting renewables to 70% of the country’s energy mix. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will have to end by 2032. The amount of electricity generated will have to double as more of it is consumed by vehicles and used to create vast amounts of clean hydrogen. Germany will also have to do something it’s resisted in the past: deploy carbon-capture technology on a large scale. The industrial powerhouse will have to bury as much as 73 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2045, from approximately zero today.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-11/germany-s-2045-net-zero-goal-means-accepting-unpopular-technologies

German Climate Goals Need ‘Massive’ Cut in Industry CO2 by 2030
“In the industrial sector, the indicated reductions can only be achieved with massive decarbonization of industrial plants and processes,” according to the draft. “Given the lead times and investment cycles in the sector, these must be initiated immediately” ... [goal is] cutting emissions by 65% below 1990 levels by 2030. However, that would still not be compatible with the terms of the Paris Agreement.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-11/germany-s-climate-goals-require-massive-cut-in-industrial-co2

More than 60% of Russian territory is permafrost. Now it is melting
Across the country’s north, buildings, roads and industrial installations are slowly sliding into the ground ... “65 percent of Russia’s territory is located in the permafrost zone, but this is not mentioned in a single federal program document, despite the fact that the permafrost area is a vital component in the natural environment, of which the landscape, vegetation and coastline is dependent,” [Minister of Natural Resources Aleksandr] Kozlov says in a statement. The melting already has major consequences for people living in the region, he explains. “We see how the melting of the permafrost is triggering accidents at industrial and housing objects ... We have to protect the nature from environmental catastophe,” he says.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2021/05/more-60-russian-territory-permafrost-now-it-melting

Russia is to lose its permafrost, minister of natural resources warns
The phenomenon of permafrost - a several-metre-deep and hard frozen mix of soil, sand and ice, lying under cities, towns and vast unpopulated areas of Russian Arctic regions - is vanishing, Alexander Kozlov, Russian Minister of Natural Resources said. ‘Every such region understands what's coming to it in 20, 30 years. It’ll stop being northern (climate-wise) ... Russia has a vast Arctic zone, spreading about four million square kilometres along its northern border from the west to the extreme east. Almost 60% is permafrost ... Russian permafrost area is also the world’s biggest reservoir of organic carbon, which converts into a greenhouse gas including methane once it thaws.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/russia-is-to-lose-its-permafrost-minister-of-natural-resources-warns/

Rapid decline of China’s wetlands threatens mass extinction for rare birds
The destruction of China’s wetlands, which are critical stopping points for birds migrating as far away as the Arctic or the South Pacific, threatens mass extinctions of species across East Asia, new research has found ... The Coastal Wetland Conservation Blueprint report, a joint effort by the Paulson Institute, China’s forestry ministry and the Chinese Academy of sciences, says shrinking habitats are forcing migratory birds into smaller areas ... “protection of important natural capital such as wetlands is often lost to short-term economic gains,” the report said ... Half of the 10 most important wetlands on the Pacific-East Asia route are in China ... Since the 1950s, China’s coast has lost over half of its temperate wetlands, almost three quarters of its mangrove forests and around 80% of its coral reefs – all habitats important for migratory birds.
https://chinadialogue.net/en/nature/8253-rapid-decline-of-china-s-wetlands-threatens-mass-extinction-for-rare-birds

Stratospheric contraction caused by increasing greenhouse gases
Rising emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) have led to tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling over recent decades. As a thermodynamic consequence, the troposphere has expanded and the rise of the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere, has been suggested as one of the most robust fingerprints of anthropogenic climate change ... we show that [the stratosphere] has contracted substantially over the last decades, and that the main driver for this are increasing concentrations of GHG ... we show that this trend will continue ... its short emergence time (less than 15 years) makes it a novel and independent indicator of GHG induced climate change.
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abfe2b

One in four cities cannot afford crisis protection measures
One in four cities around the world lack the money to protect themselves against the ravages of climate breakdown, even though more than 90% are facing serious risks, according to research. Cities are facing problems with flooding, overheating, water shortages, and damage to their infrastructure from extreme weather, which is growing more frequent as the climate changes.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/12/one-in-four-cities-cannot-afford-climate-crisis-protection-measures-study

Study Warns of 'Rapid and Unstoppable' Sea Level Rise If World Misses Paris Climate Targets
A new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature [projects that] if planetary warming continues at its current rate — which is headed toward 3° Celsius above pre-industrial levels — Antarctic melting will reach a tipping point by 2060 ... "If the world warms up at a rate dictated by current policies we will see the Antarctic system start to get away from us around 2060 ... and once that is set in motion you can't reverse it."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/05/study-warns-rapid-and-unstoppable-sea-level-rise-if-world-misses-paris-climate
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03427-0

Editorial: There is no drought
If ‘drought’ means a period of dry years followed by a return to the norm, California is not in drought. The current climate is the norm
Droughts are deviations from the norm. What we have now is no deviation. It is the norm itself. Our climate has changed ... ["Temporary drought"] is sometimes used to deny the epic and obvious change in our climate patterns, but that’s all wrong. Just as there is no temporary drought in the Sahara, where heat and dryness punctuated by flash flooding is the norm, there is no temporary drought in California. The years of steady and predictable water flow are over, and there is no sign of them coming back in our lifetimes. This is it. We have to build, and grow, and legislate, and consume for the world as it is, not as we may remember it.
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-05-06/editorial-there-is-no-drought

Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap
[C]urrent consensus is that if we deploy so-called “carbon dioxide removal” techniques at the same time as reducing our burning of fossil fuels, we can more rapidly halt global warming. Hopefully around the middle of this century we will achieve “net zero” ... This is a great idea, in principle [but] the idea of net zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier “burn now, pay later” approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar ... it was becoming more and more difficult for economic-climate models to find viable pathways to avoid dangerous climate change [so,] long before the world would witness any such schemes, the hypothetical process had been included in climate-economic models. In the end, the mere prospect of carbon capture and storage gave policy makers a way out of making the much needed cuts to greenhouse gas emissions ... We struggle to name any climate scientist who at that time thought the Paris Agreement was feasible. We have since been told by some scientists that the Paris Agreement was “of course important for climate justice but unworkable” ... Instead of confronting our doubts, we scientists decided to construct ever more elaborate fantasy worlds in which we would be safe. The price to pay for our cowardice: having to keep our mouths shut about the ever growing absurdity of the required planetary-scale carbon dioxide removal.
https://theconversation.com/climate-scientists-concept-of-net-zero-is-a-dangerous-trap-157368

Climate Change Could Cut World Economy by $23 Trillion in 2050, Insurance Giant Warns
Rising temperatures are likely to reduce global wealth significantly by 2050, as crop yields fall, disease spreads and rising seas consume coastal cities [says] a report from Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest providers of insurance to other insurance companies ... During the past 40 years, the United States has experienced almost 300 weather and climate-related disasters that exceeded $1 billion in losses each, noted Donald L. Griffin, a vice president at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, which represents insurance companies ... If climate change continues unabated, he said, the cost of insurance risks becoming too high in at-risk areas. “We can’t just continue to rebuild in the same way,” Mr. Griffin said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/climate/climate-change-economy.html

Why no action on climate change is not an option
While no country is immune to the adverse effects of climate change, some nations will suffer worse than others ... The Economics of Climate Change report pulls together information about the physical risks of wetter or drier climates, each country’s ability to adapt to these changes and the likely adverse impact of climate change on GDP ... "Our research is unique in that it explicitly simulates many uncertainties around the economic effects of climate change. What we found is that, over time, climate impacts could be a lot more severe than policymakers, fiscal authorities and central banks are currently taking into account." [says] Patrick Saner, Head of Macro Strategy at the Swiss Re Institute, and one of the report's authors.
https://www.swissre.com/risk-knowledge/mitigating-climate-risk/no-action-climate-change-not-option.html

America’s new normal: A degree hotter than two decades ago
NOAA-30yr America’s new normal temperature is a degree [F] hotter than it was just two decades ago ... not just hotter, but wetter in the eastern and central parts of the nation and considerably drier in the West than just a decade earlier ... the yearly normal temperature is now 53.3 degrees (11.8 degrees Celsius) based on weather station data from 1991 to 2020. That’s nearly half a degree warmer than a decade ago. Twenty years ago, normal was 52.3 degrees (11.3 degrees Celsius) based on data from 1971 to 2000.
https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-05-04/americas-new-normal-a-degree-hotter-than-two-decades-ago
reporting on a study at https://www.noaa.gov/news/new-us-climate-normals-are-here-what-do-they-tell-us-about-climate-change

As glaciers disappear in Alaska, the rest of the world’s ice follows
Nowhere in the world is losing glacier ice as rapidly as Alaska. This single region accounts for about a quarter of global mass loss, more than twice the share of other areas including the Greenland periphery and the Himalayas. That is a global concern because glacier loss is a bigger source of sea level rise than the polar ice sheets [and they] are a vital component of the Earth’s life-support system ... No longer does a glacier reach the Muir Inlet. “If John Muir went to some of the same places today, he wouldn’t even see a glacier. What would be write about? Open water and a young growth forest?” If this was just one bay, it would be no cause for concern. Glaciers have always gained in one valley and lost in another. The difference today, he said, is that all the glaciers in the region are declining at the same time ... the fall of [Taku glacier] the last hold-out against global warming was a sobering moment. “That makes the score climate change 250, alpine glaciers 0 ... they are all in retreat.” To varying degrees, the story is the same across the world ... Even the remote Antarctic is not immune. In January 2020, scientists at a polar research base detected black carbon that had floated across the Pacific from the record bushfires in Australia. This, however, pales into insignificance compared to the impact of warming air and oceans, which is eroding giant southern glaciers, such as Thwaites. If Thwaites and other Antarctic glaciers break into the ocean, sea levels would rise rapidly ... For Peito, the picture is dismal: “We keep updating the data, and the story keeps getting worse.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/01/as-glaciers-disappear-in-alaska-the-rest-of-the-worlds-ice-follows

Speed at which world’s glaciers are melting has doubled in 20 years
The melting of the world’s glaciers has nearly doubled in speed over the past 20 years and contributes more to sea-level rise than either the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, according to the most comprehensive global study of ice rivers ever undertaken ... Between 2000 and 2019, glaciers lost 267 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year, equivalent to 21% of sea-level rise, reveals a paper published in Nature. The authors said the mass loss was equivalent to submerging the surface of England under 2 metres of water every year. This was 47% higher than the contribution of the melting ice sheet in Greenland and more than twice that from the ice sheet in Antarctica. As a cause of sea-level rise, glacier loss was second only to thermal expansion, which is prompted by higher ocean temperatures ... The study uses historical NASA satellite data and new statistical methods to construct three-dimensional topographies going back 20 years and covering 99.9% of the world’s glaciers. The result is the most accurate and comprehensive assessment of the world’s 217,175 glaciers to date. Scientists said the precision of the data allowed them to be more certain than before that glacier loss is enormous and accelerating.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/28/speed-at-which-worlds-glaciers-are-melting-has-doubled-in-20-years

Millions of Groundwater Wells Could Run Dry
Overpumping, drought and the steady influence of climate change are depleting groundwater resources all over the globe, according to new research. As much as 20% of the world’s groundwater wells may be facing imminent failure, potentially depriving billions of people of fresh water. “We found that this undesirable result is happening across the world, from the western United States to India,” said Debra Perrone, a water resources expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-author of the study. The research, published yesterday in the journal Science, pulled together construction records from 39 million wells scattered across 40 countries.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/millions-of-groundwater-wells-could-run-dry/
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6540/418

Climate tipping points may have been reached already, experts say
Through decades of research, and now lived experience, it has become clear that the impacts of climate change will have drastic and far-reaching consequences on our planet. And while some of those consequences are predictable — like more extreme weather, sea-level rise and loss of biodiversity — the pace at which these unfold and their eventual severity hinge on what happens with key linchpins in the climate system, called tipping points ... In a 2019 paper, Professor Timothy Lenton, a global leader on the subject, identified nine climate tipping points [including] what he deems the three most critical tipping points: the Amazon rainforest, the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Gulf Stream system. Lenton highlights these three because the West Antarctic ice sheet may have already passed a tipping point; the Amazon because it is a crucial crucible of biodiversity and for its warehouse of carbon; and the Gulf Stream system because of its potential for profound changes with connected ramifications all around the planet. CBS News spoke to Lenton and several other scientists [and] their message was unanimous: Changes are happening faster than what was expected and the chance of hitting tipping points in the climate system, which just a decade ago appeared remote and far off, now seems much more likely and more immediate ... [Leading climate scientist Michael] Mann warns this is all happening much faster than projected. "The observations tell us we are about 50 years, or more, ahead of where the climate models say we should be at this point," he said.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-tipping-points-amazon-rainforest-antarctic-ice-gulf-stream/

Stinson Beach residents must reckon with abandoning their homes as sea levels rise
Studies show that numerous [posh] homes in Stinson Beach will flood with just one foot of sea rise, an unavoidable result of human-caused climate change. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects that this will likely happen in under 20 years (the same data set shows a rise of nearly four feet by the end of the century) ... "Lots of people delighted with their beach house and their one-and-a-half-minute walk to the beach all of a sudden discovered that you wouldn't be able to get a permit, for anything," resident and HOA President Mike Matthews told the station. "That equates to 'can’t sell your house,' and that equates to loss of the value of it so there was an extreme reaction." This has resulted in a fight between residents and the California Coastal Commission on what to do with the at-risk homes, as the commission wants to let nature take its course and not build a sea wall ... The commission sees the loss of homes as inevitable and is advocating for a "managed retreat," meaning the homes in the low-lying areas will need to be moved or abandoned.
https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/2020-04-bay-area-sea-rise-stinson-beach-climate-16133384.php

There aren’t enough trees in the world to offset society’s carbon emissions – and there never will be
[E]arth’s land ecosystems can hold enough additional vegetation to absorb between 40 and 100 gigatonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. Once this additional growth is achieved (a process which will take a number of decades), there is no capacity for additional carbon storage on land. But our society is currently pouring CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate of ten gigatonnes of carbon a year.
https://theconversation.com/there-arent-enough-trees-in-the-world-to-offset-societys-carbon-emissions-and-there-never-will-be-158181
reporting on a study at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ffgc.2020.00058/full

A Massive Methane Reservoir Is Lurking Beneath the Sea
Methane in the Laptev Sea is stored in reservoirs below the sea’s submarine permafrost or in the form of methane hydrates — solid ice-like structures that trap the gas inside ... disintegrating hydrates and reservoirs can lead to sudden, eruptive releases. Methane has now started to escape as the Laptev’s submarine permafrost is thawed by the relative warmth of overlying seawater. With an even stronger greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide, methane releases into the atmosphere could substantially amplify global warming ... study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in March. “The big finding was that we really have something that’s coming out from a deep pool,” said Steinbach. As the permafrost thaws, it opens up new pathways that allow methane to pass through. According to Gustafsson, this is worrying, as the pool likely contains more methane than is currently in the atmosphere.
https://eos.org/articles/a-massive-methane-reservoir-is-lurking-beneath-the-sea
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/118/10/e2019672118

Aquatic Pollutants in Oceans and Fisheries
Exposures to environmental pollutants are adversely impacting fertility, behavior, and resilience ... Estimates indicate up to 80% of marine chemical pollution originates on land and the situation is worsening ... Endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are biologically active at extremely low concentrations, pose a particular long-term threat to fisheries ... pollutants such as mercury, brominated compounds, and plastics biomagnify in the aquatic food web and ultimately reach humans ... Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic ... Melting sea ice, glaciers and permafrost are increasing sea levels and altering ocean currents ... Increases in both de-oxygenated ‘dead zones’ and coastal algal blooms are being observed ... climate change is re-mobilizing historical contaminants from their ‘polar sinks’ ... Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) represent a long-term threat to all aquatic life. Exposure to EDCs disrupts an organism’s endocrine system by interfering with normal hormonal activity ... evident in fish, frogs, alligators, and ultimately in humans. In the most extreme cases, animals developed both male and female sexual characteristics making reproduction impossible. EDCs can affect the biological systems of all aquatic species ... Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and the accumulation of mercury can cause damage to fish brains. Mercury is also linked to reproductive impairment in many fish species ... Over 40% of insect species may be threatened with extinction.
https://ipen.org/transfer/embargo/aquatic_pollutants_in_oceans_and_fisheries_ipen-en.pdf

IEA issues 'dire warning' on CO2 emissions as it predicts 5% rise
Global CO2 emissions from energy are seen rising nearly 5% this year, suggesting the economic rebound from COVID-19 could be "anything but sustainable" for the climate, the International Energy Agency said ... largest single increase in more than a decade ... will likely be driven by a resurgence in coal use in the power sector ... Demand for all fossil fuels is on course to grow in 2021, with both coal and gas set to rise above 2019 levels. The expected rise in coal use dwarfs that of renewables by almost 60%, despite accelerating demand for solar, wind and hydro power.
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/iea-issues-dire-warning-co2-emissions-it-predicts-5-rise-2021-04-20/
reporting on a study at https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021

‘Relentless’ climate crisis intensified in 2020, says UN report
There was a “relentless” intensification of the climate crisis in 2020, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization ... the temporary dip in carbon emissions due to lockdowns had no discernible impact on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the WMO report said. Last year was ranked as the hottest on record [and the decade] 2011-20 was the hottest on record. Extreme weather events broke records across the world ... Richard Allan, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading in the UK, said: “What is notable is an emerging picture that climate change is gathering pace: [ice is] melting more quickly and heat is accumulating more rapidly in the ocean, while CO2 increases, which are driving these changes, are becoming progressively larger over time.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/19/relentless-climate-crisis-intensified-in-2020-says-un-report
reporting on a study at https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=10618

Early heatwaves in South Asia foreshadow an uncertain future for the region
[Karachi Pakistan temperature] rose to 44 degrees Celsius on April 3 ... Sardar Sarfaraz of the Pakistan Meteorological Department attributed the early arrival of the heatwave to the shattering of traditional weather patterns – a consequence of climate change ... In recent years, a spate of heatwaves has been recorded in Sindh province of southeast Pakistan. In 2015, Karachi’s heat index soared to 66 degrees Celsius, killing at least 1,200 people with 40,000 suffering from heatstroke and heat exhaustion [but a] study published by Geophysical Research Letters, a scientific journal, predicts that the worst is yet to come ... the study concludes that, even if global warming is contained at 1.5 degrees Celsius ... deadly heatwaves are likely to become more common across South Asia ... as “wet bulb” temperatures climb above 32 degrees Celsius ... The study notes that the impact of soaring temperatures will be felt most by labourers and industrial workers ...  in a region where 29% of the population – 216 million people – live in extreme poverty.
https://scroll.in/article/992163/early-heatwaves-in-south-asia-foreshadow-an-uncertain-future-for-the-region

The Ongoing Collapse of the World's Aquifers
All over the world geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet. More punishing droughts mean the increased draining of aquifers, and rising seas make sinking land all the more vulnerable to flooding. According to a recent study published in the journal Science, 1.6 billion people could be affected by subsidence [by 2040] ... “Aquifers will be depleted ... it's not possible to ask people who are in need of fresh water to stop using groundwater” ... At the end of the day, subsiding cities are up against unstoppable physical forces. “Geology is geology ... we can't do anything about that.”
https://www.wired.com/story/the-ongoing-collapse-of-the-worlds-aquifers/
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6524/34

The Dead Sea is dying. Drinking water is scarce. Jordan faces a climate crisis
In the last three decades, the Dead Sea’s level has fallen almost 100 feet. The rate of loss is accelerating ... Jordan’s perennial thirst is worsening. A virtually landlocked desert kingdom with few resources, the country’s yearly decrease in rainfall could lead to a 30% reduction by 2100, according to Stanford University’s Jordan Water Project. Jordan’s aquifers ... are being pumped at a furious pace, even as the pandemic has increased demand by 40% ... “The situation here is bleak,” says Water Ministry spokesman Omar Salameh ... a preview of what the region faces as a whole. Middle Eastern nations top the list of most water-stressed countries, the World Resources Institute says. The region is also a “global hotspot of unsustainable water use,” according to 2017 World Bank report.
https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-04-15/the-dead-sea-is-dying-drinking-water-is-scarce-jordan-faces-a-climate-crisis

The 'Heat Bombs' Destroying Arctic Sea Ice
A team led by physical oceanographers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows in a new study how plumes of warm water are flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean and accelerating sea ice melt from below [and] changing the nature of the Arctic Ocean faster than nearly any other place on Earth ... Warm, relatively salty water enters from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and then the Barrow Canyon off Alaska’s northern coast, which ... is dense enough to “subduct,” or dive beneath, the fresh Arctic surface layer [and create] pockets of very warm water that lurk below surface waters ... These pockets known as “heat bombs'' are just stable enough to be able to last for months or years, swirling far north beneath the main ice pack near the north pole, and destabilizing that ice as the heat in them gradually but steadily diffuses upwards to melt the ice.
https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/heat-bombs-destroying-arctic-sea-ice

Long-term consequences of CO2 emissions
The oxygen content in the oceans will continue to decrease ... A new study published today in the scientific journal Nature Communications shows that this process will continue for centuries, even if all CO2 emissions and thus warming at the Earth's surface would be stopped immediately. "In the study, a model of the Earth system was used to assess what would happen in the ocean in the long term if all CO2 emissions would be stopped immediately," explains the author, Professor Andreas Oschlies from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. "The results show that even in this extreme scenario, the oxygen depletion will continue for centuries, more than quadrupling the oxygen loss we have seen to date in the ocean."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210416120005.htm

Just 3% of world’s ecosystems remain intact, study suggests
Just 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact with healthy populations of all its original animals and undisturbed habitat ... mainly in parts of the Amazon and Congo tropical forests, east Siberian and northern Canadian forests and tundra, and the Sahara ... Previous analyses have identified wilderness areas based largely on satellite images and estimated that 20-40% of the Earth’s surface is little affected by humans. However, the scientists behind the new study argue that forests, savannah and tundra can appear intact from above but that, on the ground, vital species are missing ... The new assessment combines maps of human damage to habitat with maps showing where animals have disappeared from their original ranges or are too few in number to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/15/just-3-of-worlds-ecosystems-remain-intact-study-suggests
reporting on a study at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ffgc.2021.626635/full

[US] Corn Belt Has Lost a Third of Its Topsoil
Crops hunger for the carbon-packed composition of rich topsoil. They need the nutrients and water that it stores, unlike the compacted, infertile soils that decades of conventional farming create ... agricultural soil erosion has been a problem for decades, but quantifying soil loss from a hundred years of farming and across multiple states has proven difficult. Now a study led by geomorphologist Evan Thaler and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February attempts to answer the elusive question of how much topsoil has been eroded in the Corn Belt, which stretches roughly from Ohio to Nebraska and produces 75 percent of the nation’s corn. The study estimated that about 35 percent of the region has lost its topsoil completely ... Rick Cruse, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University whose research on soil erosion includes remote sensing and satellite imagery, found Thaler’s results to be reasonable. “The technologies they used have been in the literature and have been developed for decades,” he says. “When I look at the landscape where they’re making these estimates, and look at the economic estimates they’ve generated, I have no pushback on what’s been done here.”
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/scientists-say-nations-corn-belt-has-lost-third-its-topsoil-180977485/

Epic drought means water crisis on Oregon-California border
The federally owned irrigation project will draw [only] 33,000 acre-feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake, which farmers said was roughly 8% of what they need in such a dry year. Water deliveries will also start June 1, two months later than usual ... “It just hasn’t rained or snowed this year. We all know how dry our fields are, and the rest of the watersheds are in the same boat,” Ben DuVal, president of the Klamath Water Users Association, told several dozen irrigators who gathered in Klamath Falls on Wednesday morning to hear the news. “We all know what this is going to mean to our farms, our families and our community as a whole.” ... Jay Weiner, an attorney for the Klamath Tribes, [said] “What we’re seeing with climate change increasingly — year after year after year — is that there is not enough water to go around. This crisis should not come as a surprise to anyone ... We have over-drafted our account, essentially, and now we have to deal with the consequences.”
https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/epic-drought-means-water-crisis-on-oregon-california-border/

US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released 24-month projections this week forecasting that less Colorado River water will cascade down from the Rocky Mountains through Lake Powell and Lake Mead and into the arid deserts of the U.S. Southwest and the Gulf of California. Water levels in the two lakes are expected to plummet low enough for the agency to declare an official shortage for the first time, threatening the supply of Colorado River water that growing cities and farms rely on. It comes as climate change means less snowpack flows into the river and its tributaries, and hotter temperatures parch soil and cause more river water to evaporate as it streams through the drought-plagued American West. The agency’s models project Lake Mead will fall below 1,075 feet (328 meters) for the first time in June 2021. That’s the level that prompts a shortage declaration under agreements negotiated by seven states that rely on Colorado River water: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming ... Arizona, Nevada and Mexico have voluntarily given up water under a drought contingency plan for the river signed in 2019. A shortage declaration would subject the two U.S. states to their first mandatory reductions. Both rely on the Colorado River more than any other water source.
https://apnews.com/article/arizona-colorado-lakes-water-shortages-colorado-river-09302e61c5e0ef051f50459f3dcb771f

Colorado River basin due for more frequent, intense hydroclimate events
In the vast Colorado River basin, climate change is driving extreme, interconnected events among earth-system elements such as weather and water ... "We found that concurrent extreme hydroclimate events, such as high temperatures and unseasonable rain that quickly melt mountain snowpack to cause downstream floods, are projected to increase and intensify within several critical regions of the Colorado River basin," said Katrina Bennett, a hydrologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author of the paper ... The Los Alamos study looked at heat waves, drought, flooding, and low flows in climate scenarios taken from six earth-system models for the entire Colorado River basin. The basin spans portions of Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California ... In every scenario, the number and magnitude of each type of extreme event increased on average across the Colorado River Basin for the future period compared to the historical period ... More than 40 million people depend on the Colorado River basin for water, and it directly supports $1.4 trillion in agricultural and commercial activity.
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-colorado-river-basin-due-frequent.html
reporting on a study at https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/13/7/978

Climate Change Threatens Russia With Billions in Annual Costs
Russia is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. A significant part of its territory is in the Arctic, which is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world. That’s manifested in Siberia’s unusually high 2020 temperatures, two consecutive years of record wildfires and thawing permafrost ... Reinsurance [company] Aon Benfield estimated that June floods near Russia’s border with China in 2019 cost the nation more than $460 million. In total, major catastrophes may have led to just under $1 billion of losses in Russia that year, it said. “The heat wave in Siberia in 2020 and the corresponding widespread fires are renewed evidence of climate change,” said Ernst Rauch, chief climate and geoscientist at global reinsurance provider Munich Re. “We view with concern the thawing permafrost soils, which amplify global warming by releasing methane.”
https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/climate-change-may-be-costing-russia-billions-every-year

California is poised for a catastrophic fire season. Experts say its plan isn’t nearly enough
Last year, the state saw five of the six largest fires in state history, after a lack of rain and a heat wave dried out fire-fueling vegetation across the region’s wildlands. This year is tied for the third-driest year in state history – and the desiccated landscape is primed to burn. “We’re definitely looking at a serious challenge ahead,” Field said. As the state heads into its dry, summer season, its reservoirs remain at about half capacity. The region is so dry that the chamise plants that cover the state’s chaparral landscape didn’t sprout or flower this year in some locations. Instead, the highly flammable vegetation has already started to dry out – transforming into kindling that could invite more destructive fires, earlier than usual.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/14/california-wildfire-season-2021

We Are Living in a Climate Emergency, and We’re Going to Say So
Signed By: Covering Climate Now, Scientific American, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, The Guardian, Noticias Telemundo, Al Jazeera, The Asahi Shimbun, La Repubblica
It’s time for journalism to recognize that the climate emergency is here. This is a statement of science, not politics. Thousands of scientists—including James Hansen, the NASA scientist who put the problem on the public agenda in 1988, and David King and Hans Schellnhuber, former science advisers to the British and German governments, respectively—have said humanity faces a “climate emergency.” Why “emergency”? Because words matter. To preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires and ice melt of 2020 routine and could “render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable,” warned the January Scientific American article.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-are-living-in-a-climate-emergency-and-were-going-to-say-so/

Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere reach record high
The data released by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas in March averaged 417.14 parts per million (ppm), a new record high. The UK’s Met Office predicts monthly concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main driver of rising temperatures and the climate crisis, will peak in 2021 at about 419.5 ppm ... Last year’s annual average figure was 413.94ppm – with 2021’s level forecast to be about 416.3ppm ... “It took over 200 years to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 25%, and just 30 years to reach 50% above pre-industrial levels.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/07/carbon-dioxide-levels-in-atmosphere-reach-record-high

Half of global methane emissions come from aquatic ecosystems – much of this is human-made
In our paper published today in Nature Geoscience, we show as much as half of global methane emissions come from aquatic ecosystems ... Scientists had previously underestimated this global methane contribution due to underaccounting human-created and human-impacted aquatic ecosystems ... emissions from impacted, polluted and human-made aquatic ecosystems are higher than from more natural sites ... [we found] strong methane release from rice cultivation, reservoirs and aquaculture farms. Globally, rice cultivation releases more methane per year than all coastal wetlands, the continental shelf and open ocean together.
https://theconversation.com/half-of-global-methane-emissions-come-from-aquatic-ecosystems-much-of-this-is-human-made-156960
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-021-00715-2

Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and methane surged in 2020
The global surface average for CO2, calculated from measurements collected at NOAA’s remote sampling locations, was 412.5 ppm in 2020, rising by 2.6 ppm during the year ... economic recession was estimated to have reduced carbon emissions by about 7 percent during 2020. Without the economic slowdown, the 2020 increase would have been the highest on record ... Since 2000, the global CO2 average has grown by 43.5 ppm, an increase of 12 percent ... CO2 is now comparable to where it was during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period around 3.6 million years ago [when] sea level was about 78 feet higher than today, the average temperature was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in pre-industrial times, and studies indicate large forests occupied areas of the Arctic that are now tundra ... annual increase in atmospheric methane for 2020 was 14.7 ppb, which is the largest annual increase recorded since systematic measurements began.
https://research.noaa.gov/article/ArtMID/587/ArticleID/2742/Despite-pandemic-shutdowns-carbon-dioxide-and-methane-surged-in-2020

Permafrost temperatures in Swiss Alps reach record highs
In 2019-2020 [winter] air temperatures were up to 1°C higher than average ... This, combined with a very warm spring, two summer heat waves, and the early arrival of snow at high altitudes in November 2019, resulted in warm permafrost conditions across the country ... the Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network PERMOS documents changes in permafrost conditions in the Swiss Alps and draws on the expertise of six research institutes and universities in the country.
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/permafrost-temperatures-in-swiss-alps-reach-record-highs/46513966

'This has never happened': California's only wildfire research center makes scary discovery
"Fire season 2021 is looking grim ... never seen April fuels look so dry"
"The lack of rain this season has severely impacted our chaparral live fuel moistures ... April is [historically] the highest FMC of the season." FMC refers to "fuel-moisture content" — a measure of the ratio of moisture to combustible material in plants that indicates how prone they are to burning ... This year the fuel-moisture content across the Santa Cruz Mountains is "the lowest we've observed" ... This finding comes a year after California saw its largest wildfire season in modern history with over 10,000 wildfires tearing through over 4.2 million acres ... Clements fears this [fire] season could be equally dire.
https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/fuel-moisture-content-California-wildfire-16087019.php

Climate change is a major threat to stability, spy agencies say
Climate change will lead to a less secure, more crisis-prone world that will strain global institutions, according to a major [US] national security assessment ... many systems large and small may fail under the increased stress. “Climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to human and national security and force states to make hard choices and tradeoffs,” the report states [environment section begins on p 30] ... This is not your typical grim climate report projecting disaster in the year 2100, i.e. the distant future. Instead, the climate change we will see through midcentury is already baked into the climate system, thanks to how the oceans absorb and redistribute heat. Studies show that even if emissions are sharply reduced now we are still in for additional amounts of warming through mid-century, which will lead to more extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other effects.
https://www.axios.com/climate-change-national-security-intelligence-report-22a18eaa-f307-4d07-a149-6c565dd7337f.html
reporting on a study at https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/GlobalTrends_2040.pdf

'Immediate and drastic.' The climate crisis is seriously spooking economists
With those floods, wildfires and hurricanes occurring more frequently, the financial toll from the climate crisis is expected to rise dramatically: Economic damage from climate change is projected to reach $1.7 trillion per year by 2025 and surge to roughly $30 trillion annually by 2075 under most scenarios, according to consensus forecasts included in the survey.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/30/economy/climate-crisis-economy/index.html

Evidence of Antarctic glacier's tipping point confirmed for first time
Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level ... Such a retreat, once started, could lead to the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres. While the general possibility of such a tipping point within ice sheets has been raised before, showing that Pine Island Glacier has the potential to enter unstable retreat is a very different question. Now, researchers from Northumbria University have shown, for the first time, that this is indeed the case. Their findings are published in leading journal, The Cryosphere.
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-evidence-antarctic-glacier.html
reporting on a study at https://tc.copernicus.org/articles/15/1501/2021/

Australian Academy of Science: The risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world
The planet is well on the path to devastating climate change. In 2019, Australia’s warmest year on record, average surface temperatures were 1.1°C above the pre-industrial period. Australia has warmed on average by 1.4°C since national records began in 1910. Current global and Australian policies to reverse this trend are inadequate ... If the international community fails to meet the emission reduction targets under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, this will result in a global mean surface temperature increase of approximately 3°C or more by mid to late century ... Limiting climate change to 1.5°C is now virtually impossible.
https://www.science.org.au/supporting-science/science-policy-and-analysis/reports-and-publications/risks-australia-three-degrees-c-warmer-world

Fire and flood: 'Whole areas of Australia will be uninsurable'
After the events of the past two years, that question – what is going to happen with insurance? – is proving increasingly significant ... the size of the loss incurred by IAG and Suncorp alone was so great the companies burned through their catastrophe allowances and had to draw on their reinsurance contracts – the insurance for insurers – prompting the world’s largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, to publicly lash the companies for consistently failing to predict the cost of natural disasters. Viewed over time, the impact is stark ... “People will become more aware about climate risk and will be more likely to move, but in reality people can’t afford to move their house and they get stuck there” ... during that hearing, the industry largely accepted that a world 2C hotter on average was now locked in, a position outlined in IAG’s report on climate change. “A 2C target is therefore unlikely to be achieved and will therefore significantly increase the risk for catastrophic events, even compared to 1.5C warming,” the report said.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/apr/02/fire-and-flood-whole-areas-of-australia-will-be-uninsurable

‘Record-breaking’ temperatures to engulf Southwest, with ‘critical’ fire weather conditions possible
Record-breaking temperatures to engulf Southwest The National Weather Service is warning of “critical fire weather conditions,” the exceptional early-season heat combining with single-digit humidity to transform the already-parched landscape into a tinder box. Most of the Southwest is already in the midst of an “exceptional” drought, the highest tier on a six-step scale. Signs point to the drought continuing to worsen with time with an anomalously hot and dry summer expected. The desert Southwest is still running dry from a virtually nonexistent monsoon last summer — a pronounced reduction and, in some cases, a total absence of the warm-season showers and thunderstorms that make up most of the region’s annual rainfall ... Since World War II, the average date of Phoenix’s first 100-degree reading has shifted earlier by about three weeks [and] 100-degree days are sticking around about 10 days later. All told, that’s nearly a month more triple-digit heat than was typical just 70 years ago ... this is the time of year when the stage is being set for just how bad the fires will eventually get. “The fuels are prepared now,” Benedict said.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/02/record-southwest-temperatures-fire-weather

Toxic impact of pesticides on bees has doubled, study shows
The toxic impact of pesticides on bees and other pollinators has doubled in a decade, new research shows, despite a fall in the amount of pesticide used. Modern pesticides have much lower toxicity to people, wild mammals and birds and are applied in lower amounts, but they are even more toxic to invertebrates. The study shows the higher toxicity outweighs the lower volumes, leading to a more deadly overall impact on pollinators ... The scientists said their work contradicts claims that declines in the amount of pesticides used is reducing their environmental impact. The research also shows that the toxic impact of pesticides used on genetically modified crops remains the same as conventional crops, despite claims that GM crops would reduce the need for pesticides.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/01/toxic-impact-of-pesticides-on-bees-has-doubled-study-shows

Tropical species are moving northward in U.S. as winters warm
Notwithstanding last month’s cold snap in Texas and Louisiana, climate change is leading to warmer winter weather throughout the southern U.S., creating a golden opportunity for many tropical plants and animals to move north, according to a new study appearing this week in the journal Global Change Biology. Some of these species may be welcomed, such as sea turtles and the Florida manatee, which are expanding their ranges northward along the Atlantic Coast. Others, like the invasive Burmese python — in the Florida Everglades, the largest measured 18 feet, end-to-end —maybe less so. Equally unwelcome, and among the quickest to spread into warming areas, are the insects, including mosquitoes that carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika, dengue and yellow fever, and beetles that destroy native trees.
https://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/tropical-species-are-moving-northward-as-winters-warm/
reporting on a study at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.15563

Destruction of world's forests increased sharply in 2020
According to data from the University of Maryland and the online monitoring platform Global Forest Watch, the loss was well above the average for the last 20 years, with 2020 the third worst year for forest destruction since 2002 when comparable monitoring began. The losses were particularly severe in humid tropical primary forests, such as the Amazon, the Congo and south-east Asia. These forests are vital as carbon sinks in the regulating the global climate, as well as for their irreplaceable ecosystems. Losses from this type of forest alone amounted to 4.2m hectares (10.4m acres), equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of more than 575m cars, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), which compiled the report.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/31/destruction-of-worlds-forests-increased-sharply-in-2020-loss-tree-cover-tropical
see also https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-31/forest-destruction-surged-in-2020-even-as-global-economy-slowed

The Earliest Cherry Blossom Season in 1,200 Years Is Here Due to Climate Change
In 2021, after an unusually warm spring, Kyoto has burst into color far sooner than expected. To date, this is the earliest cherry blossoms in the city have bloomed in more than 1,200 years. We know that because imperial court documents and ancient diary entries on the nation's cherry blossom festivals can be traced back to 812 CE. In all that time, the earliest blooming date was March 27 in the year 1409 ... When scientists graph Kyoto's full bloom dates over time, they look remarkably like the hockey stick shape of global warming itself.
https://www.sciencealert.com/japan-s-cherry-blossoms-burst-into-color-sooner-than-they-have-in-1-200-years

Hail to be more frequent in Australia, more severe worldwide
The study, published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, found the effects of climate change on hailstorms are likely to vary markedly by region, with a general expectation that hailstorm frequency will increase in Australia and Europe and decrease in East Asia and North America, while hailstorm severity will increase in most regions ... “We know with climate change that we are going to have more moisture in the atmosphere and that leads to more instability in the atmosphere, so we expect there will be more tendency for thunderstorms to occur,” Dr Raupach said ... Hailstorms are dangerous and costly phenomena. Severe hail on October 31 which struck areas of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast has produced more than 33,500 insurance claims so far, with losses estimated at $805 million, the Insurance Council of Australia says.
https://www.insurancenews.com.au/local/hail-to-be-more-frequent-in-australia-more-severe-worldwide

Global Warming Is 'Fundamentally' Changing The Structure of Our World's Oceans
The research published in the journal Nature looked at 50 years of data and followed the way in which surface water "decouples" from the deeper ocean. Climate change has disrupted ocean mixing, a process that helps store away most of the world's excess heat and a significant proportion of CO2. Water on the surface is warmer – and therefore less dense – than the water below, a contrast that is intensified by climate change. Global warming is also causing massive amounts of fresh water to flush into the seas from melting ice sheets and glaciers, lowering the salinity of the upper layer and further reducing its density. This increasing contrast between the density of the ocean layers makes mixing harder, so oxygen, heat and carbon are all less able to penetrate to the deep seas ... lead author Jean-Baptiste Sallee of Sorbonne University and France's CNRS national scientific research center [said] while scientists were aware that this process was under way, "we here show that this change has occurred at a rate much quicker than previously thought: more than six times quicker."
https://www.sciencealert.com/fundamental-changes-to-our-oceans-are-occurring-much-faster-than-we-thought

Erosion of global functional diversity across the tree of life
Mapping extinction risk within [more than 75,000 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish] showed that larger species with slower pace of life are universally threatened. Simulated extinction scenarios exposed [that this is] particularly severe for mammals and amphibians. Considering the disproportionate importance of the largest species for ecological processes, our results emphasize the importance of actions to prevent the extinction of the megabiota.
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/13/eabf2675

Atmospheric drying will lead to lower crop yields, shorter trees across the globe
Atmospheric drying ... is predicted to amplify even more in the coming decades as climate change intensifies. In a new paper published in the journal Global Change Biology, research from the University of Minnesota and Western University in Ontario, Canada, outlines global atmospheric drying significantly reduces productivity of both crops and non-crop plants, even under well-watered conditions. The new findings were established on a large-scale analysis covering 50 years of research and 112 plant species ... "An increase in vapor pressure deficit places greater demand on the crop to use more water ... We believe a climate change-driven increase in atmospheric drying will reduce plant productivity and crop yields."
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uom-adw030821.php

At Least 25% Of Marine Mammals Are Heading For Extinction, Study Finds
A newly published study from the University of Exeter has revealed that at least 25% of marine mammals are classified as threatened of extinction ... Not only are 25% classified as being vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, but 98% of marine mammal species are at some level of risk in 56% of the ocean.
https://www.unilad.co.uk/animals/at-least-25-of-marine-mammals-are-heading-for-extinction-study-finds/
reporting on a study at https://www.int-res.com/articles/esr2021/44/n044p291.pdf

Oil and natural gas production emit more methane than previously thought
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas production in its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, according to new research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research team found 90 percent higher emissions from oil production and 50 percent higher emissions for natural gas production than EPA estimated in its latest inventory. The paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-oil-natural-gas-production-emit.html

Intensity of tropical cyclones is probably increasing due to climate change
Researchers at Princeton University, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of East Anglia (UEA) examined more than 90 peer-reviewed articles to assess whether human activity is influencing tropical cyclones, including tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. The studies showed growing evidence that climate change is probably fuelling more powerful hurricanes and typhoons, a trend that is expected to continue as global temperatures rise.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uoea-iot032521.php

Direct observations confirm that humans are throwing Earth's energy budget off balance
Climate modeling predicts that human activities are causing the release of greenhouse gases and aerosols that are affecting Earth's energy budget. Now, a NASA study has confirmed these predictions with direct observations for the first time: radiative forcings are increasing due to human actions, affecting the planet's energy balance and ultimately causing climate change. The paper was published online March 25, 2021, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ... The team found that human activities have caused the radiative forcing on Earth to increase by about 0.5 Watts per square meter from 2003 to 2018. The increase is mostly from greenhouse gases emissions from things like power generation, transport and industrial manufacturing. Reduced reflective aerosols are also contributing to the imbalance.
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-humans-earth-energy.html

Carbon emissions slow, but not nearly fast enough
[O]nly 64 countries have cut their carbon emissions in the years since 195 nations delivered the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015: these achieved annual cuts of 0.16bn tonnes in the years since. But emissions actually rose in 150 nations, which means that overall from 2016 to 2019 emissions grew by 0.21bn tonnes, compared with the preceding five years, 2011-2015. And, say British, European, Australian and US scientists in the journal Nature Climate Change, the global pause during the pandemic in 2020 is not likely to continue. To make the kind of carbon emissions cuts that will fulfill the promise made in Paris to contain global heating to “well below” 2°C by 2100, the world must reduce carbon dioxide emissions each year by one to two billion tonnes. That is an annual increase of ten times the cuts achieved so far by only 64 out of 214 countries.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/carbon-emissions-slow-but-not-nearly-fast-enough/

Deadly Heat Waves Will Be Common In South Asia, Even At 1.5 Degrees Of Warming
[H]eat stress will become commonplace across South Asia, according to the new study in Geophysical Research Letters ... They estimated the wet bulb temperature residents will experience ... wet bulb temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered to be the point when labor becomes unsafe, and 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) is the limit to human survivability – when the body can no longer cool itself. Their analysis suggests at 2 degrees of warming, the population’s exposure to unsafe labor temperatures will rise more than two-fold, and exposure to lethal temperatures rises 2.7 times.
https://news.agu.org/press-release/deadly-heat-waves-will-be-common-in-south-asia-even-at-1-5-degrees-of-warming/

Russia forecasters warn over Siberia forest fires
Devastating forest fires have ripped across Siberia with increasing regularity over the past few years ... Roman Vilfand, head of science at Russia's weather service, said the whole country would see above-average temperatures from April to September [which] "naturally transform themselves into a fire hazard," Vilfand said, noting that Krasnoyarsk will also see rainfall deficiency. "The problem of precipitation deficiency is not only a problem of this year, it is a climatic problem" ... Russia has set numerous heat records in recent years, with the first half of 2020 seeing the warmest temperatures since the country began weather observations. Asked if Russia will see its winters shrink in the coming years due to warming temperatures, Vilfand noted that while that is already happening, the main challenge of global warming is dealing with increasingly cataclysmic weather events. "The number of dangerous phenomena has doubled over the last quarter of a century. Not by 5 percent, not by 10 percent, but doubled," he said.
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-russia-siberia-forest.html

Arctic methane release due to melting ice is likely to happen again
Beneath the cold, dark depths of the Arctic ocean sit vast reserves of methane. These stores rest in a delicate balance, stable as a solid called methane hydrates, at very specific pressures and temperatures ... New research, published on today in Geology, indicates that during the last two global periods of sea-ice melt, the decrease in pressure [due to melting ice] triggered methane release from buried reserves. Their results demonstrate that as Arctic ice, such as the Greenland ice sheet, melts, similar methane release is likely and should be included in climate models.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210322135221.htm

Source apportionment of methane escaping the subsea permafrost system in the outer Eurasian Arctic Shelf
The East Siberian Arctic Shelf holds large amounts of inundated carbon and methane (CH4). Holocene warming by overlying seawater, recently fortified by anthropogenic warming, has caused thawing of the underlying subsea permafrost ...  all three isotope systems are consistent with methane release from an old, deep, and likely thermogenic pool to the outer Laptev Sea.
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/10/e2019672118

One of Earth’s giant carbon sinks may have been overestimated - study
Soils and the plants that grow in them absorb about a third of the carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis ... Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can increase plant growth and, until now, it was assumed carbon storage in soils would increase too. But the study, based on over 100 experiments, found the opposite. When plant growth increases, soil carbon does not ... “We found that when rising CO2 increases plant growth, there is a decrease in soil carbon storage. That’s a very important conclusion,” said César Terrer, who led the research while at Stanford University in the US. He said that if soils do absorb less in future, “the speed of global warming could be higher”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/24/soils-ability-to-absorb-carbon-emissions-may-be-overestimated-study
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03306-8

What if the Perfect Climate Fix Can’t Arrive in Time?
[New no-carbon technology scenarios] take too long to stop emissions now. Trees don't reach canopy-height overnight. By 2080, new forests could draw 6 gigatons of CO₂ out of the air, or about 16% of 2019 emissions. Not too shabby! But not enough and not soon enough ... “The system is great for showing the lack of silver bullets,” said Glen Peters, research director of the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo ... Andrew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive, says that often lost in political debates about competing climate solutions is how quickly they cut CO2 ... The problem is, as Jones put it, "the energy system turns like an ocean liner, not like a sports car."
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-23/what-if-the-perfect-climate-fix-can-t-arrive-in-time

Hurricanes Will Drive More Migrants to Border, Climate Change and Immigration Experts Say
Experts believe that worsening hurricanes in the future may create even more "climate refugees" ... tropical storms are expected to become more frequent and powerful, according to projections released in September 2020 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ... Current U.S. policy doesn't count environmental devastation as a reason for accepting refugees ... farmers and other citizens migrate elsewhere as they face resulting massive crop losses and food shortages ... By the year 2050, as many as 1.5 billion people around the world could be displaced as a result of climate change.
https://www.newsweek.com/hurricanes-will-drive-more-migrants-border-climate-change-immigration-experts-say-1577946

Arctic warming causing heatwaves in India
The deadly heat waves occurring in India are linked to the increasing temperatures in the Arctic region due to global warming, says a study conducted by researchers from India and Brazil ... results are worrying the scientists since the arctic region in the recent decades has been warming up at an alarming rate with an increase in temperature more than twice as fast as the global average. The study titled 'Large-scale connection to Deadly Indian Heatwaves' was published in the Quarterly Journal of Royal Meteorology.
https://english.madhyamam.com/india/arctic-warming-causing-heatwaves-in-india-779339
reporting on a study at https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.3985

As Arctic Sea Ice Hits Annual Maximum, Concern Grows Over Polar Ice Loss: Studies
This year ranks as the 7th lowest maximum extent since the satellite record began in 1978. Last year was the hottest on record, and, accordingly, sea ice saw its second lowest extent at the September minimum. This winter might indicate a modest recovery — but there’s a caveat: winter maximums seem to have little correlation to summer minimums. And, moreover, the ice in the Arctic is thin. “Volume keeps going down,” says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center ... both polar regions continue losing ice fast, with the biggest losses, thus far, occurring at sea. In a recent study published in The Cryosphere, University of Leeds researchers found that global ice loss had increased at a record rate.
https://earth.org/as-arctic-sea-ice-hits-annual-maximum-concern-grows-over-polar-ice-loss/

Meltdown – The Permafrost that Holds the Arctic Together is Falling Apart
As permafrost scientist Steve Kokelj of the Northwest Territories Geological Survey put it, “When permafrost thaws, we’re losing the glue that holds the landscape together” ... the western Arctic and sub-Arctic are heating up twice as fast as the global average [with] worldwide repercussions ... permafrost is a glimpse of the past: plants and animals that died long ago, compressed by the clamp of time but not necessarily decomposed because of the freezer-like conditions that have remained in high-latitude ground since the last ice age ... nearly half of Canada and almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere rests on permafrost [and] “There is much, much, much more activity now within the past 15 years than we can find in the record of the previous 10,000” ... as permafrost thaws and breaks open, the carbon-rich organic material that has been locked away, for some 10,000 years in the western Arctic or even 100,000 in parts of Siberia, becomes fuel ... Without oxygen, such as under lakes and ponds, they belch methane, which isn’t as long-lived in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide but is about 30 times more effective as a heat-trapper over 100 years. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Increasingly, researchers are detecting nitrous oxide from cracks in the ground created as permafrost thaws; as a greenhouse gas, it is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 100 years ... All of this means that permafrost thaw is a much more alarming global threat than previously anticipated.
https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/meltdown-permafrost-arctic-together-falling-apart/

Submarine Permafrost Has Been Overlooked as a Major Source of Greenhouse Gases, Scientists Warn
Scientists have found that permafrost buried beneath the Arctic Ocean [are] a major source of greenhouse gases not currently included in climate projections that could have a significant impact on climate change in the longer-term. The amount of carbon locked into submarine permafrost is more than humans have released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution ... The study estimates that permafrost beneath the Arctic Ocean has been slowly thawing since the end of the last glacial period, some 14,000 years ago, in what scientists call a “natural response to deglaciation.” The frozen sediment and soil currently releases 140 million tons of carbon dioxide and 5.3 million tons of methane into the atmosphere each year — roughly equal to the yearly emissions of Spain. But the researchers said anthropogenic global warming will likely accelerate this greenhouse gas release.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/submarine-permafrost-has-been-overlooked-as-a-major-source-of-greenhouse-gases-scientists-warn

Siberia's warming shows climate change has no winners
Global warming [was supposed to be] something of a boon for Russia, where 55% to 65% of the country is covered in permafrost. It is estimated that 60% of the country's oil and 90% of its natural gas, as well as deposits of nonferrous metals and gold, lie under this thawing part of the planet ... 140,000 sq. km of Russia, about the size of Greece, was lost to fire in 2020. Most of that was in once-frozen areas. When covered with snow in winter, the fires seem to be extinguished. However, the peat in the ground continues to smolder, and in summer it ignites on the surface ... [Greenhouse gases] are released by fires and other events, further accelerating global warming. The world's permafrost zones are thought to contain twice the amount of carbon that is in the atmosphere ... collapse [at a Siberian power plant] occurred because the ground loosened as the permafrost thawed. It has been reported that one-fifth of [Siberian infrastructure] will be affected by 2050 ... Although it was supposed to be a global warming "winner," Russia has become an unexpected climate change victim.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Comment/Siberia-s-warming-shows-climate-change-has-no-winners

The Threat of Cascading Extinctions on Earth Could Be Greater Than We Thought
[R]esearchers have found that the species we see as most valuable and worth protecting often aren't the 'threads' most critical to maintaining the complex ecological webs we rely on. Ecologist Aislyn Keyes from the University of California and colleagues used data from three coastal food webs to simulate a dozen extinction sequences to gain a better understanding of how the connections anchor ecosystem services and the stability of the entire webs themselves [and found that] "species playing supporting roles in services through interactions are critical to the robustness of both food webs and services." This means that ecosystem services are under greater threat than anticipated because more species support these services than we've accounted for ... This research was published in Nature Communications.
https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-may-be-impacted-by-ripples-of-cascading-extinctions-sooner-than-expected/amp

Over 10 million displaced by climate disasters in six months: report
About 10.3 million people were displaced by climate change-induced events such as flooding and droughts in the last six months, the majority of them in Asia, a humanitarian organisation said on Wednesday. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said about 2.3 million others were displaced by conflict in the same period, indicating the vast majority of internal displacements are now triggered by climate change. Though the figures cover only a six-month period from September 2020 to February 2021, they highlight an accelerating global trend of climate-related displacement.
https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2B90Z8

Reproductive Problems in Both Men and Women Are Rising at an Alarming Rate
[R]eproductive problems in males are increasing by about 1 percent per year in Western countries. This “1 percent effect” includes the rates of declining sperm counts, decreasing testosterone levels and increasing rates of testicular cancer, as well as a rise in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction. On the female side of the equation, miscarriage rates are also increasing by about 1 percent per year in the U.S., and so is the rate of gestational surrogacy. Meanwhile, the total fertility rate worldwide has dropped by nearly 1 percent per year from 1960 to 2018 [which] adds up to more than 10 percent per decade and more than 50 percent over 50 years. When you consider that sperm counts declined by 50 percent in just 40 years, as Shanna's meta-analysis published in a 2017 issue of the journal Human Reproduction Update showed, it’s difficult to deny or discount how alarming this is. [These] are largely driven by a common cause: the presence of hormone-altering chemicals.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reproductive-problems-in-both-men-and-women-are-rising-at-an-alarming-rate/

Plummeting sperm counts, shrinking penises: toxic chemicals threaten humanity
[A]n environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan’s research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045 ... The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting ... “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/18/toxic-chemicals-health-humanity-erin-brokovich

Sydney's Warragamba Dam overflows and mid north coast evacuated amid wild weather
Swathes of suburban Sydney were on alert for dangerous flooding after the city’s main dam spilled over on Saturday, with severe storms across New South Wales also triggering a mini-tornado, evacuations, and hampering coronavirus vaccine delivery. Warragamba Dam spilled over at about 3pm on Saturday and daily rainfall records for parts of the mid north coast for March were broken ... Saturday’s wild weather occurred in areas marked by droughts and bushfires in recent years, with Sydney’s water levels dropping so low in 2019 that water restrictions were triggered, while Port Macquarie, Taree and areas of the north coast experienced the early brunt of the Black Summer bushfires.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/20/nsw-floods-sydney-battered-by-rain-and-mid-north-coast-evacuated-amid-wild-weather

Eight States Are Seeding Clouds to Overcome Megadrought
But there is little evidence to show that the process is increasing precipitation
Boosting snowpack is being pursued with growing urgency. Much of the western U.S. has been gripped by drought for the last 20 years. Scientists recently concluded that the past two decades represent the driest span in the region since at least the late 1500s. This “megadrought” has been heavily influenced by climate change ... Flow has dwindled on major water systems like the Rio Grande and the Colorado River, which each supply water to millions of people ... [In this seeding study] scientists estimated that around 286 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of snow fell from the clouds they seeded ... But experts also advise keeping expectations in check. The science so far suggests that cloud seeding is far from a silver bullet when it comes to dealing with drought. “As we’ve shown in the paper, we cannot really generate an awful lot of snow,” Friedrich said. “We can generate snow, but not that we can really overcome a drought situation.”
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eight-states-are-seeding-clouds-to-overcome-megadrought/

Spring Outlook: Drought to persist, expand in U.S. West and High Plains
Nearly one-half of the country — stretching from the Pacific Coast to the Great Plains and upper Midwest — is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions, and that is expected to continue and expand, according to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook released today ... For April through June, warmer-than-normal temperatures are favored for the entire contiguous U.S. with the exception of Western Montana, northern Idaho, and parts of Oregon and Washington. Hawaii, western and northern Alaska are also forecast to see above-normal temperatures.
https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/spring-outlook-drought-to-persist-expand-in-us-west-and-high-plains

European summer droughts since 2015 unprecedented in past two millennia
An international team, led by the University of Cambridge, studied the chemical fingerprints in European oak trees to reconstruct summer climate over 2,110 years ... drought conditions since 2015 suddenly intensified, beyond anything in the past two thousand years. This anomaly is likely the result of human-caused climate change and associated shifts in the jet stream. The results are reported in the journal Nature Geoscience ... "These tree-ring stable isotopes give us a far more accurate archive to reconstruct hydroclimate conditions in temperate areas, where conventional tree-ring studies often fail," said co-author Professor Jan Esper from the University of Mainz, Germany.
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-european-summer-droughts-unprecedented-millennia.html

New Mexico’s Coming Megadrought Highlights Farmers’ Control of Water
The upcoming season highlights a difficult reality in this state: Farming and ranching to pay the bills could become an unsustainable way of life in New Mexico, as the water supply dwindles ... While agriculture’s economic impact in New Mexico is usually just a few percent a year, it’s by far the largest consumer of water — irrigation accounted for 76% of water withdrawals ... The disparity between agriculture’s economic impact and water usage is common throughout the West, and Pegram said water law has perpetuated this trend ... Albuquerque, as well as Santa Fe, purchase water from the Colorado River Basin [and] “If we didn’t have that water, things would be even much worse” [but] the state is unable to store any more water from the river due to restrictions under the Rio Grande Compact, which governs water apportioning among Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Even if the state got out of those restrictions, she said, it owes a debt of 100,000 acre feet of water — enough to flood about that many football fields a foot deep — downstream to Texas. Climatic trends don’t bode well for New Mexico.
https://capitalandmain.com/new-mexicos-coming-megadrought-0308

Changing Lengths of the Four Seasons by Global Warming
[S]ummer in the Northern Hemisphere mid‐latitudes has lengthened, whereas winter has shortened, accompanied by shorter spring and autumn. Such changes in lengths and onsets can be mainly attributed to greenhouse‐warming. Even if the current warming rate does not accelerate, [under] the business‐as‐usual scenario, summer is projected to last nearly half a year, but winter less than two months by 2100.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2020GL091753

Is this the end of forests as we've known them?
These trees are dying without humans laying a hand on them, at least physically, and they are not resprouting. Forests cover 30% of the planet’s land surface, and yet, as humans heat the atmosphere, some locations where they would have grown now appear too dry or hot to support them ... In the Amazon, some experts warn that a forest mortality tipping point is looming. The boreal forests of Siberia are under attack from higher temperatures. Temperate European forests thought to be less vulnerable to climate change are showing worrying symptoms ... forests ringing the northerly parts of the globe are in fact projected to experience the greatest warming of all. In central Siberia, conifers are already dying at greater rates ... increasingly there are worries that if forests die back they will switch from storing carbon to emitting it [which] helps explain why much-touted proposals to plant millions of trees to suck up carbon and ameliorate the climate crisis are encountering skepticism; they won’t work if conditions on Earth don’t allow for forests to reproduce and thrive.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/10/is-this-the-end-of-forests-as-weve-known-them

Humans are responsible for destroying or degrading two-thirds of the Earth's tropical rainforests, according to new study
The world's dependence on coal, farming, soy, palm oil and mining has resulted in two-third's of Earth's tropical rainforests being completely destroyed, and the remaining ecosystems being put "closer to a tipping point," the report, published Tuesday, says ... "the remaining tropical rainforests are either severely damaged or increasingly fragmented ... Humans are chopping these once vast and impenetrable forests into smaller and smaller pieces, undermining their ability to store carbon, cool the planet, produce rain and provide habitats."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tropical-rainforests-reduced-by-two-thirds-by-humans/

Amazon rainforest now appears to be contributing to climate change
For years, researchers have expressed concern that rising temperatures, drought, and deforestation are reducing the capacity of the world’s largest rainforest to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ... [New research] published today in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, estimates that atmospheric warming from all of these sources combined now appears to swamp the forest’s natural cooling effect. “Cutting the forest is interfering with its carbon uptake,” says lead author Kristofer Covey, a professor of environmental studies at New York’s Skidmore College. “But when you start to look at these other factors alongside CO2, it gets really hard to see how the net effect isn’t that the Amazon as a whole is really warming global climate.” [Results] make clear that focusing on a single metric - CO2 - simply doesn’t paint an accurate picture. “As important as carbon is in the Amazon, it’s not the only thing that’s going on,” says Tom Lovejoy, a senior fellow in biodiversity with the United Nations Foundation ... Resource extraction, damming rivers, and the conversion of forest for soybean and livestock production all alter the natural systems in a variety of ways. But most serve to warm the climate.
https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2021/03/amazon-rainforest-now-appears-to-be-contributing-to-climate
reporting on a study at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ffgc.2021.618401/full

Global heating pushes tropical regions towards limits of human livability
“If it is too humid our bodies can’t cool off by evaporating sweat,” said Yi Zhang, a Princeton University researcher who led the new study, published in Nature Geoscience. “High body core temperatures are dangerous or even lethal.” The research team looked at various historical data and simulations to determine how wet-bulb temperature extremes will change as the planet continues to heat up, discovering that these extremes in the tropics increase at around the same rate as the tropical mean temperature. This means that the world’s temperature increase will need to be limited to 1.5C to avoid risking areas of the tropics exceeding 35C in wetbulb temperature, which is so-called because it is measured by a thermometer that has its bulb wrapped in a wet cloth, helping mimic the ability of humans to cool their skin by evaporating sweat. Dangerous conditions in the tropics will unfold even before the 1.5C threshold, however, with the paper warning that 1C of extreme wet-bulb temperature increase “could have adverse health impact equivalent to that of several degrees of temperature increase”. The world has already warmed by around 1.1C on average due to human activity and although governments vowed in the Paris climate agreement to hold temperatures to 1.5C, scientists have warned this limit could be breached within a decade. This has potentially dire implications for a huge swathe of humanity. Around 40% of the world’s population currently lives in tropical countries, with this proportion set to expand ... The study is just the latest scientific warning over severe dangers posed by heat. Extreme heatwaves could push parts of the Middle East beyond human endurance, scientists have found, with rising temperatures also posing enormous risks for parts of China and India.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/08/global-heating-tropical-regions-human-livability

Higher dykes won't save NL from climate change consequences
With the world seeming to be heading towards global warming of 3 degrees Celsius, the Netherlands will be facing some very major consequences ... [Netherlands Meteorological Institute] director Gerard van der Steenhoven told NOS that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius may already be impossible. A recent study showed that global warming resulting from emissions from the past may have been greatly underestimated. Areas that warm more slowly, such as the Southern Ocean, will eventually catch up and can amplify global warming. A warming of 2.3 degrees could already be inevitable, and that doesn't even account for future greenhouse gas emissions ... soil continues to settle and subside, and half of the Netherlands becoming deeper and deeper ... the drainage results in salt seawater being sucked in under the dykes has major consequences for agriculture.
https://nltimes.nl/2021/03/13/higher-dykes-wont-save-nl-climate-change-consequences

Endocrine disruptors threatens semen quality
Epidemiologists analyzed the potential impact of endocrine disruptors on semen quality of men whose mothers were working at the early stages of their pregnancy. Their results, published in the journal Human Reproduction, show that men who have been exposed in utero to products known to contain endocrine disruptors are twice more likely to have semen volume and total sperm count per ejaculation below the reference values set by the WHO ... "In our study, the products most associated with these anomalies were pesticides, phthalates and heavy metals" ... "the results could explain, at least in part, the low semen quality."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210319125459.htm

Antarctic Peninsula warming up due to heat in Tasman Sea
The ever-increasing warming of the [Antarctic Peninsula] - and the whole of Antarctica at large - is a major concern plaguing climatologists all over the world. Commenting on the serious implications of this rapid rise in temperature and sea levels and the importance of the findings of their study [published in Nature Communications], Dr. Inoue says, "Antarctic warming accelerates Antarctic ice sheet melting and contributes to the rise in sea levels across the world. Therefore, knowledge of the mechanisms of the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet would help scientists, policymakers, and administrations to devise measures for people who will be most affected by the rising sea levels."
https://phys.org/news/2021-03-antarctic-peninsula-due-tasman-sea.html

Arctic Ocean Was Much Warmer Than Average During February Temperatures in the Arctic Ocean, an area that has a significant influence on the world’s weather, were much warmer last month than the average for the past two decades. Northeastern Canada and Greenland were also much warmer-than-average for February, according to a report Monday by Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-08/arctic-ocean-was-much-warmer-than-average-during-february

Inaction leaves world playing ‘Russian roulette’ with pandemics, say experts
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is thought to have jumped from wild bats to humans and about two-thirds of diseases that infect humans start in other species, including the influenza, HIV, Zika, West Nile and Ebola viruses. The increasing destruction of nature by farming, logging and the wild animal trade has brought people and their livestock into closer contact with wildlife and led to a great increase in diseases crossing from animals to people in recent decades. “The Covid-19 vaccines will help rescue us from this current mess, but it won’t do a thing to protect us from the next pandemic’” said Aaron Bernstein at the TH Chan school of public health at Harvard University ... In October, the world’s leading scientists said the world was in an “era of pandemics” and that diseases would emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, unless the devastation of the natural world ends.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/09/inaction-leaves-world-playing-russian-roulette-pandemics-experts

Scientists blow up decades of thinking on why hurricanes are becoming more deadly
Understood as a naturally occurring phenomenon, the [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation was thought to] cycle through warm and cool phases every 20-40 years, which accounts for seasonal hurricane activity. New research posits that there is no AMO at all, however, and that changes in hurricane activity within the Atlantic are directly related to human-caused climate change. Published in the journal Science, a team of researchers argue that the AMO is not an entity in and of itself; rather, it is a manifestation of the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, or fossil fuels emitted into the atmosphere from human activity. In short, the AMO is not responsible for varying hurricane activity — humans are ... When greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, they also include sulphate aerosols, which are fine solid particles that have the ability to block light. Greenhouse gases and carbon emissions may work to trap heat in the atmosphere, causing spikes in global temperatures, but the accompanying [aerosol masking] particles actually block light from entering the atmosphere, resulting in a cooling effect. This fluctuation in sporadic cooling and warming runs parallel to the assumed effects of the AMO.
https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/climate-change/542298-scientists-blow-up-decades-of-thinking-on-why

Humans, not nature, are the cause of changes in Atlantic hurricane cycles, new study finds
[I]n a newly released paper in the journal Science, the [previously believed natural] Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation may have been dealt a deadly blow ... AMO is very likely an artifact of climate change ... if true, this discovery means that during the 20th century and beyond, humans — not natural variability — have been the main driving force in the up-and-down cycles of hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean.  
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-atlantic-hurricane-activity-cycles/

Butterfly numbers plummeting in US west as climate crisis takes toll
[B]utterfly species that dot the US west are being cut down by the climate crisis, new research has found, with rising temperatures helping cause a steep decline in butterfly numbers over the past 40 years. There has been a 1.6% reduction in the total number of butterflies observed west of the Rocky Mountain range each year since 1977, researchers calculated, which amounts to a staggering loss of butterflies over the timespan of the study period ... The research, published in Science, analyzed citizen-gathered sightings of butterflies in 72 locations spanning all of the western US states. In all, more than 450 butterfly species were included in the study. [Findings are] consistent with the rate of decline of other insects found by researchers in different places around the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/04/butterfly-numbers-plummeting-us-west-climate-crisis

The collapse of Northern California kelp forests will be hard to reverse
[T]he area covered by kelp forests off the coast of Northern California has dropped by more than 95 percent ... have been replaced by 'urchin barrens,' where purple sea urchins cover a seafloor devoid of kelp and other algae ... Published March 5 in Communications Biology, the study shows that the kelp forests north of San Francisco were resilient to extreme warming events in the past, surviving other strong marine heatwaves and El Niño events. But the loss of a key urchin predator, the sunflower sea star, due to sea star wasting disease left the kelp forests of Northern California without any predators of sea urchins, which are voracious grazers of kelp.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210305080126.htm

In February the US experienced record cold temperatures while much of the planet hit all-time highs
While some of the coldest weather in a century was gripping millions of Americans for over a week in February, large areas of the globe were basking in the warmest weather ever observed during winter ... outside of the US, record warm temperatures for February outpaced the cold records by more than 4 to 1, according to data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information ... Hamburg Germany experienced temperatures one would expect in mid-June ... record warmth was observed at numerous locations across Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia ... in the wine-growing hills of eastern France, the community of Lons-le-Saunier soared more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit above seasonal averages ... Beijing was experiencing temperatures one would expect in the month of May ... North and South Korea recorded their hottest February day ... the fact that much of the rest of the world saw much higher than normal temperatures should come as no surprise. As globally-averaged temperature increases as a result of human-caused climate change, record warm temperatures have been outpacing record cold temperatures by more than 2-1 in recent decades.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/02/weather/record-temperatures-february-us-world/index.html

Russian researchers: Average Arctic temperature could increase 20°С by century's end
According to the Russian Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematic, climate gas emissions are leading to a continued rapid temperature increase in the northernmost part of the planet. By the end of the century, average temperatures in the central parts of the Arctic could be 20°С higher than what is considered normal for the region ... “Even in a situation where the world community by 2050 reaches a zero-emission target for climate gases into the atmosphere, the Arctic will in any case be 2-3 degrees higher than today because of the inertia of the climate system” ... The Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematic is part of the Russian Academy of Science and has modeling of climate change scenarios as one of its main research areas.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2021/03/russian-researchers-average-arctic-temperature-could-increase-20-degs

European companies on 2.7°C warming path
A €4 trillion mismatch is forming between bank lending that aims to be ‘Paris-aligned’ and the market for this corporate lending in Europe, according to new analysis from EU-funded non-profit CDP Europe and global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. Running hot: accelerating Europe's path to Paris, released today, estimates that 95% of all corporate lending in Europe comes from banks with a Paris-alignment ambition. But under 1 in 10 European companies so far have emissions targets aligned with Paris’ well-below 2°C goal – meaning banks financing these companies are far from Paris-aligned today. The research is based on nearly 1,000 European companies worth around 80% of Europe’s market value ... report authors also modeled three potential scenarios for 2030, setting out alternative rates of acceleration in corporate target-setting. Based on this, capping warming at 1.5°C would take an 8x increase in the current ambition level of European corporates on emissions ... The new report is presented today at the CDP Europe Awards, held with the European Investment Bank on Euronews, where speakers include Angela Merkel and the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union.
https://www.cdp.net/en/articles/media/running-hot-cdp-europe-report-release

CO2 emissions: nations' pledges 'far away' from Paris target, says UN
If all of the national pledges submitted so far were fulfilled, global emissions would be reduced by only 1% by 2030, compared with 2010 levels. Scientists have said a 45% reduction is needed in the next 10 years to keep global heating to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris agreement. Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “We are very far away from a pathway that will meet the Paris agreement goal. We are collectively walking into a minefield blindfolded. The next step could be disaster.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/26/co2-emissions-nations-pledges-far-away-from-paris-target-says-un

Australian scientists sound alarm on ecosystem collapse
The 38 eminent scientists, from 29 universities and organisations, say they have observed signs of Austafter Arctic permafrost releases more carbon dioxide than once believedralian ecosystem decline and collapse all over the country, from tropical savannahs and rainforests to coral reefs, deserts and even Antarctic environments. Their stark findings were published on Friday in the journal Global Change Biology. Their collaboration began when Dr Dana Bergstrom, from the Australian Antarctic Division, documented rapid, widespread plant dieback in the subantarctic tundra of remote Macquarie Island, and wondered if it was happening elsewhere. Despite working in very different regions and landscapes, scientists all over Australia are observing signs of collapse in 19 ecosystems, said co-author Dr Justine Shaw from the University of Queensland. All of the ecosystems, with the exception of the subtropical rainforests of coastal New South Wales, were found to have a low likelihood of recovery.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australian-scientists-sound-alarm-on-ecosystem-collapse-20210226-p5762n.html
reporting on a study at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.15539

Heat record: Earliest ever "spring" week in NL
Wednesday marked the fourth consecutive day-heat record broken at the national weather station in De Bilt ... first ever winter with five days of maximums above 15 degrees in the Netherlands. And the high temperatures mean that this week will get the "spring" label - the earliest one ever measured ... The previous record for number of "mild days", with maximums above 15 degrees, dated from 2019 with four days. In the previous century, there were never more than three mild days in the winter. This is also the earliest spring week ever recorded. "On average, the first spring week starts around 29 March. In the previous climate period this was 3 days later, in the middle of the last century around 10 April, and at the beginning of the last century the average was around 13 April," Wilfred Janssen of Weerplaza said ... Last year, 13 heat records were set in De Bilt, and one single cold record. "The fact that more heat records than cold records are being broken is due to global warming. Without warming, the ratio between heat records and cold records would be virtually the same," Weerplaza meteorologist Raymond Klaassen said.
https://nltimes.nl/2021/02/25/heat-record-earliest-ever-spring-week-nl

Gulf Stream system at weakest in a millennium due to climate change
Using sediment data and temperature records to map historical trends, a study in Nature Geoscience found the Gulf Stream system, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), is travelling at its slowest rate in the last millennium. “This is highly likely to be caused by our greenhouse gas emissions, because there is no other plausible explanation for this slowdown,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the authors and head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “It is exactly what the climate models have been predicting for decades” ... A separate study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that if the pace of global warming accelerates, this could cause the Gulf Stream to shut down entirely.
https://www.ft.com/content/589d034a-ee9d-4c74-b20b-4b750c2d904d

German forest decline hits record levels
Forests in Germany "are sick" and deteriorated at record levels in 2020, the agriculture minister said, commenting on an annual forest report released on Wednesday ... More trees died in Germany in 2020 than in any other previous year. Just 21% of trees under observation had an intact canopy — an indication of how healthy a tree is ... A bark beetle infestation was the main cause for spruce tree deaths in the country. This was made worse due to a dry summer that enabled the beetles to get deep into barks. The report also blamed storms, drought and forest fires in the past three years for massively damaging German forests.
https://www.dw.com/en/german-forest-decline-hits-record-levels/a-56680590

World risks ‘collapse of everything’ without strong climate action, Attenborough warns Security Council
More collective action is needed to address the risks climate change poses to global peace and security, the UN Secretary-General told a high-level Security Council debate on Tuesday [and] Sir David Attenborough issued a sobering warning to leaders. “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature, and ocean food chains,” he said, adding “and if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilization will quickly break down.”
https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1085452

Climate crisis hits 'worst case scenario' levels – Environment Agency head
Sir James Bevan says extreme flooding in UK indicates urgent need for change if humanity is to survive The climate emergency is already hitting “worst case scenario” levels that if left unchecked will lead to the collapse of ecosystems, with dire consequences for humanity, according to the chief executive of the Environment Agency ... “Much higher sea levels will take out most of the world’s cities, displace millions, and make much of the rest of our land surface uninhabitable or unusable,” Bevan told the annual conference of the Association of British Insurers. “Much more extreme weather will kill more people through drought, flooding, wildfires and heatwaves than most wars have. “The net effects will collapse ecosystems, slash crop yields, take out the infrastructure that our civilisation depends on, and destroy the basis of the modern economy and modern society. “If [this] sounds like science fiction let me tell you something you need to know. This is that over the last few years the reasonable worst case for several of the flood incidents the EA has responded to has actually happened, and it’s getting larger.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/23/climate-crisis-hitting-worst-case-scenarios-warns-environment-agency-head

California's iconic redwoods, sequoias and Joshua trees threatened by climate change
California's iconic coastal redwoods, some standing since before Julius Caesar ruled Rome, are in a fight for their lives. They are increasingly threatened by wildfires that are larger and more intense due to the impact of human-caused climate change. And it's not just the redwoods — giant sequoias and Joshua trees are also in trouble ... the experts who know and love these trees are genuinely worried about their future. Last year, 4.2 million acres burned in California's worst fire season on record. Scientists say as the climate warms these fires will grow bigger at an accelerating pace ... Since 2000, the western U.S. has been experiencing a megadrought, one of its worst droughts in 1,200 years. On top of that, since 1970, summers in California have warmed by 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit. These types of climate conditions, warmer and drier, set the stage for a longer fire season with larger, more intense fires.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-california-redwood-sequoia-joshua-trees/

Taiwan's chip industry under threat as drought turns critical
Taiwan's tech manufacturers fear their output is under threat from the island's worst drought in decades, risking more turmoil for global supply chains already strained by shortages of semiconductors and other key components. Taiwan's government will on Thursday further tighten water use in several cities that are home to a cluster of important manufacturers ... Chip production requires massive amounts of water, but reservoirs in Taiwan are critically low and authorities have already cut supplies to agriculture to support industrial and residential use. The water concerns come as the chip sector battles worldwide shortages.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Tech/Semiconductors/Taiwan-s-chip-industry-under-threat-as-drought-turns-critical2

Newly identified greenhouse gas with no known use an ‘early warning’
An international network of climate scientists has detected increasing atmospheric concentrations of three ozone-depleting substances, which are also greenhouse gases, that have no known uses ... Researchers from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (Agage) network believe the ‘unexpected’ emissions of three HCFCs are by-products from other processes. This means that there are no public inventories or emission reports available for them ... two of gases, HCFC-133a and HCFC-31, are known compounds that are likely produced during the manufacture of refrigerants [and the third gas] HCFC-132b had not previously been detected in the atmosphere, although it is likely produced in a similar way to the other two compounds ... "This adds yet another new greenhouse gas to the already wide spectrum of man-made contributions to the atmosphere. In addition, this particular one is an HCFC and therefore also harmful to the life-protecting ozone layer," says Johannes Laube, an atmospheric chemist based at the Jülich Research Centre in Germany, who was not involved in the project.
https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/newly-identified-greenhouse-gas-with-no-known-use-an-early-warning/4013263.article#/

1 in 5 deaths globally caused by fossil fuel pollution, a new study reveals
More than eight million people died as a result of breathing in minute particulate matter from burning fossil fuels in 2018, according to research from Harvard University, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London ... As well as confirming that regions with the worst air pollution have the highest rates of mortality, the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that the number of deaths in these regions had been underestimated ... North America, Europe and Asia were also shown to suffer more deaths from particulates than previously thought. Overall, the study found higher mortality rates among people who suffered long-term exposure to fossil-fuel emissions, even at comparatively low levels.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/02/fossil-fuel-pollution-one-in-five-deaths-globally/
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935121000487

UN: Huge changes in society needed to keep nature, Earth OK
Humans are making Earth a broken and increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. So the world must make dramatic changes to society, economics and daily life, a new United Nations report says. Unlike past U.N. reports that focused on one issue and avoided telling leaders actions to take, Thursday’s report combines three intertwined environment crises and tells the world what’s got to change. It calls for changing what governments tax, how nations value economic output, how power is generated, the way people get around, fish and farm, as well as what they eat. “Without nature’s help, we will not thrive or even survive,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said ... “In the end it will hit us,” said biologist Thomas Lovejoy, who was a scientific advisor to the report. “It’s not what’s happening to elephants. It’s not what’s happening to climate or sea level rise. It’s all going to impact us” ... In another break, this report gives specific solutions that it says must be taken. This report uses the word “must” 56 times and “should” 37 times. There should be 100 more because action is so crucial, said former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, who wasn’t part of the report. “Time has totally ran out. That’s why the word ‘must’ is in there,” Figueres said.
https://apnews.com/article/un-climate-change-environment-crisis-df5f89784ec92aaf8a855f88bdd753c9

An unusual Ocean anomaly is being detected in the Gulf Stream, not seen in at least 150 years
The Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current that brings warmer water up from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. It extends all the way up the eastern coast of the United States, where it starts to turn towards northwest Europe [and] helps to warm the western European countries ... temperature signature of the warm Gulf Stream area and cold North Atlantic is one of the strongest indicators that the AMOC is weakening. There are also direct observations being made with instruments, which objectively confirmed that the North Atlantic circulation is indeed on the decline ... most probable [cause] is the induction of the freshwater into the North Atlantic from sea ice melt in Greenland and the Arctic ... Winters would become more severe in Europe and the United States. Of course, this is not something that would/will happen overnight ... But what can happen almost overnight, are strong storms and hurricanes. And the Gulf Stream and the AMOC play an important role in these events, especially for the United States.
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/gulf-stream-amoc-ocean-anomaly-united-states-europe-fa

Unfortunate timing and rate of change may be enough to tip a climate system
Imagine abrupt shifts of the tropical monsoons, reductions in Northern Hemisphere rainfall, and strengthening of North Atlantic storm tracks within decades. These are some of the impacts that climate scientists expect if the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which redistributes heat from equatorial regions to the Northern Hemisphere, suddenly tips into a dormant state as a result of global warming. The consequences would drastically alter conditions for agriculture, biodiversity, and the economy in large parts of the World. A model study by Johannes Lohmann and Peter D. Ditlevsen from Physics of Ice, Climate, and Earth, The Niels Bohr Institute, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, now suggests the AMOC, and potentially other climate sub-systems approaching tipping points might tip long before anticipated because of rate-induced tipping. The work, published today in PNAS is part of the TiPES project funded by the EU Horizon 2020.
https://phys.org/news/2021-02-unfortunate-climate.htmlafter Arctic permafrost releases more carbon dioxide than once believed

2020, a year of slowdowns, but not for global warming
Last year wasn’t business as usual. But while our livelihoods were disrupted by an ongoing health and economic crisis, our planet’s climate continued on its warming course, with particularly high levels throughout the last decade ... In 2020, the global climate was 0.6 C warmer than averages between 1981-2010 and around 1.25 C above pre-industrial levels, according to new data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and a recent report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The year also wrapped up the hottest decade registered, of which the last six years were the warmest ever.
https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/29/2020-a-year-of-slowdowns-but-not-for-global-warming

Very few of world’s rivers undamaged by humanity, study finds
Rivers in which fish populations have escaped serious damage from human activities make up just 14% of the world’s river basin area, according to the most comprehensive study to date. Scientists found that the biodiversity of more than half of rivers had been profoundly affected ... Rivers and lakes are vital ecosystems. They cover less than 1% of the planet’s surface, but their 17,000 fish species represent a quarter of all vertebrates, as well as providing food for many millions of people. Healthy rivers are also needed to supply clean water. Other recent research has shown that global populations of migratory river fish have plunged by a “catastrophic” 76% since 1970, with a 93% fall in Europe. Large river animals have fared worst ... The research, published in the journal Science, examined almost 2,500 rivers in all parts of the world, except the polar regions and deserts.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/18/very-few-of-worlds-rivers-undamaged-by-humanity-study-finds

Study Warns Emissions Cuts Must Be 80% More Ambitious to Meet Even the Dangerously Inadequate 2°C Target
A new study warns that countries' pledges to reduce planet-heating emissions as part of the global effort to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement must be dramatically scaled up to align with even the deal's less ambitious target of keeping temperature rise below 2°C—though preferably 1.5°C—by the end of the century. A pair of researchers at the University of Washington found that the country-based rate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts should increase by 80% beyond current nationally determined contributions (NDCs)—the term for each nation's pledge under the Paris agreement—to meet the 2°C target. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, adds to the mountain of evidence that since the Paris agreement—which also has a bolder 1.5°C target—was adopted in late 2015, countries around the world have not done enough to limit human-caused global heating. "On current trends, the probability of staying below 2°C of warming is only 5%."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/11/study-warns-emissions-cuts-must-be-80-more-ambitious-meet-even-dangerously

How fires have spread to previously untouched parts of the world
Wildfires are spreading to fuel-abundant regions of the world that used to be less prone to burning ... Experts believe the changing fire patterns are driven by human factors: global heating, which is creating more tinderbox conditions in forests, and land conversion, which is turning grasslands into farm fields, conurbations and roads ... [In Australia] “There is no question that climate change was a very significant factor in the extreme fire activity of the last season. We have always had droughts and heatwaves leading to extreme fire weather conditions, but our background long-term temperature trend is now 1C over the pre-industrial level, with much hotter and longer heatwaves than before, and consistent with the temperature elevation, our droughts are now hotter leading to drier fuels more able to burn quickly” ... [In California] “The confluence of increased fuel in a warmer and drier climate has certainly contributed to the very large increase in forested burned area in parts of the western US” ... [In Europe] “There is consensus among fire researchers that climate change is extending the dry season and contributing to megafires.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/feb/19/how-fires-have-spread-to-previously-untouched-parts-of-the-world

'Turkey’s Maldives' Lake Salda faces drought threat
[Lake Salda] in western Turkey’s Burdur province may join other famous lakes that are drying up. Recent rainfall and snowfall apparently were not sufficient to restore the lake to its former glory ... “The lake’s main source of water is from a nearby mountainous area, which serves as a ski resort. Snowfall there feeds the after Arctic permafrost releases more carbon dioxide than once believedwater, but we do not see enough snowfall there.”
https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/turkeys-maldives-lake-salda-faces-drought-threat/news

Warming Seas Are Accelerating Greenland’s Glacier Retreat
A new study published in Science Advances has quantified, for the first time, how the warming coastal waters are impacting Greenland’s glaciers ... the bigger they are, the faster they melt. And the culprit is the depth of the fjord they occupy: Deeper fjords allow in more warm ocean water than shallow fjords, hastening the undercutting process ... previous observations have shown that the ice sheet has been out of balance since the 1990’s: Melt has accelerated and calving has increased. In other words, the rate of ice being lost to the ocean is exceeding the supply from the ice sheet. This is causing the ice sheet to shrink and the glaciers to retreat toward land ... These findings suggest that climate models may underestimate glacial ice loss by at least a factor of two if they don’t account for undercutting by a warm ocean.
https://scitechdaily.com/nasas-omg-warming-seas-are-accelerating-greenlands-glacier-retreat/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/1/eaba7282

Increasing hurricane intensity around Bermuda linked to rising ocean temperatures
New research shows that hurricane maximum wind speeds in the subtropical Atlantic around Bermuda have more than doubled on average over the last 60 years due to rising ocean temperatures in the region ... The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, also develops a predictor for the intensity of hurricanes moving through the Bermuda area using the average upper ocean temperature in the top 50m layer.
https://phys.org/news/2021-02-hurricane-intensity-bermuda-linked-ocean.html
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abe493

‘Incredibly destructive’: Canada’s Prairies to see devastating impact of climate change
As the climate continues to warm at an alarming rate, experts warn if dramatic steps to mitigate global warming are not taken, the effects in Canada’s Prairie region will be devastating to the country’s agriculture sector. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the country is warming, on average, about double the global rate ... “(In Canada) we are looking at about 6.4C degrees of warming this century, which isn’t much less than one degree per decade, which is just a terrifying rate of warming,” Darrin Qualman, the director of climate crisis policy and action at the National Farmer’s Union said. Qualman said there is “massive change coming” to Canada’s Prairies, which will be “incredibly destructive.”
https://globalnews.ca/news/7610723/climate-change-canada-prairies/

Arctic permafrost releases more CO2 than once believed
There may be greater CO2 emissions associated with thawing Arctic permafrost than ever imagined. An international team of researchers has discovered that soil bacteria release CO2 previously thought to be trapped by iron. The finding presents a large new carbon footprint that is unaccounted for in current climate models ... The amount of carbon stored in permafrost is estimated to be four times greater than the combined amount of CO2 emitted by modern humans ... iron was believed to bind carbon even as permafrost thawed. The new result demonstrates that bacteria incapacitate iron's carbon trapping ability, resulting in the release of vast amounts of CO2 [previously thought to be bound]. This is an entirely new discovery ... The study has just been published in Nature Communications.
https://www.science.ku.dk/english/press/news/2021/arctic-permafrost-releases-more-co2-than-once-believed/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20102-6

Methane Is Blowing More Holes in the Arctic
“These craters represent an Earth system process that was previously unknown to scientists,” Sue Natali, Arctic program director at Woodwell Climate Research Center and co-author on the study, said ... Entire lakes have disappeared, draining out completely as the permafrost—frozen ground made of soil, rocks, and water—that forms their outer edges and bottoms melted away amid rising temperatures. Huge swaths of the region have also become greener because higher air and soil temperatures have increased plant growth. Due to permafrost thaw and ice melt, parts of the region are also sinking ... As the planet continues to warm, the researchers expect these changes will occur more quickly. That includes the methane explosions, since they’re more likely to occur when the ground’s pressure rises or ice on the ground thaws and breaks suddenly.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/methane-is-blowing-more-holes-in-the-arctic-1846242991

The Same Deadly Vitamin Deficiency Is Ravaging All Kinds of Animals
Thiamine originates in the lowest levels of the food web, where particular species of bacteria, phytoplankton, fungi, and plants synthesize the compound [which] then passes through the food chain and eventually finds its way into every animal and plant on Earth ... Without enough thiamine, cellular-level functioning begins to fail. Affected animals behave abnormally, suffer neurological and reproductive disorders, and can eventually die ... Dale Honeyfield, who worked with the U.S. Geological Survey as a research chemist and has studied thiamine deficiency since the mid-1990s [said] “Humans are somehow involved ... Thiamine deficiency is really an indicator that we have an ecosystem that is disrupted” ... “It’s very eye-opening that the lack of a simple vitamin can cause complete collapse of populations in vast areas,” says Donald Tillitt, an environmental toxicologist with the U.S. Geological Survey ... “If there’s no synthesis going on at the bottom, then there’s no source to feed up through to the top predators,” Honeyfield says.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/01/vitamin-b1-thiamine/617884/
and https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-oceans-mysterious-vitamin-deficiency/

Avoiding a ‘Ghastly Future’: Hard Truths on the State of the Planet
In the 1960s, humans took about three-quarters of what the planet could regenerate annually. By 2016 this rose to 170 percent, meaning that the planet cannot keep up with human demand ... Humans have altered about 70 percent of Earth’s land surface and ocean. Wetlands have lost 85 percent of their natural area; kelp forests have lost 40 percent; seagrass meadows are disappearing at 1 percent per year; the ocean’s large predatory fish are two-thirds gone; coral reefs have lost half their living mass. Agriculture has halved the weight of living vegetation on land, driving a diversity loss of 20 percent; 40 percent of extant plants are currently endangered. Farmed animals and humans now constitute 96 percent of all land vertebrates; only around 5 percent are wild, free-living animals. The world’s wild populations of birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians have declined by an average of nearly 70 percent in just the last 50 years ... These disruptions and declines have caused the deterioration of soil, air, and water quality; pollination; carbon sequestration; and human health. Other things have increased: floods, fires, the number of malnourished people, plastic pollution, general toxification, and infectious epidemics.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/avoiding-a-ghastly-future-hard-truths-on-the-state-of-the-planet
reporting on a study at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2020.615419/full

Climate change could leave millions at risk in Tunisia and Egypt
Rising global temperatures, driven mainly by greenhouse gas emissions, will result in millions being displaced from the coastal cities of North Africa, according to a study published in the Nature Research Journal ... coastal cities in the Gulf of Tunis, which have a population of more than 2 million, are at higher risk from rising sea levels ... Egypt, which is the Arab world's most populous nation, is another country that the report says is at a “very high risk” from population displacement as a result of rising sea levels.
https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/climate-change-could-leave-millions-at-risk-in-tunisia-and-egypt-43891

California rains starting later, extending fire season: study
California’s rainy season now starts a month later than it did decades ago, prolonging the state’s destructive wildfire season into November, the American Geophysical Union said on Thursday, citing new research ... Rainfall is becoming more concentrated in the months of January and February, the study found, suggesting more irrigation will be needed in the drought-stricken state. The study was published last month in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-california-wildfires/california-rains-starting-later-extending-fire-season-study-idUSKBN2A431J

Why call recent disasters ‘natural’ when they really aren’t?
Wildfires, storms, and viruses now are exacerbated by climate change. Perhaps we should call them what they are: disasters of our own making.
[Recently] the mercury in Death Valley hit 130°F, the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth. A hotter, drier California is much more likely to burst into flames. The Gulf too is heating up, with dangerous consequences. Hurricanes draw their energy from the warmth of the surface waters and so are becoming stronger and more apt to intensify ... By cutting down forests and digging mines and building cities, we’ve transformed half of the ice-free land on Earth. (Indirectly, we’ve altered half of what remains.) With our fertilizer plants, we fix more nitrogen than all terrestrial ecosystems combined; with our plows and bulldozers, we move around more earth than all the world’s rivers and streams. In terms of biomass, the numbers are staggering. People now outweigh wild mammals by a ratio of more than 8 to 1. Add in our domesticated animals (mostly cows and pigs), and the ratio’s almost 23 to 1 ... And then there’s COVID-19. Pathogens have, presumably, been jumping between animals and humans for as long as both have been around. But for most of human history, such “spillover events” were limited in their impact. Infected populations didn’t move very far or very fast. [But with jet travel] within a month of the first confirmed cases in central China, COVID had reached at least 26 other countries ... the trend lines are clear. As people increasingly destroy other animals’ habitats and move species around the world, outbreaks of novel diseases will become more common ... David Quammen has put it this way: “We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host.” Often, that new host is going to be us.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2021/03/why-call-recent-disasters-natural-when-they-really-are-not/

Melting glaciers, rising seas: Approaching climate tipping points
Glaciers have shrunk at high speed during the last 30 years, raising fears of future land loss and more climate refugees.
The first global ice-loss survey released recently found that melting of the ice sheets accelerated so much during the past 30 years that it is now in line with the worst-case scenarios outlined by scientists. There was a stunning exchange on the recent Outrage and Optimism podcast which rendered host Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, speechless. She was told by leading climate scientist Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, that we have already gone beyond some key tipping points. Losing the resilience of the planet was the nightmare that is keeping scientists awake at night, Rockström said.
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/2/5/melting-glaciers-rising-seas-climate-tipping-points

The Terrifying Warning Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record
Today, humans are injecting CO2 into the atmosphere at one of the fastest rates ever ... All of recorded human history—at only a few thousand years, a mere eyeblink in geologic time—has played out in perhaps the most stable climate window of the past 650,000 years. We have been shielded from the climate’s violence by our short civilizational memory, and our remarkably good fortune. But humanity’s ongoing chemistry experiment on our planet could push the climate well beyond those slim historical parameters, into a state it hasn’t seen in tens of millions of years, a world for which Homo sapiens did not evolve ... The planet today is not yet in equilibrium with the warped atmosphere that industrial civilization has so recently created ... The transition will be punishing in the near term and the long term, and when it’s over, Earth will look far different from the one that nursed humanity. This is the grim lesson of paleoclimatology ... let us take a trip back into deep time, a journey that will begin with the familiar climate of recorded history and end in the feverish, high-CO2 greenhouse of the early age of mammals, 50 million years ago. It is a sobering journey, one that warns of catastrophic surprises that may be in store.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/03/extreme-climate-change-history/617793/

Increasing risk of floods as glaciers recede in Central Andes
A researcher at the University of Huddersfield has examined the rate at which glaciers have been retreating in the Central Andes and says further monitoring is needed to address the growing risk of ‘Glacial Lake Outburst Floods’ to communities located downstream from glacierised areas. Dr Ryan Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography from the Department of Biological and Geographical Sciences at the University of Huddersfield and has recently completed a project funded by the UK's leading public funder of environmental science, the National Environment Research Council. The research was a collaboration between experts from six countries ... Dr Wilson and the team explain the findings of the research in an article published by the peer-reviewed Journal of Glaciology ... The team were joined by researchers from Chile’s Centre for Ecosystem Research in Patagonia and the University of Concepción as well as experts from the universities of Aberystwyth and Exeter.
https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2021/february/flood-risk-as-glaciers-recede-in-chile/

Economics' failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’
The world is being put at “extreme risk” by the failure of economics to take account of the rapid depletion of the natural world and needs to find new measures of success to avoid a catastrophic breakdown, a landmark review has concluded. Prosperity was coming at a “devastating cost” to the ecosystems that provide humanity with food, water and clean air, said Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, the Cambridge University economist who conducted the review. Radical global changes to production, consumption, finance and education were urgently needed, he said. The 600-page review was commissioned by the UK Treasury, the first time a national finance ministry has authorised a full assessment of the economic importance of nature.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/economics-failure-over-destruction-of-nature-presents-extreme-risks

COVID-19 lockdowns temporarily raised global temperatures
[Lockdowns led to] "decline in emissions from the most polluting industries, and that had immediate, short-term effects on temperatures," said NCAR scientist Andrew Gettelman, the study's lead author. "Pollution cools the planet, so it makes sense that pollution reductions would warm the planet." Temperatures over parts of Earth's land surface last spring were about 0.1-0.3 C warmer than would have been expected with prevailing weather conditions, the study found. The effect was most pronounced in regions that normally are associated with substantial emissions of aerosols, with the warming reaching about 0.37 C over much of the United States and Russia ... Although the research illustrates how aerosols counter the warming influence of greenhouse gases, Gettelman emphasized that emitting more of them into the lower atmosphere is not a viable strategy for slowing climate change. "Aerosol emissions have major health ramifications," he said. "Saying we should pollute is not practical."
https://phys.org/news/2021-02-covid-lockdowns-temporarily-global-temperatures.html

Sea level likely to rise faster than previously thought
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen have constructed a new method of quantifying just how fast the sea will react to warming. Their comparison of sea-level responsiveness in models with historical data shows that former predictions of sea level have been too conservative, so the sea will likely rise more and faster than previously believed. The result is now published in the European Geosciences Union journal Ocean Science.
https://phys.org/news/2021-02-sea-faster-previously-thought.html

Southern France set to sizzle, says new climate change study
Even if humanity manages to modestly reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- which so far has only happened during a raging pandemic or a global recession -- France as a whole is on track to heat up nearly three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by about 2070, Meteo France said in a report. And if carbon pollution continues unabated, average annual temperatures across the nation will, by century's end, soar 4.5C beyond that benchmark. That is verging on an unliveable world, a raft of climate studies have shown. With just over 1C of warming so far, the planet has seen a sharp crescendo in deadly extreme weather, including heatwaves and megastorms made more destructive by rising seas.
https://www.france24.com/en/france/20210202-southern-france-set-to-sizzle-says-new-climate-change-study

Further drop in Lake Mead water level could trigger water shortage declaration
A study released in January from the Bureau of Reclamation projects Lake Mead's water level to currently be at 1,085 feet. However, if Lake Mead's elevation is projected to be below 1,075 feet in August then a shortage condition will be declared in the Lower Basin for the first time in January 2022 ... Under a shortage condition, water allotments to Arizona would be reduced by 320,000 acre-feet, Nevada by 13,000 acre-feet, and Mexico by 50,000 acre-feet ... in September 2020, the Bureau of Reclamation released models that suggested looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead were more likely than previously thought between expanding cities and prolonged drought.
https://www.ktnv.com/news/further-drop-in-lake-mead-water-level-could-trigger-water-shortage-declaration

World is at its hottest for at least 12,000 years – study
The planet is hotter now than it has been for at least 12,000 years, a period spanning the entire development of human civilisation, according to research. Analysis of ocean surface temperatures shows human-driven climate change has put the world in “uncharted territory”, the scientists say. The planet may even be at its warmest for 125,000 years, although data on that far back is less certain. The research, published in the journal Nature, reached these conclusions by solving a longstanding puzzle known as the “Holocene temperature conundrum” ... Jennifer Hertzberg, of Texas A&M University in the US, said: “By solving a conundrum that has puzzled climate scientists for years, Bova and colleagues’ study is a major step forward. Understanding past climate change is crucial for putting modern global warming in context.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/27/climate-crisis-world-now-at-its-hottest-for-12000-years

The Big Thaw
As the climate warms, how much, and how quickly, will Earth's glaciers melt?
When President Taft created Glacier National Park in 1910, it was home to an estimated 150 glaciers. Since then the number has decreased to fewer than 30, and most of those remaining have shrunk in area by two-thirds. Fagre predicts that within 30 years most if not all of the park's namesake glaciers will disappear. "Things that normally happen in geologic time are happening during the span of a human lifetime," says Fagre. "It's like watching the Statue of Liberty melt" ... Everywhere on Earth ice is changing. The famed snows of Kilimanjaro have melted more than 80 percent since 1912. Glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya in India are retreating so fast that researchers believe that most central and eastern Himalayan glaciers could virtually disappear by 2035. Arctic sea ice has thinned significantly over the past half century ... There are no words to describe how much, and how fast, the ice is changing. Researchers long ago predicted that the most visible impacts from a globally warmer world would occur first at high latitudes: rising air and sea temperatures, earlier snowmelt, later ice freeze-up, reductions in sea ice, thawing permafrost, more erosion, increases in storm intensity. Now all those impacts have been documented.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/big-thaw/

Deep water temperatures hit 'scary' highs in Gulf of St. Lawrence
A decade-long warming trend in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continued in 2020 with deep waters reaching record highs, according to ocean climate data released Tuesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Water temperatures at depths of 200, 250 and 300 metres were higher than any measured in the Gulf since records started in 1915 ... "It is scary to me because we're completely outside of the known envelope," Peter Galbraith, a longtime federal research scientist, said in an interview.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/record-high-water-temperatures-gulf-st-lawrence-1.5889072

Alpine plants face extinction as melting glaciers force them higher, warns study
‘Escalator to extinction’ means aggressive species will eventually take over, threatening the entire mountain ecosystem
Alpine flowers could go extinct after glaciers disappear as more competitive species colonise terrain higher up the mountain, new research has warned. Glaciers are retreating at historically unprecedented rates, exposing new land for plants to grow, which benefits delicate alpine species in the short term. However, these early pioneers – some of which are endemic – soon become endangered as more aggressive species take over, driving them out of their remaining habitat and decreasing overall biodiversity, according to the paper published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/29/global-heating-alpine-plants-extinction-melting-glaciers-aoe

Global shark and ray population crashed more than 70% in past 50 years – study
“The decline isn’t stopping, which is a problem,” said Nathan Pacoureau, a researcher at Simon Fraser University in Canada who was lead author of the study, published in Nature. “Everything in our oceans is so depleted now. We need proactive measures to prevent total collapse, this should be a wake up call for policy makers.” Using a raft of previous studies and catch data, the researchers compiled the first global census for shark and ray species, finding there has been an overall 71% decline since 1970.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/27/sharks-rays-global-population-crashed-study

Ancient food scraps prove northern Australia is now the driest it’s ever been
Archaeologists have used food scraps from the earliest Australians to discover the northern part of the country is experiencing its driest period for 65,000 years ... they had samples of [pandanus] shells being eaten and discarded at the site from 65,000 years ago up until recently ... “People have been eating the same nut at the same place for 65,000 years, which is fantastic for scientists, because you can make direct comparisons,” Dr Florin said ... “We’re now able to read the changing rainfall record through time and match this to the amazing strategies that were developed by Aboriginal people to cope with a dramatically changing landscape,” Professor Clarkson said. The research has been published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/ancient-food-scraps-prove-northern-australia-is-now-the-driest-it-s-ever-been-20210125-p56wqi.html

Arabian Gulf experiencing longest recorded meteorological drought over last two decades
The Arabian Gulf has been experiencing the longest recorded meteorological drought over the last two decades, with temperatures in the region being on the rise since 1998, a top climate expert said today. “The general pattern of the climate in the region is warming. There is warming over the seas and sea surfaces, a rise in maximum temperatures and drying precipitation. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of Category 4 and 5 severe tropical cyclones, which is critical when we look at the economy,” warned Dr Said Alsarmi, meteorological expert at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) secretariat.
https://gulfnews.com/uae/arabian-gulf-experiencing-longest-recorded-meteorological-drought-over-last-two-decades-1.76727771

Our world is losing ice at record rate
A paper, published today in [the European Geophysical Union’s journal] The Cryosphere, describes how a team of researchers [found] that the rate at which Earth has lost ice has increased markedly within the past three decades, from 0.8 trillion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tonnes per year by 2017. To put this into perspective, one trillion tonnes of ice can be thought of as a cube of ice measuring 10x10x10 km, which would be taller than Mount Everest. The research shows that overall, there has been a 65% increase in the rate of ice loss over the 23-year survey ... Lead author Thomas Slater, a research fellow at Leeds’ Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, said, “Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most. The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sea-level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century.”
https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Our_world_is_losing_ice_at_record_rate
reporting on a study at https://tc.copernicus.org/articles/15/233/2021/

After Alarmism
At current emissions levels, the planet will entirely exhaust the carbon budget for 1.5 degrees in just seven years — stay merely level, in other words, and we’ll burn through the possibility of a relatively comfortable endgame within the decade ... To decarbonize fast enough to give the planet a decent chance of hitting that 1.5-degree target without any negative emissions would require getting all the way to net-zero emissions by around 2035. Simply running the cars and furnaces and fossil-fuel infrastructure that already exists to its expected retirement date would push the world past 1.5 degrees—without a single new gasoline SUV hitting the road, or a single new oil-heated home being built, or a single new coal plant opened. A two-degree target, by contrast, yields a much longer timeline, requiring the world to achieve net-zero by 2070 or 2080 [but] it won’t be enough. It can’t be, because we are too far along. There is no solution to global warming, no going back. Achieving a two-degree goal, by rates of decarbonization only dreamed of a decade ago, would deliver a world that looked then quite unforgivably brutal — and should today, too ... African diplomats have wept at climate conferences at what [2C] would mean for the fate of their continent, calling it “certain death”; island nations have called it “genocide” ... cities in South Asia and the Middle East that are today home to many millions would become so hot during summer that it often wouldn’t be possible to walk around outside without risking death by heatstroke. “It is a totally different world,” Figueres told me. “It’s two completely different worlds from the point of view of human misery ... it will be unmanageable for any social system in any country to deal with the increased poverty and the increased migration pressure that a two-degree world will bring” ... If fires in the American West are, in a best-case scenario, going to grow sixfold, Americans living there can’t count on a project of decarbonization alone to protect them. If Calcutta will see, at two degrees, a hundred days of lethal heat each year, stabilizing warming at merely that level isn’t going to do the trick ... And yet, this is the [best case] face of the new world.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/climate-change-after-pandemic.html

The Ongoing Collapse of the World's Aquifers
[G]eology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet. More punishing droughts mean the increased draining of aquifers, and rising seas make sinking land all the more vulnerable to flooding. According to a recent study published in the journal Science, in the next two decades, 1.6 billion people could be affected by subsidence, with potential loses in the trillions of dollars ... As the growing human population and more intense droughts brought on by climate change are putting ever more stress on water supplies, land is subsiding all over the world ... Subsidence is uniquely sensitive to climate change—at least indirectly. On a warmer planet, droughts are longer and more intense. “This is very important,” says Herrera-García. [Because] Dry reservoirs will lead cities to pump even more water out of their aquifers, and once you collapse the structure of an aquifer by neatly stacking those plates of clay grains, there’s no going back. For the 1.6 billion people potentially affected by subsidence—and that’s just by the year 2040—the consequences could be dire.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-ongoing-collapse-of-the-worlds-aquifers/

The Great Lakes just set a record for lack of ice
According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), the Great Lakes total ice coverage right now is sitting at 3.9%. This same time last year, it was sitting at 11.3%, and the year before at 18.5%. The previous record low for this date was 5% back in 2002 ... With no real robust areas of cold air in the future, the long-term forecast for Great Lakes ice coverage also looks meek. "The Great Lakes region is experiencing warmer-than-usual weather, and the max ice cover is projected to be 30%, way below the average of 53%," Wang said. That means by the end of winter, less than one-third of the Great Lakes will be covered by ice. In order to build significant ice over the lakes, a blast of cold air needs to settle in -- but the long-term forecast does not reflect that ... Current temperature above the lakes only tell a portion of the story. Last summer, the Great Lakes were exceptionally warm, and bodies of water retain heat much longer than land. Lakes Michigan, Erie, Huron and Ontario were each about 5-10 degrees above average. Even Lake Superior was at least 5 degrees above average.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/22/weather/great-lakes-record-lack-of-ice/index.html

Southern Ocean waters are warming faster than thought, threatening Antarctic ice
The Southern Ocean is one of the most important yet least explored and understood regions of the planet when it comes to determining how global warming may affect the future of humanity ... scientists have learned more about the fragility of large parts of the Antarctic ice sheet, since glaciers extending into the ocean are being eroded by relatively mild waters below. Like removing a doorstop, the collapse of these ice shelves can free up inland ice to move into the ocean, raising global sea levels and harming coastal communities. Now a new study, published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications, finds that beneath the surface layer of waters circling Antarctica, the seas are warming much more rapidly than previously known. Furthermore, the study concludes, this relatively warm water is rising toward the surface over time, at a rate three to 10 times what was previously estimated. This means that there is a greater potential for the waters of the Southern Ocean, which are absorbing vast quantities of added heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a result of human activities, may soon help destabilize parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.