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 have 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. This list will be updated as I find more to add. Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

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:
2020 · 2019 · 2018 · 2017 · 2016 · 2015-2011 · 2010-2001 · 2000 and earlier

··· --- ···

Shocking temperatures across the Arctic
Heating is continuing to accelerate at an unprecedented speed in the north. The anomaly high temperatures this weekend are following a row of bad news this autumn. November 21 came with temperatures 10-12°C higher than normal 30 years ago, according to the Climate Change Institute with the University of Maine. For the entire Arctic, the heat was on average 6,7°C higher than normal. A belt of warm air is currently stretching from northern Greenland across the North Pole to the Laptev and East Siberian Seas north of the Russian mainland. Northeast of Svalbard via Franz Josef Land to Severnaya Zemlya see similar heat.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2020/11/shocking-temperatures-across-arctic

Slight Arctic Warming Could Trigger Abrupt Permafrost Collapse – Study
A few degrees of warming in the Arctic could trigger an abrupt thaw of the permafrost [per a] study published Friday in the Science Advances journal ... “Arctic warming by only a few degrees may suffice to abruptly activate large-scale permafrost thawing,” the study's authors wrote. The warming works like “a sensitive trigger for a threshold-like permafrost climate change feedback ... Our study indeed suggests that abrupt permafrost thawing represents a tipping point in the climate system.”
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/10/20/slight-arctic-warming-could-trigger-abrupt-permafrost-collapse-study-a71805

Bubbling methane craters and super seeps - is this the worrying new face of the undersea Arctic?
Scientists have shared the first results of a trip to the world’s largest deposit of subsea permafrost and shallow methane hydrates. Fields of methane discharge continue to grow all along the East Siberian Arctic Ocean Shelf, with concentration of atmospheric methane above the fields reaching 16-32ppm. This is up to 15 times above the planetary average ... A second discovery is pockmarks and craters sunk deep in shelf sediments of both the Laptev and East Siberian seas, actively venting bubbles and strong methane signals ... The expedition mapped over 1,000 large seep fields (areas of massive methane discharge over 100 metres or 328 ft) and mega seep fields, each over 1,000 metres in linear dimension.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/bubbling-methane-craters-and-super-seeps-is-this-the-worrying-new-face-of-the-undersea-arctic/

Slew of rapidly intensifying hurricanes portends trouble in a warming world
Rapid intensification typically occurs in high-end hurricanes that reach Category 3 or above. Scientists now say this is happening more frequently, as storms are given a turbo boost from rising ocean temperatures ... According to Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane scientist at MIT, the 2020 Atlantic season provides a warning: The increasing tendency for hurricanes to rapidly intensify is a better gauge for how climate change is influencing them rather than how strong they ultimately get ... Based on recent peer-reviewed studies he co-wrote, meteorologist Jim Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said it’s clear that the odds of a storm rapidly intensifying have increased compared with what they were just a few decades ago.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/11/18/hurricane-season-rapid-intensification/

Scientists link record-breaking hurricane season to climate crisis
“The warmer ocean waters that climate change brings are expected to make the stronger storms stronger and make them rapidly intensify more frequently and at a greater rate,” said Dr Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and contributor to Yale Climate Connections. “These things have already been observed, particularly in the Atlantic, and it’s going to be increasingly so in coming decades” ... “I don’t see a lot of options for Central America to deal with the global warming issue,” said Masters. “There are going to be a lot migrants and in fact, a lot of the migration that’s already happening in recent years is due to the drought that started affecting Central America back in 2015.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/15/scientists-link-record-breaking-hurricane-season-to-climate-crisis

We’re already past critical climate tipping points. Here’s why we still need to cut emissions now
If every country in the world cuts global greenhouse gas emissions to zero ... even if they managed to do it by the end [of] 2020 the planet would still keep warming for hundreds of years ... humans would have had to stop all emissions sometime between 1960 and 1970 to stop the global temperature and sea levels from continuing to rise. The study, published in Scientific Reports, modeled the global climate from 1850 to the year 2500, and found that we’ve already passed critical tipping points. The permafrost in the Arctic—which holds nearly twice as much carbon as the atmosphere now—is starting to melt, releasing both CO2 and methane, locking it into a cycle of warming even if emissions stop.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90574545/were-already-past-critical-climate-tipping-points-heres-why-we-still-need-to-cut-emissions-now

More avoidable pandemics await a heedless world
Covid-19 is an instance of a disease transferred from wild mammals to humans [and such diseases] threaten to arrive more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the global economy, and kill more people ... A new report by a team of 22 global experts warns that Covid-19 is at least the sixth global health pandemic since the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918: all had their origins in microbes carried by animals, and all were awakened and spread by human interaction with the wilderness ... “The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. This is the path to pandemics.”
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/more-avoidable-pandemics-await-a-heedless-world/

Carbon dioxide removal sucks
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) systems - touted as techno-fixes for global warming - usually put more greenhouse gases into the air than they take out, a recent study has confirmed. Carbon capture and storage (CCS), which grabs carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by coal or gas fired power stations, and then uses it for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), emits between 1.4 and 4.7 tonnes of the gas for each tonne removed, the research shows. Direct air capture (DAC), which sucks CO2 from the atmosphere, emits 1.4-3.5 tonnes for each tonne it recovers, mostly from fossil fuels used to power the handful of existing projects. If DAC was instead powered by renewable electricity – as its supporters claim it should be – it would wolf down other natural resources. And things get worse at large scale. To capture 1 gigatonne of CO2 (1 GtCO2, just one-fortieth of current global CO2 emissions) would need nearly twice the amount of wind and solar electricity now produced globally ... Claims made that CCS could be “green” – by generating the energy from biofuels, and/or storing the carbon instead of using it for oil production – do not stand up to scrutiny either.
https://theecologist.org/2020/nov/13/carbon-dioxide-removal-sucks

An earth system model shows self-sustained melting of permafrost even if all man-made GHG emissions stop in 2020
The risk of points-of-no-return which, once surpassed, lock the world into new dynamics, have been discussed for decades ... In this paper we report that in the ESCIMO [Earth System Chemistry Integrated Model] climate model the world is already past a point-of-no-return for global warming. In ESCIMO we observe self-sustained melting of the permafrost for hundreds of years, even if global society stops all emissions of man-made GHGs immediately ... the result of a continuing self-sustained rise in the global temperature. This warming is the combined effect of three physical processes: (1) declining surface albedo (driven by melting of the Arctic ice cover), (2) increasing amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere (driven by higher temperatures), and (3) changes in the concentrations of the GHG in the atmosphere (driven by the absorption of CO2 in biomass and oceans, and emission of carbon (CH4 and CO2) from melting permafrost) ... To stop the self-sustained warming in ESCIMO, enormous amounts of CO2 have to be extracted from the atmosphere.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-75481-z

Record November warmth at Svalbard
“It is the highest temperature officially recorded in Svalbard during November,” says Climate Scientist Ketil Isaksen with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute ... peak temperature last night reached 9,2 °C ... Historically, average November temperature for Longyearbyen is a low of -10,1 °C and high of -5,1 °C. The sun is now under the horizon for a Polar Night that last until early March. Last night’s heat follows a pattern of extreme temperatures for the European and Russian Arctic this summer and fall. Average temperature at the Russian archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya north of the Siberian mainland was as much as ten degrees Celsius warmer than normal in October. In July, Longyearbyen at Svalbard had new heat record ever for the Norwegian Arctic with 21,7°C.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2020/11/record-november-warmth-svalbard

Hurricanes are staying stronger even over land as oceans warm from climate change, study finds
[A] new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, shows that storms such as Michael that extend their damaging path far inland are becoming more likely to occur as ocean temperatures increase in response to human-caused global warming ... whereas a storm occurring 50 years ago held onto just 24 percent of its intensity after spending 24 hours over land, that has now doubled, to 48 percent ... the slower decay rate, which exposes inland areas to greater wind and flood damage, is correlated with how quickly ocean temperatures are increasing.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/11/11/hurricanes-weaken-slowly-landfall/

Wildfires Are Close to Torching the Insurance Industry in California
A severe hazard zone for fires is similar to a severe hazard zone for floods. The government draws the boundaries, and any new developments within them are required to submit to unforgiving building codes and are subject to steep risk-based increases to their insurance premiums. This is the kind of thing that determines where people try to build and live ... Climate change is making wildfires more extreme. Scientifically, that argument is settled. Researchers have shown that human-induced temperature and humidity changes in the first decade-and-a-half of the 21st century led to a 75% increase in Western forest area with high potential for fires ... The financial fallout was unprecedented. From 1964 to 1990, the American insurance industry paid less than $100 million a year toward wildfire losses, on average. In the next two decades, that figure jumped to an average $600 million annually. From 2011 to 2018, it was almost $4 billion a year ... the [2017-18] seasons wiped out more than a quarter-century of underwriting profits for the California insurance market ... other states are close behind. Sapsis says he’s gotten calls from several other Western states after unprecedented fires this year consumed more than 700,000 acres in Washington and more than 1 million acres in Oregon. Risk analytics company Verisk Analytics Inc. estimates that more than 4.5 million U.S. properties are at high to extreme wildfire risk, but this number is very likely to rise, and quickly, even in places that used to be essentially immune ... In California, nonrenewals of home insurance policies climbed 31% from 2018 to 2019, with ZIP codes that had a “moderate to very high fire risk” seeing a 61% uptick, according to a recent report from the California Department of Insurance. This change caused more residents to turn to the FAIR Plan, a Los Angeles-based association of insurers that provides fire insurance as a [very expensive] “last resort.” The number of policies issued under FAIR climbed 36% last year and more than doubled in higher-risk areas, according to state insurance regulators. Insurers insist that unless they’re able to raise their rates in California to account for future risk, they’ll stop writing policies.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-11-10/wildfires-are-torching-california-s-insurance-industry-amid-climate-change

Devastating 2020 Atlantic hurricane season breaks all records
There have been so many big storms in 2020 that meteorologists exhausted their English-language list of names and had to turn to the Greek alphabet ... The frequency of major storms making damaging landfall is the “big story for 2020” in terms of the hurricane season, said Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University ... well beyond the bounds of normal expectations ... “Rapid intensification seems to be the name of the game right now,” Trepanier said. “We should expect to see events intensify quickly when conditions are as warm as they are presently” ... climate scientists warn there will be more and stronger hurricanes as the world heats up further.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/10/devastating-2020-atlantic-hurricane-season-breaks-all-records

Chinese glaciers melting at 'shocking' pace, scientists say
Glaciers in China's bleak Qilian mountains are disappearing at a shocking rate as global warming brings unpredictable change and raises the prospect of crippling, long-term water shortages ... Equally alarming is the loss of thickness, with about 13 meters (42 feet) of ice disappearing as temperatures have risen, said Qin Xiang, the director at the monitoring station. "The speed that this glacier has been shrinking is really shocking," Qin told Reuters on a recent visit to the spartan station in a frozen, treeless world, where he and a small team of researchers track the changes ... since the 1950s, average temperatures in the area have risen about 1.5 Celsius, Qin said, and with no sign of an end to warming, the outlook is grim for the 2,684 glaciers in the Qilian range.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/09/china/china-glaciers-melting-climate-change-intl-hnk/index.html

Climate change ‘bigger risk than Covid’, says Andrew Bailey
The Governor of the Bank of England warns the climate threat is more complex than the financial crisis too
Climate change poses a bigger risk to the world than the coronavirus pandemic or the financial crisis, Andrew Bailey has warned, ordering banks to act now to protect themselves and the economy. The Governor said the Bank of England and financial markets must all take radical steps to analyse the scale of the challenges ahead, identify the risks facing them, and work out how to avoid disaster.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/11/09/climate-change-bigger-risk-covid-says-andrew-bailey/

Rivers melt Arctic ice, warming air and ocean
A new study shows that increased heat from Arctic rivers is melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and warming the atmosphere. The study published this week in Science Advances [shows that] major Arctic rivers contribute significantly more heat to the Arctic Ocean than they did in 1980 ... "If Alaska were covered by 1-meter thick ice, 20% of Alaska would be gone," explained Igor Polyakov, co-author and oceanographer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' International Arctic Research Center and Finnish Meteorological Institute ... The impacts were most pronounced in the Siberian Arctic, where several large rivers flow onto the relatively shallow shelf region extending nearly 1,000 miles offshore ... All these components work together, causing positive feedback loops that speed up warming in the Arctic. "It's very alarming because all these changes are accelerating," said Polyakov. "The rapid changes are just incredible in the last decade or so."
https://phys.org/news/2020-11-rivers-arctic-ice-air-ocean.html

Emerald ash borer puts trees on path to functional extinction
Emerald ash borer, a beetle native to northeast Asia, was first detected in Michigan in 2002. Its western range has reached South Dakota in the north down to Texas in the south. It's in every state east of that line except for Mississippi and Florida ... "negative population trajectories on plots that have been invaded for more than 10 years," according to the authors' findings, which will be published in the January issue of Forest Ecology and Management. "This trend suggests that ash will continue to decline in abundance and may become functionally extinct across the invaded range of emerald ash borer."
https://phys.org/news/2020-11-emerald-ash-borer-trees-path.html

Severe forest fires have increased eightfold in western US since 1985, study finds
The rise in area burned by high-severity fires is linked to hotter and drier weather across the region, said scientists. Researchers expect the frequency of blazes will continue to increase as such conditions are becoming more likely and more extreme as a result of the climate crisis ... Published in Geophysical Research Letters, the research looks specifically at how the area burned by high-severity fires has changed across the western US, rather than just how the total number of all fires has changed.
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/forest-fires-wildfires-climate-crisis-california-b1591680.html

Germany is already two degrees warmer
Climate researcher Stefan Rahmstorf explains why it is already warmer than is often stated
The answer is simple: The German Weather Service gives the linear trend [but] if you describe a non-linear development, that doesn't make sense ... model simulations with climate models suggest a non-linear course of global temperature - which also agrees well with the observed temperature course ... The graph confirms that we have already had two degrees Celsius warming ... two degrees global warming means three or even four degrees warming for most land areas, with correspondingly more serious consequences for our well-being. (translated from German)
https://www.spektrum.de/kolumne/deutschland-ist-schon-zwei-grad-waermer/1786148

Warming of 2°C would release billions of tons of soil carbon
Global soils contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere, and higher temperatures speed up decomposition -- reducing the amount of time carbon spends in the soil ... The new international research study, led by the University of Exeter, reveals the sensitivity of soil carbon turnover to global warming and subsequently halves uncertainty about this in future climate change projections. The estimated 230 billion tonnes of carbon released at 2°C warming (above pre-industrial levels) is more than four times the total emissions from China, and more than double the emissions from the USA, over the last 100 years.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201102072915.htm

Depths of the Weddell Sea are warming five times faster than elsewhere
Over the past several decades, the world's oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse-gas emissions, effectively slowing the rise in air temperatures around the globe. In this regard, the Southern Ocean is pivotal [because] it absorbs roughly three-fourths of the heat. Until recently, very little was known about what happens to this heat ... researchers have produced the only time series of its kind on the South Atlantic and the Weddell Sea, which has now allowed them to precisely reconstruct the warming ... Once the heat reaches the depths of the Weddell Sea, the major bottom water currents distribute it to all ocean basins. "Our time series confirms the pivotal role of the Southern Ocean and especially the Weddell Sea in terms of storing heat in the depths of the world's oceans" ... If the warming of the Weddell Sea continues unchecked, he explains, it will have far-reaching consequences not only for the massive ice shelves on the southern coast of the Weddell Sea, which extend far out into the ocean, and as such, for sea-level rise in the long term, but also for the conveyor belt of ocean circulation as a whole.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/awih-dot102020.php

In the Arctic, 'everything is changing,' massive animal tracking study finds
Animals across the Arctic are changing where and when they breed, migrate and forage in response to climate change, says a new study unveiling the massive scale of the change ... "There's changes everywhere you look — everything is changing," said Gil Bohrer, corresponding author of the new study published online Thursday in the journal Science.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/arctic-animal-archive-climate-1.5790992

"Insanely Warm" Arctic Ocean Waters Are Delaying Freeze-Up and Pouring Heat Into the Atmosphere In September, Arctic sea ice reached its second lowest extent on record. Now, in one significant way, the situation has only gotten worse. With the onset of winter, large swaths of Arctic waters that should be frozen over by now remain ice-free. As a result, the extent of the ice is currently running at record lows for this time of year. "The main factor is ocean heat," says Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In September, sea surface temperatures in the Laptev Sea off Siberia climbed higher than 5 degrees Celsius, or 41 degrees Fahrenheit. "That’s insanely warm for the Arctic Ocean, especially in that region, far away from any warmer inflow from the Atlantic or Pacific," he says.
https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/insanely-warm-arctic-ocean-waters-are-delaying-freeze-up-and-pouring-heat

'Sleeping giant' Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find
Scientists have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean – known as the “sleeping giants of the carbon cycle” – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast ... sediments in the Arctic contain a huge quantity of frozen methane and other gases – known as hydrates. Methane has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over 20 years. The United States Geological Survey has previously listed Arctic hydrate destabilisation as one of four most serious scenarios for abrupt climate change ... raises concerns that a new tipping point has been reached that could increase the speed of global heating ... The 60-member team on the Akademik Keldysh believe they are the first to observationally confirm the methane release is already under way across a wide area of the slope.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/oct/27/sleeping-giant-arctic-methane-deposits-starting-to-release-scientists-find

Globalized economy making water, energy and land insecurity worse: study
Over the past several decades, the worldwide economy has become highly interconnected through globalisation [which] allows companies to make their products almost anywhere in the world in order to keep costs down ... the researchers have quantified the global water, land and energy use of 189 countries and shown that countries which are highly dependent on trade are potentially more at risk from resource insecurity, especially as climate change continues to accelerate and severe weather events such as droughts and floods become more common.
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-globalized-economy-energy-insecurity-worse.html

New Climate Warnings in Old Permafrost: 'It’s a Little Scary Because it’s Happening Under Our Feet.'
The study, published today in Science Advances, shows that only a few degrees of warming in the Arctic is enough "to abruptly activate large-scale permafrost thawing," suggesting a "sensitive trigger" for greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost ... "We're very, very close, and when it does, a lot of dramatic things will happen to landscapes and infrastructure, including roads and oil and gas developments. We will see huge changes."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16102020/permafrost-study-arctic-ocean-climate-change

Arctic Sea Ice is not freezing In October for the first time since measurements began
The sea ice is refreezing back, but at a much slower rate than normal ... Comparing the years by the current date, we are well the lowest for this time of year ... [growth] rate was rather weak and is not increasing with time ... the east Arctic Ocean is unusually warm and prevents fast sea-ice expansion ... the Laptev Sea has been at record low levels for quite some time now. In the previous decade, the Laptev Sea has been entirely frozen over by this time of year, while this year it [has virtually no ice] ... the Arctic is not as cold as it is supposed to be ... overall Arctic temperatures are getting warmer.
https://www.severe-weather.eu/news/arctic-ocean-sea-ice-2020-jet-stream-effect-winter-fa/

Dwindling Arctic Sea Ice and Impacts to Permafrost Health
Permafrost refers to frozen ground, which covers nearly one-fourth of the Northern Hemisphere landmass. Arctic sea ice supports the resilience of permafrost, which impacts multiple climate pathways. A study at the University of Oxford determined that past permafrost thaws correlated to time periods with ice-free summers ... With concern over nearing Arctic “ice-free” summers, and significant permafrost loss, it is important to understand and communicate the potentially expansive effects this occurrence could present ... sea ice and permafrost loss appears inevitable ... Arctic communities are already feeling the impacts of climate change, and immediate action is necessary to lessen and slow the progression.
https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/dwindling-arctic-sea-ice-impacts-permafrost-health/

The World’s Largest Tropical Wetland Has Become an Inferno
This year, roughly a quarter of the vast Pantanal wetland in Brazil, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, has burned in wildfires worsened by climate change ... The wetland, which is larger than Greece and stretches over parts of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, also offers unseen gifts to a vast swath of South America by regulating the water cycle upon which life depends. Its countless swamps, lagoons and tributaries purify water and help prevent floods and droughts ... But this year, drought worsened by climate change turned the wetlands into a tinderbox ... “The extent of fires is staggering,” said Douglas C. Morton, who leads the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and studies fire and food production in South America. “When you wipe out a quarter of a biome, you create all kinds of unprecedented circumstances” ... “We are digging our grave,” said Karl-Ludwig Schuchmann, an ecologist with Brazil’s National Institute of Science and Technology.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/13/climate/pantanal-brazil-fires.html

Alarm as Arctic sea ice not yet freezing at latest date on record
For the first time since records began, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing in late October. The delayed annual freeze in the Laptev Sea has been caused by freakishly protracted warmth in northern Russia and the intrusion of Atlantic waters, say climate scientists who warn of possible knock-on effects across the polar region. Ocean temperatures in the area recently climbed to more than 5C above average, following a record breaking heatwave and the unusually early decline of last winter’s sea ice ... sea-ice extent in the Laptev Sea, which usually show a healthy seasonal pulse, appear to have flat-lined. As a result, there is a record amount of open sea in the Arctic.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/22/alarm-as-arctic-sea-ice-not-yet-freezing-at-latest-date-on-record

Even if deniers don’t recognize the cost of climate change, insurance companies do
Reinsurance companies who underwrite retail insurers simply can’t afford to ignore the link between warming temperatures and ever-more-expensive, ever-more-costly catastrophes caused by superstorms, wildfires, inland and coastal flooding. Risks have increased, financial losses multiply, so up goes the price of reinsurance. The Sun Sentinel reported last week that 46 Florida property insurance companies suffered combined losses of about $400 million a year from 2016 to 2019. The companies lost $454 million in just the first six months of 2020 with an expectation of even more brutal numbers when the stormy third quarter results are calculated. The Sun Sentinel reported that reinsurers had jacked up underwriting rates by 20% to 30% earlier this year and plan another hefty jump in 2021. Consumers face increases of 30% to 40%.
https://www.theinvadingsea.com/2020/10/19/even-if-deniers-dont-recognize-the-cost-of-climate-change-insurance-companies-do/

Vast majority of Europe's key habitats in poor or bad condition – report
80% of key habitats are rated as being in poor or bad condition across the continent, in the State of Nature in the EU 2013-2018 assessment by the European Environment Agency. Just under half of all bird species are thriving, at 47%, but this is a decline of five percentage points since 2015, showing that the trend is going in the wrong direction.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/19/vast-majority-europe-key-habitats-poor-bad-condition-report

There was no ice on the water, says captain of tall ship Sedov about Arctic voyage
The Sedov on Tuesday passed the southern tip of archipelago Novaya Zemlya and is expected in Murmansk in the course of the week. The voyage would have been unthinkable only few years ago. But this year’s unprecedented low levels of sea-ice has made sailing on the route smooth and easy. According to the expedition diary, there has hardly been minus degrees during the voyage and sea-ice has hardly been spotted.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2020/10/there-was-no-ice-water-says-captain-tall-ship-sedov-about-arctic-voyage

Sea 'Boiling' with Methane Discovered in Siberia: 'No One Has Ever Recorded Anything like This Before'
Scientists in Siberia have discovered an area of sea that is "boiling" with methane, with bubbles that can be scooped from the water with buckets. Researchers on an expedition to the East Siberian Sea said the "methane fountain" was unlike anything they had seen before, with concentrations of the gas in the region to be six to seven times higher than the global average. The team, led by Igor Semiletov, from Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia, traveled to an area of the Eastern Arctic previously known to produce methane fountains. They were studying the environmental consequences of permafrost thawing beneath the ocean.
https://www.newsweek.com/methane-boiling-sea-discovered-siberia-1463766

Arctic researcher warns the 'the ice is dying' after landmark expedition
"This world is threatened. We really saw how the ice is disappearing," said Markus Rex, leader of the largest-ever Arctic expedition ... Rex, an atmospheric scientist with the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, said researchers pushed boundaries and battled the extreme landscape to gather data that "will change climate research forever" ... While years of analysis of the data lay ahead, Rex said researchers are already alarmed by the evidence they've gathered. "The ice is dying," Rex said ... researchers witnessed wide areas of open water that should have been covered in thick ice. Even at the North Pole, the ice was melting and had holes, sending a clear message of the consequences of climate change. "It was very evident, you could see it all around," he said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/arctic-researcher-warns-ice-dying-after-landmark-expedition-n1243073

Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its corals since 1995
Scientists found all types of corals had suffered a decline across the world's largest reef system. The steepest falls came after mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. More mass bleaching occurred this year. "There is no time to lose - we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP," the researchers said. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was conducted by marine scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-54533971

As Waters Warm, Ocean Heatwaves Are Growing More Severe
Water, covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, absorbs more than 90 percent of the energy from climate change ... That warming is ramping up: 2019 saw warmer oceans than any year on record ... One study showed that the count of annual marine heatwave days increased globally by over 50 percent from 1925 to 2016, with heatwaves becoming 34 percent more frequent and lasting 17 percent longer ... Another study showed that by 2100, no matter whether humanity follows a high emissions path or a low one, the oceans will be in a “near-permanent heat-wave state” ... The hints that heatwaves can trigger tipping points are disturbing. This means a single heatwave “can have ecosystem impacts that resonate for decades,” says NOAA’s Elliot Hazen.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-waters-warm-ocean-heatwaves-are-growing-more-severe

Carbon capture 'moonshot' moves closer, as billions of dollars pour in
Carbon capture is a controversial idea, attacked as a costly distraction from stopping emissions occurring in the first place. But last month, the International Energy Agency said ... it would be “virtually impossible” for the world to hit climate targets without capturing and storing emissions generated from factories, power plants, transportation and other sources. The transition to renewable energy, such as solar and wind, would not cut emissions in time ... Carbon capture is still in its infancy – there are only about 20 projects in commercial use worldwide, according to the IEA – but billions of dollars in investment is flowing into the sector ... “Carbon capture and storage is not a solution to the climate crisis, it is part of the problem,” said Karen Orenstein, the climate and energy programme director at Friends of the Earth. “This extraordinarily expensive pipe dream is just false rhetoric propagated by the fossil fuel industry in an attempt to save itself.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/07/carbon-capture-moonshot-moves-closer-as-billions-of-dollars-pour-in

Himalayan glaciers melting because of high-altitude dust
Dust, climate change and air pollution are triple threat to water source for a billion people
Prior to the study, which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, experts did not believe dust to be a significant driver of snowmelt in the region ... Though dust is a natural part of Earth’s systems, the amount of it in the atmosphere has steadily increased since the Industrial Revolution, when humans expanded into desert areas and broke through surface crust that held large amounts of dust in place. The darker or dustier an object is, the more heat it absorbs ... “In theory, we have two ways to limit the dust that ends up in High Mountain Asia. We can weaken the west wind in the high atmosphere or make the Middle East green. But either way is difficult, probably more difficult than reducing greenhouse gases emissions.”
https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/dust-in-the-wind-is-making-himalayan-glaciers-melt
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-00909-3

Fifth of countries at risk of ecosystem collapse, analysis finds
Trillions of dollars of GDP depend on biodiversity, according to Swiss Re report
One-fifth of the world’s countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an analysis by the insurance firm Swiss Re. Natural “services” such as food, clean water and air, and flood protection have already been damaged by human activity. More than half of global GDP – $42tn (£32tn) – depends on high-functioning biodiversity, according to the report, but the risk of tipping points is growing ... “A staggering fifth of countries globally are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing due to a decline in biodiversity and related beneficial services,” said Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers and a linchpin of the global insurance industry. “If the ecosystem service decline goes on [in countries at risk], you would see then scarcities unfolding even more strongly, up to tipping points,” said Oliver Schelske, lead author of the research.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/12/fifth-of-nations-at-risk-of-ecosystem-collapse-analysis-finds
reporting on a study at https://www.swissre.com/media/news-releases/nr-20200923-biodiversity-and-ecosystems-services.html

California wildfires spawn first ‘gigafire’ in modern history
California’s extraordinary year of wildfires has spawned another new milestone – the first “gigafire”, a blaze spanning 1m acres, in modern history ... fire heads a list of huge fires that have chewed through 4m acres of California this year, a figure called “mind-boggling” by Cal Fire and double the previous annual record. Five of the six largest fires ever recorded in the state have occurred in 2020 ... Vast, out-of-control fires are increasingly a feature in the US west due to the climate crisis ... “If you don’t like all of the climate disasters happening in 2020, I have some bad news for you about the rest of your life,” said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/06/california-wildfires-gigafire-first

The West’s Infernos Are Melting Our Sense of How Fire Works
42,000-foot plumes of ash. 143-mph firenadoes. 1,500-degree heat. These wildfires are a new kind of hell on earth, and scientists are racing to learn its rules.
By the time California’s 2018 fire season was over, it had burned more than 1.6 million acres to become the most destructive on record—a title it maintained for slightly less than 20 months, when it was overtaken not by the 2020 fire season but by a mere four weeks in late summer 2020 ... The final elephant in the room, of course, is climate change—and the likelihood that it is already pushing even our current nightmares toward holocausts beyond imagining ... climate-change patterns suggest we are headed for ever-less winter snowfall in the West, with hotter summers, ever-worsening droughts, and ever-more acute spells of extreme fire weather—long periods of dry heat that bake moisture out of grass and trees, combined with winds ferocious enough to whip even a small spark into a conflagration ... every future fire season in the American West is likely to be worse than the last, on average. “How do you adapt to that? It’s not just California,” he says. “It would be the whole West Coast and the Rockies and parts of Canada and Alaska all going off on a regular basis.”
https://www.wired.com/story/west-coast-california-wildfire-infernos/

California fire season shatters record with more than 4 million acres burned
California’s biggest wildfire season reached a new milestone Sunday, with state officials announcing that the state has now surpassed 4 million acres burned, more than double the state’s previous record ... the sheer magnitude is staggering. Of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s history, five burned within the space of a couple of months this year.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-04/california-fire-season-record-4-million-acres-burned

Exxon’s Plan for Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed in Leaked Documents
[I]nternal documents show for the first time that Exxon has carefully assessed the direct emissions it expects from the seven-year investment plan adopted in 2018 by Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods. A chart in the documents lists Exxon’s direct emissions for 2017—122 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalent—as well as a projected figure for 2025 of 143 million tons ... The internal estimates reflect only a small portion of Exxon’s total contribution to climate change. Greenhouse gases from direct operations, such as those measured by Exxon, typically account for a fifth of the total at a large oil company; most emissions come from customers burning fuel in vehicles or other end uses, which the Exxon documents don’t account for.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/exxon-carbon-emissions-and-climate-leaked-plans-reveal-rising-co2-output

Antarctic Peninsula at warmest in decades: study
2020 is the hottest in the Antarctic Peninsula in the past three decades, a study by the University of Santiago de Chile out Friday found ... "more than 2 degrees Celsius over typical values," climatologist Raul Cordero said in a statement released by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) ... He called that fact "alarming," since it could indicate that the rapid rate of ocean warming observed in the area at the end of the 20th century is resuming.
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-antarctic-peninsula-warmest-decades.html

As cities bake on a warming planet, insurers cook up heatwave cover
Longer and hotter heatwaves driven by climate change are becoming an increasingly dangerous - and costly - menace ... But a new way to cut the financial risks is emerging: heatwave insurance ... a wider range of heat insurance offerings - likely aimed initially at city authorities or similar government buyers around the world - are now being explored as the risks and costs of heatwaves rise ... Michael Spranger, of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), said insurance cannot fix the problem of heatwaves, which will increase in frequency if climate-heating emissions continue to rise. But “insurance helps to absolve some of the financial consequences”, said Spranger.
https://www.reuters.com/article/heatwave-insurance-climatechange/analysis-as-cities-bake-on-a-warming-planet-insurers-cook-up-heatwave-cover-idUKL8N2GS56K

Two-fifths of plants at risk of extinction, says report
New estimates suggest two-fifths of the world's plants are at risk of extinction. The assessment of the State of the World's Plants and Fungi is based on research from more than 200 scientists in 42 countries.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54344309

Antarctic sea ice may not cap carbon emissions as much as previously thought
Scientists thought that the vast swaths of sea ice around Antarctica can act as a lid for upwelling carbon [but] researchers at MIT have now identified a counteracting effect that suggests Antarctic sea ice may not be as powerful a control on the global carbon cycle as scientists had suspected. In a study published in the August issue of the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, the team has found that ... this shading effect is almost equal and opposite to that of sea ice's capping effect. Taken together, both effects essentially cancel each other out.
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-antarctic-sea-ice-cap-carbon.html

Extreme Heat And Extreme Drought Are Occurring Together With Terrifying Frequency
A new study found that these two hazards are occurring concurrently with startling frequency in recent years, a combination that will put enormous strain on regions already facing long-term worries over dangers like wildfires and dwindling resources ... California saw five of its six largest wildfires on record in just the last couple of months. The five fires combined were responsible for consuming more than 2.2 million acres of land.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dennismersereau/2020/09/26/extreme-heat-and-extreme-drought-are-occurring-together-with-terrifying-frequency/

Increasingly extreme autumn wildfire conditions in California due to climate change
[I]s climate change contributing to California’s escalating wildfire crisis? ... yes: we found that climate change has already more than doubled the frequency of extreme autumn wildfire conditions in California over the past ~40 years ... large increase in both mean and extreme fire weather conditions was driven by a combination of warming temperature and decreased precipitation.
https://weatherwest.com/archives/7550

New Study Shows a Vicious Circle of Climate Change Building on Thickening Layers of Warm Ocean Water
A new study shows more heat is building up in the upper 600 feet of the ocean than deeper down. That increasingly distinct warm layer on the surface can intensify tropical storms, disrupt fisheries, interfere with the ocean absorption of carbon and deplete oxygen ... The research suggests that some of the worst-case global warming scenarios outlined in major international climate reports can't be ruled out ... If the current slows, more hot water could build up along the East Coast of the United States, leading to more coastal heat waves and rising sea levels. And if less warm water is transported northward, the climate in northwestern Europe would become more volatile ... Equally important is how the layering affects the amount of carbon dioxide going into the ocean. For now, oceans take up about a quarter of the CO2 emissions from human activity, "but prospects are for less of that as time goes on" ... the effect on hurricanes is also clear. The heat in the top 300 to 400 feet of the ocean is what fuels tropical storms. Strong storms churn up the ocean, bringing colder water to the surface that can limit strengthening, or even weaken a storm. But nowadays, "that cold water is warmer than it used to be," which enables storms to build and maintain intensity," he said. "This is why hurricanes are bigger and longer-lasting and more intense than before."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/28092020/ocean-stratification-climate-change

Yukon River, beset by salmon woes and mercury threats, signals broader Arctic climate change
The Yukon River fall chum salmon run has been the lowest on record, according to federal officials. There is not even enough chum salmon to allow for subsistence harvests ... Thaw of permafrost in the California-sized Yukon River basin is threatening to loosen long-frozen mercury that exists naturally in the soil, studies have shown. There are signs that mercury levels are already increasing as the climate warms and permafrost thaws ... Long-term climate warming is demonstrated in the expanding ice-free seasons on the Yukon and other Alaska rivers, which have cascading effects. The free-flowing waters allow more heat to be carried into the riverbanks, hastening the thaw that is releasing sequestered mercury and changing the water’s chemistry in other ways.
https://www.arctictoday.com/yukon-river-beset-by-salmon-woes-and-mercury-threats-signals-broader-arctic-climate-change/

New study warns: We have underestimated the pace at which the Arctic is melting
Over the past 40 years, temperatures have risen by one degree every decade, and even more so over the Barents Sea and around Norway's Svalbard archipelago, where they have increased by 1.5 degrees per decade throughout the period. This is the conclusion of a new study published in Nature Climate Change. "Changes are occurring so rapidly during the summer months that sea ice is likely to disappear faster than most climate models have ever predicted."
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/uoc-nsw082620.php

Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea level by 2.5 metres – even if Paris climate goals are met, study finds
Even if temperatures were to fall again after rising by 2C (3.6F), the temperature limit set out in the Paris agreement, the ice would not regrow to its initial state, because of self-reinforcing mechanisms that destabilise the ice, according to the paper published in the journal Nature. “The more we learn about Antarctica, the direr the predictions become,” said Anders Levermann, co-author of the paper from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “We get enormous sea level rise [from Antarctic melting] even if we keep to the Paris agreement, and catastrophic amounts if we don’t.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/23/melting-antarctic-ice-will-raise-sea-level-by-25-metres-even-if-paris-climate-goals-are-met-study-finds

Ocean acoustics confirm rising sea temperatures
Sound waves [underwater] speed depends on the temperature of the water in which they travel. In a new study published in Science ... Wenbo Wu, a geophysicist at Caltech, and his collaborators discovered that they could use a natural source to record sound waves: earthquakes ... the study’s results confirm what climate scientists already know: The ocean is heating up ... “It’s a big problem ... even the ocean — Earth’s vast thermal reservoir, covering 70% of the planet — is starting to feel the heat."
https://temblor.net/earthquake-insights/ocean-acoustics-confirm-rising-sea-temperatures-11777/

Edge of Arctic sea-ice never seen this far north
After a record warm summer, bad records for the sea-ice follows. Especially so north of Norway and Russia, according to recognized National Snow & Ice Data Center with the University of Colorado. The Center’s latest satellite studies ... have never seen a greater loss rate any other year for the same week ... The Norwegian Meteorological Institute confirms the dramatic developments in September in the European Arctic waters.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2020/09/edge-arctic-sea-ice-never-seen-far-north

Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwide
“When you get these large areas burned there are no surviving trees to reseed these areas,” said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It is causing a shift from forest to other vegetation types, mostly shrublands and grasslands.” ... Scientists in Australia are already seeing evidence that fire is reshaping landscapes ... Even more worrying, scientists say, is an apparent increase in wildfires in the Siberian Arctic, which can thaw permafrost and release climate-warming methane from the frozen land.
https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-wildfires-climatechange-idUSL2N2GI22T

Humans Wiped Out Two-Thirds of the World’s Wildlife in 50 Years
In half a century, human activity has decimated global wildlife populations by an average of 68 percent. The study ... found that populations in Latin America and the Caribbean fared the worst, with a staggering 94 percent decline in population ... habitat destruction caused by humans [is] the main threat to the world’s biodiversity ... the ever-growing population of humans has led to an “ecological imbalance,” where society requires more resources to survive than can be produced. 
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/humans-wiped-out-two-thirds-worlds-wildlife-50-years-180975824/

Wildfires, hurricanes and vanishing sea ice: the climate crisis is here
[S]cientists say this year’s sequence of natural disasters and record temperatures have exceeded their worst fears. “We were speculating 40 years ago about things that might happen, and I don't think that any of us expected that in our lifetimes, we would see these things unfolding,” said Chris Rapley, a 73-year-old professor of climate science at University College London. “It has become a real problem of today, rather than a predicted problem of tomorrow.” The natural disasters have brought home the great economic and social costs of a hotter planet ... “All of these things that are happening, are predicted consequences of climate change,” said Philip Duffy, head of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. “People ask if this is the new normal, and I say, no, it will keep getting worse, as long as we keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”
https://www.ft.com/content/6a6bab93-21fc-4bd6-b309-86e394e3869b

British Military Prepares for Climate-Fueled Resource Shortages
The British government is planning for the inevitability of a catastrophic rise in global temperatures of nearly 4 degrees Celsius due to business-as-usual carbon emissions. The revelation comes from new research commissioned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in November 2019 to inform the MOD’S climate change strategy ... notable is that the report to the MOD doesn’t treat this as merely one potential worst-case scenario out of many, for the purpose of contingency planning. Instead, it puts forward the scenario unequivocally as an outcome which the UK government should simply expect to happen ... the report warns that as early as 2030, the world would face a perfect storm of food, water and energy crises ... What the MOD report neglects to acknowledge is that a 3.5°C global temperature rise represents the level of warming we would see if governments meet the inadequate emissions goals they signed up to under the Paris agreement. But as a team of climate policy scholars recently observed: “All major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.” This means that the catastrophic scenario expected by the MOD could still be conservative.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4w5j/british-military-prepares-for-climate-fueled-resource-shortages

Russia’s permafrost is melting
A large share of Russia’s oil, gas, diamonds and metals are produced in cities that sit on the permafrost. And thousands of kilometres of roads, rails and pipelines could sink into a bog, while some of the buildings and processing plants will simply fall over if the ground melts ... these regions are key to Russia’s economy, producing the bulk of its raw materials that account for almost half of the country’s GDP ... The total value of all these fixed assets – buildings, factories, pipelines, roads, etc. – in just the nine most at risk regions is $1.29 trillion, or about 17% of Russia’s entire fixed assets [and] about a sixth are in immediate danger from the subsidence of the ground if it melts ... [plus] there is some 1 trillion tonnes of CO2 locked up in the permafrost [and] if the ground temperature reaches zero degrees then all that CO2 gas could be released ... Permafrost occupies nearly 65% of the territory of the Russian Federation.
https://www.intellinews.com/russia-s-permafrost-is-melting-190398/

Ice shelves propping up two major Antarctic glaciers are breaking up and it could have major consequences for sea level rise
The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which sit side by side in West Antarctica on the Amundsen Sea, are among the fastest changing glaciers in the region, already accounting for 5% of global sea level rise. Scientists say the glaciers are highly sensitive to climate change. A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, found that the glaciers are weakening at their foundations and this damage over the past few decades is speeding up their retreat and the possible future collapse of their ice shelves ... damage sped up dramatically in 2016. Similarly, the damage to Thwaites Glacier began moving further upstream in 2016 and fractures rapidly started opening up near the glacier's grounding line ... the process is creating a feedback loop -- where the weakening ice shelf is speeding up the damage to the glacier's vulnerable shear margins, which in turn leads to more damage and disintegration of the ice shelf ... These recent findings from Antarctica show that the glaciers are "weakening from all angles," Lhermitte said.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/15/weather/antarctica-pine-island-thwaites-glacier-climate-intl-hnk/index.html

Huge cavities threaten glacier larger than Great Britain
British scientists have mapped cavities half the size of the Grand Canyon that are allowing warm ocean water to erode the vast Thwaites glacier in the Antarctic, accelerating the rise of sea levels across the world. Like decay in a tooth, the channels of warm water are melting the ice from below, threatening the stability of a glacier that is larger than Great Britain ... The results were published this week in the Cryosphere journal ... Over the past 30 years, ice loss from Thwaites and its neighbouring glaciers has increased more than fivefold.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/09/cavities-threaten-glacier-great-britain-thwaites

The Arctic Is Shifting to a New Climate Because of Global Warming
The effects of global warming in the Arctic are so severe that the region is shifting to a different climate, one characterized less by ice and snow and more by open water and rain, scientists said Monday. Already, they said, sea ice in the Arctic has declined so much that even an extremely cold year would not result in as much ice as was typical decades ago. Two other characteristics of the region’s climate, seasonal air temperatures and the number of days of rain instead of snow, are shifting in the same way ... sea ice has declined by about 12 percent per decade since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s, and the 13 lowest sea-ice years have all occurred since 2007 ... scientists have known for a long time that fundamental changes were occurring in the region. “We know what used to be,” Dr. Kay said. “We call it the ‘new Arctic’ because it’s not the same.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/climate/arctic-changing-climate.html

ProPublica/NY Times: Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration
Across the United States, some 162 million people - nearly 1 in 2 - will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water ... Policymakers, having left America unprepared for what’s next, now face brutal choices about which communities to save - often at exorbitant costs - and which to sacrifice ... At least 28 million Americans are likely to face megafires like the ones we are now seeing in California, in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia. At the same time, 100 million Americans - largely in the Mississippi River Basin from Louisiana to Wisconsin - will increasingly face humidity so extreme that working outside or playing school sports could cause heatstroke. Crop yields will be decimated from Texas to Alabama and all the way north through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska ... From Maine to North Carolina to Texas, rising sea levels are not just chewing up shorelines but also raising rivers and swamping the subterranean infrastructure of coastal communities, making a stable life there all but impossible ... even far inland, saltwater will seep into underground drinking-water supplies ... Hurricane Andrew reduced parts of [Florida] cities to landfill and cost insurers nearly $16 billion in payouts. Many insurance companies, recognizing the likelihood that it would happen again, declined to renew policies and left the state. So the Florida Legislature created a state-run company to insure properties itself, preventing both an exodus and an economic collapse by essentially pretending that the climate vulnerabilities didn't exist. As a result, Florida’s taxpayers by 2012 had assumed liabilities worth some $511 billion - more than seven times the state’s total budget ... in Santa Rosa [California], houses are being rebuilt in the very same wildfire-vulnerable zones that proved so deadly in 2017 ... 70% more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought ... a new class of dangerous debt - climate-distressed mortgage loans - might already be threatening the financial system. Lending data analyzed by Keenan and his co-author, Jacob Bradt, for a study published in the journal Climatic Change in June shows that small banks are liberally making loans on environmentally threatened homes, but then quickly passing them along to federal mortgage backers. At the same time, they have all but stopped lending money for the higher-end properties worth too much for the government to accept, suggesting that the banks are knowingly passing climate liabilities along to taxpayers as stranded assets. Once home values begin a one-way plummet, it’s easy for economists to see how entire communities spin out of control ... A Dust Bowl event will most likely happen again. Crop yields will drop sharply with every degree of warming ... the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous and hot. Something like a tenth of the people who live in the South and the Southwest - from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Southern California - decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment. Those who stay behind are disproportionately poor and elderly ... The most affected people, meanwhile, will pay 20% more for energy, and their crops will yield half as much food or in some cases virtually none at all. That collective burden will drag down regional incomes by roughly 10%, amounting to one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, as people who live farther north will benefit from that change and see their fortunes rise. The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest.
https://www.propublica.org/article/climate-change-will-force-a-new-american-migration
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/15/magazine/climate-crisis-migration-america.html

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States [with table of all US counties ranked by climate risk]
Under even a moderate carbon emissions scenario (known as RCP 4.5), by 2070 much of the Southeast becomes less suitable and the [habitability] niche shifts toward the Midwest. In the case of extreme warming (represented as RCP 8.5), the niche moves sharply toward Canada, leaving much of the lower half of the U.S. too hot or dry for the type of climate humans historically have lived in. Both scenarios suggest massive upheavals in where Americans currently live and grow food ... under the RCP 8.5 scenario, between 2040 and 2060 extreme temperatures will become commonplace in the South and Southwest ... humidity and heat will collide to form “wetbulb” temperatures that will disrupt the norms of daily existence ... by 2050, parts of the Midwest and Louisiana could see conditions that make it difficult for the human body to cool itself for nearly one out of every 20 days in the year ... some parts of the U.S. will see a number of issues stack on top of one another.
https://projects.propublica.org/climate-migration/

Summer was hottest on record in Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere experienced its warmest summer on record, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Monday ... surpassing both 2019 and 2016 which were previously tied for hottest, the NOAA said in a statement ... For the world as a whole, it was the second-hottest August in the 141-year record behind August 2016. "Globally, the 10 warmest Augusts have all occurred since 1998 — with the five warmest occurring since 2015," the NOAA added.
https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/14/summer-was-hottest-on-record-in-northern-hemisphere
see also https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/northern-hemisphere-summer-was-hottest-record-scientists-say-n1240049

World fails to meet a single target to stop destruction of nature – UN report
The world has failed to meet a single target to stem the destruction of wildlife and life-sustaining ecosystems in the last decade, according to a devastating new report from the UN on the state of nature ... The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, published before a key UN summit on the issue later this month, found that despite progress in some areas, natural habitats have continued to disappear, vast numbers of species remain threatened by extinction from human activities, and $500bn (£388bn) of environmentally damaging government subsidies have not been eliminated.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/15/every-global-target-to-stem-destruction-of-nature-by-2020-missed-un-report-aoe
see also https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction/a-54932895

Arctic sea ice melt marks a new polar climate regime
From the deck of a research ship under a bright, clear sky, “ice pilot” Paul Ruzycki mused over how quickly the region was changing since he began helping ships spot and navigate between icebergs in 1996. “Not so long ago, I heard that we had 100 years before the Arctic would be ice free in the summer,” he said. “Then I heard 75 years, 25 years, and just recently I heard 15 years. It’s accelerating” ... the long-frozen region is already shifting to an entirely new climate regime, marked by the escalating trends in ice melt, temperature rise and rainfall days, according to new research published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Those findings, climate scientist Laura Landrum said, were “unnerving.” All three variables — sea ice, temperatures and rainfall — are now being measured well beyond the range of past observations. That makes the future of the Arctic more of a mystery. “The new climate can’t be predicted by the previous climate,” Landrum explained.
https://www.arctictoday.com/arctic-sea-ice-melt-marks-a-new-polar-climate-regime/

Will Extreme Weather Keep Getting Worse? Scientists Say Yes.
One by one, climate and disaster records and milestones have been shattered in 2020 ... Scientists and climate experts resoundingly agree that we're likely to see more years like 2020, with more intense, destructive and deadly weather events. "These are all things we should expect to see more and more of as climate change takes a deeper hold on our climate and on the extremities that it creates in our weather," Jeff Schlegelmilch, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University [said]. These extremes are being driven by temperature increases brought on by global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. Things like heat, drought and fire are especially influenced by climate change ... Many of the phenomena happening now have been predicted for years by agencies like NASA, NOAA and the United Nations, as well as researchers and scientists around the world ... "It seems like this is what we always were talking about a decade ago," North Carolina State climatologist Kathie Dello told the Associated Press. "A lot of people want to blame it on 2020, but 2020 didn't do this" ... "It’s going to get a lot worse," Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb told the AP. "I say that with emphasis because it does challenge the imagination. And that’s the scary thing to know as a climate scientist in 2020."
https://weather.com/en-IN/india/environment/news/2020-09-13-will-extreme-weather-keep-getting-worse-scientists-say-yes

Warmth shatters section of Greenland ice shelf
A big chunk of ice has broken away from the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf - 79N, or Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden - in north-east Greenland. The ejected section covers about 110 square km; satellite imagery shows it to have shattered into many small pieces. The loss is further evidence say scientists of the rapid climate changes taking place in Greenland.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54127279

Heatwaves are becoming more deadly as nights warm faster than days
The U.S. this summer has experienced stifling hot temperatures that have set all-time records and put millions of people under excessive heat warnings ... The stifling heat is becoming more dangerous with climate change. One reason is because global heating is not occurring evenly: Lower nighttime temperatures that typically provide critical relief from the hot days are disappearing. Summer night temperatures are warmer now, and they are warming at a faster rate than daytime temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This marks a dangerous and potentially deadly combination of high daytime and high nighttime temperatures that doesn’t give the human body a chance to cool down during the night.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/12/climate-change-why-heatwaves-are-more-deadly-as-nights-warm-faster.html

The Arctic is burning like never before — and that’s bad news for climate change
Peatlands are carbon-rich soils that accumulate as waterlogged plants slowly decay, sometimes over thousands of years. They are the most carbon-dense ecosystems on Earth; a typical northern peatland packs in roughly ten times as much carbon as a boreal forest. When peat burns, it releases its ancient carbon to the atmosphere, adding to the heat-trapping gases that cause climate change. Nearly half the world’s peatland-stored carbon lies between 60 and 70 degrees north, along the Arctic Circle. The problem with this is that historically frozen carbon-rich soils are expected to thaw as the planet warms, making them even more vulnerable to wildfires and more likely to release large amounts of carbon ... peatlands, unlike boreal forest, do not regrow quickly after a fire, so the carbon released is permanently lost to the atmosphere ... the shift has already arrived, says Amber Soja, an environmental scientist who studies Arctic fires at the US National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia. “What you would expect is already happening,” she says. “And in some cases faster than we would have expected.”
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02568-y

Earth barreling toward 'Hothouse' state not seen in 50 million years
[The paper] details Earth's climate swings across the entire Cenozoic era — the 66 million-year period that began with the death of the dinosaurs and extends to the present epoch of human-induced climate change ... the current pace of anthropogenic global warming far exceeds the natural climate fluctuations ... human greenhouse gas emissions are causing temperatures to rise to an extent not seen in tens of millions of years. This rise is well beyond the natural variations triggered by Earth's changing orbit, the researchers concluded. And if current greenhouse emissions hold steady, the climate could skyrocket back to levels not seen since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [16C above modern levels].
https://www.livescience.com/oldest-climate-record-ever-cenozoic-era.html
see also https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-hasnt-warmed-this-fast-in-tens-of-millions-of-years/
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6509/1383

Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale – report
Wildlife populations are in freefall around the world, driven by human overconsumption, population growth and intensive agriculture, according to a major new assessment of the abundance of life on Earth. On average, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles plunged by 68% between 1970 and 2016 ... The research is one of the most comprehensive assessments of global biodiversity available and was compiled by 134 experts from around the world. It found that from the rainforests of central America to the Pacific Ocean, nature is being exploited and destroyed by humans on a scale never previously recorded.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/10/humans-exploiting-and-destroying-nature-on-unprecedented-scale-report-aoe

Ocean carbon uptake widely underestimated
The world's oceans soak up more carbon than most scientific models suggest, according to new research. Previous estimates of the movement of carbon (known as "flux") between the atmosphere and oceans have not accounted for temperature differences at the water's surface and a few metres below. The new study, led by the University of Exeter, includes this—and finds significantly higher net flux of carbon into the oceans. It calculates CO2 fluxes from 1992 to 2018, finding up to twice as much net flux in certain times and locations, compared to uncorrected models.
https://phys.org/news/2020-09-ocean-carbon-uptake-widely-underestimated.html

Massive release of methane gas from the seafloor discovered for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere
Gas hydrate is an ice-like substance formed by water and methane at depths of several hundred meters at the bottom of our oceans at high pressure and low temperatures. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, roughly 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it is estimated that methane frozen in these sediments constitute the largest organic carbon reservoir on Earth. The fact that methane gas has now started leaking out through gas hydrate dissociation is not good news for the climate. "It has been estimated that there [is] more organic carbon in the form of methane in hydrates than in all fossil fuels combined. The leakage of methane could lead to a feedback loop in which the ocean warming melts gas hydrates resulting in the release of methane from the ocean floor into the water. The warmer it gets, the more methane leaks out," explains Marcelo Ketzer, professor of environmental science at Linnaeus University.
https://phys.org/news/2020-09-massive-methane-gas-seafloor-southern.html

New study reveals cracks beneath giant, methane gushing craters
A paper published in Science in 2017 described hundreds of massive, kilometer–wide, craters on the ocean floor in the Barents Sea. Today more than 600 gas flares are identified in and around these craters, releasing the greenhouse gas steadily into the water column. Another study, published in PNAS, mapped several methane mounds, some 500m wide, in the Barents Sea. The mounds were considered to be signs of soon-to-happen methane expulsions that have created the said craters. The most recent study in Scientific Reports looks into the depths far beneath the sediment in the ocean floor and reveals the geological structures that have made the area prone to crater formation and subsequent methane expulsions. “It turns out that this area has a very old fault system – essentially cracks in bedrock that likely formed 250 million years ago. Craters and mounds appear along different fault structures in this system. These structures control the size, placement, and shape of the craters. The methane that is leaking through the seafloor originates from these deep structures and is coming up through these cracks.”
https://cage.uit.no/2020/06/03/new-study-reveals-cracks-beneath-giant-methane-gushing-craters/

Intense heat wave breaks numerous records, fuels dangerous fires across California
An intense heat wave broiled large swaths of California on Saturday, shattering numerous records, causing thousands to lose power and fueling several brush fires that were threatening communities from Yucaipa to the Sierra foothills ... The heat, combined with bone-dry conditions, helped several huge fires explode out of control Saturday, with firefighters struggling to keep up. A brush fire in the Sierra National Forest consumed more than 36,000 acres in just hours and threatened numerous mountain communities ... The new blazes came as 12,400 firefighters continued to fight 22 large fires that have together scorched more than 1.5 million acres since they were sparked by a series of dry lightning strikes last month. The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag warning, which indicates critical fire weather conditions ... “You never read very much about low temperature records ... Whenever there’s a record, it’s always a new high.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-05/heres-where-record-breaking-heat-is-forecast

Wildfires Hasten Another Climate Crisis: Homeowners Who Can’t Get Insurance
As wildfires burn homes across California, the state is also grappling with a different kind of climate predicament: How to stop insurers from abandoning fire-prone areas, leaving countless homeowners at risk. Years of megafires have caused huge losses for insurance companies, a problem so severe that, last year, California temporarily banned insurers from canceling policies on some 800,000 homes in or near risky parts of the state. However, that ban is about expire and can’t be renewed, and a recent plan to deal with the problem fell apart in a clash between insurers and consumer advocates. Insurers are widely expected to continue their retreat, potentially devastating the housing market if homes become essentially uninsurable. “The marketplace has largely collapsed” in those high-risk areas, said Graham Knaus, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, which has pushed state officials to address the problem. “It’s a very large geographic area of the state that is facing this.” The insurance crisis is making California a test case for the financial dangers of climate change nationwide, as wildfires, floods and other disasters create economic shocks well beyond the physical damage of the disasters themselves. Those changes have already started to affect home prices, the mortgage industry and the bond market ... data suggests that insurers have continued to drop customers ... there are physical and political limits to how much governments can do to reduce that risk, which means insurance will become more expensive. “It’s only going to get worse.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/climate/wildfires-insurance.html

Zombie fires spark record Arctic CO2 emissions
This summer’s carbon emissions from Arctic wildfires were a third higher than last year’s previous record levels, research suggests. The atmospheric monitoring service Copernicus says the fires which blazed during summer’s heatwaves are a cause for concern. They say some so-called zombie fires are smouldering through the winter in peat below the frozen surface. These underground fires then re-ignite surface vegetation in the Spring. This spells double trouble: not just CO2 emissions from the burning vegetation, but also from the peat which is naturally a store for CO2 ... "The Arctic is in meltdown. Large areas are burning in front of our eyes.”
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54013966

Winter sea ice in Bering Sea reached lowest levels in millennia - study
The Bering Sea ice cover during the winters of 2018 and 2019 hit new lows not seen in thousands of years, scientists reported on Wednesday, adding to concerns about the accelerating impact of climate change in the Arctic ... the scientists were able to estimate atmospheric and ocean conditions that would have affected rainfall and sea ice over some 5,500 years, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances ... "Obviously, if we lose the sea ice you are completely changing the temperatures of the Arctic," said Julienne Stroeve, a climatologist with National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Boulder Colorado not involved in the study. "If you lose it all, you're going to warm up the region even faster" ... The study noted that changes in sea ice appeared to lag at least several decades behind changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases. That implies that the recent lows in winter sea ice were a response to greenhouse gas levels decades ago.
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/winter-sea-ice-in-bering-sea-reached-lowest-levels-in-millennia---study/46008626

Canada endangered species face 'staggering losses'
Canadian wildlife at risk of extinction has undergone "staggering" losses over the past 50 years, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation group says. In a report, the charity says that species at risk of global extinction have seen their Canadian populations fall by over 40% between 1970 and 2016. Populations of species that are at risk of extinction in Canada itself fell even more dramatically - by 59%. The report said human activity was mostly to blame.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54004835

Queen of the Dolomites glacier could vanish within 15 years
The largest and most symbolic glacier in the Dolomites could vanish within 15 years because of global heating, Italian scientists have warned. The 3343m Marmolada, located on the border of the Trentino and Veneto regions and known as the Queen of the Dolomites, has already lost more than 80% of its volume over the last 70 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/01/marmolada-queen-of-dolomites-glacier-could-vanish-within-15-years

Ice Sheet Melting Is Perfectly in Line With Our Worst-Case Scenario, Scientists Warn
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which hold enough frozen water to lift oceans 65 metres, are tracking the UN's worst-case scenarios for sea level rise, researchers said Monday ... would have a devastating impact worldwide, increasing the destructive power of storm surges and exposing coastal regions home to hundreds of millions of people to repeated and severe flooding ... nearly three times more than mid-range projections from the IPCC's last major Assessment Report ... A new generation of climate models that better reflects how ice sheets, the oceans and the atmosphere interact will underpin the IPCC's next major report, which will be completed next year ... In another study published earlier this month in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union, Slater and colleagues calculated that Earth's ice masses ... lost nearly 28 trillion tonnes of mass between 1994 and 2017 ... rate of ice loss, they found, has increased nearly 60 percent [during] that time period.
https://www.sciencealert.com/ice-sheet-melting-is-perfectly-in-line-with-our-worst-case-scenario-scientists-warn
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0893-y

Arctic wildfires emit 35% more CO2 so far in 2020 than for whole of 2019
The latest data, provided by the EU’s Copernicus atmosphere monitoring service, shows that up to 24 August 245 megatonnes of CO2 had been released from wildfires this year. The figure for the whole of last year was 181 megatonnes ... Dr Thomas Smith, assistant professor in environmental geography at the London School of Economics, said 2019 had already been an anomalous year in the Arctic circle. “We have seen two years of anomalously high activity” ... Smith also warned that some fires were destroying ancient peat bogs containing carbon that has accumulated over thousands of years, a process similar to fossil fuel burning. Analysis performed by Smith, covering May and June of this year, suggested that about 50% of the fires in the Arctic Circle were burning on peat soils.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/31/arctic-wildfires-emit-35-more-co2-so-far-in-2020-than-for-whole-of-2019

Giant new 50-metre deep 'crater' opens up in Arctic tundra [many photos]
The recently-formed new hole or funnel is the latest to be seen in northern Siberia since the phenomenon was first registered in 2014. It was initially spotted by chance from the air by a Vesti Yamal TV crew en route from an unrelated assignment. A group of scientists then made an expedition to examine the large cylindrical crater which has a depth of up to 50 metres. Such funnels are believed to be caused by the build up of methane gas in pockets of thawing permafrost under the surface.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/giant-new-50-metre-deep-crater-opens-up-in-arctic-tundra/
see also https://phys.org/news/2020-06-methane-scientists-gaping-permafrost-crater.html
see also: similar hole on Mars https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200301.html

Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics’
Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of farming and the building of mines in remote regions – as well as the exploitation of wild animals as sources of food, traditional medicines and exotic pets – are creating a “perfect storm” for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people ... Almost a third of all emerging diseases have originated through the process of land use change ... five or six new epidemics a year could soon affect Earth’s population ... tens of millions of hectares of rainforest and other wild environments are being bulldozed every year to cultivate palm trees, farm cattle, extract oil and provide access to mines and mineral deposits. This leads to the widespread destruction of vegetation and wildlife that are hosts to countless species of viruses and bacteria, most unknown to science. Those microbes can then accidentally infect new hosts, such as humans and domestic livestock.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/30/rampant-destruction-of-forests-will-unleash-more-pandemics

Everything Is Unprecedented. Welcome To Your Hotter Earth
The upshot of climate change is that everyone alive is destined to experience unprecedented disasters. The most powerful hurricanes, the most intense wildfires, the most prolonged heat waves and the most frequent outbreaks of new diseases are all in our future. Records will be broken, again and again ... Climate scientist Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii says if our collective future were a movie, this week would be the trailer. "There is not a single ending that is good," he says. "There's not going to be a happy ending to this movie." Mora was an author of a study examining all the effects of climate change. The researchers concluded that concurrent disasters will get more and more common as the Earth gets hotter.
https://www.kpcw.org/post/everything-unprecedented-welcome-your-hotter-earth

Half of Antarctic ice shelves could collapse in a flash, thanks to warming
At least half of the ice shelves on the continent are vulnerable to this process, a new study suggests. These floating ice sheets ring Antarctica's glaciers and prevent them from sliding into the ocean. Without these icy barriers, glaciers would flow more quickly into the water, causing the continent to shrink and accelerating sea level rise. The new study, published today (Aug. 26) in the journal Nature, suggests that about 50% to 70% of ice shelves that hold Antarctic glaciers in place could become weak and potentially collapse with surges of meltwater ... The melt water "can punch through the ice to the ocean in a matter of minutes to hours, as long as there's enough water available to keep on filling the crevasse and keep up the pressure," Dow said. "The crack in the ice then fills up with ocean water," and the shelf may begin to break apart ... some scientists predict that climate change may drive massive hydrofracturing events within a matter of decades, according to a 2015 report in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
https://www.livescience.com/antarctic-ice-shelf-cracks-melting.html

Meltwater may fracture Antarctic ice shelves and speed sea level rise
Almost two-thirds of the ice shelves crucial to stopping the collapse of Antarctica’s ice sheets are at risk of fracturing by water, according to an analysis that warns of “major consequences” for sea level rise from the vulnerability. Most of the continent’s ice is held back from the ocean by buttressing, floating tongues, known as ice shelves. These are melting from below due to warming oceans, but scientists are also striving to better understand how meltwater on top of the shelves affects them.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2252946-meltwater-may-fracture-antarctic-ice-shelves-and-speed-sea-level-rise/

Growing underwater heat blob speeds demise of Arctic sea ice
Summer ice covers half the area it did in the 1980s, and because it is thinner, its volume is down 75%. With the Arctic warming three times faster than the global average, most scientists grimly acknowledge the inevitability of ice-free summers ... Unlike the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, the Arctic gets warmer as it gets deeper ... at greater depths sits a warm blob of salty Atlantic water, thought to be safely separated from the sea ice. As the reflective ice melts, however, it is replaced by darker water, which absorbs more of the Sun’s energy and warms. Those warming surface waters are likely migrating down into the blob ... With enough heat to melt the Arctic’s ice three to four times over, the blob could devour the ice from below [as] the blob, usually found 150 meters below or deeper, has recently moved up to within 80 meters of the surface ... “This heat has become, regionally, the key forcing for sea ice decay” ... The invasion shows no sign of stopping.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/growing-underwater-heat-blob-speeds-demise-arctic-sea-ice

Ice melting fast below East Antarctica's Shirase Glacier tongue
Scientists from Hokkaido University identified an unusual hot-spot of sub-glacier melting in East Antarctica. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, could further understandings and predictions of sea level rise caused by mass loss of ice sheets from the southernmost continent ... "Our data suggests that the ice directly beneath the Shirase Glacier Tongue is melting at a rate of seven to 16 meters (23 - 52 feet) per year," says Assistant Professor Daisuke Hirano of Hokkaido University's Institute of Low Temperature Science ... "This is equal to or perhaps even surpasses the melting rate underneath the Totten Ice Shelf, which was thought to be experiencing the highest melting rate in East Antarctica."
http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/science/ice-melting-fast-below-east-antarctica-s-shirase-glacier-tongue/article/576847

Species 'pushed out of the tropics' by climate change
The world's tropical regions are home to the widest range of plants and animals, but research from The University of Queensland reveals that climate change is pushing species away, and fast ... 69 percent of the tropical species show, on average, negative responses to temperature increases ... "Waterbirds can be observed relatively easily, offering an early proxy for climate change impacts on other species. They help us assess the status of biodiversity in wetland ecosystems, which has been lost at higher rates than other ecosystems." Dr. Amano said he hoped this evidence would help strengthen the case for real action on a warming climate. The research has been published in Nature Climate Change.
https://phys.org/news/2020-08-species-tropics-climate.html

Climate change is causing more rain in the North. That’s bad news for permafrost
“Thawing is happening even faster than we thought,” said Thomas Douglas, an environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory and lead author of the study. “We’ve had these crazy wet summers. It’s gonna be bad for permafrost.” The study, published in Nature’s Climate and Atmospheric Science journal, found that between 0.6 and 0.8 centimetres of permafrost thawed for every centimetre of above-average rainfall in Alaska between 2013 and 2017.
https://thenarwhal.ca/climate-change-rain-arctic-permafrost-thaw/

Greenland's ice sheet melted away at record levels in 2019, scientists fear it will continue
Greenland's ice sheet lost a record amount of mass in 2019 ... That loss of 532 gigatonnes of ice — equivalent to about 66 tonnes of ice for each person on Earth — was 15 per cent more than the previous record in 2012. [Greenland's ice] holds enough water to raise sea levels by at least 6 metres if it were to melt away entirely. The study added to evidence that Greenland's icy bulk has been melting more quickly than anticipated due to global warming. Another study last week indicated the island was no longer getting enough annual snowfall to replace ice lost to melting and calving at the edges of glaciers.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-21/study-finds-greenlands-ice-sheet-saw-record-mass-loss-in-2019/12581428

Pliocene and Eocene provide best analogs for near-future climates
We compare climates of the coming decades with climates drawn from six geological and historical periods spanning the past 50 million years. Our study suggests that climates like those of the Pliocene will prevail as soon as 2030 CE and persist under climate stabilization scenarios. Unmitigated scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions produce climates like those of the Eocene ... mean global surface temperature is expected to rise by 0.3 °C to 4.8 °C relative to 1986–2005 CE averages.
https://www.pnas.org/content/115/52/13288

Colorado Wildfires Are Climate Change ‘In The Here And Now’ — And A Sign Of Summers To Come
So far, 2020 is Colorado’s third driest year on record and the 12th warmest, according to the state climatologist. Nearly a fourth of the state is in an extreme drought, and more than 175,000 acres have burned this summer ... Colorado climate scientists say we should expect more summers like these, and worse if carbon emissions aren’t reduced. “What we're seeing here is indicative of the fact that when the hot, dry years come around, they're hotter than most of the time when they've occurred in the past,” state climatologist Russ Schumacher said. “And that's pretty well in line with what climate projections have been saying for some time. ... the frequency of these kinds of summers where we get in these hot, dry conditions is probably going to increase. When the pattern sets up for these hot, dry periods of time, they're going to be more intense.” 
https://www.cpr.org/2020/08/20/colorado-wildfires-climate-change-drought-snowpack/

Warming Greenland ice sheet passes point of no return
Nearly 40 years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking. The finding, published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment, means that Greenland's glaciers have passed a tipping point ... Before 2000, the ice sheet would have about the same chance to gain or lose mass each year. In the current climate, the ice sheet will gain mass in only one out of every 100 years ... even if humans were somehow miraculously able to stop climate change in its tracks, ice lost from glaciers draining ice to the ocean would likely still exceed ice gained from snow accumulation, and the ice sheet would continue to shrink.
https://phys.org/news/2020-08-greenland-ice-sheet.html

Expedition shares scary photos from the North Pole
Loose and weak ice with lots of melt ponds, partly open water, and no signs of multiyear ice. The powerful photos from the MOSAiC expedition reaching the North Pole on August 19 show the dramatic impact of climate changes
The expedition ship Polarstern sailed from the northern Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard to the North Pole this week. “I’m very surprised to see how soft and easy to traverse the ice up to 88° North is this year, having thawed to the point of being thin and porous,” said Captain Thomas Wunderlich. “Even after passing 88° North we mostly maintained a speed of 5-7 knots; I’ve never seen that so far north,” the Polarstern captain said. “The current situation is historic.” ... The MOSAiC expedition is the largest science voyage into polar waters in history. Hundreds of researchers from 20 countries are involved gathering data aimed at getting a much better understanding of the Arctic climate impact ... A study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change could tell the serious negative path for Arctic summer sea ice. The study points to exactly what can be seen on the photos from this August’s MOSAiC voyage.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2020/08/mosaic-climate-expedition-shares-scary-photos-north-pole

California’s Heat Wave Just Set a Global Temperature Record
It was a California weekend for the history books, adding to 2020’s global tally of extremes — including fires, heatwaves and tropical storms. This year has arguably offered a glimpse into the future of our climate-changed world. But as far as the Golden State is concerned, that future may be here — now. “These are things we have in the projections for mid-century, not 2020,” said Nik Steinberg, head of research at Moody’s Four Twenty Seven, an analytics company that provides climate risk assessments for business and government. “They are becoming part of the norm and happening much quicker than anticipated” ... These weather patterns are likely to be more common as the jet stream, that river of air that circles the globe, becomes weaker. Why is it weakening? The difference between summer temperatures at the equator and the North Pole is shrinking ... “Climate change is catching up to us,” Moody’s Steinberg said. “There is no denying that.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-18/californians-sweat-in-the-dark-underneath-a-weakened-jet-stream

Antarctica’s Ice Shelves Have Lost Millions of Metric Tons of Ice
Antarctic ice shelves have lost nearly 4 trillion metric tons of ice since the mid-1990s, scientists say. Ocean water is melting them from the bottom up, causing them to lose mass faster than they can refreeze. That's according to a new study analyzing satellite data from 1994 to 2018. The results were published yesterday in the journal Nature Geoscience. That spells bad news for the hundreds of glaciers spread out along the Antarctic coastline ... Research suggests that the continent is losing billions of tons of ice each year.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antarcticas-ice-shelves-have-lost-millions-of-metric-tons-of-ice/

Warming Tropical Soil Emits Unexpectedly Large Amounts of CO2, New Study Finds
One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature ... When they heated the soil 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, they found that the soil released 55 percent more carbon dioxide than the control soil.
https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-soil-warming-carbon-emissions-2646968008.html

Scientists mapped the world’s frozen peatlands – what they found was very worrying
Large areas of perennially frozen (permafrost) peatlands are thawing, causing them to rapidly release the freeze-locked carbon back into the atmosphere ... peatlands cover approximately 3.7 million square kilometres [and store as much carbon] as is stored in all the world’s forests and trees together ... There are no geoengineering solutions that can be deployed in these vast and remote areas.
https://www.zmescience.com/ecology/map-frozen-peatlands-023432/

Last decade was Earth's hottest on record as climate crisis accelerates
Every decade since 1980 has been warmer than the preceding decade, with the period between 2010 and 2019 the hottest yet ... The increase in average global temperature is rapidly gathering pace ... The past six years, 2014 to 2019, have been the warmest since global records began, a period that has included enormous heatwaves in the US, Europe and India, freakishly hot temperatures in the Arctic, and deadly wildfires ... The report, compiled by 520 scientists from more than 60 countries and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, outlines the myriad ways that rising temperatures are altering the planet and human life.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/12/hottest-decade-climate-crisis-2019

New study warns: We have underestimated the pace at which the Arctic is melting
Temperatures in the Arctic Ocean between Canada, Russia and Europe are warming faster than researchers' climate models have been able to predict [is] the conclusion of a new study published in Nature Climate Change ... "we have been clearly underestimating the rate of temperature increases in the atmosphere nearest to the sea level, which has ultimately caused sea ice to disappear faster than we had anticipated," explains Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institutet (NBI) and one of the study's researchers ... Until now, climate models predicted that Arctic temperatures would increase slowly and in a stable manner. However, the researchers' analysis demonstrates that these changes are moving along at a much faster pace than expected.
https://phys.org/news/2020-08-underestimated-pace-arctic.html

NASA/NOAA Satellites Observe Surprisingly Rapid Increase in Scale and Intensity of Fires in Siberia
Abnormally warm temperatures have spawned an intense fire season in eastern Siberia this summer ... around half of the fires in Arctic Russia this year are burning through areas with peat soil—decomposed organic matter that is a large natural carbon source. Warm temperatures (such as the record-breaking heatwave in June) can thaw and dry frozen peatlands, making them highly flammable. Peat fires can burn longer than forest fires and release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere ... fires in Arctic Russia released more carbon dioxide (CO2) in June and July 2020 alone than in any complete fire season.
https://scitechdaily.com/nasa-noaa-satellites-observe-surprisingly-rapid-increase-in-scale-and-intensity-of-fires-in-siberia/

Pools of Water Atop Sea Ice in the Arctic May Lead it to Melt Away Sooner Than Expected
The thickening atmospheric stew of greenhouse gases is punching holes in Arctic sea ice, leading it to crumble at a rapidly increasing rate. Last spring, ponds of meltwater on the ice sped the melting of the glossy shield that reflects incoming heat from the sun back to space. By July, the ice had dwindled to a record low extent for that month ... The loss of sea ice buffers is probably also speeding up the melting of land-based ice sheets and glaciers that flow into the ocean.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/10082020/arctic-sea-ice-melt-pools-warming-climate

While we fixate on coronavirus, Earth is hurtling towards a catastrophe worse than the dinosaur extinction
Before industrial times began at the end of the 18th century, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sat at around 300 parts per million ... In February [2020] atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 414.1 parts per million. Total greenhouse gas level – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide combined – reached almost 500 parts per million of carbon dioxide-equivalent ... annual carbon dioxide emissions are now faster than after both the asteroid impact that eradicated the dinosaurs (about 0.18 parts per million CO2 per year), and the thermal maximum 55 million years ago (about 0.11 parts per million CO2 per year).
https://theconversation.com/while-we-fixate-on-coronavirus-earth-is-hurtling-towards-a-catastrophe-worse-than-the-dinosaur-extinction-130869

NOAA's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI)
The AGGI in 2019 was 1.45, which means that we’ve turned up the warming influence by 45% since 1990. It took ~240 years for the AGGI to go from 0 to 1, i.e., to reach 100%, and 29 years for it to increase by another 45%. In terms of CO2 equivalents, the atmosphere in 2019 contained 500 ppm, of which 410 is CO2 alone. The rest comes from other gases.
https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/

Trends in global CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions
In 2018, the growth in total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (excluding those from land-use change) resumed at a rate of 2.0% ... emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) increased by 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively. Global emissions of fluorinated gases (so-called F-gases) continued to grow by an estimated 6% in 2018, thereby also contributing to the 2.0% growth in total GHG emissions.
https://www.pbl.nl/sites/default/files/downloads/pbl-2020-trends-in-global-co2-and-total-greenhouse-gas-emissions-2019-report_4068.pdf

The next virus pandemic is not far away
Scientists blame the increase in the spillover of pathogens from animals on two trends: rapid globalisation and humanity’s cavalier interaction with nature. This means disease outbreaks and pandemics are likely to emerge regularly unless the trends can be checked or reversed, they warn. “The coronavirus pandemic is completely unsurprising,” said Aaron Bernstein, director of the Center for Climate, Health and Global Environment at Harvard University. “We knew before this happened that two-thirds, if not three-quarters, of emerging infections were occurring because of the spillover of pathogens from wild animals into people.” Dr Bernstein said the primary reason for the crossover was the change in how people engaged with nature, such as rapid deforestation and the global wildlife trade ... Construction of logging roads to extract timber created access to deeply forested areas previously largely untouched by humans, bringing them into contact with disease-carrying wildlife. Displacement of animals that lived in those forests also forced them to find new habitats, increasing the chance of them spreading pathogens to other species, including humans ... “Knowing the frequency with which new viruses are occurring and what climate change does to animal ecosystems, it’s safe to assume we’re likely to have more of these,” said Helene Gayle, chief executive of the Chicago Community Trust and a former government health official at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
https://www.ft.com/content/dc33f21b-740f-4be8-9947-b47439f557d2

Extreme droughts in central Europe likely to increase sevenfold
Extreme droughts are likely to become much more frequent across central Europe, and if global greenhouse gas emissions rise strongly they could happen seven times more often, new research has shown. The area of crops likely to be affected by drought is also set to increase, and under sharply rising CO2 levels would nearly double in central Europe... The paper is published on Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. The study adds to an increasing body of research showing the impacts of global heating on Europe. Previous studies have suggested that southern and central Europe will experience more drought, with one study projecting that European cities will become much hotter, with London forecast to have a climate more like Barcelona by 2050 and southern and central European cities seeing more extreme levels of heat.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/06/co2-extreme-droughts-in-central-europe-likely-to-increase-seven-fold

New Zealand's melting glaciers show the human fingerprints of climate change
New research just published in the journal Nature Climate Change has found that extreme melting of the country’s glaciers in 2018 was at least ten times more likely to have happened because of human-caused global heating. Loss of ice across New Zealand’s glaciers in 2011, which was another extreme melt year, was six times more likely because of the planet’s warming, the study found, caused by an accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere mostly from burning fossil fuels ... “When I started as a glaciologist I thought things happened slowly but this was like taking a laser gun and just taking out all the snow and ice … it points to a bleak future for glaciers.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/04/theres-still-a-choice-new-zealands-melting-glaciers-show-the-human-fingerprints-of-climate-change

The Worst-Case Scenario for Global Warming Tracks Closely With Actual Emissions
[A] new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that the high-end projection for greenhouse gas concentrations is still the most realistic for planning purposes through at least 2050, because it comes closest to capturing the effects "of both historical emissions and anticipated outcomes of current global climate policies, tracking within 1 percent of actual emissions" ... The worst-case pathway (RCP 8.5) would result in warming of more than 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.3 Celsius) by 2100, probably killing nearly all the world's reefs and definitely pushing vast areas of polar ice sheets to melt ... "What happened over the last 15 years has been about exactly right compared to what was projected by RCP 8.5" ... the study grew out of some work his research institution was doing with the McKinsey Global Institute exploring the socioeconomic consequences of global warming out to about 2040 or 2050.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03082020/climate-change-scenarios-emissions
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/07/30/2007117117

Canada's last intact Arctic ice shelf collapses, losing 40% of area in two days
The last fully intact ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has collapsed, losing more than 40 percent of its area in just two days at the end of July, researchers said Thursday ... “Entire cities are that size. These are big pieces of ice,” said Luke Copland, a glaciologist at the University of Ottawa who was part of the research team studying the Milne Ice Shelf. The shelf’s area shrank by about 80 square kilometers. By comparison, the island of Manhattan in New York covers roughly 60 square kilometers ... “We saw them going, like someone with terminal cancer. It was only a matter of time,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/07/world/science-health-world/canada-arctic-ice-shelf/

Peat fires, like those raging in Siberia, will become more common in Canada
The notion of wildfires in Siberia, an area known for its blustery, snow-capped landscapes, seems counterintuitive. The recent blazes have been driven by a record heat wave in the Russian Arctic, but ... they're actually peat fires, a natural phenomenon that scientists have only recently begun to understand ... Peat, the moist, mossy substance that covers the ground in most Arctic ecosystems and Canadian boreal forests, is made up of decomposing biomass from plants, animals and microbes ... "For thousands of years, [peat] has been a natural stockpile of carbon — removing carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere" ... But as a result of climate change, peatlands are becoming hotter and drier, and thus more susceptible to the type of blazes we're witnessing in Siberia ... Peat fires not only release CO2, but other, more potent greenhouse gases such as methane ... A study published earlier this year in the journal Nature showed that peatlands in Canada are drying up ... peat fires happen largely underground [so] can be "very hard to extinguish ... can creep underground and pop back up along your control lines."
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whatonearth/peat-fires-like-those-raging-in-siberia-will-become-more-common-in-canada-1.5670662

Hot ocean waters along East Coast are drawing in ‘weird’ fish and supercharging hurricane season
Ocean temperatures along the East Coast are near or above their warmest levels on record for this time of year ... helping to fuel the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record ... Due to human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, marine heat waves have increased dramatically ... oceans are absorbing the vast majority of the extra heat pumped into the climate by the highest levels of greenhouse gases in human history, and marine heat waves and altered ocean currents are just some of the consequences ... Warm waters are oozing north farther than they have in modern records, says Kris Karnauskas, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Colorado [who] showed that water temperatures as high as 82F (28C) were about as far north as they've been since such data began in 1982. This is just above the temperature threshold for fueling and sustaining hurricanes [and] are fueling what is the most active hurricane season on record to date.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/07/31/marine-heat-wave-hurricanes/

Extensive gas leaks in the North Sea: Abandoned wells
At abandoned oil and gas wells in the North Sea, considerable quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane escape uncontrolled into the water. These leaks account for the dominant part of the total methane budget of the North Sea.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200730113055.htm

Fears grow for Brazilian Amazon after thousands of fires in July
The number of forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon rose 28% last month compared to July 2019 ... even more worrying for researchers because 2019 was a devastating year for the Amazon, provoking protests around the world ... Bolsonaro administration has cut the budget, staff and programmes of Brazil's environmental agency, Ibama. “Everything that worked was thrown out the window,” Erika Berenguer, an ecologist specialising in the Amazon who does research at the universities of Oxford and Lancaster, told AFP.
https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/02/fears-grow-for-brazilian-amazon-as-thousands-of-fires-burn-in-july

Alaska Enveloped in Siberia Wildfire Smoke as Heatwave Causes Irreversible Damage to Permafrost
The damage being caused by Siberia's ongoing heatwave may be causing irreversible damage to the landscape, causing the loss of permafrost that in some cases has been frozen for thousands of years. The heatwave, which has lasted for months, has exacerbated the wildfires burned across the country. Greenpeace Russia estimates that over 19 million hectares of land has now burned since the start of the year—equivalent to an area bigger than Greece. On Monday, Russia's state run news agency Tass said the area of forest on fire has more than doubled in a week ... Siberia's latest heatwave has been attributed to climate change. A report published earlier this month found anthropogenic warming had made the prolonged heat 600 times more likely.
https://www.newsweek.com/alaska-smoke-siberia-fire-permafrost-damage-1521711

'Everything is burning': Argentina's delta fires rage out of control
A raging fire described as “completely out of control” is threatening one of South America’s major wetland ecosystems. The fire has been burning for months now, and is visible from the balconies of luxury apartments along the shoreline of the Paraná River in Argentina’s central city of Rosario ... “Everything is burning, it’s completely out of control ... Once a fire reaches that scale, it becomes virtually impossible to stop.” The Paraná is South America’s second largest river after the Amazon and the eighth longest river in the world ... the real problem is that 2020 has been one of the driest of recent years.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/30/argentina-delta-fires-rage-out-of-control-parana-river

Loss of bees causes shortage of key food crops, study finds
Of seven studied crops grown in 13 states across America, five showed evidence that a lack of bees is hampering the amount of food that can be grown ... researchers found that wild native bees contributed a surprisingly large portion of the pollination despite operating in intensively farmed areas largely denuded of the vegetation that supports them. Wild bees are often more effective pollinators than honeybees but research has shown several species are in sharp decline ... as farming becomes more intensive to churn out greater volumes to feed a growing global population, tactics such as flattening wildflower meadows, spraying large amounts of insecticide and planting monocultural fields of single crops are damaging the bee populations crucial for crop pollination.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/29/bees-food-crops-shortage-study

A Front-Row Seat for the Arctic’s Final Summers With Ice
Scientists are certain that the Arctic ice is disappearing. The shrinking ice cap accelerates warming globally ... Nearly every dramatic, headline-grabbing effect of climate change, from alarming coastal erosion to intense and frequent fires, is already happening in the Arctic, at a fast pace and at a giant magnitude ... only two or three decades ago the summer navigation period in the Russian Arctic lasted just 80 days a year. “Now, it's 120, and most recently even as many as 150 days” ... The Arctic is currently on track to record the lowest-ever ice coverage for the whole season ... The heat is speeding up the thawing of permafrost, the frozen ground that covers much of Russia’s Siberia, Alaska in the U.S. and the Yukon territories in Canada. When permafrost thaws, the organic matter that has been stored there since the ice age releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-arctic-sea-ice-crossing/

Germany's forests decimated by insects, drought
Around 32 million cubic meters (1,130 million cubic feet) of wood damaged by insects had to be removed from Germany's forests in 2019, the Federal Statistical Office reported Monday. That total is three times higher than the 11 million cubic meters that was destroyed in 2018, and an almost sixfold increase on the 6 million cubic meters felled due to pests in 2017. "In recent years, the native forests have suffered from drought and hot spells," the Wiesbaden-based statisticians said ... Experts have warned that climate change and the proliferation of insects like the bark beetle are having a catastrophic impact on native forests. "This combination did not exist before," Michael Müller, forest protection expert at the Technical University of Dresden, said. "We are currently experiencing the most serious forest damage … since the beginning of regulated sustainable forest care and management, so more than 200 years ago."
https://www.dw.com/en/germany-forest-dying/a-54330242

Many freshwater fish species have declined by 76 percent in less than 50 years
The global assessment, described as the first of its kind, found that populations of migratory freshwater fish have declined by 76 percent between 1970 and 2016—a higher rate of decline than both marine and terrestrial migratory species. “We think migratory freshwater fish might be in even greater peril” than the dramatic drop the report indicates, says the report’s lead author, Stefanie Deinet of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). “Adding currently missing information from tropical regions where threats of habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, and climate change have been increasing, will surely bend the curve of loss downwards.” ... The report points to habitat degradation, alteration, and loss as the largest threat to all migratory fish. Increasingly, dams and other river barriers block fish from reaching their mating or feeding grounds, thereby disrupting their life cycles.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/07/migratory-freshwater-fish-decline-globally/
reporting on a study at https://www.worldfishmigrationfoundation.com/living-planet-index-2020

Scientists measure Amazon drought and deforestation feedback loop: Study
While it is now well accepted that Amazon rainforest deforestation directly contributes to worsening droughts in the region, and vice versa, a recent study published in Environmental Research Letters has attempted to calculate the exact percentages of this knock-on effect for the first time. A deadly trifecta of deforestation, drought, and escalating global climate change — each impacting the others — threatens to pull the plug on the region’s plentiful precipitation, possibly crashing the biome since the Amazon rainforest depends on its rain cycle to survive and thrive. It’s a phenomenon scientists call a positive feedback loop: deforestation causes drought, which in turn, worsens deforestation, and so on, intensifying the effect. The study concluded that deforestation causes 4% of drought, while drought accounts for 0.13% of deforestation per millimeter of rain in the Amazon biome. This means that if rainfall in the region decreases by 200 millimeters (7.9 inches), it would then trigger an additional 26% increase in deforestation, according to the findings.
https://news.mongabay.com/2020/07/scientists-measure-amazon-drought-and-deforestation-feedback-loop-study/

Deforestation and world population sustainability: a quantitative analysis
[C]atastrophic collapse in human population, due to resource consumption, is the most likely scenario of the dynamical evolution based on current parameters ... the probability that our civilisation survives itself is less than 10% in the most optimistic scenario ... we have a few decades left before an irreversible collapse of our civilisation [and making this even worse] it is unrealistic to think that the decline of the population in a situation of strong environmental degradation would be a non-chaotic and well-ordered decline. This consideration leads to an even shorter remaining time ... the resulting mean-times for a catastrophic outcome to occur, which are of the order of 2–4 decades, make [it] hard to imagine, in absence of very strong collective efforts, big changes of these parameters to occur in such time scale.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-63657-6

Scientists successfully revive 100m-year-old microbes from the sea
Scientists have successfully revived microbes that had lain dormant at the bottom of the sea since the age of the dinosaurs, allowing the organisms to eat and even multiply after eons in the deep. Their research sheds light on the remarkable survival power of some of Earth’s most primitive species, which can exist for tens of millions of years with barely any oxygen or food before springing back to life in the lab ... URI Graduate School of Oceanography professor and study co-author Steven D’Hondt said the microbes came from the oldest sediment drilled from the seabed. “In the oldest sediment we’ve drilled, with the least amount of food, there are still living organisms, and they can wake up, grow and multiply,” he said.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/28/scientists-successfully-revived-mesozoic-era-microbes-from-the-sea

The Great Climate Migration
According to a pathbreaking recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the planet could see a greater temperature increase in the next 50 years than it did in the last 6,000 years combined. By 2070, the kind of extremely hot zones, like in the Sahara, that now cover less than 1 percent of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land, potentially placing one of every three people alive outside the climate niche where humans have thrived for thousands of years ... People are already beginning to flee ... Drought helped push many Syrians into cities before the war, worsening tensions and leading to rising discontent; crop losses led to unemployment that stoked Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Libya; Brexit, even, was arguably a ripple effect of the influx of migrants brought to Europe by the wars that followed. And all those effects were bound up with the movement of just two million people. As the mechanisms of climate migration have come into sharper focus — food scarcity, water scarcity and heat — the latent potential for large-scale movement comes to seem astronomically larger ... in South Asia, where nearly one-fourth of the global population lives. The World Bank projects that the region will soon have the highest prevalence of food insecurity in the world ... If past patterns are a measure, many will settle in India’s Ganges Valley; by the end of the century, heat waves and humidity will become so extreme there that people without air-conditioning will simply die. If it is not drought and crop failures that force large numbers of people to flee, it will be the rising seas ... projections show high tides subsuming much of Vietnam by 2050 - including most of the Mekong Delta, now home to 18 million people - as well as parts of China and Thailand, most of southern Iraq and nearly all of the Nile Delta, Egypt’s breadbasket. Many coastal regions of the United States are also at risk ... with every degree of temperature increase, roughly a billion people will be pushed outside the zone in which humans have lived for thousands of years.
co-published at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/23/magazine/climate-migration.html
and https://features.propublica.org/climate-migration/model-how-climate-refugees-move-across-continents/

After 40 years, researchers finally see Earth’s climate destiny more clearly
It seems like such a simple question: How hot is Earth going to get? Now, in a landmark effort, a team of 25 scientists has significantly narrowed the bounds on this critical factor, known as climate sensitivity. The assessment, conducted under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and publishing this week in Reviews of Geophysics, relies on three strands of evidence: trends indicated by contemporary warming, the latest understanding of the feedback effects that can slow or accelerate climate change, and lessons from ancient climates. They support a likely warming range of between 2.6°C and 3.9°C.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/after-40-years-researchers-finally-see-earths-climate-destiny-more-clearly

Climate Change Poses ‘Systemic Threat’ to the Economy, Big Investors Warn
Climate change threatens to create turmoil in the financial markets, and the Federal Reserve and other regulators must act to avoid an economic disaster, according to a letter sent on Tuesday by a group of large investors. “The climate crisis poses a systemic threat to financial markets and the real economy, with significant disruptive consequences on asset valuations and our nation’s economic stability,” reads the letter, which was signed by more than three dozen pension plans, fund managers and other financial institutions that together manage almost $1 trillion in assets.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/21/climate/investors-climate-threat-regulators.html

First active leak of sea-bed methane discovered in Antarctica
The first active leak of methane from the sea floor in Antarctica has been revealed by scientists ... Vast quantities of methane are thought to be stored under the sea floor around Antarctica. The gas could start to leak as the climate crisis warms the oceans ... The release of methane from frozen underwater stores or permafrost regions is one of the key tipping points that scientists are concerned about, which occur when a particular impact of global heating becomes unstoppable ... The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reports the discovery of the methane seep at a 10-metre (30ft) deep site known as Cinder Cones in McMurdo Sound.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/22/first-active-leak-of-sea-bed-methane-discovered-in-antarctica

Most polar bears to disappear by 2100, study predicts
By as early as 2040, it is very likely that many polar bears will begin to experience reproductive failure, leading to local extinctions, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change ... “It’s important to highlight that these projections are probably on the conservative side,” said Steven Amstrup, chief scientist for Polar Bears International and a co-author of the study ... “The impacts we project are likely to occur more rapidly than the paper suggests.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/20/most-polar-bears-to-disappear-by-2100-study-predicts-aoe

Smooth Handfish Extinction Marks a Sad Milestone
For the first time the IUCN Red List has officially declared a marine fish alive in modern times to be extinct
The smooth handfish was once common enough to be one of the first fish species described by European explorers in Australia ... Red List guidelines officially define “extinct” as meaning “there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.” Edgar and the members of Australia's National Handfish Recovery Team were forced to that conclusion earlier this year, and the Red List placed it in the extinct category. Scientists are unsure exactly what finished off the species, but others in the region are threatened by trawl fishing, pollution and climate change.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/smooth-handfish-extinction-marks-a-sad-milestone

World’s largest plant survey reveals alarming extinction rate
The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of ... up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions ... survey included more plant species by an order of magnitude than any other study [yet the] study’s numbers are almost certainly an underestimate of the problem [because] some plant species are “functionally extinct” [meaning they] are present only in botanical gardens or in such small numbers in the wild that researchers don't expect the population to survive.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01810-6

Siberian Wildfires Cover Area Larger Than Greece
Using satellite data, Greenpeace Russia estimated that 19 million hectares (47 million acres) burned across Russia's forests, steppes and fields from January to mid-July. The country of Greece, by comparison, is more than 13 million hectares in size ... Russia's Federal Forestry Agency has identified 10.1 million hectares of wildfires raging across the country since the start of the year. More than half of the blazes were located in forests and over 90% burned in Siberia and the Russian Far East ... Last year’s wildfires in Siberia burned across an area the size of Belgium at their peak and emitted the equivalent of Sweden’s total annual carbon dioxide emissions in one month alone. Experts warn that this year’s blazes, some of which may be remnants from last summer which survived through a historically warm and dry winter, could become the most destructive in history.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/07/20/siberian-wildfires-cover-area-larger-than-greece-greenpeace-a70929

Climate change: Siberian heatwave 'clear evidence' of warming
The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average. An international team of climate scientists, led by the UK Met Office, found the record average temperatures were likely to happen less than once every 80,000 years without human-induced climate change. That makes such an event "almost impossible" had the world not been warmed by greenhouse gas emissions, they conclude in the study. The scientists described the finding as "unequivocal evidence of the impact of climate change on the planet".
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53415297

Arctic sea ice is in a downward spiral, and may break a record in 2020
If one were to design a weather pattern that’s most efficient at ridding the Arctic of its increasingly fragile ice cover during the region’s summer melt season, it would look like what occurred earlier in the month — clear skies, above-average air temperatures, a high-pressure system across the Central Arctic, and an ongoing heat wave and wildfires in Siberia. A recent study concluded that the unusual warmth in Siberia could not have happened in the absence of human-caused global warming. Sea ice loss accelerated in early- to mid-July, bringing sea ice extent — which measures the area of ocean where there’s some ice cover, down to record-low levels for this time of the year. As of Saturday, the Arctic as a region had an ice extent that was about 193,000 square miles below the previous record low for the date ... the result of the Siberian heat streak that has lasted from January through June, and into July ... “I do have a feeling we are on track to reach a new record low for September ... weather patterns could change and slow the ice melt, but given how warm the first part of July was over most of the Arctic Ocean, I’m not so sure we can stop the inevitable.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/07/20/arctic-sea-ice-is-downward-spiral-may-break-record-2020/

China Floods Call Into Question Sustainability Of Massive Three Gorges Dam
Parts of China are literally up to their eyeballs in water, in what the Chinese government is calling a once in 100 years flood. The Three Gorges Dam, built to stop these things, is now in the spotlight. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power station, with an installed capacity of 22,500 megawatts of power generation. The thing is, that the power station is down the Yangtze River from a handful of other dams that exist at a higher elevation than the Three Gorges. And because of the floods and problems at those dams upstream, Three Gorges is buckling under the strain of massive flows of water ... All told, more than 400 Yangtze tributary rivers have overflowed.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2020/07/20/china-floods-calls-into-question-sustainability-of-massive-three-gorges-dam/

Climate change: Summers could become 'too hot for humans'
When the [wetbulb temperature] reaches 29C, for example, the recommendation is to suspend exercise for anyone not acclimatised ... As global temperatures rise, more intense humidity is likely as well which means more people will be exposed to more days with that hazardous combination of heat and moisture. Prof Richard Betts of the UK Met Office has run computer models which suggest that the number of days with a WBGT above 32C are set to increase ... "This climate change will be a bigger monster and we really need a coordinated effort across nations to prepare for what is to come. If not, there'll be a price to be paid."
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53415298

Alberta farmers bracing for worst harvest in 18 years: ‘The damage is done’
Farmers in parts of Alberta say their crops are under water and are bracing for a devastating harvest. It has been so wet, many fields look more like lakes. John Guelly, a farmer in Westlock County, said even if his wheat and canola crops do dry out — it’s too late ... Northeast of Edmonton near Redwater and in Thorhild County, crops are also under water ... This year’s poor conditions comes after a difficult growing season in 2019.
https://globalnews.ca/news/7175003/alberta-farmers-2020-harvest-weather-hail-rain/

Great Lakes water temperatures blowing away records
You don't expect to see 75 or even 80-degree water in the Great Lakes in early July or, in most years, anytime. But an exceptionally hot weather pattern has pushed water temperatures in most of the lakes to the highest levels on record so early in the summer. Over lakes Erie and Ontario, the water is the warmest it has been since the records began, and could warm more in the coming weeks. The abnormally warm waters, consistent with climate change trends in recent decades, could compromise water quality and harm marine life in some areas ... Buffalo hit at least 90 degrees on eight straight days ending Friday, its longest streak ever observed. Muskegon, Mich., on the shores of Lake Michigan, also notched its longest 90-degree streak ... The record-setting waters this July fit into the recent warming trend observed over the Great Lakes tied to climate change.
https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20200714/great-lakes-water-temperatures-blowing-away-records

Soaring methane emissions threaten to put climate change goals out of reach
Global emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, have soared over the past decade, according to two new studies ... "This completely overshoots our budget to stay below 1.5 to 2 degrees of warming," said Benjamin Poulter, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Poulter is an author on both studies published Tuesday, one in the journal Earth System Science Data and the other in the journal Environmental Research Letters ... Another author on both studies, Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, said the amount of methane released into the atmosphere since 2000 is roughly equivalent to adding 350 million more cars on the road ... "Methane doesn't last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but it's much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide," Poulter said, which makes the gas a key factor in global warming.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/soaring-methane-emissions-threaten-put-climate-change-goals-out-reach-n1233831
see also https://earth.stanford.edu/news/global-methane-emissions-soar-record-high

The Arctic Ocean is dominated by a strong high-pressure system, rapidly melting the sea ice
Currently, the Arctic sea ice extent and volume are near or at record lowest values in the modern records ... high-pressure system has been previously present over the Siberian sector since at least early May, and has contributed to record high temperatures over Siberia and also the surrounding Polar regions ... latest data reveals rapid sea ice loss over the Arctic ... Contrary to popular belief, the Arctic sea ice is rather thin, ranging from a few centimeters to only a few meters at best ...  weakening or reversing of the Transpolar drift system permanently could reduce the ice cap growth in winter. That would mean lower sea ice extent going into spring and summer, increasing the chances for a Blue Ocean Event. That is a complete absence of sea ice over the Arctic Ocean, with less than 1 million square kilometers of sea ice area.
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/arctic-ocean-ice-melt-transpolar-fa/

Fracking Firms Fail, Rewarding Executives and Raising Climate Fears
Oil and gas companies in the United States are hurtling toward bankruptcy at a pace not seen in years ... in the wake of this economic carnage is a potential environmental disaster — unprofitable wells that will be abandoned or left untended, even as they continue leaking planet-warming pollutants ... as these businesses collapse, millions of dollars have flowed to executive compensation. Whiting Petroleum, a major shale driller in North Dakota that sought bankruptcy protection in April, approved almost $15 million in cash bonuses for its top executives six days before its bankruptcy filing. Chesapeake Energy, a shale pioneer, declared bankruptcy last month, just weeks after it paid $25 million in bonuses to a group of executives ... Almost 250 oil and gas companies could file for bankruptcy protection by the end of next year, more than the previous five years combined ... Even before the current downturn, methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, was being released from production sites in America’s biggest oil field at more than twice the rate previously estimated ... estimates this year by researchers examining the immense oil fields of Texas and New Mexico suggest a substantial increase in methane concentrations.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/climate/oil-fracking-bankruptcy-methane-executive-pay.html

A water crisis looms for 270 million people as South Asia’s glaciers shrink
[M]ost water in the Indus, which flows west from Mount Kangrinboqe, comes from the snows and glaciers of the Himalaya, the Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush ... Downstream, in the plains of Pakistan and northern India, the world’s most extensive system of irrigated agriculture depends on the Indus. The glaciers that feed it are a lifeline for some 270 million people. Most of those glaciers are now shrinking ... Humans already use 95 percent of the Indus, and the population of the basin is growing fast ... Given the region’s “high baseline water stress and limited government effectiveness,” it is “unlikely that the Indus … can sustain this pressure.” Pakistan will suffer most ... India, Pakistan, and China have huge populations and abundant reasons to protect their resources. All three have nuclear weapons. We think of climate change as happening in increments, almost imperceptibly. But along the Indus, it could trigger a conflict that changes the world overnight.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/07/water-crisis-looms-for-270-million-people-south-asia-perpetual-feature/

The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay
Many of them told me that they feel duty-bound and grateful to be helping their country at a time when so many others are ill or unemployed. But they're also very tired, and dispirited by America’s continued inability to control a virus that many other nations have brought to heel. As the pandemic once again intensifies, so too does their frustration and fatigue. America [faces] a drought of expertise, as the very people whose skills are sorely needed to handle the pandemic are on the verge of burning out ... “running on fumes” ... Throughout March and April, she got two hours of sleep a night. Now she’s getting four. And yet “I always feel like I'm never doing enough ... I could sleep for two weeks and still feel this tired. It’s embedded in us at this point.” But the physical exhaustion is dwarfed by the emotional toll of seeing the imagined worst-case scenarios become reality. “One of the big misconceptions is that we enjoy being right ... We'd be very happy to be wrong, because it would mean lives are being saved” ... A pandemic would have always been a draining ordeal. But it is especially so because the U.S., instead of mounting a unified front, is disjointed, cavalier, and fatalistic ... “Someone said to me, ‘I hope you're getting tons of support. But there’s no feasible thing that anyone could do to make this better, no matter how much they love you. The mental toll isn’t something you can easily share.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/07/pandemic-experts-are-not-okay/613879/

Never-before-seen bacteria kills 60,000 fish in California
In measures that are hard not to compare the coronavirus pandemic ravaging America, around 3 million rainbow trout and other species have been quarantined as scientists try to understand the novel pathogen that has resisted treatments to cure it. Fish pathologists do not know where the bacteria came from in the first place. “Honestly, we’re learning new things about this every single day,” Jay Rowan, an environmental program manager for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the Daily Press. Treatments attempting to rid the hatcheries of the infection have so far been largely futile.
https://www.sfgate.com/outdoors/article/New-bacteria-disease-kills-thousands-of-fish-in-CA-15394901.php

Climate Change Tracker: Heatwaves rising around the world
The increasing frequency of heatwaves has long been seen as a signature of global heating, and we have seen exactly that in the past few years around the world ... A new study published in Nature Communications on 3 July, titled Increasing Trends In Regional Heatwaves, finds that heatwaves across the world have increased in terms of both frequency and length since the 1950s. The cumulative heat of extreme heat events has also increased, ranging from 1-4.5 degrees Celsius per decade for 70 years. In some parts of the world, it has increased by almost 10 degrees Celsius per decade. 2019 was the second hottest year on record since 1850 and this year is on course to becoming the hottest year ever.
https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/climate-change-tracker-heatwaves-rising-around-the-world-11594354150715.html

Extreme heat and rain: Thousands of weather stations show there's now more of both, for longer
A major global update based on data from more than 36,000 weather stations around the world confirms that, as the planet continues to warm, extreme weather events such as heatwaves and heavy rainfall are now more frequent, more intense, and longer ... When we compare 1981-2010 with 1951-80, the increase is substantial ... devastating impacts for human health, particularly for older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Excessive heat is not only an issue for people living in cities but also for rural communities that have already been exposed to days with temperatures above 50C.
https://phys.org/news/2020-07-extreme-thousands-weather-stations-longer.html

There’s no quick fix for climate change
Scientists looked for a ‘shortcut’ and didn’t find one
It could take decades before cuts to greenhouse gases actually affect global temperatures, according to a new study. 2035 is probably the earliest that scientists could see a statistically significant change in [the rate of increasing] temperature — and that’s only if humans take dramatic action to combat climate change ... policymakers need to be ready for the long haul, and we're all going to need to be patient while we wait for the changes we make now to take effect. “I foresee this kind of train wreck coming where we make all this effort, and we have nothing to show for it,” says lead author of the study, Bjørn Samset. “This will take time” ... The first line of the new study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, reads: “This paper is about managing our expectations.”
https://www.theverge.com/21315822/climate-change-global-temperature-study-decades-fix

Intense Arctic Wildfires Set a Pollution Record
Intense wildfires in the Arctic in June released more polluting gases into the Earth’s atmosphere than in any other month in 18 years of data collection ... The last time fires in the Arctic were this intense or released such a large volume of emissions was last year, which itself set a record. “Higher temperatures and drier surface conditions are providing ideal conditions for these fires to burn and to persist for so long over such a large area,” Mark Parrington, a fire specialist at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, which issued the report, said in a statement. Exceptionally high temperatures in Russia’s Far North are also a harbinger of an unusually hot year worldwide.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/climate/climate-change-arctic-fires.html

Arctic Oil Infrastructure Faces Climate Karma
Temperatures at Nizhnyaya Pesha, some 840 miles (1,352 km) northeast of Moscow and just 12 miles from Arctic Ocean coast, reached 86F (24C) in early June — a disaster for anyone worried about the planet's future. Further to the east and further inland, things got even hotter ... part of a heatwave that has persisted since the end of last year ... rising Arctic temperatures strike at the heart of the Russian economy, which is largely built upon the extraction of oil and gas. Rising temperatures are melting the permafrost and impairing its ability to support structures built on it. The changes threaten the “structural stability and functional capacities” of oil industry infrastructure” ... “45% of the oil and natural gas production fields in the Russian Arctic are located in the highest hazard zone” ... temperature changes that weren't generally forecast to occur until the end of the century ... what’s true in the Arctic north of Russia may also hold in the Arctic north of the Americas. Most of Alaska is underlain by permafrost ... The risks that bedevil oil and gas infrastructure are no less severe [in Alaska, where the US plans to open a] region of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to new oil and gas development. Doing so is meant to be a boon to U.S. oil independence and Alaska’s state budget [but] it could also be a curse ... If the northern latitudes continue warming as they are, the implications will be grave for all of us.
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-07-05/siberia-heatwave-climate-change-really-is-big-oil-industry-risk

Climate crisis: Thawing Arctic permafrost could release deadly waves of ancient diseases, scientists suggest
[A] devastating heatwave has seen temperatures in Siberia reach a record 38C (100.4F), meanwhile, vast fires are burning ... As climate scientists ponder whether these extremes portend the dawn of a terrifying new era of supercharged heat in the Arctic, the planet also remains gripped by the coronavirus pandemic. It is at this pivotal moment a startling new risk could also be unleashed upon the world – one which binds together both the implications of an overheating planet and the tragedy of a highly contagious disease. Scientists have said the rapidly warming climate in the far north risks exposing long-dormant viruses, which may be tens or even hundreds of thousands of years old, and have been frozen in the permafrost in the Arctic. Due to the rapid heating – the Arctic is warming up at least twice as fast as the rest of the world – the permafrost is now thawing for the first time since before the last ice age, potentially freeing pathogens the like of which modern humans have never before grappled with. Jean Michel Claverie, a virologist at Aix-Marseille University [said] “There are extremely good papers that say yes, you can revive bacteria from deep permafrost” ...  Dr Claverie said the risk was not only due to the thawing permafrost, but also due to the increased human and animal activity in areas which have long been very sparsely populated ... “if you put a human in a place with frozen viruses associated with pandemic, then those humans could be infected and replicate the virus and start a new pandemic.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/permafrost-release-diseases-virus-bacteria-arctic-climate-crisis-a9601431.html

Climate crisis: Government not on track to meet net zero targets and risks are ‘bigger than coronavirus’
An inquiry into the government’s progress on reaching net zero emissions by 2050 has been told the UK is “clearly not” making sufficient progress to hit the legally binding target ... Expert witness Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, warned the government: “In almost every sector we are failing ... we are not reaching anywhere near the levels we have to. The government is not on track to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, both of which of course are statutory requirements” ... BEIS inquiry was warned the environmental and economic impact of the government not hitting its own targets would be catastrophic.
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/government-net-zero-targets-beis-inquiry-climate-crisis-coronavirus-a9598156.html

Despite the warnings, we're heading into a climate catastrophe utterly ill-prepared. Remind you of anything?
[In] the annual report of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to the UK parliament ... was the advice that the government needed to start preparing for a 4C temperature rise. This is a terrifying change from the previous advice to prepare for a 2C rise. Why terrifying? As Professor Kevin Anderson, a leading climate scientist at the University of Manchester, said: “There is a widespread view that a 4C future is incompatible with an organised global community, is likely to be beyond adaptation and be devastating to the majority of ecosystems” ... the report was blunt on the failure of Boris Johnson‘s government to implement almost any of its recommendations made last year on how to get to zero carbon ... On the climate threat, we are exactly where we were last winter in relation to the impending pandemic: woefully unprepared and with a government refusing to implement the advice being given to protect us.
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/climate-change-commitee-report-4c-warming-fossil-fuels-crisis-a9597511.html

Ocean Water Is Hurricane ‘Fuel’ - It’s Currently High Octane
According to the National Weather Service - Key West, July 1st marked the 46th daily warm minimum temperature record that was tied with or set during the first half of 2020. The same office also tweeted on July 2nd, “It also marks the 10th consecutive such record” ... water temperature at Virginia Key, Florida on July 2nd was the hottest recorded at that site (92.5 degrees F) ... the Atlantic hurricane season “fuel” is currently high octane.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2020/07/03/ocean-water-is-hurricane-fuelits-currently-high-octane/

60% of fish species could be unable to survive in current areas by 2100 – study
In a study of nearly 700 fresh and saltwater fish species, researchers examined how warming water temperatures lower water oxygen levels ... “if we let global warming persist, it can get much worse,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a climatologist who co-authored the study published in the journal Science ... this assessment was conservative – it does not take into account other climate crisis factors that could affect marine life, like ocean acidification, that could amplify the effects on sensitive populations. “Some tropical fish are already living in zones at their uppermost tolerance ... Humankind is pushing the planet outside of a comfortable temperature range and we are starting to lose suitable habitat.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/02/fish-species-survival-climate-warming-study

'Nowhere to hide': South Pole warms up with climate change a factor
The South Pole, the most remote part of the planet, has been warming at triple the global average ... The findings, published Tuesday in the Nature Climate Change journal ... For the 1989-2018 period, the mercury rose [at] three times the global warming rate, the researchers found.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/nowhere-to-hide-south-pole-warms-up-with-climate-change-a-factor-20200629-p55797.html

Coronavirus: This is not the last pandemic
We have created "a perfect storm" for diseases from wildlife to spill over into humans and spread quickly around the world, scientists warn. Human encroachment on the natural world speeds up that process. This outlook comes from global health experts who study how and where new diseases emerge ... "In the last 20 years, we've had six significant threats - SARS, MERS, Ebola, avian influenza and swine flu," Prof Matthew Baylis from the University of Liverpool told BBC News. "We dodged five bullets but the sixth got us. And this is not the last pandemic we are going to face."
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52775386

Could invasive alien species cause another coronavirus?
Invasive alien species are increasing the threat of emerging infectious diseases, a new study from a global research team has warned ... numbers of invasive alien species are rapidly increasing, with more than 18,000 currently listed around the world. The study was published last week in the journal Biological Reviews. Professor Laura Meyerson, who researches invasion biology and restoration ecology at the University of Rhode Island and was part of the global study, said that it’s highly likely the number is much greater. “These are the ones that we’ve detected and recorded,” Prof. Meyerson told The Independent. “But there are a lot of species that are introduced and become established that we don't even notice” ... last year, the Trump administration cut the budget of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) by 50 per cent. Their annual budget, reportedly $1m, Prof Meyerson said, is a small price to pay “when we know invasions cause $100bn a year in damage”. She said that the threat of invasive species, in terms of policy and financial resources, needed to be elevated to “a biosecurity issue”. “It’s costing us hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s harming our health,” she said. “Covid-19 is an invasive species issue. We knew what to do and we didn’t do it.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/stop-the-wildlife-trade-invasive-species-climate-crisis-disease-coronavirus-a9598966.html

Signs of Drought in European Groundwater
For the third year in a row, Europe is facing potential water woes. According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), meteorological drought conditions started in eastern Europe in early spring 2020 and migrated across the continent with drier-than-normal weather in April and May. Tributaries and main stems of some of the continent’s rivers—such as the Elbe, Warta, and Danube—fell below normal seasonal flow ... all of this occurred as 2020 continued to be one of the hottest years on record globally.
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146888/signs-of-drought-in-european-groundwater

Record Temperatures and Record Low Sea Ice in Siberian Arctic
Western Siberia recorded its hottest spring on record this year ... The ice along the shores of Siberia has the appearance of Swiss cheese right now in satellite images, with big areas of open water that would normally still be covered. The sea ice extent in the Laptev Sea, north of Russia, is the lowest recorded for this time of year since satellite observations began ... a big concern is warming permafrost ... When permafrost thaws under homes and bridges, infrastructure can sink, tilt and collapse. Alaskans have been contending with this for several years. Near Norilsk, Russia, thawing permafrost was blamed for an oil tank collapse in late May that spilled thousands of tons of oil into a river. Thawing permafrost also creates a less obvious but even more damaging problem. When the ground thaws, microbes in the soil begin turning its organic matter into carbon dioxide and methane. Both are greenhouse gases that further warm the planet ... also raises the risk of wildfires.
https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/record-temperatures-and-record-low-sea-ice-in-siberian-arctic

Fivefold growth of forest fires in Siberia reported
Forest fires in Siberia have grown nearly fivefold over the past week. The fires come amid a notable heat wave in parts of the sprawling region. A high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 F) was reported a week ago in the town of Verkhoyansk ... hottest day ever recorded in the Arctic ... 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that cannot be reached by firefighters.
https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/fivefold-growth-forest-fires-siberia-reported-71490782

Rapid Arctic meltdown in Siberia alarms scientists
Wildfires are raging amid record-breaking temperatures. Permafrost is thawing, infrastructure is crumbling and sea ice is dramatically vanishing ... Shifts that once seemed decades away are happening now, with potentially global implications. “We always expected the Arctic to change faster than the rest of the globe,” said Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “But I don’t think anyone expected the changes to happen as fast as we are seeing them happen.” ... The temperatures occurring in the High Arctic during the past 15 years were not predicted to occur for 70 more years ... “When we develop a fever, it’s a sign. It’s a warning sign that something is wrong and we stop and we take note ... Literally, the Arctic is on fire. It has a fever right now, and so it’s a good warning sign that we need to stop, take note and figure out what’s going on.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/rapid-arctic-meltdown-in-siberia-alarms-scientists/2020/07/03/4c1bd6a6-bbaa-11ea-bdaf-a129f921026f_story.html

Siberian Fires Have Released a Record Amount of Carbon This Year
Siberia has been the most abnormally hot place on Earth all year ... As a result of the widespread fire activity, the region has sent carbon streaming into the atmosphere ... highest level of carbon emissions from Siberian fires on record ... roughly equivalent to the entire annual emissions of Portugal ... aren't just burning forest (though they are doing that). They’re also burning through the tundra north of the Arctic Circle ... The fact that fires are burning in the tundra is a huge cause for concern, because the area contains vast stores of carbon-rich landscapes that include peatlands and frozen (for now) soil known as permafrost. Fires have been known to overwinter in peatlands, smoldering underground only to explode in the spring and summer. At least some of the fires in Siberia have done that ... “The thawing of permafrost is increasing the potential fuel loading for fires ... I have a new dataset from [the National Snow and Ice Data Center] that also confirms that many of these fires are burning on supposedly ‘continuous permafrost extent with high ground ice content.’ Given that this ground should be frozen or at least boggy all year round, it should not be available to burn. But it is burning, which implies that it has thawed out and has dried.”
https://earther.gizmodo.com/siberian-fires-have-released-a-record-amount-of-carbon-1844245153

New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America
Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat — and one that will only grow as climate change worsens ... homeowners, builders, banks, insurers and government officials nationwide have been making decisions with information that understates their true physical and financial risks ... climate change has worsened the dangers ... a vast increase in risk compared with official estimates.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/29/climate/hidden-flood-risk-maps.html

Arctic sea ice witnessed massive decline in 2019: Scientists
The National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has found a dramatic decline in the Arctic sea ice due to global warming ... NCPOR noted that the largest decline in Arctic sea ice in the past 41 years happened in July 2019. Between 1979 and 2018, the sea ice has been declining at a rate of -4.7 per cent per decade, while its rate was found to be -13 per cent in July 2019. "The sea-ice loss at this rate, concerning all the lives on earth, can have a catastrophic impact due to rising global air temperature and slowing down of global ocean water circulation," Avinash Kumar, a senior scientist at NCPOR, who is involved in the research, said ... the loss of ice cover in the Arctic sea has had strong feedback effects on other components of the climate system ... volume of ice formation during winters is unable to keep pace with the volume of ice loss during summers.
https://www.indiatvnews.com/science/arctic-sea-ice-witnessed-massive-decline-in-2019-scientists-629136

Glaciers in Sikkim are melting fast, so are in other regions
Among the most dramatic evidence that Earth’s climate is warming is the dwindling and disappearance of mountain glaciers around the world. Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology have found that glaciers in Sikkim are melting at a higher magnitude as compared to other Himalayan regions. The study ... revealed that glaciers in Sikkim have retreated and de-glaciated significantly.
http://tehelka.com/glaciers-in-sikkim-are-melting-fast-so-are-in-other-regions/

Stocks of vulnerable carbon twice as high where permafrost subsidence is factored in
New research from a team at Northern Arizona University suggests that subsidence ... is causing deeper thaw than previously thought and making vulnerable twice as much carbon as estimates that don't account for this shifting ground. These findings, published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, suggest traditional methods of permafrost thaw measurement underestimate the amount of previously-frozen carbon unlocked from warming permafrost by over 100 percent ... Due to the widespread nature of subsidence—about 20 percent of the permafrost zone is visibly subsided, and contains approximately 50 percent of all carbon stored in permafrost—failing to account for subsidence could lead to significant underestimates of future carbon release in global climate change projections.
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-stocks-vulnerable-carbon-high-permafrost.html

The Ticking Time Bomb of Arctic Permafrost
Arctic communities have long known that warming temperatures will undermine buildings, roads, and other infrastructure [but] communities don't have time to wait for research to catch up ... Permafrost is “the glue that holds northern ecosystems together,” said Turetsky, but climate change is thawing wide swaths of it.
https://eos.org/articles/the-ticking-time-bomb-of-arctic-permafrost

Study: Pace of Warming is Set to Accelerate in the Deep Ocean
A new study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that the deep ocean may not be as invulnerable to warming as once thought. By looking at the pace and horizontal movement of temperature rise over time (climate velocity), a team led by Isaac Brito-Morales of the University of Queensland predicted that life in the deep ocean will experience accelerated change in the second half of this century, even under a best-case climate action scenario. According to the study, the mesopelagic - the region between 200-1000 meters in depth - will be most affected, especially in high latitudes. This band could experience temperature changes at a rate four times higher than surface waters ... The study's most concerning finding is that these deep-ocean temperature shifts will likely occur even if society takes aggressive climate action in line with the Paris Climate Accord.
https://maritime-executive.com/article/study-pace-of-warming-is-set-to-accelerate-in-the-deep-ocean

Rising Tides, Troubled Waters: The Future of Our Ocean
Until now, the ocean has been the hero of the climate crisis — about 90 percent of the additional heat we’ve trapped from burning fossil fuels has been absorbed by it. But the heat the ocean absorbed has not magically vanished — it’s just stored in the depths [and] will continue to seep out for centuries to come, slowing any human efforts to cool the planet ... We are dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere about 10 times faster than volcanoes did 250 million years ago, which cooked the planet, triggering the End-Permian extinction that wiped out 96 percent of the species on Earth and turned the ocean into a lifeless, slimy Jacuzzi. “No one knows where our modern experiment with geochemistry will lead, but in the End-Permian, massive injections of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere led straight to the cemetery.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/oceans-and-climate-change-2020-report-jeff-goodell-967980/

More than 58 000 ha (143 000 acres) of rice damaged as 'worst' drought in history hits Mekong Delta
The increase in saline intrusion was due to the water shortage from the upper Mekong River. During the 2019/20 dry season, the water to the Mekong Delta was lower than that in previous years, affecting 10 out of 13 provinces in the region. The area affected by salinity was 1.68 million ha (4.15 million acres) ... due to prolonged drought, 96 000 families or about 430 000 individuals suffered water shortage for daily living ... Landslides occurred in many areas in the Mekong Delta as drought and prolonged shortage of water resulted in low water levels on the canals ... Nguyen considered the drought and saltwater intrusion in the 2019/20 dry season as the most severe in history.
https://watchers.news/2020/06/23/mekong-delta-worst-drought-history/

Glacial retreat in European Alps
A team of researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has now investigated changes to the area and height of all glaciers in the European Alps over a 14 year period in their recent study. The result: approximately 17 percent of the entire volume of the ice has been lost since the start of the new millennium. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications ... meltwater from Alpine glaciers accounts for a considerable portion of water runoff in large European river systems during the summer months.
https://www.miragenews.com/glacial-retreat-in-european-alps/

A Record Number of Bees Died Last Summer
According to the preliminary results of the University of Maryland’s annual survey, U.S. beekeepers lost 43.7% of their honey bees from April 2019 to April 2020. That’s the second highest rate of decline the researchers’ have observed since they started the survey in 2006. Striking summertime losses drove this high annual rate of loss ... The study is the latest in a slew of research showing that bees in the U.S. are under threat. Another February report found that due to climate breakdown, bumblebee populations’ chance of survival in any given place declined by an average of over 30 percent over the course of just one human generation.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/a-record-number-of-bees-died-last-summer-1844120999

Study shows today's atmospheric carbon dioxide levels greater than 23 million-year record
The team used the fossilized remains of ancient plant tissues to produce a new record of atmospheric CO2 that spans 23 million years of uninterrupted Earth history. They have shown elsewhere that as plants grow, the relative amount of the two stable isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13 changes in response to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This research, published this week in Geology, is a next-level study measuring the relative amount of these carbon isotopes in fossil plant materials and calculating the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere under which the ancient plants grew. Furthermore, Schubert and colleagues' new CO2 "timeline" revealed no evidence for any fluctuations in CO2 that might be comparable to the dramatic CO2 increase of the present day, which suggests today's abrupt greenhouse disruption is unique across recent geologic history.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/gsoa-sst060120.php

COVID-19 is the quiz, climate change the final exam
Nations like South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan, which studied for the quiz and heeded the expertise of their tutors (i.e., scientists), have done much better on the quiz than nations that rejected the expertise of their scientists – like the U.S. and Brazil ... government officials have sought to shift the blame, including, in particular, silencing scientists attempting to communicate their evidence-based science ... While the stakes for flunking the COVID-19 quiz have been crushing – over 425,000 people dead globally by mid-June, economies crippled, and an as-yet unrealized catastrophe looming for many nations in the developing world – the cost of failing our inevitable collective climate change final exam will be apocalyptic for civilization. When the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica melt, the forests of the Amazon transition to scrubland, and vast swaths of once-fertile land become inhospitable desert, there will be no climate change vaccine that will suddenly bring an end to these essentially irreversible catastrophes ... Science governs the rules of the final exam, and ignoring and suppressing the information scientists give about our upcoming final exam ensures we will fail it.
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/06/commentary-covid-19-is-the-quiz-climate-change-the-final-exam/

Government report forecasts worrying climate change outlook for India
Casting dark clouds on India's climate change assessment, a government report has said the nation's average temperature by the end of this century could be as much as 4.4 deg C higher than the 1976-2005 average. India's average temperature, it adds, has already increased by around 0.7 deg C between 1901 and 2018, mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions ... warns of a high likelihood of more frequent droughts ... This first-of-its-kind comprehensive climate change assessment for India, authored by scientists at Pune's Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, added that these rapid climatic changes will put increasing stress on the country's natural ecosystems, agricultural output and freshwater resources, and also cause greater damage to infrastructure.
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/government-report-forecasts-worrying-climate-change-outlook-for-india

100 degrees Fahrenheit! Eastern Siberian town shatters record for hottest-ever temperature inside Arctic Circle
The small town of Verkhoyansk, home to 1,000 people in Russia's Yakutia region, broke the record on Saturday for the highest temperature ever recorded within the Arctic Circle, hitting a maximum of 38 degrees Celsius.
https://www.rt.com/russia/492463-siberia-hot-temperature-record/

Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage
The change has already begun. It’s not only along the nation’s rivers and coasts where climate-induced risk has started to push down home prices ... as the world warms, that long-term nature of conventional mortgages might not be as desirable as it once was, as rising seas and worsening storms threaten to make some land uninhabitable ... In 2016, Freddie Mac’s chief economist at the time, Sean Becketti, warned that losses from flooding both inland and along the coasts are “likely to be greater in total than those experienced in the housing crisis and the Great Recession.” If climate change makes coastal homes uninsurable, Dr. Becketti wrote, their value could fall to nothing [and after that] “What happens when the water starts lapping at these properties, and they get abandoned?”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/climate/climate-seas-30-year-mortgage.html

Ocean acidification will be worse than expected in the Arctic
In the coming decades, the Arctic Ocean will absorb significantly more carbon dioxide than what has been predicted by current climate models, according to new research from the University of Bern. The increased rate of ocean acidification, combined with other rapidly changing chemical conditions ... could threaten the entire Arctic food web all the way up to fish and marine mammals. The study is published in the journal Nature.
https://www.earth.com/news/ocean-acidification-will-be-worse-than-expected-in-the-arctic/
see also https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145947.htm

Coastal erosion on Yukon’s only Arctic island exposes looming climate threat
Permafrost holds huge stores of carbon —  it’s made up of layers of compounded plant and animal matter that’s been encased in the ice-sediment mix for thousands of years. In a frozen state, this carbon-rich matter doesn’t decay to create carbon dioxide. But as permafrost meets warmer temperatures and crashing waves, a thaw follows, allowing carbon dioxide to be produced. Along the coast and in nearshore waters, this production is happening at a faster rate than on land, researchers have found ...  there is twice the amount of carbon in permafrost than currently in the atmosphere [and] the average rate of coastal erosion in the Arctic is 0.5 metres per year, Lantuit said. And notably, 34 per cent of the earth’s coastlines are found in the Arctic. “If it goes to one metre per year, which is now in the realm of real possibility for the Arctic, it sounds like little, but it’s going to be 100 per cent more carbon released into the ocean, mathematically,” Lantuit said. “The magnitude of change is enormous.”
https://thenarwhal.ca/erosion-yukons-arctic-island-exposes-looming-climate-threat/

Huge forest fires put health at risk
Siberia—Russia's northernmost region—is experiencing wildfires after record spring heat, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 30 degrees in May and an average of 10 degrees above seasonal standards ... "They have the potential to accelerate warming in the Arctic, which is already heating up much more quickly than the rest of the planet. The vast Arctic peatlands, which are sustained by permafrost, are now thawing. This can release huge amounts of carbon back into the atmosphere. Peat is also flammable. Once ignited by a lightning strike, it can burn for weeks to months. The embers can even survive the winter, reigniting a large fire the following summer. Fires have a dual effect: as well as melting permafrost directly, they also darken the surface. This further accelerates the melting of permafrost and ice because a darker surface absorbs more of the sun's heat. Decaying peatlands can also emit large quantities of methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas."
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-huge-forest-health.html

Carbon emission from permafrost soils underestimated by 14%
According to a University of Michigan study, organic carbon in thawing permafrost soils flushed into lakes and rivers can be converted to carbon dioxide by sunlight, a process known as photomineralization. The research, led by aquatic geochemist Rose Cory, has found that organic carbon from thawing permafrost is highly susceptible to photomineralization by ultraviolet and visible light, and could contribute an additional 14% of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Her team’s study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “Only recently have global climate models included greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost soils. But none of them contain this feedback pathway,” said Cory, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.
https://news.umich.edu/carbon-emission-from-permafrost-soils-underestimated-by-14/

A water crisis looms for 270 million people as South Asia’s glaciers shrink
Most water in the Indus, which flows west from Mount Kangrinboqe, comes from the snows and glaciers of the Himalaya, the Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush. Glaciers especially are “water towers”: They store winter snowfall as ice, high in the mountains, and they surrender it as meltwater in spring and summer. In this way, they provide a steady flow that nourishes humans and ecosystems. Downstream, in the plains of Pakistan and northern India, the world’s most extensive system of irrigated agriculture depends on the Indus. The glaciers that feed it are a lifeline for some 270 million people. Most of those glaciers are now shrinking.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/07/water-crisis-looms-for-270-million-people-south-asia-perpetual-feature/

Emissions from 13 dairy firms match those of entire UK, says report
The biggest dairy companies in the world have the same combined greenhouse gas emissions as the UK, the sixth biggest economy in the world, according to a new report. The analysis shows the impact of the 13 firms on the climate crisis is growing, with an 11% increase in emissions in the two years after the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, largely due to consolidation in the sector ... The report [is] by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in the US.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/15/emissions-from-13-dairy-firms-match-those-of-entire-uk-says-report

Climate worst-case scenarios may not go far enough, cloud data shows
Modelling results from more than 20 institutions are being compiled for the sixth [IPCC] assessment. Compared with the last assessment in 2014, 25% of them show a sharp upward shift from 3C to 5C in climate sensitivity ... This has shocked many veteran observers [because] climate sensitivity above 5C would reduce the scope for human action to reduce the worst impacts of global heating ... Worst-case projections in excess of 5C have been generated by several of the world’s leading climate research bodies [yet] climate models might still be underestimating the problem because they did not fully take into account tipping points in the biosphere.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/climate-worst-case-scenarios-clouds-scientists-global-heating

The vultures aren't hovering over Africa – and that's bad news
In the early 1990s, observers in India began to notice that vultures, which usually gathered in huge flocks around animal carcasses, were declining at an unprecedented rate ... from 1992 to 2007, India’s most common three vulture species declined by between 97% and 99.9%. The consequences were catastrophic: only once the vultures had gone did people realise the crucial job they had been doing in clearing up the corpses of domestic and wild animals. Rotting carcasses contaminated water supplies, while rats and feral dogs multiplied, leading to a huge increase in the risk of disease for humans. More than a decade after the crisis began, the key cause was confirmed. Asia’s vultures were feeding on animal carcasses containing diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug routinely given to domestic cattle but poisonous to birds. Now, a similar story is unfolding in Africa, which is home to 11 of the world’s 16 old world vulture species.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/the-vultures-arent-hovering-over-africa-and-thats-bad-news-aoe

Climate crisis to blame for $67bn of Hurricane Harvey damage – study
At least $67bn of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 can be attributed directly to climate breakdown, according to research that could lead to a radical reassessment of the costs of damage from extreme weather ... Conventional economic estimates attributed only about $20bn of the destruction to the direct impacts of global heating [but] in a study published in the journal Climatic Change, researchers used the emerging science of climate change attribution to calculate the odds of such a hurricane happening naturally or under increased carbon dioxide levels, and applied the results to the damage caused. Similar methods were used in a separate study, published last month in the same journal, that found that droughts in New Zealand between 2007 and 2017 cost the economy about NZ$4.8bn, of which $800m was directly linked to climate change ... researchers say the new tools are a more accurate way of estimating the economic damage caused by climate breakdown.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/12/climate-crisis-to-blame-for-67bn-of-hurricane-harvey-damage-study

Warning from eco inspectors: more tundra oil reservoirs could collapse
Russian Environmental Control Authority calls on Nornickel ... to close down a major fuel storage park and empty the reservoirs According to Rosprirodnadzor, the environmental catastrophe happened after the concrete foundation on which the reservoir rests began to sink. Following the sinking, the bottom of the reservoir detached from its walls whereupon the diesel oil spilled into the surroundings ... On site are another four similar reservoirs, three of which are in operation ... the environmental watchdog now warns that the remaining reservoirs could ultimately get the same fate as the first collapsed tank ... The Russian Arctic has over many years been among the regions in the world with the most rapid warming, and climate changes in the area are today increasingly dramatic. Among the changes unfolding is a rapid reduction of the permafrost, which results in major risks for settlements, industry and infrastructure in the region.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2020/06/warning-eco-inspectors-more-tundra-oil-reservoirs-could-collapse

Mutated coronavirus shows significant boost in infectivity
A tiny genetic mutation in the SARS coronavirus 2 variant circulating throughout Europe and the United States significantly increases the virus’ ability to infect cells, lab experiments performed at Scripps Research show. “Viruses with this mutation were much more infectious than those without the mutation in the cell culture system we used ,” says Scripps Research virologist Hyeryun Choe, PhD, senior author of the study ... Now undergoing peer review, it is being posted prior to publication to the pre-print site bioRxiv, and released early, amid news reports of its findings.
https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2020/20200612-choe-farzan-coronavirus-spike-mutation.html

Up to 45 percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic, new analysis finds
The findings, recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that asymptomatic infections may have played a significant role in the early and ongoing spread of COVID-19 and highlight the need for expansive testing and contact tracing to mitigate the pandemic. “The silent spread of the virus makes it all the more challenging to control,” says Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and professor of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research. “Our review really highlights the importance of testing. It’s clear that with such a high asymptomatic rate, we need to cast a very wide net, otherwise the virus will continue to evade us” ... suggests that asymptomatic individuals are able to transmit the virus for an extended period of time, perhaps longer than 14 days. The viral loads are very similar in people with or without symptoms.
https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2020/20200609-oran-asymptomatic-infection.html

Mediterranean Sea Without Mediterranean Climate May Be A Thing, New Study Finds
Global warming is making Mediterranean’s signature climate harsher ... management consulting firm McKinsey has just released the latest of its case studies on climate risk, focusing on the Mediterranean communities and economies ... “By 2050, many parts of the Mediterranean, including agricultural lands, are expected to see drought condition for at least six months of the year on average” ... They chose the Mediterranean because of its exposure to extreme weather events. The region is indeed expected to see particularly strong increases in drought and heat, which make it one of the leading-edge examples of climate change risk.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/06/11/mediterranean-sea-without-mediterranean-climate-may-be-a-thing-new-study-finds/

Temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius reported above Arctic Circle
BBC Weather reported the temperature today at Nizhnyaya Pesha, an area of Russia about 1,300km north of Moscow. It follows a recent heatwave in the region, with temperatures soared to 10 degrees Celsius above average in Siberia last month, when the world experienced its warmest May on record. Large swathes of Siberia have been unusually warm for several months running, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
https://www.thejournal.ie/climate-change-arctic-30-degrees-weather-5118623-Jun2020/

Once-in-a-1,000-year snow melt floods hydropower plant on Russia’s far northern coast
There were more melting permafrost problems for Russia’s energy infrastructure after the TGK1 power station on the Far Northwest coast reported on June 9 that two of its hydropower units were flooded with “abnormal water inflow” due to melting snow ... The flooding at TGK1 follows an oil spill in the mining town of Norilsk on Russia’s Far North coast last week that was the worst in the country's history and has been declared a national emergency. Norilsk is also in a permafrost region.
https://www.intellinews.com/once-in-a-1-000-year-snow-melt-floods-hydropower-plant-on-russia-s-far-northern-coast-185003/

Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Break 417ppm For The First Time In History
In May, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai'i recorded a seasonal peak in the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) of 417.1 parts per million (ppm). This is the highest monthly reading of atmospheric CO2 ever recorded ... The cause, undisputably, is human-made emissions from energy production, transportation, and industry ... “Progress in emissions reductions is not visible in the CO2 record,” Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory, said in a statement. “We continue to commit our planet – for centuries or longer – to more global heating, sea-level rise, and extreme weather events every year.” ... “People may be surprised to hear that the response to the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t done more to influence CO2 levels,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling, who runs the Scripps Oceanography program at Mauna Loa. “But the buildup of CO2 is a bit like trash in a landfill. As we keep emitting, it keeps piling up.”
https://www.iflscience.com/environment/carbon-dioxide-concentrations-break-417ppm-for-the-first-time-in-history/

'Mass mortality event' devastates Sydney's coastal ecosystems
Researchers for The Abyss Project, a commercial and scientific group of divers, say the coast and estuaries have suffered a "mass mortality event", potentially the worst in decades ... species down to as deep as eight metres heavily affected by a sequence of changed water quality and conditions ... Salinity in shallow estuaries rose as freshwater inflows dropped with the drought, and then the bushfires brought additional nitrogen and phosphorous - including from fire retardants - that spurred cyanobacteria growth. The big storms provided the final blow for much of the aquatic life ... increasing climate stresses in the future could "just decouple everything" in the marine ecosystems around Sydney and beyond.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/mass-mortality-event-devastates-sydney-s-coastal-ecosystems-20200605-p54zyo.html

Ice Melt Accelerating, Causing Depletion of Freshwater Resources
Seven of the regions that dominate global ice mass losses are melting at an accelerated rate, a new study shows, and the quickened melt rate is depleting freshwater resources that millions of people depend on. The impact of melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica on the world’s oceans is well documented. But the largest contributors to sea level rise in the 20th century were melting ice caps and glaciers located in seven other regions: Alaska, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the Southern Andes, High Mountain Asia, the Russian Arctic, Iceland and the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard. The five Arctic regions accounted for the greatest share of ice loss. And this ice melt is accelerating, potentially affecting not just coastlines but agriculture and drinking water supplies in communities around the world, according to the study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; the University of California, Irvine; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
https://scitechdaily.com/ice-melt-accelerating-causing-depletion-of-freshwater-resources/

More Extreme Waves Tipped to Erode Coastlines as Planet Warms
“An increase in the risk of extreme wave events may be catastrophic, as larger and more frequent storms will cause more flooding and coastline erosion,” according to Professor Ian Young, University of Melbourne infrastructure engineering researcher. New Zealand’s west coast, Tasmania, the southern tip of South America and parts of the Canadian coastline are among the most at-risk areas. The research was led by the University of Melbourne’s school of engineering and published in Science Advances.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-11/more-extreme-waves-tipped-to-erode-coastlines-as-planet-warms

Ireland bans hosepipe use as dry spring parches Emerald Isle
Six-week garden-hose ban after the country renowned for rainy weather experienced one of the driest springs on record Ireland’s weather office, Met Eireann, says the country experienced its driest May since 1850. Some areas had the driest spring ever recorded, with the capital, Dublin, receiving less than a third of its usual spring rainfall. Drier-than-normal weather is expected to continue into the summer ... The company said that as lockdown eases and businesses reopen, demand for water “is being exacerbated by warm weather and the widespread emergence of drought conditions.”
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ireland-bans-hosepipe-dry-spring-parches-emerald-isle-71148865

Giant diesel spill in Russia offers glimpse of Arctic’s future
Investigators have determined that the leakage of of 20,000 tons of diesel (about 150,000 barrels) from a reservoir at a power plant in Russia’s Far North was caused by damage from thawing permafrost - just the latest sign of the catastrophic effects climate change is having in the Arctic ... With temperatures rising at twice the global average rate in the Arctic Circle, the frozen ground is thawing and causing cracks in roads and buildings. About half of Russia, the world’s largest country, is covered with permafrost ... A heat wave in Siberia resulted in temperatures as high as 10 degrees Celsius above the May average in some areas ... 1,700 gigatons of carbon dioxide is trapped in permafrost, or twice the amount currently in the atmosphere. “Permafrost contains organic matter that never decomposed, so when it thaws, that organic matter starts decomposing, bacteria eat it and in the process they release greenhouse gases, mainly methane and carbon dioxide ... All of that accelerates global warming.”
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/08/world/science-health-world/giant-diesel-spill-russia-offers-glimpse-arctics-future

Borrowed time: Climate change threatens U.S. mortgage market
"Everyone is exposed" as taxpayer-backed loans and insurance face a coming storm
U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars in climate-related property losses as the government backs a growing number of mortgages on homes in the path of floods, fires and extreme weather ... the government’s biggest housing subsidies — mortgage guarantees and flood insurance — are on course to hit taxpayers and the housing market as the effects of climate change worsen ... National Bureau of Economic Research working paper in February concluded that homes in flood plains are overvalued by $34 billion because homebuyers don’t fully price in the high risk of climate-related disasters.
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/08/borrowed-time-climate-changemortgage-market-304130

As Pakistan glacier melt surges, efforts to cut flood risk drag
Pakistan has more glaciers than anywhere except the polar regions. But climate change is "eating away Himalayan glaciers at a dramatic rate", a study published last year in the journal Science Advances noted. As glacier ice melts, it can collect in large glacial lakes, which are at risk of bursting their through banks and creating deadly flash floods downstream, in places like Hassanabad. More than 3,000 of those lakes had formed as of 2018, with 33 of them considered hazardous and more than 7 million people at risk downstream, according to UNDP ... melting is likely to pick up over the summer months, he said, noting that “June to September will be dangerous”, particularly after a winter of heavy snowfall.
https://indianexpress.com/article/world/as-pakistan-glacier-melt-surges-efforts-to-cut-flood-risk-drag-6448218/

Europe’s Most Important River Dangerously Low As Summer Starts
Germany’s Rhine River is entering dry summer months with water levels at their lowest in two decades ... After spring showers failed to show in Germany, the official water level at Kaub — a key chokepoint near Frankfurt — dropped to around 1 meter on June 3 ... fears of a repeat of disruption seen in 2018 when waters fell so low the river became impassable to industrial ships, severing downriver factories from North Sea ports ... Forecasters have warned that Europe faces a tinder-dry summer ... Rhine waters have dropped 40% since the start of April.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-06/europe-s-most-important-river-dangerously-low-as-summer-starts

Sunbathing in Siberia: global heatwave rings alarm bells
Sunbathing is not the first thing that comes to mind when considering Siberia, the vast, sparsely populated Russian region stretching up to the Arctic that is, for much of the year, covered in snow. Yet recently this icy realm of birch forests and prison camps has been baking under an unprecedented heatwave – and people have been soaking up the rays on their rooftops. “I’m Siberian-born and lived here for 60 years. I don’t remember a single spring like this,” said journalist Sergey Zubchuk ... temperatures were as high as 35C, about twice the average high in May.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/sunbathing-in-siberia-global-heatwave-rings-alarm-bells-htltg56km

Peatland drainage in Southeast Asia adds to climate change
In less than three decades, most of Southeast Asia's peatlands have been wholly or partially deforested, drained, and dried out. This has released carbon that accumulated over thousands of years from dead plant matter, and has led to rampant wildfires that spew air pollution and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The startling prevalence of such rapid destruction of the peatlands, and their resulting subsidence, is revealed in a new satellite-based study conducted by researchers at MIT and in Singapore and Oregon. The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience ... "Thirty years ago, or even 20 years ago, this land was covered with pristine rainforest with enormous trees," Harvey says, and that was still the case even when he began doing research in the area. "In 13 years, I've seen almost all of these rainforests just removed. There's almost none at all anymore."
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-peatland-drainage-southeast-asia-climate.html

New study reveals cracks beneath giant methane gushing craters
[There are] hundreds of massive, kilometer-wide craters on the ocean floor in the Barents Sea. Today, more than 600 gas flares have been identified in and around these craters, releasing the greenhouse gas steadily into the water column ... The most recent study in Scientific Reports looks into the depths far beneath these craters ... "It turns out that this area has a very old fault system—essentially, cracks in bedrock that likely formed 250 million years ago ... the methane that is leaking through the seafloor originates from these deep structures."
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-reveals-beneath-giant-methane-gushing.html

Only a fifth of ice-free land on Earth has very little human influence
After excluding the estimated 10 per cent of Earth that is currently ice-covered land such as Antarctica and most of Greenland, or glaciers elsewhere in the world [researchers] found that [only] 21 per cent of the remaining land on Earth has very low human influence ... “A global human influence map is critical to understand the extent and intensity of human pressures on Earth’s ecosystems.”
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2245343-only-a-fifth-of-ice-free-land-on-earth-has-very-little-human-influence/
reporting on a study at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15109

Arctic Circle As Hot As Hong Kong Average Temperatures
In the last week of May, parts of the Arctic Circle recorded temperatures on par with the average monthly temperature in Hong Kong. North Central Siberia, for instance, saw temperatures climb as high as 26 degrees Celsius. Scientists have raised concerns about thawing Arctic permafrost that will release stored greenhouse gases, further accelerating the rate of global heating ... temperatures have been inching higher and higher every year as global heating continues unabated ...  could mean the thawing of Arctic permafrost – the permanently frozen soil located across the Arctic region that stores massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Once melted, these gases will be unlocked and released into the atmosphere in a process called “carbon feedback”, exacerbating what is already a severe climate crisis.
https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/parts-of-arctic-circle-were-as-hot-as-hong-kong-average-temperatures-may-2020/

Coronavirus is an ‘SOS signal for the human enterprise’
The coronavirus pandemic is an “SOS signal for the human enterprise”, according to a leading economist and the United Nation’s environment chief ... ongoing destruction of nature has been blamed as the fundamental driver of diseases that cross from wildlife into humans. In April, the world’s leading biodiversity experts said even more deadly disease outbreaks were likely unless the destruction is halted. Dasgupta is leading a major review on the economics of biodiversity for the UK government, due to be published later in 2020, and Anderson is an adviser ... “Covid-19 is an SOS signal for the human enterprise, bringing into sharp focus the need to live within the planet’s ‘safe operating space’, and the disastrous environmental, health and economic consequences of failing to do so,” said Dasgupta and Anderson.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/05/coronavirus-is-an-sos-signal-for-the-human-enterprise

High Temperatures Set Off Major Greenland Ice Melt — Again
A significant melt event is unfolding in Greenland this week. With temperatures nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than usual in some areas, the southern part of the ice sheet is melting at its highest rate this season ... Early melting this spring, low snowpack in some areas and the potential for strong high-pressure weather systems later this summer have all raised red flags. Scientists are paying close attention after last summer’s record-breaking ice loss—an event scientists expect to occur more frequently as the Arctic continues to warm.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/high-temperatures-set-off-major-greenland-ice-melt-again/

Here be methane: Scientists investigate the origins of a gaping permafrost crater
Permafrost, which amounts to two thirds of the Russian territory, is a huge natural reservoir of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As the Arctic warms and permafrost degrades due to climate change, scientists are concerned that this methane may start leaking into the atmosphere in massive amounts, further exacerbating global warming. Right now methane is already quietly seeping from underground in the Arctic ... "Cryovolcanism [is] an explosion involving rocks, ice, water and gases that leaves behind a crater. It is a potential threat to human activity in the Arctic, and ... also contribute to the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
https://phys.org/news/2020-06-methane-scientists-gaping-permafrost-crater.html

‘Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome’: top climate scientists
Australia’s top climate scientist says “we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse” of civilisation, which may now be inevitable because 9 of the 15 known global climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet have been activated ... “Given the momentum in both the Earth and human systems, and the growing difference between the ‘reaction time’ needed to steer humanity towards a more sustainable future, and the ‘intervention time’ left to avert a range of catastrophes in both the physical climate system (e.g., melting of Arctic sea ice) and the biosphere (e.g., loss of the Great Barrier Reef), we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse. That is, the intervention time we have left has, in many cases, shrunk to levels that are shorter than the time it would take to transition to a more sustainable system” ... This is not a unique view – leading Stanford University biologists, who were first to reveal that we are already experiencing the sixth mass extinction on Earth, released new research this week showing species extinctions are accelerating in an unprecedented manner, which may be a tipping point for the collapse of human civilisation ... “[T]his is an existential threat to civilization,” they wrote. “No amount of economic cost–benefit analysis is going to help us ... The evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute.” Steffen is also the lead author of the heavily cited 2018 paper, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, where he found that “even if the Paris Accord target of a 1.5°C to 2°C rise in temperature is met, we cannot exclude the risk that a cascade of feedbacks could push the Earth System irreversibly onto a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway” ... Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, believes if we go much above 2°C we will quickly get to 4°C anyway because of the tipping points and feedbacks, which would spell the end of human civilisation ... Schellnhuber, one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change, said that if we continue down the present path “there is a very big risk that we will just end our civilisation." 
https://voiceofaction.org/collapse-of-civilisation-is-the-most-likely-outcome-top-climate-scientists/

Australia among global 'hot spots' as droughts worsen in warming world
The world's major food baskets will experience more extreme droughts than previously forecast as greenhouse gases rise, with southern Australia among the worst-hit, climate projections show. Scientists at the Australian National University and the University of NSW made the findings after running the latest generation of climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Future drought changes were larger and more consistent, the researchers found.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-among-global-hot-spots-as-droughts-worsen-in-warming-world-20200601-p54ydh.html

Australia’s Water Is Vanishing
Murray-Darling Basin is supposed to be Australia’s agricultural heartland [but] today the Murray-Darling is at the leading edge of something very different: a series of crises that could soon envelop river systems in Africa, South Asia, and the American West, as temperatures rise and economies compete for strained supplies. The area has spent most of the past several years in a drought so savage that it completely dried out sections of the Darling for months at a time ... an historic shift driven by man-made climate change, with less-predictable rainfall reducing the amount of water flowing into the system and higher temperatures rapidly evaporating what does arrive ... predictions indicate that, as the planet warms, the basin’s droughts will only grow longer and more severe.
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-australia-drought-water-crisis/

High Risk of Widespread Wildfires Across Europe This Year, EU Says
The European Union expects dry weather to cause unusually widespread wildfires in Europe over the coming months, including in the central and northern regions that tend to be less at risk, the EU's crisis management commissioner said on Tuesday. After above-average European spring temperatures, forest fires have already broken out in recent days in Sweden and northern France, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show. This is in addition to fires in Italy and Portugal, which are vulnerable because of their warmer climate. The Commission, the EU executive arm, expects the situation will get much worse over Europe's summer.
https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-06-02/high-risk-of-widespread-wildfires-across-europe-this-year-eu-says

Summers are growing longer due to climate change, while winters are dramatically shrinking
The Earth is warming and disturbing the balance of the seasons ... most locations globally, including in the United States and Canada, have seen their summer season lengthen and the winter season shrink ... finding of longer summers and shorter winters is consistent with the findings of a March study from the Australia Institute, titled Out of Season. It conducted a similar analysis, focused on Australia, examining changes in the seasons over two consecutive 20-year time spans. Like the analysis performed here, it found a dramatic increase in the length of summer and decrease in the length of winter between the two periods.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/06/01/summers-are-growing-longer-due-climate-change-while-winters-dramatically-shrink/

Football pitch-sized area of tropical rainforest lost every six seconds
Nearly 12m hectares of tree cover was lost across the tropics, including nearly 4m hectares of dense, old rainforest that held significant stores of carbon and had been home to a vast array of wildlife, according to data from the University of Maryland. Beyond the tropics, Australia’s devastating bushfires led to a sixfold increase in tree cover loss across the continent in 2019 ... loss of trees in the tropics was the third worst recorded since data was first collected in 2002, trailing behind only 2016 and 2017. The heaviest reduction continues to be in Brazil, which accounted for more than a third of all humid tropical forest loss.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/02/football-pitch-area-tropical-rainforest-lost-every-six-seconds

The sixth mass extinction is happening faster than expected. Scientists say it's our fault
The sixth mass extinction is not a worry for the future. It's happening now, much faster than previously expected, and it's entirely our fault ... the findings published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) show that the rate at which species are dying out has accelerated in recent decades ... Later this year, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to set new global goals to combat the ongoing biodiversity crisis in the coming decades. At a 2010 summit in Japan, the United Nations set similar targets. But the world failed to meet most of those 2020 goals and now faces unprecedented extinction rates, threatened ecosystems and severe consequences for human survival.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/world/sixth-mass-extinction-accelerating-intl/index.html
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/05/27/1922686117

The Rush to Sock Away Glacier Ice Before It All Melts
From the Alps to the Andes, glaciers that have stood for thousands of years are melting. And as the ice disappears, so does a unique archive. Locked within are traces of the atmosphere as it was when the glacier formed: bubbles of gas that indicate past levels of carbon dioxide, sulphur and nitrogen pollutants, and even specks of pollen. For scientists interested in ecosystems and climate, glacier ice is a vital repository of clues. It’s probably too late to save most of the glaciers outside the polar regions ... “We need to preserve these really important archives, because they are melting away,” Margit Schwikowski, an environmental chemist at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, says. “It’s really obvious if you go to the glaciers that they are suffering. It’s happening everywhere on Earth.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/05/glacier-melt-antarctica-vault/612343/

Tanker crosses Russian Arctic route without icebreaker assistance
The sea ice along the Russian Arctic coast is quickly vanishing as temperatures in the region have been reaching record highs. With the retreating ice comes tanker traffic ... earliest east-bound shipment on the route ever for this kind of vessel ... now only one-year old ice along the whole route contrary to last year when a belt of multi-year old ice covered parts of the East Siberian Sea ... Ice layers on the Northern Sea Route have shrunk dramatically over a number of years.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2020/05/tankers-cross-russian-arctic-route-without-icebreaker-assistance

It Hit 80 Degrees in the Arctic This Week
A little farther south, in Siberia — you know, the region of world we reference when we want to connote something cold — it was 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Arctic sea ice in the neighboring Kara Sea took the deepest May nose dive ever recorded ... an explosive heat wave that has rippled across the Arctic this week. Models forecast temperatures there will be as much as 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for this time of year ... wildfires continue to spread ... other seas that ring the Arctic have also been losing ice ... Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and what’s happening there is unprecedented.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/it-hit-80-degrees-in-the-arctic-this-week-1843606717

Climate change in deep oceans could be seven times faster by middle of century, report says
Rates of climate change in the world’s ocean depths could be seven times higher than current levels by the second half of this century even if emissions of greenhouse gases were cut dramatically ... In the new research, scientists looked at a measure called climate velocity – the speed at which species would need to move to stay within their preferred temperature range as different ocean layers warm. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found different parts of the ocean would change at different rates as the extra heat from increasing levels of greenhouse gases moved through the vast ocean depths.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/26/climate-change-in-deep-oceans-could-be-seven-times-faster-by-middle-of-century-report-says

Arctic Permafrost Moving Toward Crisis, Abrupt Thaw a Growing Risk: Studies
Until recently, scientists assumed global permafrost wouldn’t lose more than 10% of its carbon, and that this would occur over a drawn-out timescale. But when they pooled observations from more than 100 Arctic field sites in the Permafrost Carbon Network, they found that the permafrost likely released ... double that of past estimates ... In a 2015 study, scientists found that for every one degree C rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of 4 to 6 years-worth of oil, coal and natural gas emissions ...  when that carbon is released into the atmosphere it can come out as either carbon dioxide (C02) or methane (CH4), depending on whether the carbon stores were subject to aerobic or anaerobic respiration. The danger here: methane is far more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.
https://earth.org/arctic-permafrost-abrupt-thaw-a-risk/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/12/eaaw9883

Antarctic Ocean Reveals New Signs of Rapid Melt of Ancient Ice, Clues About Future Sea Level Rise
A study released today suggests that some of the continent's floating ice shelves can, during eras of rapid warming, melt back by six miles per year, far faster than any ice retreat observed by satellites. As global warming speeds up the Antarctic meltdown, the findings "set a new upper limit for what the worst-case might be," said lead author Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/28052020/antarctic-ocean-ice-melt-climate-change
see also https://phys.org/news/2020-05-antarctic-ice-sheets-capable-retreating.html

Short-term tests validate long-term estimates of climate change
For a doubling of CO2 concentration from pre-industrial levels, some models predict an alarming long-term warming of more than 5 °C. But are these estimates believable? Writing in the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Williams et al have tested some of the revisions that have been made to one such model ... they support the estimates [and] carry a far-reaching message: we cannot afford to be complacent. It seems that cloud adjustment to climate change is not going to give us breathing space. Instead, we need to redouble our efforts to cut emissions.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01484-5

The Climate Crisis May Kickstart an El Niño System in the Indian Ocean for the First Time in Over 20 000 Years
Currently, the Indian Ocean sees little change in temperature year-on-year; the west-to-east winds tend to keep conditions stable. However, the models show that the climate crisis may reverse these winds, completely altering weather patterns in the region. The study shows that the rising temperatures of today are affecting the Indian Ocean in a similar way as the glaciers did tens of thousands of years ago. This could lead to increased flooding in some areas to longer dry spells in others, affecting massive parts of the world already feeling the effects of the crisis, as seen recently with the bushfires in Australia.
https://earth.org/el-nino-indian-ocean/

Climate change is turning parts of Antarctica green, say scientists
The British team behind the research believe these blooms will expand their range in the future because global heating is creating more of the slushy conditions they need to thrive. In some areas, the single-cell life-forms are so dense they turn the snow bright green and can be seen from space ... “This could potentially form new habitats. In some place, it would be the beginning of a new ecosystem,” said Matt Davey of Cambridge University, one of the scientists who led the study.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/climate-change-turning-parts-antarctica-green-say-scientists-algae

More dams will collapse as aging infrastructure can’t keep up with climate change
The collapse of two Michigan dams on Tuesday following heavy rainfall has triggered concerns over how precarious dam infrastructure in the U.S. is inadequate to handle severe weather. Aging dams will increasingly fail as climate change makes extreme precipitation and storms more frequent and intense, scientists warn. “A lot of the country’s infrastructure systems were built during a time when these kind of weather events were considered rare and didn’t present a significant threat,” said Hiba Baroud, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University. “But things have changed. The climate has changed. These dams are aging and need to be maintained, upgraded and in the most extreme cases, the entire design must be revisited,” Baroud continued. “Otherwise, the situation like in Michigan will become more frequent in the future.” The 91,000 dams in the U.S. earned a “D” for safety in a 2017 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/more-dams-will-collapse-as-aging-infrastructure-cant-keep-up-with-climate-change.html

Dam Failure Threatens a Dow Chemical Complex and Superfund Cleanup
Floodwaters from two breached dams in Michigan on Wednesday flowed into a sprawling Dow chemical complex and threatened a vast Superfund toxic-cleanup site downriver, raising concerns of wider environmental fallout from the dam disaster and historic flooding. The compound ... also houses the chemical giant’s world headquarters ...  floodwaters had reached the Dow site’s outer boundaries and had flowed into retaining ponds ...  contaminated sediments on the river floor could be stirred up by the floodwaters, spreading pollution downstream and over the riverbanks ... the Dow complex has manufactured a range of products including Saran Wrap, Styrofoam, Agent Orange and mustard gas. Over time, Dow released chemicals into the water, leading to dioxin contamination stretching more than 50 miles along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and into Lake Huron ... The threat to the Dow complex highlights the risks to Superfund and other toxic cleanup sites posed by the effects of climate change, which include more frequent and severe flooding. A federal report published last year found that 60 percent of Superfund sites overseen by the E.P.A., or more than 900 toxic sites countrywide, are in areas that may be affected by flooding or wildfires, both hazards that may be exacerbated by climate change.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/climate/michigan-dam-dow-chemical-superfund.html

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further
Meanwhile, most states have begun lifting the social-distancing restrictions that had temporarily slowed the pace of the pandemic, creating more opportunities for the virus to spread. Its potential hosts are still plentiful: Even in the biggest hot spots, most people were not infected and remain susceptible. Further outbreaks are likely ... Americans should expect neither a swift return to normalcy nor a unified national experience, with an initial spring wave, a summer lull, and a fall resurgence. “The talk of a second wave as if we’ve exited the first doesn’t capture what’s really happening,” says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security ... the COVID-19 pandemic is most like a very rapid version of climate change—global in its scope, erratic in its unfolding, and unequal in its distribution. And like climate change, there is no easy fix. Our choices are to remake society or let it be remade, to smooth the patchworks old and new or let them fray even further.
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/05/patchwork-pandemic-states-reopening-inequalities/611866/

The coronavirus recession will become a long depression unless federal policymakers act now
By mid-April, the labor market had shed more than 20 million jobs, by far the most dramatic job loss on record—about two and a half times the job loss of the entire Great Recession. And the situation continues to deteriorate ... even though that is the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, it is not actually reflecting all coronavirus-related job losses. In fact, only about half of people who are out of work as a result of the virus are showing up as unemployed ...  if the federal government doesn’t act, then those furloughs will turn into permanent layoffs and the country will face an extended period of high unemployment.
https://www.epi.org/blog/the-coronavirus-recession-will-become-a-long-depression-unless-federal-policymakers-act-now/

Epidemiologists brace for 2nd wave of COVID-19 — and it may come in September
"Until we get the vaccine, I don't think we can really avoid the second wave," said Rama Nair, an expert in epidemiology with 40 years' experience as a teacher and researcher ... The curve of infections "hasn't flattened because it's gone through our community, it's flattened because we've distanced. We've slowed it down," Manuel said ... "There is potentially a tsunami happening," said the professor, who models infectious diseases. His estimates, like other epidemiological models, predict another wave of COVID-19 by late summer.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/second-wave-covid-19-1.5570905

The Arctic Is Unraveling as a Massive Heat Wave Grips the Region
The warmth is helping to spread widespread wildfires and to kickstart ice melt season early, both ominous signs of what summer could hold ... Russia had its hottest winter ever recorded, driven largely by Siberian heat. That heat hasn’t let up as the calendar turns to spring. In fact, it’s intensified and spread across the Arctic. Last month was the hottest April on record for the globe, driven by high Arctic temperatures that averaged an astounding 17 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4 degrees Celsius) above normal ... Martin Stendel, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, told the Washington Post that the mid-May warmth is “quite extraordinary...there is no similar event so early in the season.” Siberia has been one of the blistering hot spots on the globe all year, and heat is pushing out of the region and traversing the Arctic ... [also] massive wildfires raging in Siberia. The region has quietly been ablaze since last month, and flames have continued to spread across millions of acres. While most have burned below the Arctic Circle—or 66.5 degrees North—the warmth has allowed at least some flames to spread north of it.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-arctic-is-unraveling-as-a-massive-heat-wave-grips-t-1843519435

‘We Need to Hear These Poor Trees Scream’: Unchecked Global Warming Means Big Trouble for Forests
New studies show drought and heat waves will cause massive die-offs, killing most trees alive today. The study, published April 17 in the journal Science, reviewed the last 10 years of research on tree mortality, concluding that forests are in big trouble if global warming continues at the present pace. Most trees alive today won't be able to survive in the climate expected in 40 years ... "The review ends on a hard note, with high confidence that we're going to have a lot of impacts with hotter droughts in the future," he said. Mass forest die-offs will proliferate and expand. The trend toward more extreme heat waves and droughts is lethal for forests ... At the current pace of warming, much of the world will be inhospitable to forests as we know them within decades.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24042020/forest-trees-climate-change-deforestation

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are becoming stronger, according to a new NOAA study
Hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis, according to a new study ... A current example of what the study says is happening more frequently can be found in the Bay of Bengal, where Super Cyclone Amphan has reached the top of the scale ... the strongest storm on record in the Bay of Bengal, according to data from the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/18/weather/climate-change-hurricane-tropical-cyclone/index.html

Climate change makes repeat 'Dust Bowl' twice as likely
Due to global warming, the United States is today more than twice as likely to endure a devastating "dust bowl" scenario than during the Great Depression ... the signature of human-induced climate change is unmistakable ... "If extreme heatwaves and drought reduce the vegetation as they did in the 1930s, heatwaves could become even stronger" ... A study last month in the journal Science concluded that the western United States has likely entered a period of megadrought—the fourth in 1,200 years—that could last decades, even a century. Globally, 19 out of 20 of the warmest years on record have occurred this century.
https://phys.org/news/2020-05-climate-bowl.html

'Promiscuous treatment of nature' will lead to more pandemics – scientists
Deforestation and other forms of land conversion are driving exotic species out of their evolutionary niches and into manmade environments, where they interact and breed new strains of disease, the experts say. Three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it is human activity that multiplies the risks of contagion.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/07/promiscuous-treatment-of-nature-will-lead-to-more-pandemics-scientists

Stuck at home, Europeans face a summer of sweltering temperatures and drought, scientists predict
Hotter and drier weather is highly likely to stretch across key agricultural regions in the European Union, potentially compounding drought conditions that have been made worse by climate change ... According to EU studies published last month, persistent drought that’s stressing production of crops like wheat and corn is threatening to disrupt food output ... Europeans won’t be alone in feeling record summer temperatures ... large sections of the U.S. east and west coasts will record well-above-average temperatures in July.
https://fortune.com/2020/05/16/europe-summer-2020-drought-heat-wave-forecast/

The arctic melts when plants stop breathing
The vapor that plants emit when they breathe serves to lower land surface temperature ... the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration closes the pores (stomata) of plants in high-latitude areas and reduces their transpiration, which ultimately accelerates Arctic warming ... During [photosynthesis] the stomata of leaves open to absorb CO2 in the air and release moisture [but] when the CO2 concentration rises, plants can absorb enough CO2 without opening their stomata widely. If the stomata open narrowly, the amount of water vapor released also decreases. When this transpiration of plants declines, the land temperature rapidly rises under greenhouse warming. Recently, such a decrease in transpiration has been cited as one of the reasons for the surge in heat waves in the northern hemisphere.
https://phys.org/news/2020-05-revolt-arctic.html

Can't 'See' Sea Level Rise? You're Looking in the Wrong Place
An eroding beach can lose several feet of sand a year ... since it occurs relatively slowly, it can be easy to think it’s not happening. But as oceanographer and climate scientist Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told me, if you’re not seeing it, you’re just not looking in the right place. “Each year, global warming is currently adding about 750 gigatonnes of water to the ocean ... that flood that you used to be protected from is now wiping you out” ... In many places, sea level rise has rendered sea walls erected decades ago to handle 100-year floods inadequate ... “We’ve had such a large amount of sea level rise in the past century that we’re now nearing a tipping point,” said Ben Hamlington, a research scientist in JPL’s Sea Level and Ice Group.
https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2974/cant-see-sea-level-rise-youre-looking-in-the-wrong-place/

Record global carbon dioxide concentrations despite COVID-19 crisis
Over the past few weeks there have been many reports of localized air quality improvements [but] no one should think that the climate crisis is therefore over ... owing to anthropogenic CO2 emissions (emissions from human activities), CO2 concentrations are not only increasing, but accelerating [even as] vehicular and air traffic, as well as industrial activity, has reduced sharply in most parts of the world since January 2020.
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/record-global-carbon-dioxide-concentrations-despite-covid-19-crisis

Drop in pollution may bring hotter weather and heavier monsoons
With fewer [aerosol masking] particles and polluting gases to hinder its path, more sunlight is able to reach the Earth’s surface. Earlier this year, scientists confirmed that cleaner skies in recent decades have caused a brightening of the Earth’s surface ... “Aerosols can scatter and absorb radiation. They can also modify clouds to make them more reflective and longer lived,” explains Laura Wilcox, a climate scientist at the University of Reading. Unlike carbon dioxide, aerosols only hang around in the atmosphere for a week or two, meaning that any reduction in pollution will be quickly felt. “With smaller amounts of aerosol in the atmosphere we will already be seeing more solar radiation reaching the surface, and thus potentially warmer surface temperatures in regions that usually have high levels of air pollution,” says Wilcox ... In the most extreme scenarios (with rapid increases in air quality) their results suggest the hottest day of the year may be up to 4C hotter by 2050, with around one third of that increase due to cleaner skies.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/13/drop-in-pollution-may-bring-hotter-weather-and-heavier-monsoons

The Planet Is Probably in Worse Shape Than We Can Even Predict
The first climate models, developed in the 1960s, were eerily accurate: They correctly predicted how much hotter the world would be today given the increase in greenhouse gas emissions [but] today’s climate models might not be as good at predicting the next fifty years [because] the facts on the ground are changing so fast ... “If you watch how the reports have changed,” said Jessica Hellman, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, “more of our errors have tended to be underestimations of how bad things could be.” Some of the newest climate models, generated last year with the most detailed data to date, reveal a hotter, less-predictable future. “I think there does seem to be a change in this new generation of models — and it could be really bad, bad news,” said Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4gyw/the-planet-is-probably-in-worse-shape-than-we-can-even-predict

As ice melts, emperor penguins march toward extinction
What the emperor penguins won’t easily get used to is diminishing—and possibly disappearing—sea ice, which provides a stable breeding platform and base from which they can hunt for food in surrounding waters ... “Under a business-as-usual scenario, emperor penguins are marching towards extinction,” says Stéphanie Jenouvrier, a seabird biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Her team’s research indicates that if carbon emissions remain unchecked, 80 percent of the emperor colonies could be gone by 2100, leaving little hope for the species’ survival. Average global temperature is on track to increase by three to five degrees Celsius (5.4 to nine degrees Fahrenheit) by then.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/06/as-ice-melts-emperor-penguins-march-toward-extinction-feature/

California’s mountain snow cover is vanishing a month early, in a worrying setup for fire season
On Monday, California fire officials gathered to launch the state’s annual Wildfire Preparedness Week. The message they delivered was clear: Summer 2020 would not mimic summer 2019, when wildfires mostly remained small and manageable into August. “Last year you’ll remember we had a lot of snow in the mountains, a lot of late-season rain, and we had a slow start to our fire season,” Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said at the news event. “That’s not going to be the same this year.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/05/08/california-snowpack-fire-season/

Sierra snow pack is 3% of May average: Here's what that means
At Phillips Station off U.S. 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe, they found the snow was 3% of its average for the date. The finding is yet another indicator of this year's dry winter. In contrast, the measurement taken at this spot at this time in 2019 was 188% of average ... readings from stations across the entire length of the Sierra [show] the statewide snowpack is 37% of average, compared to 144% last year. These numbers may sound a little more promising, but, "Obviously it was a dry year," Orrock said. The Sierra snowpack is one of California's most important water sources.
https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sierra-snow-pack-survey-Phillips-Station-15238494.php

‘Summer is not going to make this go away’: Temperature has little or no impact on spread of coronavirus, new study suggests
Scientists say warm weather is unlikely to greatly hamper the spread of coronavirus ... Dr Peter Juni, of the University of Toronto, said in a press release that the team found little or no link between infection spread and temperature or latitude, and only a weak association with humidity.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-summer-temperature-warm-hot-spread-study-pandemic-a9506201.html
reporting on a study at https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/early/2020/05/08/cmaj.200920.full.pdf

Potentially fatal combinations of humidity and heat are emerging across the globe
The study identifies thousands of previously rare or unprecedented bouts of extreme heat and humidity in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Along the Persian Gulf, researchers spotted more than a dozen recent brief outbreaks surpassing the theoretical human survivability limit. The outbreaks have so far been confined to localized areas and lasted just hours, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity, say the authors. The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances. "Previous studies projected that this would happen several decades from now, but this shows it's happening right now ... The times these events last will increase, and the areas they affect will grow in direct correlation with global warming." ... Prior studies suggest that even the strongest, best-adapted people cannot carry out normal outdoor activities when the wet bulb hits 32 C, equivalent to a heat index of 132 F. Most others would crumble well before that. A reading of 35 C -- the peak briefly reached in the Persian Gulf cities -- is considered the theoretical survivability limit ... many people in the poorer countries most at risk do not have electricity, never mind air conditioning. There, many rely on subsistence farming requiring daily outdoor heavy labor. These facts could make some of the most affected areas basically uninhabitable.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200508145333.htm

Record temperatures and dry weather have sparked more than a dozen wildfires in Florida
Florida is known for its hot weather, but this year has been exceptionally torrid. In April, South Florida hit June-like temperatures ... All that heat has resulted in wildfires, with the Florida Panhandle among the hardest hit areas. Last week, blazes prompted evacuations and road closures, including sections of Interstate 10 near Pensacola ... A lack of rain across Florida has also contributed to the wildfires. So far this year, Orlando and West Palm Beach are 7 inches below normal for rainfall. Daytona and Fort Myers are not far behind, with deficits hovering around 6 inches.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/10/weather/record-temperatures-florida-wildfires/index.html

Juneau hits record high and Fairbanks hits 70 degrees for the first time this year
The Juneau Airport reached 76 degrees as of 3 p.m. on Saturday. This is not only the first 70 degree or higher temperature for the year, it also breaks the previous May 9 record of 73 degrees set in 2014 ... Fairbanks International Airport also reached 70 degrees for the first time this year ... On average, Anchorage sees its first 70 degrees temperature around June 6.
https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Juneau-hits-record-high-and-Fairbanks-hits-70-degrees-for-the-first-time-this-year-570343371.html

A Pandemic That Cleared Skies and Halted Cities Isn’t Slowing Global Warming
In some ways, the dire lockdowns undertaken to stop Covid-19 have fast-forwarded us into an unlikely future—one with almost impossibly bold climate action taken all at once, no matter the cost. Just months ago it would have been thought impossible to close polluting factories virtually overnight and slash emissions from travel by keeping billions at home. Now we know that clear skies and silent streets can come about with shocking speed ... Global demand for energy is set to fall by 6%, seven times the decline seen after the global financial crisis of 2008, according to the IEA’s forecast. In absolute terms the drop is unprecedented—the equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India for one year ... [But] what makes the breathtaking, planetary-scale transformations wrought by the pandemic so unsettling is that none of it registers in the biggest picture. The photographs of clear skies, the charts of falling emissions, the change in daily behavior by billions of people—none of this will slow the dangerous pace of global warming ... Even a 10% drop in emissions from this year would still translate to an increase of 2 ppm in the CO₂ count ... “Because of the inertia in the climate system, even if we were to significantly reduce or stop our emissions today, you would still see the increase in temperatures expected for the next 20 years almost unaffected” ... If an unprecedented event sweeps the planet and inadvertently reduces emissions by more than modern-day humans have ever managed to do intentionally [yet the climate still deteriorates], what does that mean for our climate goals?
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-how-coronavirus-impacts-climate-change/

The Congo rainforest is losing ability to absorb carbon dioxide. That’s bad for climate change.
Scientists have determined that trees in the Congo Basin of central Africa are losing their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, raising alarms about the health of the world’s second-largest contiguous rainforest and its ability to store greenhouse gases linked to climate change. A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature ... [suggested] that the decline in Africa may have been underway for a decade ... The study predicts that by 2030, the African jungle will absorb 14 percent less carbon dioxide than it did 10 to 15 years ago. By 2035, Amazonian trees won’t absorb any carbon dioxide at all, the researchers said. By the middle of the century, the remaining uncut tropical forests in Africa, the Amazon and Asia will release more carbon dioxide than they take up — the carbon “sink” will have turned into a carbon source ... The findings contradict models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and governments around the world, which predicted that the Congo Basin rainforest would continue to absorb carbon for many decades to come.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/the-congo-rainforest-is-losing-its-ability-to-absorb-carbon-dioxide-thats-bad-for-climate-change/2020/03/03/3363d218-5ca9-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html

With world distracted, the Amazon rainforest continues to burn
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon hit a new high in the first four months of the year, according to data released Friday by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute ... 1,202 square kilometres of forest – an area more than 20 times the size of Manhattan – was wiped out in the Brazilian Amazon from January to April, it found. That was a 55 per cent increase from the same period last year, and the highest figure for the first four months of the year since monthly records began ... driven by record wildfires that raged across the Amazon from May to October, in addition to illegal logging, mining and farming on protected lands.
https://www.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/3083623/world-distracted-amazon-rainforest-continues-burn

Heat and Humidity Near the Survivability Threshold: It’s Already Happening
Bolstering a decade of research on the risks of unprecedented heat and humidity from human-caused climate change, a new study finds evidence for more than a dozen cases of heat-humidity combinations that could be deadly if experienced for more than a few hours ... The study focuses on observations of wetbulb temperature, an indicator of how much a person would be able to cool off by sweating ... human skin temperature averages close to 35°C (95°F), wetbulb temperatures above that value would in theory prevent people from dispelling internal heat and potentially lead to fatal consequences within a few hours ... 14 examples of [brief] 35°C wet-bulb readings that have already occurred since 1979 in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates ... Extrapolating from the relationship between global warming and increasing wetbulb temperatures over the past four decades, the authors find that dangerous wetbulb readings will continue to spread across vulnerable parts of the world, affecting millions more people, as human-caused climate change unfolds. “The most important takeaway is the steepness of the trends ... It didn’t matter what level of extremeness we looked at or what part of the world—the trends were upward and very steep across all of those levels.”
https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/heat-and-humidity-near-the-survivability-threshold-its-already-happening
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/19/eaaw1838

Unsuitable for 'human life to flourish': Up to 3B will live in extreme heat by 2070, study warns
If global warming continues unchecked, the heat that's coming later this century in some parts of the world will bring "nearly unlivable" conditions for up to 3 billion people, a study released Monday said. The authors predict that by 2070, much of the world's population is likely to live in climate conditions that are "warmer than conditions deemed suitable for human life to flourish." ... exposed to average annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today, the study said ... The study, which was prepared by an international research team of archaeologists, ecologists and climate scientists, was published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/05/04/world-heat-conditions-unlivable-global-warming-unabated/3063849001/

Facts: Global Temperature
Nineteen of the 20 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

Unprecedented Clear Skies Drove Remarkable Melting in Greenland
In terms of melting, 2019 was one of the worst years for the Greenland Ice Sheet since measurements began ... there was a surface mass loss anomaly of about 320 gigatons of ice—enough water to fill 128 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. Lead author of the new study Marco Tedesco, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said that unusual atmospheric conditions in 2019 were important contributors to this record-breaking loss ... Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, not involved in the study, said that an enormous amount of the Greenland Ice Sheet is at high risk of melting. If this high-risk ice melted, he said, it would be enough to raise sea levels by 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet. In an even more severe scenario, if the entire ice sheet melted, sea level would rise by 7 meters, or nearly 23 feet, which would be catastrophic for many coastal cities ... “The two largest melt events in the past 500 years were recorded in 2012 and 2019,” he said. “This is telling us something.”
https://eos.org/articles/unprecedented-clear-skies-drove-remarkable-melting-in-greenland

How Climate Change Is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease
Over the past few decades, the number of emerging infectious diseases that spread to people ... has skyrocketed. A new emerging disease surfaces five times a year. One study estimates that more than 3,200 strains of coronaviruses already exist among bats, awaiting an opportunity to jump to people. The diseases may have always been there ... But until now, the planet’s natural defense systems were better at fighting them off. Today, climate warming is demolishing those defense systems, driving a catastrophic loss in biodiversity that, when coupled with reckless deforestation and aggressive conversion of wildland for economic development, pushes farms and people closer to the wild and opens the gates for the spread of disease ...  it’s only a matter of time before other exotic animal-driven pathogens are driven from the forests of the global tropics to the United States or Canada or Europe because of the warming climate.
https://www.propublica.org/article/climate-infectious-diseases

Climate Change Could Reawaken Indian Ocean El Niño
Global warming is approaching a tipping point that during this century could reawaken an ancient climate pattern similar to El Niño in the Indian Ocean ... Computer simulations of climate change during the second half of the century show that global warming could disturb the Indian Ocean’s surface temperatures, causing them to rise and fall year to year much more steeply than they do today. The seesaw pattern ...  could emerge as early as 2050. The results, which were published May 6 in the journal Science Advances, build on a 2019 paper by many of the same authors ... “Greenhouse warming is creating a planet that will be completely different from what we know today, or what we have known in the 20th century.”
https://news.utexas.edu/2020/05/06/climate-change-could-reawaken-indian-ocean-el-nino/

Why permafrost thawing in the Arctic matters to the whole planet
“A quarter of the lands in the Northern Hemisphere are underlain by permafrost, ground that’s perpetually frozen and has been in many cases for thousands of years,” he says. That permafrost stores an enormous amount of carbon because it holds so much organic matter. But as the climate warms, some permafrost is starting to thaw. “As that ground thaws, all of a sudden, microorganisms become active and they degrade that plant matter, that animal matter in the soil,” Kelly says. “And in that degradation process, it releases carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere.” That speeds up global warming, which could cause even more permafrost to thaw, accelerating the dangerous cycle. Kelly says it’s just one example of how the Arctic can affect the global climate. “The Arctic is, seemingly, to a lot of people’s minds, just this distant, not very consequential part of the world,” he says. “But it turns out it’s hugely consequential.”
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/05/why-permafrost-thawing-in-the-arctic-matters-to-the-whole-planet/

Warming Caused a Glacier in Alaska to Collapse
At the time, scientists were unsure what triggered these sudden events. But a recent study offers some new insight. An unusually warm summer melted large volumes of ice in 2013. The meltwater pooled behind the cold tongue of ice at the front of the glacier, exerting more and more pressure as it built up. Finally, the pressure became too much. The tongue broke away from the rock below, and the ice went cascading down the mountain. The summer of 2015 was also warmer than average, although not so warm as 2013. But in its weakened state, the glacier was primed to crumble again ... these kinds of events could become a bigger threat as temperatures rise around the globe.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/warming-caused-a-glacier-in-alaska-to-collapse/

Locusts, pandemics, floods: East Africa can’t catch a break
Already struggling with the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and a biblical scourge of locusts, the region is now being lashed by exceptionally heavy rainfall, causing floods that threaten life and livelihood from Ethiopia to Tanzania ... the trifecta of tribulations may well add up to a fourth: food scarcity ...  locusts are “invading the Eastern Africa region in exceptionally large swarms like never seen before.” The swarms are a product of climate change: Unusually wet weather over the past 18 months created perfect breeding conditions.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/05/02/commentary/world-commentary/locusts-pandemics-floods-east-africa/

Grain price: Driest start to spring in western Europe
The European Commission released its crop monitoring bulletin on April 27, in which it reported that “western Europe had one of the driest starts to spring since 1979” ... Rain deficits were shown in large areas across mainland Europe and south-east England. Poland, Ukraine and Romania have had dry conditions since the end of winter.
https://www.agriland.co.uk/farming-news/grain-price-driest-start-to-spring-in-western-europe/

We Don't Want to Alarm Anyone, But a Large Amount of Siberia Is on Fire Right Now
Ten times as much territory was ablaze on April 27 compared to the same time last year ...  the fires have originated from a variety of sources, including out-of-control agricultural fires, arson, and untended campfires ... Currently, the area is undergoing unusually hot weather and strong winds, which as we saw earlier this year in Australia is a dangerous combination. NASA reports that winds on April 23 caused many of the fires used by locals to dry out grass to spread uncontrolled ... This is likely only the start of another intense fire season across the Northern Hemisphere.
https://www.sciencealert.com/so-i-don-t-want-to-alarm-anyone-but-a-huge-amount-of-siberia-is-on-fire

Ocean acidification prediction now possible years in advance
Previous studies have shown the ability to predict ocean acidity a few months out, but this is the first study to prove it is possible to predict variability in ocean acidity multiple years in advance ... researchers were able to capitalize on historical forecasts from a climate model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research [and] found that the climate model forecasts did an excellent job at making predictions of ocean acidity in the real world.
https://phys.org/news/2020-05-ocean-acidification-years-advance.amp

A New Model Is Predicting “One of the Most Active Atlantic Hurricane Seasons on Record” The latest predictions come from Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center. Scientists there are calling for 20 named storms in the Atlantic this year (the 30-year average is 12) ... Models from Colorado State University, AccuWeather, the Weather Channel and the University of Arizona are also projecting above average numbers of storms (16, 14 to 18, 18, and 19, respectively).
https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2020/04/30/active-hurricane-season-2020-forecast/

Alarm over deaths of bees from rapidly spreading viral disease A viral disease that causes honey bees to suffer severe trembling, flightlessness and death within a week is spreading exponentially in Britain ...  Piles of dead individuals are found outside hives with whole colonies frequently wiped out by the disease. A team of scientists led by Prof Giles Budge of Newcastle University identified clusterings of the disease, with cases concentrated among apiaries run by professional beekeepers rather than amateur keepers.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/01/alarm-over-deaths-of-bees-from-rapidly-spreading-viral-disease

Warmest Oceans on Record Adds to Hurricanes, Wildfires Risks
Parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans all hit the record books for warmth last month ... “The entire tropical ocean is above average,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a forecaster at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center ...  the five warmest years in the world’s seas, as measured by modern instruments, have occurred over just the last half-dozen or so years. It’s “definitely climate-change related,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-18/warmest-oceans-on-record-could-set-off-a-year-of-extreme-weather

Pacific Ocean 'blobs' will escalate loss of fish stocks, study says
A new study co-authored by a University of BC researcher predicts increased death rates for Pacific fish stocks from marine heat waves ... by 2050 the large masses of warm water may double the impact of climate change on species that are highly valued for fisheries ... "This is not a one-off event," said Cheung, who is the Canada research chair in ocean sustainability at the UBC Institute for Oceans and Fisheries.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ubc-research-blob-marine-heat-waves-climate-change-fish-stocks-decline-cheung-1.5540702

Climate crisis will make insurance unaffordable for people who need it most
The climate crisis will make insurance unaffordable for many people, particularly those in regional areas, as the damage from extreme weather events increases ... calls for an urgent independent inquiry into the cost of insurance in light of heightened risks linked to global heating ... Murich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company, last year told the Guardian that climate change could make cover for ordinary people unaffordable as it attributed US$24bn of losses from the Californian wildfires on human-induced heating.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/28/climate-crisis-will-make-insurance-unaffordable-for-people-who-need-it-most

British wildfires are getting more frequent. Here's what that means
According to the European Commission, which monitors wildfire activity through its European Forest Fire Information System, there were 79 fires larger than 25 hectares in 2018, rising to 137 fires in 2019. (Compare that to the years 2011 to 2017 when there were fewer than 100 fires altogether.) ... “Wildfires are moving north ... Northern France, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia are all seeing them. In a matter of years the UK will be ill prepared to handle wildfires.”
https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2020/04/british-wildfires-are-getting-more-frequent-heres-what-that

Wildfires in Siberia Bring More Challenges to Locked Down Area
Wildfires in Siberia, Russia, are bringing even more misery to an area which is already on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. On April 23, 2020, strong winds helped to push fires set by locals to dry grass out of control. The regions of Kemerovo and Novosibirsk among others have been the hardest hit to date. Nine Siberian regions have been affected by these wildfires.
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2020/wildfires-in-siberia-bring-more-challenges-to-locked-down-area

Super-Polluting Methane Emissions Twice Federal Estimates in Permian Basin, Study Finds
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, reaffirm the results of a recently released assessment and further call into question the climate benefits of natural gas. Using hydraulic fracturing, energy companies have increased oil production to unprecedented levels in the Permian basin in recent years. Methane, or natural gas, has historically been viewed as an unwanted byproduct to be flared, a practice in which methane is burned instead of emitted into the atmosphere.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/22042020/permian-basin-methane-emissions-texas-new-mexico

Amazon Deforestation Accelerates as Coronavirus Pandemic Hinders Enforcement
With hundreds of environmental enforcement agents sidelined by the pandemic, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has increased to its fastest pace in years—and the season when clearing typically accelerates hasn’t even begun yet. Satellite data collected by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research from August 2019 through March show 2,031 square miles of new clearings, nearly the size of Delaware. The newly deforested area is 71% larger than the previous high for the equivalent period, which was recorded in 2016 and 2017.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-deforestation-accelerates-as-coronavirus-pandemic-hinders-enforcement-11587586399

Germany concerned at possibility of third straight drought year
Germany’s agriculture minister said on Wednesday she is concerned about the impact of continued dry weather on crops and that a third drought year could hit farms “incredibly hard”. Germany suffered droughts in 2018 and 2019 which caused harvest damage and loss of income, Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said in a statement. The ground remains unusually dry.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-harvest-drought/germany-concerned-at-possibility-of-third-straight-drought-year-idUSKCN2241NZ

Will the next great pandemic come from the permafrost?
In a 2017 paper, a team of Belgian researchers describe the threats to human health from microbes that were previously frozen in permafrost. “Over the past few years, there has been increasing evidence that the permafrost is a gigantic reservoir of ancient microbes or viruses that may come back to life” ... Evolutionary ecologist Ellen Decaestecker, who co-authored the 2017 paper, says the increasing encroachment of people into natural areas worldwide is presenting new opportunities for health crises. “We are changing the environment very fast at this moment in terms of habitat fragmentation and climate change ...The chance that [an outbreak] happens as a result of the combination of these factors is quite high.”
https://thenarwhal.ca/next-great-pandemic-permafrost/

Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be followed by even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks ... most comprehensive planetary health check ever undertaken, which was published in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) [said] human society was in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems. In an article published on Monday, with Dr Peter Daszak, who is preparing the next IPBES assessment, they write: “Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development, as well as the exploitation of wild species have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spillover of diseases.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/halt-destruction-nature-worse-pandemics-top-scientists

Slower-moving hurricanes will cause more devastation as world warms
A slow-moving tropical cyclone [does] more damage, because they batter structures for longer ... [This study] saw a marked slowdown as the world warms [which] will increase the risk of storms causing extreme flooding that, among other things, could break dams and spread pollution from factories and farms.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2241444-slower-moving-hurricanes-will-cause-more-devastation-as-world-warms/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/17/eaaz7610

Flooding will affect double the number of people worldwide by 2030
“[T]he numbers will be catastrophic,” according to the report. A total of 221 million people will be at risk, with the toll in cities costing $1.7tn yearly. When WRI first developed its flood modeling tool in 2014, the predictions felt “like a fantasy”, said Charlie Iceland, director of water initiatives at WRI. “But now we’re actually seeing this increase in magnitude of the damages in real time” ... Floods are getting worse because of the climate crisis, decisions to populate high-risk areas and land sinkage from the overuse of groundwater.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/23/flooding-double-number-people-worldwide-2030

Relentless record heat roasts south Florida while most of the Gulf Coast also is cooking
South Florida, in particular, has turned downright hot, obliterating long-standing records. On Monday, Miami experienced its hottest April day recorded, soaring to 97 degrees. Meteorologists say the steamy weather is linked to abnormally warm temperatures in the adjacent waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and a persistent high pressure zone heating the air. But both the extent and intensity of the warmth is unprecedented in many areas and would likely not be happening without the influence of human-induced climate change ... Virtually every coastal city in the Florida Panhandle and peninsula has seen its warmest or second-warmest start to the year on record [and] most Gulf Coast areas have seen one of their top five warmest years.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/04/22/record-april-heat-miami-florida-gulf-coast/

Ice-free Arctic summers now very likely even with climate action
There is a risk the Arctic could be ice-free even in the dark, cold winter months, a possibility described as “catastrophic” ... “Alarmingly the models repeatedly show the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean before 2050, almost irrespective of the measures taken to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Ed Blockley, who leads the UK Met Office’s polar climate programme and was one of the team behind the new research. “The signal is there in all possible futures. This was unexpected and is extremely worrying.” The new research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, uses the latest generation of climate models from 21 research institutes from around the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/ice-free-arctic-summers-now-very-likely-even-with-climate-action

An extraordinary “heatwave” will enter the Arctic region, raising temperatures more than 20°C above the long-term average
A remarkable situation is developing in the polar regions, as a strong pressure anomaly will transport warm air into the Arctic, rising temperatures into positive numbers over the North Pole, boosting the ice melt season ... The most important feature is the strong high pressure over Siberia. Together with the low-pressure system over the North Pole, they will create a “highway” from the south, transporting unseasonably warm temperatures directly north into the Arctic. But as the warmer air moves into the polar region, it pushes the colder air out of the way, into North America.
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/april-strong-arctic-warming-event-fa/

Will Florida be lost forever to the climate crisis?
From sea level rise to habitat loss, the effects of the climate crisis are on the verge of making south Florida uninhabitable
Few places on the planet are more at risk from the climate crisis than south Florida, where more than 8 million residents are affected by the convergence of almost every modern environmental challenge – from rising seas to contaminated drinking water, more frequent and powerful hurricanes, coastal erosion, flooding and vanishing wildlife and habitat.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/21/florida-climate-crisis-sea-level-habitat-loss

Extreme winters in Switzerland are becoming more frequent
[T]his winter became the warmest on record in Switzerland ... Comparing the pre-industrial period of 1871-1900 to the current period of 1991-2020, Swiss winters have become almost 2°C milder. In their 2019/2020 climate bulletin MeteoSwiss infers that the increase in the standard winter temperature, the extreme winters above 0°C, and the disappearance of really cold winters are clear signals of ongoing climate change.
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/climate-change_extreme-winters-in-switzerland-are-becoming-more-frequent/45691658

Scientists confirm dramatic melting of Greenland ice sheet
The ice sheet melted at a near record rate in 2019, and much faster than the average of previous decades. Figures have suggested that in July alone surface ice declined by 197 gigatonnes – equivalent to about 80 million Olympic swimming pools ... climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have not taken into account such unusual conditions. If such high pressure zones become a regular annual feature, future melting could be twice as high as currently predicted, a result that could have serious consequences for sea level rise.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/apr/15/scientists-confirm-dramatic-melting-greenland-ice-sheet

Rapid deforestation of Brazilian Amazon could bring next pandemic: Experts
Nearly 25,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Brazil, with 1,378 deaths as of April 15, though some experts say this is an underestimate. Those figures continue growing, even as President Jair Bolsonaro downplays the crisis, calling it “no worse than a mild flu,” and places the economy above public health. Scientists warn that the next emergent pandemic could originate in the Brazilian Amazon if Bolsonaro’s policies continue to drive Amazon deforestation rates ever higher. Researchers have long known that new diseases typically arise at the nexus between forest and agribusiness, mining, and other human development.
https://news.mongabay.com/2020/04/rapid-deforestation-of-brazilian-amazon-could-bring-next-pandemic-experts/

Climate Change Is Stoking What May Be a Long-Term Megadrought in Western U.S.
Warming temperatures from human-produced climate change have exacerbated an otherwise moderate drought in the western United States and northwestern Mexico, leading to the worst two decades of drying in more than 400 years, argues a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday. The researchers found that the drying from 2000 to 2018 was on par with the driest 19-year periods found in tree-ring records over the last 1,200 years. What’s more, they add, this region could already be in the type of megadrought that can last for decades ... The team behind the study includes scientists from NOAA, NASA and four universities.
https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2020-04-16-climate-change-stoking-long-term-megadrought-western-us
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6488/314

2020 expected to be Earth's warmest year on record, scientists say
Federal scientists announced Thursday that 2020 has nearly a 75% chance of being the warmest year on record for the planet Earth ... Even if 2020 ends up not being the warmest year, NOAA said there's a 99.9% chance that 2020 will end among the five warmest years on record.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/16/global-warming-2020-expected-warmest-year-record-noaa-said/5144767002/

This is likely the last generation to see the Great Barrier Reef as humans have known it
For 500,000 years, the Great Barrier Reef has grown steadily in the cool, clear waters off Australia. But after surviving five glacial periods, the reef’s billions of inhabitants may not survive humanity. On March 26, the Reef endured its third major bleaching event in five years. Many of its corals sustained massive bleaching, even in the southern portion relatively untouched during the previous events.
https://qz.com/1834588/andrea-dutton-on-great-barrier-reef-as-humans-have-known-it-ending/

US to have major floods on daily basis unless sea-level rise is curbed – study
Flooding events that now occur in America once in a lifetime could become a daily occurrence along the vast majority of the US coastline if sea level rise is not curbed ... Within 30 years from now, these now-rare flooding events will become annual occurrences for more than 70% of the locations along the US coast according to the research published in Scientific Reports ... disruption caused by frequent flooding will threaten the habitability of much of the US coastline as it is already widely projected to do to many low-lying islands in the Pacific.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/16/us-climate-change-floods-sea-level-rise

Methane Levels Reach an All-Time High
Methane is roughly 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and while it stays in the atmosphere for only around a decade, as opposed to centuries, like CO2, its continued rise poses a major challenge to international climate goals. “Here we are. It’s 2020, and it’s not only not dropping, it’s not level. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growth rates we’ve seen in the last 20 years,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-levels-reach-an-all-time-high/

Catastrophe 'a matter of time': Spring brings more fears for Missouri River flooding
The forecast is a veritable index of meteorological plagues: above-normal rainfall; greater than normal spring runoff; thoroughly saturated soils; and an aging system of nearly a thousand levees where nobody knows how many were damaged last year and in previous floods or how many were repaired ... “Some of them have been repaired, but from a total system perspective, I don’t think any of them are whole,” said Jud Kneuvean, the district’s chief of emergency management.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/2020/04/11/weather-forecast-rain-missouri-river-flooding/2963875001/

Wildlife Collapse From Climate Change Is Predicted to Hit Suddenly and Sooner
Scientists found a “cliff edge” instead of the slippery slope they expected.
The study predicted that large swaths of ecosystems would falter in waves, creating sudden die-offs that would be catastrophic not only for wildlife, but for the humans who depend on it. “For a long time things can seem OK and then suddenly they’re not,” said Alex L. Pigot, a scientist at University College London and one of the study’s authors. “Then, it’s too late to do anything about it because you’ve already fallen over this cliff edge.” ... When they examined the projections, the researchers were surprised that sudden collapses appeared across almost all species — fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals — and across almost all regions. 
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/climate/wildlife-population-collapse-climate-change.html

Entire Ecosystems Could Abruptly Go Extinct Within This Decade
Biodiversity loss is like a game of Jenga – if the world crosses certain temperature thresholds and enough species in an ecosystem die out, the whole structure can collapse. The authors found that due to the climate crisis, ecosystems could abruptly cross those thresholds in a matter of years ... many species within specific ecosystems will be subject to unprecedented temperatures at the same time, creating an “abrupt” disruption that could upend ecosystems completely ... "once temperatures rise to levels a species has never experienced, scientists have very limited evidence of their ability to survive.”
https://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2020/04/entire-ecosystems-could-abruptly-go-extinct-within-this-decade
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/08/wildlife-destruction-not-a-slippery-slope-but-a-series-of-cliff-edges
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2189-9

New, larger wave of locusts threatens millions in Africa
Billions of the young desert locusts are winging in from breeding grounds in Somalia in search of fresh vegetation springing up with seasonal rains ... UN Food and Agriculture Organization has called the locust outbreak, caused in part by climate change, “an unprecedented threat” to food security and livelihoods. Its officials have called this new wave some 20 times the size of the first ... likely will be another new round of swarms in late June and July, coinciding with the start of the harvest season, the agency said.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/new-larger-wave-of-locusts-threatens-millions-in-africa

Animal Viruses Are Jumping to Humans. Forest Loss Makes It Easier.
The destruction of forests into fragmented patches is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans, according to a study from Stanford University published this month ... the United States has its own example of an animal-borne disease linked to patchwork woodlands close to suburban and rural communities: Lyme disease, which spreads from wildlife to humans by ticks. “We see the animals as infecting us, but the picture that’s coming from the study and other studies is we really go to the animals,” said Dr. Lambin. “We intrude on their habitats.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/climate/animals-humans-virus-covid.html

Lockdowns can't end until Covid-19 vaccine found, study says
Countries wanting to end the lockdown and allow people to move about and work again will have to monitor closely for new infections and adjust the controls they have in place until there is a vaccine against Covid-19 ... researchers warn, if normal life is allowed to resume too quickly and the lifting of controls is too extensive, the reproductive number will rise again. Governments will need to keep a close watch on what is happening, they say.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/08/lockdowns-cant-end-until-covid-19-vaccine-found-study-says

New study helps improve accuracy of future climate change predictions
The study has raised serious doubts of the likely impact of human-led interventions involving [aerosol masking geoengineering] to counteract climate change ... air pollution serves as condensation points for cloud droplets leading to more solar reflectance. This has led many to believe that fossil fuel emissions and other air pollutions may off-set global warming [but the new research] "means that recent theories that increased sulphate production can decrease the impact of climate change need to be reconsidered."
https://phys.org/news/2020-04-accuracy-future-climate.html

NASA Satellite Data Show 30 Percent Drop In Air Pollution Over Northeast U.S.
Over the past several weeks, NASA satellite measurements have revealed significant reductions in air pollution over the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast United States. Similar reductions have been observed in other regions of the world. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders as a result of the spread of COVID-19.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/drop-in-air-pollution-over-northeast

Earth scorched in the first 3 months of 2020
The American economy has seriously sputtered during the coronavirus pandemic, but the planet's relentless warming trend hasn't. After Earth experienced its second-hottest year in 140 years of record-keeping in 2019, the first few months of this year have either broken historic monthly records, or come close. January 2020 was the warmest January on record. February 2020 was the second hottest such month on record. And on Monday, the European Union's climate monitoring agency EU Copernicus reported that March 2020 was "on par" with the second and third warmest Marches on record. Earth's warming atmosphere is reacting to a skyrocketing rise of the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide — now at its highest levels in at least 800,000 years, but more likely millions of years ... It's already likely that 2020 will end up as one of the warmest years on record ... The last decade, before the coronavirus pandemic began, was the warmest decade ever recorded.
https://mashable.com/article/climate-change-2020-records/

2019 atmospheric methane increase greatest in five years
The average level of methane in the atmosphere increased last year by the highest amount in five years, according to preliminary data released Sunday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the average level of methane in the atmosphere increased by 11.54 parts per billion (ppb) in 2019 over the level of methane in the atmosphere in 2018.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/491424-2019-atmospheric-methane-increase-greatest-in-five-years

Michigan’s record-high water levels collide with coronavirus
Officials in Michigan are warning that attempts to curb the coronavirus pandemic could have serious consequences for relief and repairs during what is expected to be another tumultuous spring flooding season. High water levels are expected to cause severe flooding, shoreline erosion, and road and infrastructure damage even worse than was seen last year, the Detroit Free Press reported. By February, the water level of every one of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario had reached a record high. Several places, including Ford Field Park in Dearborn, have been inundated.
https://dailyreporter.com/2020/04/06/michigans-record-high-water-levels-collide-with-coronavirus/

Russia’s Leading Climate Change Expert Gives Sober Prognosis
Apart from Russia warming at 2.5 times the global average since the 1970s, Kattsov said a more dangerous phenomenon has been the increase in temperature variability - meaning more frequent spikes and troughs in hotter or colder directions. This trend is more damaging than gradual warming ... Another ticking time-bomb is the melting permafrost, which covers nearly two thirds of Russia’s territory. As the permafrost melts, infrastructure like roads, pipes, heating systems and houses is likely to be ravaged. Meanwhile, large concentrations of methane and carbon trapped in the permafrost are expected to be released.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/04/03/russias-leading-climate-change-expert-gives-sober-prognosis-a69822

North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests
The North Atlantic may be a weaker climate ally than previously believed, according to a study that suggests the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide has been overestimated ...  discovery is likely to force a negative revision of global climate calculations, say the authors of the NASA-backed study ... “It will require more than just a small tweak.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/03/oceans-capacity-to-absorb-co2-overestimated-study-suggests

The abnormal new normal: confronted by a cluster of threats this summer, is Antarctica at a tipping point?
Antarctica today confronts a cluster of threats – all man-made – that it is ill-equipped to withstand. Early this year, Antarctic summer temperatures spiked to improbable new heights, vaulting above 20 degrees: T-shirt weather. Glaciers on the west of the continent shrank at record rates ... Almost a quarter of the rapidly thinning West Antarctic ice sheet is believed to be unstable, and satellites in late March revealed that the East Antarctic ice sheet – the larger of the two – is increasingly vulnerable ... grave fears of an approaching tipping point.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/the-abnormal-new-normal-confronted-by-a-cluster-of-threats-this-summer-is-antarctica-at-a-tipping-point-20200227-p5450p.html

Data shows the worsening trend of California wildfires
“The main finding is that the recent severe fires in California — including the Thomas fire in 2017 and the Camp fire in 2018 — are part of a trend in California over the past four decades,” said Andrew Plantinga, an economics professor at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. “The trend is toward more wildfires that burn larger areas and cause more damage.” The number of acres burned per year has not only been increasing, the report found, it is also accelerating.
https://wildfiretoday.com/2020/03/31/data-shows-the-worsening-trend-of-california-wildfires/

Coronavirus and climate change: The pandemic is a fire drill for our planet's future
[T]he global high-tech society we've built over the last 100 years is actually a series of networks laid on top of one another ... So how robust or resilient are these networks? ... Suddenly all of these systems that were invisible just a month ago are standing in front of us in sharp relief. Some are even blinking red with warning. The warnings must be taken seriously, as studies of multilayered networks show they can be fragile ... Like this pandemic, climate change is also going to push on the networks that make up our civilization ... Climate change will mean one emergency after another, year after year, as heat waves, floods, fire and storms blow cascades of failures through our systems.
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/coronavirus-climate-change-pandemic-fire-drill-our-planet-s-future-ncna1169991

Rare ozone hole opens over Arctic — and it’s big
A vast ozone hole — likely the biggest on record in the north — has opened in the skies above the Arctic. It rivals the better-known Antarctic ozone hole that forms in the southern hemisphere each year. Record-low ozone levels currently stretch across much of the central Arctic ... an extraordinary atmospheric phenomenon that will go down in the record books. 
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00904-w

Less ice, more methane from northern lakes: A result from global warming
Shorter and warmer winters lead to an increase in emissions of methane from northern lakes, according to a new study by scientists in Finland and the US. Longer ice-free periods contribute to increased methane emissions. In Finland, emissions of methane from lakes could go up by as much as 60%. An international study by scientists from Purdue University in the US, the University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish Environment Institute and the University of Helsinki published in Environmental Research Letters significantly enhances our current knowledge of methane emissions from boreal lakes.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/uoef-lim032620.php

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up
Frozen permafrost soil is the perfect place for bacteria to remain alive for very long periods of time, perhaps as long as a million years. That means melting ice could potentially open a Pandora's box of diseases. The temperature in the Arctic Circle is rising quickly, about three times faster than in the rest of the world. As the ice and permafrost melt, other infectious agents may be released. "Permafrost is a very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark," says evolutionary biologist Jean-Michel Claverie ... In a 2014 study, a team led by Claverie revived two viruses that had been trapped in Siberian permafrost for 30,000 years [and when] they were revived, the viruses quickly became infectious ... Claverie says viruses from the very first humans to populate the Arctic could emerge.
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170504-there-are-diseases-hidden-in-ice-and-they-are-waking-up

'We should start thinking about the next one': Coronavirus is just the first of many pandemics to come, environmentalists warn
The novel coronavirus will not be the last pandemic to wreak havoc on humanity if we continue to ignore links between infectious diseases and destruction of the natural world, environmental experts have warned ... Dr Samuel Myers, principle research scientist at Harvard’s Department of Environmental Health and director of the Planetary Health Alliance, told The Independent: “Human incursions into wildlife habitat bring people into closer proximity with wildlife populations ... animals are an enormous reservoir of pathogens, many of which we haven’t yet been exposed to ... It’s a combination of the size of the human ecological footprint and globalization. Once a pathogen has made that jump from animals to humans, it has the capacity to spread around the globe very quickly” ... Sweeping change is needed including making the crucial link between human health and conservation of the planet. Dr Sala said: “They are not disconnected. There is no sustainable human health without a healthy ecosystem.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coronavirus-uk-pandemics-environmentalists-warning-a9413996.html

Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads
Levels of air pollutants and warming gases over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as coronavirus impacts work and travel. Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year ... With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced ... They have also found that there was a 5-10% drop in CO2 over New York and a solid drop in methane as well ... With aviation grinding to a halt and millions of people working from home, a range of emissions across many countries are likely following the same downward path.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51944780

Global warming will bring more heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes and storms than we think
There will be many more heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes and storms in the coming years than we bargained for, researchers are warning. Scientists are radically underestimating the frequency of future extreme weather events because they have relied too heavily on historical data to guide their assumptions ... The study, published in the journal Science Advances, used the number of actual extreme weather events between 2006 to 2017 to assess how accurate predictions in papers written 1961 to 2005 had been. It found most of the studies - which largely relied on historical data - were way off in their predictions of extreme weather.
https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/global-warming-warning-heatwaves-droughts-hurricanes-storms-2498663

Great Barrier Reef suffers third mass coral bleaching event in five years
“We know this is a mass bleaching event and it’s a severe one.” It follows the worst outbreaks of mass bleaching on record killing about half the shallow water corals on the world’s biggest reef system in 2016 and 2017 ... “Pretty much everything [in the shallows] is bleached. There wasn’t a lot of difference between the species and there is quite a lot of mortality” ... A five-yearly report by the major marine park authority last year found the reef’s outlook had deteriorated from poor to very poor.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/25/great-barrier-reef-suffers-third-mass-coral-bleaching-event-in-five-years

The US Midwest readies for flooding as it copes with coronavirus outbreak
Up to 23 states are set to experience moderate to severe flooding in the spring ... NOAA expects an ongoing rainfall, a highly-saturated soil and above-normal precipitations in the coming months, especially in the Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin and the Red River of the North. Any substantial local rainfall could cause flooding in these areas, already experiencing a high level of soil moisture ... “The current situation with COVID-19 presents us a fight on two fronts: one front, we have the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and on the other, what promises to be a very active spring 2020 flood season.”
https://www.zmescience.com/science/the-us-midwest-readies-for-flooding-as-it-copes-with-coronavirus-outbreak/

'Time is fast running out': World Meteorological Organization warns climate efforts are falling short
The world is significantly falling short when it comes to efforts to curb climate change, according to a new report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization. The intergovernmental organization’s assessment evaluated a range of so-called global climate indicators in 2019, including land temperatures, ocean temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions, sea-level rise and melting ice. The report finds that most of these indicators are increasing, which means the planet is veering way off track in trying to control the pace of global warming.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/time-fast-running-out-world-meteorological-organization-warns-climate-efforts-n1154701

Grace gravity mission captures Greenland ice loss
Greenland shed an extraordinary 600 billion tonnes of ice by the end of summer last year ... analysis appearing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ... Across the entire period of the two missions - 2002 to 2019 - Greenland has lost some 4,550 billion tonnes of ice, an average of 268 billion tonnes annually, which puts the scale of last summer into further context.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51954988

Amazon rainforest reaches point of no return
The impact on the Amazon is catastrophic, Nobre says. “Half of the Amazon rainforest to the east is gone – it’s losing the battle, going in the direction of a savanna. “When you clear land in a healthy system, it bounces back. But once you cross a certain threshold, a tipping point, it turns into a different kind of equilibrium. It becomes drier, there’s less rain. It’s no longer a forest ... We used to say the Amazon had two seasons: the wet season and the wetter season. Now, you have many months without a drop of water.”
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/rainforest/

Planet's largest ecosystems collapse faster than previously forecast
Scientists from the University of Southampton, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Bangor studied data on the transformations of 40 natural environments on land and in waters ... The findings, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, can be explained by the fact larger ecosystems are made up of more compartments, or sub-systems, of species and habitats. This modular set up provides resilience against stress initially; however once a certain threshold has been passed, the same modularity causes the rate at which the ecosystem unravels to accelerate. This means that ecosystems that have existed for thousands of years could collapse in less than 50.
https://phys.org/news/2020-03-planet-largest-ecosystems-collapse-faster.html

Arctic tundra is 80 per cent permafrost. What happens when it thaws?
The tundra of the western Canadian Arctic has long been carpeted in cranberries, blueberries, cloudberries, shrubs, sedges, and lichen that have provided abundant food for grizzly bears, caribou, and other animals. Now, however, as permafrost thaws and slumping expands, parts of that landscape are being transformed into nothing but mud, silt, and peat, blowing off massive amounts of climate-warming carbon that have been stored in the permafrost for millennia. If this had happened in an urban area, it would have resulted in dozens of buildings being swallowed up. If it had happened along a pipeline right-of-way, it might have resulted in an environmental disaster ... an estimated 2.5 million square miles of permafrost — 40 per cent of the world’s total — could disappear by the end of the century, with enormous consequences. The most alarming is expected to be the release of huge stores of greenhouse gases, including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide that have remained locked in the permafrost for ages. Pathogens will also be released.
https://thenarwhal.ca/arctic-tundra-is-80-per-cent-permafrost-what-happens-when-it-thaws/

Polar ice caps melting six times faster than in 1990s
The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date. The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is tracking the worst-case climate warming scenario set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists say.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/11/polar-ice-caps-melting-six-times-faster-than-in-1990s

Emissions: world has four times the work [over] one-third of the time
We draw our conclusions from a synthesis of all ten editions of the Emissions Gap Report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Each year for the past decade, this report has examined the difference between what countries have pledged to do individually to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and what they need to do collectively to meet agreed temperature goals — the ‘gap’. Our analysis shows that the gap has widened by as much as four times since 2010. There are three reasons for this. First, global annual greenhouse-gas emissions increased by 14% between 2008 and 20186. This means that emissions now have to decline faster than was previously estimated, because it is cumulative emissions that determine the long-term temperature increase. Second, the international community now agrees that it must ensure a lower global temperature rise than it decided ten years ago, because climate risks are better understood. And third, countries’ new climate pledges have been insufficient ... The gap is so huge that governments, the private sector and communities need to switch into crisis mode, make their climate pledges more ambitious and focus on early and aggressive action. Otherwise, the Paris agreement’s long-term goals are out of reach. We do not have another ten years.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00571-x

Six Unfolding Climate Scenarios That Keep Security Experts Up At Night
When the Center for Climate and Security released its threat assessment last week in Washington DC, its director asked the experts what keeps them up at night. What emerged was a list of nightmare scenarios most striking because many are already happening:
1 Sudden Sea Level Rise: within a couple of decades [from] black-swan incidents [like] ice sheet collapsing
2 The Growing Non-ecumene: we're going to have unlivable spaces where people currently live
3 Fragile And Failed States: climate-linked effects will likely add to the list of fragile and failed states
4 Collapse Of Democracy And Relations: climate change will lead to migration, countries respond with nationalist movements
5 Nuclear Accidents: nuclear technology in the hands of countries that have not been reliable actors
6 Pandemics And Other Wild Cards: with global order already under stress, a wild card like coronavirus creates more disorder
These nightmare scenarios align with the world’s current trajectory—a 4C increase in average global surface temperature.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2020/03/02/six-unfolding-climate-scenarios-that-keep-security-experts-up-at-night/

This winter in Europe was hottest on record by far, say scientists
This winter has been by far the hottest recorded in Europe, scientists have announced, with the climate crisis likely to have supercharged the heat. The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service ... said the average temperature for December, January and February was 1.4C above the previous winter record, which was set in 2015-16. New regional climate records are usually passed by only a fraction of a degree. Europe’s winter was 3.4C hotter than the average from 1981-2010.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/05/truly-extreme-winter-2019-20-in-europe-by-far-hottest-on-record

Dramatic cuts to air pollution in Europe and Asia could speed up climate change in the short term and lead to heatwaves and heavier rainfall - but 'doing nothing would be worse' [aerosol masking]
Experts from the University of Reading found that cutting pollution in areas with heavy industry would lead to short term temperature spikes and heavier rainfall [due to a decrease in] polluting particles currently reflecting a certain amount of sunlight and stopping it from reaching the ground ... In a series of studies scientists predict a rapid increase in European and Asian heatwaves by 2050 as air pollution is cut sharply in Asia ... already seeing some changes in temperatures over parts of Asia as industry slows down due to Coronavirus in China. He said with fewer planes not flying and factories not running there are fewer heavy polluting particles entering the atmosphere - and then reflecting the sunlight away ... The effect of particle pollution on the atmosphere can already be seen in observations over Europe and China.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8074749/Cuts-air-pollution-SPEED-climate-change-short-term.html

Tropical forests losing their ability to absorb carbon, study finds
Tropical forests are taking up less carbon dioxide from the air, reducing their ability to act as “carbon sinks” ... “We’ve found that one of the most worrying impacts of climate change has already begun,” said Simon Lewis, professor in the school of geography at Leeds University, one of the senior authors of the research. “This is decades ahead of even the most pessimistic climate models.” ... The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by tropical forests peaked in the 1990s when about 46bn tonnes were removed from the air, equivalent to about 17% of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. By the last decade, that amount had sunk to about 25bn tonnes, or just 6% of global emissions ... The study, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, tracked 300,000 trees over 30 years, providing the first large-scale evidence of the decline in carbon uptake by the world’s tropical forests.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/04/tropical-forests-losing-their-ability-to-absorb-carbon-study-finds

How climate change is making record-breaking floods the new normal
Extreme flooding will continue to be concentrated in regions where humans have built on floodplains or low-lying coastal regions. As global warming increases the likelihood for more extreme weather events to occur, risks will expand beyond the high-risk areas known today. More extreme flooding must be expected ... The reality is that this is the world we live in with 1.1oC of warming. These records temperatures, record floods are not anomalous, they are the beginning of a new norms, and the new records will continue to be exceeded, year after year.
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/how-climate-change-making-record-breaking-floods-new-normal

Stony Corals Seem to Be Preparing for a Mass Extinction, Scientists Report
New research shows that stony corals around the world are hunkering down into survival mode as they prepare for a mass extinction event, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports. The international research team ... noticed a suite of behaviors that correspond to a survival response commensurate with how they behaved during the last mass extinction ... "It was incredibly spooky to witness how corals are now exhibiting the same traits as they did at the last major extinction event," said Gruber, in a statement put out by the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. "Corals seem to be preparing to jump across an extinction boundary, while we are putting our foot further on the pedal."
https://www.ecowatch.com/corals-mass-extinction-2645381071.html
see also https://www.newsweek.com/fossil-corals-mass-extinction-1490202

Record-Breaking Warm Weather Expected Around Globe As Human-Caused Climate Crisis Now As Powerful As El Niño's Effects, Says WMO
As countries accustomed to cold, snowy winters reported record-breaking warm weather this season, meteorological experts on Monday predicted that temperatures over the next several months will also be warmer than usual ... "Even ENSO neutral months are warmer than in the past, as air and sea surface temperatures and ocean heat have increased due to climate change," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement. "The signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as that from a major natural force of nature."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/02/record-breaking-warm-weather-expected-around-globe-human-caused-climate-crisis-now

Arctic may see 'ice-free' summers in as few as 15 years, study says
A study suggests that the Arctic "may be essentially ice-free during summer within 15 years." The study used statistical models to predict the future amount of Arctic ice, which suggested that the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer during the decade of the 2030s ... The study was conducted by scientists at NOAA, the University of Washington, and the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies ... the results of the study indicate that there is room for improvement in sea-ice models – and that the ice may disappear even more quickly than current models suggest. "Climate models may be collectively underestimating the rate of change,” the authors write in the study. The study was published in the journal Climate.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/01/arctic-sea-ice-arctic-could-ice-free-summer-few-15-years/4905785002/

Wettest February Ever, And Nearly The Warmest On Record
February 2020 was the wettest February in Dutch history. An average of 142 millimeters of rain fell across the country, while 55 millimeters is normal for the Netherlands in February, according to Weeronline. The month was also exceptionally mild, going into the books as the second warmest February since temperature measurements started in 1901.
https://nltimes.nl/2020/02/27/wettest-february-ever-nearly-warmest-record

Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Atmosphere Hit Highest Level in 3 Million Years
According to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report, the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high was 3 million years ago "when temperature was 2°–3°C (3.6°–5.4°F) higher than during the pre-industrial era, and sea level was 15–25 meters (50–80 feet) higher than today." That period, the Pliocene Era, is unrecognizable from today. Giant camels walked around on the ice-free land above the Arctic Circle, as NBC News reported ... "We've done in a little more than 50 years what the earth naturally took 10,000 years to do," said Siegert to NBC News. Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide are a hallmark of the climate crisis since they are associated with higher temperatures, melting ice and sea level rise, among other effects.
https://www.ecowatch.com/carbon-dioxide-levels-atmosphere-2645274429.html

Dramatic ocean changes are coming ‘a couple decades too early,’ scientists say
Arctic ocean temperatures are rising at rates faster than previously thought by the scientific community. That’s the finding of a new study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which shows warming waters having an effect on everything from sea ice growth to marine ecosystems ... For UAF oceanography professor Seth Danielson, the record low sea ice and record high ocean temperatures of the last couple years came as a shock. “It was a bit surprising because we felt like it came a couple decades too early" ... Danielson says that the rapid changes to Arctic marine ecosystems are happening in real time, as researchers are studying them. He says these changes likely aren’t going anywhere. “It’s not gonna be too long before these extremely low-ice years that we’ve just had in the last couple years will be what we consider to be the norm,” Danielson said ... The paper was published this month in the Nature Climate Change scientific journal.
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/02/24/dramatic-ocean-changes-are-coming-a-couple-decades-too-early-scientists-say/
see also https://www.arctictoday.com/a-radical-transformation-of-the-pacific-arctic-appears-to-be-underway-a-new-study-finds/

Climate Change Will Turn These Common Foods Toxic
With proper preparation, the toxin, hydrogen cyanide, can be flushed out with water. But in the face of agricultural crisis, drought, and poverty, people are forced to choose between going hungry and adhering to these preparations ... All these factors, and especially drought, are predicted to get worse with climate change ... [in] barley, millet, flax, maize, sorghum, cherries, and apples there is the potential for an accumulation of toxins due to loss of water and erratic weather events ... with drought, they slow down or stop this conversion, which leads to a nitrate buildup ... If a human eats large amounts of nitrate, it can “stop red blood cells from transporting oxygen in the human body,” Yale360 reported.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/epgmqw/climate-change-could-lead-to-toxic-food-cassava

Glaciers are disappearing faster than a few years ago
The glaciers are melting seven times faster compared with readings taken during the 1990s. This situation will become worse as sea levels continue to rise. In 2019 Digital Journal presented research that showed global sea levels are set to continue to rise, even if carbon emissions pledges formed as part of the Paris climate agreement are put in place and the environmental goal of a leveling out of global temperatures is achieved ... The new data reveals the extent of the risk to Greenland’s glaciers and provides a new basis for climate scientists to assess more accurately the quantity of meltwater that the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing each year. The research has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/glaciers-are-disappearing-faster-than-a-few-years-ago/article/567592

Fates of humans and insects intertwined, warn scientists
Experts call for solutions to be enforced immediately to halt global population collapses
The researchers said solutions were available and must be implemented immediately ... invertebrates must no longer be neglected by conservation efforts, which tend to focus on mammals and birds. The alert has been published as two articles in the Biological Conservation journal ... in a repeat of the failure of politicians to respond to scientific warnings about climate change, the cautious, scientific language used has not produced an appropriate response from governments ... “Scientists are now turning up the heat on insect declines in the hope that politicians will understand the urgency and the link to human survival, and will take action before it is too late.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/20/fates-humans-insects-intertwined-scientists-population-collapse
reporting on a study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320719317823

Humanity’s Methane Problem Could Be Way Bigger Than Scientists Thought
Fossil-fuel production may be responsible for much more atmospheric methane than scientists previously thought, according to new research published today in the journal Nature ... challenging how much of the total comes from natural versus industrial sources, an important distinction for policy-makers. Conventional wisdom has held until now that fossil sources emit roughly 50 million tons of methane. The new paper’s estimate is dramatically smaller: Just 5 million tons, at most, come from natural sources, or “seeps,” the study says. “If it's not coming from seeps, then it's coming from fossil-fuel operations,” says Rob Jackson, a Stanford professor of Earth system science who wasn’t involved in the study. “There's really no other explanation for it. It's kind of a zero-sum game.” ... The Nature paper builds on earlier work suggesting that natural methane emissions may be dramatically lower than previously indicated.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-19/new-research-says-humans-may-have-an-even-bigger-methane-problem
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-1991-8

JP Morgan economists warn of 'catastrophic' climate change
Human life "as we know it" could be threatened by climate change, economists at JP Morgan have warned. In a hard-hitting report to clients, the economists said that without action being taken there could be "catastrophic outcomes" ... While JP Morgan economists have warned about unpredictability in climate change before, the language used in the new report was very forceful. "We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened," JP Morgan economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray said ... To mitigate climate change net carbon emissions need to be cut to zero by 2050. To do this, there needed to be a global tax on carbon, the report authors said. But they said that "this is not going to happen anytime soon" ... "It is a global problem but no global solution is in sight," the report added.
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51581098

It’s the Warmest Winter Ever and It’s the North Pole’s Fault
With just weeks left to go, the world is heading toward the warmest winter ever recorded as a strange brew of weather patterns at the top of the world combines with the mercury-boosting influence of climate change ...  with temperatures 3° Celsius higher than the 20th century average across the contiguous U.S., the uniqueness of the pattern is expected to spark an avalanche of new research into its cause. If the trend continues through Feb. 29, when winter ends for meteorologists, it will set a global high for the season in U.S. records going back 141 years. “What really jumps out is not a particular hot spot,” said Bob Henson, a meteorologist with the Weather Underground, an IBM company. “But the sheer breadth of the warmth.” ... “We are still in the early days of an evolving climate era,” Henson said. “The climate will keep changing under our feet as we try to get our arms around it.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-21/it-s-the-warmest-winter-ever-and-it-s-the-north-pole-s-fault

Climate change ‘is happening now’
It was raining again on Monday in Oslo, where no snow has fallen in January for the first time since measurements began ... “I keep waiting for winter to come, but it hasn’t,” Ketil Isaksen, a researcher at the state Meteorologic Institute in Oslo told news bureau NTB on January 20. A week later, it still hasn’t, and he’s worried, not just for the ski season that’s being ruined in many areas around southern Norway. Everything from the permafrost on Svalbard to Norway’s flora and fauna north to south is under threat ... “The tendency is clear: Autumn is longer and spring comes earlier.” 
https://www.newsinenglish.no/2020/01/27/climate-change-is-happening-now/

Locust Swarms Ravaging East Africa Are the Size of Cities
A devastating pest outbreak is threatening millions of people with hunger.
The United Nations has warned of an unprecedented threat to food security in a part of the world where millions already face hunger. And the situation will probably get worse before it gets better. Experts say the outbreak—the worst in recent memory—is caused by an increased number of cyclones. If the weather trends continue, there may be more to come. “There is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said. “Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. Today the swarms are as big as major cities and it is getting worse by the day.” The number of locusts in East Africa could expand 500 times by June, the UN's Food & Agriculture Organization said last month.
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-africa-locusts/

Extreme weather could bring next recession
Physical climate risk from extreme weather events remains unaccounted for in financial markets. Without better knowledge of the risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event won't trigger a sudden correction, according to new research from University of California, Davis. The paper, "Energy Finance Must Account for Extreme Weather Risk," was published Feb. 17 in the journal Nature Energy. "If the market doesn't do a better job of accounting for climate, we could have a recession—the likes of which we've never seen before," said the article's author, Paul Griffin, an accounting professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. The central message in his latest research is that there is too much "unpriced risk" in the energy market. "Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008," Griffin said.
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-extreme-weather-recession.amp
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-0548-2

Yes, 1.5 Degrees Celsius Is Long Gone as a Climate Change Target
Realistically, we might manage to top out below 2.5°C, but only if we (a) get lucky and invent something spectacular or (b) give up and start spraying sulfates in the atmosphere. Is this really so hard to admit? All it takes is a quick look at the most basic CO2 emissions chart to see that there’s no reason at all to believe that emissions are suddenly going to start plummeting anytime in next few years ...  I’d add one more truth bomb to this: It’s time to stop blaming Republicans for this state of affairs. Don’t get me wrong: Republicans are obviously lying about climate change for partisan purposes ... But even if Republicans were fully on board with a serious climate plan, it would have only the smallest effect. The USA line in the chart above might be slightly lower than it is. But not a lot. After all, even the biggest plans from Democrats wouldn’t make more than a small dent in that line. And it wouldn’t make any dent at all in the lines that really matter: the ones for China, India, and the rest of the developing world. Those are going up like a rocket, and until that turns around we’ll never make any serious progress on climate change.
https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/01/yes-1-5-degrees-celsius-is-long-gone-as-a-climate-change-target/

Hundreds of thousands of mussels cooked to death on New Zealand beach in heatwave
The mass die-off in Northland was sparked by “an exceptional period of warm weather” combined with low tides in the middle of the day, which had exposed the shellfish, said Dr Andrew Jeffs, a marine scientist from the University of Auckland. He said more marine life would soon be affected by climate change, and there was little that that could be done to protect the vulnerable shellfish ... Scientists had observed mussels suffering under changing weather conditions for a decade, but conditions were now getting more intense and devastating for the animals. “I think we’re going to see entire communities of marine creatures change,” said Jeffs.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/18/hundreds-of-thousands-of-mussels-cooked-to-death-on-new-zealand-beach-in-heatwave

Rising seas already overwhelm the Bay Area. Time is running out for California to act
The fate of Foster City and the rest of the Bay Area was front and center last week as state lawmakers grappled with the many threats California must confront as the ocean pushes farther inland ... Homes are flooding and critical roads and infrastructure are already mere feet from toppling into the sea, they said, but cities up and down the coast have been paralyzed by the difficult choices ahead. More than $150 billion in property could be at risk of flooding by 2100 — the economic damage far more destructive than from the state’s worst earthquakes and wildfires.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-02-11/foster-city-sea-level-rise

Is global climate solidarity impossible?
Although plenty of people around the world still refuse to accept climate science, denial is not the main obstacle impeding the urgent global action needed to save the planet. The bigger problem is that the economic measures that could prevent catastrophic climate change are political non-starters ... Unless and until that changes, an existential crisis of our own making will only worsen.
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/global-climate-solidarity-impossible-by-willem-h-buiter-1-2020-02

Lobster, Ticks, Sea Levels Indicate Warming Climate In New England
Biological markers are the easiest way to show a changing climate. For instance, many New Englanders have been keeping long records of when lakes freeze, or when fruit ripens. Both of these metrics back up the temperatures. At Moosehead Lake in Maine, the trend is both for later ice-in and earlier ice-out. Locally at Blue Hill, the date of the first ripe blueberries continues to come earlier. If you spend time outdoors, you are probably aware of the increase in ticks. In the past few years, the Lone Star tick has managed to make southern New England home, thanks to our less harsh climate. If you’re out on the water, the changes are significant. Lobster habitat has moved well northward as they search for cooler waters. Blue crabs are around in increasing numbers as they expand from the mid-Atlantic. Fishermen reported tropical mahi-mahi as far north as Buzzard’s Bay in August 2018.
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/01/20/new-england-climate-change-ticks-lobster/

Another record temperature recorded in Brussels on Sunday
This news comes alongside reports that Belgium has become systematically warmer and winters gradually drier from the 17th century, according to research by the VUB research group Analytical, Environmental and Geochemistry (AMGC) ... The next five years could be the warmest ever recorded, according to a British weather service. The Met Office says there is a risk the average temperature on Earth could rise by 1.5°C by 2024 ... “The latest forecasts for the next five years suggest temperatures will continue to go up, in accordance with higher levels of greenhouse gases,” said forecaster Doug Smith.
https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/95445/another-record-temperature-recorded-in-brussels-on-sunday/

Climate change: Clean tech 'won't solve warming in time'
Breakthrough technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen cannot be relied on to help the UK meet its climate change targets, a report says. The government had hoped that both technologies would contribute to emissions reductions required by 2050. But the report’s authors say ministers should assume that neither carbon capture and storage (CCS) nor hydrogen will be running "at scale" by 2050. They say the government must start a debate on other, controversial steps ...  report comes from a government-funded consortium of academics from Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham, Bath and Imperial College London.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51389404

The world is failing to ensure children have a 'liveable planet', report finds
Every country in the world is failing to shield children’s health and their futures from intensifying ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices, says a new report. The report says that despite dramatic improvements in survival, nutrition, and education over the past 20 years, “today’s children face an uncertain future”, with every child facing “existential threats” ... The commission, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations children’s agency Unicef, and medical journal the Lancet, calls for radical changes to protect children’s health and futures from the intensifying climate emergency.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/feb/19/the-world-is-failing-to-ensure-children-have-a-liveable-planet-report-finds
reporting on a study at https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)32540-1/fulltext

Birds Are Vanishing From North America
The analysis, published in the journal Science, is the most exhaustive and ambitious attempt yet to learn what is happening to avian populations. The results have shocked researchers and conservation organizations. In a statement on Thursday, David Yarnold, president and chief executive of the National Audubon Society, called the findings “a full-blown crisis” ... the new study, based on a broad survey of more than 500 species, reveals steep losses even among such traditionally abundant birds as robins and sparrows ... “We were stunned by the result — it’s just staggering,” said Kenneth V. Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at Cornell University and the American Bird Conservancy, and the lead author of the new study. “It’s not just these highly threatened birds that we’re afraid are going to go on the endangered species list,” he said. “It’s across the board” ... Europe is experiencing a similar loss of birds, also among common species, said Dr. Gaston, of the University of Exeter. “The numbers are broadly comparable,” he said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/science/bird-populations-america-canada.html

Second Year of Major Spring Floods Forecast for U.S. Heartland
Flooding that overwhelmed much of the interior United States is expected to resume in the next three months and soak communities along the Mississippi River and in the Great Plains for a second consecutive spring ... Extreme wet conditions in 2019, which were consistent with predictions of climate change, caused billions of dollars of damage and led farmers to avoid planting on 20 million acres ... Sections of the James River in South Dakota have been above flood level for 11 consecutive months. Major flooding also is expected along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and at various points in Iowa and Illinois, and in North Dakota along the Red River of the North, the National Weather Service says.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/second-year-of-major-spring-floods-forecast-for-u-s-heartland/

Torrential rain hits Southeast as forecast warns of major spring flooding
A week of torrential downpours is underway across the Southeast and lower Mississippi Valley. With saturated ground and swollen rivers, the three-month outlook calls for the likelihood of major river flooding this spring in some of the same areas hard hit by last year's historic floods. The combination of a stalled front, strong Pacific jet stream and near-record atmospheric moisture levels Monday prompted NOAA's Weather Prediction Center to warn of the "high risk" of life-threatening flash flooding.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rain-flooding-alabama-southeast-mississippi-valley-this-week/

Ballard Locks dam sees highest water flow ever recorded
Ballard Locks dam had the highest water flow ever measured since recordings began in 1946 ... between Feb. 7 to 9, the peak inflow was 15,000 – 16,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).
http://www.myballard.com/2020/02/11/ballard-locks-dam-sees-highest-water-flow-ever-recorded/

Green-Up Happening Weeks Early In Southeast
Parts of the southeastern United States are greening up far ahead of schedule ... So far this year, 2020, observers in the Southeast have noted vegetation greening up as early as 24 days ahead of schedule in Charlottesville, Virginia. The spring leaf out has arrived 20 days early in Knoxville, Tennessee and 18 days early in Nashville, according to www.usanpn.org. The leaf out has also arrived about 10 days early in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington according to the website ...  Areas near the Gulf of Mexico are experiencing a bloom one to two weeks early.
https://www.weathernationtv.com/news/green-up-happening-weeks-early-in-southeast/

Amazon deforestation for January hits record
More than 280 square kilometers (110 square miles) were cleared, an increase of 108 percent ... The sharp increase overlapped the first year in office of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic who has eased restrictions on exploiting the Amazon's vast riches ... On Wednesday, Bolsonaro unveiled a sweeping plan for the Amazon rainforest that would open indigenous lands to mining, farming and hydroelectric power projects. Many NGOs said this would further increase deforestation.
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-amazon-deforestation-january.html

What starts in the Amazon doesn’t stay there: Fires melting Andes glaciers
Fires in the Amazon may be melting Andean mountain glaciers at an increased rate, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Smoke plumes billow from Amazon forest fires and travel with the wind, carrying aerosols such as black carbon to settle upon the surfaces of mountain glaciers, darkening snow. As a result, the snow’s albedo — the amount of light and radiation reflected from the surface — is reduced as absorption is increases. With less sunlight reflected, the glacial energy balance is disrupted and the glacier melts more rapidly ... The phenomenon may be relatively new, as the Amazon rainforest historically was too wet to burn significantly; climate change coupled with deforestation has caused it to grow increasingly dryer over recent years ... A survey of other tropical Andean glaciers found that nearly half of all glacial area has vanished since 1975, with over 80% disappearing in areas below 5,000 meters.
https://news.mongabay.com/2020/01/what-starts-in-the-amazon-doesnt-stay-there-fires-melting-andes-glaciers/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-53284-1

Measuring the Carbon-Dioxide Cost of Last Year’s Worldwide Wildfires
Last year’s mammoth wildfires in the Amazon, Indonesia, and the Arctic Circle triggered a global conversation about the environmental and economic consequences of climate change. So it was with shock and still-raw emotion that, as 2020 began, the world absorbed the images of Australia’s devastating bush fires. These enormous blazes—some the size of a small country—aren’t just destroying native forests and vulnerable animal species. They’re also releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, potentially accelerating global warming and leading to even more fires ... What made 2019 extraordinary wasn’t the overall number of fires, or total fire emissions, but where they happened and how intense they were. Scientists were baffled to record fires burning in some parts of Siberia and Alaska for longer than they’d ever seen ... Scientists were alarmed because what was burning in Indonesia included not only forests, but also peat, which can smolder underground at very low temperatures. It makes fires hard to extinguish and almost impossible to detect from satellite pictures, in turn making it difficult to accurately calculate CO2 emissions. To make matters worse, peat fires release carbon that’s been stored underground for tens of thousands of years ... “The predictions were already there,” Parrington says of last year’s fire season. “We already had studies showing if it becomes drier and hotter in places like the Arctic, at some point there will be fires on a bigger scale than we’ve seen in a long time.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-fire-emissions/

NASA Flights Detect Millions of Arctic Methane Hotspots
In a new study, scientists with NASA's Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment [flew] over some 20,000 square miles (30,000 square kilometers) of the Arctic landscape in the hope of detecting methane hotspots. The instrument did not disappoint ... The paper, titled "Airborne Mapping Reveals Emergent Power Law of Arctic Methane Emissions," was published Feb. 10 in Geophysical Research Letters ... the methane hotspots were mostly concentrated within about 44 yards (40 meters) of standing bodies of water, like lakes and streams ... "we found abrupt thawing of the permafrost right underneath the hotspot," said Elder. "It's that additional contribution of permafrost carbon - carbon that's been frozen for thousands of years - that's essentially contributing food for the microbes to chew up and turn into methane as the permafrost continues to thaw."
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7598

Earth just had hottest January since records began, data shows
Last month was the hottest January on record over the world’s land and ocean surfaces, with average temperatures exceeding anything in the 141 years of data held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ... past five years and the past decade are the hottest in 150 years of record-keeping, an indication of the gathering pace of the climate crisis ... Meanwhile, the Antarctic has begun February with several temperature spikes. The southern polar continent broke 20C (68F) for the first time in its history on 9 February, following another previous high of 18.3C just three days previously. Scientists called the readings “incredible and abnormal” ... planet-warming emissions from human activity are not showing any sign of decline, let alone the deep cuts needed to meet the 2C goal and address the climate crisis.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/13/january-hottest-earth-record-climate-crisis

Preventing the death of the world’s rivers
[W]e are rapidly destroying the planet’s river systems, with serious implications for our economies, societies and even our survival. China is a case in point. Its dam-building frenzy and overexploitation of rivers are wreaking environmental havoc on Asia, destroying forests, depleting biodiversity and straining water resources ... The Mekong River is running at a historically low level ... other countries, from Asia to Latin America, have also been tapping long rivers for electricity generation ... diversion of water for irrigation is also a major source of strain on rivers. In fact, crop and livestock production absorbs almost three-quarters of the world’s freshwater resources, while creating runoff that, together with industrial waste and sewage discharge, pollutes those very resources ... almost two-thirds of the world’s long rivers have been modified, and some of the world’s longest—including the Nile and the Rio Grande—now qualify as endangered ... strain water resources, destroy ecosystems and threaten human health ... aquatic ecosystems have lost half of their biodiversity since the mid-1970s, and about half of all wetlands have been destroyed ... In the US, almost half of rivers and streams are considered to be in poor biological condition ... In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has relaxed environmental rules in the name of economic growth. Among the casualties is the Amazon River ... The world’s rivers are under unprecedented pressure from contamination, damming and diversion.
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/preventing-the-death-of-the-worlds-rivers/

Car ‘splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects
Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades. The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “insect apocalypse”, which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. A third study shows plummeting numbers of aquatic insects in streams.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/12/car-splatometer-tests-reveal-huge-decline-number-insects

Bumblebee Decline Linked With Extreme Heat Waves
Climate chaos is wiping out important pollinators and hastening the loss of global biodiversity, a new study says. [N]ew research by scientists at the University of Ottawa suggests that extreme heat waves have already driven some local North American and European bumblebee populations to the edge of extinction. Measurements of bumblebee species over time "provide evidence of rapid and widespread declines across Europe and North America," the authors of the study wrote. More frequent extreme heat waves with temperatures higher than bees can tolerate help explain the "widespread bumblebee decline," they added ... "Bumblebees are disappearing from areas eight times as fast as they are recolonizing others ... They are the best pollinators in wild landscapes and really important for crops like tomatoes, squash and berries" ... The research "adds to a growing body of evidence for alarming, widespread losses of biodiversity and for rates of global change that now exceed the critical limits of ecosystem resilience."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/05022020/bumblebee-climate-change-heat-decline-migration
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/06/bumblebees-decline-points-to-mass-extinction-study

Peru’s Peatlands Could Greatly Accelerate Global Warming
Scientists have discovered that this Kentucky-size territory contains an enormous underground cache of carbon, in the form of peat—partially decomposed plant matter. Katherine Roucoux, principle investigator of Andueza’s research, says keeping that carbon in the ground “is a very important thing.” If the peat dries, it will decompose—or catch fire—releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere ... An event two decades ago on the other side of the globe alerted scientists to just how greatly peatlands can exhale carbon when they are developed. In 1997—and again in 2015—huge tracts of peat in Indonesia went up in flames. Palm oil farms had drained the perpetually soggy, carbon-rich soil, and dry peat burns easily ... the 1997 conflagration gave off between three billion and almost 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/perus-peatlands-could-greatly-accelerate-global-warming/

Samples from famed 19th century voyage reveal ‘shocking’ effects of ocean acidification
Scientists have known for years that ... acidic waters eat away at the calcium carbonate shells and exo-skeletons of organisms from crabs to corals and make it harder for them to build such structures in the first place. But [they] haven’t been able to examine the long-term impacts of acidification in the open ocean—until now ... on average, all modern specimens had thinner shells than the historic specimens, up to 76% thinner in N. dutertrei, they reported last week in Scientific Reports. Some modern specimens had shells so thin that the team was unable to image some portions ... the researchers say ocean acidification is likely to blame.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/plankton-shells-have-become-dangerously-thin-acidifying-oceans-are-blame

Government Agency Warns Global Oil Industry Is on the Brink of a Meltdown
[T]he increasingly unsustainable economics of the oil industry could derail the global financial system within the next few years. The new report is published by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), which operates under the government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. GTK is currently the European Commission’s lead coordinator of the EU’s flagship mineral resources database and modeling system ... The peer-reviewed report [concludes] that the economic viability of the entire global oil market could come undone within the next few years [leading to] another financial crash as oil markets become unstable, most likely within half a decade ... Although the world therefore needs to urgently transition away from fossil fuels, it may well be too late to do so in a way that avoids an economic crisis.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8848g5/government-agency-warns-global-oil-industry-is-on-the-brink-of-a-meltdown
see also https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/peak-shale-will-send-oil-prices-sky-high-2020-02-07
reporting on a study at http://tupa.gtk.fi/raportti/arkisto/70_2019.pdf

Bumblebees' decline points to mass extinction – study
Bumblebees are in drastic decline across Europe and North America owing to hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures, scientists say ... rates of decline appear to be “consistent with a mass extinction.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/06/bumblebees-decline-points-to-mass-extinction-study
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6478/685

Why Clouds Are the Key to New Troubling Projections on Warming
An apparently settled conclusion about how sensitive the climate is to adding more greenhouse gases has been thrown into doubt by a series of new studies from the world’s top climate modeling groups. The studies have changed how the models treat clouds, following new field research. They suggest that the ability of clouds to keep us cool could be drastically reduced as the world warms — pushing global heating into overdrive ... Real-world data from satellites suggests that the modelers’ predictions may already be coming true. Norman Loeb of NASA’s Langley Research Center has shown that a sharp rise in global average temperatures since 2013 has coincided with a decline in cloud cover over the oceans.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-clouds-are-the-key-to-new-troubling-projections-on-warming

Multiple eco-crises could trigger 'systemic collapse': scientists
Overlapping environmental crises could tip the planet into "global systemic collapse," more than 200 top scientists warned Wednesday. Climate change, extreme weather events from hurricanes to heatwaves, the decline of life-sustaining ecosystems, food security and dwindling stores of fresh water ... topped the list both in terms of likelihood and impact, according to scientists surveyed by Future Earth, an international research organisation. In combination, they "have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that might cascade to create global systemic collapse," a team led by Maria Ivanova, a professor at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, said in a 50-page report.
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-multiple-eco-crises-trigger-collapse-scientists.html
see also https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/06/humanity-under-threat-perfect-storm-crises-study-environment

Wildlife emerging months earlier than normal as winters 'lost' to climate change
Analysis of the conditions in 2019 found that all but one of the 50 spring [indicators] were early last year, amid warmer winter temperatures ... many species are losing their seasonal cues as winters warm and seasons shift. Some could be tempted out of hibernation too soon, and be hit by plummeting temperatures amid increasingly erratic weather, while some birds appeared to be breeding too late.
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/british-wildlife-early-winter-climate-change-butterfly-newt-blackbird-a9315941.html

The world’s oceans are speeding up — another mega-scale consequence of climate change
Three-quarters of the world’s ocean waters have sped up their pace in recent decades, scientists reported Wednesday, a massive development that was not expected to occur until climate warming became much more advanced ... joining revelations about massive coral die-offs, upheaval to fisheries, ocean-driven melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, increasingly intense ocean heat waves and accelerating sea level rise ... this represents an enormous change and a tremendous input of wind energy ... the change was expected to peak at the end of this century, after vastly more warming than has happened so far. This suggests the Earth might actually be more sensitive to climate change than our simulations can currently show.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/02/05/worlds-oceans-are-speeding-up-another-mega-scale-consequence-climate-change/
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/6/eaax7727

Sea level rise accelerating along US coastline, scientists warn
The pace of sea level rise accelerated at nearly all measurement stations along the US coastline in 2019, with scientists warning some of the bleakest scenarios for inundation and flooding are steadily becoming more likely. Of 32 tide-gauge stations in locations along the vast US coastline, 25 showed a clear acceleration in sea level rise last year, according to researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Vims) ... The gathering speed of sea level rise is evident even within the space of a year, with water levels at the 25 sites rising at a faster rate in 2019 than in 2018.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/03/sea-level-rise-accelerating-us-coastline-scientists-warn

January 2020 warmest on record: EU climate service
[January 2020] was the warmest January on record globally, while in Europe temperatures were a balmy three degrees Celsius above the average January from 1981 to 2010, the European Union's climate monitoring system reported Tuesday. Across a band of countries stretching from Norway to Russia, temperatures were an unprecedented 6C above the same 30-year benchmark, Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported in a statement. New temperature highs—monthly, yearly, decadal—have become commonplace due to the impact of climate change, caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels, scientists say. The five last years have been the hottest on record, as was the ten-year period 2010-2019.
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-january-warmest-eu-climate.html

Thanks to clouds, latest climate models predict more global warming than their predecessors
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Leeds and Imperial College London have found that the latest generation of global climate models predict more warming in response to increasing carbon dioxide than their predecessors. These refined models represent aspects of Earth’s climate better than previous models, suggesting that these warmer predictions may be more realistic ... The research appears in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
https://www.llnl.gov/news/thanks-clouds-latest-climate-models-predict-more-global-warming-their-predecessors
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL085782

Arctic permafrost thaw plays greater role in climate change than previously estimated
Abrupt thawing of permafrost will double previous estimates of potential carbon emissions from permafrost thaw in the Arctic, and is already rapidly changing the landscape and ecology of the circumpolar north ... new study distinguishes between gradual permafrost thaw, which affects permafrost and its carbon stores slowly, versus more abrupt types of permafrost thaw. Some 20% of the Arctic region has conditions conducive to abrupt thaw [which] is a large emitter of carbon, including the release of carbon dioxide as well as methane, which is more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. That means that even though at any given time less than 5% of the Arctic permafrost region is likely to be experiencing abrupt thaw, their emissions will equal those of areas experiencing gradual thaw ... published today in Nature Geoscience. "Forests can become lakes in the course of a month, landslides occur with no warning, and invisible methane seep holes can swallow snowmobiles whole." ... the first paper to pull together the wide body of literature on past and current abrupt thaw across different types of landscapes ... "The impacts from abrupt thaw are not represented in any existing global model and our findings indicate that this could amplify the permafrost climate-carbon feedback by up to a factor of two."
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-arctic-permafrost-greater-role-climate.html

Climate Models Are Running Red Hot and Scientists Don’t Know Why
The simulators used to forecast warming have suddenly started giving us less time.
There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on what it would take to heat the planet ... Then last year these same models [that] have successfully projected global warming for a half century sent future projections upward at an unheard-of rate ... Climate models have been doing a fine job projecting warming for a long time. A recent study [showed] 14 of 17 past projections turned out to be consistent with the measured path of global average temperatures ... one factor [that] might have caused the recent unusual results [is] new cloud and aerosol settings ... “What really scares me is that our model looked better for some really good physical reasons,” he said. “So we can't throw them out yet” ... climate-modeling groups will peruse each other’s results to figure out how seemingly good improvements in cloud and aerosol science may have pushed the models into hotter states.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-03/climate-models-are-running-red-hot-and-scientists-don-t-know-why
see also https://phys.org/news/2019-12-cooling-role-particulate-earth-stronger.html
see also https://www.zmescience.com/science/global-warming-faster-93252342/

Scientists alarmed to discover warm water at "vital point" beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier"
While researchers have observed the recession of the Thwaites Glacier for a decade, this marks the first time they detected the presence of warm water ... "The fact that such warm water was just now recorded by our team along a section of Thwaites grounding zone where we have known the glacier is melting suggests that it may be undergoing an unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea-level rise," David Holland, director of New York University's Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Global Sea Level Change, which conducted the research, said in the news release.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-thwaites-melting-scientists-warm-water-antarctica-doomsday-glacier/
see also https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2020/january/scientists-find-record-warm-water-in-antarctica--pointing-to-cau.html
reporting on a study at https://thwaitesglacier.org/projects/melt

Australia’s Marine Animals Are the Fires’ Unseen Victims
More than 17.1 million hectares of land have burned across the country, with the worst fires currently raging in New South Wales and Victoria ... Though Australia is in the midst of a massive drought, when the rain inevitably returns—as it already has in some regions—this organic matter will rush into rivers and flow into coastal lakes, estuaries, and seagrass and seaweed beds ... The free-flowing silt will get into fish’s gills and block sunlight that seagrass and seaweed beds need for photosynthesis, effectively strangling them ... The slurry of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen will also cause algae in the water to bloom. The algae will consume the oxygen in the water, suffocating species that rely on it ... Some of these effects are already being felt.
https://truthout.org/articles/australias-marine-animals-are-the-fires-unseen-victims/

After California wildfires, insurance companies drop some homeowner policies
In 2017, California wildfires cost insurance companies $13 billion. That’s $4 billion more than the cost of the prior 10 years combined. In 2018, the costs grew even higher. Dave Jones, a former insurance commissioner of California, says these skyrocketing costs affect homeowners. “When risks get too extreme for insurance companies, they do two things,” he says. “One is they raise the price of their product to reflect that risk, and second, they begin to write less insurance for that risk.”
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/after-california-wildfires-insurance-companies-drop-some-homeowner-policies/

“A Trillion Trees” is a great idea—that could become a dangerous climate distraction
We’d have to plant and protect a massive number of trees for decades to offset even a fraction of global emissions. And years of efforts can be nullified by droughts, wildfires, disease, or deforestation elsewhere ... the US produced about 5.8 billion tons of emissions across the economy last year. Absent other climate policies, that’d suggest we need to dedicate nearly 155 million hectares (371 million acres), or well over twice the area of Texas. The problem is, the US and most nations don’t have vast amounts of suitable land sitting around. And converting it comes at a cost to farming, food production, logging, and other uses. Indeed, a report last week by the Committee on Climate Change concluded the United Kingdom would need to commit a fifth of its farmland to dedicated carbon storage, on top of many other efforts, for the nation to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615102/tree-planting-is-a-great-idea-that-could-become-a-dangerous-climate-distraction/

Arctic on red alert as lands grow greener
As Arctic summer temperatures warm, plants are responding. Snow is melting earlier and plants are coming into leaf sooner in spring. Tundra vegetation is spreading into new areas and where plants were already growing, they are now growing taller ... Researchers from Europe and North America are finding that the Arctic greening observed from space is caused by more than just the responses of tundra plants to warming on the ground ... The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, was funded in part by the National Geographic Society and government agencies in the UK, North America and Europe, including NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) and the UK's Natural Environment Research Council.
https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2020/arctic-on-red-alert-as-lands-grow-greener
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0688-1

African countries to bear the brunt of climate change: FAO
African countries that are still in their development phase and over reliant on agriculture for survival will be the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, drastically reducing yields and also threatening food security, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says ... The United Nations organisation responsible for food security also reiterated the need for Third World countries to be better equipped for their agriculture to survive.
https://southerntimesafrica.com/site/news/african-countries-to-bear-the-brunt-of-climate-change-fao

Ladakh's Melting Glaciers Ring A Warning Bell, Why Indo-Gangetic Plain Is In Danger Zone
World Economic Forum shared its Global Risks Report 2020 ... Himalayas is ground zero [where] less snowfall and heavy rainfall contribute to erratic climatic conditions ... nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population depends directly or indirectly on mountain resources for water supply [and] in the Indo-Gangetic plain, home to over 400 million people, that source is the Himalayas ... in Davos, in the Swiss Alps, over the course of the last week, the world’s business and political leaders deliberated on how to address the climate crisis. Typically, nothing tangible came out, despite climate change being the key theme. “We will be destroyed by climate change, not the planet. This will be for us a clear indication that we absolutely need to change course. Humankind has declared a war on nature and nature is striking back in a very violent way,” UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said rather dejectedly.
https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/sports-news-ladakhs-melting-glaciers-ring-a-warning-bell-why-indo-gangetic-plain-is-in-danger-zone/302705

Methane hotspots where the siberian arctic sea 'boils' studied by scientists
In a study published in Science Advances, a team of researchers led by Brett Thornton, from Stockholm University, went on a two-month expedition to the Arctic to take measurements of methane coming from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, off the Russian and Alaskan coasts ... "The problem is, if this huge amount of methane is coming out of the sea, then we are missing a major part of the global methane emissions, and our understanding of global methane is wrong," Thornton said. "But many land stations making measurements of methane around the Arctic Ocean haven't seen large increases of methane that would be expected from large sea emissions. So what is actually happening?"
https://www.newsweek.com/methane-bubbles-boil-sea-arctic-1484666

World's Oldest Rainforest Is Being Cooked to Death by Climate Change, Authorities Warn
A statement issued Monday by the management authority for the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area warns that site, which spans 450 kilometers (280 miles) along Australia’s northeast coast, is experiencing “accelerating decline” as a result of human-caused climate change ... the world’s oldest rainforest; a relic of the Gondwana forest that spanned parts of Australia and Antarctica some 50 million years ago ... “This is occurring now, not in the future, and requires an immediate response,” the board wrote in the statement.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/worlds-oldest-rainforest-is-being-cooked-to-death-by-cl-1834411328

English councils set to miss carbon emission targets
The findings make it “inconceivable” that they will become carbon neutral within 30 years, as the government has mandated ... Despite 78% of councils in the survey saying they are planning towards net zero operation by 2050, 47% say they do not have a strategy in place to reduce the carbon emissions from housing, offices and other buildings.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/27/english-councils-set-to-miss-carbon-emission-targets

Global heating may lead to wine shortage
Researchers looked at the land suitable for 11 popular varieties of wine grape and found that 2C (3.6F) of warming above pre-industrial levels – a rise the world is on track to exceed – would result in a 56% loss of suitable land within current wine-growing regions compared with the 1970s, before the most serious impacts of global heating.
https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/jan/27/global-heating-may-lead-to-wine-shortage-vineyard

Race to exploit the world’s seabed set to wreak havoc on marine life
Jouffray is the lead author of an analysis, published last week in the journal One Earth ... which paints an alarming picture of the impact of future exploitation of the oceans. This threat comes not just from seabed mining – which is set to expand dramatically in coming years – but from fish farming, desalination plant construction, shipping, submarine cable laying, cruise tourism and the building of offshore wind farms. This is “blue acceleration”, the term that is used by Jouffray and his co-authors to describe the recent rapid rise in marine industrialisation, a trend that has brought increasing ocean acidification, marine heating, coral reef destruction, and plastic pollution in its wake.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/25/race-for-seabed-threat-to-oceans

Pacific Ocean’s rising acidity causes Dungeness crabs’ shells to dissolve
The Pacific Ocean is becoming so acidic it is starting to dissolve the shells of a key species of crab, according to a new US study. Scientists found that the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable species for recreational and commercial fisheries, is starting to weaken as its larvae are affected by rising ocean acidity. The study was published in the Science of the Total Environment academic journal and funded by the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/28/crabs-shells-dissolve-acidity-pacific-ocean

2018's Four Corners drought directly linked to human-caused climate change
Climate scientists from UC Santa Barbara's geography department have now distilled just how strong an effect human-induced warming had on that event. Their findings appear in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society ... 60 to 80% of the region's increased potential for evaporation stemmed from human-induced warming alone, which caused additional warming of 2 degrees Celsius ... These findings are a conservative estimate of climate change's influence on the drought, according to Williams. For one, the study only considered the impact human-induced warming had on temperatures. Climate change may also have influenced the region's low rainfall. What's more, there are strong feedback cycles between the atmosphere and the land, which the study left out.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200123152606.htm

Humans risk living in an empty world, warns UN biodiversity chief
The warning comes on the eve of the Davos World Economic Forum, where biodiversity loss has been highlighted as the third biggest risk to the world in terms of likelihood and severity this year, ahead of infectious diseases, terror attacks and interstate conflict. The ongoing destruction of life-supporting ecosystems such as coral reefs and rainforests means humans risk living in an “empty world” with “catastrophic” consequences for society.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/20/humans-risk-living-in-an-empty-world-warns-un-biodiversity-chief-aoe

Arctic sea ice can't 'bounce back'
The study examined whether past ice changes north of Iceland were "forced" (caused by events such as volcanic eruptions and variations in the sun's output) or "unforced" (part of a natural pattern) ... "There is increasing evidence that many aspects of our changing climate aren't caused by natural variation, but are instead 'forced' by certain events," he said. "Our study shows the large effect that climate drivers can have on Arctic sea ice, even when those drivers are weak as is the case with volcanic eruptions or solar changes. Today, the climate driver isn't weak volcanic or solar changes -- it's human activity, and we are now massively forcing the system."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200121112913.htm

NOAA Gets Go-Ahead to Study Controversial Climate Plan B
Government climate scientists will study two geoengineering proposals to counteract global warming
One [approach] is to inject sulfur dioxide or a similar aerosol into the stratosphere to help shade the Earth from more intense sunlight. It is patterned after a natural solution: volcanic eruptions, which have been found to cool the Earth by emitting huge clouds of sulfur dioxide. The second approach would use an aerosol of sea salt particles to improve the ability of low-lying clouds over the ocean to act as shade ... the results likely wouldn’t be immediate ... might take until the next century to complete the cooling ... There would be drawbacks, he noted ... “When you put aerosols up into the atmosphere, it ... opens up this whole menu of things that you’d have to worry about.”
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/noaa-gets-go-ahead-to-study-controversial-climate-plan-b/

Planet Just Had Costliest Decade for Global Natural Disasters: Insurance Industry Report
The economic losses from 2010–2019, according to Aon's Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2019 Annual Report, hit nearly $3 trillion ... "Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the last decade of natural disasters was the emergence of previously considered 'secondary' perils—such as wildfire, flood, and drought—becoming much more costly and impactful" ... Aon's report comes a week after scientists confirmed 2019 was the second-warmest year on record and ended the warmest decade on record.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/22/planet-just-had-costliest-decade-global-natural-disasters-insurance-industry-report

A ‘Green Swan’ is the next economic nightmare
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) — known as the central bank for central banks — said in a paper titled “The Green Swan” that climate-related events could be the source of the next financial crisis ... “The increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events could trigger non-linear and irreversible financial losses. In turn, the immediate and system-wide transition required to fight climate change could have far-reaching effects potentially affecting every single agent in the economy and every single asset price.” ... In Deutsche Bank's outline of economic history over the last few centuries, growth has been the tide that lifts all boats, a “game changer for health and living standards.” But if climate change makes a sustainable path forward for growth untenable, then our modern societal organization around this economic policy could be upended. “Such sacrifices may shock citizens and be difficult to administer in democracies ... The problem for the environmental lobby is that a world without economic growth may create a damaging backlash against such climate policies. Nevertheless, the problem with the status quo is that the irreversible damage to our planet will increase.” On the one hand, modern civilization is screwed. On the other hand, modern civilization is screwed.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-economists-worry-reversing-climate-change-is-hopeless-morning-brief-110537963.html
reporting on a study at https://www.bis.org/publ/othp31.htm

Widespread Melt on the George VI Ice Shelf
These images were acquired on January 19, 2020, by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Christopher Shuman, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County glaciologist based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, noticed the melt in the Landsat images. He noted: “It is the only complete view of such a widespread surface melt event on the George VI Ice Shelf captured in the nearly 50-year-long Landsat record.” Alison Banwell, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who currently has a three-year fieldwork project on the shelf, noticed the melt in images acquired that same day with the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite. “This is the biggest melt event we know to have occurred on the George VI ice shelf,” she said. “What’s worrying is if George VI looks like this, other ice shelves on the peninsula probably have plenty of meltwater too,” Banwell said. “And those ice shelves are less stable.”
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146189/widespread-melt-on-the-george-vi-ice-shelf

Scientists Highlight A Catastrophe Taking Place With UK’s Plankton
60 years of data show 70% of the vital ocean plankton have simply vanished
Yet they alone as the grass of ocean pastures are what feed all fish, or what few fish can survive on these UK ocean pastures that have become ever more desolate ocean deserts ... The study was written by world-leading researchers [and] forms part of the MCCIP Report Card 2020, which summarizes 26 individual, peer-reviewed scientific reports to provide detailed evidence of observed and projected climate change impacts.
https://russgeorge.net/2020/01/20/uk-reports-70-of-uk-plankton-has-gone-missing/

Geographers find tipping point in deforestation
University of Cincinnati geography researchers have identified a tipping point for deforestation that leads to rapid forest loss ... deforestation occurs comparatively slowly until about half of the forest is gone. Then the remaining forest disappears very quickly. The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ...  it's possible that development such as logging roads or drainage required to clear forest makes continued change that much easier.
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-geographers-deforestation.html

2019 A Record Breaking Typhoon Year For West Pacific Ocean
2018 was a record year as far as Typhoons are concerned. However, 2019 set a new mark surpassing the previous year’s records not only in number but it has also been the costliest Pacific season on record. 2019 has been rated as above average year with 29 tropical storms, out of which 17 became Typhoons and four became Super Typhoons. Another record breaking incident occurred on the first day of 2019 itself, when the first named storm Pabuk was formed [and the final] named storm of 2019 was Phanfone dissipated on Dec 29.
https://www.skymetweather.com/content/global-news/2019-a-record-breaking-typhoon-year-for-west-pacific-ocean/

[New Zealand] Farmers' funds run dry, families struggle, as drought threatens eastern Northland
Extremely dry conditions across all of Northland are costing farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars and driving families to extreme measures to save precious water. The region has just experienced its hottest and driest year, breaking 16 records in 2019. The start of 2020 has also seen extremely dry conditions across Northland, said Ben Noll, a meteorologist and forecaster for The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. "We're now seeing the emergence of meteorological drought conditions for eastern Northland," he said. "It's the compounding effect of several seasons in a row with below normal rainfall and lack of soil moisture that leads us to this point."
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118969814/farmers-funds-run-dry-families-struggle-as-drought-threatens-eastern-northland

Zimbabwe’s national grain stocks dwindle
Zimbabwe’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) is down to below 100,000 tons of the staple maize from the mandatory 500,000 tons following a drought last year, a cabinet minister said Wednesday ... Zimbabwe’s consumes about 1.8 million tons of grain annually, but produced less than 800,000 tons last season due to the impact of drought and Cyclone Idai.
https://www.newsghana.com.gh/zimbabwes-national-grain-stocks-dwindle/

Premier declares Northern Cape disaster area due to drought
[South Africa's Northern Cape] province has officially been declared a disaster area due to drought - just as another municipality battles crippling water shortages, with its dam water levels below 23% of capacity ... [And] municipal manager Charl du Plessis announced that the drought-stricken Eastern Cape municipality was extending a declaration of a state of disaster.
https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/premier-declares-northern-cape-disaster-area-due-to-drought-41148947

Eight million salmon killed in a week by sudden surge of algae in Norway
Deaths come weeks after similar incident in Scotland: ‘We’re all pretty worried’
A sudden surge in algae has killed at least eight million salmon in one week across Norwegian fish farms, the state-owned Norwegian Seafood Council has said. The enormous algal blooms, due to recent warm weather, have spread rapidly around Norway’s northern coast, sticking to fishes’ gills and suffocating them. Wild fish can swim away from the lethal clouds of aquatic organisms, but farmed fish are trapped. The algae is continuing to spread, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said ... There are now no commercial wild salmon fishing stations operating in the UK due to the collapse in numbers. “There’s basically no fish stocks left on the west coast. It’s become almost a marine desert, and the use of these chemicals (from the salmon farming industry) has not helped the situation.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/salmon-farming-norway-algae-killed-fishing-seafood-council-a8925581.html

[Nebraska] As A New Flood Season Nears, Some Towns Still Can't Pay To Fix Damages From 2019
Adams said repairs haven’t been made yet to the town’s levee system, which puts him and neighboring farmers at risk to flood again this year ... Peru isn’t the only community on the hook ... Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation Tunnel collapsed in western Nebraska last July, leaving over a hundred thousand crop acres to shrivel in the sun for two months ... Adams wanted me to see his grain bins. He warned me of the indescribable smell of rotten corn, which remains beyond language. They look like an art installation: a collection of cartoonishly bent metal flanked by 150,000 bushels of moldy blue-grey kernels ... "You think everything's good, you're at a peak, you've made contacts, you've talked to congressional people, and you think things are going to happen,” Adams said. “And then all of a sudden, nothing does, and you're down in a valley. So you know, it's kind of a little roller coaster.”
http://netnebraska.org/article/news/1204020/new-flood-season-nears-some-towns-still-cant-pay-fix-damages-2019

Where nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300-times stronger than CO2, is being emitted
Until the launch of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite in 2017, it was difficult to track NOx precisely. But now scientists are getting their first detailed looks at data collected by the satellite. Sensors onboard Sentinel-5P can capture NOx emissions at a resolution of 7 km ... The next generation of satellites from the European Space Agency and private firms may even be able to identify NOx from individual factories and power plants.
https://qz.com/1745204/maps-of-nitrous-oxide-emissions-a-potent-greenhouse-gas/

CFCs responsible for half of Arctic sea-ice loss
Halogenated compounds played a major role in global warming and Arctic sea ice loss in the late-20th century, a new study has found. Organic halogen compounds are known to have depleted atmospheric ozone concentrations, famously contributing to the ozone hole over the Antarctic. But until now, few studies have examined their other effects on climate, beyond their impact on stratospheric ozone. Now, an investigation led by Columbia University geophysicist Lorenzo Polvani has revealed the extent to which ozone-depleting substances (ODS) contributed to temperature rises and sea-ice loss in the Arctic by direct radiative warming, between 1955 and 2005. On a molecule-by-molecule basis, halogenated organic compounds trap much more heat in the atmosphere than most other known compounds. For example dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12) has a global warming potential almost 11,000 times that of carbon dioxide. This means that, although ODS might exist in much smaller atmospheric concentrations than other greenhouse gases, their impact can be just as significant.
https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/cfcs-responsible-for-half-of-arctic-sea-ice-loss/4011037.article

Study finds shocking rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas
Efforts to reduce levels of one potent greenhouse gas appear to be failing, according to a study. Scientists had expected to find a dramatic reduction in levels of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC-23 in the atmosphere after India and China, two of the main sources, reported in 2017 that they had almost completely eliminated emissions. But a paper published in the journal Nature Communications says that by 2018 concentrations of the gas – used in fridges, inhalers and air conditioners – had not fallen but were increasing at a record rate ... Scientists say the fact they found emissions had risen is a puzzle and could have implications for the Montreal protocol, an international treaty that was designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. Kieran Stanley, the lead author of the study, said that although China and India were not yet bound by the agreement, their reported reduction would have put them on course to be consistent with it. “Our study finds that it is very likely that China has not been as successful in reducing HFC-23 emissions as reported,” he said.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/21/study-finds-shock-rise-in-levels-of-potent-greenhouse-gas-hfc-23

Climate change won’t result in a new normal but in constant, horrifying new disasters
At an intense level of combined heat and humidity—a “wetbulb” reading of 35 degrees Celsius, hotter and more humid than humans have ever experienced—the air will become so muggy that people can’t sweat and their organs begin to shut down. A healthy person sitting outside could eventually overheat and die, even if they’re resting in the shade. And by 2030, there’s a chance that this type of deadly heat wave could hit regions in India where as many as 200 million people live. A new report from McKinsey Global Institute looks at the risk of extreme heat in India along with eight other case studies of the potential physical risks of climate change over the next three decades ... For more than 10,000 years, and the entire history of human civilization, the climate has been relatively stable. Now it is not ... It’s not that we’re moving to a “new normal” but to a world where the climate is constantly changing ... “A stable climate really drives how we design the world around us,” says Krishnan. “And that could now put systems at risk around the world.” ... Globally, the researchers looked at 105 countries, and found that by 2030, all of them would face an increased risk of at least one major impact. Millions of lives could be at risk, along with trillions of dollars’ worth of economic activity and capital.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90452018/climate-change-wont-result-in-a-new-normal-but-in-constant-horrifying-new-disasters
reporting on a study at https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/climate-risk-and-response-physical-hazards-and-socioeconomic-impacts

Were other humans the first victims of the sixth mass extinction?
Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one ... the extinctions’ timing suggests they were caused by the spread of a new species, evolving 260,000-350,000 years ago in Southern Africa: Homo sapiens. The spread of modern humans out of Africa has caused a sixth mass extinction, a greater than 40,000-year event extending from the disappearance of Ice Age mammals to the destruction of rainforests by civilisation today. But were other humans the first casualties?
https://theconversation.com/were-other-humans-the-first-victims-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction-126638

World needs to prepare for 'millions' of climate displaced: U.N.
The world needs to prepare for millions of people being driven from their homes by the impact of climate change, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday. Speaking to Reuters at the World Economic Forum, Filippo Grandi said a U.N. ruling this week meant those fleeing as a result of climate change deserved international protection, and that it had broad implications for governments. The U.N. Human Rights Committee made the landmark ruling on Monday.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-refugees/world-needs-to-prepare-for-millions-of-climate-displaced-u-n-idUSKBN1ZK1Q2

Pyrenees glaciers to disappear within 30 years, scientists warn
Glaciers have already shrunk by half in the past 20 years in the mountains on the border between France and Spain, according to a new report by scientists who monitor them for the local environmental group Moraine. “Pyrenean glaciers are doomed,” said Pierre René, an expert on glaciers.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/19/pyrenees-glaciers-disappear-within-30-years-scientists-warn/

An intensifying climate crisis threatens more than half of the world’s GDP, research claims
Over half of the world’s gross domestic product is exposed to risks from nature loss ... The report, which was produced by the World Economic Forumin in collaboration with PwC UK, found that $44 trillion of economic value generation — more than half of the world’s GDP — is “moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services and is therefore exposed to nature loss.” Policymakers and business leaders from around the world are due to arrive in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum on Monday. The annual January get-together is scheduled to focus on the intensifying climate crisis.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/19/davos-climate-crisis-threatens-more-than-half-of-the-worlds-gdp-wef-says.html

Climate threats now dominate long-term risks, survey of global leaders finds
Climate-change-related threats such as extreme weather, large-scale biodiversity losses and a failure of political leaders to slow planetary heating are now the top long-term risks facing the globe, business and other leaders said on Wednesday. An annual risk survey published ahead of the World Economic Forum next week put climate threats ahead of risks ranging from cyberattacks and pandemics to geopolitical conflict and weapons of mass destruction for the first time ... Peter Giger, chief risk officer for the Zurich Insurance Group, warned that "the longer we wait (to tackle climate change), the more painful the transition will be" because of the rapid plunge in emissions that delay would necessitate. He pointed to the rapid disappearance of insect species around the world, including those that pollinate 75% of the world's crops, as a result of climate change and other pressures. If insects and the pollination services they provide disappear, "that's a catastrophic outcome" for food security and for business.
http://news.trust.org/item/20200115150054-km9of/

Study Confirms Climate Models are Getting Future Warming Projections Right
In a study accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a research team led by Zeke Hausfather of the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a systematic evaluation of the performance of past climate models. The team compared 17 increasingly sophisticated model projections of global average temperature developed between 1970 and 2007 with actual changes in global temperature observed through the end of 2017 ... “The results of this study of past climate models bolster scientists’ confidence that both they as well as today’s more advanced climate models are skillfully projecting global warming,” said study co-author Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York.
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2943/study-confirms-climate-models-are-getting-future-warming-projections-right/

New Climate Models Show That Clouds Could Screw the Paris Agreement
In a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers examined the sensitivity of more than two dozen new climate models. If the models are right, the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement to cap global warming could be out of reach ... in new climate models, this [cloud] effect isn’t as powerful in cooling the Earth as scientists once thought. At the same time, models also predict that Earth will have fewer and thinner low-level clouds, particularly in the mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere. Thick, fluffy clouds low in the atmosphere help block sunlight from Earth and protect it from some warming, so losing cloud coverage means losing that protection.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/new-climate-models-show-that-clouds-could-screw-the-par-1841000435

Beetles and fire kill dozens of 'indestructible' giant sequoia trees
Giant sequoia trees, the largest living organisms on the planet – some more than three millennia old – have started dying from beetle attacks linked to the climate emergency ... The deaths have challenged age-old assumptions about the tree, which only grows on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and is fabled for its near-indestructibility ... “It’s unheard of. It’s never happened before,” said Dr Christy Brigham, chief of resource management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, who oversees the welfare of ecosystems in the parks.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/18/beetles-and-fire-kill-dozens-of-california-indestructible-giant-sequoia-trees-aoe

Federal study links climate change, giant sequoia deaths
Once regarded as virtually indestructible, some of California's giant sequoia trees are succumbing to the effects of high heat and climate change ... unprecedented combination of drought, fire and beetle infestation, all linked to a warming climate. That's according to the preliminary results of a joint study by the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey ... Earlier studies have warned that the trees, which are native to California's Sierra Nevada, face a double risk from rising temperatures and a declining snowpack. And a 2012 study in the journal Science found that 100- to 300-year-old trees were on the front lines of a changing climate, dying at high rates around the world partly because of hotter and drier weather.
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1062150049

Global warming cited as Antarctica's chinstrap penguin population drops by half
"They come back to the same place to nest every year, which means we can really keep tabs on their populations," explains Alex Borowicz, a researcher at Stony Brook University. "By observing penguins and trying to figure out what makes their populations work, we can get an idea of the health of this whole area" ... One nearby island, actually called Penguin Island, has seen its chinstrap population plunge by 75 percent over the past four decades. The numbers have dropped across the region as average temperatures have soared ... "It's very dramatic to have a wildlife population decline by 50% - an unexploited wildlife population. They're not hunted."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/global-warming-cited-as-antarctica-chinstrap-penguin-population-drops-by-half/

All-time record as dam after dam overflows in January
[The dams of Cyprus] have never overflowed so early in the year, the Water Development Department said on Wednesday as two more of the largest reservoirs reached full capacity and water flooded over the dam walls. Kouris and Evretou reservoirs overflowed between Tuesday and Wednesday while Kalavassos residents woke up to find a river where a road had been ... Τhe Polemidia reservoir overflowed on Wednesday for the second year in the row. Several smaller reservoirs, mainly in Paphos, have also reached capacity in recent days ... According to senior engineer at the WDD Marios Hadjicostis this is the first time that water reserves have been so high in January, forcing dam after dam to overflow.
https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/01/08/all-time-record-as-dam-after-dam-overflows-in-january-updated

Mount Everest is melting fast, satellite images reveal
According to what the researchers have found, glaciers surrounding Mount Everest have lost far more ice than once thought. Researchers have generated a digital surface-elevation models of the glaciers ... the glaciers along Mount Everest's flanks had shrunk significantly from the top down and this happened in between 1962 to 2018.
https://www.indiatvnews.com/science/mount-everest-is-melting-satellite-photos-show-580085

Earth's oceans are hotter than ever — and getting warmer faster
The world's oceans hit their warmest level in recorded history in 2019, according to a study published Monday that provides more evidence that Earth is warming at an accelerated pace. The analysis, which also found that ocean temperatures in the last decade have been the warmest on record, shows the impact of human-caused warming on the planet's oceans and suggests that sea-level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather events could worsen as the oceans continue to absorb so much heat ... the rate of ocean warming accelerated from 1987 to 2019 to nearly 4½ times the rate of warming from 1955 to 1986 ...  the study [was] published Monday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/earth-s-oceans-are-hotter-ever-getting-warmer-faster-n1114811

Arctic methane levels reach new heights
Latest data released by a US institution, the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), sounds afresh alarm bells for the Artic and climate change. It adds further evidence corroborating an earlier hypothesis that predicts a catastrophic release of methane in the coming decades due to thawing Arctic permafrost ... To spot methane levels breaking the 2000ppb mark so sharply in this fragile region is unprecedented ... "This increase is very bad news for climate change as methane is such a strong climate forcer."
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2019/09/arctic-methane-levels-reach-new-heights-data-shows

'Scale of This Failure Has No Precedent': Scientists Say Hot Ocean 'Blob' Killed One Million Seabirds
On the heels of new research showing that the world's oceans are rapidly warming, scientists revealed Wednesday that a huge patch of hot water in the northeast Pacific Ocean dubbed "the blob" was to blame for killing about one million seabirds. The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by a team of researchers at federal and state agencies, conservation groups, and universities ... "The magnitude and scale of this failure has no precedent," lead author John Piatt, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, said in a statement.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/16/scale-failure-has-no-precedent-scientists-say-hot-ocean-blob-killed-one-million

The Panama Canal is running out of water
“Historically, the months of October and November are the rainiest,” says Ricaurte Vásquez, administrator of the canal, at a press conference. But last year the rain in the Canal Basin was 34 per cent and 27 per cent below its historic average in October and November respectively, he said. At the same time, temperature rise has led to a ten per cent rise in evaporation from the reservoirs which supply the canal. All this spells trouble for the system of waterways and artificial reservoirs that have been developed to support the canal’s lock mechanism, which requires millions of gallons of fresh water pouring into it to transfer ships across. The worry is that the nearby Gatún reservoir now has too low a reserve of water to face the dry season, which is just beginning now and, in a worst case scenario, could last as late as July.
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/panama-canal-climate-change

Australians could become 'climate refugees' due to rising global temperatures
Australia could become so hot and dry that the country's residents could become climate refugees. That's the view of acclaimed US climatologist and geophysicist Michael Mann who's in Australia studying climate change ... "It is conceivable that much of Australia simply becomes too hot and dry for human habitation," said Dr Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. "In that case, yes, unfortunately, we could well see Australians join the ranks of the world's climate refugees."
https://7news.com.au/news/climate-change/australians-may-become-climate-refugees-c-648335

BlackRock’s Larry Fink: Risks from climate change are bigger than the 2008 financial crisis with no Fed to save us
BlackRock chief Larry Fink is warning that the financial risks of climate change are bigger than any crisis he’s experienced in his career on Wall Street. Fink, whose BlackRock has nearly $7 trillion in assets under management, used his annual letter to the world’s biggest companies to sound the alarm. “We don’t have a Federal Reserve to stabilize the world like in the five or six financial crises that occurred during my 40 years in finance. This is bigger .... Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/14/larry-fink-risk-from-climate-change-bigger-than-2008-financial-crisis.html

Atlantic circulation collapse could cut British crop farming
Such a collapse—a climate change "tipping point"—would leave Britain cooler, drier and unsuitable for many crops, the study says ...  The point of this detailed study was to discover how stark the impacts of AMOC collapse could be. The study follows a recent paper by Lenton and colleagues warning of a possible "cascade" of inter-related tipping points ... AMOC collapse and the resulting temperature drop could lead to a host of other economic costs for the UK ... The paper, published in the inaugural issue of the journal Nature Food, is entitled: "Shifts in national land use and food production in Great Britain after a climate tipping point."
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-atlantic-circulation-collapse-british-crop.html

Climate change: Australia fires will be 'normal' in warmer world
UK scientists say the recent fires in Australia are a taste of what the world will experience as temperatures rise. Prof Richard Betts from the Met Office Hadley Centre said we are "seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions under a future warming world of 3C" ... Their study looked at 57 research papers published since the last major review of climate science came out in 2013. All the studies in the review showed links between climate change and the increased frequency or severity of fire weather.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51094919

The gathering firestorm in southern Amazonia
Wildfires, exacerbated by extreme weather events and land use, threaten to change the Amazon from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source ...  climate projections suggest that Amazon fire regimes will intensify under both low- and high-emission scenarios. Our results indicate that projected climatic changes will double the area burned by wildfires ...  Aggressive efforts to eliminate ignition sources and suppress wildfires will be critical to conserve southern Amazon forests.
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/2/eaay1632

Ocean temperatures hit record high as rate of heating accelerates
The heat in the world’s oceans reached a new record level in 2019, showing “irrefutable and accelerating” heating of the planet. The world’s oceans are the clearest measure of the climate emergency because they absorb more than 90% of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel burning, forest destruction and other human activities. The new analysis shows the past five years are the top five warmest years recorded in the ocean and the past 10 years are also the top 10 years on record ... Hotter oceans lead to more severe storms and disrupt the water cycle, meaning more floods, droughts and wildfires, as well as an inexorable rise in sea level. Higher temperatures are also harming life in the seas ... The analysis, published in the journal Advances In Atmospheric Sciences, uses ocean data from every available source.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/13/ocean-temperatures-hit-record-high-as-rate-of-heating-accelerates

Greenland’s Ice Melt Rate Has Now Accelerated To A Whopping 234 Billion Tons Of Ice Lost Per Year
When scientists in the 1990s measured the amount of ice melting off the Greenland Ice Sheet, they observed it losing 25 billion tons of ice per year. Now a consortium of 89 polar scientists from 50 scientific institutions assessed the current rate of ice loss ...  The results of this study, recently released in Nature, show that between 1992 and 2018, Greenland lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice. This means that Greenland’s current rate of ice loss has accelerated from 25 billion to 234 billion tons per year, a whopping nine times increase in faster melt rate.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauratenenbaum/2020/01/12/greenlands-ice-melt-rate-has-now-accelerated-to-a-whopping-234-billion-tons-of-ice-lost-per-year/

Nearly half of Singapore's butterfly species are extinct: Study
Almost half of Singapore's native butterfly species have disappeared over the past 160 years, with the loss of specific plants and deforestation being key drivers of the local extinctions. Of the 236 butterfly species thought to be locally extinct, 132 are known species such as the green dragontail and chocolate tiger butterflies. There are 413 native species of butterflies in Singapore.
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/study-nearly-half-of-spores-butterfly-species-extinct

Australia’s Wildfire Catastrophe Isn’t the “New Normal.” It’s Much Worse Than That.
“There is no precedent for the scale and speed at which these brushfires are spreading ... we’re being given a vision for our future if we don’t act on climate ... These are what keep us up at night as climate scientists,” says Michael Mann.
https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/01/michael-mann-australias-wildfires-podcast-climate-change/

Australia Shows Us the Road to Hell
[S]cientific persuasion is running into sharply diminishing returns. Very few of the people still denying the reality of climate change or at least opposing doing anything about it will be moved by further accumulation of evidence ... climate action will have to offer immediate benefits to large numbers of voters, because policies that seem to require widespread sacrifice would be viable only with the kind of political consensus we clearly aren’t going to get.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/09/opinion/australia-fires.html

Arctic ice melt makes permafrost vulnerable
The absence of sea ice in the Arctic is closely connected to the melting of permafrost, according to a new study. Permafrost contains massive amounts of carbon which are likely to be released as climate change heats up the world ... disappearance of Arctic summer ice will speed up the loss of this permanently frozen ground ... frozen regions of Siberia, Canada, Greenland and Alaska store about double the amount of carbon that's up in the atmosphere. But as the Earth warms, and the soils starts to get hotter, the microbes become active and the greenhouse gases drift upwards ... The research team anticipates that in the decades to come, the Arctic will become free of summer sea ice and the direct heating and insulation from the snow will accelerate the collapse of permafrost ... The study has been published in the journal Nature.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51024844

India suffers hottest decade on record
The last decade was India’s hottest on record with the national weather office calling the impact of global warming “unmistakable” ... suffering devastating floods, dire water shortages and baking temperatures. The southern city of Chennai last year declared “day zero” as taps ran dry ... India’s five warmest years on record all fell in the last decade.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/2132040/3-india-suffers-hottest-decade-record/

Antarctic Waters: Warmer with More Acidity and Less Oxygen
The increased freshwater from melting Antarctic ice sheets plus increased wind has reduced the amount of oxygen in the Southern Ocean and made it more acidic and warmer, according to new research led by University of Arizona geoscientists ... The research is the first to incorporate the Southern Ocean’s increased freshwater plus additional wind into a climate change model ... Previously, global climate change models did not predict the current physical and chemical changes in the Southern Ocean, said Russell, who holds the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair in Integrative Science ... The team’s paper, “Importance of wind and meltwater for observed chemical and physical changes in the Southern Ocean,” was published in Nature Geoscience.
https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/antarctic-waters-warmer-more-acidity-and-less-oxygen

West’s ‘Dust Bowl’ Future now ‘Locked In’, as World Risks Imminent Food Crisis
Research sponsored by global credit ratings agency Moody’s concludes that by the end of century, parts of the US and Europe are now bound to experience severe reductions in rainfall equivalent to the American ‘dust bowl’ of the 1930s ... ‘locked in’ as a consequence of carbon emissions which we have already accumulated into the atmosphere ... risks of a global food crisis in coming decades, such as a multi-breadbasket failure ... heightened risk of droughts in the 2020s means that a global food crisis could be imminent ... The report is designed to inform financial investors of unavoidable impacts due to previous carbon emissions, as well as likely dangers from continuing emissions. “We are already locked into substantial impacts because past emissions will continue to contribute to warming regardless of any emission reductions made today” concludes the report ... compelling evidence points to significant near-term risks that could even erupt within a few years.
https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-01-06/wests-dust-bowl-future-now-locked-in-as-world-risks-imminent-food-crisis/
reporting on a study at http://427mt.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Demystifying-Scenario-Analysis_427_2019.pdf

2019 in climate science: A continued warming trend and 'bleak' research
The last six years have been the six hottest globally ever recorded by humans ... risks of severe climate change impacts will grow as global temperatures warm ... countries’ planned fossil fuel extraction efforts will far overshoot the Paris climate targets, consistent with a pathway of more than 3C hotter than pre-industrial temperatures ... "anthropogenic global warming is not only unparalleled in terms of absolute temperatures, but also unprecedented in spatial consistency” ... the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in 1492 and the subsequent large-scale massacres of native populations (an estimated 56 million deaths by 1600, shrinking the indigenous population 90%) had a detectable influence on the global climate [leading] to “5 ppm CO2 additional uptake into the land surface in the 1500s compared to the 1400s [and] a human-driven global impact on the Earth System in the two centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution” ... “dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species” ... “a net loss approaching three billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance” ... Himalayan glaciers have been losing ice at a rate twice as fast as they had in the prior 25 years ... Antarctica has been losing ice at a rate six times faster than during the 1980s ... Climate scientists’ findings and reports increasingly raise the alarm of a “climate emergency.”
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/2019-in-climate-science-a-continued-warming-trend-and-bleak-research/

Spain set for record temperatures in 2020 as summer heatwave predicted
According to weather analyst for Spain David Pinkitt, ” I see this year Spain having the warmest summer ever on record, where temperatures inland could possibly peak at 48/49c” around July and August” ... 2020 will see a longer period of heatwave through the summer similar to what’s happening in Australia at present” ... will cause great concern in Spain as reservoir levels due to a lack of rain fall through both the autumn and winter in 2019 are at low levels
https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2020/01/07/spain-set-for-record-temperatures-in-2020-as-summer-heatwave-predicted/

Urgent new ‘roadmap to recovery’ could reverse insect apocalypse
The world must eradicate pesticide use, prioritise nature-based farming methods and urgently reduce water, light and noise pollution to save plummeting insect populations, according to a new “roadmap to insect recovery” compiled by experts ... advocates immediate action on human stress factors to insects which include habitat loss and fragmentation, the climate crisis, pollution, over-harvesting and invasive species. Phasing out synthetic pesticides and fertilisers used in industrial farming and aggressive greenhouse gas emission reductions are among a series of urgent “no-regret” solutions to reverse what conservationists have called the “unnoticed insect apocalypse” ... scientists must urgently establish which herbivores, detritivores, parasitoids, predators and pollinators are priority species for conservation, according to a new paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution ... The paper comes amid repeated warnings about the threat of human-driven insect extinction causing a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/06/urgent-new-roadmap-to-recovery-could-reverse-insect-apocalypse-aoe

Most ice on Earth is very close to melting conditions
Measuring ice melt and the unprecedented changes in our cryosphere – the frozen parts of the planet which regulate the climate by reflecting the sun’s heat – is crucial for understanding future situations ... most ice on Earth is very close to melting conditions, a few degrees below 0°C, and thus reacts very sensitively to changes in air temperatures. Small temperature changes can trigger melt and (large) environmental changes. Sea level change through increased melt of glaciers and ice sheets is certainly the most far-reaching effect of ice melt on Earth ...
https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/most-ice-earth-very-close-melting-conditions.html

Global Weather Has Been Affected By Climate Change Every Single Day Since 2012
Publishing their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study authors looked at weather readings taken at multiple locations across the world to calculate the global daily temperature going back several decades. When comparing this average global temperature to the expected values based on statistical models, the researchers were able to identify the “fingerprint” of climate change on any given day. Results showed that global temperatures have been higher than natural models predicted every single day since March 2012, suggesting that the weather can indeed be taken as an indicator of climate change ... The “weather-is-not-climate” argument may, therefore, need revising, as while it is true that regional temperatures give little away, global weather does in fact reflect climate change.
https://www.iflscience.com/environment/global-weather-affected-climate-change-every-single-day-since-2012/

In Australia's Burning Forests, Signs We've Passed a Global Warming Tipping Point
As extreme wildfires burn across large swaths of Australia, scientists say we're witnessing how global warming can push forest ecosystems past a point of no return ... The surge of large, destructive forest fires from the Arctic to the tropics just in the last few years has shocked even researchers who focus on forests and fires and who have warned of such tipping points for years. The projections were seen as remote, "something that would happen much farther in the future," said University of Arizona climate scientist David Breashers. "But it's happening now. Nobody saw it coming this soon, even though it was like a freight train. It's likely the forests won't be coming back."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/08012020/australia-wildfires-forest-tipping-points-climate-change-impact-wildlife-survival

Australia Will Lose to Climate Change
In the past three months, bushfires in Australia’s southeast have burned millions of acres, poisoned the air in Sydney and Melbourne, and forced 4,000 tourists and residents in a small beach town, Mallacoota, to congregate on the beach and get evacuated by the navy ... Over the past six months, Australian fires have burned more than twice the area than was consumed, combined, by California’s 2018 fires and the Amazon’s 2019 fires ... Perhaps more than any other wealthy nation on Earth, Australia is at risk from the dangers of climate change. It has spent most of the 21st century in a historic drought. Its tropical oceans are more endangered than any other biome by climate change. Its people are clustered along the temperate and tropical coasts, where rising seas threaten major cities. Those same bands of livable land are the places either now burning or at heightened risk of bushfire in the future ... Australia will continue to burn, and its coral will continue to die.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/01/australia-caught-climate-spiral/604423/

Geoengineering Wouldn't Be Enough to Stop Greenland From Melting
The findings, published last month in Earth’s Future, explore what would happen if the world pumped particles high into the atmosphere that would reflect sunlight back into space. This high-altitude air conditioning scheme, known as solar radiation management or SRM, would bring down the global average temperature. The paper’s results show that cooling would help slow—though not stop—the melting of the ice sheet. That could buy coastal regions time but also change the climate in other ways that may end up hurting other regions around the world.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/geoengineering-wouldnt-be-enough-to-stop-greenland-from-1840615605

The sad truth about our boldest climate target
Limiting global warming to 1.5˚C is almost certainly not going to happen.
If we had peaked and begun steadily reducing emissions 20 years ago, the necessary pace of reductions would have been around 3 percent a year, which is ... well, “realistic” is too strong ... but it was at least possible to envision. We didn’t, though ... Now, to hit 1.5˚C, emissions would need to fall off a cliff, falling by 15 percent a year every year, starting in 2020, until they hit net zero ... Emissions have never fallen at 15 percent annually anywhere, much less everywhere. And what earthly reason do we have to believe that emissions will start plunging this year? ... As the old cliché in climate policy goes, we should be planning for 4˚C and aiming for 2˚C instead of what we’re doing, which is basically the reverse, drifting toward 4˚C while telling ourselves stories about a 2˚C (and now, 1.5˚C) world.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/1/3/21045263/climate-change-1-5-degrees-celsius-target-ipcc
see also https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/01/yes-1-5-degrees-celsius-is-long-gone-as-a-climate-change-target/

We are seeing the very worst of our scientific predictions come to pass in these bushfires
As a climate scientist, the thing that really terrifies me is that weather conditions considered extreme by today’s standards will seem sedate in the future. What’s unfolding right now is really just a taste of the new normal ... as a lead author on the forthcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment report of the global climate due out next year, I can assure you that the planetary situation is extremely dire ... I’ve found myself wondering whether the Earth system has now breached a tipping point, an irreversible shift in the stability of the planetary system. There may now be so much heat trapped in the system that we may have already triggered a domino effect that could unleash a cascade of abrupt changes ... The scientific community is acknowledging this by including new sections on abrupt climate change throughout key areas of the upcoming IPCC report.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/03/we-are-seeing-the-very-worst-of-our-scientific-predictions-come-to-pass-in-these-bushfires

The signal of human-caused climate change has emerged in everyday weather, study finds
For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Thursday in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change. The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution ... the research alters what we can say about how weather and climate change are connected. “We’ve always said when you look at weather that’s not the same as climate ... That’s still true locally, if you are in one particular place and you only know the weather right now, right here, there isn’t much you can say.” However, on a global scale, that is no longer true ... “Global mean temperature on a single day is already quite a bit shifted. You can see this human fingerprint in any single moment.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/01/02/signal-human-caused-climate-change-has-emerged-every-day-weather-study-finds/

Climate crisis fuels year of record temperatures in UK, says Met Office
A series of high temperature records were broken in the UK in 2019 ... “It is notable how many of these extreme records have been set in the most recent decade and how many more of them are reflecting high rather than low-temperature extremes, a consequence of our warming climate,” said Mark McCarthy, the head of the Met Office’s national climate information centre ... A recent comprehensive expert analysis concluded that the world was on a path to climate disaster, with three-quarters of the commitments countries made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement rated as “totally inadequate”. Nations agreed to limit global heating to 2C above pre-industrial levels, or 1.5C if possible. Each country made a voluntary pledge of climate action, but to date these would result in global temperatures rising by a disastrous 3-4C.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/03/climate-crisis-fuels-year-of-record-temperatures-in-uk-says-met-office

Little time left to arrest Greenland’s melting
Norwegian and US scientists have taken a close look at the ice age history of Greenland and come to a grim conclusion. All it takes to set the island’s ice cap melting away is a mean sea surface temperature higher than seven degrees Celsius. And the present mean sea surface temperature is already 7.7°C ... the pattern of geological evidence – outlined in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – combined with climate models suggests that any sustained temperature rise could trigger an irreversible melt of the entire southern Greenland ice sheet ...  widespread alarm at the rate of melt and mass loss in Greenland has been consistent ... this rate of melting has itself begun to accelerate.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/little-time-left-to-arrest-greenlands-melting

On land, Australia’s rising heat is ‘apocalyptic.’ In the ocean, it’s worse.
Over recent decades, the rate of ocean warming off Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state and a gateway to the South Pole, has climbed to nearly four times the global average, oceanographers say. More than 95 percent of the giant kelp — a living high-rise of 30-foot stalks that served as a habitat for some of the rarest marine creatures in the world — died ... In 1950, giant kelp stretched over 9 million square meters in a thick band along Tasmania’s coast [but now] it covers fewer than 500,000 meters in little spots on the coastline ... Kelp forests’ “importance is equal to forests on land ... so if you can imagine what the world would be like without trees, that’s what a world without kelp forests would be like.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/world/climate-environment/climate-change-tasmania/

Record Hit For Most Ice To Melt In Antarctica In One Day, Data Suggests: "We Are In A Climate Emergency"
Production of melt water is a record 230 percent higher than average since November this year. That's despite the melting season not yet being over ... Antarctica has been "significantly warmer than average" this melting season ... "We have observed a crash of the Antarctica polar vortex just before this melting season [which] allows warm air masses to reach easier the ice sheet ... the signal coming from global warming can not be ignored here." ... In an article published in the journal Nature, scientists [said] if the likely interconnected tipping points are met, a domino-effect of "long-term irreversible changes" to the planet could be triggered. "Evidence that tipping points are underway has mounted in the past decade," the experts wrote.
https://www.newsweek.com/record-hit-ice-melt-antarctica-day-climate-emergency-1479326

Your electric car and vegetarian diet are pointless virtue signaling in the fight against climate change
Significantly cutting CO2 emissions without reducing economic growth will require far more than individual actions. It is absurd for middle-class citizens in advanced economies to tell themselves that eating less steak or commuting in a Toyota Prius will rein in rising temperatures. To tackle global warming, we must make collective changes on an unprecedented scale. By all means, anyone who wants to go vegetarian or switch to an electric car should do so, for sound reasons such as killing fewer animals or reducing household energy bills. But such decisions won’t solve the problem of global warming.
https://www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/guid/90B2547C-25CB-11EA-8ACF-1E53DFC48893

Greenland’s Nearing a Climate Tipping Point. How Long Warming Lasts Will Decide Its Fate, Study Says
There's new evidence that, in past geologic eras, much of Greenland's ice melted when Earth's temperatures were only slightly warmer than today's ... how much of the ice melts, and how fast, depends in large part on how long temperatures stay above that threshold, scientists write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings are a warning that we are probably overestimating the stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23122019/greenland-ice-sheet-climate-tipping-point-temperature-duration-sea-level-rise-pnas-study

In Asia Pacific the climate crisis is happening now, not in the future
Far from being anomalies, scientists say the climate crisis is causing more extreme weather events -- and it's having devastating consequences in Asia and the Pacific. The "relentless sequence of natural disasters" over the past two years "was beyond what the region had previously experienced or was able to predict," said a United Nations ESCAP report ... while many people in developed countries see the climate crisis as an urgent but future problem, for millions living in Asia-Pacific, it's already touching every part of life ... home to 60% of the world's population, is one of the most vulnerable areas to the climate crisis.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/23/asia/asia-pacific-climate-crisis-intl-hnk/index.html

As Alaska permafrost melts, roads sink, bridges tilt and greenhouse gases escape
Alaska’s permafrost is under assault from a warming climate, and it’s happening a lot faster than anticipated. Hillside slopes have liquefied, unleashing slides that end up as muddy deltas in salmon streams. The ground under the Nome airport runway -- key to linking the community to the outside world -- has thawed, requiring costly patches. And during the hottest July on record, a sinkhole 14 feet deep opened along a main road in the city ... Fossil-fuel combustion still is the main source of greenhouse-gas emissions driving climate change. But the world's permafrost now releases 1.2 to 2.2 million metric tons each year -- at the upper end, nearly equal to Japan's greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a report this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/weather/2019/12/17/as-alaska-permafrost-melts-roads-sink-bridges-tilt-and-greenhouse-gases-escape/

Ability of re-grown Amazon forest to combat climate change ‘vastly overestimated’, study suggests
Cleared areas that are re-planted are known as secondary forest, and have been seen as key to fighting climate change, researchers at Lancaster University said. But a new study has found that those areas held just 40 per cent as much carbon dioxide as sequestered by parts of the Amazon untouched by humans, casting doubt on their ability to aid in mitigating the crisis. And at the same time, global warming appeared to be hampering the re-growth of secondary forest ... “If current trends continue, it will take well over a century for the forests to fully recover, meaning their ability to help fight climate change may have been vastly overestimated,” Lancaster University said.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/amazon-rainforest-climate-change-deforestation-drought-study-a9257631.html

‘The tipping point is here, it is now,’ top Amazon scientists warn
In the past, climate modelling has indicated an approaching Amazon tipping point when global climate change, combined with increasing deforestation, could result in a rapid Amazon shift from rainforest to degraded savanna and shrubland, releasing massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere when the world can least afford it. Now, scientists Carlos Nobre and Thomas Lovejoy report that researchers are seeing evidence in both the atmosphere and on the ground that this tipping point has been reached and will worsen if no action is taken immediately to reverse the situation. They reference a NASA satellite study revealing an increasingly dry Amazon over time, which space agency scientists say is one of “the first indications of positive climate feedback mechanisms.”
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/12/the-tipping-point-is-here-it-is-now-top-amazon-scientists-warn/

Applying physics principle to meteorology yields grim prediction on hurricane destruction in an era of global warming
In a paper published recently in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Wolf demonstrated that the destructive power of these tropical hurricanes increased linearly and rapidly as water temperature increased — in contrast to most meteorological calculations, which lead to more optimistic outcomes. “This approach indicates the destructive power of Atlantic hurricanes off Africa could reach three times their current level if water temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius — well within the range that scientists predict is likely by the year 2100,” Wolf said. “The same calculations would apply to any tropical basin on Earth.
https://engineering.nyu.edu/news/applying-physics-principle-meteorology-yields-grim-prediction-hurricane-destruction-era-global
reporting on a study at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337675219_Critical_behavior_of_tropical_cyclones

Humankind: The Extinction Distinction
The human species seems headed for extinction. Do we merit a mass Darwin Award?
In Year 2020, symbolic of keen vision, our committee will determine whether Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Hominidae Homo sapiens wins a pre-posthumous Darwin Award for deinstantiating itself from existence ... Humans and their versatile thumbs & brains have evolved an unprecedented ability to alter the Earth, resulting in the present trajectory toward exceeding many functional parameters of our living planet. Can our brains evolve a smarter culture in time to swerve off the tracks of doom? ... Final decision on the question of a species-wide Darwin Award will be announced December 31, 2020.
https://darwinawards.com/extinct/index.html

In New Jersey, a slow-motion evacuation from climate change
The state has bought and torn down 145 homes since 2013 in Woodbridge ... all part of an effort to get ahead of climate change. Some neighborhoods in this town of over 100,000 residents just off the bustling New Jersey Turnpike are projected to be partly or fully underwater in coming decades as global sea levels rise ... Buyouts of flood-prone properties have become a reality in numerous coastal states, as well as inland. New York, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and others have programs ... Maslo, the Rutgers biologist, has a broader perspective on the transformation of a neighborhood. “We don’t like as humans or Americans to retreat; that almost suggests defeat. What we need to start realizing is that climate change is about adaptation.”
https://wtop.com/science/2019/12/in-new-jersey-a-slow-motion-evacuation-from-climate-change/

The Arctic’s grand reveal
“This green line looks like the death of permafrost — it’s flatlining,” Louise Farquharson said to an audience of a few dozen scientists. Her quiet voice came through speakers over the muffled clicking of keyboards and occasional coughs in a dimly lit room at the 2019 American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco. She was showing a graph describing her newest research findings on one of the most important, and ignored, parts of the frozen Earth. Her reserved tone hid a bombshell message — by 2035 permafrost thaw may continue on its own, disregarding the processes that have kept it frozen for thousands of years. Farquharson is a research associate at the  University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. She is an expert on permafrost, the parts of the ground that stay frozen for at least two consecutive years ...  calculated rates of thaw may be far lower than what will really happen. According to Farquharson, a key accelerating factor in permafrost thaw has been dramatically underestimated. “It’s the Arctic’s ‘grand reveal,’” Farquarson said. “We thought we saw what was happening, then it really stepped out from behind the curtain.”
https://news.uaf.edu/the-arctics-grand-reveal/

Satellite observations reveal extreme methane leakage from a natural gas well blowout
[W]e find the total methane emission from the well blowout is comparable to one-quarter of the entire state of Ohio’s reported annual oil and natural gas methane emission, or, alternatively, a substantial fraction of the annual anthropogenic methane emissions from several European countries.
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/12/10/1908712116

Unexpected future boost of methane possible from Arctic permafrost
New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost’s expected gradual thawing and the associated release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere may actually be sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. Abrupt thawing takes place under a certain type of Arctic lake, known as a thermokarst lake that forms as permafrost thaws. The impact on the climate may mean an influx of permafrost-derived methane into the atmosphere in the mid-21st century, which is not currently accounted for in climate projections ... "We don’t have to wait 200 or 300 years to get these large releases of permafrost carbon. Within my lifetime, my children’s lifetime, it should be ramping up. It’s already happening but it’s not happening at a really fast rate right now, but within a few decades, it should peak." The results were published in Nature Communications.
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2785/unexpected-future-boost-of-methane-possible-from-arctic-permafrost/

Warming Arctic permafrost releasing large amounts of potent greenhouse gas
A recent study shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about twelve times higher than previously assumed. About one fourth of the Northern Hemisphere is covered in permafrost, which is thawing at an increasing rate. As temperatures increase, the peat releases more and more greenhouse gases. And, even though researchers are monitoring carbon dioxide and methane, no one seems to be watching the most potent greenhouse gas: nitrous oxide ... Since nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, this revelation could mean that the Arctic -- and our global climate -- are in more danger than we thought.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190415090848.htm

As climate change melts Alaska’s permafrost, roads sink, bridges tilt and greenhouse gases release
Alaska’s permafrost is under assault from a warming climate, and it’s happening a lot faster than anticipated. Hillside slopes have liquefied, unleashing slides that end up as muddy deltas in salmon streams. The ground under the Nome airport runway — key to linking the community to the outside world — has thawed, requiring costly patches. And during the hottest July on record, a sinkhole 14 feet deep opened along a main roadway in the city. For a region where climate change also is bringing profound changes offshore, these are disruptive developments. As the northern Bering Sea warms, bird and marine mammal die-offs are on the rise and winter ice is on the decline, enabling storms to gain strength over open water and slam into coastal communities like Teller. The accelerating melt is a global concern: Permafrost, which mostly lies in the northern reaches of the planet, is a vast carbon storehouse of frozen plants and animals that release greenhouse gases as they warm and decompose.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/as-climate-change-melts-alaskas-permafrost-roads-sink-homes-tilt-and-greenhouse-gases-release/

Huge amounts of greenhouse gases lurk in the oceans, and could make warming far worse
Stores of methane and CO2 in the world's seas are in a strange, icy state, and the waters are warming, creating a ticking carbon time bomb. Caps of frozen CO2 or methane, called hydrates, contain the potent greenhouse gases, keeping them from escaping into the ocean and atmosphere. But the ocean is warming as carbon emissions continue to rise, and scientists say the temperature of the seawater surrounding some hydrate caps is within a few degrees of dissolving them. That could be very, very bad. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, responsible for about three-quarters of emissions. It can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Methane, the main component of natural gas, doesn't stay in the atmosphere as long as CO2—about 12 years—but it is at least 84 times more potent over two decades ... “If that hydrate becomes unstable, in fact melts, that enormous volume of CO2 will be released to the ocean and eventually the atmosphere,” says Lowell Stott, a paleoceanographer at the University of Southern California ...  leading scientists warned this month that the world is now surpassing a number of climate tipping points, with ocean temperatures at record highs.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/greenhouse-gases-lurk-in-oceans-could-make-warming-far-worse/

Toxic Sydney bushfire haze a 'public health emergency'
Australia's biggest city is facing a "public health emergency" over the bushfire smoke that has choked Sydney for weeks, leading doctors warned on Monday (Dec 16) after hospitals reported a dramatic spike in casualty department visits. Hundreds of climate change-fuelled bushfires have been raging across Australia for months, with a "mega-blaze" burning north of Sydney destroying several homes overnight and fires near Perth threatening towns ... Official data shows 2019 is on track to be one of the hottest and driest years on record in Australia, with the country set to experience a heatwave this week that forecasters predict will break temperature records.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/sydney-bushfire-haze-public-health-emergency-12186510

California coastal waters rising in acidity at alarming rate, study finds
Waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, scientists found, threatening major fisheries and sounding the alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions. A new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also made an unexpected connection between acidification and a climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation ... Across the globe, coral reefs are dying, oysters and clams are struggling to build their shells, and fish seem to be losing their sense of smell and direction. Harmful algal blooms are getting more toxic — and occurring more frequently. Researchers are barely keeping up with these new issues while still trying to understand what’s happening under the sea. Scientists call it the other major, but less talked about, CO2 problem ... This study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, came up with a creative way to confirm these greater rates of acidification. Researchers collected and analyzed a specific type of shell on the seafloor — and used these data to reconstruct a 100-year history of acidification along the West Coast.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-16/ocean-acidification-california

Glacial melt creates Andes time bomb
Long-term water supplies to many millions of people are under threat ... The prospects for agriculture – a mainstay of the economies of countries in the region – will be imperiled as land dries up. There is another, potentially lethal consequence ... In 1941, large chunks of ice breaking off a glacier and falling into Lake Palcacocha, more than 4,500 metres up in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in the Peruvian Andes, are said to have triggered what’s known as a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) ... more than 4,000 people were killed. Rising temperatures caused by climate change in mountain ranges around the world are leading to an ever-increasing number of GLOF incidents. Mountainous countries like Peru and Nepal, in the Himalayas, are particularly vulnerable.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/glacial-melt-creates-andes-time-bomb/

World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous, unprecedented rate as temperatures rise, study finds
The world's oceans are struggling to breathe, rapidly running out of oxygen at an unprecedented rate. Climate change is dangerously exacerbating the issue, scientists warned in a new study. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released the largest report of its kind — combining the efforts of 67 scientists from 17 countries — at the global climate summit in Madrid on Saturday ... "With this report, the scale of damage climate change is wreaking upon the ocean comes into stark focus," Dr. Grethel Aguilar, IUCN acting director general, said in a statement. "As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worlds-oceans-are-losing-oxygen-at-a-dangerous-unprecedented-rate-as-temperatures-rise/

‘Any growth is more than we can afford’: Carbon dioxide pollution hits record high as planet warms
At the close of this decade, global carbon dioxide emissions are now projected to hit 37 billion tons in 2019. That sets another record for a third consecutive year and veers countries further off course from combating global warming ...  natural gas use is surging across the world and fossil fuel emissions are still hitting records that are unsustainable for the planet ... To avoid the major consequences of climate change — like more severe flooding, heat waves and wildfires — global carbon dioxide emissions will need to decline every year ... The world is not on track to reach net zero emissions.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/15/natural-gas-surges-climate-change-after-carbon-emissions-record-in-2019.html

Thousands of dead Alaska seabirds are washing ashore, for a fifth year. Experts call that a climate 'red flag.
The dead or dying birds are emaciated, and the die-offs correlate with a heat-up of the marine environment - at times an extreme heat-up ... The latest die-off victims are short-tailed shearwaters, birds that spend their summers in the Bering and Chukchi seas after making ultra-long-distance migrations from the southern hemisphere ... At the same time, there is a dramatic warmup and ecological transformation in the region that is linked to long-term climate change. Water temperatures have been far warmer than normal.
https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20191214/thousands-of-dead-alaska-seabirds-are-washing-ashore-for-a-fifth-year-experts-call-that-a-climate-red-flag

India: Water Scarcity the Real Problem
We must understand that if sewage water stops going into the rivers, most rivers will not flow. Take the Yamuna for example. Ninety percent of it is sewage water. If you stop all the sewage water, there will be no Yamuna ... Fundamentally, we have a misunderstanding that a river is a source of water. No. There is only one source of water—monsoon rain. Rivers, ponds, lakes and wells are destinations for the water ... In the last 100 years, there has been no significant dip in the volume of water that the monsoons are shedding on the subcontinent. But all the rivers on an average have depleted over 40 percent ... Indian rivers are forest-fed. Only 4 percent of India’s river water is glacier-fed, and that is only up in the north ... [India] has 17 percent of the world’s population but only about 3.5 percent of the world’s water resources. At any time, no population should use more than 15 to 25 percent of its groundwater resources. But today, over 80 percent of the water we consume and use is groundwater resources. Despite that, most cities are in fear of rain because they know floods will follow. They don’t know how to manage a flood. If it rained and if there was enough vegetation, there would be no flooding.
https://www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/spirituality/2019/dec/08/water-scarcity-the-real-problem-2072016.html <
see also http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/Profile_segments/IND-WR_esp.stm
see also http://climate.org/the-future-of-water-in-india/

Scientists feared unstoppable emissions from melting permafrost. They may have already started.
The Arctic is a ticking time bomb that’s close to going off.
“Thawing permafrost throughout the Arctic could be releasing an estimated 300-600 million tons of net carbon per year to the atmosphere,” NOAA writes in the report. That’s roughly the equivalent of Japan’s annual emissions. And those emissions are going to increase ... “The accelerating feedback from changing permafrost ecosystems to climate change may already be underway,” the report states ... For tens of thousands of years, permafrost has kept 1,460 to 1,600 gigatons (a gigaton is a billion metric tons) of organic matter trapped in the soil. That’s more than double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere ... Though the permafrost has been thawing in recent years, the carbon it releases is usually taken up by plant life growing in the summer, so the Arctic has not been a contributor to climate change — until now.
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/12/12/21011445/permafrost-melting-arctic-report-card-noaa

It’s a Vast, Invisible Climate Menace. We Made It Visible.
Immense amounts of methane are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, worsening global warming, even as the Trump administration weakens restrictions on offenders. To the naked eye, there is nothing out of the ordinary at the DCP Pegasus gas processing plant in West Texas, one of the thousands of installations in the vast Permian Basin that have transformed America into the largest oil and gas producer in the world. But a highly specialized camera sees what the human eye cannot: a major release of methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas that is helping to warm the planet at an alarming rate ... if methane is not burned off when released, it can warm the planet more than 80 times as much as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/12/climate/texas-methane-super-emitters.html

Australia's bushfires have emitted 250m tonnes of CO2, almost half of country's annual emissions
Bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland have emitted a massive pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere since August that is equivalent to almost half of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, Guardian Australia can reveal. Analysis by Nasa shows the NSW fires have emitted about 195m tonnes of CO2 since 1 August, with Queensland’s fires adding a further 55m tonnes over the same period. In 2018, Australia’s entire greenhouse gas footprint was 532m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent ... scientists have expressed doubt that forests already under drought stress would be able to reabsorb all the emissions back into soils and branches, and said the natural carbon “sinks” of forests could be compromised.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/13/australias-bushfires-have-emitted-250m-tonnes-of-co2-almost-half-of-countrys-annual-emissions

Newly identified jet-stream pattern could imperil global food supplies, says study
The study appears this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. "We found a 20-fold increase in the risk of simultaneous heat waves in major crop-producing regions when these global-scale wind patterns are in place," said lead author Kai Kornhuber, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University's Earth Institute. "Until now, this was an underexplored vulnerability in the food system. During these events there actually is a global structure in the otherwise quite chaotic circulation. The bell can ring in multiple regions at once." Kornhuber warned that the heat waves will almost certainly become worse in coming decades, as the world continues to warm.
https://phys.org/news/2019-12-large-atmospheric-jet-stream-global.html

2019 Arctic Report Card: Near-Record Warmth With Near-Record Sea Ice Losses
The Arctic region took a beating in 2019, with near-record-warm air and ocean temperatures resulting in widespread melting of the Greenland ice sheet, low sea-ice extents and shifts in the distribution of commercially valuable marine species, according to NOAA’s 14th-annual Arctic Report Card released Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. The report also found that as the Arctic warms, permafrost regions might already be a net source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, a feedback that could exacerbate overall global warming.
https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2019-12-10-arctic-report-card-near-record-warmth-losses-in-sea-ice-bering-sea

How Africa will be affected by climate change
The African continent will be hardest hit by climate change. There are four key reasons for this: First, African society is very closely coupled with the climate system; hundreds of millions of people depend on rainfall to grow their food. Second, the African climate system is controlled by an extremely complex mix of large-scale weather systems, many from distant parts of the planet and, in comparison with almost all other inhabited regions, is vastly understudied. It is therefore capable of all sorts of surprises. Third, the degree of expected climate change is large. The two most extensive land-based end-of-century projected decreases in rainfall anywhere on the planet occur over Africa; one over North Africa and the other over southern Africa. Finally, the capacity for adaptation to climate change is low; poverty equates to reduced choice at the individual level while governance generally fails to prioritise and act on climate change.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50726701

For Southern Africa, Climate Change Is Real As Prolonged Droughts Are Creating Food Shortages
The United Nations is reporting that prolonged droughts there and across the continent have led to food shortages, which will impact 45 million people. Farming is prone to climate change as both livestock and crops are reactive to changes in temperatures and precipitation. And hunger is thriving in those countries exposed to climate extremes. In southern Africa, temperatures are rising at twice the global average. Low-lying regions are particularly susceptible, which is notable because Africa’s CO2 levels are comparatively small. “We’ve had the worst drought in 35 years in central and western areas during the growing season,” said Margaret Malu, for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Africa ... “With the region so prone to shocks and afflicted by high rates of chronic hunger, inequality and structural poverty, climate change is an existential emergency which must be tackled with the utmost urgency”, said Robson Mutandi, IFAD Director for the Southern Africa Hub.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2019/11/07/for-southern-africa-climate-change-is-real-as-prolonged-droughts-are-creating-food-shortages/

Our climate is like reckless banking before the crash – it’s time to talk about near-term collapse
The science and the warnings focus on curtailing the emission of heat-absorbing gases into the atmosphere ... these warnings are not connected with complex human systems, such as food, finance and logistics, leaving them to evolve as if climate change didn’t exist. Terms such as “tipping points” are on their own technical, distant and abstract, while humans are wired to prioritise the short-term. This failure to connect the dots means humanity has rapidly entered uncharted territory ... [Our] just-in-time economy has been designed around assumptions of a stable world, in which an action always leads to a simple and predictable outcome. But it now sits on top of a hugely unstable and complex platform – our physical world, increasingly disrupted by climate change ... food shocks are likely to get much worse. The risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing.
https://theconversation.com/our-climate-is-like-reckless-banking-before-the-crash-its-time-to-talk-about-near-term-collapse-128374

Greenland's ice sheet melting seven times faster than in 1990s
Ice is being lost from Greenland seven times faster than it was in the 1990s, and the scale and speed of ice loss is much higher than was predicted in the comprehensive studies of global climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ... Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992, and the rate of ice loss has risen from 33 billion tonnes a year in the 1990s to 254 billion tonnes a year in the past decade ... The scale and speed of the ice loss surprised the team of 96 polar scientists behind the findings, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise comprised 26 separate surveys of Greenland from 1992 to 2018, with data from 11 different satellites and comparisons of volume, flow and gravity compiled by experts from the UK, NASA in the US, and the European Space Agency.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/10/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-seven-times-faster-than-in-1990s

Taku Glacier, once the Juneau Icefield’s last advancing glacier, is now in retreat
A soon-to-be-published research paper will show how climate change is responsible for the glacier’s recent about-face into retreat. But scientists, Juneau-area hunters and residents have seen it coming for decades ...  what scientists like Scott McGee could see is that the icefield was already thinning because of global warming. “And if the glaciers up here are getting thinner and there’s more melting down below, if it continues for how many years, eventually the glaciers will disappear,” McGee said. “It’d take a long time, granted, because the Taku (Glacier) is so thick.” Global warming was talked about in kind of hushed tones back then. And I really couldn’t get my head wrapped around how glaciers could disappear. But fast-forward 20 years, and it’s happening. After advancing for most of the last century, the Taku Glacier is now retreating.
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/12/06/taku-glacier-once-the-juneau-icefields-last-advancing-glacier-is-now-in-retreat/

Last remaining glaciers in the Pacific will soon melt away
The glaciers in Papua, Indonesia, are "the canaries in the coal mine" for other mountaintop glaciers around the world, said Lonnie Thompson, one of the senior authors of the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "These will be the first to disappear; the others will certainly follow," said Thompson, distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences and senior research scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University. The study suggests that the glacier will disappear in the next 10 years, most likely during the next strong El Niño. Thompson said it is likely that other tropical glaciers, such as those on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Quelccaya in Peru, will follow.
https://phys.org/news/2019-12-glaciers-pacific.html

The world's supply of fresh water is in trouble as mountain ice vanishes
The snow and icy glaciers that drape the high mountains play a crucial role for over 1.6 billion people—over 20 percent of Earth’s human population today ... The high-mountain “water towers” of the planet act like giant storage tanks ... For decades scientists have recognized that climate change will affect the amount of water stored in the high mountain water towers and the paths it takes as it flows out. The high mountains are warming faster than the world’s average ... A growing and developing population worldwide is likely to result in an exponential increase in water demand [plus] political tension over water rights in many parts of the world, make water towers vulnerable. The Indus is the world’s most vulnerable water tower, the authors say, along with the Amu Darya, the Ganges, the Tarim, and the Syr Darya. South American water towers are also extraordinarily fragile. And North America and Europe are not exempt from pressure.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/water-towers-high-mountains-are-in-trouble-perpetual/

With Sea Level Rise, We've Already Hurtled Past a Point of No Return
Research on past climates suggests we've already hurtled past one significant point of no return ... "We’ve already baked in 20 meters of sea level rise,” says James White, a University of Colorado scientist who has studied ancient climates to gain insights about the future ... the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere hit a high of about 411 parts per million this year, up from about 280 in preindustrial times. And, crucially, the rate of CO2's increase has been accelerating over the past decade, not slowing ... Thanks in large measure to that relatively high level of CO2 in the atmosphere, temperatures in the mid-Pliocene were about 2 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today [and] studies suggest that sea level was 10 to 35 meters, or 30 to 115 feet, higher than today ... Twenty meters is about in the middle of this range.
https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/with-sea-level-rise-weve-already-hurtled-past-a-point-of-no-return

Disappearing frontier: Alaska's glaciers retreating at record pace
Alaska will soon close a year that is shaping up as its hottest on record, with glaciers in the "Frontier State" melting at record or near-record levels, pouring waters into rising global seas, scientists said after taking fall measurements. Lemon Creek Glacier in Juneau, where records go back to the 1940s, had its second consecutive year of record mass loss, with 3 meters erased from the surface, U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Louis Sass told Reuters. Melt went all the way up to the summit, said Sass ... Drastic melting was also reported at Kenai Fjords National Park, which former President Barack Obama once visited to call attention to climate change. There, Bear Glacier, a popular tourist spot, retreated by nearly a kilometer in just 11 months, according to August measurements by the National Park Service. "It's almost like you popped it and it started to deflate," said Nate Lewis, a Seward-based wilderness guide.
http://news.trust.org/item/20191206112950-npe5t

‘A crisis situation’: Extinctions loom as forests are erased in Mozambique
Nallume’s forest, home to the chameleon and other wildlife — including more species Bayliss suspects are new to science — is rapidly disappearing as residents from nearby communities chop down its trees for lumber and burn it for food. Bayliss estimates that at its current pace of deforestation, it will be gone in 10 to 20 years. And it’s not the only one. Dotted throughout the northern half of the country, most of Mozambique’s mountaintop forests are rapidly vanishing as farmers, hunters and loggers hack away their trees for food and money. That’s why Bayliss, Muianga and Platts are here. They are surveying the wildlife of Mount Nallume before it’s too late and the forest and its animals are gone forever.
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/12/a-crisis-situation-extinctions-loom-as-forests-are-erased-in-mozambique/

Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn
Oxygen in the oceans is being lost at an unprecedented rate, with “dead zones” proliferating and hundreds more areas showing oxygen dangerously depleted, as a result of the climate emergency and intensive farming, experts have warned ... Low oxygen levels are also associated with global heating, because the warmer water holds less oxygen and the heating causes stratification, so there is less of the vital mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor layers.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/07/oceans-losing-oxygen-at-unprecedented-rate-experts-warn

America's Freshwater Mussels Are Going Extinct--Here's Why That Sucks
North America’s freshwater mussels now need some conservation muscle. Pretty much wherever they’re found, the shelled bivalves are disappearing. Many of the 300-plus mussel species in the United States have already been added to the endangered species list; many more are waiting for similar protection ... In part that’s because the very water the mussels filter through their bodies has also often become dangerous to them. “They’re the canary in the coal mine for our freshwater resources—the first thing to start disappearing when you have water-quality issues.”
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/americas-freshwater-mussels-are-going-extinct-heres-why-that-sucks/

Fish all gone! Gulf of Alaska fishery to close for the first time ever [cod, salmon, more]
[COD] “We’re on the knife’s edge of this over-fished status,” North Pacific Fisheries Management Council member Nicole Kimball said ... Warming ocean temperatures linked to climate change are wreaking havoc on a number of Alaska’s fisheries ... assessment this fall put Gulf cod populations at a historic low, with “next to no” new eggs ... [SALMON] Alaskan pink salmon fisheries season was marked by a low flow [creating] unprecedented pre-spawning die-offs and unusually late migration into the streams. According to the Prince William Sound Science Center, [the salmon] finally started, what was for many, an ill-fated journey into the streams after some rain in early September. The rain stopped and the rivers dried up again. Soon thousands of fish were restricted to tide pools without enough water to return to the bays. They all suffocated ...  [MORE] thousands of short-tailed shearwaters birds migrating from Alaska were washing up dead on Sydney's iconic beaches [due to] incredible fish shortages in the Pacific Ocean ... The birds were migrating back to southern Australia to breed after spending the summer in Alaska [and] need to be at full strength to make the 14,000km trip over the Pacific but the krill and other fish they feed on have apparently dwindled due to sea temperatures rising.
https://www.thebigwobble.org/2019/12/fish-all-gone-gulf-of-alaska-fishery-to.html

Climate change triggers widespread Pakistan migration
Pakistan recently has been placed fifth on the list of countries vulnerable to climate change by the Global Climate Risk Index for 2020 ...  climate migration is taking place in all four provinces -- Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KP), and Balochistan -- and the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region. “Almost 50% of Pakistan’s population is increasingly becoming vulnerable to climate change, which may trigger another wave of mass migration.”
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/environment/climate-change-triggers-widespread-pakistan-migration/1667231

As Climate Change Worsens, A Cascade of Tipping Points Looms
Some of the most alarming science surrounding climate change is the discovery that it may not happen incrementally — as a steadily rising line on a graph — but in a series of lurches as various “tipping points” are passed. And now comes a new concern: These tipping points can form a cascade, with each one triggering others, creating an irreversible shift to a hotter world. A new study suggests that changes to ocean circulation could be the driver of such a cascade. A group of researchers, led by Tim Lenton at Exeter University, England, first warned in a landmark paper 11 years ago about the risk of climate tipping points. Back then, they thought the dangers would only arise when global warming exceeded 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. But last week, Lenton and six co-authors argued in the journal Nature that the risks are now much more likely and much more imminent. Some tipping points, they said, may already have been breached at the current 1 degree C of warming. The new warning is much starker than the forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which critics say has until now played down the risks of exceeding climate tipping points, in part because they are difficult to quantify.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-climate-changes-worsens-a-cascade-of-tipping-points-looms

Four Ways the Climate Crisis Could Trigger a 2008-Style Economic Crash
Any day now, a catastrophic event caused by climate change could detonate a financial bomb that incinerates powerful companies, sends fireballs through our financial system, blasts the U.S. economy, and devastates millions of Americans ... Wall Street's denial of climate dangers is setting us up for a 2008-style financial explosion where "risk spreads in a way that cannot be contained or isolated." Here are some of the ways that he can see this bomb being set off. 1. A devastating Florida hurricane bankrupts a major insurer; 2. Insurers flee California wildfire zones and mortgages crater; 3. Massive declines in oil demand make investors panic; 4. The housing market goes literally and figuratively underwater
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/ne8amk/four-ways-the-climate-crisis-could-trigger-a-2008-style-economic-crash

Florida Keys Deliver a Hard Message: As Seas Rise, Some Places Can’t Be Saved
Officials in the Florida Keys announced what many coastal governments nationwide have long feared, but few have been willing to admit: As seas rise and flooding gets worse, not everyone can be saved. And in some places, it doesn’t even make sense to try. On Wednesday morning, Rhonda Haag, the county’s sustainability director, released the first results of the county’s yearslong effort to calculate how high its 300 miles of roads must be elevated to stay dry, and at what cost. Those costs were far higher than her team expected — and those numbers, she said, show that some places can’t be protected ... Administrators and elected officials are going to have to start to rely on a “word nobody likes to use,” Mr. Gastesi said, “and that’s ‘retreat.’”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/climate/florida-keys-climate-change.html

Amid rising seas, East Coast on pace for record-breaking tides: 'The new normal'
The East Coast is on pace to see record-breaking tides this year, and tides along the Gulf Coast also are trending higher, said William Sweet, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer ... as temperatures warm around the world, sea levels are rising as a result of the expansion of warming ocean water and the melting of land-based glaciers – turning king tides into record-breaking tides and fulfilling scientists’ predictions on the effects of warming global temperatures ... slowing of the Gulf Stream current, also related to climate warming, may be a key factor combining with sea-level rise to push water levels higher ... NOAA’s Sweet would like to see the term “king tide” updated for what he sees as a new reality. After all, king tides have always been around, but communities weren’t flooding because of them 20 years ago. “We might as well call it what it is,” he said. “It’s sea-level rise flooding ... That’s our future.”
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/26/king-tides-2019-flooding-possible-florida-south-carolina-georgia/4306001002/

Prospects look bleak for Canadian mountains, Arctic and coasts, says IPCC
The effects of human-caused climate change will be dramatic and severe in mountain and Arctic regions of Canada ... The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere says climate change will cause up to 80 per cent loss of glaciers, disruptions of recreational and cultural activities in mountain regions and heightened risk of landslides and other hazards, water shortages and unprecedented sea-level rise ... commitments made so far on greenhouse gas reductions still have the world on a path to warm by three to four degrees Celsius in the lives of children who are already born. “Emissions have, in other words, continued unchecked on a business-as-usual scenario.”
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/03/news/prospects-look-bleak-canadian-mountains-arctic-and-coasts-says-ipcc

El Nino Swings More Violently in the Industrial Age, Hard Evidence Says
El Ninos have been very intense in our times, which stands to worsen storms, drought, and coral bleaching in El Nino years. A new study has found compelling evidence in the Pacific Ocean that the stronger El Ninos are part of a climate pattern that is new, strange and appears unique to the industrial age. This is the first known time that enough physical evidence spanning millennia has come together to allow researchers to say that definitively. The data show demonstrably that El Ninos, La Ninas, and the climate phenomenon that drives them have been swinging more broadly in the era of human-induced climate change. “What we’re seeing in the last 50 years is outside any natural variability. It leaps off the baseline.”
https://rh.gatech.edu/news/629322/el-nino-swings-more-violently-industrial-age-hard-evidence-says

There's Literally a Million Times More Microplastic [Pieces] in Our Oceans Than We Realized
The amount of microplastic in our ocean—that is, pieces of plastic measuring smaller than 5 millimeters—is a million times greater than previously estimated, according to new research published in the science journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters. This means the concentrations of micro-sized bits of plastic inundating our oceans isn’t two or three times more than scientists had previously estimated—but more like five to seven times greater, according to the authors of the paper, led by Jennifer Brandon from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/theres-literally-a-million-times-more-microplastic-in-o-1840175488

Climate Impacts From a Removal of Anthropogenic Aerosol Emissions
Limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C requires strong mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concurrently, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols will decline, due to coemission with GHG, and measures to improve air quality ... Here we show the climate impacts from removing present‐day anthropogenic aerosol emissions ... induces a global mean surface heating of 0.5–1.1°C ... The northern hemisphere is found to be more sensitive to aerosol removal than greenhouse gas warming, because of where the aerosols are emitted today.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017GL076079
see also http://www.climatecodered.org/2018/02/quantifying-our-faustian-bargain-with.htm

Cooling role of particulate matter on warming Earth stronger than previously thought
The relationship between aerosols (particulate matter) and their cooling effect on the Earth due to the formation of clouds is more than twice as strong as was previously thought. As the amounts of aerosols decrease, climate models that predict a faster warming of the Earth are more probable. These are the conclusions of researcher Otto Hasekamp from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, who published the results in Nature Communications.
https://phys.org/news/2019-12-cooling-role-particulate-earth-stronger.html

Revealed: 'monumental' NSW bushfires have burnt 20% of Blue Mountains world heritage area
More than 10% of the area covered by New South Wales national parks has been burned in this season’s bushfires, including 20% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area ... amount of bushland destroyed within NSW national parks dwarfs that of the entire previous fire season, when 80,000 hectares were lost. Ten times that amount has burnt since July.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/03/revealed-monumental-nsw-bushfires-have-burnt-20-of-blue-mountains-world-heritage-area

Creeping silent crisis’ seen menacing world’s crops
[W]ater shortages could jeopardise up to 40% of all irrigated crops by 2040, a US think tank said on Monday. Erratic rainfall caused by climate change also threatens the water supply for a third of crops that rely on monsoon ... Scientists say water supplies are threatened by many factors, including climate change and mismanagement, but farming is one of the largest factors, using 70% of freshwater. On Monday, the think tank launched an online tool called Aqueduct Food, which maps water risks for more than 40 crops, including banana, coffee, soybean and cotton. Among irrigated crops, it found nearly 67% of wheat, 64% of maize and 19% of rice could be in areas with extremely high water stress by 2040.
https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/international/creeping-silent-crisis-seen-menacing-worlds-crops/

In nations rich and poor, climate-related disasters on the uptick
Japan, the Philippines and Germany top a list of countries worst hit by climate-enhanced extreme weather last year, with Madagascar and India close behind, researchers said Wednesday. Flood-inducing rains, two deadly heatwaves, and the worst typhoon to hit Japan in a quarter century—all in 2018—left hundreds dead, thousands homeless and more than $35 billion (31.5 billion euros) in damage nationwide, according to a report from environmental thinktank Germanwatch. Category 5 Typhoon Manghut—the most powerful tropical storm of the year—ripped through northern Philippines in September, displacing a quarter of a million people and unleashing lethal landslides, according to the group's updated Global Climate Risk Index. In Germany, meanwhile, a sustained summer heatwave and drought along with average temperatures nearly 3C above normal over a four-month stretch resulted in 1,250 premature deaths and losses of $5 billion, mostly in agriculture. 2018's top weather disasters showed that even the world's most advanced and resilient economies can find themselves at the mercy of meteorological events amplified by global warming.
https://phys.org/news/2019-12-nations-rich-poor-climate-related-disasters.html

Hottest November on record: NIWA climate scientists
New Zealand has just experienced its hottest November on record, according to NIWA climate scientists. Data from NIWA’s Seven-Station Series, which began in 1909, shows that last month’s temperature was 1.55C above the 30-year average ...  extreme high temperatures mark the first time on record that 30°C has been exceeded in Taupo and Rotorua in November.
https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1912/S00009/hottest-november-on-record-niwa-climate-scientists.htm

A vast heat wave is endangering sea life in the Pacific Ocean. Is this the wave of the future?
A vast region of unusually warm water has formed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, and scientists are worried that it could devastate sea life in the area ...  the marine heat wave rivals a similar one that arose in 2014 and persisted for two years. That heat wave, known simply as “the blob,” occupied roughly the same region of the Pacific and became known for triggering widespread die-offs of marine animals including sea birds and California sea lions ... likely that global warming will exacerbate heat waves in the future, given the excessive amounts of heat that oceans have absorbed in recent years.
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/vast-heat-wave-endangering-sea-life-pacific-ocean-wave-future-ncna1067456

Global Warming Prediction Sounds Alarm for Climate Fight
The world’s average temperature is rising faster than previously thought, headed for a gain that may be triple the goal set by almost 200 countries. The findings by the World Meteorologic Organization suggest an increase of 3 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. It’s another indication of how far off track the planet is in meeting its target to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the dawn of the industrial revolution. “If we wanted to reach a 1.5 degree increase we would need to bend emissions and at the moment countries haven’t been following on their Paris pledges,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas told reporters in Madrid.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-03/global-temperature-headed-toward-5-degree-increase-wmo-says

December Marked By Record Temperatures In Iceland
December temperature records were broken in the south, Morgunblaðið reports. There, the temperature journeyed up to 19.7º C in Kvísker í Öræfum, located in the Skaftafell National Park area, breaking the previous record of 18.4º C ... “There have been several times the country has hit 20º C in November, but never in December,” said meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson.
https://grapevine.is/news/2019/12/03/december-marked-by-record-temperatures-in-iceland/

Flooding Far From Over, As  Floods May Shutter Some Farms Forever
As landowners along the Missouri River in states like Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri face continued flooding, a harsh reality is setting in: it could take years for levees to be fixed, and some farmland may be forced out of production forever. The flooding of 2019 is far from over for farmers along the Missouri River – water continues to suffocate farmland ... “more than 240 days that the local river gauge has been at flood stage ... haven’t had a break in the inflow of water to work on the levee” ... “chances are high flooding will last into the spring and even summer next year ... entire basin is seeing soil that’s saturated and now the soil is freezing. When it rains and snows, it’s not going to soak into the soil. It's all going to run to the river and in the lower basin the same situation” ... The scars of 2019 could last for generations. Waters says some flooded farmland is too far damaged and may be forced out of production forever.
https://www.agprofessional.com/article/flooding-far-over-floods-may-shutter-some-farms-forever

Drones Reveal The Greenland Ice Sheet Fracturing in Real Time
Scientists said Monday they had used a drone to observe the rapid fracturing and draining of a lake on the Greenland ice sheet, a phenomenon that may become more frequent as a result of climate change ... Many of the lakes drain in just a few hours, creating vast openings at the base of the ice, up to a kilometre deep. Meltwater from surface streams continues to flow down them for the rest of the melt season, creating some of the world's largest waterfalls ... The water that fell under the ice served as a lubricant. Even more surprising was that this bed of water lifted the glacier's height by 55 centimetres (22 inches), the team said. "That's a kilometre of ice lifted up half a meter, so you can imagine the kind of pressures that were involved," said Chudley, a doctoral student at Cambridge.
https://www.sciencealert.com/drones-reveal-the-greenland-ice-sheet-fracturing-in-real-time

Global greenhouse gas emissions will hit yet another record high this year, experts project
The world has lost another year in the quest to finally start reducing its carbon emissions, which scientists say is crucial to avoid the steadily worsening impacts of climate change. Instead of beginning a long-awaited decline, global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to [reach] another record high, according to a new analysis published Tuesday. Total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry totaled 36.8 billion tons, according to an estimate from the Global Carbon Project, an academic consortium that produces the figures annually.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/12/03/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-will-hit-yet-another-record-high-this-year-experts-project/

Climate change: Study underpins key idea in Antarctic ice loss
It's long been suspected but scientists can now show conclusively that thinning in the ring of floating ice around Antarctica is driving mass loss from the interior of the continent. A new study finds the diminishing thickness of ice shelves is matched almost exactly by an acceleration in the glaciers feeding in behind them ... "The response is essentially instantaneous," said Prof Hilmar Gudmundsson from Northumbria University, UK. "If you thin the ice shelves today, the increase in flow of the ice upstream will increase today - not tomorrow, not in 10 or 100 years from now; it will happen immediately."
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50625396
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL085027

UNEP: 1.5C climate target ‘slipping out of reach’
Unless the world begins to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement “will slip out of reach,” according to the latest UN Environment Programme (UNEP) emissions gap report. The annual report, now in its 10th year, provides a “bleak” assessment of the ever-growing gap between actual emission reduction commitments by countries and those necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement: to limit warming to “well-below 2C above preindustrial levels” and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C ... report suggests that there is no sign of GHG emissions peaking in the next few years.
https://www.carbonbrief.org/unep-1-5c-climate-target-slipping-out-of-reach

The Limits of Clean Energy
The transition to renewables is going to require a dramatic increase in the extraction of metals and rare-earth minerals, with real ecological and social costs ... In 2017, the World Bank released a little-noticed report that ... models the increase in material extraction that would be required to build enough solar and wind utilities to produce an annual output of about 7 terawatts of electricity by 2050. That’s enough to power roughly half of the global economy. By doubling the World Bank figures, we can estimate what it will take to get all the way to zero emissions—and the results are staggering: 34 million metric tons of copper, 40 million tons of lead, 50 million tons of zinc, 162 million tons of aluminum, and no less than 4.8 billion tons of iron ... a massive increase over existing levels of extraction ... will exacerbate an already existing crisis of overextraction. Mining has become one of the biggest single drivers of deforestation, ecosystem collapse, and biodiversity loss around the world. Ecologists estimate that even at present rates of global material use, we are overshooting sustainable levels by 82 percent.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/06/the-path-to-clean-energy-will-be-very-dirty-climate-change-renewables/

Warming at the poles will soon be felt globally in rising seas, extreme weather
As Earth trudges steadily toward a dangerously warm future, a new report on the outlook for the polar regions says the Arctic is already there ... warming far more quickly than anywhere else on the planet. Temperatures climbed nearly 1C in the past decade alone ... unprecedented changes, including drastic ice losses on land and sea, galloping permafrost thaw, raging wildfires, unseasonal storms, earlier springs, and more ... record July heat melted billions of tons of ice off the Greenland ice sheet. Wildfires blazed across millions of acres from Alaska to Siberia ... Summer sea ice, which has been shrinking more than 10 percent a decade over the past 40 years, is projected to essentially disappear within 20 to 25 years ... latest work suggests that Arctic sea ice is now shrinking faster than most current climate models project.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/arctic/
see also https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/uoc--oft112219.php

Climate models have accurately predicted global heating, study finds
The findings confirm that since as early as 1970, climate scientists have had a solid fundamental understanding of the Earth’s climate system and the ability to project how it will respond to continued increases in the greenhouse effect. Since climate models have accurately anticipated global temperature changes so far, we can expect projections of future warming to be reliable as well. The research examines the accuracy of 17 models published over the past five decades.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/04/climate-models-have-accurately-predicted-global-heating-study-finds
see also https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-models-got-it-right-on-global-warming/
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL085378

Amazon fires intensify Andes glacier melt
Smoke from burning forests in the Amazon can intensify glacier melt, researchers say, fuelling concern about a water crisis in South America. The team found evidence that snow and ice was being "darkened", accelerating the melt rate, threatening supplies. Melting tropical glaciers provide water for millions of people in the region. Scientists modelled the movement and effect of smoke particles from fires on Andean glaciers, and checked their conclusions against satellite images. And they say the impact will be felt across the continent ... Dr de Magalhães Neto said: "Once deposited on the glacier, the [black carbon darkens] the snow/ice surface, which reduces its ability to reflect solar radiation - or sunlight." That darkened surface then absorbs more of the sun's energy, which amplifies melting.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50573623

Rainfall pattern changing across globe, India not left out
The rainfall pattern across the globe is changing due to rapid warming of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the changes have brought a decline in rainfall pattern in north India too, a study said on Wednesday. In the study, led by Roxy Mathew Koll of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and published in the journal Nature, the researchers report a twofold expansion of the Indo-Pacific warm pool -- the largest expanse of the warmest ocean temperatures on the earth. They find that the expansion of this warm pool has altered the most dominant mode of weather fluctuation originating in the tropics, known as the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). The changes in the MJO behaviour have increased the rainfall over northern Australia, west Pacific, the Amazon basin, southwest Africa and southeast Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea). At the same time these changes have brought a decline in rainfall over central Pacific, along the west and east coast of the US (eg, California), north India, east Africa, and the Yangtze basin in China. Over north India, the impact is reduction of rainfall during the winter-spring season (November-April).
https://english.mathrubhumi.com/technology/science/rainfall-pattern-changing-across-globe-india-not-left-out-1.4320609

Heat stress is causing desert bird populations to collapse
As the Mojave Desert in California and Nevada becomes hotter and drier, birds need more water to stay cool. Species that can’t get enough water are rapidly declining in this iconic desert ecosystem, ecologists reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Some birds may die solely from overheating, but a more serious problem facing most species is how much time they must spend trying to cool down. This decreases their time spent breeding, leading to smaller population sizes. Heat-stressed individuals “may survive, but ultimately the population is doomed,” said Barry Sinervo, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-author of the paper. The study was led by postdoctoral researcher Eric Riddell of the University of California, Berkeley.
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/11/heat-stress-is-causing-desert-bird-populations-to-collapse/

Farmers and animals struggle in drought-hit Botswana
Around 38,000 livestock depend on the waters of Lake Ngami in northern Botswana, but the animals—like the lake itself—have been stricken by a crippling drought ... Southern Africa has been hard hit by intensifying extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods, leaving millions in need of food aid. Zambia is in the throes of a drought which has affected the 2018/19 farming season. Around 2.5 million people are facing food shortages, according to official figures. In Zimbabwe, nearly a third of the 16 million population are in need of aid and at least half of these face acute hunger.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-farmers-animals-struggle-drought-hit-botswana.html

After two years of rain in a single day, Djibouti is submerged
Flash flooding has hit the small but strategic East African nation of Djibouti, where the government and the United Nations say the equivalent of two years' rain has fallen in a single day. Several regional countries including Kenya are struggling after heavy rains, with more to come. A joint Djibouti-UN statement on Thursday said up to a 250,000 people have been affected in recent days. With heavy rains forecast through the end of the month that number could grow. Djibouti has been called one of the world's most vulnerable non-island nations in the face of climate change as sea levels rise.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/africa/after-two-years-of-rain-in-a-single-day-djibouti-is-submerged-20191129-p53faj.html

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists
More than half of the climate tipping points identified a decade ago are now "active", a group of leading scientists have warned. This threatens the loss of the Amazon rainforest and the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, which are currently undergoing measurable and unprecedented changes much earlier than expected. This "cascade" of changes sparked by global warming could threaten the existence of human civilisations. Evidence is mounting that these events are more likely and more interconnected than was previously thought, leading to a possible domino effect.
https://phys.org/news/2019-11-climate-scientists.html
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0

10 things to know about the Emissions Gap 2019
The Emissions Gap could also be called the “Commitment Gap”.  It measures the gap between what we need to do and what we are actually doing to tackle climate change ... In 10 years of producing the emissions gap report, the gap between what we should be doing and what we actually are is as wide as ever.  On the brink of 2020, we now need to reduce emissions by 7.6 per cent every year from 2020 to 2030 ... If we do nothing beyond our current, inadequate commitments to halt climate change, temperatures can be expected to rise 3.2°C above pre-industrial levels, with devastating effect. 
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/10-things-know-about-emissions-gap-2019

World on course for more than 3 degree spike, even if climate commitments are met
Even if countries meet commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world is heading for a 3.2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, leading to even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts, warns a report from the UN Environment Programme, released on Tuesday. The annual Emissions Gap Report, which compares where greenhouse gas emissions are heading, versus where they need to be, shows that emissions need to fall by 7.6 per cent each year over the next decade, if the world is to get back on track towards the goal of limiting temperature rises to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/11/1052171

Carbon dioxide levels reach highest recorded levels in human history
The last time the Earth had comparable concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was approximately 3 million years ago, when the temperature was approximately 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer and sea levels were up to 20 meters (65 feet) higher. "There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization.
https://www.cnet.com/news/carbon-dioxide-levels-reach-highest-recorded-levels-in-human-history

Once a clean energy leader, China is now reviving coal
The world’s biggest carbon emitter is doubling down on coal, a new report finds, and global investment in clean energy is faltering.
The climate targets laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement are looking increasingly lofty. Coal use is rising in China and other developing countries in Asia, and investments in clean and renewable energy sources are declining, the MIT Technology Review reports. The prodigious economic growth of China, India and other emerging markets is predicted to continue for decades. If these surging economies continue to run on fossil fuels, the predicted carbon dioxide emissions place the world on a path toward climate disaster. China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is increasing the electricity it generates by burning coal, according to a new report. The country added nearly 43 gigawatts from coal power plants from Jan. 2018 to June 2019. The rest of the world’s use of coal declined by 8 gigawatts in the same period. Even more troubling, China is working on bringing another 150 gigawatts-worth of coal plants online — about the same amount of electricity produced by coal plants in the entire European Union.
https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/climate-change/471964-once-a-clean-energy-leader-china-is-now

The New Climate Math: The Numbers Keep Getting More Frightening
Scientists keep raising ever-louder alarms about the urgency of tackling climate change, but the world’s governments aren’t listening ... The new report, which emerged last week from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), is one of the most important pieces of research in years. What it means is, the world is producing endlessly more coal and oil and gas than safety allows ... The SEI report is the most damning documentation of our plight yet, and it powerfully makes the case that we should be working at least as hard to cap supply as to depress demand ... the numbers, and the attitudes of leaders like Trudeau, not to mention Trump, not to mention Putin, are a kind of cryptic suicide note for the planet, one written in numerals and not letters. They are an admission that we simply can’t rein ourselves in — an immoral refusal to heed physics and chemistry ...  we have to actually do the climate math. It’s not optional.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-new-climate-math-the-numbers-keep-getting-more-frightening

Spain could lose its biggest glacier in just 20 years
Such is the rate of global warming that scientists predict that the Lost Mountain glacier in northern Spain will disappear altogether within twenty years. For the scientists at the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology who are monitoring it, Monte Perdido's glacier is shrinking scarily fast ... 90 percent of the glaciers in the Pyrenees have already disappeared.
https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/24/spain-could-lose-its-biggest-glacier-in-just-20-years

Stalled weather patterns will get bigger due to climate change
Climate change will increase the size of stalled high-pressure weather systems called "blocking events" that have already produced some of the 21st century's deadliest heat waves, according to a Rice University study. Atmospheric blocking events are middle-latitude, high-pressure systems that stay in place for days or even weeks. Depending upon when and where they develop, blocking events can cause droughts or downpours and heat waves or cold spells ... The research was supported by NASA, the National Academies' Gulf Research Program, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation).
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191113075107.htm

Coal Knew Too: Explosive Report Shows Industry Was Aware of Climate Threat as Far Back as 1966
It wasn't just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago.
A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/22/coal-knew-too-explosive-report-shows-industry-was-aware-climate-threat-far-back-1966

The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun
Scientists disagree on the timeline of collapse and whether it's imminent. But can we afford to be wrong? And what comes after?
“It is now too late to stop a future collapse of our societies because of climate change.” These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist. This is from a paper delivered by a senior sustainability academic at a leading business school to the European Commission in Brussels, earlier this year. Before that, he delivered a similar message to a UN conference: “Climate change is now a planetary emergency posing an existential threat to humanity.” ...  a growing number of experts not only point at the looming possibility that human civilization itself is at risk; some believe that the science shows it is already too late to prevent collapse. The outcome of the debate on this is obviously critical: it throws light on whether and how societies should adjust to this uncertain landscape. Yet this is not just a scientific debate. It also raises difficult moral questions about what kind of action is warranted to prepare for, or attempt to avoid, the worst. Scientists may disagree about the timeline of collapse, but many argue that this is entirely beside the point. While scientists and politicians quibble over timelines and half measures, or how bad it'll all be, we are losing precious time. With the stakes being total collapse, some scientists are increasingly arguing that we should fundamentally change the structure of society just to be safe.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xwygg/the-collapse-of-civilization-may-have-already-begun

Painfully slow hurricanes, deadly heat, and cities without water: What the climate crisis will look like in the next 10 years, according to experts
We only have a decade to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. That’s the warning the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put out last year. But so far, nations are not slashing emissions enough to keep Earth’s temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the threshold established in the Paris climate agreement. “What we know is that unabated climate change will really transform our world into something that is unrecognizable,” Kelly Levin, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute’s climate program, told Business Insider. That transformation has already begun. The last few years saw record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic and bizarre storms, and unprecedented ice melt. That’s all likely to get worse by 2030. Here’s what we can expect in the next 10 years. [Detailed descriptions of very bad outcomes.]
https://www.businessinsider.nl/climate-change-in-the-next-decade-2019-11

Venice Isn’t Italy’s Only Weather Disaster. Rome and Florence Are Also Under Threat
All across the country, extreme weather has flooded rivers, downed trees, caused mudslides, and wreaked collective havoc. And according to a new report called “The Climate Has Already Changed” released Tuesday by Italy’s environmental watchdog group Legambiente, this is just the beginning. The report paints a grim picture of how climate change is impacting the Italian peninsula, which is geographically doomed thanks to rising seas on three sides. The authors list 40 coastal cities at risk, including Venice, Trieste, Ravenna, Pescara, La Spezia, Cagliari, Oristano, and Trapani, that could face widespread evacuations of its citizens by 2050.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/venice-isnt-italys-only-weather-disaster-widespread-flooding-threatens-florence-and-rome-too

Future climate forcing potentially without precedent in the last 420 million years
Humanity’s fossil-fuel use, if unabated, risks taking us, by the middle of the twenty-first century, to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago). If CO2 continues to rise further into the twenty-third century, then the associated large increase in radiative forcing, and how the Earth system would respond, would likely be without geological precedent in the last half a billion years.
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14845

Fossil fuel production on track for double the safe climate limit
‘We’re in a deep hole over the climate crisis and we need to stop digging,’ warn experts The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas as can be burned in 2030 while restricting rise in the global temperature to 1.5C, analysis shows. The report is the first to compare countries’ stated plans for fossil fuel extraction with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which is to keep global heating well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5C. It exposes a huge gap, with fossil fuel production in 2030 heading for 50% more than is consistent with 2C, and 120% more than that for 1.5C ... The report was produced by the UN Environment Programme and a coalition of research organisations. It complements an earlier UN analysis showing the current Paris agreement pledges to cut emissions would still lead to a catastrophic 3-4C rise.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/20/fossil-fuel-production-on-track-for-double-the-safe-climate-limit

A third of tropical African plants face extinction
A third of tropical African plants are on the path to extinction, according to a new assessment. Much of western Africa, Ethiopia, and parts of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the hardest hit regions, standing to lose more than 40% of their richness of plants ... The findings of the study, published in Science Advances, are based on a revised method for assessing extinction risk.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50477684

Climate Change Will Bring More Fire Tornadoes to Australia
Fire tornadoes are set to become a more common feature of the Australian landscape as climate change takes hold later this century. That’s according to new research from the University of New South Wales’s Climate Change Research Centre in Sydney, which found the hot, dry and windy conditions that fuel “catastrophic pyrocumulonimbus wildfires” are not only likely to occur more frequently in southeast Australia, but also earlier in the spring and summer. These devastating fires are so large and ferocious that they generate their own weather systems, making them almost impossible to control.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-18/more-fire-tornadoes-to-hit-australia-as-climate-change-sets-in

Waterbird population has fallen as much as 90 per cent in Australia's east, shows 37-year study
The drought has decimated the population of waterbirds across eastern Australia, with researchers saying numbers have fallen by as much as 90 per cent in the last four decades. When Sydney scientist Richard Kingsford and his team from the University of NSW began their research in the early 1980s, they clocked up to a million waterbirds in aerial surveys. "Now it's crashed to less than 100,000," Professor Kingsford said. "While the birds could have gone elsewhere, it's most likely that they've died."
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-19/drought-and-water-policy-to-blame-for-water-bird-decline/11715412

Local water scarcity spilling over into global crisis, researchers warn
Population growth and climate change are putting increasingly intense pressure on the planet’s limited water supplies ... ”All the local crises around the world are building up to a global crisis,” Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute, told a conference on the issue ... By 2050, FAO estimates food demand globally will rise by 50% but “we don’t have 50% more water to allocate to agriculture”, he noted, adding it is already the dominant water user. Demand for water is also surging in fast-growing cities ... Getting enough water to everyone is particularly difficult as climate change brings more erratic rainfall, with many places hit by floods and droughts in turn, conference speakers said.
https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/local-water-scarcity-spilling-over-into-global-crisis-researchers-warn/1769107/

After the warmest ever Arctic summer could come the mildest winter
The summer of 2019 was the warmest on record, and the trend will continue into early 2020, researchers from the Arctic Regional Climate Centre (ArcRCC) Network conclude. The forecasts support evidence of drastic changes in the region. Arctic temperatures continue to warm at more than twice the global average and the extent of winter sea-ice is at record low levels. During a recent session in the Arctic Climate Forum, experts from across the Arctic region discussed forecasts for the next half year.  They agree that surface air temperatures during winter 2019-2020 will be above normal across the majority of the Arctic regions. The session was organized by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and held in the form of video conference.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2019/11/after-warmest-ever-arctic-summer-could-come-mildest-winter

Bah humbug! North Pole lacks enough ice for sculptures
The annual Christmas in Ice sculpture park won't open this year in North Pole, Alaska, because of a lack of ice. It's the first cancellation since the event started ... there isn't enough ice on ponds to harvest for ice carving. The lack of ice on lakes and ponds follows a warm October in Alaska's interior ... North Pole has been almost 8 degrees warmer than normal, said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks. Even warmer temperatures were recorded last year and in 2013.
https://kcby.com/news/offbeat/bah-humbug-north-pole-lacks-enough-ice-for-sculptures

Arctic Ocean could be ice-free for part of the year as soon as 2044
Among the current generation of models, some show ice-free Septembers as early as 2026; others suggest the phenomenon will begin as late as 2132. The UCLA study, which was published in Nature Climate Change, focuses the predictions to a 25-year period ...  [This study] assessed 23 models' depiction of seasonal ice melt between 1980 and 2015 and compared them with the satellite observations. They retained the six models that best captured the actual historical results and discarded the ones that had proven to be off base, enabling them to narrow the range of predictions for ice-free Septembers in the Arctic.
https://phys.org/news/2019-11-arctic-ocean-ice-free-year.html

Ice loss causing Arctic to reflect less heat
Scientists say soot is not the major contributor, as levels have dropped recently, while warming has continued. The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Arctic region has warmed significantly since the 1980s, up to three times as much as the average seen elsewhere across the globe ... found that sea-ice, snow on top of sea-ice and ice on land contributed equally to the region's albedo effect. "These three factors contributed almost equally to the reduction of the surface albedo," explained co-author Hailong Wang, an earth scientist from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50381328

The climate science is clear: it's now or never to avert catastrophe
If we don’t solve it soon, we will never solve it, because we will pass a series of irrevocable tipping points – and we’re clearly now approaching those deadlines ... many researchers set 2020 as the date by which carbon emissions would need to peak if we were to have any chance of meeting the accord’s goals. Under the most plausible scenario, they wrote, “even if we peak in 2020 reducing emissions to zero within 20 years will be required,” and that is an ungodly steep slope. But if we wait past 2020 it’s not a slope at all – it’s just a cliff, and we fall off it. [IPCC said] if we hadn’t managed a fundamental transformation of the planet’s energy systems by 2030, our chance of meeting the Paris temperature targets is slim to none. And anyone who has ever had anything to do with governments knows: if you want something big done by 2030, you better give yourself a lot of lead time. In fact, it’s possible we’ve waited too long: the world’s greenhouse gas emissions spiked last year, and ... it’s hard to imagine we won’t see the same depressing thing this year.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/20/climate-crisis-its-now-or-never-to-avert-catastrophe

Plastics outnumber baby fish 7-to-1 in some coastal nurseries
Larval fish congregate in ocean slicks — ribbons of calm water that form naturally on the ocean’s surface — to feast on an abundance of prey. Prey-sized plastics also accumulate in these fish nurseries, outnumbering the fish 7-to-1 and ending up in the stomachs of many, researchers report online November 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... The nets snagged eight times as many fish in ocean slicks than in adjacent waters, confirming the slicks’ role as an early fish nursery. But inside these slicks, the tiny swimmers were outnumbered by plastic 7–1 ... Larval fish play a big role in the ocean food web. Seabirds skim them off the water’s surface, while larger fish, such as tuna, eat them from below. If larval fish ate plastic, the predators that eat them could accumulate potentially harmful levels of plastic themselves, the researchers say. Humans also eat some of those fish when full grown, such as mahi mahi, and their predators. To Whitney, the study underlines how insidious plastics are in the environment ... “Climate change is a huge punch to ocean fish. Overfishing another punch. And now, at their most vulnerable stages, there’s yet another human induced impact.”
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plastics-outnumber-baby-fish-some-coastal-nurseries
reporting on a study at https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/11/05/1907496116

Greenland airport becomes latest victim of climate change
Greenland's main airport is set to end civilian flights within five years due to climate change, as the melting of permafrost is cracking the runway ... authorities will start building a new facility from scratch ... Greenland is the world's largest island roughly and around 80 per cent of the surface is covered in ice sheet. But global warming is drastically reshaping Greenland, causing the ice sheet to melt at a faster rate than previously thought, according to recent research. The airport's situation shows how the built environment, and not just the natural environment, is being hit by climate change.
https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/15/greenland-airport-becomes-latest-victim-of-climate-change

California landfills are belching high levels of climate-warming methane
The largest sources of methane released to the atmosphere can now be spotted from the sky. A team of researchers used airborne remote sensing to pinpoint the exact locations of some of California’s biggest belchers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Of those concentrated “superemitters,” landfills were the biggest sources in the Golden State, followed by dairy farms and the oil and gas industry ... Landfills contributed 41 percent of emissions. Dairies and the oil and gas sector contributed 26 percent each, Riley Duren, an electrical engineer and research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues report November 6 in Nature.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/california-landfills-are-belching-high-levels-climate-warming-methane

Melting permafrost in Siberia is creating climate change refugees
For the 5.4 million people who live in Russia’s permafrost zone, the new climate has disrupted their homes and their livelihoods. Rivers are rising and running faster and entire neighbourhoods are falling into them. Arable land for farming has plummeted by more than half ... The impact on farming has been catastrophic ...  Zyryanka and the roughly 2,000-square-mile area surrounding it has warmed by more than 3C when the past five years are compared with the mid- to late 1800s. Some regions of Siberia bordering on the Arctic Ocean are warming even faster, the analysis shows.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/climate-change-refugees-siberia-permafrost-melt-a9146616.html

Stalled weather patterns will get bigger due to climate change
Climate change will increase the size of stalled high-pressure weather systems called "blocking events" that have already produced some of the 21st century's deadliest heat waves, according to a Rice University study. Atmospheric blocking events are middle-latitude, high-pressure systems that stay in place for days or even weeks. Depending upon when and where they develop, blocking events can cause droughts or downpours and heat waves or cold spells. Blocking events caused deadly heat waves in France in 2003 and in Russia in 2010. Using data from two sets of comprehensive climate model simulations, Rice fluid dynamicists Ebrahim Nabizadeh and Pedram Hassanzadeh, and colleagues found that the area of blocking events in the northern hemisphere will increase by as much as 17% due to anthropogenic climate change. The study, which is available online from Geophysical Research Letters, was co-authored by Da Yang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Davis, and Elizabeth Barnes of Colorado State University.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191113075107.htm

Climate Whiplash: Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are on the Rise
[P]henomenon, variously known as “climate whiplash” or “weather whiplash,” that scientists say is likely to increase as the world warms. The intensity of wildfires these days in places like California are a symptom of climate change, experts say, but the whiplash effect poses a different set of problems for humans and natural systems ... “There has been an assumption that the main thing we have to contend with climate change is increased temperatures, decreased snowpack, increased wildfire risk” on the West Coast, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Those things are still true, but there is this other dimension we will have to contend with — the increased risk of extreme flood and drought, and rapid transitions between the two.” ... weather whiplash could mean an intense drought year followed by record rains that don’t allow planting or that wash fertilizer into waterways ... Tree ring data shows a significant increase in climate volatility in the last 60 years.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/climate-whiplash-wild-swings-in-extreme-weather-are-on-the-rise

Glacier in Russian Arctic Goes From Moving 60 Feet a Year to 60 Feet a Day
Cold-based glaciers exist at high latitudes that receive little snow or rain. They rarely move more than a few yards per year. University of Colorado Boulder glaciologist Michael Willis was studying the Vavilov Ice Cap on October Revolution Island in the Kara Sea north of Siberia when he discovered the glacier began sliding dozens of times faster than is typical, according to a blog post from NASA. “The fact that an apparently stable, cold-based glacier suddenly went from moving 20 meters per year to 20 meters per day was extremely unusual, perhaps unprecedented,” Willis said. “The numbers here are simply nuts. Before this happened, as far as I knew, cold-based glaciers simply didn’t do that ... couldn’t do that.” The change is clear in Landsat satellite imagery that has been collected since 1985, according to NASA.
https://weather.com/news/news/2019-04-08-russian-glacier-moving-much-faster

Hail Has Damaged Insurance Market for Car Dealers. Parametric Insurance May Help.
Hail is wreaking havoc in the market for auto dealer lot insurance. In 2018, Zurich North America, one of the major commercial auto insurance providers, decided not to renew policies with hundreds of dealerships throughout the middle of the U.S., citing “catastrophic” losses due to hail damage ... Over the past decade, hail damage to vehicles, buildings and crops has accounted for an average of almost $10 billion annually, according to Steve Bowen, meteorologist and head of catastrophe insight for Aon Plc. Those costs are growing, he said, because hail reports are becoming more frequent ... This creates a problem for insurance underwriters, who typically use historical patterns to set prices. Add climate change to the equation, and the uncertainty can result in prohibitively expensive policies ... Kubicek anticipates that climate change will continue to throw insurance markets into disarray. "This is going to keep happening."
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/11/14/548468.htm

‘Insect apocalypse’ poses risk to all life on Earth, conservationists warn
Report claims 400,000 insect species face extinction amid heavy use of pesticides
The “unnoticed insect apocalypse” should set alarm bells ringing, according to conservationists, who said that without a halt there will be profound consequences for humans and all life on Earth. A new report suggested half of all insects may have been lost since 1970 as a result of the destruction of nature and heavy use of pesticides. The report said 40% of the 1million known species of insect are facing extinction ...  the first global scientific review, published in February, said widespread declines threaten a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/13/insect-apocalypse-poses-risk-to-all-life-on-earth-conservationists-warn

Last Arctic Ice Refuge Is Disappearing
The oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing twice as fast as ice in the rest of the Arctic Ocean, according to new research. A new study in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters finds ice in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland is more mobile than previously thought, as ocean currents and atmospheric winds are likely transporting the old, thick ice found there to other parts of the Arctic. As a result, ice mass in the area – the last place researchers think will lose its year-round ice cover – is declining twice as fast as ice in the rest of the Arctic, according to the new findings.
https://news.agu.org/press-release/last-arctic-ice-refuge-is-disappearing/

Climate Change Is Breaking Open America's Nuclear Tomb
The Marshall Islands say that plutonium is leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the concrete dome the U.S. built to dispose of nuclear waste During the Cold War, the United States nuked the Marshall Islands 67 times. After it finished nuking the islands, the Pentagon dropped biological weapons on the islands. Once the U.S. was finished, it scooped the irradiated and ruined soil from the islands, poured it into a crater left behind from a nuclear detonation, mixed it all with concrete, and covered the whole thing in a concrete dome. They called it “The Tomb.” According to a report from The Los Angeles Times, climate change is breaking that dome open ... The Tomb contains not just the irradiated soil and metal scrap from the Pacific proving grounds, but also 130 tons of soil shipped in from Nevada ... The Nuclear Claims Tribunal, an independent ruling body with the authority to arbitrate legal relations between the United States and the Marshall Islands, awarded the Marshall Islands $2 billion in damages in 2001. Washington has paid only $4 million ... By the end of the century, experts believe the sea levels could rise by four or five feet, submerging the Marshall Islands and The Tomb. Under that kind of pressure, the concrete dome will crack, spilling America’s Cold War waste into the Pacific.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3kxmav/climate-change-is-breaking-open-americas-nuclear-tomb

This is not normal: what's different about the NSW [Australia] mega fires
Unprecedented dryness; reductions in long-term rainfall; low humidity; high temperatures; wind velocities; fire danger indices; fire spread and ferocity; instances of pyro-convective fires (fire storms – making their own weather); early starts and late finishes to bushfire seasons. An established long-term trend driven by a warming, drying climate. The numbers don’t lie, and the science is clear. If anyone tells you, "This is part of a normal cycle" or "We’ve had fires like this before", smile politely and walk away, because they don’t know what they’re talking about.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/this-is-not-normal-what-s-different-about-the-nsw-mega-fires-20191110-p5395e.html

Arctic Shifts to Carbon Source – Stunning Reversal After Capturing Carbon for Tens of Thousands of Years
A NASA-funded study suggests winter carbon emissions in the Arctic may be adding more carbon into the atmosphere each year than is taken up by Arctic vegetation, marking a stark reversal for a region that has captured and stored carbon for tens of thousands of years. The study, published October 21, 2019, in Nature Climate Change, warns that winter carbon dioxide loss from the world’s permafrost regions could increase by 41% over the next century if human-caused greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace. Carbon emitted from thawing permafrost has not been included in the majority of models used to predict future climates.
https://scitechdaily.com/arctic-shifts-to-carbon-source-stunning-reversal-after-capturing-carbon-for-tens-of-thousands-of-years/

Climate change could end mortgages as we know them
For the financial sector, adapting to climate change isn't just an issue of improving their market share. "It is a function of where there will be a market at all," wrote Jesse Keenan, a scholar who studies climate adaptation, in the Fed's introduction ... The housing market doesn't yet factor in the risk of climate change, which is already affecting many areas of the U.S., including flood-prone coastal communities, agricultural regions and parts of the country vulnerable to wildfires. In California, for instance, 50,000 homeowners can't get property or casualty insurance because of the increased risk to their homes.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-could-end-mortgages-as-we-know-them/

Climate risk – A new normal
The past two full years – 2017 and 2018 – were the most costly back-to-back years on record for weather-related disasters say insurance companies, with economic losses exceeding $650 billion. Moreover, 2018 was the fourth costliest year on record for weather-related events, even though there were no events on the scale of hurricanes Katrina in 2005, and Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017. Experts believe 2018 represents a ‘new normal’, when a large number of relatively small natural disasters added up to substantial losses ... Investment firm Schroders estimates global economic losses from climate change could reach $23 trillion per year in the long term if action isn’t taken. That’s almost four times the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.
https://www.risk.net/risk-management/7147041/climate-risk-a-new-normal

The Baymen’s Nightmare: All the Scallops Are Dead
You could tell it was going to be a bad scallop season just by looking in the parking lot of the Shelter Island Yacht Club. When the scallops are abundant, gulls pluck them from shallows, drop them on the macadam from a height, and swoop down to eat the meat from the cracked shell. This October, for the first time in years, the yacht club parking lot was not carpet-bombed with scallop shells. Sure enough, when bay scallop season opened on Monday, the baymen of Long Island brought news. Most of the adult scallops in Peconic Bay were dead ...  in fewer than 50 years, according to one expert on bay scallop biology, human activity driving climate change has threatened scallops with extinction.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/07/nyregion/peconic-bay-scallop-season.html

The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific
The salmon catch is collapsing off Japan’s northern coast, plummeting by about 70 percent in the past 15 years. The disappearance of the fish coincides with another striking development: the loss of a unique blanket of sea ice that dips far below the Arctic to reach this shore. The twin impacts — less ice, fewer salmon — are the products of rapid warming in the Sea of Okhotsk, wedged between Siberia and Japan. The area has warmed in some places by as much as 3 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times, making it one of the fastest-warming spots in the world ... The rising temperatures are starting to shut down the single most dynamic sea ice factory on Earth ... Its decline has a cascade of consequences well beyond Japan as climate dominoes begin to fall.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/world/climate-environment/climate-change-japan-pacific-sea-salmon-ice-loss/

Insect decline more extensive than suspected
Compared to a decade ago, today the number of insect species on many areas has decreased by about one third. This is the result of a survey of an international research team led by scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) ..."Previous studies, however, either focused exclusively on biomass, i.e. the total weight of all insects, or on individual species or species groups. The fact that a large part of all insect groups is actually affected has not been clear so far," says Dr. Sebastian Seibold, a scientist with the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group at TUM. In a large-scale biodiversity study, an international research team headed by scientists at TUM surveyed a large number of insect groups in Brandenburg, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg between 2008 and 2017. Now the team has published its analysis in the scientific journal “Nature”.
https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35769/

Study Confirms Our Oceans Are Already Losing Vast Quantities of Fish
Fish populations in the world's oceans are depleting at an alarming rate, new research has found, with worrying consequences for those higher up the food chain – which includes humans ... The researchers looked at how ocean warming affected 235 populations of fish worldwide, covering 124 species across 38 ecological regions ... Warming waters are usually bad news for fish: not only does warmer water contain less oxygen, it also impairs bodily functions, which in many fish occur at the same temperature as the water. If you've ever felt the oppression of a hot summer day, you've got an idea of what we're talking about ... With fish stocks supplying a significant chunk of animal protein in the world's diet – especially in coastal, developing countries – the trend is a worrying one.
https://www.sciencealert.com/new-research-confirms-our-warming-oceans-are-losing-a-huge-amount-of-fish

Global Warming Is Already Destroying New England’s Fisheries
In the North Atlantic, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet has triggered a slowing of ocean currents that routinely circulate cooler water into New England. “Since 2010, we’ve had weaker flow in that cold water current,” said Andrew Pershing, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. “Those changes in circulation are part of this large-scale reorganization of the North Atlantic.” ... It’s left the Gulf of Maine with a warming level at almost four times the global ocean average ... The Gloucester fishermen still working have started delaying maintenance on their boats and letting some insurance policies lapse. They endure more frequent and more intense storms, the kind that keep your boat docked for five days until the ocean swells calm down. They target flounder and haddock for now, and wonder if southern species like the blue crabs of the Chesapeake Bay might migrate up in time for their last years at sea. They’ve acknowledged—as others so far have not—the fact that this won’t be one transition, but several. As David Wallace Wells wrote this year, it’s not the “new normal.” It’s “the end of normal.”
https://newrepublic.com/article/155586/global-warming-already-destroying-new-englands-fisheries

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists ... There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.” The statement is published in the journal BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979. The statement was a collaboration of dozens of scientists and endorsed by further 11,000 from 153 nations.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/05/climate-crisis-11000-scientists-warn-of-untold-suffering

Across Arctic Canada, sea ice levels are again at record lows
As of Oct. 15, sea ice levels hit 5.118 million square kilometres, making them the lowest on record, which began in 1968. “Depending on the area, we could be up to a month behind where we should be at this time of year,” said Gilles Langis, senior ice forecaster with the meteorological service of Canada ... From April onward, every month has ranked in the top three warmest ... What’s going on this year is representative of something larger. “Under the influence of global heating caused by human-induced greenhouse gases emissions, we have seen a sharp decrease in the extent of Arctic sea [ice] since 1979,” says Pascal Peduzzi, Director of GRID-Geneva, in a press release published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/across-arctic-canada-sea-ice-levels-are-again-at-record-lows

Abrupt shifts in Arctic climate projected
Researchers from McGill University project that as the permafrost continues to degrade, the climate in various regions of the Arctic could potentially change abruptly, in the relatively near future. Their research, which was published today in Nature Climate Change, also suggests that as the permafrost degrades, the severity of wildfires will double from one year to the next and remain at the new and higher rate ... "What we came away with, was a picture of alarming changes to climate driven by permafrost degradation."
https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/mu-asi103019.php
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0614-6

Decade-long drought in Chile wipes out hives as bees are left without flowers
[A] punishing, decade-long drought is making life difficult for honey bees ... Daniel Barrera, a bee industry expert with the agriculture ministry, said a precise count of hives lost this year will not be available until 2020. But bleak reports from the field, he said, were more than enough to warrant government aid for beekeepers. ... officials say climate change has made the current [drought] longer and more severe. Rainfall in September in Santiago was down nearly 80% versus the historical average ... “There’s no water anywhere,” Mejias said. “The bees are suffering just the same as cattle, crops and people.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-environment-bees/decade-long-drought-in-chile-wipes-out-hives-as-bees-are-left-without-flowers-idUSKBN1XB3T5

East Africa reels from deadly floods in extreme weather
A powerful climate phenomenon in the Indian Ocean stronger than any seen in years is unleashing destructive rains and flooding across East Africa—and scientists say worse could be coming. Violent downpours in October have displaced tens of thousands in Somalia, submerged whole towns in South Sudan and killed dozens in flash floods and landslides in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Rising waters have wiped out livestock and destroyed harvests in swathes of the region still reeling from severe drought. Close to a million people in South Sudan alone are affected, with growing fears of disease outbreaks and starvation.
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-east-africa-reels-deadly-extreme.html

"This will only get worse in the future": Experts see direct line between California wildfires and climate change
California is likely to continue to experience larger and more destructive wildfires as the nation's most populated state gets hotter and drier. A recent study published in Earth's Future suggests that the increasing size of wildfires occurring across California in the last 50 years is attributable to climate change drying out the landscape ... The six most destructive fire seasons in state history have occurred in the last 10 years, and 15 of the 20 largest California fires took place since 2000.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/this-will-only-get-worse-in-the-future-experts-find-direct-line-between-california-wildfires-and-climate-change/

The World Is Not Going To Halve Carbon Emissions By 2030, So Now What?
Last year [IPCC] reported that “limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Specifically, “Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050” ... The evidence shows clearly that the world is far from being on a path that will come anywhere close to that goal. That is not an opinion, it is just math ... There is simply no evidence that the world is, or is on the brink of, making “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” that would be required for the deep decarbonization associated with a 1.5°C temperature target.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/10/27/the-world-is-not-going-to-reduce-carbon-dioxide-emissions-by-50-by-2030-now-what

Global vulnerability to sea level rise worse than previously understood
A new digital elevation model ... shows that many of the world’s coastlines are far lower than has been generally known and that sea level rise could affect hundreds of millions of more people ... Some countries, such as the United States, use a remote-sensing technology called lidar to reliably map the heights of their coastlines ... Where lidar data are not available, researchers and analysts rely on one of several global datasets, most typically through a NASA project known as SRTM [which] are less reliable than lidar [because] SRTM data measure the tops of features that protrude from the ground—such as buildings and trees—as well as the ground itself. As a result, SRTM data generally overestimate elevation [which] produce underestimates of future inundation driven by sea level rise.
https://climatecentral.org/news/report-flooded-future-global-vulnerability-to-sea-level-rise-worse-than-previously-understood

Carbon bomb: Study says climate impact from loss of intact tropical forests grossly underreported
A new study in the journal Science Advances says that carbon impacts from the loss of intact tropical forests has been grossly underreported ... when they factored in full carbon accounting ... they discovered that the figure skyrocketed by a factor of more than six times. Said the study's lead author Sean Maxwell of WCS and the University of Queensland: "Our results revealed that continued destruction of intact tropical forests is a ticking time bomb for carbon emissions. There is an urgent need to safeguard these landscapes because they play an indispensable role in stabilizing the climate."
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-carbon-climate-impact-loss-intact.html
reporting on a study at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/10/eaax2546.full

Amphibian 'apocalypse' caused by most destructive pathogen ever
For decades, A silent killer has slaughtered frogs and salamanders around the world by eating their skins alive. Now, a global team of 41 scientists has announced that the pathogen—which humans unwittingly spread around the world—has damaged global biodiversity more than any other disease ever recorded. The new study, published in Science on Thursday, is the first comprehensive tally of the damage done by the chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). In all, the fungi have driven the declines of at least 501 amphibian species, or about one out of every 16 known to science. Of the chytrid-stricken species, 90 have gone extinct or are presumed extinct in the wild. Another 124 species have declined in number by more than 90 percent. All but one of the 501 declines was caused by Bd.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/03/amphibian-apocalypse-frogs-salamanders-worst-chytrid-fungus/

Prolonged Missouri River flooding could last all winter
Flooding along the Missouri River has stretched on for seven months in places and could endure through the winter ... There are several reasons for the flooding, including high levels along the river, saturated ground and broken levees. And with forecasters predicting a wetter-than-normal winter, it’s possible flooding could continue in some places all the way until spring, when the normal flood season begins. “There’s no end in sight. None at all,” said Tom Bullock ... In Missouri’s Holt County, where Bullock serves as emergency management director, roughly 30,000 acres (12,140 hectares) of the 95,000 acres (38,445 hectares) that flooded last spring remain underwater, and at least some of that floodwater is likely to freeze in place this winter. Similar conditions exist in places along the lower Missouri River, where broken levees will likely take several years to repair. Nearly every levee in Holt County has multiple breaches and many haven’t even been examined yet. Repairs aren’t likely to start on most of the area’s levees until next year, Bullock said. One key contributor to the flooding is that the river remains high because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still releasing massive amounts of water from upstream dams to clear space in the reservoirs to handle next spring’s flooding ... any significant rain or snow in the region could lead to new flooding because the soil is too saturated to absorb most of it and many rivers are high, according to the National Weather Service.
https://apnews.com/4495e896075044fc82264bfccb0bc09f

Chukchi Sea ice coverage reaches record low
With a poor start for ice forming in northern Alaska waters this season, the latest climate forecasts predict sea ice may not reach Western Alaska until December ... according to climatologist Rick Thoman, the Chukchi Sea currently has the least amount of ice it’s ever had. “Here in Western Alaska I think the most common question is: where is the sea ice at?” Thoman said. “And it’s still very far north, we’re at record low sea ice extent in the Chukchi Sea, near record low in the Beaufort Sea ... the odds favor significantly warmer (temperatures) than that 30-year average,” Thoman said. “That’s not surprising given where we’re at with sea surface temperatures and very late, very low sea ice.”
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/10/28/chukchi-sea-ice-coverage-reaches-record-low/

First pictures and video of the largest methane fountain so far discovered in the Arctic Ocean
A record high methane gas emission in a shape of an underwater ‘fountain’ was registered at the beginning of October east of Bennett island in the East Siberian Sea ... water ‘so violently boiling with methane bubbles’ that scientists skipped using plastic cones for sampling and instead collected the gas in buckets. ‘This was the most powerful seep I have ever observed. No one has ever recorded anything similar’ said head of the expedition Igor Semiletov, who has participated in 45 Arctic expeditions. Unexpectedly high speed of degradation of subsea permafrost has been recorded. 'In some areas the roof of subsea permafrost thawed to the stability horizons of gas hydrates.'
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/first-pictures-and-video-of-the-largest-methane-fountain-so-far-discovered-in-the-arctic-ocean/

Shell made a film about climate change in 1991 (then neglected to heed its own warning)
Oil giant Shell has spent millions of dollars lobbying against measures that would protect the planet from climate catastrophe. But thanks to a film recently obtained by De Correspondent, it’s now clear that their position wasn’t born of ignorance. Shell knows that fossil fuels put us all at risk – in fact, they’ve known for over a quarter of a century. Climate of Concern, a 1991 educational film produced by Shell, warned that the company’s own product could lead to extreme weather, floods, famines, and climate refugees, and noted that the reality of climate change was "endorsed by a uniquely broad consensus of scientists."
https://thecorrespondent.com/6285/shell-made-a-film-about-climate-change-in-1991-then-neglected-to-heed-its-own-warning
see also https://thecorrespondent.com/6286/if-shell-knew-climate-change-was-dire-25-years-ago-why-still-business-as-usual-today

Rapid Glacial Melt Near Mount Everest Peaks Threatens Nepali Communities
Near the peaks of Mount Everest – towering some 5.6 miles above sea level – the ancient Khumbu Glacier is melting. Never before in the last 70 years has the massive ice rock melted more quickly than it is now. It is losing thickness at an unprecedented rate – about 131 feet in the last 10 to 15 years, to be exact. And the Nepali communities surrounding the Khumbu are feeling the consequences.
https://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/glacial-melt-near-mount-everest-threatens-nepali-communities/

River of Trash: How Plastic Pollution Is Making Central American Communities Uninhabitable
Guatemala’s Motagua River pours into the Caribbean, carrying with it a daily freight of trash washed out of overcrowded city dumps and unofficial landfills hundreds of miles upstream. Worldwide, an estimated 80 percent of ocean plastic comes from land as “mismanaged waste” ... result is a noxious chowder of sewage, industrial and agricultural runoff, and an ever-replenished flotilla of plastic trash, churning out from the river mouth toward the massive Mesoamerican reef ... the beaches here and in neighboring Honduras are regularly buried in artificial tidewrack of toothbrushes, makeup containers, old syringes and bottles of IV fluid, action figures, streamers of plastic film, and foil chip bags ... Since the first synthetic plastic appeared in 1907, we’ve made 8.3 billion tons of the stuff, 5 billion of which is still sloshing around the world ... researchers found that 90 percent of the marine plastic washed out of just 10 rivers, including the Yangtze, the Nile, and the Ganges ... between 5 and 12 million tons of plastic flow from land into the sea every year.
https://theintercept.com/2019/10/27/plastic-pollution-guatemala/

Climate change may see one in four US steel bridges collapse by 2040
Bridges in the US and other high-income countries are ageing and deteriorating ... [A team at Colorado State University studied] the effects of increasing temperatures on steel bridges around the US. In particular, they focused on what would happen when joints that are clogged with dirt and debris are exposed to the higher temperatures expected in the years ahead as the climate warms. Clogging is a common problem, especially in deteriorating bridges, but it is costly to address. This clogging prevents sections from being able to safely expand and strains parts of the bridge that weren’t designed to withstand the resulting load. [The team] analysed data on the condition of around 90,000 bridges across the US and [found that] one in four bridges are at risk of a section failing in the next 21 years, rising to 28 per cent by 2060 and 49 per cent by 2080. Almost all are set to fail by 2100.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2221040-climate-change-may-see-one-in-four-us-steel-bridges-collapse-by-2040/

U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned By Pentagon Says
The senior US government officials who wrote the report are from several key agencies including the Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NASA. The study called on the Pentagon to urgently prepare for the possibility that domestic power, water, and food systems might collapse due to the impacts of climate change as we near mid-century. The report was commissioned by General Mark Milley, Trump's new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the highest-ranking military officer in the country ... The two most prominent scenarios in the report focus on the risk of a collapse of the power grid within “the next 20 years,” and the danger of disease epidemics. Both could be triggered by climate change in the near-term, it notes ... without urgent reforms, the report warns that the US military itself could end up effectively collapsing as it tries to respond to climate collapse ... paints a frightening portrait of a country falling apart over the next 20 years due to the impacts of climate change on “natural systems such as oceans, lakes, rivers, ground water, reefs, and forests.” Current infrastructure in the US, the report says, is woefully underprepared: “Most of the critical infrastructures identified by the Department of Homeland Security are not built to withstand these altered conditions.” ... Also at “high risk of temporary or permanent closure due to climate threats” are US nuclear power facilities. There are currently 99 nuclear reactors operating in the US, supplying nearly 20 percent of the country’s utility-scale energy. But the majority of these, some 60 percent, are located in vulnerable regions which face “major risks” including sea level rise, severe storms, and water shortages ... The report's authors believe that domestic military operations will be necessary to contain future disease outbreaks ... “Climate change is introducing an increased risk of infectious disease to the US population. It is increasingly not a matter of ‘if’ but of when there will be a large outbreak.” ... The report describes water scarcity as a near-term risk driving civil unrest and political instability. By 2040, global demand for fresh water will exceed availability, and by 2030 one-third of the world population will inhabit “water-stressed regions”.
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mbmkz8/us-military-could-collapse-within-20-years-due-to-climate-change-report-commissioned-by-pentagon-says
reporting on a study at [pdf] https://climateandsecurity.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/implications-of-climate-change-for-us-army_army-war-college_2019.pdf

Amazon rainforest 'close to irreversible tipping point'
Soaring deforestation coupled with the destructive policies of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, could push the Amazon rainforest dangerously to an irreversible “tipping point” within two years ... After this point the rainforest would stop producing enough rain to sustain itself and start slowly degrading into a drier savannah, releasing billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, which would exacerbate global heating and disrupt weather across South America. The warning came in a policy brief published this week by Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/23/amazon-rainforest-close-to-irreversible-tipping-point

An ecosystem-wide reproductive failure with more snow in the Arctic
Although public interest has long been focused on general warming trends and trends towards a lower sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean, this summer saw the realization of another predicted trend: that of increasing precipitation during the winter months and of increased year-to-year variability. In a well-studied ecosystem in Northeast Greenland, this resulted in the most complete reproductive failure encountered in the terrestrial ecosystem during more than two decades of monitoring: only a few animals and plants were able to reproduce because of abundant and late melting snow. These observations, we suggest, should open our eyes to potentially drastic consequences of predicted changes in both the mean and the variability of arctic climate.
https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000392

Climate Sensitivity of High Arctic Permafrost Terrain Demonstrated by Widespread Ice-Wedge Thermokarst on Banks Island
[C]limate-driven thaw of hilltop ice-wedge networks is rapidly transforming uplands across Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Change detection using high-resolution WorldView images and historical air photos, coupled with 32-year Landsat reflectance trends, indicate broad-scale increases in ponding from ice-wedge thaw on hilltops, which has significantly affected at least 1500 km2 of Banks Island.
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/10/6/954

Global impacts of thawing Arctic permafrost may be imminent
The Arctic permafrost, frozen soil that is chock full of carbon, is a ticking time bomb. When it thaws because of global warming ... scientists believe it is likely to release more carbon than it absorbs from new plant growth—adding to the atmosphere’s burden and accelerating climate change. But studies in the Arctic have been so limited that no one could say when that time would come. It’s here now, according to research published today by a large team of scientists in Nature Climate Change ... scientists from the Permafrost Carbon Network estimate that permafrost released an average of 1662 teragrams of carbon each winter from 2003 to 2017—double that of past estimates.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/global-impacts-thawing-arctic-permafrost-may-be-imminent

Permafrost emits more carbon in winter than plants absorb in summer: study
Research has found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it releases more carbon in winter than northern plants can absorb during the summer. The finding means the extensive belt of tundra around the globe — a vast reserve of carbon that dwarfs what's held in the atmosphere — is becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change ... The research by scientists in 12 countries and from dozens of institutions is the latest warning that northern natural systems that once reliably kept carbon out of the atmosphere are starting to release it ... What's more, the pace of the emissions is likely to increase.
https://www.vancourier.com/permafrost-emits-more-carbon-in-winter-than-plants-absorb-in-summer-study-1.23984137

Record temperatures reveal long-term heating
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Union, has announced record temperatures for September on a global level, making it the fourth month in a row to be close to or breaking a temperature record. The last four months have been exceptionally warm on a global level. June 2019 was the warmest June on record, July the warmest month ever recorded in this data set, and August 2019 settling for the second warmest August. September 2019 was on-par with record temperatures. All this is a reminder of the long-term trend in global heating.
https://theecologist.org/2019/oct/15/record-temperatures-reveal-long-term-heating

Understanding extinction — humanity has destroyed half the life on Earth
"If you take the overall biomass on Earth before humanity arrived on the scene, it was about twice what it is now," said Ron Milo, a professor of plant and environmental sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science ... Earth's population nears eight billion people, but that only accounts for 0.01% of our planet's overall biomass. Yet, despite the fact that we represent tiny fraction of life on Earth, humanity has had an outsized impact on species around the world that are threatened with extinction ... The recent UN biodiversity report, the IPBES global assessment, concluded that up to one million wild species are now at risk of extinction due to human activities. "Species are going extinct, it seems, many times more rapidly than they have in any time in recent history. And you have to go back towards the last major extinction event in order to find extinction rates of this nature. So it's somewhere at least 10 to 100 times — maybe even up to a 1,000 times more rapidly — that species are going extinct," said Kai Chan, a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the UN report ... our planet now has 20-fold more biomass in domesticated livestock like cows, pigs and sheep than in all the wild mammals — like elephants, caribou and whales — combined. And there are twice as many domesticated birds as there are wild ones. The more wild species we lose, the less diverse life on Earth becomes. This has consequences like increasing the vulnerability of our agricultural systems.
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/oct-19-2019-understanding-the-anthropocene-extinction-regenerating-cartilage-and-more-1.5324707/understanding-extinction-humanity-has-destroyed-half-the-life-on-earth-1.5324721

Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day
[Author describes the problem using] units called “million tons of oil equivalent” or mtoe. In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019. (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.) Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day ... The amount of energy reflected in 1 mtoe is approximated by that produced by the Turkey Point nuclear plant over a year. So the math here is simple: to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the world would need to deploy 3 Turkey Point nuclear plants worth of carbon-free energy every two days, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. At the same time, a Turkey Point nuclear plant worth of fossil fuels would need to be decommissioned every day, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050 .. [alternatively] we can substitute wind energy as a measuring stick. Net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050 would require the deployment of ~1500 wind turbines (2.5 MW) over ~300 square miles, every day starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/09/30/net-zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions-by-2050-requires-a-new-nuclear-power-plant-every-day/#5c6794de35f7

Poppies, dandelions and daisies bloom in never before seen Arctic oases
‘Blooming’ might be the last word to associate with the Arctic, yet pictures below show meadows bursting with life as brightly-coloured flowers blossom in lush green grass. And while vegetation in khasyreis, basins of drained Arctic lakes, is less of a surprise, researchers discovered ‘bursts of life’ next to a residential settlement where permafrost ice veins were broken when people dug sand pits. The photographed area is 70th parallel north - with a distance to North Pole of only 1043 miles - where Russia has its northernmost residential settlements of Western Siberia. There, in bleak Arctic tundra summer-2019 expedition organised by Tomsk State University found oases of rich vegetation formed in places of actively thawing permafrost.
http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/poppies-dandelions-and-daisies-bloom-in-never-before-seen-arctic-oases/

Researchers investigate dramatic melt of glaciers in Peru
The study, published September 30, 2019 in the journal The Cryosphere, used satellite data to measure the changes in glaciers across the Peruvian Andes Mountains between 2000 and 2016. The researchers identified a glacial retreat of 29% for the period – an area roughly equivalent to 80,000 soccer fields.
https://earthsky.org/earth/disappearing-peruvian-glaciers

Swiss glaciers shrink ten percent in five years
Switzerland's glaciers have lost a tenth of their volume in the past five years alone -- a melting rate unmatched during observations stretching back more than a century, a study showed Tuesday. Measurements on 20 Swiss glaciers have shown that melt rates this year have reached "record levels", according to the annual study on the state of the glaciers, published by the Cryospheric Commission at the Swiss Academy of Sciences. The study, released amid growing global alarm over climate change, found that intense heatwaves over the summer in Switzerland had dashed hopes that an exceptionally snow-filled winter would limit the glacier melt this year.
https://www.thelocal.ch/20191015/swiss-glaciers-shrink-10-percent-in-five-years-study

‘Witnessing extinction in the flames’ as the Amazon burns for agribusiness
The vast and biodiverse Triunfo do Xingu protected area in the Brazilian Amazon lost 22 percent of its forest cover between 2007 and 2018, with figures this year indicating the rate of deforestation is accelerating ... The surge in deforestation, driven largely by cattle ranching, is part of a wider trend of encroachment into protected areas across the Brazilian Amazon under the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, according to conservationists ... Most of those who have been clearing land in recent months are doing so without the licensing needed to legally develop the territory for industrial activity, sources in the region say. They also appear to be carving out chunks of forest that are far larger than what is permitted within the Triunfo do Xingu area under its protected status.
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/10/witnessing-extinction-in-the-flames-as-the-amazon-burns-for-agribusiness/

In the Mountains, Climate Change Is Disrupting Everything, from How Water Flows to When Plants Flower
The melting of glaciers and loss of snow has a cascading effect for ecosystems, agriculture and billions of people downstream.
Mountain snowpack is shrinking and melting earlier in the spring. Warmer and longer summers dry out vegetation and increase the threat of wildfires in western mountain forests, where the fire season has lengthened by at least a month since 1979. The growing wildfire risk is just part of an accelerating cycle of global warming impacts in the world's mountain regions ... global warming impacts represent an existential threat to millions of people in the Andes, the Himalaya, the European Alps, and the U.S. Mountain West ... With continued high emissions, the glaciers will all but vanish ... 2019 study showed that the fivefold increase in the extent of California's wildfires since the 1970s was "very likely driven by drying of fuels promoted by human‐induced warming."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07102019/mountain-climate-change-disruption-glaciers-water-ecosystems-agriculture-plants-food

Indigenous farming practices failing as climate change disrupts seasons
Climate change is upending millions of people’s lives, yet few communities are seeing their crops and worldviews crumble quite like those that rely on indigenous weather forecasting. Dependent in many cases on millennia-old trial and error, as well as analyses of the landscape to gauge planting cycles, their fields are withering as the conditions on which the calendars are predicated change. Without that accumulated wisdom to fall back on—bird migrations, wind direction, stars, and more—farmers are feeling particularly defenseless just as other consequences of climate change complicate their lives ... Until 20 years ago, this calendar was “almost perfect,” says Ismail Elgizouli, a Sudanese scientist and former acting chair of the UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But now “due to climate change there is variability from one year to another.”
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/10/climate-change-killing-thousands-of-years-indigenous-wisdom/

Humans Are Disturbing Earth's Carbon Cycle More Than the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Did
This striking finding comes from a suite of papers published today (Oct. 1) in the journal Elements, authored by several teams of researchers from the Deep Carbon Observatory ... As the asteroid plowed into Earth with billions of times the energy of an atomic bomb, shock waves from the blast triggered earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and wildfires, possibly ejecting as much as 1,400 gigatons (that's 1,400 billion tons) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere ... Still, even the highest estimated Chicxulub-related CO2 emissions are less than the cumulative, ongoing emissions associated with man-made climate change. Those emissions, the researchers wrote, amount to about 2,000 gigatons of CO2 pumped into the sky since the year 1750. It almost goes without saying at this point that, due to a failure to take meaningful global climate action, man-made emissions are still increasing every year.
https://www.livescience.com/anthropogenic-warming-like-dinosaur-killing-asteroid.html

Climate change will hit Mediterranean hard and fast, study says
Temperatures in the region have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius from the preindustrial period, above the global average [rise] of 1.1 degrees Celsius, according to the study. By 2040, temperatures are forecast to rise in the region by 2.2 degrees Celsius ... Droughts will become “more frequent and/or more intense” ... with a fall in rainfall of up to 30 percent in some areas ... “The inevitable calamities of climate change are looming across the Mediterranean at a faster rate than we thought”
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/world/science-health-world/climate-change-will-hit-mediterranean-hard-fast-study-says/

Sea 'Boiling' With Methane Discovered In Siberia: 'No One Has Ever Recorded Anything Like This Before'
Researchers on an expedition to the East Siberian Sea said the "methane fountain" was unlike anything they had seen before ... With global temperatures increasing, scientists are concerned the warming will result in more permafrost thawing, causing more methane to be released, leading to even more warming. This is known as a positive feedback loop ... Methane levels around the fountain were nine times higher than average global concentrations. The following day they found another methane fountain.
https://www.newsweek.com/methane-boiling-sea-discovered-siberia-1463766

Current climate change was predicted 40 years ago
Forty years ago, a group of renowned scientists anticipated the recent changing trend in our planet’s climate record. Using the increasing concentration values of gases such as carbon dioxide, they were able to come up with a fairly close approximation of what our climate would be like today [and] would become a starting point for a myriad of research projects relating to changing greenhouse gas concentrations and climate change ... the Charney Report would become a clear example of how to conduct rigorous science. First examining the physics and chemistry behind the phenomena studied, then presenting a hypothesis of the problem and, finally, based on their scientific knowledge, making predictions ... Over the last 40 years [Earth] has been warming up at a rate similar to what Charney and his colleagues anticipated.
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/current-climate-change-was-predicted-40-years-ago

Dying Salmon, Wildfires, Heat Waves, Vanishing Ice: In Alaska, Climate Change Is Impossible to Ignore
July was Alaska’s hottest month in recorded history, thanks in part to that torrid heat wave. March through August? The state’s warmest six-month period, with temperatures hovering 6.4 degrees F above long-term averages. From vanished sea ice to skies choked with wildfire smoke to animals appearing where they shouldn’t or not appearing where they should, the impacts of a fast-warming climate were visible everywhere residents looked. “I have just felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything this year,” said Rick Thoman, a climate scientist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy who co-authored a report in August summarizing the environmental changes unfolding across the state. “It’s been running from one fire to another, almost literally.” ... Across the North Slope, shorelines are eroding as warm ocean waters gnaw away at thawing permafrost bluffs ... Fires torched some 2.6 million acres across the state this year ... Big years like it are occurring far more often than they used to.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/dying-salmon-wildfires-heat-waves-vanishing-ice-in-alaska-climate-change-is-impossible-to-ignore-896284/

Record power shutoffs in California are set to become the new normal
Amid fierce winds and dry conditions, the utility company that services more than a third of California will cut power to an unprecedented swath of the state as a preventative measure against wildfires. And with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) at fault for two of the deadliest wildfires in California’s history in just the past two years, major power shutoffs are set to become a new normal ... PG&E will shut off power to portions of 34 of the state’s 58 counties [for up to a week], affecting almost 800,000 homes and businesses. The preventative shutoff will not be the first the utility has undertaken this year, but it will be the largest ... PG&E declared bankruptcy in January, in part because of potential liabilities from its role in some of the 2017 northern California fires and the 2018 Camp fire that killed a total of 129 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/08/california-pge-power-shutdown-wildfire

Something strange is happening to Greenland's ice sheet
As the ice slabs continue to spread, the study’s authors predict more and more of Greenland’s surface will become a “runoff zone,” boosting the ice sheet’s contribution to global sea level rise ... “We're watching an ice sheet rapidly transform its state in front of our eyes, which is terrifying,” says lead study author Mike MacFerrin ... “Every handful of years, these big melt summers are doing a number on the firn ... causing this whole process to grow inland pretty quickly.” ... study highlights the fact that the more carbon we spew into the atmosphere, the more we’re likely to transform Earth’s northern ice sheet in insidious and unexpected ways. And that could have consequences that are difficult to anticipate. “We have never observed an ice sheet behaving this way before,” Poinar says. “It’s unprecedented in human scientific history.”
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/greenland-ice-getting-denser-thats-bad/

We’re About to Become People Fighting Desperately For Survival on a Dying Planet
Climate change, mass extinction, skyrocketing inequality, global economic stagnation, elites totally out of touch with what to do about it, and fascists, authoritarians, and extremists, of every stripe rising in the void, from America to Brazil to India to China. It’s not a pretty picture. And yet one of the great challenges in this grim, dystopian we face — at least a challenge for those of us who wish to be sensible, thoughtful, decent people — as invisible as it is demanding. Can our empathy survive? What about our decency? ... People fighting desperately for survival [will] be approximately 99% of humanity in the near future ... We will become something much more like little packs of desperate wolves, howling in the endless night, searching for something — anything — to consume ... And the snarls and the silence are all that’s left of the people we once were.
https://eand.co/were-about-to-become-people-fighting-desperately-fighting-for-survival-on-a-dying-planet-and-81685d46ee8e

Climate crisis: Italian beekeepers suffer 'worst honey harvest ever'
Unusual weather driven by climate change is wreaking havoc on bee populations across Europe, including in Italy where the pollinating insects crucial to food production are struggling to survive ...  "a harvest almost halved" ... bitter blend of increased pesticide use, falling prices due to foreign competition and climate change - which affects whole ecosystems, including bees and plants ... Beekeepers in Italy have seen "repeated poor harvests over the past seven years" ... Bees are also being poisoned by pesticides while increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affect nectar production.
https://www.thelocal.it/20191004/climate-crisis-italian-beekeepers-suffer-worst-honey-harvest-ever

Biodiversity collapse in UK continues
More than two-fifths of UK species including animals, birds and butterflies have seen significant declines in recent decades, a major study shows ... Thousands of acres of habitats are being lost to development ... Data on nearly 700 species of land, freshwater and sea animals, fish, birds, butterflies and moths reveals that 41 percent have seen populations decline since 1970.
https://theecologist.org/2019/oct/04/biodiversity-collapse-uk-continues

River flows all across the globe are dropping
[M]ore than half of watersheds where groundwater is pumped out may see river flow drop, according to the study, published in the journal Nature ... "[W]hen you pump groundwater, you actually may be pumping water from tributary streams that would otherwise go into surface water, bodies, rivers and so on" ... threshold has already been eclipsed in as much as 21 percent of watersheds where pumping is common (about half of watersheds overall) ... a relatively small amount of water withdrawal from an aquifer - as little as a half-meter - can lead to stream loss ... current water policies don't provide much hope that this new threat will be quickly addressed ... The worst news, however, is that groundwater depletion rates and surface impact estimates "are likely to be optimistic," the authors say, "as they do not take into account projected increases in groundwater demand."
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/River-flows-all-across-the-globe-are-dropping-14494573.php

Urgency of climate change may be understated in intergovernmental panel report, expert says
"In almost every ocean basin in which hurricanes and typhoons occur, the largest and strongest ones ever recorded have occurred since 2012. One of the things the new IPCC ocean and cryosphere report emphasized very powerfully is that, in many parts of the world, previously once-per-century extreme sea level events are now going to occur every year by 2050. We're going to have 100-year storms every year ... possibility that we will get to the point where the thawing permafrost is emitting enormous quantities of both carbon dioxide and methane. We know the permafrost contains 2-and-a-half times as much carbon as is now in the atmosphere ... The difficulty in a problem like climate change is the time lag. By the time there are dead bodies in the street, you're already way down the road. At any given time, we're not experiencing everything that we're already committed to. That causes policymakers and publics to underestimate how bad it is ... it'll get a lot less bad if we take action than if we don't ... a vastly better world than business as usual, where, by the turn of this century, you get to 4 or 4.5 degrees C."
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-urgency-climate-understated-intergovernmental-panel.html

United Nations Scientists Say They Underestimated the Rate at Which the Climate Is Changing
In a new report, the scientists say they underestimated the rate at which the climate is changing. For example, while ocean temperatures have been warming at least since 1970, for the past 25 years they’ve warmed twice as fast.  As a result, sea level rise has accelerated far more quickly than previously thought. “I’m hoping this is a real wakeup call,” said Robert DeConto, a professor of geosciences at UMass-Amherst and lead author of the report. “We don’t have too many wakeup calls left.”
https://www.capeandislands.org/post/united-nations-scientists-say-they-underestimated-rate-which-climate-changing

Radical warming in Siberia leaves millions on unstable ground
Siberia has warmed up faster than almost anywhere else on Earth. Scientists say the planet's warming must not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius — but Siberia's temperatures have already spiked far beyond that ...  an enormous wedge of eastern Siberia called Yakutia, has warmed by more than 3 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times — roughly triple the global average. The permafrost that once sustained farming — and upon which villages and cities are built — is in the midst of a great thaw, blanketing the region with swamps, lakes and odd bubbles of earth ...  Rivers are rising and running faster, and entire neighborhoods are falling into them. Arable land for farming has plummeted by more than half ... And then there’s that rotting smell. As the permafrost thaws, animals and plants frozen for thousands of years begin to decompose and send a steady flow of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere — accelerating climate change. “The permafrost is thawing so fast,” said Anna Liljedahl, an associate professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. “We scientists can’t keep up anymore.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-siberia/

'We're all in big trouble': Climate panel sees a dire future
Sea levels are rising at an ever-faster rate as ice and snow shrink, and oceans are getting more acidic and losing oxygen [IPCC] said in a report issued as world leaders met at the United Nations ... The dire effects will be felt on both land and sea, harming people, plants, animals, food, societies, infrastructure and the global economy ... IPCC requires that its reports be unanimously approved. Because of that, its reports tend to show less sea level rise and smaller harm than other scientific studies, outside experts said. "Like many of the past reports, this one is conservative in the projections" said NASA oceanographer Josh Willis, who studies Greenland ice melt and wasn't part of the report. Willis said people should be prepared for a rise in sea levels to be twice these IPCC projections.
https://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/New-climate-report-Oceans-rising-faster-ice-14466153.php

Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change
Consistent underestimation is a form of bias—in the literal meaning of a systematic tendency to lean in one direction or another—which raises the question: what is causing this bias in scientific analyses of the climate system? The question is significant for two reasons. First, climate skeptics and deniers have often accused scientists of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but the evidence shows that not only have they not exaggerated, they have underestimated ... three factors—the push for univocality, the belief that conservatism is socially and politically protective, and the reluctance to make estimates at all when the available data are contradictory—can lead to “least common denominator'' results—minimalist conclusions that are weak or incomplete.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/

Florida Just Got a Sneak Peek of Coming Attractions in the Climate Crisis
Higher sea levels threaten the systems that carry wastewater away from more than one in five households in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes use septic tanks that rely on dry soil to work properly ... problem is particularly acute for Florida, which has 2.6 million septic systems ... phenomenon in question is called "king tides" ... Manholes become geysers and street flooding becomes deadly. They have nothing to do necessarily with rain—they can occur in bright sunshine—and they are exacerbated by rising sea levels ... According to NOAA, king tides provide a glimpse of future average water levels as sea levels continue to rise ... There also has been flooding in Houston and all over the upper midwest. Houston’s challenge reflects the dilemma facing cities everywhere: As the climate changes, disasters aren’t just becoming more severe, but also more frequent. So even as the amount of damage increases, governments and residents have less time to repair before the next storm hits.
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29343121/florida-king-tide-climate-change-sea-levels-septic-tanks/

India bans onion exports after monsoon rains damage crops and prices soar
India banned the export of onions after excessive rainfall damaged crops and reduced harvest, which sent prices soaring ... India is one of the top exporters of onions globally ... The government has tried to bring down domestic prices by releasing supplies from its national buffer stocks. It also set a minimum export price on onion shipments earlier in September at a level it had hoped would discourage foreign buyers.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/02/india-economy-modi-government-bans-onion-exports-after-prices-soar.html

'The Most Horrible Drought in Memory'
Detailed meteorological information about the region is available from the branch office of the [Zambia] Agricultural Ministry ... "Ten years ago, we produced about 60,000 tons of corn. In 2019, it is only a measly 5,000 tons" ... A study by South Africa's Environment Ministry found that the subcontinent is at the frontlines of global climate change. In the interior of South Africa, the study found, the temperature is already 2 degrees Celsius higher than it was 100 years ago. In neighboring Botswana, the temperature is even 3 degrees Celsius higher -- the greatest change that has been registered in the southern hemisphere.
https://www.spiegel.de/international/globalsocieties/zambia-drought-increases-risk-of-famine-a-1288843.html

Ocean ecosystems take two million years to recover after mass extinction
Given the real threat of a sixth mass extinction event brought about by human-caused climate breakdown and habitat disruption, we wanted to find out how long the ocean ecosystem took to reboot after the last one ...  fossil data revealed that the plant-like, photosynthetic plankton [recovered] probably within a few thousand years after the mass extinction. However, the earliest communities were highly unstable and made up of just a handful of species with unusually small cell sizes ... Communities with larger cell sizes were not reestablished until two million years later, restoring their critical transfer of carbon to the ocean floor to pre-extinction levels.
https://phys.org/news/2019-09-ocean-ecosystems-million-years-recover.html

Water shortages in Alaska are the latest indicator of climate change
The US Drought monitor lists most of the southern part of Alaska as being in abnormally dry conditions to an extreme drought ... [in] Seldovia the community reservoir held enough water for only 16 days ... The aquifer in Chignik Lagoon ran out of water this summer ... this summer, Anchorage reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit, an all time heat record for the city. This is part of June being the hottest month ever in Alaska’s recorded history ... Experts estimate Alaska is warming 2.5 times faster than the lower 48 US states ... the droughts are also speeding up climate change by creating drier conditions and allowing fires to burn longer ... a preview of what climate change might mean for the rest of the US: less water, more fire.
https://www.earth.com/news/water-shortages-alaska/

Thousands of meltwater lakes mapped on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet
A study led by Durham University, working with researchers from Lancaster University, discovered more than 65,000 supraglacial lakes using high-resolution satellite imagery covering five million square kilometres of the ice sheet ... The study shows that meltwater lakes are forming in most coastal areas of the ice sheet, suggesting that East Antarctica could be more susceptible to the effects of a warming climate than previously thought.
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/thousands-of-meltwater-lakes-mapped-on-the-east-antarctic-ice-sheet
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-50343-5.epdf

Rapid accelerations of Antarctic Peninsula outlet glaciers driven by surface melt
Atmospheric warming is increasing surface melting across the Antarctic Peninsula ... we show that drainage of surface meltwater to the bed of outlet glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula occurs and triggers rapid ice flow accelerations (up to 100% greater than the annual mean).
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12039-2

A Hidden, Radioactive Heat Source Seems to Be Melting East Antarctica From Below
[A] new study suggests there's a big source of geothermal heat underneath East Antarctica that we haven't yet factored into our calculations. Ice in this area appears to be melting from the bottom up ... in July scientists announced they had spotted what could be yet another volcanic heat source underneath Antarctica, this time beneath the Pine Island Glacier ... next step is working out how these hot rocks could influence the ice shifts of the future.
https://www.sciencealert.com/a-mysterious-geothermal-heat-source-is-melting-antarctica-from-below
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35182-0

In All of Human History, We Haven't Lived With The Kind of Atmosphere We Have Today
New research on ancient soil has now confirmed that carbon dioxide levels in the past sixty years are the highest we've experienced in all of human history. Throughout the entire Pleistocene era - which started 2,580,000 years ago - the authors found concentrations of CO2 were, on average, roughly 250 parts per million. Yet in the past sixty years or so, that consistency has appeared to rapidly unravel. Today, the findings suggest, our planet has reached 415 ppm for the first time in 2.5 million years ... The findings were published in Nature Communications.
https://www.sciencealert.com/in-all-of-human-history-we-haven-t-lived-with-the-kind-of-atmosphere-we-have-today
see also https://today.tamu.edu/2019/09/25/humankind-did-not-live-with-a-high-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere-until-1965
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12357-5#Sec8

Oceans and ice are absorbing the brunt of climate change
The ocean has [absorbed] over 90 percent of the extra heat trapped in the atmosphere by excess greenhouse gases since the 1970s and somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of the carbon dioxide. That means water has buffered land-dwellers against the worst effects of climate change; without it, the atmosphere would have heated up much more than the average of 1 degree it already has ... But the ocean’s buffering influence has come at a cost, with a fingerprint that is becoming ever clearer to scientists and anyone else paying attention to the natural world. “The payback from oceans taking up all that heat is enormous”.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/ipcc-report-climate-change-affecting-ocean-ice/

Drought-hit Australian towns prepare for 'unimaginable' water crisis
“A lot of towns are forecast to run out at the same time – and then where do you get the water from?” he said, referring to an area that is home to some 180,000 people. It is part of a much bigger problem in a country unused to widespread financial hardship; Australia has enjoyed growth for a generation yet livelihoods are now at risk from drought worsened by climate change, a predicament more familiar to developing countries. Parts of northern and inland New South Wales, along with southern Queensland, have been in drought since 2016 ... Sydney’s biggest dam, Warragamba, has dropped to 50%, after almost being at capacity less than three years ago.
https://nationalpost.com/pmn/environment-pmn/drought-hit-australian-towns-prepare-for-unimaginable-water-crisis-2

Winter storms are speeding up the loss of Arctic sea ice
Arctic sea ice is already disappearing rapidly but our research shows winter storms are now further accelerating sea ice loss ...  heat from the storms warms up the air, snow and ice, slowing down the growth of the ice. Moisture from the storms falls as snow on the ice. After the storm, the blanket of snow insulates the ice from the cold air, further slowing the growth of the ice for the remainder of winter. The strong winds during the storms push the ice around and break it into pieces, making it more fragile and deforming it, more like a boulder field. The strong winds also stir the ocean below the ice, mixing up warmer water from deeper waters to the surface where it melts the ice from below ... The broken up and deformed ice drifts faster, reaching warmer waters where it melts sooner and faster [thus] winter storms precondition the ice to a faster melt in the following spring with an impact that continues well into the following season ... Arctic winter storms are increasing in frequency and this is likely due to climate change. With the thinner Arctic sea ice cover and shallower warmer water in the Arctic Ocean, the mechanisms we observed during the winter storms will likely strengthen and the overall impact of winter storms on Arctic ice is likely to increase in the future.
https://theconversation.com/winter-storms-are-speeding-up-the-loss-of-arctic-sea-ice-121105
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45574-5

Revealed: hundreds of migrant workers dying of heat stress in Qatar each year
[H]undreds of thousands of migrant workers toiled in temperatures of up to 45C for up to 10 hours a day ... a huge strain on the human cardiovascular system, with extreme heat stress leading to fatal heart attacks ... recent research published in the Cardiology Journal by a group of leading climatologists and cardiologists concluded that the deaths were likely to be caused by heatstroke ... [wetbulb] reading of 28C and above is internationally accepted as the point at which the human body is dangerously affected ... “As global temperatures rise because of the climate crisis, the health risk posed by heat stress will have devastating health consequences for millions, yet is still not being seen as the emergency that it is,” says Professor Tord Kjellstrom, a consultant on environmental and occupational health for the United Nations and co-author of the Cardiology Journal report.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/oct/02/revealed-hundreds-of-migrant-workers-dying-of-heat-stress-in-qatar-each-year

Goldman Sachs released a 34-page analysis of the impact of climate change. And the results are terrifying.
The bank's Global Markets Institute, led by Amanda Hindlian, warned of "significant" potential risks to the world's largest cities, which are especially vulnerable to more frequent storms, higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and storm surges ... Goldman's researchers said that when starting the study they took a broad consensus that human activity, namely emission of greenhouse gasses "is causing the earth to warm in ways that are affecting the climate." Natural ecosystems would be damaged, and risks to human health would rise, as well as pressures on food and drinking water. Agriculture would also be massively affected: "Warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns could reduce yields and nutritional quality as well change growing seasons and agricultural zones around the world."
https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/goldman-sachs-climate-change-threatens-new-york-tokyo-lagos-cities-2019-9-1028552494

The past, present and future of climate change
[The] explosion of fossil-fuel use is inseparable from everything else which made the 20th century unique in human history ...  a report prepared by America’s Presidential Science Advisory Committee in 1965 marks the first time that politicians were made directly aware of the likely climate impact of all this ... At present further warming is certain, whatever the world does about its emissions. This is in part because, just as a pan of water takes time to boil when the gas below is lit, so the world’s mean temperature is taking time to respond to the heating imposed by the sky above. It is also because what matters is the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, not the rate at which it increases. Lowering annual emissions merely slows the rate at which the sky’s heating effect gets stronger ... Thus, in its simplest form, the 21st century’s supertanker-U-turn challenge: reversing the 20-fold increase in emissions the 20th century [and] doing it all while expanding the economy enough to meet the needs and desires of a population which may well be half again as large by 2100 as it is today ...  climate negotiators of the world have, over the past decade, increasingly come to depend on the idea of “negative emissions”. Instead of not putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at all, put it in and take it out later. Unfortunately, technologies capable of delivering negative emissions of billions of tonnes a year for reasonable prices over decades do not exist.
https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/09/21/the-past-present-and-future-of-climate-change

Alaska's sea ice has completely melted away
The most rapidly changing state in the U.S. has no sea ice within some 150 miles of its shores, according to high-resolution sea ice analysis from the National Weather Service. The big picture is clear: After an Arctic summer with well above-average temperatures, warmer seas, and a historic July heat wave, sea ice has vanished in Alaskan waters ..."This is definitely an extreme year — even by more recent standards in a changed Arctic," noted Walt Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center ...  "I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude ... I’m running out of adjectives to describe the scope of change we’re seeing."
https://mashable.com/article/alaska-sea-ice-melt-2019

Extreme sea level events ‘will hit once a year by 2050’
Extreme sea level events that used to occur once a century will strike every year on many coasts by 2050, no matter whether climate heating emissions are curbed or not, according to a landmark report by the world’s scientists. The stark assessment of the climate crisis in the world’s oceans and ice caps concludes that many serious impacts are already inevitable, from more intense storms to melting permafrost and dwindling marine life. The report from [PCC] and approved by its 193 member nations, says that “all people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean” and ice caps and glaciers to regulate the climate and provide water and oxygen. But it finds unprecedented and dangerous changes being driven by global heating.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/25/extreme-sea-level-events-will-hit-once-a-year-by-2050

From Antarctica to the Oceans, Climate Change Damage Is About to Get a Lot Worse, IPCC Warns
The changes are happening faster than many scientists expected to see, and they're often intricately connected, with cascading effects that can ripple through ecosystems. As global temperatures rise, time is running out ... glaciers and sea ice melt, snowpack declines and permafrost thaws ... oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat and about a quarter of the carbon dioxide from human activities, leading to greater acidification ... [the researchers] found interconnections and a magnitude of change that hadn't been as clear before ... More than a billion people live in areas that the report focuses on, but climate change impacts to the oceans and cryosphere will have much wider reach ... "It's bad, and it's going to get much, much worse—that's the bottom line."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25092019/ipcc-cryosphere-ocean-report-climate-change-sea-level-rise-greenland-antarctica

2050 is too late – we must drastically cut emissions much sooner
Even if we assume a straight-line reduction to zero emissions in 2050, we would still generate a carbon overdraft approximately three times our allowable budget. In fact, the latest date by which we could draw a straight line from our current level of emissions to zero and still remain within the budget would be 2025 ... It is dangerously misleading for advanced nations to set target dates as far out as 2050. Doing so ignores the importance of staying within a fair carbon budget and gives a false impression that action can be delayed.
https://theconversation.com/2050-is-too-late-we-must-drastically-cut-emissions-much-sooner-121512

Mont Blanc glacier could collapse at any moment, Italy warns
A staggering 250,000 cubic meters (8.8 million cubic feet) of ice could break away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses mountain in the Mont Blanc massif, experts at the Valle d'Aosta regional government and the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) reported in an analysis published this week ... "These phenomena once again show that the mountain is going through a phase of strong change due to climatic factors, therefore it is particularly vulnerable," Stefano Miserocchi, mayor of nearby Courmayeur, said in a statement.
https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/mont-blanc-glacier-collapse-intl-scli/index.html

Fuel To The Fire
How a US law intended to reduce dependence on fossil fuels has unleashed an environmental disaster in Indonesia
NASA researchers say the accelerated destruction of Borneo’s forests contributed to the largest single-year global increase in carbon emissions in two millenniums, an explosion that transformed Indonesia into the world’s fourth-largest source of such emissions. Instead of creating a clever technocratic fix to reduce American’s carbon footprint, lawmakers had lit the fuse on a powerful carbon bomb that, as the forests were cleared and burned, produced more carbon than the entire continent of Europe.
https://features.propublica.org/palm-oil/palm-oil-biofuels-ethanol-indonesia-peatland/

What all Climate Models are failing to predict: The increasingly likely Mad Max scenario
Let’s just be honest with ourselves. Climate Change mitigation isn’t going very well. In fact, it is a joke. At a time when society should be making Herculean efforts to reorganise our very economies, something already a bit of an ambitious fantasy given our previous record, we want to make things even harder for ourselves: we take a Herculean leap backwards by burning the Amazon. The climate mitigation models, which give us 10 years to make significant changes, are not factoring in one huge variable in their complicated algorithms: the “looney” factor. There are far too many crazies in power to be able to predict a safe, unhindered path to mitigation that is actually doable and realistic.
https://medium.com/@george.gpt/what-all-climate-models-are-failing-to-predict-the-increasingly-likely-mad-max-scenario-f29c818bd01a

Venus Could Have Supported Life for Billions of Years, Says Study
The study presented last week at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC-DPS), showed that Venus contained water and maintained moderate temperatures for 2-3 billion years. The scientists hypothesise that the stable climate of Venus with an Earth-like carbonate-silicate cycle was disrupted around 750 million years ago by a global resurfacing event. Resurfacing refers to intense volcanic activity across the globe where lava covers most of the planet's surface. Astronomers say that the habitable conditions for 2-3 billion years are long enough for life to emerge.
https://weather.com/en-IN/india/science/news/2019-09-23-venus-could-have-supported-life-billions-years-nasa-study
see also https://www.space.com/planet-venus-could-have-supported-life.html

Intrepid scientists witness final days of Venezuelan glacier
As their country falls apart, a hardy team of scientists in Venezuela is determined to transcend the political and economic turmoil to record what happens as the country's last glacier vanishes ... Scientists say Venezuela will be the first country in South America to lose all its glaciers.
https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20190924/news/309249997

Communities in Ethiopia's Somali Region face chronic drought linked to climate change
The Somali Region has suffered from chronic drought for several years, with the worst stretch recorded in 2016, from which many households have yet to recover ... "Our research has strongly suggested that climate change has contributed to this decline [in rainfall]," research geographer Chris Funk from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) told DW. "FEWS NET research has advanced a clear causal explanation linking warming in the Western Pacific to increased rainfall near Indonesia and disruptions in the East African long rains."
https://www.dw.com/en/communities-in-ethiopias-somali-region-face-chronic-drought-linked-to-climate-change/a-50551806

‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions
Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial air travel are growing at a faster clip than predicted in previous, already dire, projections, according to new research ... The United Nations aviation body forecast that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, will reach just over 900 million metric tons in 2018, and then triple by 2050 ...[but] emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as the U.N. estimate. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 million flights around the world last year ...  one study found that the rapid growth in plane emissions could mean that by 2050, aviation could take up a quarter of the world’s “carbon budget,” or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions permitted to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels ... Underlying the growth in aviation emissions is the rapid expansion of air travel worldwide.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/climate/air-travel-emissions.html

Countries must triple climate emission cut targets to limit global heating to 2C
An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement ... current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe ... The report says many of the changes linked to the temperature rise, including long-lasting heatwaves, record-breaking wildfires, declining sea ice and glaciers, cyclones, floods and drought, have hit sooner and harder than predicted a decade ago.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/23/countries-must-triple-climate-emissions-targets-to-limit-global-heating-to-2c
see also https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49773869

Pizol glacier: Swiss hold funeral for ice lost to global warming
A Swiss glacier lost to global warming has been commemorated at a memorial service in the Alps. Dozens of people took part in Sunday's "funeral march" to mark the disappearance of the Pizol glacier. The glacier, in the Glarus Alps of northeastern Switzerland, has shrunk to a tiny fraction of its original size. Scientists say the glacier has lost at least 80% of its volume just since 2006, a trend accelerated by rising global temperatures ... a study by Swiss researchers suggests that, by 2050, at least half of Switzerland's glaciers could vanish. The Pizol has diminished to such an extent, "from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier"
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49788483
see also https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/glacier-funeral-switzerland-pivol-climate-change-global-warming-a9116046.html

Surface melting causes Antarctic glaciers to slip faster towards the ocean, new research shows
The new research, published today in Nature Communications, shows that accelerations in Antarctic Peninsula glaciers' movements coincide with spikes in snowmelt. This association occurs because surface meltwater penetrates to the ice bed and lubricates glacier flow. The scientists expect that as temperatures continue to rise in the Antarctic, surface melting will occur more frequently and across a wider area, making it an important factor in determining the speed at which glaciers move towards the sea. Ultimately, they predict that glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula will behave like those in present-day Greenland and Alaska, where meltwater controls the size and timing of variations in glacier flow across seasons and years. The effects of such a major shift in Antarctic glacier melt on ice flow has not yet been incorporated into the models used to predict the future mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level rise.
https://phys.org/news/2019-09-surface-antarctic-glaciers-faster-ocean.html

Climate emergency poses major threat to future global health, say top medics
The climate crisis represents the biggest threat to the future of global health over the next quarter of a century, according to a survey of top medical professionals. The vast majority of members of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, some of whom are responsible for significant discoveries in tropical diseases that plague poorer countries, believe governments and health bodies are failing to prepare adequately for the medical impacts of global heating. They also expressed concern that “misinformation and anti-science” posed a dangerous threat to the future of healthcare. Mass migration, new and emerging diseases, and the impact on health and nutrition of climate-ravaged food supplies were among the top concerns of Royal Society members when asked to predict global health challenges over the next 25 years.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/sep/20/climate-emergency-poses-major-threat-to-future-global-health-say-top-medics
reporting on a study at https://rstmh.org/sites/default/files/files/GlobalHealthReport.pdf

US and Canada have lost three billion birds since 1970
The US and Canada have lost more than one in four birds – a total of three billion – since 1970, culminating in what scientists who published a new study are calling a “widespread ecological crisis”. Researchers observed a 29% decline in bird populations across diverse groups and habitats – from songbirds such as meadowlarks to long-distance migratory birds such as swallows and backyard birds like sparrows. “Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said Ken Rosenberg, the study’s lead author and a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy ... The population losses are consistent with what scientists have counted among insects and amphibians. The study, published today in the journal Science, did not analyze the reason for the drop. But around the world, birds are thought to be dying more and having less success breeding largely because their habitats are being damaged and destroyed by agriculture and urbanization.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2019/sep/19/us-canada-bird-population-losses

New climate models show that global warming will be faster than expected
New research suggests that the greenhouse gases we’re putting into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels will heat the planet more quickly than we assumed. By 2100 mean temperatures could rise 6.5 to 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated, according to two separate models from leading research centers in France ... The 6.5 to 7.0 degrees Celsius mark is two degrees higher than the equivalent scenario (SSP5) set out in [IPCC's] 2014 benchmark 5th Assessment Report. This difference in temperatures comes from refined predictions based on more complex and reliable climate scenarios.
https://www.zmescience.com/science/global-warming-faster-93252342/

Temperatures Could Rise Up To 7 Degrees Celsius Above Pre-industrial Levels, Startling Study Shows
France's National Center for Scientific Research CNRS, the atomic energy commission CEA and weather office Meteo-France [showed that] average global temperatures could rise between 6 and 7 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100. That's far beyond the targets set in Paris at the COP 21 climate conference in 2015, when nations agreed to keep global temperature increase "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.
https://www.newsweek.com/climate-change-temperature-rise-seven-degrees-new-un-report-1459666

French wines show hot dry years are now normal
[C]limate scientists and historians ... reconstructed the harvest dates for Burgundy – one of the most important wine regions of France – to highlight the dramatic change in global climate. Grapes in Burgundy are now picked 13 days earlier than the average for the last 664 years. And the advance in harvest dates has been dramatic: almost all since 1988 ... [Growers in Burgundy] each year collectively considered the growing conditions and imposed a date before which no grapes might be picked. And scientists from France, Germany and Switzerland report in the journal Climate of the Past that they worked through all surviving records to provide an accurate record of the harvest date ... “the 664-year-long [Burgundy] grape harvest date series demonstrates that outstanding hot and dry years in the past were outliers, while they have become the norm since transition to rapid warming in 1988,” they write.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/french-wines-show-hot-dry-years-are-now-normal/
reporting on a study at https://www.clim-past.net/15/1485/2019/

As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’
For two years, the Bering Sea has been largely without winter ice, a development scientists modeling the warming impacts of greenhouse-gas pollution from fossil fuels once forecast would not occur until 2050 ... The Bering Sea changes brought about by the lack of winter ice represent “the ecosystem of the future,” said Phyllis Stabeno, a Seattle-based oceanographer with the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory who has studied this body of water for 30 years ... industry officials are closely monitoring the science and some are wary as fishermen notice disconcerting changes. “Climate change is really in your face,” said Kevin Ganley, a Washington skipper with nearly 40 years’ experience.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/as-bering-sea-ice-melts-nature-is-changing-on-a-massive-scale-and-alaska-crab-pots-are-pulling-up-cod/

Once-frigid Siberia is becoming less inhospitable to humans
Today, only about 27 per cent of Russia's total population lives in this cold, inhospitable region of the northern hemisphere. But in the future, rising temperatures will likely make this massive, 13 million square-kilometer region much more habitable than today ...  the very low negative temperatures of the past are no longer the norm. The last decade has brought positive temperature anomalies to the entire region, month after month, year after year. This appears to be the new trend, and future climate scenarios point towards a much warmer Siberia, with average temperatures well above current values. A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters by a U.S.-Russian research team has shown the Siberian climate will be getting warmer consistently as the century progresses.
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/climate-change-making-siberia-more-habitable

How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’
Some 45,000 to 50,000 spring-summer Chinook spawned here in the 1950s. These days, the average is about 1,500 fish, and declining. And not just here: Native fish are in free-fall throughout the Columbia River basin, a situation so dire that many groups are urging the removal of four large dams to keep the fish from being lost. “The Columbia River was once the most productive wild Chinook habitat in the world ... now these fish have maybe four generations left before they are gone,” he said. “Maybe 20 years.” ... Before the 20th century, some 10 million to 16 million adult salmon and steelhead trout are thought to have returned annually to the Columbia River system.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/science/chinook-salmon-columbia.html

The Power of Fear in the Thawing Arctic
The Arctic had never been hotter in recorded history. Ice was gone from the Bering Sea months early, and on the tundra I knew so well from years on a dogsled, the uncanny warmth also left its mark ... How many years ahead is the peril? Twenty? Ten. They are the tracks of fear, scaled up, past being warning of personal harm. The eroding hills spell out danger at geological magnitude ... But what to do with this fear, both familiar and new, in its tremendous scale? The close instances of fear that schooled my first Arctic years taught me two things: Pay attention, and do not provoke. [But] burning fossil fuels at the current rate is a massive, continuous, accelerating provocation. And rather than retreating, humbled, we are collectively charging into the bush after the bear.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/arctic-circle-climate-change-fear/598195/

‘Ecological grief’ grips scientists witnessing Great Barrier Reef’s decline
An emerging body of research shows that many people feel loss due to environmental degradation caused by global warming, a phenomenon called ‘ecological grief’. Although researchers are often on the front lines of ecosystem collapse, few studies have investigated the mental and emotional consequences of such work ... “It’s very challenging for researchers to maintain the appearance of being objective while showing that they care about the ecosystems they’re working on,” Suggett says. He thinks a lack of support networks for scientists struggling with the emotional effects of their work could also lead to feelings of isolation.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02656-8

Arctic methane levels reach new heights
In August, methane levels above 2040 nmol mol-1 (ppb) were spotted by the Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, located eight kilometres east of the city of Utqiaġvik (formerly called Barrow) in Alaska. To spot methane levels breaking the 2000ppb mark so sharply in this fragile region is unprecedented ... consistent trend over the last ten years ... “This increase is very bad news for climate change as methane is such a strong climate forcer. Methane emissions are only around 3 per cent of those from carbon dioxide, on a kg basis, but are responsible for approximately a quarter of today’s anthropogenic warming”
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2019/09/arctic-methane-levels-reach-new-heights-data-shows/

It's Now Official: The Northern Hemisphere Just Endured The Hottest Summer on Record
The Northern Hemisphere just had its hottest summer on record since 1880, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday ... In addition, August was the world's second-hottest such month, according to both NOAA and NASA, with unusually hot conditions seen from pole to pole and across every ocean. What's remarkable about 2019′s record warmth is that it comes in the absence of a strong El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean ... As global average temperatures continue to rise in response to increasing levels of human-produced greenhouse gases, it is becoming easier to exceed climate benchmarks even without strong El Niño events. For example, according to NOAA, the five hottest summers in the Northern Hemisphere have each occurred during the past five years.
https://www.sciencealert.com/the-northern-hemisphere-s-summer-just-obliterated-previous-heat-records-again

36 different pesticides found in dead blue and great tits
[T]wo Belgian ngo’s are taken aback by the results of an extensive joint social citizen project into the cause of death of blue and great tits in [Belgium] ... “In total we detected 36 different pesticides in 95 tit nests. This is very alarming. Especially because the tits were 2 weeks old at most and had never been outside the nest. Not only did we find fungicides (used against fungi), we also detected herbicides (against weeds), insecticides (against insects) and biocides. It is highly remarkable that in 89 of the 95 researched nests we discovered DDT [banned since 1974] ...  in almost every nest there were one or more pesticides present.”
https://www.sosmezen.be/2019/09/12/36-different-pesticides-found-in-dead-blue-and-great-tits/

5th Straight Year of Alaska Seabird Die-Offs Blamed on Starvation Linked to Climate Change
"They are dying of starvation," Robb Kaler, a wildlife biologist and seabird specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, told weather.com ...  previous research has linked the rising number of bird deaths to climate change.
https://weather.com/science/nature/news/2019-09-12-alaska-seabirds-dying-starvation

Forest fires destroying vital buffer against climate change
With fierce blazes raging in jungles from the Amazon to Indonesia, concerns are mounting about the impact as rainforests play a vital role in protecting the planet against global warming. The latest serious outbreak is in Indonesia, where smog-belching fires started to clear land for agriculture are burning out of control, blanketing the region in toxic smog ... forests worldwide have been logged on an industrial-scale over the decades for timber and to make way for agricultural plantations. The burning of large expanses of trees also releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide ... Farmers and plantation owners are usually blamed for starting the fires as a quick and cheap way to clear land.
https://phys.org/news/2019-09-forest-vital-buffer-climate.html

Huge decline in songbirds linked to common insecticide
A first ever study of birds in the wild found that a migrating songbird that ate the equivalent of one or two seeds treated with a neonicotinoid insecticide suffered immediate weight loss ... “We show a clear link between neonicotinoid exposure at real-world levels and an impact on birds,” says lead author Margaret Eng, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Saskatchewan Toxicology Center ... The EU banned the use of the chemicals in 2018 because they were killing pollinators. This study is another link in the chain of environmental problems, one showing that the use of neonicotinoids is harming birds, and that bird populations are at risk as a result.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/widely-used-pesticide-makes-birds-lose-weight

Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming
Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry [but] it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2). Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return. It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years ... Researchers at the University of Bristol who monitor concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere say they have seen significant rises in the last 20 years ... global installed base of SF6 is expected to grow by 75% by 2030 ... SF6 is a synthetic gas and isn't absorbed or destroyed naturally.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49567197

UN trade chief: Climate crisis could see collapse of some economies
United Nation’s trade chief has said climate change poses an “existential threat to commodity-dependent developing countries” and highlighted the need to diversify economies and exports ... “The climate crisis…will result in the collapse of some economies if decisive action is not taken now,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi stressed on Wednesday ... The climate crisis puts commodity-dependent developing countries most at risk because their economies depend on sectors which are highly exposed to extreme weather events ... commitments made by countries to mitigate climate change under the Paris Agreement are not ambitious enough but must instead be quadrupled to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. For this, stronger political will and greater mobilization of financial and human resources are necessary.
https://www.dhakatribune.com/world/2019/09/12/un-trade-chief-climate-crisis-could-see-collapse-of-some-economies

Researchers unearth 'new' mass-extinction
New analysis brings total of species extinctions to six
A team of scientists has concluded that earth experienced a previously underestimated severe mass-extinction event, which occurred about 260 million years ago, raising the total of major mass extinctions in the geologic record to six ... "Massive eruptions such as this one release large amounts of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide and methane, that cause severe global warming, with warm, oxygen-poor oceans that are not conducive to marine life ... In terms of both losses in the number of species and overall ecological damage, the end-Guadalupian event now ranks as a major mass extinction, similar to the other five."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190909105555.htm

$1 million a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world - report
The public is providing more than $1m per minute in global farm subsidies, much of which is driving the climate crisis and destruction of wildlife, according to a new report. Just 1% of the $700bn (£560bn) a year given to farmers is used to benefit the environment, the analysis found. Much of the total instead promotes high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser. The security of humanity is at risk without reform to these subsidies, a big reduction in meat eating in rich nations and other damaging uses of land, the report says ... A series of major recent reports have concluded the world’s food system is broken. It is driving the planet towards climate catastrophe while leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight, 130 national academies of science and medicine concluded in November.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/16/1m-a-minute-the-farming-subsidies-destroying-the-world

Expert Tells House Committee Climate Change Could Wreck US Economy
Marshall Burke, who holds a doctorate in agricultural and resource economics, studies the impact global warming has on economic inequality. On Wednesday he testified before the House Financial Services Committee during a hearing on climate change and macroeconomics. The warnings Burke issued were stark: If, by 2050, the U.S. fails to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, the cost to the nation’s economy is an estimated $5 trillion. If, by 2100, conditions are no better, the year-to-year damage of intensified storms, higher temperatures, rising sea levels and their cumulative effect on key markets such as the financial sector, real estate, manufacturing and customer service will result in damage in the tens of trillions, he said.
https://www.courthousenews.com/expert-tells-house-committee-climate-change-could-wreck-u-s-economy/

Eight More Effects of Climate Change: Some Surprising, Some Fatal
Climate change will take its toll across the economy, in some unexpected places, a panel of experts told members of Congress last week. Unmitigated climate change has already cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion, said economist Marshall Burke, an assistant professor of earth system science at Stanford University, and that cost will rise to $5 trillion by 2050 ... Lost Productivity: economic output falls in hot years ... Cognitive Decline: cognitive function declines when it’s hot: people perform office tasks less effectively, and kids learn less ... Violent Crime: violent assault, sexual violence, and homicide all increase on days or months where temperatures are above normal ... Suicide: tens of thousands of additional suicides in the US ... Civil Unrest: documented large increases in civil conflict and organized crime as temperatures rise ... Immigration: this conflict drives substantial international migration into wealthier countries ... Inequality: economic damages from climate change will be many times higher in poorer counties ... Insurance Collapse: insurance executives ranked climate change the number one risk faced by their industry.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2019/09/15/eight-more-surprising-and-sometimes-fatal-effects-of-climate-change/

Climate change is already here. 2020 could be your last chance to stop an apocalypse
The temperature reached a record-breaking 90 degrees in Anchorage this summer and an unprecedented 108 degrees in Paris. We can watch glaciers melting and collapsing on the web; ice losses in Antarctica have tripled since 2012 ... entire cities are running out of water, thanks, scientists say, to a dangerous combination of mismanagement and climate change ... 18 of the 19 warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000. The last five years have been the hottest since record-keeping began ... By burning fossil fuels for energy, humans have added so much carbon (and other greenhouse gases) to the atmosphere that we are changing nature itself, imperiling the delicate interdependence among species and putting our own survival at risk ... burning of carbon fuels needs to end; yet unless policies and politics change dramatically, it won’t end ...overall emissions have increased ... total carbon levels in the atmosphere reached 414.8 parts per million in May, the highest recorded in 3 million years. The richer human society becomes, it seems, the more we poison the world.
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-climate-change-crisis-global-warming-part-1-story.html

This Is Not the Sixth Extinction. It’s the First Extermination Event
From the “insect apocalypse” to the “biological annihilation” of 60 percent of all wild animals in the past 50 years, life is careening across every planetary boundary that might stop it from experiencing a “Great Dying” once more. But the atrocity unfolding in the Amazon, and across the Earth, has no geological analogue — to call it the “sixth extinction event” is to make what is an active, organized eradication sound like some kind of passive accident. This is no asteroid or volcanic eruption or slow accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere due to cyanobacteria photosynthesis. We are in the midst of the First Extermination Event, the process by which capital has pushed the Earth to the brink of the Necrocene, the age of the new necrotic death.
https://truthout.org/articles/this-is-not-the-sixth-extinction-its-the-first-extermination-event

Plant growth has declined drastically around the world due to dry air
A lack of water vapour in the atmosphere has caused a global decline in plant growth over the past two decades, resulting in a decline in growth rates in 59 per cent of vegetated areas worldwide. Studying four global climate datasets, Wenping Yuan at Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China and his colleagues found that the decline is correlated with a vapour pressure deficit in the atmosphere, which has increased sharply over more than 53 percent of vegetated areas since the late 1990s ... The team projects that VPD will continue to rise in the decades to come. “This atmospheric drought will last into the end of this century.”
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2213529-plant-growth-has-declined-drastically-around-the-world-due-to-dry-air/

Another vital forest at risk: Scientists fear warming water could be killing off Puget Sound’s kelp beds
In portions of Puget Sound, these sunken canopies are vanishing, and scientists fear the consequences to local ecosystems ... Bull kelp canopy near Squaxin Island is down to about a third of its size compared to just six years ago. Only a few dozen individual bull kelp remain in the bed near Fox Island ... “We measured record high temperatures at kelp sites,” Berry said. When waters approach 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it stresses bull kelp reproduction.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/another-vital-forest-at-risk-scientists-fear-warming-water-could-be-killing-off-puget-sounds-kelp-beds/

What Is Nitrous Oxide and Why Is It a Climate Threat?
Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it also depletes the ozone layer. Since it also has a shorter life span, reducing it could have a faster, significant impact on global warming. But the largest source of nitrous oxide is agriculture, particularly fertilized soil and animal waste, and that makes it harder to rein in. "[N]itrous oxide is so much a food production issue" ... Like other greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide absorbs radiation and traps heat in the atmosphere, where it can live for an average of 114 years, according to the EPA [and] can damage the ozone layer, which humans rely on to prevent most of the sun's ultraviolet radiation from reaching earth's surface ... Especially in larger farming operations, livestock manure presents a two-fold emissions problem: it emits an enormous amount of methane, but it can create nitrous oxide too.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11092019/nitrous-oxide-climate-pollutant-explainer-greenhouse-gas-agriculture-livestock

Sudden warming over Antarctica to prolong Australia drought
The unusual event, known as "sudden stratospheric warming," started in the last week of August when the atmosphere above Antarctica began heating rapidly, scientists at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said in a report. "The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting the strongest Antarctic warming on record ... leapt up more than 40 degrees warmer than normal in the course of three weeks," he said.
https://phys.org/news/2019-09-sudden-antarctica-prolong-australia-drought.html

Oil and gas companies approve $50 billion of major projects that undermine climate targets and risk shareholder returns
The first study to identify individual projects that are inconsistent with the Paris Agreement finds that no major oil company is investing to support its goals of keeping global warming “well below” 2˚C and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to a maximum of 1.5˚C. Investors are under huge pressure to determine which energy companies are “Paris-compliant”. It warns that fossil fuel demand will have to fall to meet international climate targets, and only the lowest cost projects will deliver an economic return under these goals ... “Every oil major is betting heavily against a 1.5˚C world and investing in projects that are contrary to the Paris goals."
https://www.carbontracker.org/oil-and-gas-companies-approve-50-billion-of-major-projects-that-undermine-climate-targets-and-risk-shareholder-returns/

World losing area of forest the size of the UK each year, report finds
The rate of loss has reached 26m hectares (64m acres) a year, a report has found, having grown rapidly in the past five years despite pledges made by governments in 2014 to reverse deforestation and restore trees ... The New York declaration on forests was signed at the UN in 2014, requiring countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and restore 150m hectares of deforested or degraded forest land. But the rate of tree cover loss has gone up by 43% since the declaration was adopted, while the most valuable and irreplaceable tropical primary forests have been cut down at a rate of 4.3m hectares a year. The ultimate goal of the declaration, to halt deforestation by 2030 – potentially saving as much carbon as taking all the world’s cars off the roads – now looks further away than when the commitment was made ... While some countries have embarked on tree-planting schemes ... these have been far outweighed by the loss of existing forests.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/deforestation-world-losing-area-forest-size-of-uk-each-year-report-finds

Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world
Roughly one-tenth of the globe has already warmed by more than 2 degrees Celsius, when the last five years are compared with the mid- to late 1800s. That's more than five times the size of the United States. Some entire countries, including Switzerland and Kazakhstan, have warmed by 2C. Austria has said the same about its famed Alps ... About 20 percent of the planet has warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius, a point at which scientists say the impacts of climate change grow significantly more intense ... Extreme warming is helping to fuel wildfires in Alaska, shrink glaciers in the Alps and melt permafrost across Canada’s Northwest Territories. It is altering marine ecosystems and upending the lives of fishermen who depend on them, from Africa to South America to Asia ... scientists expect this to continue and steadily worsen.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-world/

‘In for a roasting’: Australia ‘on brink’ of ‘apocalyptic’ conditions
According to a recent report by senior researchers from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, we’re in for higher than normal spring temperatures. And less rain. It’s all because of record warm temperatures in the air swirling above Antarctica ...  NSW and southern Queensland — already in parts devastated by bushfires so early in the season — are set to face worsening conditions and an even more catastrophic bushfire season ... “In the coming weeks the warming is forecast to intensify, and its effects will extend downward to earth’s surface, affecting much of eastern Australia over the coming months,” the forecasters warn. It is likely to be the most severe Antarctic warming event on record ... This compounds an already disastrous winter for New South Wales and much of Queensland. There, soil moisture levels actually decreased over what should have been their wet season. So spring — and summer — will be starting from an already devastatingly dry low.
https://www.couriermail.com.au/technology/in-for-a-roasting-australia-on-brink-of-apocalyptic-conditions/news-story/73d731e4a07f6b9c39b18897faa0e085

Climate Disaster Looms as Earth Burns Up
In 2010, the prestigious Met Office Hadley Centre/UK said average temperatures would likely be 4C above pre-industrial by 2055, “if greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) did not slow down.” Well, guess what’s happened to GHGs? Asking the question is the answer. And, worse yet, it would bring in its wake a 16C rise in Arctic temperatures where at least twice the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere is frozen in time, waiting to be released via permafrost thawing. And, +16C would do that fast. Accordingly, recent scientific field studies found thawing permafrost 70 years ahead of schedule in the High Arctic ... What happens if 4C hits by 2055? According to Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, one of Europe’s most eminent climate scientists, director of the Potsdam Institute, “At 4C Earth’s ... carrying capacity estimates are below 1 billion people.” Echoing that opinion, professor Kevin Anderson of the prestigious Tyndall Centre for Climate Change stated, “Only about 10% of the planet’s population would survive at 4C.” A global average of 4C means land temperatures would be 5.5C-6C hotter, especially inland from coasts. The tropics would be too hot for people to live and most of the temperate regions would be desertified ... according to the New Scientist, in 2003: “The EPI says it is confident that the August heat wave has broken all records for heat-related deaths and says the world must cut the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.” But, today, that’s a bad joke with CO2 in 2003 at 378 ppm [yet today at] 410 ... most ecosystems will collapse with breakdown of organic material, leading to ever-greater emissions of carbon that is self-perpetuating ... half of the planet would be uninhabitable ... As of today, CO2 at 410 ppm has powered through the 280-ppm ceiling of the past 400,000 years like a hot knife through butter ... What happens next is a gamble.
https://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/2016-01-01-13-17-00/los-angeles/18319-climate-disaster-looms-as-earth-burns-up

Water shortages pose growing risk to global stability
Securing access to clean water and protection against flooding and tsunamis is critical to safeguarding society against the effects of climate change, according to the 2019 World Risk Report published Thursday ... Increasing occurrences of heat waves, hurricanes, and droughts mean water security is an ever-greater global issue. Water shortages could lead to wars, the 2019 report said.
https://www.dw.com/en/water-shortages-pose-growing-risk-to-global-stability/a-50394997

Boats Stranded as Drought Dries China’s Canals
[T]he worst drought in decades has left rivers in East China at their lowest level for decades. This has created congestion on canals, as vessels loaded with cargo crowd the gates to locks, waiting for them to fill with enough water so they can travel along the waterway.
https://www.caixinglobal.com/2019-09-11/photo-essay-boats-stranded-as-drought-dries-chinas-canals-101461442.html

A Supercharged Marine Heat Wave Is Roasting the Pacific
Ocean temperatures have skyrocketed in the northeast Pacific ... could spell trouble for wildlife and fisheries from Alaska to California, according to data scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released on Thursday ... abnormally warm waters extend from Alaska to Canada and as far west as Hawaii. ... churn usually pushes warm surface waters around and allows cool, nutrient-rich water from below to rise and take its place. Without that mixing, surface heat quickly built up. And it without the aforementioned nutrients from the cooler water below the surface, the heat wave has disrupted the food chain ...  fisheries managers expected 4.8 million salmon to spawn up British Columbia’s Fraser River, but only 628,000 fish showed up ...  "what used to be unexpected is becoming more common," Cisco Werner, NOAA Fisheries Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor, said in a statement.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/a-supercharged-marine-heat-wave-is-roasting-the-pacific-1837928320

Alaska just had the most ridiculous summer. That's a red flag for the planet.
With the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, America's "Last Frontier" feels like the first in line to see, smell and feel the unsettling signs of a climate in crisis. There are the smoky skies and dripping glaciers, dead salmon and hauled-out walrus but scientists also worry about the changes that are harder to see, from toxic algae blooms in the Bering Sea to insects from the Lower 48 bringing new diseases north. The head shaking among longtime locals really began on the Fourth of July, when at 90 degrees, Anchorage was hotter than Key West ... after decades of seeing their warnings fall on deaf ears -- especially in a state funded by oil -- scientists like Brettschneider hope that the indisputable clues across a baked Alaska will inspire real action, from Juneau to Washington, DC. "We've talked about these things occurring in decades or in centuries, but ... it's happening right now and it's visible right now and it's noticeable right now," the University of Alaksa climatologist says. "The opportunity to do things about it is right now and not decades down the road."
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/09/weather/alaska-climate-crisis-summer-weir-wxc/index.html

Wool production, sheep numbers hit 100-year lows as widespread drought continues
[Y]ears of ongoing drought across all key production areas is now forcing producers to offload breeding stock to slaughter. "The more the drought impacts on the farmers, we either see the farmers taking their animals [or] getting rid of them, losing their breeding stock" ... years of ongoing drought across all key production areas is now forcing producers to offload breeding stock to slaughter ... The drought has also meant sheep grow less wool ... "Everybody's running out of water."
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-08/drought-sees-wool-production-hit-100-year-low/11261042

World 'gravely' unprepared for effects of climate crisis – report
The world’s readiness for the inevitable effects of the climate crisis is “gravely insufficient”, according to a report from global leaders. This lack of preparedness will result in poverty, water shortages and levels of migration soaring, with an “irrefutable toll on human life” ... study says the greatest obstacle is not money but a lack of “political leadership that shakes people out of their collective slumber” ... The report has been produced by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), convened by 18 nations including the UK. It has contributions from the former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, environment ministers from China, India and Canada, the heads of the World Bank and the UN climate and environment divisions, and others ... The report says severe effects are now inevitable.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/10/climate-crisis-world-readiness-effects-gravely-insufficient-report

I am a CNN meteorologist. I used to be a climate crisis skeptic
I've been a meteorologist at CNN since 1999 ... for a long time I didn't think that global warming gasses would overwhelm the earth enough to change its climate. As a skeptic, I didn't deny climate change existed. I was questioning the data behind the science ...  I started attending climate conferences, and continued to consume more and more of the data coming in about climate change. I like to say that I didn't go from denier to believer; I went from skeptic to scholar ... As this alarming rate of warming continues, it is evident that humans are responsible ... The problem is that people are only looking at the weather out their windows. When you look at the crisis from a global perspective, you start to see evidence of a devastating future.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/04/weather/climate-change-skeptic/index.html

What If We Stopped Pretending?
The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it. The goal has been clear for thirty years, and despite earnest efforts we’ve made essentially no progress toward reaching it. Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it ... New research, described last month in Scientific American, demonstrates that climate scientists, far from exaggerating the threat of climate change, have underestimated its pace and severity ... The rise might, in fact, be far higher ... I don’t see human nature fundamentally changing anytime soon. I can run ten thousand scenarios through my model, and in not one of them do I see the two-degree target being met.
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/what-if-we-stopped-pretending

Climate change could halve crop production in southern Europe by 2050, report warns
Europe needs to reshape its agricultural sector, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) warned on Wednesday, as climate change could halve production of cereals in southern Europe ... "New records are being set around the world due to climate change and the adverse effects of this change are already affecting agricultural production in Europe" ... report highlights that most of the EEA member countries already have national adaptation strategies in place but stresses that they are rarely implemented at farm level due to a lack of financing, access to know-how and policy support to adapt.
https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/05/climate-change-could-halve-crop-production-in-southern-europe-by-2050-report-warns

Climate change: Greenland's ice faces melting 'death sentence'
Dr Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), says he's unnerved by the potential dangers and that coastal planners need to "brace themselves" ... it's the recent increase in the average temperature that's being felt in Greenland's ice: "Already effectively that's a death sentence for the Greenland ice sheet because also going forward in time we're expecting temperatures only to climb ... So, we're losing Greenland - it's really a question of how fast"...  the ice is not only being melted by the air, as the atmosphere heats up, but also by warmer water reaching underneath the fronts of the glaciers. One NASA scientist describes the ice as being under a hair-dryer and at the same time also on a cooker.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49483580

On the front lines of climate change in the world's northernmost town
Since 1970, average annual temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius in Svalbard, with winter temperatures rising more than 7 degrees, according to a report released by the Norwegian Center for Climate Services in February ... He compares climate change to an accident that we can’t help staring at, feeling lucky we weren’t the victim. “When people slow down to look at a car crash, climate change is like that because everyone is slowing down to look at the accident but not realizing that we are actually the car crash.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-svalbard-widerimage/on-the-front-lines-of-climate-change-in-the-worlds-northernmost-town-idUSKCN1VO19M

Stanford researchers use vintage film to show Thwaites Glacier ice shelf in Antarctica melting faster than previously observed
The researchers made their findings by comparing ice-penetrating radar records of Thwaites Glacier with modern data. The research appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sept. 2. “By having this record, we can now see these areas where the ice shelf is getting thinnest and could break through,” said lead author Dustin Schroeder, an assistant professor of geophysics at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences ... The research was supported by NASA, NSF and the George Thompson Fellowship at Stanford University.
https://news.stanford.edu/press-releases/2019/09/02/vintage-film-rev-glacier-melting

New Data: Brazilian Amazon Fires Have Released 104-141 Million Metric Tons of CO2
A new analysis estimates this year’s Brazilian Amazon fires have produced between 104 and 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to scientists at Woods Hole Research Center and IPAM-Amazônia. That is equivalent to annual tailpipe carbon pollution from 22.6 to 30.6 million cars, or the annual CO2 emissions from the entire state of North Carolina. The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon this year is already 60% higher than levels seen over the last three years ... “It’s important to understand these aren’t wildfires of the sort we’re familiar with in the western United States. The majority of the burning we’re seeing now is the end result of a months-long process that began with people cutting trees to clear the land for cattle grazing or growing crops. These cut trees were left to dry and only now are they being set on fire to finish the job of land clearing” said WHRC Associate Scientist Wayne Walker.
http://whrc.org/new-data-brazilian-amazon-fires-have-released-104-141-million-metric-tons-of-co2

Melting glaciers, as well as ice sheets, raising Earth's seas
As the planet's polar ice sheets destabilise amid rising temperatures, a landmark UN assessment of Earth's retreating frozen spaces is also set to spell out how melting mountain glaciers will impact humanity in the decades to come ...Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost roughly 400 billion tonnes of mass annually in the decade to 2015 ... But glaciers high up mountains also lost around 280 billion tonnes of ice each year during the same period ... Their retreat is likely to impact inland communities the world over, for whom glaciers are a key water source. The glaciers nestled high in the Himalayas provide water for 250 million people in nearby valleys and feed the rivers upon which a further 1.65 billion people rely for food, energy and income. One study referenced in the IPCC report warns that Asian high mountain glaciers could lose more than a third of their ice, even if humans slash greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius (2.6 Fahrenheit). A continuation of "business-as-usual" in the coming decades with a global economy still powered mainly by fossil fuels could see two thirds lost.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-glaciers-ice-sheets-earth-seas.html

Europe Is Warming Even Faster Than Climate Models Predicted
Over the past seven decades, the number of extreme heat days in Europe has steadily increased, while the number of extreme cold days has decreased, according to new research. Alarmingly, this trend is happening at rates faster than those proposed by climate models ... Europe is getting progressively hotter, and the data bears this out. What’s disturbing, however, and as new research published today in Geophysical Research Letters points out, this warming trend is occurring faster than the projections churned out by most European climate models. And as the new paper also notes, the observed increases in temperatures “cannot be explained by internal variability” ... the number of days with extreme heat across Europe more than tripled ... Meanwhile, days featuring extreme cold temperatures are now on the decline, decreasing twofold or threefold depending on the location ... Climate scientists have already shown that Europe is getting warmer, but the new study was an effort to test the reliability of local climate models by cross-referencing local observational data ... gathered from around 4,000 weather stations across Europe.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/europe-is-warming-even-faster-than-climate-models-predi-1837669154
see also https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-08/agu-ewf082819.php
reporting on a study at https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019GL082062

Why have 500 million bees died in Brazil in the past three months?
While thousands of fires roar and crackle through the Amazon rainforest, Brazil faces a quieter tragedy playing out in farm country: the silence of empty hives. Earlier this year, beekeepers reported losing over 500 million honeybees in only three months. The speed and scale of the die-offs recall colony collapse disorder, a malady that began decimating bees across North America and Europe in 2006. But the symptoms are tellingly different. Where colony collapse caused worker bees to abandon their hives and disappear, the bees in Brazil are dropping dead on the spot. And where scientists blamed colony collapse on a combination of factors, the evidence in Brazil points to one overarching cause: pesticides. The parallels between Brazil’s Amazon crisis and its bee die-offs are many. Just as the relaxation of forestry rules has led to more fires, so have loosened pesticide restrictions exposed more bees to lethal doses.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/29/500-million-bees-brazil-three-months

Great Barrier Reef outlook now 'very poor', Australian government review says
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s outlook report, published every five years, finds coral reefs have declined to a very poor condition and there is widespread habitat loss and degradation affecting fish, turtles and seabirds. It warns the plight of the reef will not improve unless there is urgent national and global action to address the climate crisis, which it described as its greatest threat ... The report says rising sea temperatures and extreme events linked to climate change, such as the marine heatwaves that caused mass coral bleaching in the northern two-thirds of the reef in 2016 and 2017, are the most immediate risks. Other major threats include farming pollution, coastal development and human use, such as illegal fishing. The report says water quality is improving too slowly and continues to affect many inshore areas ... the report showed that, while there were some small areas of progress, Australia was failing the reef. “Overall, there is very little good to report whatsoever.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/30/great-barrier-reef-outlook-now-very-poor-australian-government-review-says

At 4C of warming, would a billion people survive? What scientists say.
In May this year, Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told The Guardian that in a 4°C-warmer world: “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that ... There will be a rich minority of people who survive with modern lifestyles, no doubt, but it will be a turbulent, conflict-ridden world” ... at the Copenhagen science conference, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, then director of the Potsdam Institute, and one of Europe’s most eminent climate scientists, told his audience: “In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet [at 4°C], namely below one billion people” ... "Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C [and] the other thing to remember is that 4C is a global average. It's probably nearer 5C on land, and would be up to 15C in some areas. There's no evidence to suggest that humanity can actually survive at this sort of temperature" ...  in 2006 James Lovelock — scientist extraordinaire, inventor of the microwave oven and propounder of the Gaia thesis — told an audience that the Earth has a fever that could boost temperatures by up to 8°C, making large parts of the surface uninhabitable and threatening billions of peoples’ lives. He said a traumatised Earth might only be able to support less than a tenth of its six billion people. [also includes a discussion of what a 4C world would look like]
http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html

There is no ice left on Northern Sea Route
The Arctic shortcut that connects Asia and Europe is open and ice-free and shipping appears smooth, also for vessels without ice class standards. The last pieces of frozen water vanished in mid-August and ice-data shows that the whole route now is free of ice. That includes the East Siberian Sea, the area that normally has the longest-lasting white sheet.
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2019/08/there-no-ice-left-russias-northern-sea-route

Massive Siberian forest fire could melt permafrost, freeing massive methane stores
At the end of the month, the Siberian forest fire stretched across 6.4 million acres ... Like the Amazonian fires, the Siberian fires have the potential to accelerate global warming ... their ash and soot, which releases black carbon, pose a massive threat to the Arctic region’s ice sheets. They could accelerate melting, which will increase the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere ... melting of the ice sheets might free previously-trapped permafrost methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide and which is not absorbed in photosynthesis.
https://www.salon.com/2019/08/27/massive-siberian-forest-fire-could-melt-permafrost-freeing-massive-methane-stores

Acid oceans are shrinking plankton, fuelling faster climate change
Increasingly acidic oceans are putting algae at risk, threatening the foundation of the entire marine food web ... increased seawater acidity reduced Antarctic phytoplanktons’ ability to build strong cell walls, making them smaller and less effective at storing carbon ... Many studies [have looked at] the effects of seawater acidification on “calcifying” creatures. However, we wanted to know if other, non-calcifying, species are at risk ... Our new research adds yet another group of organisms to the list of climate change casualties. It emphasises the urgent need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
http://theconversation.com/acid-oceans-are-shrinking-plankton-fuelling-faster-climate-change-121443

Oceans turning from friend to foe, warns landmark UN climate report
The same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilising Earth's marine environment is brought to heel, warns a draft UN report obtained by AFP. Destructive changes already set in motion could see a steady decline in fish stocks, a hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms, and hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "special report" on oceans and Earth's frozen zones, known as the cryosphere ... The 900-page scientific assessment is the fourth such tome from the UN in less than a year ... All four conclude that humanity must overhaul the way it produces and consumes almost everything to avoid the worst ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-oceans-friend-foe-landmark-climate.html

Amazon fires 'extraordinarily concerning', warns UN biodiversity chief
Cristiana Paşca Palmer, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said the destruction of the world’s biggest rainforest was a grim reminder that a fresh approach was needed to stabilise the climate and prevent ecosystems from declining to a point of no return, with dire consequences for humanity. “The Amazon fires make the point that we face a very serious crisis,” she told the Guardian. “But it is not just the Amazon. We’re also concerned with what’s happening in other forests and ecosystems, and with the broader and rapid degradation of nature. The risk is we are moving towards the tipping points that scientists talk about that could produce cascading collapses of natural systems.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/30/amazon-fires-biodiversity-united-nations

Bank of Montreal is winding down reinsurance business as climate change risks rise
The Bank of Montreal has decided to exit the majority of its business that provides insurance to insurers, saying climate change is at least partly to blame. BMO chief executive Darryl White noted during a quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday that the lender, Canada’s fourth largest, had previously said it was reviewing ways to keep its reinsurance business more consistent. “We didn't feel like there was a good symmetry between risk and reward" (Joanna Rotenberg, BMO’s head of wealth management) ... Companies worldwide are grappling with similar issues. In May, the Bank of Canada identified climate change as one of the key vulnerabilities for the financial system, saying it posed “physical risks from disruptive weather events and transition risks from adapting to a lower-carbon global economy.”
https://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/bmo-is-winding-down-reinsurance-business-as-climate-change-risks-rise

Amazon wildfires set to cause irreversible damage
For weeks, the fires in the Amazon rainforest have attracted international attention. Compared to 2018, the total number of fires increased by 82% between January and August this year. In August alone, almost 26,000 fires were reported ... According to the investigating prosecutor, Paulo de Tarso, most of the fires were lit on state-owned nature reserves. These areas are constantly under threat by landowners, speculators and mine operators.
https://www.dw.com/en/amazon-wildfires-set-to-cause-irreversible-damage/a-50183441

The Amazon Is on Fire. So Is Central Africa.
Among the regions at risk is the Congo Basin forest, the second-largest tropical rainforest, after the Amazon, mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The region absorbs tons of carbon dioxide, a key in the fight against climate change, and has been called the world’s “second lung,” following the Amazon ... in Central Africa, they are incinerating savanna and scrubbier land, and mostly licking at the edges of the rainforest ... While some ignite naturally in the dry season, others are deliberately set by farmers to clear land and improve crop yields. In South America the burns spilled into sensitive areas and grew out of control. In Africa, some experts fear the same outcome.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/world/africa/congo-angola-rainforest-fires.html

Europe warming faster than expected due to climate change
New research in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the number of summer days with extreme heat has tripled since 1950 and summers have become hotter overall, while the number of winter days with extreme cold decreased in frequency by at least half and winters have become warmer overall. The new study finds parts of Europe are warming faster than climate models project. "Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability. That's really a signal from climate change."
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-europe-faster-due-climate.html

It’s official: Parts of California are too wildfire-prone to insure
According to newly released data, it’s simply become too risky to insure houses in big swaths of the wildfire-prone state ... Insurance companies aren’t renewing policies in areas climate scientists say are likely to burn in giant wildfires in coming years ... Between 2015 and 2018, the 10 California counties with the most homes in flammable forests saw a 177 percent increase in homeowners turning to an expensive state-backed insurance program because they could not find private insurance ... “We are seeing an increasing trend across California where people at risk of wildfires are being non-renewed by their insurer ... This data should be a wake-up call for state and local policymakers that without action to reduce the risk from extreme wildfires and preserve the insurance market we could see communities unraveling.” A similar dynamic is likely unfolding across many other Western states.
https://grist.org/article/its-official-parts-of-california-are-too-wildfire-prone-to-insure

Can We Survive Extreme Heat?
Humans have never lived on a planet this hot, and we’re totally unprepared for what’s to come Since the 1960s, the average number of annual heat waves in 50 major American cities has tripled. They are also becoming more deadly ... the risk of a heat-driven catastrophe increases every year ... “How likely is this to happen?” I ask. “It’s more a question of when,” Chester says, “not if.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/climate-crisis-goodell-survive-extreme-heat-875198

Why Climate Change Is So Hard
What makes climate change different from other environmental calamities isn’t that it’s bigger or farther away or difficult to see ... the key difference is that halting climate change requires us to dramatically alter our way of life ... We’re willing to make modest changes here and there, but dramatic changes? The kind that seriously bite into our incomes and our way of life? Nope. When I mention this to people, a common reaction is disbelief. You really think people will let the planet burn before they’ll give up their cars? That’s exactly what I think, because it’s happened many times before. Over and over, human civilizations have destroyed their environments because no one was willing to give up their piece of it.
https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/08/why-climate-change-is-so-hard

Hawaii Is Losing As Much Of Its Land To Wildfires As Any Other State
“Here in Hawaii, we always talk about sea level rise and that’s been the main focus. You can see it and put metrics on it and it grabs attention,” said Stanbro, who leads Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. “But the hurricane stuff, the heat stuff and the fire stuff is what I think will really impact Hawaii before sea level rise gets a chance.”
https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/08/hawaii-is-losing-as-much-of-its-land-to-wildfires-as-any-other-state

Rare weather phenomenon amassing in southern hemisphere - Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW)
SSW occurs when the temperature of the stratosphere (30 - 50 km / 18 - 31 miles above ground) over the South Pole rises by more than 25 °C ... In the southern hemisphere's winter, a ring of stormy and freezing weather encircles Antarctica. Known as the polar vortex, it is usually very good at keeping harsh, wintry conditions locked up close to the pole. When a SSW occurs, it can help to weaken or displace the polar vortex in the stratosphere.
https://watchers.news/2019/08/22/southern-hemisphere-sudden-stratospheric-warming-2019

Parts of Chile 'turning to desert' in worst drought in 60 years
The emergency status, impacting almost half the country, will see relief measures fast-tracked for the agriculture industry, including drinking water and medicine for animals. In some areas, water for human consumption has become scarce. Cattle are collapsing where they stand and reducing to skeletons in the baking heat, and boats have been left abandoned in dried-out marinas. "We are talking about a process of desertification rather than a temporary drought or absence of rain problem. We are talking about a tendency that has come to stay," Felipe Machado, director of the country's resilience institute.
https://news.sky.com/story/chile-turning-to-desert-in-worst-drought-in-60-years-11792743

Brazilian Farmers Believe They Have the Right to Burn the Amazon
Satellite images from the European Space Agency would reveal a river of smoke from forest fires burning across the Amazon rainforest. Photographs taken above the tree cover are even more terrifying. They show a forest that is rapidly vanishing: Since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January, trees in the Brazilian Amazon have been disappearing at the rate of two Manhattans a week. There have been 39,601 fires so far this year, a 77 percent increase over 2018 ... The stakes couldn’t be higher. The Amazon contains 40 percent of the world’s rainforest and more biodiversity than any other place on the planet. Already 17 percent of the forest is gone. According to Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s top climate scientists, even a slight uptick in deforestation could trigger something called dieback, in which the forest heats up, resulting in droughts, floods, and wildfires. Nobre worries we’re nearing a tipping point and that if we reach a 20 to 25 percent threshold of deforestation, more than half the rainforest could die permanently. Weather patterns would change all over South America, and billions of tons of carbon would be released into the atmosphere. Already, Nobre says we are seeing the “first flickers” of permanent change, pointing to three severe droughts in the last 15 years. The most recent, in 2015, caused massive wildfires near the city of Santarem, turning the sky an acrid haze.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/brazilian-farmers-believe-they-have-the-right-to-burn-the-amazon-875879

Fires in the Amazon could be part of a doomsday scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even more
The record number of fires raging across the Amazon rainforest in 2019 could be part of a doomsday “dieback” scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even further. More than 74,000 fires have been recorded this year in the rainforest, which produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen, threatening its future, the billions of plants and animals that call it home, and possibly the entire planet’s health. If more of the Amazon is destroyed, it would not only stop producing this oxygen and supporting this wildlife, but could create a feedback loop that worsens climate change ... Losing 20% of Brazil’s rainforest could result in a feedback loop that would dry trees, leaving them unable to absorb as much carbon, and also becoming much more flammable and likely to spread fire themselves ... This tipping point could cause the Amazon to devolve from a rainforest to a barren, savannah-like landscape that not only fails to produce oxygen but could cause the release of the 140 billion tons of carbon that had been stored in the rainforest into the atmosphere.
https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-fires-may-help-dieback-emit-carbon-hurry-climate-change-2019-8

The West is trading water for cash. The water is running out
The 1,450-mile-long Colorado River serves as a source of water for seven states, but climate change and overuse have caused its levels to drop precipitously ... When the states came together in the 1920s to sign a compact dividing rights to the river, they were operating from an overly optimistic assessment of how much water was available. Thus behind the eight-ball from the start, increasing water demands in the decades since have created a situation where more water is taken out of the river than flows into it. In March, with the river's main reservoirs now below half of total capacity and the federal government about to step in, the states reached a temporary deal to cut river water use. But in 2026, a more severe reckoning looms when a long-term deal must be struck ... "It wasn't like one state used more water than they were supposed to: Each state is using what they're legally entitled to" ... The 1922 Colorado River Compact was meant to fix this. The agreement meant that some 7.5 million acre-feet of water would be allotted every year to both the Upper Basin (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico) and the Lower Basin (Nevada, Arizona and California). Since the river flows from north to south, Upper Basin states are obligated to make sure Lower Basin states get their due. But the math was wrong, and there was much less water available over the following years than the signatories had predicted.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-west-cash.html

Alaskan Glaciers Are Melting Twice as Fast as Models Predicted
Scientists from the University of Oregon recently found that the underwater section of a glacier in southeast Alaska is melting at rates up to two orders of magnitude greater than those predicted by theory. The results, published in the journal Science, challenge the current models used to predict the melting of tidewater glaciers worldwide ... The results were striking. “We have direct observations that show melt rates are much higher than we we expected”... the study illuminates what portion of the glacier ice being lost to the ocean is the result of underwater ice melting as opposed to calving—the process by which chunks of the glacier break off and float into the ocean as icebergs. “The sub-marine melt rates are higher than we expect” ... With a warming ocean, this news suggests that tidewater glaciers could disappear quicker in response to climate change than previously thought ... if the portion of glacier submerged in ocean water melts quicker, then the rate at which the glacier flows toward the ocean will increase, and the rate of calving will increase as well.
https://glacierhub.org/2019/08/22/alaskan-glaciers-are-melting-twice-as-fast-as-models-predicted

Hotter, larger fires turning boreal forest into carbon source: research
[W]ith climate change, fires are becoming more frequent, larger and more intense. Researchers from five U.S. and four Canadian universities wanted to see if that was affecting stored carbon. They looked at the impact of the 2014 fire season in the Northwest Territories, which burned the largest area on record. “These were large and severe fires,” said Xanthe Walker of Northern Arizona University. “We thought this is when and where (stored carbon) would burn.” ... the old carbon burned in nearly half of the younger stands where the soil wasn’t as thick. And what didn’t burn rapidly decomposed into the atmosphere. “There are areas where there’s no organic soil left and it’s just exposed mineral soil” ... the boreal forest is gradually becoming younger as fires increase in size and frequency. “Now those old forests are young forests, so when the next forest fire hits that area, those are going to be systems that are vulnerable to legacy carbon release. “We can have thousands of years of productivity stored and then released in a matter of minutes.” ... “I think we’re right on the tipping point now,” Turetsky said. “I think it’s happening in the western provinces already. I think it’s happening in Alaska.”
https://calgaryherald.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/hotter-larger-fires-turning-boreal-forest-into-carbon-source-research

Wildfires ignite across Indonesia
As fires rage in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, the south-east Asian nation of Indonesia is witnessing a similarly devastating ecological tragedy unfold. The dry season has arrived in Indonesia - home to some of the world's oldest tropical forests - bringing with it its worst annual fire season since 2015. Close to 700 hotspots have been identified in fire-prone regions in Sumatra, Kalimantan and the Riau islands.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49444325

Plants are going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical norm
[B]iodiversity loss, together with climate change, are some of the biggest challenges faced by humanity. Along with human-driven habitat destruction, the effects of climate change are expected to be particularly severe on plant biodiversity. Current estimates of plant extinctions are, without a doubt, gross underestimates. However, the signs are crystal clear. If we were to condense the Earth’s 4.5-billion-year-old history into one calendar year, then life evolved somewhere in June, dinosaurs appeared somewhere around Christmas, and the Anthropocene starts within the last millisecond of New Year’s Eve. Modern plant extinction rates that exceed historical rates by hundreds of times over such a brief period will spell disaster for our planet’s future.
https://theconversation.com/plants-are-going-extinct-up-to-350-times-faster-than-the-historical-norm-122255
see also https://phys.org/news/2019-08-extinct-faster-historical-norm.html

The Planet Needs a New Internet
Huge changes will be needed because right now, the internet is unsustainable. On the one hand, rising sea levels threaten to swamp the cables and stations that transmit the web to our homes; rising temperatures could make it more costly to run the data centers handling ever-increasing web traffic; wildfires could burn it all down. On the other, all of those data centers, computers, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices take a prodigious amount of energy to build and to run, thus contributing to global warming and hastening our collective demise ... By and large, this infrastructure wasn’t built with a changing climate in mind. Researchers and companies are only now starting to explore how threatened it is, but what they’ve found so far is alarming.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-planet-needs-a-new-internet-1837101745

Global heating: ancient plants set to reproduce in UK after 60m years
An exotic plant has produced male and female cones outdoors in Britain for what is believed to be the first time in 60 million years. Botanists say the event is a sign of global heating ... “It is a strong indicator of climate change being shown, not from empirical evidence from the scientists but by plants.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/22/global-heating-ancient-plants-set-to-reproduce-in-uk-after-60m-years

UK is set to miss net-zero 2050 target with ‘dire consequences’, MPs warn
‘Although the government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place’ The UK will miss its legally binding net-zero 2050 target with “dire consequences” unless climate policies are rapidly implemented, MPs have warned the government. Efforts to reduce emissions have been undermined by “unacceptable” cutbacks and delays, according to a report from the Science and Technology Select Committee.
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-uk-carbon-target-global-warmning-a9073256.html

The Reason Antarctica Is Melting: Shifting Winds, Driven by Global Warming
A new study helps solve the puzzle of why the continent’s western glaciers are melting so fast
For a long time, scientists had suspected that man-made climate change was likely causing this area of West Antarctica’s ice to thin, but they had not established a direct connection or mechanism. The issue is critical because this is where the majority of the continent’s ice loss is occurring. Now a new study new study published this week in Nature Geoscience appears to have solved the puzzle. A team of researchers in the U.S. and U.K. found that global warming has caused a shift in wind patterns that are ultimately bringing more warm ocean water into contact with the region’s ice.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-reason-antarctica-is-melting-shifting-winds-driven-by-global-warming/

Where did all the cod go? Fishing crisis in the North Sea
[A] report published last month by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) revealed that North Sea cod stocks had fallen to critical levels. Warning that cod was being harvested unsustainably, it recommended a 63% cut in the catch – and that’s on top of a 47% reduction last year ... North Sea cod stocks were once plentiful but plummeted – and came perilously close to collapse – between the early 1970s and 2006. A “cod recovery plan” sought to restore stocks to sustainable levels ... Ices, an international organisation of scientists from countries bordering the North Atlantic, advises governments and the industry on stock levels and the sustainable quotas that can be fished without endangering future stocks. It sounded a warning last year with its recommended cut in the cod catch of 47%, but this year’s assessment – based on extensive scientific research – warned that levels were dangerously low and another two-thirds reduction was needed.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/18/where-did-all-the-cod-go-fish-chips-north-sea-sustainable-stocks

Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago
Plant growth is declining all over the planet, and new research links the phenomenon to decreasing moisture in the air—a consequence of climate change. The study published yesterday in Science Advances points to satellite observations that revealed expanding vegetation worldwide during much of the 1980s and 1990s. But then, about 20 years ago, the trend stopped. Since then, more than half of the world’s vegetated landscapes have been experiencing a “browning” trend, or decrease in plant growth.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-stopped-getting-greener-20-years-ago/

Sydney's water supply falling at record pace due to drought
Sydney is running down its water supply at the fastest rate on record, with dams expected to fall below half maximum capacity due to the worst drought on record, the government said on Friday ... “Catchments that have been historically reliable are now facing a critical shortage of water ... major (inland) cities run the risk of running out of fresh water in the next 12 months.”
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/16/asia-pacific/sydneys-water-supply-falling-record-pace-due-drought

The UN’s Bleak View Of The Planet’s Future
[IPCC’s special report on climate change and land], which includes the work of 107 experts from 52 countries, is a devastatingly serious outline of what is coming. Its conclusions reflect the science of what is already underway to turn large portions of Earth un-plantable and probably un-livable ... A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the climate report ... The report details how climate change is threatening food and water supplies for humans, turning arable land to desert, degrading soil and increasing the threat of droughts and other disasters. As have previous studies, it puts most of the blame on fossil fuel-burning power plants and automobiles but adds that agriculture and forestry account for 23% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions ... climate change could imperil food security in parts of the world, putting further strain on a food system that’s already stressed.
https://www.dcreport.org/2019/08/14/the-uns-bleak-view-of-the-planets-future/

Drying Atmosphere Spurs Decline in Vegetation Growth
Global vegetation growth has stalled in the past two decades because of a long-term deficit in atmospheric water content, according to a new analysis of global climate datasets published in the August 14 issue of Science Advances. The findings reveal that atmospheric water vapor is expected to further wane throughout the 21st century due to rising air temperatures and a decline in the evaporation of the world's oceans. The decrease in atmospheric water cancelled out the effects of higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which would normally boost plant growth. The findings also suggest that if this drying continues, plants may not be able to absorb as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and forest and crop yields potentially could shrink.
https://www.aaas.org/news/drying-atmosphere-spurs-decline-vegetation-growth

Anchorage set two heat records on Thursday
Anchorage has now exceeded the cumulative total of all days recorded from 1952 to 2018 in which the average temperature for the day exceeded 70 degrees in this summer alone.
https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Anchorage-set-two-heat-records-on-Thursday-547672031.html

A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit
According to data released in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) monthly climate analysis, a weather station in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle hit a stunning 94.6 Fahrenheit (34.8 degrees Celsius) last month. As an isolated data point, it would be shocking. But coupled with a host of other maladies, from no sea ice within 125 miles of Alaska to the unruly fires ravaging Siberia, it’s an exclamation point on the climate crisis ... July’s Arctic heat is part of a larger global trend driven by carbon pollution.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/a-weather-station-above-the-arctic-circle-hit-94-6-degr-1837274379

Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.
Across nine million square miles at the top of the planet, climate change is writing a new chapter. Arctic permafrost isn’t thawing gradually, as scientists once predicted. Geologically speaking, it’s thawing almost overnight ... releasing vestiges of ancient life — and masses of carbon — that have been locked in frozen dirt for millennia. Entering the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, the carbon promises to accelerate climate change, even as humans struggle to curb our fossil fuel emissions ... new discoveries suggest that the carbon will escape faster as the planet warms ... researchers now suspect that for every one degree Celsius rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of four to six years’ worth of coal, oil, and natural gas emissions — double to triple what scientists thought a few years ago. Within a few decades, if we don’t curb fossil fuel use, permafrost could be as big a source of greenhouse gases as China, the world’s largest emitter, is today. We aren’t accounting for that. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has only recently started incorporating permafrost into its projections. It still underestimates just how wide Pandora’s freezer could swing open—and how much havoc that could unleash.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/arctic-permafrost-is-thawing-it-could-speed-up-climate-change-feature/

The New Ruins of the Melting Alps
While the planet as a whole has warmed about 1° Celsius because of greenhouse gas emissions, average temperatures the Alps have risen just under 2° Celsius. Since 1960 — when the Alps first began to be exploited by ski-oriented tourism—the average snow season there has shortened by 38 days. Because of this warming and other factors, there are now almost 200 abandoned ski resorts in the Italian Alps: cemeteries of steel cables, concrete, parking lots, abandoned hotels, and deforested slopes. That number stands to rise ... Clavarino’s images of these near-abandoned places, and the people who remain there, are not simply mementos of a dying region. They’re a warning to the rest of us about the economic and human toll to come as our planet warms.
https://newrepublic.com/article/154261/climate-change-italy-alps-ruins-ski-resorts

Increase in fracking for shale gas has 'dramatically increased' global methane emissions, scientists warn
Researchers from Cornell University looked at the 'chemical fingerprint' of methane in the atmosphere and found a third of methane emissions in the past decade came from shale gas ... If the rise continues in coming decades, it will significantly increase global warming and undercut efforts to meet international targets to curb dangerous climate change under the Paris Agreement, the study warns.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7356247/Fracking-shale-gas-dramatically-increased-global-methane-emissions-scientists-warn.html

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides
America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One. This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds ... [researchers] determined that the new generation of pesticides has made agriculture far more toxic to insects ... The study found that neonics accounted for 92 percent of this increased toxicity. Neonics are not only incredibly toxic to honeybees, they can remain toxic for more than 1,000 days in the environment ... Nearly all of neonic use in the U.S. is for coating seeds, including almost all corn and oilseed rape seed, the majority of soy and cotton seeds, and many yard plants from garden centers. However only 5 percent of the toxin ends up the corn or soy plant; the rest ends up the soil and the environment. Neonics readily dissolve in water, meaning what’s used on the farm won’t stay on the farm. They’ve contaminated streams, ponds, and wetlands, studies have found.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/insect-apocalypse-under-way-toxic-pesticides-agriculture/

2C: Beyond The Limit
Extreme climate change has arrived in America
New Jersey may seem an unlikely place to measure climate change, but it is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation. Its average temperature has climbed by close to 2 degrees Celsius since 1895 ... if Earth heats up by an average of 2 degrees Celsius, virtually all the world’s coral reefs will die; retreating ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could unleash massive sea level rise; and summertime Arctic sea ice, a shield against further warming, would begin to disappear ... analysis of more than a century of [NOAA] temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark ... The nation’s hot spots will get worse, absent a global plan to slash emissions of the greenhouse gases fueling climate change ... Daniel Pauly, an influential marine scientist at the University of British Columbia, says the 2-degree Celsius hot spots are early warning sirens of a climate shift. “Basically,” he said, “these hot spots are chunks of the future in the present.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-america/

In the future, only the rich will be able to escape the unbearable heat from climate change. In Iraq, it’s already happening
At a time when European countries are enduring some of the highest temperatures ever recorded, and as extreme weather becomes more common, Baghdad offers a troubling glimpse into a future where only the wealthy are equipped to escape the effects of climate change. A United Nations report released last month warned that the world is heading for a “climate apartheid” scenario, “where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer”. In Baghdad, that is already a reality. On 48C days, which are now coming earlier in the year, air conditioners are the most effective way of staying cool. But an electricity crisis in the country is putting even that essential tool out of reach to low-income families.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/climate-change-apartheid-poor-iraq-effects-heatwave-a9049206.html

Amazon fires generate smoke cloud almost as big as devastating Siberia blaze
While fires in Siberia have created a cloud of smoke larger than the European Union, on the other side of the world, forest blazes in the Amazon are causing a phenomenon of almost the same magnitude. Santiago Gassó, a researcher at NASA's Goddard center, warned on his Twitter account on Tuesday that the surface of Latin America covered by the smoke layer was about 3.2 million square kilometers ... The Brazilian state of Amazonas declared a state of emergency last week due to the increasing number of fires in the region.
https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/14/amazon-fires-generate-smoke-cloud-almost-as-big-as-devastating-siberia-blaze

Arctic wildfires spew soot and smoke cloud bigger than EU
A cloud of smoke and soot bigger than the European Union is billowing across Siberia as wildfires in the Arctic Circle rage into an unprecedented third month. The normally frozen region, which is a crucial part of the planet’s cooling system, is spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and worsening the manmade climate disruption that created the tinderbox conditions. A spate of huge fires in northern Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada discharged 50 megatonnes of CO2 in June and 79 megatonnes in July, far exceeding the previous record for the Arctic.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/12/arctic-wildfires-smoke-cloud

Trees in the U.S. facing devastating threats due to invasive species
A team of researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that trees in the United States are facing devastating threats due to invasive species. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes analyzing thousands of forest plots across the U.S. and the mortality rates due to 15 major tree pest infestations ... The researchers found that approximately 40 percent of all forested land in the U.S. is under threat from invasive species. They also found that such pests are already killing so many trees that 6 million tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere each year.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-trees-devastating-threats-due-invasive.html

Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago
The world is gradually becoming less green, scientists have found. Plant growth is declining all over the planet, and new research links the phenomenon to decreasing moisture in the air—a consequence of climate change. The study published yesterday in Science Advances points to satellite observations that revealed expanding vegetation worldwide during much of the 1980s and 1990s. But then, about 20 years ago, the trend stopped ... Since the late 1990s, more than half of the world’s vegetated landscapes have experienced a growing deficit, or drying pattern. Climate models indicate that vapor pressure deficit is likely to continue increasing as the world warms.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-stopped-getting-greener-20-years-ago/

Global Sea Level Rise Began Accelerating 30 Years Earlier Than Commonly Thought
Global sea level rise began to accelerate in the 1960s, 30 years earlier than suggested by previous assessments, a new study finds. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, introduces a new technique to more accurately determine historical global sea levels by combining two different statistical approaches ... The implication of this work is that ocean heat uptake will “likely increase again in the near future, further increasing the rate of current sea level rise”
https://truthout.org/articles/global-sea-level-rise-began-accelerating-30-years-earlier-than-commonly-thought/

Temperatures to hit 50C during Hajj
Temperatures during Hajj season this year are expected to reach 50 degrees Celsius on some days, Saudi officials said Sunday. Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental protection also expects humidity to reach 85 percent, making the climate feel even hotter.
http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535366/saudi-arabia

The heat index in Galveston remained above 100 for 40 straight hours. It’s part of another major heat wave.
Heat advisories stretched over 1,000 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border to Georgia, encompassing more than 30 million in the forecast for “dangerous heat.” Galveston failed to drop below 86 degrees Thursday, marking its warmest all-time low temperature on record ... It’s not just Galveston. Much of the Lone Star State is baking, and that heat is set to expand ... With the heat comes sweltering humidity. Dew points close to 80 degrees will make even overnight lows virtually unbearable.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/09/heat-index-galveston-has-remained-above-over-hours-its-part-another-major-heat-wave

China is going to get hot
[R]esearchers have found that China faces ... tens of thousands of additional deaths each year. And the problem, they say, will kick in at much lower rates of global warming than those predicted to endanger US cities. Part of the problem, write Yanjun Wang of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and colleagues, in the journal Nature Communications, is that temperatures in China have been increasing faster than the global average. But it isn’t the rise in average temperature that is the true problem, Wang’s team writes, so much as the fact that this rise is accompanied by an increase in the number of dangerously hot days.
https://cosmosmagazine.com/climate/china-is-going-to-get-hot

Rapid Coral Decay Is Associated with Marine Heatwave Mortality Events on Reefs
Severe marine heatwaves have recently become a common feature of global ocean conditions due to a rapidly changing climate. These increasingly severe thermal conditions are causing an unprecedented increase in the frequency and severity of mortality events in marine ecosystems, including on coral reefs. The degradation of coral reefs will result in the collapse of ecosystem services that sustain over half a billion people globally. Here, we show that marine heatwave events on coral reefs are biologically distinct to how coral bleaching has been understood to date, in that heatwave conditions result in an immediate heat-induced mortality of the coral colony, rapid coral skeletal dissolution, and the loss of the three-dimensional reef structure
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30804-8

Russia’s Burning! Climate Change Is to Blame
So far this year, a total of 8.3 million hectares (20.5 million acres) of forest has burned out in Russia. That roughly equals the area of Austria; it’s undoubtedly a bad year. At the peak of the wildfires on July 23, the number of fires in the Russian woods was about three times the 17-year average for that day ... The average burned-up area between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1 has increased by two-thirds in the last 10 years ... The increase in fires is almost certainly a consequence of climate change – and, when it comes to Russian forests, not the only consequence.
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-08-09/in-russia-s-wildfires-climate-change-is-to-blame

America's agriculture is 48 times more toxic than 25 years ago. Blame neonics
The new study, published in the science journal PLOS ONE [says] since neonics were first introduced 25 years ago, US agriculture has become 48 times more toxic to insect life, and neonics are responsible for 92% of that ... dramatic increase in the toxic burden of US agriculture for insects starting in the mid-2000s. That’s when beekeepers began reporting significant losses of their hives. It’s also when the pesticide companies that manufacture neonics, Bayer and Syngenta, found a lucrative new use for these chemicals: coating the seeds of crops like corn and soy that are grown on millions of acres across the country ... This study comes on the heels of the first analysis of global insect populations, which found 40% of species face extinction, with near total insect loss possible by century’s end ... The European Union voted to ban the worst neonics in 2018. But the US government has so far failed to act.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/americas-dependence-on-pesticides-especially-neonics-is-a-war-on-nature

India water crisis flagged up in global report
India is one 17 countries where "water stress" is "extremely high", according to an exhaustive new global report released on Monday. This means that the country is running out of ground and surface water ... The report also ranks nine Indian states and union territories as having "extremely high" water stress ... India is in the grip of acute water scarcity by other measures as well. Large parts of the country have already faced a crippling drought this year - more than 500 million people living in at least 10 states were reportedly affected. And India's sixth largest city - Chennai in the south - ran out of water last month. The water table is also being depleted in Haryana's neighbouring state, Punjab. It's known as the breadbasket of India, but farmers are worried.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49232374

An 88 percent decline in large freshwater animals
Scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and international colleagues have now quantified the global decline of big freshwater animals ... From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent, most notably in the Indomalaya (by 99 percent) and Palearctic (by 97 percent) realms—the former covering South and Southeast Asia and southern China, and the latter covering Europe, North Africa and most of Asia. Large fish species such as sturgeons, salmonids and giant catfishes are particularly threatened: with a 94 percent decline, followed by reptiles with 72 percent.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-percent-decline-large-freshwater-animals.html

Greenland's ice wasn't supposed to melt like last week until 2070
The Greenland ice sheet covers an area the size of Alaska with enough ice to raise global sea level by more than 20 feet ... Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models ... it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected.
https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/456112-greenlands-ice-sheet-wasnt-expected-to-melt-like-this-until-2070

Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet
A recent study published in Nature ... found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system ... AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world ... warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe. Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation ... This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/08/03/global-ocean-circulation-appears-to-be-collapsing-due-to-a-warming-planet

Financial Times: how the jet stream is changing your weather
Scientists know of only three prior occasions in the past 800 years when there has been melting at the very top of the ice cap [but] it is now the second time this decade it has happened. “The last time we saw melting at the summit, in 2012, we thought it was the extreme of the extremes, and wouldn’t happen again so quickly ... But now we are facing more of these extremes” ... “It is essentially the most important weather phenomenon ... If you had to choose only one piece of information to get a handle on the weather in the northern hemisphere . . . then that would be the jet stream" ... Further complicating the picture is the interaction between the jet stream and the Gulf Stream. The winds have long been known to influence the ocean currents, and a growing body of evidence suggests the ocean currents also influence their atmospheric equivalents ...The changes in the jet stream are something researchers call “non-linear” phenomenon: shifts that can take place suddenly or not at all, that do not proceed in a straight line ... this can exacerbate the effects of climate change. “We have background warming, and we have enhancement due to these non-linear effects, like the changes in the general circulation”
https://www.ft.com/content/591395fe-b761-11e9-96bd-8e884d3ea203

In-depth Q&A: The IPCC’s special report on climate change and land
This morning in Geneva, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its special report on climate change and land ... Many of the modelled pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5C rely heavily on a technique called “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage” (BECCS) [which] involves growing crops, using them to produce energy and then capturing the resulting CO2 emissions before storing them [however BECSS] has not yet been proven to work at scale ... while others face significant “policy lags”: “Even some actions that initially seemed like ‘easy wins’ have been challenging to implement, with stalled policies ... response options need sufficient funding, institutional support, local buy-in, and clear metrics for success, among other necessary enabling conditions.”
https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-qa-the-ipccs-special-report-on-climate-change-and-land

This Land Is the Only Land There Is
The planet’s dangerously warmed future is already here. Earth’s land has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the same amount of warming that climate activists are hoping to prevent on a global scale ... Land is extremely scarce, we need it for everything, and we are already using most of it. More than 70 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is already shaped by human activity [and] this human-managed land emits about a quarter of global greenhouse-gas pollution every year. ... Land must be made into a tool in the climate fight [which] will require immediate action from farmers, bankers, conservationists, and policy makers worldwide. And to really succeed, it will require hundreds of millions of affluent people in the Northern Hemisphere to change their diet, eating many more plants and much less meat. These changes must happen fast ... [O]n our current trajectory—and on any trajectory, frankly, where the United States does not adopt a serious climate policy—it’s far more likely that the planet will warm at least 3 degrees Celsius (5.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. That means that average land temperatures will be 10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today. The IPCC warns that people who live on such a planet will face a “very high risk” of famine, water scarcity, and mass vegetation die-offs ... Climate change requires us to alter the biogeochemical organism that we call the global economy on the fly, in our lifetimes. Such a task should command most of the time and attention of every economist, agriculturalist, investor, executive, and politician—anyone who fancies themselves a leader in the physical workings of the economy, or whatever we call it. It is our shame, and theirs, that they don’t.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/how-think-about-dire-new-ipcc-climate-report/595705/

A quarter of the world's population is at risk of 'Day Zero' when water will completely run out, report claims
A total of 17 countries, home to more than a quarter of the world's population, are suffering 'extremely high' levels of water stress and taps in these regions could soon run dry. The World Resources Institute's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas today released a report ranking water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk around the world. 'Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability,' said Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7325535/Quarter-worlds-population-facing-extreme-water-stress.html

Alaska's sea ice has completely melted away
The most rapidly changing state in the U.S. has no sea ice within some 150 miles of its shores, according to high-resolution sea ice analysis from the National Weather Service. The big picture is clear: After an Arctic summer with well above-average temperatures, warmer seas, and a historic July heat wave, sea ice has vanished in Alaskan waters. "Alaska waters are ice free," said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy ... Arctic sea ice has been either been at record lows or flirting with record lows throughout much of the summer. "I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change]," [said] Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and current board director at the National Academies of Sciences.
https://mashable.com/article/alaska-sea-ice-melt-2019

Power-Starved Zimbabwe, Zambia Face Further Drought-Induced Blackouts
The Kariba dam that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, the world’s biggest man-made reservoir, is emptying fast, sparking fears the countries may have to cut hydropower production there completely ... a total shutdown at Kariba would be crippling. Zambia gets about a third of its supply from the dam, Zimbabwe almost half ... A severe regional drought has cut water levels at Kariba to 23% of capacity this month from 85% a year ago ... There is good reason for Chizengeya to fear a total shutdown at Kariba. During the drought of 2015-16, water levels were about a meter (3 feet) higher at this time of the year, and the dam bottomed out at 11% before rains refilled it. If higher temperatures this year cause more rapid evaporation and rains are delayed, the risks rise.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-05/power-starved-zimbabwe-zambia-face-further-drought-induced-dark

Climate Change Becomes an Issue for Ratings Agencies
One of the main agencies that rates the creditworthiness of big borrowers, including cities and corporations, has brought on board a data firm specializing in climate risks. It's a signal that rating agencies are paying more attention to global warming and its impact in the financial markets ... "More and more, issuers and investors want to know how they are exposed to climate events," said Michael Mulvagh, head of communications in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Moody's Corporation, which owns one of the largest U.S. ratings agencies.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04082019/climate-change-ratings-agencies-financial-risk-cities-companies

Insurers reveal Townsville flood cost, warn region is 'unprofitable'
The insurance cost of the February floods in Townsville has peaked at $1.24 billion, as the industry warns the severity of natural disasters has made it unprofitable to write business in some parts of northern Australia. The Insurance Council of Australia said the devastating floods, a result of record breaking rainfall battering the north Queensland city for several days in early February, had led to around 30,000 insurance claims.
https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/insurers-reveal-townsville-flood-cost-warn-region-is-unprofitable-20190804-p52do5

Deathwatch for the Amazon
South America’s natural wonder may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its gradual transformation into something closer to steppe cannot be stopped or reversed, even if people lay down their axes. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hastening the process ... Climate change is bringing the threshold closer every year as the forest heats up. Mr Bolsonaro is pushing it towards the edge. Pessimists fear that the cycle of runaway degradation may kick in when another 3-8% of the forest vanishes—which, under Mr Bolsonaro, could happen soon.
https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/08/01/deathwatch-for-the-amazon

Siberian Wildfires and Heatwaves in Alaska: How the Arctic Is Nearing a Point of No Return
“There’s no path where you can imagine that the Arctic is going to start to cool off again ...it would take a dramatic reversal of the chemical composition of the atmosphere ... as you warm up the environment, you let that natural decomposition process fully play out … You end up with tens or hundreds or thousands of years of plant decomposition happening in one or two or ten years.” That adds up to massive amounts of methane, and ultimately carbon dioxide, being released into the atmosphere, Brettschneider adds. “We think we have a handle on the trajectory of warming, but if we have this unexpectedly large release of methane from permafrost, then we’re going to have to change our assumptions about how fast warming is going to occur, and that change would be faster.”
https://time.com/5641751/arctic-wildfires-heatwaves-alaska-climate-change/

In Zimbabwe, the Water Taps Run Dry and Worsen ‘a Nightmare’
More than half of the 4.5 million residents of Harare’s greater metropolitan area now have running water only once a week ... Zimbabwe’s acute water shortage is a result of a particularly bad drought this year, a symptom of climate change. Poor water management has wasted much of the water that remains. Two of Harare’s four reservoirs are empty from lack of rain.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/world/africa/zimbabwe-water-crisis.html

Greenland's Melting: Heat Waves Are Changing the Landscape Before Their Eyes
"The current melt rate is equivalent to what the model projects for 2070, using the most pessimistic model," Fettweis said. That melting has global implications—if Greenland's ice sheet were to melt entirely, it would result in about 20 feet of global sea level rise ... "I just got some numbers, and basically every single weather station in Greenland has had a warmer than average July," she said. "It's been dry and warm for a really long time ... [The models] are clearly not able to capture some of these important processes ... Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 degrees there's a tipping point after which it will no longer be possible to maintain the Greenland Ice Sheet."
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/01082019/greenland-climate-change-ice-sheet-melt-heat-wave-sea-level-rise-fish-global-warming

Brain-eating amoeba. Flesh-eating bacteria. Climate change will raise Florida’s risks
The scary one making headlines this summer is Vibrio vulnificus, also dubbed in media reports as “flesh-eating bacteria” ... But Vibrio isn’t the only danger found in warming waters. Freshwater lakes and canals can have Naegleria fowleri, also known as the “brain eating amoeba” ... they like it hot. Climate change is creating a more inviting environment for them all — including in waters beyond Florida. Warm spots like Florida are getting hotter for longer periods of time, and areas that were traditionally too cool for any of these pathogens to thrive also are warming up.
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article233259169.html

Decades-old pollutants melting out of Himalayan glaciers
The new research in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres finds chemicals used in pesticides that have been accumulating in glaciers and ice sheets around the world since the 1940s are being released as Himalayan glaciers melt as a result of climate change ... The new study shows that even the most remote areas of the planet can be repositories for pollutants and sheds light on how pollutants travel around the globe, according to the study's authors ... Pollutants can travel long distances through the atmosphere on dust particles and water molecules. Previous studies have shown that Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets contain high levels of pollutants that traveled thousands of kilometers before dropping onto ice and being incorporated into glaciers ... "The Earth is a closed system. Everything released on the Earth, stays somewhere on the Earth."
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-decades-old-pollutants-himalayan-glaciers.html

July was world's hottest month on record, WMO says
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the latest data from the World Meteorological Organization shows that the month of July "at least equalled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history" — and it followed the hottest June ever. Guterres said this means the world is on track for the period from 2015 to 2019 "to be the five hottest years on record." He warned that if all nations don't take action now to tackle climate change and global warming, extreme weather events happening now will be "just the tip of the iceberg."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/july-hottest-month-1.5233368

Heatwaves amplify near-record levels of ice melt in northern hemisphere
The frozen extremities of the northern hemisphere are melting at a near-record rate as heatwaves buffet the Arctic, forest fires tear through Siberia and glaciers retreat on Greenland fjords and Alpine peaks. Unusually high temperatures are eating into ice sheets that used to be solid throughout the year, according to glaciologists, who warn this is both an amplifying cause and effect of man-made climate disruption across the globe. Greenland – which is home to the world’s second biggest ice sheet – is likely to have shrunk more in the past month than the average for a whole year between 2002 and now, according to provisional estimates from satellite data ... The trend is accelerating ... Temperatures have been 10C or more above normal this week. Even at the summit of the ice sheet – which is 3,200 metres above sea level – there were 10 hours at or above freezing temperatures yesterday, which is extremely rare ... In the Canadian Arctic, which is warming two times faster than the global average, locals have suffered record wildfires, and permafrost is melting decades ahead of predictions.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/02/heatwaves-amplify-near-record-levels-of-ice-melt-in-northern-hemisphere

Drought In East Netherlands Now As Bad As Record Years 2018, 1976
According to the Union of Waterboards, the east and south of the country had much less rain than the rest of the Netherlands. These areas are more dependent on rainfall than the rest of the country, because they receive little to no fresh water supply from rivers. The precipitation deficit means that more and more streams are drying up and the groundwater levels are dropping. The heat wave last week did not help.
https://nltimes.nl/2019/08/01/drought-east-netherlands-now-bad-record-years-2018-1976

How an accelerated warming cycle in Alaska’s Bering Sea is creating ecological havoc
This summer’s heat, coming three years after scientists proclaimed what was then the longest and hottest Bering Sea marine heat wave in the satellite record, is no one-off. Rather, it is part of a warming spiral that appears to be accelerating, with effects flowing north through the narrow strait into Arctic Ocean waters ... “We’ve fallen off the cliff. We’re not approaching the cliff. We’ve fallen off it,” Rick Thoman, a veteran scientist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, told an audience of Nome residents and visitors at a public forum held at the local college campus.
https://www.arctictoday.com/how-an-accelerated-warming-cycle-in-alaskas-bering-sea-is-creating-ecological-havoc

The terrible truth of climate change [By one of the Australian lead authors on the IPCC sixth assessment report]
The latest science is alarming, even for climate scientists
Although the very foundation of human civilisation is at stake, the world is on track to seriously overshoot our UN targets. Worse still, global carbon emissions are still rising ... Examining the Earth’s climatic past tells us that even between 1.5 and 2°C of warming sees the world reconfigure in ways that people don’t yet appreciate. All bets are off between 3 and 4°C, where we are currently headed ... the immensity of what is at stake is truly staggering. Staying silent about this planetary emergency no longer feels like an option for me ... an urgent and pragmatic national conversation is now essential. Otherwise, living on a destabilised planet is the terrible truth that we will all face ... we must respond as we would in an emergency. The question is, can we muster the best of our humanity in time?
https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2019/august/1566136800/jo-lle-gergis/terrible-truth-climate-change

Melted Permafrost in Alaska a Sign of Accelerating Climate Change
A team of scientists and students with Woods Hole Research Center’s Polaris Project are just back from a trip to the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta to study climate impacts. Lead scientist Sue Natali says she’s never seen anything like it in her years of Arctic research, and warns it is a sign of abrupt and accelerating climate change. As part of their research, Natali and her team installed temperature sensors down to a meter at what should have been permafrost. What they discovered was thawing, which in turn created ground collapse at a level she’d never seen before ... “It's definitely climate change,” Natali said. “It's accelerating and the past couple years have been particularly bad. The past winters have been warm. There has been rain when there should be snow, the ground hasn't been frozen in this area." And, she added, "the ground surface didn't freeze until mid-January this year.” In addition to being unsafe, ground collapse also emits higher methane emissions.
https://www.capeandislands.org/post/melted-permafrost-alaska-sign-accelerating-climate-change

Glaciers melting faster in southeast Turkey, sparking concerns
The Cilo-Sat Mountains are the eastern extension of the Taurus mountain range that runs east to west along Turkey's Mediterranean coast and southern border. The range includes Turkey's second highest peak [and] 10 glaciers ... "For the last nine years we have been watching the Cilo Reşko Keviya Pir and Mergan glaciers ... The glaciers are melting very fast lately. In the near future, glaciers, the most important element of this magnificent geography, will be in danger of extinction" ... Onur Köse, a geology professor at the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYU), said melting of glaciers is not only occurring in Hakkari, but on most high peaks in Turkey ... "These glaciers are nearing extinction," Köse said. "Of course, this is not just a problem experienced in Turkey, it's a problem taking place all over the world and a problem of global warming."
https://www.dailysabah.com/environment/2019/07/30/glaciers-melting-faster-in-southeast-turkey-sparking-concerns

World Economic Forum: Scientists predicted climate change 40 years ago, so why didn't we act sooner?
Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts [which] led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide ... the Charney Report is an exemplar of good science, and the success of its predictions over the past 40 years has firmly established the science of global warming ... The main conclusion of the Report was direct: "We estimate the most probable warming for a doubling of CO₂ to be near 3C with a probable error of 1.5C" ... Over the same period, global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.66C, almost exactly what could have been expected if a doubling of CO2 produces about 2.5C warming – just a bit below their best estimate. A remarkably prescient prediction ... The current crop of climate scientists revere Charney and his co-authors for their insight and clarity. The report exemplifies how good science works: establish an hypothesis after examining the physics and chemistry, then based on your assessment of the science make strong predictions. Here, “strong predictions” means something that would be unlikely to come true if your hypothesis and science were incorrect ... Over the ensuing 40 years, as the world warmed pretty much as Charney and his colleagues expected, climate change science improved ... This subsequent science has, however, only confirmed the conclusions of the Charney Report.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/40-years-ago-scientists-predicted-climate-change-and-hey-they-were-right
see also https://phys.org/news/2019-07-charney-years-scientists-accurately-climate.html

Study: Rising ocean temperatures killing Guam coral reefs
University of Guam researchers said increased temperatures killed 34% of Guam's coral reefs between 2013 and 2017, The Pacific Daily News reported Monday. About 60% of the reefs along Guam's eastern coast are gone, scientists said. "Never in our history of looking at reefs have we seen something this severe," said Laurie Raymundo, UOG marine lab director and marine biology professor. The study was published in the scientific journal Coral Reefs.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-guam-reefs-ocean-temperatures.html

Thanks to climate change, parts of the Arctic are on fire. Scientists are concerned
From eastern Siberia to Greenland to Alaska, wildfires are burning ... Peat fires smolder for long periods of time. They ignited at the end of June, and it appears that they're still burning. ... "The fires are burning through long-term carbon stores (peat soil) emitting greenhouse gases, which will further exacerbate greenhouse warming, leading to more fires ... These are some of the biggest fires on the planet ... The amount of CO2 emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together." ... there really isn't much that can be done, Smith said ... in the Siberian Arctic, only rain can put out the fires.
https://usatoday.com/story/news/weather/2019/07/23/arctic-fires-shown-satellite-concerning-scientists/1793530001
see also https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/07/satellite-images-show-vast-swaths-of-the-arctic-on-fire

Alaska Chokes on Wildfires as Heat Waves Dry Out the Arctic
Global warming has been thawing tundra and drying vast stretches of the far-northern boreal forests, and it also has spurred more thunderstorms with lightning, which triggered many of the fires burning in Alaska this year, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the International Arctic Research Center who closely tracks Alaskan and Arctic extreme weather ... Several studies, as well as ongoing satellite monitoring, show that fires are spreading farther north into the Arctic, burning more intensely and starting earlier in the year, in line with what climate models have long suggested would happen as sea ice dwindles and ocean and air temperatures rise.
https://climate-change-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/alaska-chokes-on-wildfires-as-heat.html

Research Highlight: Loss of Arctic's Reflective Sea Ice Will Advance Global Warming by 25 Years
Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its ability to reflect incoming solar energy back to space would be equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion tons emitted since the Industrial Age ... At current rates, this roughly equates to 25 years of global CO2 emissions ... the Arctic is rapidly losing ice, and computer forecast models are actually underestimating the extent of this trend. “We analyzed 40 climate models from modeling centers around the world ... Not a single one of the models simulated as much Arctic sea ice retreat per degree of global warming as has been observed during recent decades. This motivated us to use an observationally focused approach to investigate the scenario in which all of the remaining Arctic sea ice disappears considerably faster than the models simulate.”
https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/research-highlight-loss-arctics-reflective-sea-ice-will-advance-global-warming-25-years

'People are dying': how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the US
[A]mid a deepening global climate crisis, drought, famine and the battle for dwindling natural resources are increasingly being recognized as major factors in the exodus ... The current run of hot, dry years follows a decade or so of unusually prolonged rains and flooding ... On the ground, the impact has been devastating. In 2018, drought-related crop failures directly affected one in 10 Guatemalans, and caused extreme food shortages ... As a result, entire families have been migrating in record numbers ... Forests mitigate climate change, but Guatemala has lost half its woodlands in the past 40 years – and deforestation rates are rising, in turn causing floods, landslides and erosion of farmland ... “We’re desperate,” said Ávalos, who looks and sounds exhausted. “There’s no money and no food.”
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jul/29/guatemala-climate-crisis-migration-drought-famine

Inside India's water crisis: Living with drought and dry taps
This year, large parts of India have seen the worst drought in decades. The monsoon, which usually provides some relief, was weeks late and when it finally arrived, it was once again deficient, with less rainfall than expected. Despite India's economic growth in recent years, it remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. And that inequality can be seen in people's access to life's most basic necessity: water. A government report found that 600 million Indians - nearly half the population - are facing acute water shortages.
https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/inthefield/2019/07/india-water-crisis-struggling-drought-dry-taps-190726120934966.html

Europe heat wave by the numbers: Record-breaking temperatures blasted France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Britain
Europe's second heat wave of the summer spread record high temperatures across the continent ... The grueling heat, that lasted from July 21-26, wreaked havoc in places such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands ... “What these heat waves do is help propagate any ongoing drought conditions that started earlier this month, this summer or even earlier which in turn yields to a higher threat for wildfires” ... this is the second straight year in which drought conditions have become a problem across western Europe ... Climate scientists warned these types of heat waves could become the new normal, but they loom as a giant challenge for temperate Europe.
https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/europe-heat-wave-by-the-numbers-record-breaking-temperatures-blasted-france-belgium-germany-netherlands-britain/70008926

As temperatures soar, a ‘heat dome’ is coming to the Arctic
After Europe experienced record-breaking temperatures this month, climate scientists are now concerned that a heat wave will settle farther north. This week, a so-called “heat dome” is expected to strike over the Arctic, causing worries about potential ice melt and rising sea levels. "When talking to these scientists ... the sense of a system that is getting into sort of a runaway feedback really comes through."
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/as-temperatures-soar-a-heat-dome-is-coming-to-the-arctic

Study finds climate change may be responsible for rise of deadly drug-resistant fungus
Climate change may be causing a wide-spread, drug-resistant fungus, according to a study published Tuesday by the American Society for Microbiology. Researchers found that the new fungal disease could be the first to emerge as a result of climate change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in March. The CDC had said it was resistant to antifungal drugs ... To examine the potential impact of climate change on its emergence, researchers compared the thermal susceptibility of Candida auris to its close relatives. The study found that the fungus was able to adapt as the climate warms.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/454266-study-finds-climate-change-may-be-responsible-for-rise-of-deadly
reporting on a study at https://mbio.asm.org/content/10/4/e01397-19/article-info

Record heat in Alaska melts glaciers, hints at bigger problems that may be to come
July 2019 is on pace to be the hottest on record in Alaska after record-setting years in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Starting in the 1990s, Alaska began to set high-temperature records three times as frequently as record lows. By 2015, the rate of high-temperature records tripled to nine times as often ... [Szundy] calls the glacier he’s come to know as his “office” the “canary in the coal mine” for a warming planet.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/record-heat-alaska-melts-glaciers-hints-bigger-problems-may-be-n1034766

Think Climate Change Is Normal? In 2,000 Years, Scientists Can't Find Anything Like It
Over the past two millennia, the world's climate has gone through its fair share of ups and downs, but what is happening right now stands out in stark contrast. Two new papers have demonstrated that peak warming and cooling events before the Industrial era - such as the so-called Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period - were vastly smaller in scope than today's global reach of human-induced warming ... "The warm and the cold in the past was just regional, whereas what we see now is global."
https://www.sciencealert.com/the-current-climate-crisis-is-totally-unmatched-by-anything-in-the-last-2-000-years
see also https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/modern-climate-change-only-worldwide-warming-event-past-2000-years-180972719/
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1401-2

Climate scientists drive stake through heart of skeptics' argument
[A] pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years ... One of the studies, published in the journal Nature, shows that the Little Ice Age and other natural fluctuations affected only limited regions of the planet at a time, making modern warming the first and only planetwide warm period in the past two millennia. The other study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that the rate of modern warming has far outpaced changes that occurred before the rise of the industrial era ... Prior to 1850, fluctuations were mainly linked to volcanic eruptions, which cooled the planet by spewing sun-blocking ash into the stratosphere; after 1850, greenhouse gas emissions took the wheel.
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-scientists-drive-stake-through-heart-skeptics-argument-ncna1033646

Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere
Maximum temperatures of 35°C or more are hot by UK standards, but such conditions are familiar to around 80% of the world’s population ... In places like South Asia and the Persian Gulf, the human body, despite all its remarkable thermal efficiencies, is often operating close to its limits. And yes, there is a limit. When the air temperature exceeds 35°C, the body relies on the evaporation of water – mainly through sweating – to keep core temperature at a safe level. This system works until the “wetbulb” temperature reaches 35°C ... Once this wetbulb temperature threshold is crossed, the air is so full of water vapour that sweat no longer evaporates. Without the means to dissipate heat, our core temperature rises, irrespective of how much water we drink, how much shade we seek, or how much rest we take. Without respite, death follows.
https://theconversation.com/heatwave-think-its-hot-in-europe-the-human-body-is-already-close-to-thermal-limits-elsewhere-121003

Hottest Day Ever in the Netherlands – AGAIN! Record Broken Second Day in a Row
Sweltering temperatures in the European heatwave have caused the Netherlands to break the hottest temperature on record two days in a row. The temperature maxed out at 39.1°C yesterday, but reached 39.5°C today. Who said that climate change wasn’t real?
https://dutchreview.com/news/weather/hottest-day-ever-in-the-netherlands-again-record-broken-second-day-in-a-row/

It’s official – a heatwave and the hottest night on record
The Netherlands is now officially in the middle of a heatwave ... Thursday night was the warmest on record ... it is officially known as a ‘tropical night’, of which there have been just seven since records began in 1901 ... Friday too will be hot, with maximum temperatures of 38 degrees in the south and south east.
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2019/07/its-official-a-heatwave-and-the-hottest-night-on-record/

Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought
In a new study published today in Science, a team of oceanographers and glaciologists unpeeled a new layer of understanding of tidewater glaciers ... “The melt that’s happening is fairly dramatically different from some of the assumptions we’ve had,” says Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/alaskan-glaciers-melting-faster-than-previously-thought
see also https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/glacial-melting-climate-breakdown-sea-level-rise-study-a9021266.html

Amazon deforestation accelerating towards unrecoverable 'tipping point'
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon [is] pushing the world’s biggest rainforest closer to a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover. The sharp rise – following year-on-year increases in May and June – confirms fears that president Jair Bolsonaro has given a green light to illegal land invasion, logging and burning. Clearance so far in July has hit 1,345 sq km, a third higher than the previous monthly record under the current monitoring system by the Deter B satellite system, which started in 2015 ... Scientists warn that the forest is in growing danger of degrading into a savannah, after which its capacity to absorb carbon will be severely diminished, with consequences for the rest of the planet.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/25/amazonian-rainforest-near-unrecoverable-tipping-point

Record high temperatures far exceed record lows -- a trend of the climate crisis
Record-high temperatures occurring twice as frequently as record lows directly reflects our climate crisis, as you would expect ... Since our record-keeping began in 1895, the country's average temperature has climbed somewhere between 1.3 and 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit [0.7-1.1C] ... Current projections place that ratio as high as 20-to-1 by 2050 and 50-to-1 by the end of the century. If this ratio continues to grow over time, many temperatures we currently label as extreme may become nothing more than an ordinary oJuly 5 2019ccurrence.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/22/us/climate-change-record-highs-outpace-lows/index.html

Europe's Most Important River Risks a Repeat of Historic Shutdown
The bustling boat traffic on Europe’s Rhine river ground to a halt for the first time in living memory last year, as shrinking alpine glaciers and severe drought made the key transport artery impassable. Those historic conditions could be repeated in a few weeks ... The Rhine is critical to commerce in the region. Europe’s most important waterway snakes 800 miles through industrial zones in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea at the busy Rotterdam port. It’s a key conduit for raw materials and goods ... Reflecting a trend seen in the Himalayas, the Rockies and other mountainous regions of the world, alpine glaciers have shrunk steadily as global warming makes melting in summer outpace accumulation of snow in winter. That means there’s less water feeding rivers each year.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-23/the-rhine-river-risks-a-repeat-of-last-year-s-historic-shutdown

Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months
One of the understated headlines in last year's IPCC report was that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet below 1.5C. Current plans are nowhere near strong enough to keep temperatures below the so-called safe limit. Right now, we are heading towards 3C of heating by 2100 not 1.5. As countries usually scope out their plans over five and 10 year timeframes, if the 45% carbon cut target by 2030 is to be met, then the plans really need to be on the table by the end of 2020.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48964736

California, Wary of More Wildfires, Is Paying for Them Already
Insurance rates have soared in some of the riskiest places, and some insurers are refusing to renew policies ... Pacific Gas & Electric, which already charges among the highest electricity rates in the country, is requesting that regulators approve an additional charge to customers of $2 billion over the next three years to help pay for wildfire safety improvements and other costs. This is separate from the compensation fund approved last week, which includes more than $10 billion in costs to be borne by customers in the form of a levy on electricity bills for the next decade and a half. And none of this will help pay the tens of billions of dollars in liabilities the company has for past fires where its equipment was involved [after which] PG&E filed for bankruptcy.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/22/us/california-wildfires-costs.html

Matterhorn starts to lose majesty as melting ice chips away at rock
Advertisers may have to choose a new symbol of permanence: like many of its neighbours, the majestic peak is splintering away
The Matterhorn, the snow-flecked Queen of the Alps used in advertising as a symbol of permanence, is cracking as the permafrost at its core starts to thaw and its ice covering retreats ... The plight of the Matterhorn, the range’s most photographed peak, shows the effect of climate change on the Alps.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/matterhorn-starts-to-lose-majesty-as-melting-ice-chips-away-at-rock-rg030c88t

‘First Glacier Lost to Climate Change’ to be Memorialised
The former Okjökull glacier will be memorialised with a monument recognising its status as the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier ... “With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late; it is now what scientists call ‘dead ice.'”
https://www.icelandreview.com/news/first-glacier-lost-to-climate-change-to-be-memorialised

World Hunger Rises with Climate Shocks, Conflict and Economic Slumps
The combined forces of climate change, conflict and economic stagnation are driving more people around the world into hunger, reversing earlier progress, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported ... The report underscores the complex interplay among climate change, conflict and economic stagnation and their combined impact on malnourishment. In drought-ravaged parts of Central America for example, a prolonged drought is stoking higher hunger rates and migration to the region's cities and northward to the United States. The report also emphasized the urgent need for addressing the role of climate change in threatening global food production, particularly as the global population soars.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/15072019/world-hunger-rising-climate-shocks-and-conflicts-and-economic-slumps-slow-recovery

Major U.S. cities are leaking methane at twice the rate previously believed
A new study has found that leaks of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas and itself a potent greenhouse gas, are twice as big as official tallies suggest in major cities along the U.S. eastern seaboard ... analyses suggest the five biggest urban areas studied—which together include about 12% of the nation’s population—emit about 890,000 tons of methane each year, the researchers report this week in Geophysical Research Letters. The vast majority of that, at least 750,000 tons, comes from methane leaks from homes, businesses, and gas distribution infrastructure, rather than natural sources and other human-driven sources such as landfills. For comparison, the team notes, that’s well over triple the amount emitted by gas production in the Bakken shale formation in the U.S. Midwest. It’s also much more than the amounts estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/major-us-cities-are-leaking-methane-twice-rate-previously-believed

Financial Times: It is probably too late to stop dangerous global warming
[T]o avoid a dangerous level of global warming, the world would need to commission an asset the size of New Jersey’s Ocean Wind [offshore wind farm] every day for the next 30 years ... The hard truth is that we are not on track for that. Nor are we close to an overnight technical solution to the many other challenges of the energy transition that must be solved before we can develop a 100 per cent clean energy system. Of course, these realities do not stop us from telling ourselves fairy tales. The first one is that energy efficiency will save the day. The facts show just the opposite: over 50 years since the oil price crises of the 1970s, we have seen rising energy efficiency in almost all walks of life, yet in the same time period energy demand and carbon emissions have tripled ... The second fairy tale is a type of deus ex machina, a divine intervention usually staged in the last act of a play. Variously we hear that carbon capture, or nuclear fusion, or geoengineering could play this role ... These concepts may one day have potential but few are viable today ... Humanity may, therefore, achieve in the space of a hundred years what used to take 10,000 or 20,000 years — an increase in average surface temperatures of 2, 3, 4 degrees Celsius or more.
https://www.ft.com/content/ef7b2fc8-a16f-11e9-a282-2df48f366f7d

Germany's forests on the verge of collapse, experts report
Low rainfall last summer saw Germany's rivers reach extreme lows, with some waterways still struggling and forests prone to fire. "These are no longer single unusual weather events. That is climate change," said Dohle. Low river levels "remain unchanged" in many parts of Germany, the BFG said, with only the Rhine River currently carrying sufficient water for shipping. It's expected to fall in the coming weeks as dry, warmer weather returns. What Dohle of the forestry trade union termed "dramatic tree deaths" began with winter snow dumps in early 2018 which broke branches, weakening the trees' natural defenses and letting in fungal infections, "followed by drought and bark beetle infestation" that killed off European spruce trees. One million older trees have since died ... Foresters are unable to remember such a dire situation.
https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-forests-on-the-verge-of-collapse-experts-report/a-49659810

[Australian] Drought now officially our worst on record
The ongoing drought through the Murray Darling Basin is now the worst on record according to the Bureau of Meteorology ... temperatures were as high as they have been during the human era, saying the nearest equivalent according to paleo-climatic data (analysing historical weather trends) was a hot period encountered 2-3 million years ago. "We are still below that threshold of a couple of million years ago but we are starting to approach it"
https://www.theland.com.au/story/6281386/drought-now-officially-our-worst-on-record

What happens when parts of South Asia become unlivable? The climate crisis is already displacing millions
The flooding comes as India was still reeling from a weeks-long water crisis amid heavy droughts and heatwaves across the country ... Experts said the country has five years to address severe water shortages, caused by steadily depleting groundwater supplies, or over 100 million people will left be without ready access to water. In Afghanistan, drought has devastated traditional farming areas, forcing millions of people to move or face starvation, while in Bangladesh, heavy monsoon flooding has marooned entire communities and cut-off vital roads ... This is the sharp edge of the climate crisis. What seems an urgent but still future problem for many developed countries is already killing people in parts of Asia, and a new refugee crisis, far worse than that which has hit Europe in recent years, is brewing ... People affected by climate change will not stay put as their children drown or die of heat stroke or thirst ... according to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, some 135 million people could be displaced as a result of land and soil degradation.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/17/asia/india-nepal-flooding-climate-refugees-intl-hnk/index.html

Red Alert: record temperatures in world's northernmost settlement
Temperatures hit a record [21C] in Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited spot on the planet less than 600 miles from the North Pole, the Canadian meteorology service said Tuesday. "It's quite phenomenal as a statistic, it's just one example among hundreds and hundreds of other records established by global warming," [said] Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry ... Such highs so far north are "completely staggering," he said, noting that "for a week and a half we have had much higher temperatures than usual." ... The average daily temperature in Alert in July is 38 F, with average maximum temperatures of 43 F.
https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/red-alert-record-temperatures-worlds-northernmost-settlement-doc-1iu4f51

Days of 100-Degree Heat Will Become Weeks as Climate Warms, U.S. Study Warns
Nearly every part of the United States will face a significant increase in extremely hot days by mid-century, even if some action is taken to reduce greenhouse emissions, a new study says. If nothing is done to rein in climate change, it warns, the impact will be worse ... The study used 18 climate models to predict changes in the heat index across the contiguous U.S. as global temperatures rise over the coming decades.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16072019/heat-wave-climate-change-study-humidity-index-days-rising-health-risk
reporting on a study at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2515-7620/ab27cf

Monsoon rains 20% below average in past week, raising crop worries
Overall, India has received 16% below average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1. Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where about 55% of all arable land is reliant on rainfall ... In the week to July 17, soybean and cotton areas in the central parts of the country received 68% less than average rainfall, while rubber and tea areas in southern India got 71% lower rains, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.
https://www.livemint.com/news/india/monsoon-rains-20-below-average-in-past-week-raising-crop-worries-1563434346575.html

Mekong River drops to lowest level in a century around Thai, Lao, Myanmar border
The Mekong’s current water levels, at a historic low, are significant particularly because it’s the middle of the wet season, when there should have been plenty of water and flooding in some areas ... Several of Thailand’s northeastern provinces are experiencing water shortages, despite the onset of the rainy season, with their sources of tap water rapidly drying up.
https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/environment/mekong-river-drops-to-lowest-level-in-a-century-around-thai-lao-myanmar-border

'Breaking' the heat index: US heat waves to skyrocket as globe warms, study suggests
As the globe warms in the years ahead, days with extreme heat are forecast to skyrocket across hundreds of U.S. cities, a new study suggests, perhaps even breaking the "heat index." “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” study co-author Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “Nearly everywhere, people will experience more days of dangerous heat in the next few decades."
https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/16/heat-waves-worsen-because-global-warming-study-says/1734127001/

We have 18 months to save world, Prince Charles warns Commonwealth leaders
The Prince of Wales has warned global leaders they have 18 critical months to solve climate change and restore the balance of nature, ensuring the survival of the human race ... the Prince said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels" ... The Prince has long spoken about his deep concern for the future of the planet, urging leaders to focus on the threat presented by climate change.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/royal-family/2019/07/11/18-months-save-world-prince-charles-urges-commonwealth-leaders/

Add krill and mussels to the list of unusual marine deaths in Alaska
Residents from two Northwest Alaska villages say they found large numbers of dead mussels and krill washed up along shores in June ... discoveries come amid profound changes in the ocean environment in Alaska linked to climate change, including a dramatic early ice melt, warmer water temperatures and record high air temperatures. There has been a string of unusual mortality events this season including deaths of seabirds and seals ... two million dead mussels lining a channel near the ocean on the Seward Peninsula [and] mounds of dead krill along beaches.
https://www.ktoo.org/2019/07/09/add-krill-and-mussels-to-the-list-of-unusual-marine-deaths-in-alaska/

Arctic wildfires emitted as much CO2 in June as Sweden does in a year
“Since the start of June we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic region,” a WMO spokeswoman, Clare Nullis, told a regular UN briefing in Geneva. “In June alone these wildfires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, this is the equivalent of Sweden’s annual total CO2 emissions. This is more than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 combined.” ... Most have been in the US state of Alaska and the Russian region of Siberia, but one fire in Alberta was estimated to be bigger than 300,000 football pitches, or about the size of Luxembourg.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/12/arctic-wildfires-c02-carbon-emissions-same-sweden

Arctic ice loss is worrying, but the giant stirring in the South could be even worse
The water frozen in the Greenland ice sheet is equivalent to around 7 metres of potential sea level rise [but] in the Antarctic ice sheet there are around 58 metres of sea-level rise currently locked away. Like Greenland, the Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice and contributing to unabated global sea level rise. But there are worrying signs Antarctica is changing faster than expected and in places previously thought to be protected from rapid change. On the Antarctic Peninsula—the most northerly part of the Antarctic continent—air temperatures over the past century have risen faster than any other place in the Southern Hemisphere ... number of melt days will rise by at least 50 percent when global warming hits the soon-to-be-reached 1.5℃ limit set out in the Paris Agreement ... latest estimates indicate that 25 percent of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now unstable, and that Antarctic ice loss has increased five-fold over the past 25 years. These are remarkable numbers, bearing in mind that more than 4 metres of global sea-level rise are locked up in the West Antarctic alone.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-arctic-ice-loss-giant-south.html

Can planting trees save our climate? [No]
The researchers estimated 200 billion tons of carbon could be stored in this way – provided we plant over a trillion trees. Unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. Mankind is currently blowing 11 billion tonnes of carbon (gigatonnes C, abbreviated GtC) into the air every year in the form of CO2 – and the trend is rising ... the authors of the new study say that it would take fifty to one hundred years for the thousand billion trees to store 200 GtC – an average of 2 to 4 GtC per year, compared to our current emissions of 11 GtC per year. That’s about one-fifth to one-third – and this proportion will decrease if emissions continue to grow. This sounds quite different from the prospect of solving two-thirds of the climate problem with trees. And there are other question marks.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2019/07/can-planting-trees-save-our-climate/

Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week
[N]umerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week ... No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming. But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world ... These various records add to a growing list of heat milestones set over the past 15 months that are part and parcel of a planet that is trending hotter as greenhouse gas concentrations increase because of human activity.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week

Exaggerating how much carbon dioxide can be absorbed by tree planting risks deterring crucial climate action
Planting almost a billion hectares of trees worldwide ... has been criticized as an exaggeration. It could actually be dangerous ... because promises of cheap and easy CO2 removal in future make it less likely that time and money will be invested in reducing emissions now ... The promises of cheap and powerful tech fixes help to sideline thorny issues of politics, economics and culture. This has been seen before in the expectations around carbon capture and storage [CCS]. Despite promises of its future potential in the early 2000s, commercial development of the technology has scarcely progressed in the last decade ... Trusting in trees to remove carbon in future is particularly dangerous because trees are slow to grow ... also less likely to be able to do this as the climate warms [since] growth rates are predicted to fall as the climate warms and devastating wildfires become more frequent.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-exaggerating-carbon-dioxide-absorbed-tree.html

'Hell Is Coming': What Lies Ahead for Europe's Climate
Accuweather is predicting a series of especially long heat waves for Europe in July and August ... A severe drought like last year is also in the cards [with] abnormally high danger of forest fires ... In the past 22 years, we have now seen the 20 warmest years on record. This accumulation alone is enough to show that climate change is already here. The climate that today's 40-year-olds experienced in their childhoods, a climate that had been quite stable for 11,000 years, is a thing of the past. The era of hot temperatures has begun ... [limiting global warming to 1.5C] would require global CO2 emissions to reach a turning point in 2020. And they would need to drop by an enormous 55 percent by 2030. By 2050, it would have to be zero. Those who do continue producing CO2 at that point would also have to find a way to pull it back out of the atmosphere at another spot. The authors of the report wrote that none of these goals will be achieved through the current policies being pursued by the international community.
https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/hell-is-coming-europe-engulfed-by-massive-heatwave-a-1275268.html

Depression, anxiety, PTSD: Climate change is taking a toll on our mental health, experts say
Climate change is the subject of a conversation that’s happening in every sphere of society ... experts say they’re seeing an increase in related mental-health issues. “It can be anything from depression to increasing anxiety disorders,” said the psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre, who’s also a professor at the University of British Columbia. “It can be post-traumatic stress disorder." ... Around the world, mental-health researchers have been documenting what people feel when the world they’ve known changes gradually — or suddenly — from climate change. There are several names for it, such as environmental grief, eco grief or even climate anxiety ... “Anytime you have any kind of change, it can lead to grief. Trying to accept a new reality with the changing climate could lead people to feel sad in ways they hadn’t felt before,” Korol said. “What we are seeing is scary, and what we imagine might be coming is even scarier.”
https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2019/07/08/depression-anxiety-ptsd-climate-change-is-taking-a-toll-on-our-mental-health-experts-say.html

Ancient Earth reveals terrifying consequences of future global warming
Mid-Pliocene Warm Period [is] a pretty good analogue of the future Earth ... “The global annual mean temperature was between 2°C and 3°C warmer than pre-industrial, with warming more pronounced in higher latitudes,” says [Alan Haywood, an earth scientist at the University of Leeds in the UK.]. “There was a significant reduction in sea ice in both hemispheres. The Arctic may have been completely free of ice in the summer. The Greenland ice sheet may have retreated to a small ice mass and we believe that the West Antarctic ice sheet was not there. Sea level is somewhere between 15 to 25 metres above modern levels.” ... Pliocene also provides some much-needed clarity about what will happen to ice sheets and sea levels as the effects of warming play out on longer timescales. In a nutshell, they melt fast and rise a lot ... under current emissions trajectories “we very quickly arrive at a Pliocene scenario”, he says. How quickly? “Within the next 20 to 30 years ... [possibly] as early as 2030." ... However, the Pliocene may not be our final destination. If we don’t substantially curb emissions, says Haywood, we soon leave that epoch behind and strike out for the Eocene, an extreme hothouse episode when average temperatures were 14°C above pre-industrial and sea levels were more than 70 metres higher.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24332370-600-ancient-earth-reveals-terrifying-consequences-of-future-global-warming/

Great Barrier Reef hard coral cover close to record lows
Australian Institute of Marine Science says hard coral cover in the northern region above Cooktown is at 14% ... close to the lowest since monitoring began in 1985 ... series of “disturbances” – coral bleaching linked to rising water temperatures, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and tropical cyclones – have caused hard coral cover to decline ... If we have more coral bleaching events all bets are off." ... Australian Marine Conservation Society said the latest government data showed coral decline was happening on an unparalleled scale, mainly due to the climate crisis.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/11/great-barrier-reef-hard-coral-cover-close-to-record-lows

New research shows that Paris Agreement goals might not save the Arctic
Global warming limits laid out by the landmark Paris climate agreement do not rule out an Arctic devoid of summer sea ice, according to new research out this week. The findings, published July 9, are a grim indicator that even a best-case scenario for limiting climate impacts could still have unprecedented implications for the planet. They also underscore the potential for even more dire situations, which are growing more likely as countries, including the United States, fail to reach their individual climate goals under the Paris Agreement ... the new research appears in this week’s issue of Nature Communications and offers an ominous forecast for climate advocates.
https://thinkprogress.org/even-meeting-the-goals-of-the-paris-agreement-might-not-save-the-arctic-60984e7d9cbb/

Global heating: London to have climate similar to Barcelona by 2050
London will have a similar climate in three decades’ time to that of Barcelonatoday, according to research ... accompanied by severe drought. Madrid will feel like present-day Marrakech by 2050, and Stockholm like Budapest, according to a report on the likely impacts of the climate crisis ... Moscow will resemble Sofia, Seattle will feel like San Francisco and New York will be comparable to Virginia Beach ... about a fifth of cities globally – including Jakarta, Singapore, Yangon and Kuala Lumpur – will experience conditions currently not seen in any major cities in the world.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/10/global-heating-london-similar-climate-barcelona-2050

France failing to tackle climate emergency, report says
Carbon dioxide emission reduction has not been happening fast enough in France ... first official objective, the 2015-18 carbon budget, was not met. During this period, annual emissions decreased by only 1.1%, much less than planned. The rate of decrease needs to triple by 2025 to catch up on the objectives ... key culprit in this “gap between ambition and reality” was transport: emissions have not seen a real decrease in the last 10 years, including from cars and lorries.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/25/france-failing-on-climate-emergency-report

'A floodier future': Scientists say records will be broken
A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase. "The future is already here, a floodier future," said William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and lead author of the study. The report predicted that annual flood records will be broken again next year and for years and decades to come from sea-level rise.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-scientists-seas.html

Arctic waters are actually warmer than Great Lakes right now
In a flip-flop scenario, a monitoring buoy near Prudhoe Bay, north of Alaska, is recording temperatures better suited to Lake Superior, while the lake shivers in temperatures more suited to the Arctic Circle. Alaska temperatures have been smashing records this summer ... It's not just the summer heatwave at work here, though. The path was paved for this unusual warm water back in the winter of 2018/19 when the region smashed another ocean record -- this one for lack of sea ice. The decline of sea ice volume and thickness on the Arctic Ocean has been well-documented since the late 1970s, and this year has marked an all-time low for ice extent in the Arctic basin. That lack of ice plays a big role in the warmer water.
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/beaufort-sea-water-north-of-alaska-hotter-than-some-of-the-great-lakes

Super-heatwaves of 55°C to emerge if global warming continues
A recently published study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the European Commission's science and knowledge service – analyses the interaction between humidity and heat ... looks not only at temperature but also at relative humidity in estimating the magnitude and impact of heatwaves. It finds that the combinations of the two, and the resulting heatwaves, leave more people exposed to significant health risks, especially in East Asia and America's East Coast. Warm air combined with high humidity can be very dangerous, as it prevents the human body from cooling down through sweating, leading to hyperthermia ... If global temperatures increase by up to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the combined effect of heat and humidity (known as apparent temperature or Heat Index) will likely exceed 40°C every year in many parts of Asia, Australia, Northern Africa, and South and North America ... The paper is published in Scientific Reports.
https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/super-heatwaves-55-c-emerge-if-global-warming-continues

Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies
[A] team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops. We found that climate change has affected yields in many places ... overall climate change is reducing global production of staples such as rice and wheat. And when we translated crop yields into consumable calories—the actual food on people's plates—we found that climate change is already shrinking food supplies, particularly in food-insecure developing countries.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-climate-affecting-crop-yields-global.html

A GLOF threatens Bhutan right now
Sustained heat waves, a delayed monsoon and a spike in temperature has recently melted huge volumes of ice and snow in Bhutan’s largest glacial lake, the Thorthormi Tsho (lake), causing the water level to rise by almost two meters. This has prompted the government to issue a nationwide flood advisory ... Any major disturbance on Thorthormi Lake could result in a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), potentially with huge cost to life, property and infrastructure ... currently the moraine dam has sufficient mass to withstand the hydrostatic (water) pressure from Thorthormi Lake. But if the melting continues due to a rise in temperature the moraine will not be able to hold ... could also have serious implication across the border in downstream India [because] unlike Bhutan, the bordering areas of India were plains. There the floodwater would inundate surrounding land for weeks.
https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/07/10/a-glof-threatens-bhutan-right-now/

Deforestation’s impact on climate change deemed worse than expected
Deforestation in the tropics causes greater CO2 emissions than previously thought due to centuries-old carbon also released by the soil, according to an international study, published on Monday ... When a forest is cut down, it can no longer extract carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, carbon dating back, on average, 1,500 years ago is then freed by the soil.
https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/belgium-all-news/science/60278/deforestations-impact-on-climate-change-deemed-worse-than-expected/

Drought warning: Could eastern Germany run out of water?
[I]n the second dry summer in a row - and following record-breaking temperatures in June - regions like Lusatia in the eastern German state Brandenburg face a problem: If it continues to rain so little, water supplies could become scarce ... the Elbe and Oder rivers running through eastern Germany carried so little water, even before the start of summer, that sandbanks and rocks were left exposed ... In the middle of Magdeburg, ships could no longer moor at the beginning of July; in Dresden, freight traffic on the water was no longer possible as the Elbe River lost 50 centimetres of water in three days.
https://www.thelocal.de/20190709/could-water-supplies-run-out-in-eastern-germany

Rainforest On Fire
300,000 square miles has been cut and burned in Brazil, whose borders contain almost two-thirds of the Amazon basin. This is an area larger than Texas ... has set loose so much stored carbon that it has negated the forest’s benefit as a carbon sink, the world’s largest after the oceans. Scientists warn that losing another fifth of Brazil’s rainforest will trigger the feedback loop known as dieback, in which the forest begins to dry out and burn in a cascading system collapse, beyond the reach of any subsequent human intervention or regret. This would release a doomsday bomb of stored carbon, disappear the cloud vapor that consumes the sun’s radiation before it can be absorbed as heat, and shrivel the rivers in the basin and in the sky.
https://theintercept.com/2019/07/06/brazil-amazon-rainforest-indigenous-conservation-agribusiness-ranching/

Breaching a “carbon threshold” could lead to mass extinction
[W]hen the rate at which carbon dioxide enters the oceans pushes past a certain threshold — whether as the result of a sudden burst or a slow, steady influx — the Earth may respond with a runaway cascade of chemical feedbacks, leading to extreme ocean acidification that dramatically amplifies the effects of the original trigger ... over the last 540 million years, the ocean’s store of carbon changed abruptly, then recovered, dozens of times ... once they were set in motion, the rate at which carbon increased was essentially the same. Their characteristic rate is likely a property of the carbon cycle itself — not the triggers, because different triggers would operate at different rates ... today we are “at the precipice of excitation,” and if it occurs, the resulting spike — as evidenced through ocean acidification, species die-offs, and more — is likely to be similar to past global catastrophes. “Once we’re over the threshold, how we got there may not matter,” says Rothman, who is publishing his results this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
http://news.mit.edu/2019/carbon-threshold-mass-extinction-0708

'Completely Terrifying': Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event
"Once we're over the threshold...you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride."
[C]arbon levels today could be fast approaching a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago ... today's oceans are absorbing carbon far more quickly than they did before the Permian–Triassic extinction, in which 90 percent of life on Earth died out. The planet may now be "at the precipice of excitation," Rothman told MIT News ... The study, which was completed with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation ... will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/09/completely-terrifying-study-warns-carbon-saturated-oceans-headed-toward-tipping

It’s the End of the World as They Know It
[C]limate scientists often resemble Sarah Connor of the Terminator franchise, who knows of a looming catastrophe but must struggle to function in a world that does not comprehend what is coming and, worse, largely ignores the warnings of those who do ... climate scientists face a distinct dilemma: “They have to deal with the surrealism of knowing what we know and living within a society choosing not to know or willing itself not to know” ... At a recent panel discussion [a climate scientist] blurted out, “I have no child and I have one dog, and thank god he’ll be dead in 10 years.” Afterward, people asked if she truly believed that. “The truth is, I do,” she says. “And it’s only going to get more intense.”
https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/07/weight-of-the-world-climate-change-scientist-grief/

The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim
While other regions grappled with destructive waves and rising seas, the West Coast for decades was spared by a rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water ... Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water’s edge ... Wildfire and drought dominate the climate change debates in the state. Yet this less-talked-about reality has California cornered. The coastline is eroding with every tide and storm, but everything built before we knew better — Pacific Coast Highway, multimillion-dollar homes in Malibu, the rail line to San Diego — is fixed in place with nowhere to go. But the world is getting hotter, the great ice sheets still melting, the rising ocean a slow-moving disaster that has already swept past California’s front door.
https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-sea-level-rise-california-coast/

The Antarctic Peninsula Under a 1.5°C Global Warming Scenario
Under a global 1.5°C scenario, warming in the Antarctic Peninsula is likely to increase the number of days above 0°C, with up to 130 of such days each year in the northern Peninsula. Ocean turbulence will increase, making the circumpolar deep water (CDW) both warmer and shallower, delivering heat to the sea surface and to coastal margins. Thinning and recession of marine margins of glaciers and ice caps is expected to accelerate to terrestrial limits ... Exposed (ice free) terrestrial areas will expand.
https://frontiersin.figshare.com/collections/The_Antarctic_Peninsula_Under_a_1_5_C_Global_Warming_Scenario/4559036

'Unprecedented' Wildfires Burned Across the Arctic Circle In June
More than 100 wildfires in the Arctic Circle released 50 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in June. They're still burning. "These are some of the biggest fires on the planet, with a few appearing to be larger than 100,000 hectares ... The amount of CO2 emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together.”
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qv79b5/unprecedented-wildfires-are-burning-across-the-arctic-circle

Alaskan permafrost warming experiment produces surprising results
New measurement method showed 5% of permafrost carbon is released each year ... upshot of this study is simply how rapidly carbon was being lost ... projecting a plausible diminishing rate of loss into the future would mean that something like 70% of the soil carbon would be lost by 2100. Contrast that with prevailing estimates of 5% to 15% by 2100 and it's clear that the new results are raising eyebrows.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/permafrost-experiment-shows-surprising-amount-of-co%E2%82%82-release/

Scientists find carbon from thawing permafrost is released into the atmosphere at higher rates than previously thought
New research from Northern Arizona University shows even more carbon is being released from thawed permafrost than climate scientists previously thought ... paper published this month in Nature Geoscience that introduces a new way to track soil carbon in permafrost, which changes their understanding of how environmental change influences ecosystem carbon storage ... "suggests that not only is carbon being lost through greenhouse gases directly to the atmosphere but also dissolved in waters that flow through the soil ... critical because carbon lost from these ecosystems ends up in the atmosphere and can accelerate climate change."
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-scientists-carbon-permafrost-atmosphere-higher.html

Alaska: temperatures rival Miami amid 'unprecedented' heatwave
On Thursday afternoon, Anchorage’s official weather station recorded a temperature of 90F, breaking the previous record high of 85F, and rivaling temperatures in Miami ... The whole state is enduring a heatwave. This June was the warmest on record, with an average temperature of 60.5F – 5.3 degrees above average, according to the National Weather Service Anchorage – and the 16th consecutive month in which average temperatures have ranged above normal. “All 30 days in June had above-average temperatures,” the service noted. June was also the driest on record, with 0.06in of rain, making the state’s forestry vulnerable to wildfires.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/05/alaska-heatwave-record-temperatures

Analysis finds US ecosystems shifting hundreds of miles north
Whole ecosystems are shifting dramatically north in the Great Plains, a phenomenon likely linked to human influences such as climate change, says new University of Nebraska-Lincoln research that analyzed nearly 50 years' worth of data on bird distributions. The northernmost ecosystem boundary shifted more than 365 miles north, with the southernmost boundary moving about 160 miles from the 1970 baseline.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-analysis-ecosystems-shifting-hundreds-miles.html

Multi-year drought caused massive forest die-off in Sierra Nevada
A study published today in Nature Geoscience details ... the progress of the devastation caused by years of dry conditions combined with abnormally warm temperatures. The researchers warn that matters are expected to get worse as global mean temperatures increase ... California's 2012-2015 dry-spell "exceeded this safety margin," the researchers said. When forest stands exhausted the subsurface moisture, they became vulnerable to attack by pests, leading to widespread tree death ... many tree stands suffered complete loss of mature conifers.
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-multi-year-drought-massive-forest-die-off.html

India staring at a water apocalypse
[G]laciers feeding the Indian subcontinent’s rivers will recede rapidly, while rapid ground water depletion poses an existential challenge to agriculture. The southwest monsoons remain the biggest source of water in the subcontinent. The monsoons lead to a combination of water sources supporting human habitats that includes glaciers, surface irrigation and ground water. But redundancy and surplus have gone missing from this once abundant system. Taking their place are galloping shortages.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/india-staring-at-a-water-apocalypse/

Amazonian tree species threatened by deforestation and climate change
Here, we show that climate and deforestation combined could cause a decline of up to 58% in Amazon tree species richness ... Species may lose an average of 65% of their original environmentally suitable area, and a total of 53% may be threatened ... worst-case combined scenario—assuming no substantial climate or deforestation policy progress—suggests that by 2050 the Amazonian lowland rainforest may be cut into two blocks: one continuous block with 53% of the original area and another severely fragmented block.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0500-2

June [2019] was hottest [June] ever recorded on Earth, European satellite agency announces
Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the EU, showed that the global average temperature for June 2019 was the highest on record for the month ... climate change made last week’s record-breaking European heatwave at least five times as likely to happen.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/june-hottest-month-ever-earth-2019-weather-heatwave-hot-a8984691.html

Very heavy rain bouts are on the way
Canadian scientists have examined an exhaustive collection of rain records for the past 50 years to confirm the fears of climate scientists: bouts of very heavy rain are on the increase ... found that from 1964 to 2013, the frequency of catastrophic downpours increased with each decade ... A warmer atmosphere can absorb more moisture ... The world has warmed by at least 1°C in the last century, thanks to ever-increasing use of fossil fuels, and hydrologists, engineers and planners have been warning for years that human settlements and low-lying terrains have a rainfall problem.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/very-heavy-rain-bouts-are-on-the-way/

'Precipitous' fall in Antarctic sea ice since 2014 revealed
The plunge in the average annual extent means Antarctica lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic lost in 34 years ... researchers said it showed ice could disappear much more rapidly than previously thought ... “There has been a huge decrease,” said Claire Parkinson, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the US. In her study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she called the decline precipitous and a dramatic reversal.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/01/precipitous-fall-in-antarctic-sea-ice-revealed

We have too many fossil-fuel power plants to meet climate goals
Davis and colleagues looked at all the emissions from electricity, energy, transport, residential, and commercial infrastructure as of 2018. They then estimated the total “carbon commitment”—the future CO2 emissions from those structures and devices ... estimated a total carbon commitment of about 658 billion metric tons of CO2. That’s 78 billion tons above the maximum [IPCC] says can be emitted to have a better than 50 percent chance of stabilizing temperatures at 1.5°C of warming ... Because the study does not include all sources of CO2 emissions, its projections might be considered conservative rather than alarmist.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/we-have-too-many-fossil-fuel-power-plants-to-meet-climate-goals
reporting on a study at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1364-3

No End in Sight for Record Midwest Flood Crisis
While communities north of St. Louis are beginning the expensive path to recovery after record-breaking winter and spring precipitation and runoff, people below the Missouri River are shoveling mud from their houses and praying for a dry spell. The Lower Mississippi Valley remains in a flood crisis as high water continues to swamp streets, homes, businesses, sewage and water treatment plants, and farm fields, including across some of the poorest counties in the United States ... 2019 flood has a rare distinction as a "total system flood," meaning every sub-basin of the Mississippi River has been subject to high water, exacerbating conditions in Southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/no-end-in-sight-for-record-midwest-flood-crisis/

In Greenland’s Melting Ice, A Warning on Hard Climate Choices
The ice sheet holds enough water to raise sea levels by about 24 feet ... In the last two decades, melting rates of the ice are 33 percent higher than 20th century averages; the melting, moreover, is not only increasing but accelerating ... Greenland is no longer changing in geological time. It is changing in human time ... the warming curve for Greenland in the coming years, and especially into the next century, “gets steeper, and steeper, and steeper.”
https://e360.yale.edu/features/in-greenlands-melting-ice-a-warning-on-hard-climate-choices

Mont Blanc is melting and is a warning of our future as climate change sees the world's temperature rise
It's been permanently covered in snow and ice for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years. Year-round, temperatures at 4,800m - the mountain's height - are well below zero. Yet this week, as a heatwave grips western Europe, they hover around 0C. Mont Blanc is starting to melt.
https://www.itv.com/news/2019-06-27/mont-blanc-is-melting-and-is-a-warning-of-our-future-as-climate-change-sees-the-worlds-temperature-rise/

It turns out planes are even worse for the climate than we thought
The contrails left by aeroplanes last only hours. But they are now so widespread that their warming effect is greater than that of all the carbon dioxide emitted by aeroplanes that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the first flight of the Wright brothers. Worse still, this non-CO2 warming effect is set to triple by 2050, according to a study by Ulrike Burkhardt and Lisa Bock at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Germany.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2207886-it-turns-out-planes-are-even-worse-for-the-climate-than-we-thought/

Heat waves and climate change: Is there a connection?
European Heat Wave of 2003 is estimated to have caused an astounding 70,000 deaths. Researchers found that human influence at least doubled the risk of a heat wave of that magnitude. In 2010, another 56,000 people died in a heat wave in Russia. A 2011 study concluded that there is an 80% probability the heat wave would not have occurred without global warming ... Scientists have also studied a 2018 summer event that spread oppressive heat from Japan to Canada, concluding that the size of the event was unprecedented and not possible without climate change ... In a 2019 study, researchers at Princeton University found that as global temperatures increase, heat waves will become more frequent and the time between them will become shorter.
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/06/heat-waves-and-climate-change-is-there-a-connection/

Analysis: Major update to ocean-heat record could shrink 1.5C carbon budget
The revisions to the Hadley [sea surface temperature] record would reduce the global “carbon budget” remaining to limit warming to 1.5C by between 24% and 33%, depending on how the budget is calculated. A smaller budget would mean humanity has fewer carbon emissions it can still emit before committing the world to 1.5C of global warming. At the current rate of emissions, this would mean the 1.5C budget would be used up in 6-10 years rather than 9-13.
https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-major-update-to-ocean-heat-record-could-shrink-1-5c-carbon-budget

India has just five years to solve its water crisis
Groundwater, which has been steadily depleting for years, makes up 40% of the country's water supply. But other sources are also running dry -- almost two-thirds of India's reservoirs are running below normal water levels ... The four reservoirs that supply Chennai, India's sixth-largest city, are nearly dry ... Demand for water will reach twice the available supply by 2030 ... Taps have long run dry in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, meaning millions of people must rely on emergency government tanks for water.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/27/india/india-water-crisis-intl-hnk/index.html

Climate change: What 10 presidents have known
US presidents have been warned about the effects of fossil fuels for more than 50 years
There's a White House memorandum that addresses "the carbon dioxide problem" in straightforward terms. The process, it reads, is simple. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has the effect of a pane of glass in a greenhouse. With all the fossil fuels man is now burning, more carbon dioxide is entering the atmosphere and raising temperatures, which in turn will raise sea levels. "Goodbye New York," it reads. "Goodbye Washington, for that matter." The memo isn't remarkable for its dire warning. It's noteworthy because it is dated almost 50 years ago: September 17, 1969 ... The records stretch back more than 50 years, beginning with President Lyndon Johnson ... "Our government, at the highest levels, knew and was briefed on it regularly by the national security community, by the scientific community ... have known for a very long time that it was a big threat."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-what-10-presidents-have-known-60-minutes-2019-06-23/

84% of [India]'s subdivisions record deficient rainfall; 80% reservoirs have below normal storage
According to the Central Water Commission data, 59 out of the 91 major reservoirs in the country have storage below normal. Of these, 11 have zero per cent storage, making the water crisis acute.
https://economictimes.com/news/economy/indicators/84-of-imds-subdivisions-record-deficient-rainfall-80-reservoirs-have-below-normal-storage/articleshow/69913737.cms

Brutally Simple Illustration Shows Climate Change's True Scale Everywhere on Earth
Last year, climate scientist Ed Hawkins unveiled a powerful schematic for visualising global temperature changes: coloured 'warming stripes' communicating how the world has been getting hotter since records began. Now, he's updated the project with a new interactive website based on regional temperature data for almost every country on Earth and every US state.
https://www.sciencealert.com/flawless-visualisation-distils-the-true-colour-of-climate-change-everywhere-on-earth
warming stripes website at https://showyourstripes.info/

Researchers find cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds twice as high as thought
An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds is twice as high as thought ... three-quarters of the amount of heat reflected was due to aerosols ... shows that the heating effect of greenhouse gases is higher than has been thought because it has been mitigated by the impact of aerosols in clouds.
https://phys.org/news/2019-01-cooling-effect-aerosols-cumulus-msc.html

Sea-Level Rise in Miami-Dade Could Cost $3.2 Billion by 2040
Miami-Dade ... county would need to spend a whopping $3.2 billion for 267 miles of coastal barriers ... "We no longer have the luxury of waiting ten years," says Paul Chinowsky, director of the environmental design program at the University of Colorado Boulder and a lead scientist in the study ... The limestone on which Miami is built makes the city particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise because salt water can seep up through the porous bedrock ... More than 50,000 miles would be needed in 22 states by 2040. The resulting chain of coastal barriers would be longer than today's interstate highway system and would cost an estimated $400 billion nationwide.
https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/climate-change-study-says-sea-level-rise-could-cost-miami-dade-32-billion-for-seawall-construction-11201008
reporting on a study at http://www.climatecosts2040.org/files/ClimateCosts2040_Report-v4.pdf

Scientists Are Stunned by How Rapidly Ice Is Melting in the Arctic
June has set a record low of Arctic sea ice, while the extent of melting across the Greenland Ice Sheet this early in the summer has never been seen before. Recently, temperatures in parts of Greenland soared to 40 degrees above normal, while open water (not covered by sea ice) is already being observed in places north of Alaska where it has seldom, if ever, been observed ... Scientists have long been warning that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic ... resulted in lower-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and eastern United States in early June, while the Arctic was baking under abnormally high temperatures that have facilitated the unprecedented melting of ice ... “We are not even trying to slow down the production of CO2 ... We are going to see the consequences, and they will be significant.”
https://truthout.org/articles/scientists-are-stunned-by-how-rapidly-ice-is-melting-in-the-arctic/

Global Warming Pushes Microbes into Damaging Climate Feedback Loops
[G]lobal warming is supercharging some microbial cycles on a scale big enough to trigger damaging climate feedback loops ... feasting on more organic material and produce extra carbon dioxide as the planet warms. In the Arctic, a spreading carpet of algae is soaking up more of the sun's summer rays, speeding melting of the ice. Deadly pathogenic microbes are also spreading poleward and upward in elevation, killing people, cattle and crops. So many documented changes, along with other alarming microbial red flags, have drawn a warning from a group of 30 microbiologists, published Tuesday as a "consensus statement" in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18062019/climate-change-tipping-points-microbes-health-soil-oceans-viruses-bacteria

Utqiagvik, Alaska, America's Northernmost Town, Smashes June Record High
Formerly known as Barrow, Utqiagvik's high soared to 73 degrees Thursday, topping the town's previous June record ... only the fourth time temperatures had risen into the 70s in June, and only the 35th day of 70-degree warmth there in records dating to 1901.
https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2019-06-21-utqiagvik-alaska-june-record-high-sea-ice-low

Most of the World to Face Record-High Temperatures Every Year Without Serious Climate Action
Australian meteorologists analyzed the predictions in 22 separate climate reports to calculate one range of überpredictions about our planet's hot, hot future. The scientists found that, under current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, high monthly temperature records will be set in approximately 58% of the world (including 67% of the poorest nations) every single year until 2100 ... many nations near the equator can expect to see 24 monthly heat records surpassed every decade that emissions remain unchecked — in other words, roughly two months of every year will be hotter than in any year before it.
https://www.livescience.com/65721-climate-change-neverending-heat-wave.html

New Study Flags Substantial Declines In Large Fish And Marine Species If Climate Change Goes Unmitigated
The paper by a team of 35 international scientists and published Tuesday (11 June 2019) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents a stark view of what will happen to the global biomass — the total weight of marine animals, such as fish, invertebrates and mammals — if measures aren’t taken to reduce emissions ... "This study adds another disconcerting chapter to the global warming story, by confirming that human-made climate change endangers food resources in the oceans too,” says co-author Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany.
https://www.dal.ca/news/2019/06/11/new-study-flags-substantial-declines-in-large-fish-and-marine-sp.html

The Dangerous Methane Mystery
The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) ... hosts massive quantities of methane (CH4) in frozen subsea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle ... warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4 ... it is possible that atmospheric [carbon dioxide equivalent] would zoom up to as high as 1256 ppm ... at [this level] global heating cranks up by 8°C, or 14.4°F, within a decade.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/20/the-dangerous-methane-mystery/

Rising methane may thwart efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change
If the world were on track to meet the Paris Agreement goal of less than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, methane levels in the atmosphere would theoretically be dropping. Instead, they have been rising since 2007, and shooting up even faster since 2014 ... According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a molecule of methane will cause 28-36 times more warming than a molecule of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period ... The only emissions scenario that achieves Paris Agreement goals in climate models assumes that methane levels have been declining since 2010, when in fact they have been rising since 2007.
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-methane-thwart-efforts-catastrophic-climate.html
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6444/932
see also https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018GB006009

Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early
Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted ... a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers ... rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises ... the world is still far from averting the risk that these kinds of feedback loops will trigger runaway warming.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-permafrost/scientists-amazed-as-canadian-permafrost-thaws-70-years-early-idUSKCN1TJ1XN

Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate — three ways through the fog
How much have aerosol particles slowed warming?
Sulfur dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels or by volcanoes forms a haze of sulfuric acid particles that reflects incoming sunlight, lowering global temperatures. Sulfate particles act as nuclei around which water condenses, seeding clouds and increasing their reflectivity ... [Aerosols] linger for just days or weeks in the atmosphere, compared with the hundreds of years that carbon dioxide survives ... The reflectivity, and thus cooling, of clouds depends on their thickness, cover and water content. Aerosols seed clouds, but the degree to which they boost the water content varies with meteorological conditions ... Adding dust, soot or glassy organic particles to air that is already polluted with them can increase the numbers of ice crystals, and thereby cooling.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01791-6

Arctic could face another scorching annus horribilis
Since early June, 37 billion tonnes of ice have melted, Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liege, wrote ... "It becomes more and more likely that a record of mass loss will be broken for the month of June in 2019". Also worrying is how early in the year the ice is melting ... the ice melting season had begun at the start of May, almost a month earlier than usual.
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-arctic-annus-horribilis.html

Acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years
Himalayan glaciers supply meltwater to densely populated catchments in South Asia ... we quantify changes in ice thickness during the intervals 1975–2000 and 2000–2016 across the Himalayas, using a set of digital elevation models derived from cold war–era spy satellite film and modern stereo satellite imagery. We observe consistent ice loss along the entire 2000-km transect for both intervals and find a doubling of the average loss rate during 2000–2016 compared to 1975–2000.
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/6/eaav7266

Climate Change Is Choking The Atlantic Ocean To Death: 'it's Losing The Oxygen That Is Vital To Life'
A scientist leading a health check of the Earth's second largest ocean has warned the Atlantic could run out of breath ... will investigate how climate change as well as industries such as fishing, mining, and oil and gas extraction affect the expanse of water ... The ocean is losing oxygen which wildlife need to survive.
https://www.newsweek.com/climate-change-choking-atlantic-ocean-death-1444521

England's HSBC Bank Issues Stark Warning: Earth Is Running Out Of Resources To Sustain Life
England's largest bank, HSBC, issued a warning that governments and businesses are not prepared for climate impacts as Earth continues to run out of resources to sustain human life ... HSBC analysts believe it's essential to include climate risks in future financial models. According to NASA, extreme weather events and natural disasters are tied to climate change and will become more severe and regular as Earth continues to warm ... HSBC is not alone among major financial institutions in planning and mitigating for climate risks. Over 315 organizations around the world support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Companies that support TCFD are among the world's largest financial institutions.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/08/13/englands-hsbc-issues-stark-warning-earth-is-running-out-of-resources-to-sustain-life/#51bf795b8ebe
see also https://www.businessinsider.nl/hsbc-warns-earth-is-running-out-of-resources-for-life-2018-8/

Arctic melt goes into overdrive
Earlier this year, we saw the unprecedented disappearance of sea ice from the Bering Sea during a time of year when it should be gaining ice. This trend toward plummeting sea ice in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic continues ... across the entire Arctic, sea ice extent is at a record low for this point in the year, and depending on weather conditions during the summer, it's possible that 2019 could set a new record low ice extent.
https://www.axios.com/arctic-melt-climate-change-canada-e83ec6a3-6061-402f-92c5-4c887aa603fb.html

Midwest flooding is drowning corn and soy crops. Is climate change to blame?
[C]limate scientists say the devasting rains falling over the Midwest are exactly in line with what they’ve been predicting ... “When you warm up the atmosphere, the atmosphere can hold more moisture,” says David Easterling, the chief of the scientific services division at NOAA. As that atmosphere warms, it’s capable of holding more moisture, which it will ultimately dump somewhere ... In the most recently published National Climate Assessment, in 2018, for which Easterling served as the director for the technical support unit, researchers concluded that the U.S. would face more catastrophic flooding that would affect infrastructure and crops.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/midwest-rain-climate-change-wrecking-corn-soy-crops/

Human Civilization Isn't Prepared to Survive Climate Change
"The IPCC report tends to talk about the middle outcomes ... we thought it was important to ask, 'What are the high-end impacts?' Because in risk management, the cost of the damage associated with high-end impacts are so great that you have to avoid them." And the costs are high indeed. The research Spratt and Dunlop have compiled makes the case that in its most extreme, climate change is "a path to the end of human civilization and modern society as we know it ... UN Secretary General António Guterres said, basically, we're running out of time and in policy there's always a huge trend to keep the status quo ... then he said, 'The problem is that the status quo is a suicide.' And quite right, the status quo is a suicide. That's the UN Secretary General."
https://www.gq.com/story/climate-change-david-spratt

Chennai water crisis: City's reservoirs run dry
The southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) is in crisis after its four main water reservoirs ran completely dry ... "Only rain can save Chennai from this situation," an official told BBC Tamil ... "The destruction has just begun ... If the rain fails us this year too, we are totally destroyed."
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48672330

India confronts unprecedented water crisis
A water crisis of epic proportions looms as taps run dry across urban and rural India ... even as most parts of India reel under an unprecedented water shortage, the Indian government has dismissed the concern as the result of “media hype” ... The Narmada River, largest west-flowing river of the country, also known as “lifeline of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” has gone so dry that pilgrims going to Vadodra district parked their cars in the river-bed ... a governmental think tank’s 2018 report stated that 21 Indian cities – including the national capital New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai – are expected to run out of groundwater by as soon as 2020.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/06/article/india-confronts-unprecedented-water-crisis/

The Scariest Thing About Climate Change: What Happens To Our Food Supply
But global warming poses another peril harder to visualize, more insidious and, ultimately, more threatening to the stability of human societies. The impact of climate change on the ecosystems that support our ability to grow food should concern us most ... The warming climate of the 21st century puts new stresses on ecosystems that were already feeling the effects of overfishing, pesticides, intensive agriculture, industrial pollution and a growing human population ... species will fail, biodiversity will continue to plummet and the delicate interactions and feedback loops that keep ecosystems functioning will break down.
https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2019/06/05/climate-change-food-frederick-hewett

Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia
[F]ossil fuels are by no means in terminal decline, according to a recent review of the global energy industry ... caused by a growing appetite for energy, that was being met by fossil fuels. And the biggest offender in climate terms is coal ... fast-developing countries in Asia, for example, where the appetite for electricity is growing rapidly, and renewable energy is not increasing anything like fast enough to keep coal at bay. Asia’s appetite for coal-fired electricity is keeping coal production alive.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/15/climate-crisis-coal-asia-power-generation-fossil-fuels

Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods
New research says the continent will experience many extreme outbreaks of intense rainfall over the next 80 years. These could trigger devastating floods, storms and disruption of farming. In addition, these events are likely to be interspersed with more crippling droughts during the growing season and these could also damage crop and food production. “Essentially we have found that both ends of Africa’s weather extremes will get more severe,” said Elizabeth Kendon of the Met Office ... The new research, which is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, is based on forecasts of rainfall in Africa that were achieved by analysing weather patterns in great detail.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jun/14/africa-global-heating-more-droughts-and-flooding-threat

Why India's Insects Are Disappearing
There are approximately 5.5 million insect species buzzing, creeping and crawling across planet earth. However, a scientific review of records recently published in the journal Biological Conservation reveals that up to 40% of insect species worldwide are likely to become extinct in the coming years.
https://thewire.in/environment/why-indias-insects-are-disappearing

Climate change profoundly alters plankton populations
New research using sediment cores suggests human-driven climate change is having a significant impact on the composition of the world’s marine plankton. A German study, published in the journal Nature, reveals that modern communities of foraminifera, a type of hard-shelled plankton, differ markedly from those from the pre-industrial era, which began just 170 years ago ... the amount of differentiation correlates with the degree of temperature change. The direction of change is consistent with the global pattern of sea-surface temperature warming seen in historical times.
https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/climate-change-profoundly-alters-plankton-populations

Planet is entering ‘new climate regime’ with ‘extraordinary’ heat waves intensified by global warming, study says
Simultaneous heat waves scorched land areas all over the Northern Hemisphere last summer ... study published this week in the journal Earth’s Future concludes that this heat wave epidemic “would not have occurred without human-induced climate change.” ... record-setting heat waves are beginning anew this summer — signaling, perhaps, that these exceptional and widespread heat spells are now the norm.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/06/11/climate-change-intensified-last-summers-northern-hemisphere-heat-wave-it-may-be-starting-all-over-again/

Best Carbon Capture Facility In World Emits 25 Times More CO2 Than Sequestered
[T]hey are producing 36 million cubic meters of natural gas per day. They’ve been producing that daily since 1996, so that’s about 300 billion cubic meters of gas. That turns into about 581 million tons of CO2 emitted by the natural gas, compared to the 23 million tons of CO2 that’s been sequestered ... Every other carbon capture facility in the world is more expensive, sequesters less CO2, and has a much worse ratio than 25:1 for emitted vs captured. The fossil fuel industry and consumers of fossil fuels are producing vastly more CO2 emissions than the very best sequestration case study can manage.
https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/12/best-carbon-capture-facility-in-world-emits-25-times-more-co2-than-sequestered/

There's some really intense melting in the Arctic right now
The Arctic summer has a long way to go, but already sea ice levels over great swathes of the sprawling Arctic ocean are at historic lows ... exceptional, but right in line with accelerating melting trends occurring as the Arctic warms. "Every year we smash a record that we’re shocked at," said Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and a current board director at the National Academies of Sciences ... "The extraordinary change is a given," he said. "The Arctic is superseding any projection we had for how quickly sea ice was going to go away."
https://mashable.com/article/arctic-melting-records/
see also Greenland Surface Melt Extent Interactive Chart at https://nsidc.org/greenland-today/greenland-surface-melt-extent-interactive-chart/

Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee
Hundreds of Indian villages have been evacuated as a historic drought forces families to abandon their homes in search of water ... up to 90% of the area’s population has fled, leaving the sick and elderly to fend for themselves in the face of a water crisis that shows no sign of abating.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/12/indian-villages-lie-empty-as-drought-forces-thousands-to-flee

Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns
Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis. “If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” he said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/climate/climate-financial-market-risk.html

Global Emissions Rose the Most in 7 Years, BP Review Shows
The report, one of the most closely watched surveys of global energy trends, found that primary demand rose at the fastest pace this decade in 2018 even though economic growth weakened. China, India and the U.S. were responsible for two thirds of the 2.9% increase in consumption ... Even the dirtiest fossil fuel for power generation is increasing ... Renewable energy consumption jumped 15% in 2018, near the record advance from a year earlier [but] “Renewables can’t grow quickly enough,” Dale said.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-11/global-emissions-rose-the-most-in-7-years-bp-review-shows

Hot summers causing arctic sinkholes as permafrost thaws rapidly
Arctic sinkholes are appearing across the Canadian High Arctic as permafrost thaws and collapses due to climate change, according to research published Monday. Researchers found maximum thaw depths had already exceeded what they had expected to occur by 2090, according to the report published in Geophysical Research Letters journal ... Scientists blamed a series of warm summers for damaging the "very cold permafrost," noting that there was little soil or vegetation to buffer the permafrost from the temperature changes.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/11/americas/thermokarst-arctic-climate-change-intl-hnk/index.html

Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS)
Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov, and Evgeny Chuvilin
The Arctic is warming dramatically, with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate ... amount of pre-formed gas preserved in the ESAS suggests a potential for possible massive/abrupt release of CH4, whether from destabilizing hydrates or from free gas accumulations beneath permafrost; such a release requires only a trigger ... ESAS is a tectonically and seismically active area ... During seismic events, a large amount of over-pressurized gas can be delivered to the water column, not only via existing gas migration pathways, but also through permafrost breaks ... Releases could potentially increase by 3–5 orders of magnitude, considering the sheer amount of CH4 preserved within the shallow ESAS seabed deposits and the documented thawing rates of subsea permafrost.
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/6/251/htm

NOAA forecasts very large ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico
NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or ‘dead zone’ – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 7,829 square miles, or roughly the size of Massachusetts ... major factor contributing to the large dead zone this year is the abnormally high amount of spring rainfall in many parts of the Mississippi River watershed, which led to record high river flows and much larger nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico.
https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-forecasts-very-large-dead-zone-for-gulf-of-mexico

Large summer 'dead zone' forecast for Chesapeake Bay after wet winter and spring
"The forecast this year reflects the high levels of precipitation that have been observed across the Bay's watershed," said report co-author Jeremy Testa of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science ... The bay's hypoxic (low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excess nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and wastewater.
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-large-summer-dead-zone-chesapeake.html

Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems
Across Alaska, March temperatures averaged 11 degrees Celsius above normal. The deviation was most extreme in the Arctic where, on March 30, thermometers rose almost 22 degrees Celsius above normal ... The steady decline of sea ice is old news, but 2019 brought exceptional conditions. In January, a series of warm storms began breaking apart the ice, which had formed late and was thinner than usual. By late March, the Bering Sea was largely open, at a time when the ice usually reaches its maximum for the year ... In April, U.S. federal scientists reported coverage was even lower than the unprecedented low extent of 2018. By mid-May, ice that should have persisted into June was almost entirely gone.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/record-breaking-heat-alaska-wreaks-havoc-communities-and-ecosystems-180972317/

Mosquito-borne Diseases on the Uptick—Thanks to Global Warming
According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health, the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase the infection rates of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus by creating more mosquito-friendly habitats.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mosquito-borne-diseases-on-the-uptick-thanks-to-global-warming

‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey
Human destruction of the living world is causing a “frightening” number of plant extinctions, according to scientists who have completed the first global analysis of the issue ... researchers said the plant extinction rate was 500 times greater now than before the industrial revolution, and this was also likely to be an underestimate.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/10/frightening-number-of-plant-extinctions-found-in-global-survey
see also https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48584515

Loss of Arctic sea ice stokes summer heat waves in southern U.S.
Over the last 40 years, Arctic sea ice thickness, extent and volume have declined dramatically. Now, a new study finds a link between declining sea ice coverage in parts of the Canadian Arctic and an increasing incidence of summer heat waves across the southern United States. The new study in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres explores how seasonal fluctuations of sea ice coverage trigger changes in atmospheric circulation patterns during the boreal summer.
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-loss-arctic-sea-ice-stokes.html

Scientists name a new reason for methane release in the Arctic
Russian scientists [describe] a new mechanism, explaining influence from salt migration emerging from decomposition of methane hydrates reserves on the Arctic shelf ... "Experts from Skoltech, the Tomsk Polytechnic University and the Academy of Sciences’ Pacific Oceanology Institute saw that one of the reasons for big methane emissions from bottom sediments on the East-Siberian shelf is destabilizing of gas hydrates, which are located on submarine permafrost, when they react with salt solutions (sea water), which migrate into the thawing underwater permafrost."
http://tass.com/science/1059944

Bubbling under the Arctic Seabed
Permafrost under the Arctic seabed is more widespread than previously thought, and is mostly warming, a new study finds. Scientists have now, for the first time ever, modelled the distribution of submarine permafrost underneath the entire Arctic seabed. Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans in the latest issue (April 2019), their findings reveal that submarine permafrost is more widely distributed than previously thought, and is almost all getting thinner. These findings are significant, because knowing how much submarine permafrost exists is a crucial first step in predicting how much methane and carbon dioxide might be released into the atmosphere from underneath the Arctic seabed.
https://www.awi.de/en/about-us/service/press/press-release/bubbling-under-the-arctic-seabed.html

Why there’s more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than you may have realised
CO2 levels at the Mauna Loa atmospheric observatory in Hawaii have risen steeply for the seventh year in a row, reaching a May 2019 average of 414.7 parts per million (ppm) [but] if we factor in the presence of other greenhouse gases besides carbon dioxide, we find that the world has already ticked past yet another milestone: 500ppm of what we call “CO2-equivalent”, or CO2-e ... best estimate of long-term global warming expected from 500ppm CO2-e is about 2.5C.
https://theconversation.com/why-theres-more-greenhouse-gas-in-the-atmosphere-than-you-may-have-realised-118336 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/carbon-dioxide-levels-reach-highest-point-human-history-180972181/
see also (2019) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/carbon-dioxide-levels-reach-highest-point-human-history-180972181/
see also (2014) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-now-highest-point-its-been-entirety-human-existence-180950493/

Harvard chemist: Permafrost N2O levels 12 times higher than expected
[A] paper published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about 12 times higher than previously assumed. Since N2O traps heat nearly 300 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide does, this revelation could mean that the Arctic — and the global climate — are in more danger than we thought ... [And as if that's not bad enough] sunlight and oxygen team up to convert the gas into reactive nitrogen oxides that eat away at the ozone layer, which absorbs most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation ... and the molecules can stay in the atmosphere for up to 114 years.
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/06/harvard-chemist-permafrost-n2o-levels-12-times-higher-than-expected

The Greening of The West Leaves Other Countries a Devastated, Toxic Mess While the West receives shiny new products with the promise of saving the planet, places like Mongolia and Chile are suffering greatly.
Baotou [China] is one of the world’s largest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These are elements that are used in the manufacturing of tech gadgets (smart phones) and also our “green alternative energy”: magnets for wind turbines and parts for electric car motors. China produced 95% of the entire world’s supply of rare earth elements ... “The intriguing thing about both neodymium and cerium is that while they’re called rare earth minerals, they’re actually fairly common. Neodymium is no rarer than copper or nickel and quite evenly distributed throughout the world’s crust. While China produces 90% of the global market’s neodymium, only 30% of the world’s deposits are located there. Arguably, what makes it, and cerium, scarce enough to be profitable are the hugely hazardous and toxic process needed to extract them from ore and to refine them into usable products ... China’s dominance of the rare earth market is less about geology and far more about the country’s willingness to take an environmental hit that other nations shy away from.“ In a place that was once filled with farms as far as the eye could see, now lies a lake (which are called “tailing ponds), visible from Google Earth, filled with radioactive toxic sludge. The water is so contaminated that not even algae will grow.
http://achnews.org/2019/06/27/the-greening-of-the-west-leaves-other-countries-a-devastated-toxic-mess

Arctic death spiral speeds up sixfold, driving coastal permafrost collapse
Drone surveys have revealed erosion of coastal permafrost in the Arctic — up to 3 feet a day ... six times higher than the historical rate. Meanwhile, the Arctic just saw the hottest May on record, with temperatures in northwest Russia hitting a remarkable 84F (29C). Global warming is driving Arctic sea ice to near-record lows, which in turn is driving ever-worsening summer heat waves in the southern United States, according to another new study.
https://thinkprogress.org/arctic-death-spiral-coastal-permafrost-collapse-23d650acea99/

The end of the Arctic as we know it
The demise of an entire ocean is almost too enormous to grasp, but as the expedition sails deeper into the Arctic, the colossal processes of breakdown are increasingly evident ... where ice floes come to die, and the cemetery is filling faster each year, according to the leader of this scientific expedition, Till Wagner, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) ... the summer Arctic has lost 40% of its extent and up to 70% of its volume, says Wagner. Other scientists calculate the rate of decline at 10,000 tonnes a second. Much of the multiyear ice is now gone ... The pace of change is mindblowing, Wagner says ... If the Arctic were a patient, doctors would be alarmed by its vital signs ... “The Arctic as we know it is about to become history.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/07/oceans-demise-the-end-of-the-arctic-as-we-know-it

Half of all land must be kept in a natural state to protect Earth
Countries should double their protected zones to 30 percent of the Earth’s land area, and add 20 percent more as climate stabilization areas, for a total of 50 percent of all land kept in a natural state, scientists conclude. All of this needs to be done by 2030 to have a real hope of keeping climate change under the “danger zone” target of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) and to prevent the world’s ecosystems from unravelling ... the first science-based plan with clear milestones on why it’s vital to achieve these goals ... Only when 50 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial areas are protected, along with substantial cuts in fossil-fuel use and major increases in renewable energy, will we have a good chance of meeting the Paris climate target ... if warming goes beyond 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius), we lose some of those natural systems and the services they provide humanity ... “Every morsel of food, every sip of water, the air we breathe is the result of work done by other species ... Without them, there is no us.”
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/science-study-outlines-30-percent-conservation-2030

Industrial methane emissions are 100 times higher than reported, researchers say
Emissions of methane from the industrial sector have been vastly underestimated ... researchers discovered that methane emissions from ammonia fertilizer plants were 100 times higher than the fertilizer industry’s self-reported estimate. They also were substantially higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate for all industrial processes in the United States.
http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2019/06/industrial-methane-emissions-are-100-times-higher-reported-researchers-say

Climate crisis seriously damaging human health, report finds
A report by experts from 27 national science academies has set out the widespread damage global heating is already causing to people’s health and the increasingly serious impacts expected in future ... World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned in November that climate breakdown was already a health crisis. “We cannot delay action on climate change,” he said. “We cannot sleepwalk through this health emergency any longer.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/03/climate-crisis-seriously-damaging-human-health-report-finds

World's biggest firms foresee $1 trillion climate cost hit
More than 200 of the world’s largest listed companies forecast that climate change could cost them a combined total of almost $1 trillion, with much of the pain due in the next five years, according to a report published on Tuesday. Even so, the findings by charity CDP suggested many companies still underestimated the dangers as scientists warn that earth’s climate system is on course to hit catastrophic tipping points without rapid cuts in carbon emissions.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-companies-disclosure/worlds-biggest-firms-foresee-1-trillion-climate-cost-hit-idUSKCN1T50CF

CO2 just hit an all-time record. But that’s not the worst of it.
"It's extremely alarming to see atmospheric CO2 continuing to increase relentlessly year after year when all scenarios that lead to a stable climate require that it go down," said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. "The further we go into the uncharted climate territory of unprecedented CO2 levels, the more likely we are to encounter surprises," added Green, referencing the extreme weather and climate disruptions wrought by such warming. "We are heading toward the part of the climate map labeled 'here there be dragons' and rather than turning around, or even slowing down, we are running faster."
https://mashable.com/article/climate-change-co2-record
see also https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/midwest-rain-climate-change-wrecking-corn-soy-crops/

Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by the second highest annual rise in the past six decades, according to new data. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas were 414.8 parts per million in May, which was 3.5ppm higher than the same time last year, according to readings from the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, where carbon dioxide has been monitored continuously since 1958.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/04/latest-data-shows-steep-rises-in-co2-for-seventh-year

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ in 2050
A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander. The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” ... argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/597kpd/new-report-suggests-high-likelihood-of-human-civilization-coming-to-an-end-in-2050

Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began ... world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739 sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute ... Although a single month is too short to confirm long-term trends, May is considered an important guide because it marks the start of the dry season, which is when most burning and other forms of forest clearance are carried out.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/04/deforestation-of-brazilian-amazon-surges-to-record-high-bolsonaro

Lake Ontario height record broken, floods Sackets road
According to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which monitors water levels, the lake level reached 248.98 feet on Friday, breaking the existing record of 248.95 feet established in 2017. The International Joint Commission, however, announced Monday that it has climbed to 249.02 feet since the record was broken, caused primarily by additional rain across the Great Lakes basin. The agency expects the lake level to “continue rising gradually” for several days until peaking in one to three weeks, according to a news release.
https://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/lake-ontario-height-record-broken-floods-sackets-road-20190604

This Hedge Fund Superstar Thinks Climate Change Will Impact All Your Investments—And Soon
“Climate change is something we have to include in every single analysis, every investment” ... founder of Autonomy Capital ($5.5 billion in assets) thinks that climate change is happening suddenly and soon ... Gibbins has an impressive track record making big calls ... believes climate change will be a major stress on economic stability.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2019/05/29/robert-gibbins-autonomy-capital/

There are diseases hidden in the ice, and they are waking up
[W]hat would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before? We may be about to find out. Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life ... permafrost soil is the perfect place for bacteria to remain alive for very long periods of time, perhaps as long as a million years. That means melting ice could potentially open a Pandora's box of diseases. The temperature in the Arctic Circle is rising quickly, about three times faster than in the rest of the world. As the ice and permafrost melt, other infectious agents may be released.
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170504-there-are-diseases-hidden-in-ice-and-they-are-waking-up
see also https://now.northropgrumman.com/thawing-permafrost-may-reawaken-old-diseases/

These Worms Unfrozen After More Than 30,000 Years Are Now The Oldest Living Animals On Earth
Researchers found 30-40,000 year old roundworms frozen in Siberian permafrost. When thawed in a lab, some of them woke up. Probably some interesting diseases and bacteria also frozen there.
https://allthatsinteresting.com/worms-frozen-resurrected
reporting on a study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30009350

Ice Shelves Buckle Under Weight of Meltwater Lakes
For the first time, a research team co-led by CIRES-based scientists, has directly observed an Antarctic ice shelf bending under the weight of ponding meltwater on top, a phenomenon that may have triggered the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf ... Meltwater lakes can contain water weighing fifty thousand to two million tons each, and that pushes downward on the ice, creating an indent. If the lake drains, this indent pops back up. If the resultant stress is large enough, the ice surrounding the lake basin weakens, and may start to break.
https://cires.colorado.edu/news/ice-shelves-buckle-under-weight-meltwater-lakes

No end in sight as record flooding in Midwest, Southeast persists
Historic flooding continues to saturate large stretches of land across the Midwest and Southeast United States. And with swollen rivers and reservoirs, more rain in the forecast, and an administration working to undo environmental protections, the impacts to communities, crops, infrastructure, and the economy are expected to be severe ... Over the next week to 10 days, major or record flooding will hit every large community along the Arkansas River, the National Weather Service warned earlier this week. This flooding comes from past weeks of heavy rain which is testing the limits of aging levee infrastructure and putting crops at risk.
https://thinkprogress.org/flood-arkansas-mississippi-oklahoma-climate-ef9fb99e9ef6/

India’s water crisis is already here. Climate change will compound it.
Severe droughts have drained rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers across vast parts of India in recent years, pushing the nation’s leaky, polluted water systems to the brink. More than 600 million Indians face “acute water shortages,” according to a report last summer by NITI Aayog, a prominent government think tank. Seventy percent of the nation’s water supply is contaminated, causing an estimated 200,000 deaths a year. Some 21 cities could run out of groundwater as early as next year, including Bangalore and New Delhi, the report found. Forty percent of the population, or more than 500 million people, will have “no access to drinking water” by 2030.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613344/indias-water-crisis-is-already-here-climate-change-will-compound-it/

Why Hundreds of Puffins Washed Up Dead on an Alaskan Beach
[Researchers] estimated that between 3,150 and 8,800 tufted puffins perished in the final months of 2016 ... The birds were extremely thin ... “They literally didn’t have enough to eat and became weak to the point of death,” says Julia Parrish of the University of Washington, who led the study ... “they’re starving to death, and they’re washing in.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/05/hundreds-puffins-washed-dead-alaskan-beach/590356/

State of the climate: Heat across Earth's surface and oceans mark early 2019
Ocean heat content (OHC) set a new record in early 2019, with more warmth in the oceans than at any time since OHC records began in 1940 ... methane concentrations have increased at an accelerating rate, reaching record highs in recent months ... Arctic sea ice is currently at a record low for this time of year ... Antarctic sea ice set new record lows in January, and is currently at the low end of the historical range.
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/05/state-of-the-climate-heat-across-earths-surface-and-oceans-mark-early-2019/

Climate Change Jumps To Biggest Risk For Insurers
According to a new report, climate change is now the number one concern for North American insurers. Max Rudolph, fellow of the Society of Actuaries and author of the report, said this is the 12th year the group published an analysis ... Rudolph added that it's becoming harder for risk managers to avoid thinking about climate change ... "My personal opinion is that this is a case of the risk managers catching up to the actual risk that is out there," he explained.
https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/climate-change-jumps-biggest-risk-insurers#stream/0

Extreme heat, freak rainfall breaks summer records
Days of extreme heat and rainfall skyrocketed last summer by several times the 30-year average, delivering the hottest summer on record in another clear signal of the risks posed by climate change, a report by the Actuaries Institutes has found.
https://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/extreme-heat-freak-rainfall-breaks-summer-records-20190529-p51sbh

Oklahoma Prepares for Worst Case Scenario
Communities along the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma and Arkansas are preparing for further flooding, with the mayor of Tulsa urging thousands of residents behind the city’s aging levees to be ready to evacuate in the event of a ‘worst-case scenario’ ... The severe weather that spawned tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri Tuesday also brought heavy rains that helped set a new record for the wettest May in Kansas City, according to the National Weather Service ... More heavy rain is in the forecast for today, and over 10 million remain under flood warnings from Oklahoma into Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
https://climateandeconomy.com/2019/05/30/climate-30th-may-2019-oklahoma-prepares-for-worst-case-scenario/

Latest on Lake Ontario flooding: Deluge nears record-breaking levels; sewer overflows reported
At least five discharges of stormwater and partly treated sewage into Lake Ontario and connected ponds were reported ... The town blamed flooding caused by high water and sizable waves on Tuesday for inundating parts of its sewer system and forcing the discharges ... Lake Ontario rose to 248.92 feet above sea level on Tuesday, leaving it less than a half-inch below the all-time mark set in May 2017 ... waters of Lake Ontario surged across local roadways, flooded basements and drove some shore dwellers from their homes ... Waves of 2 to 3 feet, rolling in from the northeast and east, pushed foaming water over the top of many shoreline protective structures beginning Tuesday morning. Some structures were battered to pieces.
https://democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2019/05/28/lake-ontario-flooding-2019-rochester-ny/1260404001/

Humans and volcanoes caused nearly all of global heating in past 140 years
Emissions from fossil fuels and volcanoes can explain nearly all of the changes in Earth’s surface temperatures over the past 140 years, a new study has found. The research refutes the popular climate denial myth that recent global warming is merely a result of natural cycles.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/30/humans-and-volcanoes-caused-nearly-all-of-global-heating-in-past-140-years

More than 200,000 hectares of Amazon forest have been destroyed in just nine months
[S]atellite imagery show the region lost 2169 square kilometres (216,900 hectares) of forest in the most recent August-through-April period. That's a 20 per cent jump from the 1807 square kilometres lost over the same nine-month period the previous year. Analysts blame uncontrolled logging and land invasion for much of the loss, some of which occurred in protected areas and Indigenous reserves.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/south-america/more-than-200-000-hectares-of-amazon-forest-have-been-destroyed-in-just-nine-months-20190528-p51rwa.html

Right whale population decline linked to ocean warming, research says
The endangered North Atlantic right whale faces increased odds because its main food supply has shifted due to ocean warming, according to new research ... A paper by 17 authors from the US, Canada and Norway, published this month in the journal Oceanography, links an influx of warm water in 2010 to a reduction in the whales’ key food supply, Calanus finmarchicus, a small crustacean, in the Gulf of Maine, the area off the US coast in which the whales spend their summers.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/27/right-whale-population-decline-tied-to-ocean-warming-research-says

Global warming has increased global economic inequality
We find that global warming has very likely exacerbated global economic inequality, including ∼25% increase in population-weighted between-country inequality over the past half century ... the global warming caused by fossil fuel use has likely exacerbated the economic inequality associated with historical disparities in energy consumption.
https://www.pnas.org/content/116/20/9808

High extinction risk for wild coffee species and implications for coffee sector sustainability
Wild coffee species are critical for coffee crop development and, thus, for sustainability of global coffee production ... We found that at least 60% of all coffee species are threatened with extinction, 45% are not held in any germplasm collection, and 28% are not known to occur in any protected area. Existing conservation measures, including those for key coffee CWRs, are inadequate. We propose that wild coffee species are extinction sensitive, especially in an era of accelerated climatic change.
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaav3473

Widespread permafrost degradation seen in high Arctic terrain
[D]ue to the extremely cold climate in high Arctic polar deserts ... and the fact that the permafrost is over 500 metres thick, it had been assumed this landscape was stable. But the McGill-led research team found that this has not been the case. "Our study suggests that the warming climate in the high Arctic, and more specifically the increases in summer air temperatures that we have seen in recent years, are initiating widespread changes in the landscape," says Melissa Ward Jones, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in McGill's Department of Geography.
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-widespread-permafrost-degradation-high-arctic.html

April saw big decline in Arctic sea ice cover
April 2019 marked the 18th consecutive April during which Arctic sea ice extent was below average ... smallest Arctic sea ice extent for April in the 41-year record ... nearly all of the oldest ice, four years old or more, which once made up about 30 per cent of the sea ice within the Arctic Ocean, is gone.
https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/april-saw-big-decline-in-arctic-sea-ice-cover/

Climate Change and Its Staggering Refugee Crisis
Current estimates for climate refugees are wide-ranging, and go as high as 1 billion people displaced by 2050 ... The American Association for the Advancement of Science foresees 50 million mobilizing to escape their environment by 2020.
https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/mental-health/climate-change-and-its-staggering-refugee-crisis-20181017

More Than Half Of U.S. Corn Still Unplanted
Massive delays in most of the corn belt have pushed progress 31-percentage-points behind the five-year average of 80% planted for the week of May 19 ... slowest corn planting in recorded history ... time is running thin and the weather forecast doesn’t look promising ... forecast calls for rain, rain, and more rain ... "on a scale of one to 10, the probability of it [this forecast] being wrong is probably just a two or three,” said Michael Clark, BAMWX meteorologist to AgriTalk Host Chip Flory Thursday. “There’s so much support amongst all the ensemble members and in all the operational runs and the only thing they’ve done in the last two days is trended wetter.”
https://www.agprofessional.com/article/more-half-us-corn-still-unplanted

How the International Monetary Fund Is Waking Up to the Financial Risks of the Climate Crisis
“Climate change is the great existential challenge of our times” ... One of the new papers is a comprehensive update of global fossil fuel subsidies and negative externalities like air pollution. The paper found that the world is wasting a whopping 6.5% of global GDP—$ 5.2 trillion per year—subsidizing dirty energy ... Coal remains the largest recipient of subsidies, despite being the most polluting ... the ever-pragmatic financial sector has also been waking up to climate risks. Signs of this shift were captured in the New Climate Economy’s September 2018 report.
https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/05/how-international-monetary-fund-waking-financial-risks-climate-crisis

‘Earthworm Dilemma’ Has Climate Scientists Racing to Keep Up
Native earthworms disappeared from most of northern North America 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. Now invasive earthworm species from southern Europe — survivors of that frozen epoch, and introduced to this continent by European settlers centuries ago — are making their way through northern forests, their spread hastened by roads, timber and petroleum activity, tire treads, boats, anglers and even gardeners. As the worms feed, they release into the atmosphere much of the carbon stored in the forest floor. Climate scientists are worried.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/20/science/earthworms-soil-climate.html

Climate change is destroying a barrier that protects the U.S. East Coast from hurricanes
There are two main factors that contribute to hurricane development and intensity: sea surface temperature and vertical wind shear. Vertical wind shear is the difference in wind speed or direction between the upper and lower troposphere. Warmer sea surface temperatures and low wind shear (meaning the wind speeds and directions are similar throughout the column of air) both raise the potential intensity of a hurricane. Scientists knew that ocean temperatures are heating up, but until now it has not been clear how climate change would impact wind shear. A new paper, published today in Scientific Reports, finds that climate change could alter wind shear in a way that could deliver more powerful hurricanes to the East Coast.
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-climate-barrier-east-coast-hurricanes.html

Farmer suicides soar in India as deadly heatwave hits 51 degrees Celsius
India has set a new record for its highest-ever recorded temperature – a searing 51 degrees Celsius or 123.8F – amid a devastating heatwave that has ravaged much of the country for weeks. Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land ... Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up ... "a rising temperature trend every year ... main reason is the excessive use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide" ... Government minister Harsh Vardhan said; "Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon. It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-heatwave-farmers-suicide-killing-themselves-51-record-temperature-climate-change-global-a7039841.html

Humans causing shrinking of nature as larger animals die off
Humans have wiped out most large creatures from all inhabited continents apart from Africa over the last 125,000 years. This annihilation will accelerate rapidly in the coming years, according to the research ... Animal populations have fallen by 60% since 1970, suggesting a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is under way caused by the razing of wild areas, hunting and intensive farming. Scientists said this month that human society was in danger from the decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, with half of natural ecosystems now destroyed and a total of a million species at risk of extinction ... The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, analysed five traits of 15,500 species of mammals and birds.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/23/humans-causing-shrinking-of-nature-as-larger-animals-die-off

Worst drought in 116 years hits Australian wheat production
The worst drought in more than a century is affecting parts of Australia, causing severe grain shortage in what is usually an outstanding surplus producing country. The condition resulted in a significant shipment of wheat from Canada ... The analyst from Australian Crop Forecaster James Maxwell estimated that the total weight of the shipment would be around 50 000 and 60 000 tones. "The reason this announcement has garnered so much attention is that it just doesn't happen," Maxwell said.
https://watchers.news/2019/05/19/worst-drought-in-116-years-hits-australian-wheat-production/

Global sea level rise could be bigger than expected
Scientists believe that global sea levels could rise far more than predicted, due to accelerating melting in Greenland and Antarctica ... IPCC, when it published its fifth assessment report in 2013 ... said the continued warming of the planet, without major reductions in emissions, would see global waters rising by between 52cm and 98cm by 2100. Many experts believe this was a very conservative estimate ... "To put this into perspective, the Syrian refugee crisis resulted in about a million refugees coming into Europe," said Prof Bamber. "That is about 200 times smaller than the number of people who would be displaced in a 2m sea-level rise." The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48337629

Springtime in the New Normal of Climate Disruption
“The past year, in fact, was the wettest one on record nationwide ... The persistent rain is not a fluke, but instead a human-caused catastrophe related to climate change.” ... “Over the past decade,” reports the Union of Concerned Scientists, “researchers have found strong evidence showing that climate change increases the frequency and intensity of events like extreme heat and extreme rainfall from hurricanes.” Put another way, climate disruption does not make weather events from scratch, at least for the present. It causes pre-existing weather events to happen more often and with greater strength.
https://truthout.org/articles/springtime-in-the-new-normal-of-climate-disruption/

Bill Nye on climate change: ‘It’s not 50 to 75 years away — it’s 10 or 15’
The Trump administration has continued to deny climate change findings and make scientific reports inaccessible to the public. Nye counters EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s claim that the threat of climate change is “50 to 75 years out.” “It’s not 50 to 75 years away — it’s 10 or 15 ... There is enough carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere already to make the world get warmer for many decades to come,” Nye said.
http://www.msnbc.com/velshi-ruhle/bill-nye-climate-change-its-not-50-75-years-away-its-10-or-15

Air pollution is causing unprecedented weakening of Asian Monsoon
The Asian Monsoon, which brings rains that sustain billions of people in India, China, Pakistan, Thailand and other countries, is seeing a weakening trend that's unprecedented in at least the past 448 years, according to a new study ... The culprit, the study finds, is aerosol pollution from coal-fired power plants ... the natural irrigation system for much of Asia, from southern India to northwest China ... could imperil food security in a rapidly growing part of the world ... the study shows that increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air should be strengthening the monsoon, not weakening it. Therefore, the study finds that aerosol pollution, which has been worsening in Asia as coal use there continues to increase, likely has so far overwhelmed the influence of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
https://www.axios.com/air-pollution-weakening-asian-monsoon-105098c7-8dd6-4b9e-a487-9c052e738434.html

La diminution de la pollution va augmenter les vagues de chaleur [Decrease in pollution will increase heat waves]
[Translated] Aerosols, resulting from automobile and industrial pollution, paradoxically contribute to cooling the atmosphere. Their decrease could lead to a dramatic acceleration in the number, duration and intensity of heat waves ... aerosols interact with solar radiation by sending [part] of it backward ... The solar radiation received at the surface is therefore lower in the presence of such aerosols ... The results (published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters) indicate that taking into account the reduction of sulphate aerosols leads to a greater increase in the solar radiation received at the surface.
https://www.futura-sciences.com/planete/actualites/rechauffement-climatique-diminution-pollution-va-augmenter-vagues-chaleur-55484/

Koalas are now ‘functionally’ extinct
The Australian Koala Foundation ... declared the marsupial ‘functionally extinct’ ... Koalas have too few breeding adults left to support the species ... Koalas are dying out due to effects caused by climate change. Rising temperatures are causing heatwaves that kill thousands of koalas through dehydration. The species has also suffered hugely from deforestation.
https://metro.co.uk/2019/05/16/koalas-now-functionally-extinct-9565982/

Single-use plastics a serious climate change hazard, study warns
The proliferation of single-use plastic around the world is accelerating climate change and should be urgently halted, a report warns. Plastic production is expanding worldwide, fuelled in part by the fracking boom in the US. The report says plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/15/single-use-plastics-a-serious-climate-change-hazard-study-warns

Why the Indian Ocean is spawning strong and deadly tropical cyclones
These high intensity storms have been tied to the very warm sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. Temperatures of 30°C are occurring more often and over longer periods of time. This is a result of gradual warming on a global scale, which has resulted in a net increase in ocean temperatures. Warmer ocean temperatures allow stronger storms to form. These conditions are exacerbated by global forcing mechanisms including El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole, which concentrates warm ocean waters in smaller geographic areas.
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-indian-ocean-spawning-strong-deadly.html

Arctic soils may produce huge methane leak
Arctic soils thought to be thawing faster than anyone had predicted. This threatens to release vast quantities of frozen methane into the atmosphere and transform the northern landscape. “We are watching this sleeping giant wake up right in front of our eyes,” said Merritt Turetsky, an ecologist at the University of Guelph in Canada ... among 14 researchers who argue in the journal Nature that the thaw is happening far faster than anyone had predicted ... has the potential to double what climate scientists call “feedback” – the release of hitherto stored greenhouse gases to fuel yet faster warming.
https://climatenewsnetwork.net/arctic-soils-may-produce-huge-methane-leak/

Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again. And It Will Never End.
“There’s no number of helicopters or trucks that we can buy, no number of firefighters that we can have, no amount of brush that we can clear that will stop this,” Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, told me. “The only thing that will stop this is when the Earth, probably long after we’re gone, relaxes into a more predictable weather state.”
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/los-angeles-fire-season-will-never-end.html

Global Warming: How Hot, Exactly, Is it Going to Get?
The latest climate models are giving disturbing answers
Climate models, like all models, are imperfect representations of the real world. They tell us something useful about the planet we’re changing, but not how much, exactly, we’ll change it. The only way to be sure is to actually double atmospheric carbon dioxide and wait until the planet approaches a new equilibrium, measuring the changes along the way. This is an uncontrolled experiment I hope we will never do. But I’m afraid we’re well on our way to finding out.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/global-warming-how-hot-exactly-is-it-going-to-get/

India’s Local Water Conflicts Are a Looming Threat
Transboundary water issues get all the attention, but India’s internal water crises are also a national security concern.
India is on the brink of an acute water crisis. Water scarcity in India will intensify further as its 1 billion-plus population grows and urbanizes, increasing water demand. A study by the NITI Aayog shows that around 600 million people in India face a severe water shortage, and it’s “only going to get worse” as 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020 ... droughts and floods, contamination and scarcity, overexploitation and inaccessibility, and stakeholder conflicts ... India’s economic and geopolitical stakes in transboundary river basins are recognized as an important component of national security, but domestic issues — even within the same transboundary river basins — are regularly categorized as environmental, economic, social, technological, governance, political, or simply “water” issues – anything but an issue of national security.
https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/indias-local-water-conflicts-are-a-looming-threat

Paris records record May rainfall - and there's more to come
Torrential rain on Friday and Saturday saw almost the entire monthly average of rainfall for May in just 24 hours. According to French weather channel La Chaine Météo, between 8am on Friday and 8am on Saturday 43.8 mm of rain fell in Paris. The average rainfall for the whole of the month of May in the region is 57mm. In total, since the beginning of the month, nearly 80mm of rain has fallen in Paris.
https://www.thelocal.fr/20190513/record-may-rainfalls-reported-in-paris

Antarctic instability 'is spreading'
Almost a quarter of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet can now be considered unstable, according to a new assessment of 25 years of satellite data. By unstable, scientists mean more ice is being lost from the region than is being replenished through snowfall ... Losses from the two largest ice streams - Pine Island and Thwaites - have risen fivefold over the period of the spacecraft observations. And the changes have seen a marked acceleration in just the past decade. The driver is thought to be warm ocean water which is attacking the edges of the continent where its drainage glaciers enter the sea. The British-led study has been presented here in Milan at the Living Planet Symposium, Europe's largest Earth observation conference. It has also been published concurrently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters ... Between 1992 and 1997, the loss rates were 2 billion tonnes per year and 12 billion tonnes per year, respectively. During the latter period of the survey (2012 to 2016), the rate rises to 55 billion tonnes and 76 billion tonnes per annum.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48249287

Violent Storms Multiplying in Germany Lift Costs for Insurers
Rising temperatures attributed to a broader warming of the planet are making convective storms like this one more common across southern Germany. That’s increasing costs for insurers, which shouldered a record $160 billion in climate-related damages last year worldwide and are noticing similar trends in other places, especially the U.S. Midwest. The trend marks a shift for Germany ... essentially more powerful thunderstorms, bringing with them the increased probability of hail, tornadoes and flash flooding that comes with torrential rains. “You can have hundreds of strong thunderstorms develop over one to three days,” Ernst Rauch, chief climatologist at reinsurer Munich Re, said in an interview. “The most severe storms are becoming more frequent.” ... Increasingly turbulent weather in Germany’s south is just another sign of Europe’s largest economy getting ruffled by climate change. A string of summer droughts wrought havoc on crops last summer. A protracted dry spell also depressed water levels in the Rhine River, making it impassable at times to barges carrying materials to industrial plants throughout the region. That contributed to a slowing of German growth in the final quarter of 2018.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-16/violent-storms-multiplying-in-germany-lift-costs-for-insurers

Great Lakes Water Levels at 'Precipice of a Disaster' With Flooding Occurring or Imminent in New York, Ohio and Michigan
[A]lso lakeshore flooding concerns north of the border in Ontario, Canada, where the Toronto Region Conservation Authority has issued a shoreline hazard warning ... Flooding is already occurring in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, as western Lake Erie is in "uncharted territory with near-record-high levels," according to the National Weather Service ... Climate change is also increasing the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events, which could, in turn, boost the levels of prolonged Great Lakes high-water events. "These events are quite consistent with what scientists have been expecting with long-term climate change patterns," Drew Gronewold of the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability told the AP.
https://weather.com/news/news/2019-05-09-great-lakes-high-water-levels-flooding-new-york-ohio-michigan

Fani the longest-lived cyclone in Bay of Bengal: IMD chief
India Meteorological Department’s Director General KJ Ramesh writes about how they prepared for the storm
Cyclone Fani was the longest-lived cyclone in the Bay of Bengal ever observed. The elongated time period of the storm went on for 11 days in the sea and land put together. What made it even more surprising was the fact that it had formed in the pre-monsoon season.
https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/fani-the-longest-lived-cyclone-in-bay-of-bengal-imd-chief-64443

Emergency in Paraguay after flooding from torrential rains
About 40,000 Paraguayans have been forced to evacuate their homes in recent weeks due to rising waters. Officials say that more than 11,000 of the evacuees live in the capital Asuncion ... Other evacuees are spread throughout the landlocked country along the rain-swollen Paraguay River, which originates in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Its normal level is 4 metres, but it has reached 6.75 metres in the capital due to unusually heavy rains since March.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/emergency-paraguay-flooding-torrential-rains-190509080534523.html

A ‘Staggering’ Amount of Meltwater in Greenland
Researcher Santiago de la Peña of Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center posted video on Twitter of raging streams of meltwater carving through the surface of Greenland’s Russell Glacier. “Early May and melt season is already in full swing in western Greenland,” he wrote. “The amount of meltwater at Russell glacier for this time of year is staggering.” ... A study published last month in the journal Nature found that glacier melt is occurring more rapidly than previously thought and accounts for 25-30 percent of observed sea level rise since 1961.
http://glacierhub.org/2019/05/08/russell-glacier-meltwater-greenland/

Arctic heat wave unsettles scientists
On May 29 temperatures in the southern Greenland town of Narsarsuaq hit 24.8 C — the hottest temperature ever recorded in Greenland in May and close to breaking the highest temperature ever recorded in Greenland ... scientists say recording stations in the Arctic and Mongolia have registered levels of carbon dioxide, a gas that warms the atmosphere, which haven’t been as high for 800,000 years.
https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/65674photo_arctic_heat_wave_unsettles_scientists/

There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans
According to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is over 415 parts per million (ppm), far higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens ... some 3 million years ago, when global temperatures were estimated 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than today, CO2 levels are believed to have topped out somewhere between 310 to 400 ppm. At that time, the Arctic was covered in trees, not ice, and summer temperatures in the far north are believed to have reached around 15C (60F).
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/13/health/carbon-dioxide-world-intl/

Wildfires ravage Siberia and Far East of Russia
Walls of fire are burning on both sides of federal R-255 highway from Irkutsk to Angarsk ... videos and pictures show the carnage being wrought ... Residents are warned that due to dry and windy weather rescuers predict high and extremely high probability of more wildfires.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/raging-wildfires-ravage-siberia-and-far-east-of-russia/

Climate change has contributed to droughts since 1900—and may get worse
Using studies of tree rings going back centuries, scientists have unearthed clear evidence that the rise of human-generated greenhouse gases was having an effect on global drought conditions as early as 1900 ... largely confirms what climate models have shown. In the absence of strong historic data on precipitation ... dovetailing of the tree-ring studies, which correlate to soil moisture, with climate models gives scientists the assurance that the computer models are, in fact, correct.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/05/climate-change-linked-drought-past-century-via-tree-rings/

Climate change predicted to wipe $571 billion off property values
[Australia] property market is predicted to have $571 billion wiped from it by 2030 as a result of climate change and extreme weather events
Damage related loss of value would rise to $611 billion by 2050 and $770 billion by 2100 ... report titled Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia's Economy ... said climate change and extreme weather events would send damage costs and insurance premiums up for properties in risk-prone areas, which would cause banks to lend less to these properties as the annual costs of the borrower had risen ... the report analysed 15 million industrial, commercial and residential addresses around the nation.
https://www.coastalnewstoday.com/post/climate-change-predicted-to-wipe-571-billion-off-property-values

The Bank of England lays bare the “very real” trillion-dollar risks of climate change
"Climate change poses significant risks to the economy and to the financial system, and while these risks may seem abstract and far away, they are in fact very real, fast approaching, and in need of action today." That’s how Sarah Breeden began her speech titled “Avoiding the storm: Climate change and the financial system” yesterday. Breeden is the Bank of England’s executive director of International Banks Supervision and she was speaking at the Official Monetary & Financial Institutions Forum in London.
https://qz.com/1596486/climate-change-could-cause-20-trillion-in-losses-says-bank-of-england/

Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements
The permafrost feedback is increasingly positive in warmer climates, while the albedo feedback weakens as the ice and snow melt. Combined, these two factors lead to significant increases in the mean discounted economic effect of climate change: +4.0% ($24.8 trillion) under the 1.5 °C scenario, +5.5% ($33.8 trillion) under the 2 °C scenario, and +4.8% ($66.9 trillion) under mitigation levels consistent with the current national pledges.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09863-x

Rising Sea Levels Are Hurting Home Values in These 40 Cities
As sea levels rise and hurricanes get more and more costly, the effects of climate change are disproportionately felt in some areas of the country ... study analyzes the loss in home values since 2005 ... to identify the U.S. cities most affected by rising sea levels.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/rising-sea-levels-hurting-home-090000627.html
based on reporting at https://www.gobankingrates.com/making-money/economy/how-much-climate-change-will-cost-each-state/
reporting on a study at https://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1362

Sea level rise will cause $7b worth of damage to Wellington unless emissions are drastically cut
The capital hopes to play its part in preventing a 1.4-metre sea level rise that computer models show could decimate Wellington's central city, an area that drives 77 per cent of the city's economy. Although that the sea is not predicted to rise that high until 2140, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report has given the world 11 years to get serious about sorting emission before it is too late to act.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/111968974/sea-level-rise-will-cause-7b-worth-of-damage-to-wellington-unless-emissions-are-drastically-cut

‘Water always wins’: The most expensive parts of Long Beach are most vulnerable to rising seas
In the 90803 ZIP code—which includes Naples, Belmont Shore and the Peninsula—the median home costs nearly $900,000. But large swaths of the area will soon be underwater ... cause of the inundation, Dahl stresses, will not be seasonal storms, but, rather, normal high tides rising higher and reaching farther inland ... The Los Angeles Region Report of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which relies on a scenario characterized by increasing greenhouse gas emissions over time, projects a 1- to 2-feet of sea level rise by 2050, and more extreme projections lead to 8 to 10 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century ... 300,000 homes along the nation’s coastlines could be lost by 2045, with a collective market value of $117.5 billion.
https://lbpost.com/category-climate-change/sea-level-rise-naples-peninsula-belmont-shore/

Failing septic tanks are damaging Florida’s environment and will cost billions of dollars to replace
[B]ecause the water table is rising in parts of the state, many septic tanks aren’t working properly ... failure of septic tanks and old sewage collection systems fed toxic blue-green algae blooms that fouled the air ... “Sea-level rise is increasingly putting us between hell and high water,” Lapointe said ... Miami-Dade County issued a report saying that the county has tens of thousands of septic tanks and that most of them are malfunctioning. The report said it could cost as much as $3 billion.
https://www.theinvadingsea.com/2019/04/19/failing-septic-tanks-are-damaging-floridas-environment-and-will-cost-billions-of-dollars-to-replace/

Is global warming out of our control for the next 30-50 years and, are we REALLY facing mass extinction within our lifetimes?
"You cannot be called an alarmist if there really is something to be alarmed about." 13 reasons we may miss our last chance "window of opportunity" to have any meaningful remaining control of the global warming emergency to prevent mass extinction
1: We are not making anything even close to the required radical cuts in our fossil fuel use
2: It is highly improbable we will ever make the critically needed cuts to our fossil fuel use in time to save ourselves
3: The projected new length of time it will take to move away from global fossil fuel energy generation to green energy generation to replace it
4: Promised new technologies will not save us in time
5: There is still no international consensus or agreement for the critical fossil fuel reduction levels actually needed
6: The citizens of the world rising up as a single powerful voice to demand their politicians act immediately won't happen in time to save us either
7: A seemingly unstoppable continuing increase in average global warming temperature
8: The steady deadly rise of methane in the atmosphere
9: The gross miscalculations of current global warming consequence timetables for many of the 20 worst global warming consequences
10: The near insolvable problem of global warming justice definitions and global warming restitution and aid processes
11: The recent and the projected future crossings of many other global warming tipping points, positive feedback loops and points of no return within the climate system
12: The unconscionable and accelerating effects of the soon to be crossed near-final and final extinction level global warming tipping points
13: The absolutely horrible side effects if we do cut fossil fuel radically
Because of all of the above reasons, based upon its ultimate consequences upon humanity, global warming is, in fact, already out of our meaningful control ... will cause massive biological, economic, political and social collapses and will end the lives of as much as 70 to 90% of humanity in as little as the next 30 to 50 years.
https://www.joboneforhumanity.org/irreversible_global_warming_is_here_now

Canada’s forests haven’t absorbed more carbon than they’ve released since 2001
For years, some Canadians have hid behind the myth that the country isn’t a net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions because of the presence of such vast forests working as our personal atmosphere vacuums. And up until the last two decades, it is true that those forests had the power to sequester in excess of a hundred megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. But that is no longer the case. Natural Resources Canada tracks the estimations of carbon released and captured by the managed forest each year — with managed forests accounting for about 65 per cent of the country’s trees. The results: Canada’s forests have not captured more carbon than they’ve emitted since 2001.
https://thenarwhal.ca/canadas-forests-havent-absorbed-more-carbon-than-theyve-released-since-2001/

Yukon warmest it has been in 13,600 years
A study published in Nature Communications confirms that recent climate warming in the central Yukon region has surpassed the warmest temperatures experienced in the previous 13,600 years, a finding that could have important implications in the context of current global warming trends ... confirms information provided by previous midge studies ... concludes that industrial-era warming has led to current summer temperatures that are unprecedented in the Holocene context, and exceeds all previous maximum temperatures by nearly 2°C.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190410120606.htm

Unexpected Source Fuels Rapid Melt at World’s Biggest Ice Shelf
Part of Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf—the largest ice shelf in the world—appears to be melting 10 times faster than the ice around it. And researchers say a new process, one that was only rarely considered by scientists in the past, is the likely culprit. The findings, published yesterday in the journal Nature Geoscience, point to warm ocean water, heated up by the sun at the surface of the sea, as the driver behind the melting.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/unexpected-source-fuels-rapid-melt-at-worlds-biggest-ice-shelf/

Climate crisis: flooding threat ‘may force UK towns to be abandoned’
Entire communities might need to be moved away from coasts and rivers as the UK takes urgent action to prepare for an average global temperature rise of 4C, the Environment Agency warned ... some areas of the UK and some homes and businesses cannot be protected. “Despite our collective best efforts, we will not always be able to prevent flooding and coastal change happening.”
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/09/climate-crisis-flooding-threat-may-force-uk-towns-to-be-abandoned

Phytoplankton decline coincides with warming temperatures over the last 150 years
[S]cientists at MIT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and elsewhere have found evidence that phytoplankton's productivity is declining steadily in the North Atlantic, one of the world's most productive marine basins.
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-phytoplankton-decline-coincides-temperatures-years.html

Warning: The following truth is not for the faint-hearted
Each of the four videos describes our world after a global warming of 2°C, 3°C, 4°C and more. It also explains why we can barely stop further warming once we have reached a temperature increase of 2°C. Because that is the moment when mutually reinforcing effects will spiral climate change out of control ... Only radical and immediate reduction of greenhouse gases and ultimately the complete and worldwide abandonment of fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest will give us a 50% to 60% chance to keep the earth's temperature below 2°C.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/warning-following-truth-faint-hearted-michael-flammer

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life
Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken ... The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction – all largely as a result of human actions, said the study, compiled over three years by a team of more than 450 scientists and diplomats ... The warning was unusually stark for a UN report that has to be agreed by consensus across all nations.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

Australia's capital cities face water restrictions as dams near 50%
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have seen water levels hit near-decade lows after a hot summer and dry autumn Dry conditions and lower-than-average rainfall are expected to persist through the autumn and into winter, with the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate outlook predicting a “drier than average” May for eastern Australia. It follows a record-breaking summer and the hottest March on record.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/australias-capital-cities-face-water-restrictions-as-dams-near-50

The Last of the Arctic's Old Sea Ice Is on the Verge of Vanishing
National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) ... monthly sea ice update ... just 1.2 percent of ice in the Arctic Ocean is older than four years. Just 35 years ago, ice that was four years old or older made up nearly a third of all Arctic sea ice. Old sea ice is vital to holding Arctic icepack as a whole together ... But as ocean and air temperatures have risen in the Arctic, its extent has shrunk dramatically. As the new report reminds us, old sea ice is now on life support.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-last-of-the-arctics-old-sea-ice-is-on-the-verge-of-1834510753

Greenland melt season officially starts almost a month early
DMI scientists announced the start of the Greenland melt season, the second earliest in a record that stretches back to 1980 ... “On average, the melt season starts around the 26th May, so we are almost a full month earlier this year” ... The warm air mass moving over the Greenland ice sheet has been key to the extensive melting observed this week but substantial melting started already in early April.
http://polarportal.dk/en/news/news/greenland-melt-season-officially-starts-almost-a-month-early/

After the drought is before the drought
"[W]e're starting to get worried that this year will be like the last" ... According to the German Farmer's Association, the 2018 drought destroyed harvests worth between 2 and 3 billion euros ($2.2 to 3.3 billion) ... the soil will take years to recover ... Parched soils are not only a problem for farmers in Germany ... eastern and northern Europe were particularly badly affected by last year's drought, and according to Sergiy Moroz, expert for water and biodiversity at the European Environmental Bureau, they could experience more of the same in the future. "The frequency and intensity of droughts will increase due to climate change," Moroz told DW.
https://www.dw.com/en/after-the-drought-is-before-the-drought/a-48550857

Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn
The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity ... Up to 1 million species are at risk of annihilation ... report is a compilation of reams of academic studies, in this case on subjects ranging from ocean plankton and subterranean bacteria to honey bees and Amazonian botany ... the overview of the state of the world’s nature is expected to provide evidence that the world is facing a sixth wave of extinction. Unlike the past five, this one is human-driven.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/03/climate-crisis-is-about-to-put-humanity-at-risk-un-scientists-warn
see also https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/one-million-species-risk-extinction-threatening-human-communities-around-world-un-report-warns-180972114/

Permafrost is thawing in the Arctic so fast scientists are losing their equipment
Instead of a few centimetres of thaw a year, several metres of soil can destabilize within days
"The ground thaws and swallows it," said Merritt Turetsky, a University of Guelph biologist whose new research warns the rapid thaw could dramatically increase the amounts of greenhouse gases released from ancient plants and animals frozen within the tundra. "We've put cameras in the ground, we've put temperature equipment in the ground, and it gets flooded. It often happens so fast we can't get out there and rescue it." Turetsky's research, published this week in the journal Nature, looks at the rate of permafrost thaw across the Arctic and what its impact could be on attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/permafrost-melting-1.5119767

Great Lakes Ice Cover Has Been Decreasing Since the 1970s, Study Says
The trend for peak ice cover on all of the lakes has gone from about 70 percent in 1973 to roughly 40 percent by 2018, according to data by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) ... According to a separate study by NOAA-funded GLISA, a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, ice coverage declined by 71 percent on all five Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair between 1973 and 2010 ... study noted that waters have warmed significantly from 1973 to 2010.
https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2019-04-24-great-lakes-ice-coverage-declining
reporting on a study at https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/great-lakes-ice-cover-decreasing-over-last-40-years

The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole
A recently published study showed that Earth’s glaciers are now melting five times more rapidly than they were in the 1960s ... the World Meteorological Organization announced that extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year ... Canada is warming at twice the global rate ... if business as usual continues, emissions will only accelerate ... yet another report came out highlighting how oil and gas giants are spending millions of dollars in their ongoing effort to lobby their paid politicians to block policies aimed at addressing climate disruption.
https://truthout.org/articles/the-last-time-there-was-this-much-co2-trees-grew-at-the-south-pole/

Signs of faster melting in world's largest ice shelf
[S]cientists have spent several years building up a record of how the north-west sector of the Ross Ice Shelf interacts with the ocean beneath it. They found that the Sun heats ocean surface water which then flows into a cavity under the shelf causing melt rates to rise ... the Ross Ice Shelf stabilises the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by blocking the ice which flows into it from some of the world's largest glaciers. This in turn has implications for sea-level rise in future.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48107497

Welcome to the Planetary Hospice
The ‘great dying’ cannot be practiced in isolation. Never before have human beings required loving community to the extent that they do now ... we must live life as if every act, every task, and every kindness expressed to one’s self and others might be the last. Live and act with gratitude, generosity, compassion, service and an open heart that is willing to be broken over and over again. It’s time to ask admission to the planetary hospice, and to become hospice workers for the Earth community.
https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/welcome-to-the-planetary-hospice

Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US, study finds
Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires ... a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate. The study, published May 2 in the journal Nature Communications, provides new insight into the magnitude and persistence of forest fire disturbance on critical snow-water resources.
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-forest-snowmelt-western.html

It’s Not Coming, It’s Here: Bill McKibben on Our New Climate Reality [excerpt from his book Falter]
The extra heat that we trap near the planet because of the carbon dioxide we’ve spewed is equivalent to the heat from 400,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every day ... the extra carbon released to date, if it could be amassed in one place, would form a solid graphite column 25 meters in diameter that would stretch from here to the moon. There are perhaps four other episodes in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history where carbon dioxide has poured into the atmosphere in greater volumes, but never at greater speeds — right now we push about 40 billion tons into the atmosphere annually ... This is humanity’s largest accomplishment, and indeed the largest thing any one species has ever done on our planet, at least since the days two billion years ago when cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, killing off much of the rest of the archaic life on the planet. “Faster than expected” is the watchword of climate scientists ... “I’ve never been at a climate conference where people say ‘that happened slower than I thought it would,’” one polar expert observed.
https://lithub.com/its-not-coming-its-here-bill-mckibben-on-our-new-climate-reality

Arctic warming will accelerate climate change and impact global economy
Carbon released into the atmosphere by the increasing loss of Arctic permafrost, combined with higher solar absorption by Earth's surface due to the melting of sea ice and land snow, will accelerate climate change ... A new paper in Nature Communications reveals a combination of these factors has the potential to increase the long-term economic impact of climate change by just under $70 trillion, under mitigation levels consistent with current national pledges to cut carbon emissions ... High emissions scenarios, such as the current business as usual trajectory (BaU) -- expected to lead to around 4°C of warming by 2100 and cause by far the highest impacts on ecosystems and societies -- are also included.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190423114027.htm

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports. The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them ... While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain.
https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/scientists-earth-endangered-by-new-strain-of-fact-resistant-humans

Enough rainforest to fill 30 football pitches destroyed every minute last year
The world lost 12 million hectares of tropical rainforest last year – an area the size of North Korea and the equivalent of 30 football pitches every minute, according to a new report. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” said Frances Seymour, senior fellow at the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI), which led the research based on an analysis of satellite imagery. “The health of the planet is at stake and band aid responses are not enough. The world’s forests are now in the emergency room.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/tropical-rainforest-lost-destroyed-football-pitches-every-minute-a8886911.html

The Dirty Secret Of The World’s Plan To Avert Climate Disaster
“The most important of the IPCC’s projections is that we’re screwed unless we can figure out how to take CO2 out of the atmosphere” ... [But] even if negative emissions of any kind turns out to be feasible technically and economically, it’s hard to see how we can achieve it on a global scale in a scant 13 or even three years, as some scenarios require.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-dirty-secret-of-the-worlds-plan-to-avert-climate-disaster/

Intensifying weather events are driving higher losses for insurers
Across the country, loss costs increased 19% over the previous year.
Extreme weather