Environment

The Dead Sea is Dying

The Dead Sea is the lowest exposed place on Earth. It is 10 times saltier than the ocean. So you don’t sink in it. You float. The mud and the waters are full of minerals – great therapeutic for your skin. But the Dead Sea is dying. The lake level is dropping 4 feet every single year. The cause is that in the last several decades, the freshwater sources that feed into the Dead Sea have been diverted for drinking water and irrigation. Also, Israeli and Jordanian companies pump out and evaporate Dead Sea water to harvest its rich minerals for export. Cavities along the shore open up into sinkholes.

Climate change makes this worse. The area is getting hotter. Rainfall is dropping. Populations are growing, and there’s not enough water for drinking and irrigation, let alone for saving the Dead Sea.

Global Warming

The warming Arctic Ocean is bringing more snowfall to Siberia

Global warming has increased the evaporation and retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The climate change-induced impacts in the Arctic Ocean could be responsible for an increase in snow cover in Siberia, a new study has suggested.

Enhanced evaporation deposits more moisture in the Arctic atmosphere, which makes its journey towards the western parts of Siberia where the moisture is deposited as snow.

It was also found that increased snow cover in western Russia increased the risk of summer heat waves in Europe and Northeast Asia. More research needs to be done to fully understand the interplay for global weather effects consequent on a rapidly warming Artic.

Environment

Reproduction in Crisis

Drops in sperm counts of more than 60% in North American, European and Australian men between 1973 and 2018 means humans could face a reproductive crisis.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction Update, researchers warn the decline is accelerating and that declines were also occurring in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. It’s unclear what might be behind the apparent trend, but exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals or other environmental factors could be factors.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 44.0 degrees Celsius (111 degrees F) at Rivadavia, Salta, Argentina.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 51.0 degrees Celsius (-60 degrees F) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

How China Avoids Paying for Climate Damage

In 1992, the United Nations classified China as a developing country, as hundreds of millions of its citizens lived in poverty.

A lot has changed since then: China is now the world’s second-largest economy and the biggest annual emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gases. Average Chinese today are 34 times richer and nearly four times more polluting. But the classification has stayed the same for the past three decades, frustrating diplomats from developed nations who say it has allowed Beijing to avoid paying its fair share to help poor countries cope with the ravages of climate change.

Environment

Unabated Carbon Is Shrinking Earth’s Upper Atmosphere

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere could exacerbate efforts to clean up our increasingly cluttered shell of orbiting space junk.

According to two new studies, the greenhouse gas has significantly contributed to the contraction of the upper atmosphere. This contraction has been hypothesized for decades; now, for the first time, it’s been actually observed. Some of the observed shrinkage is normal, and will bounce back; but the contribution made by CO2 is, scientists say, probably permanent.

This means that defunct satellites and other bits of old technology in low Earth orbit is likely to remain in place longer due to the reduction of atmospheric drag, cluttering up the region and causing problems for newer satellites and space observations.

Environment

Huge Undeclared Gas Faring Emissions

Major oil companies are not declaring a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The BBC found millions of tonnes of undeclared emissions from gas flaring at oil fields where BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell work.

Flared gases emit a potent mix of carbon dioxide, methane and black soot which pollute the air and accelerate global warming.

The BBC has also found high levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals in Iraqi communities near oil fields where there is gas flaring. These fields have some of the highest levels of undeclared flaring in the world.

Global Warming

Red Sea Coral Reefs Defy Climate Change

The vast majority of the world’s coral reefs are likely to be severely damaged in the coming decades if the planet keeps warming at its current rate.

But the wildly colourful coral reefs in the waters outside the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, where the annual United Nations climate conference is taking place, are an anomaly: They can tolerate the heat, and perhaps even thrive in it, making them some of the only reefs in the world that have a chance of surviving climate change.

Global Warming

Top 3 Carbon Emitters

Central to the COP27 discussions in Egypt is a question: Who is responsible for climate change? The issue is complicated, but a few pieces of data about current and past emissions can begin to answer it.

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Blocking the Sun

Climate experts and activists have directed intense criticism at COP27 for being sponsored by the likes of Coca-Cola, the world’s leading plastic polluter.

On Oct. 13, the White House announced that it was funding a five-year-research plan into one of the most controversial proposals for fighting climate change out there: geoengineering, or the technologies and innovations that can be used to artificially modify the Earth’s climate including schemes to artificially block the Sun.

Climate experts have repeatedly warned against tampering with the Earth’s natural order to achieve short term, opportunistic climate goals. Such tampering is a sure road to extinction of all life on the planet.

Global Warming

Greenland Ice Loss

A new study finds that Greenland’s ice sheet is disappearing faster and sliding into the sea more quickly than earlier predicted, threatening greater sea level rises. “It’s not something that we expected,” said Danish glaciologist Shfaqat Abbas Khan. ”Greenland and Antarctica’s contributions to sea level rise in the next 80 years will be significantly larger than we have predicted until now.”

The main contributor to Greenland’s ice loss is the increasing flow of two fast-moving glaciers, which drain about 12% of the interior ice sheet into the sea.

Earth’s Thermostat

Earth appears to have a climate-stabilising process that keeps global temperatures within a habitable range over the long term. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at a process called “silicate weathering,” which over hundreds of thousands of years draws carbon dioxide out of the air and stores it in ocean floor sediment.

This helps explain how life on Earth has survived dramatic global temperature swings in the past. “On the one hand, it’s good because we know that today’s global warming will eventually be cancelled out through this stabilising feedback,” said study author Constantin Arnscheidt. “But on the other hand, it will take hundreds of thousands of years to happen, so not fast enough to solve our present-day issues.”

Emissions Rise Once Again

As leaders met in Egypt to find a way to curb carbon emissions, a comprehensive study finds that instead of declining, carbon emissions will reach yet another record high by the end of 2022. A report by the Global Carbon Project says there are no signs of the decline needed to meet the warming limit goal of 1.5 degrees C.

It projects fossil fuel CO2 emissions will rise another 1% worldwide this year, while China’s emissions are, in contrast, likely to drop by 1% in 2022. “If governments respond by turbocharging clean energy investments and planting, not cutting down, trees, global emissions could rapidly start to fall,” said Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, who was part of the study.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 42.0 degrees Celsius (107 degrees F) at Rivadavia, Salta, Argentina.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 56.0 degrees Celsius (-69 degrees F) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Population – 8 Billion People

There are now eight billion humans on the planet. A baby born somewhere on Tuesday will be the world’s eight billionth person, according to a projection by the United Nations. The UN attributes the growth to human development, with people living longer thanks to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of higher fertility rates, particularly in the world’s poorest countries — most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa — putting their development goals at risk.

Population growth has also magnified the environmental impacts of economic development. But while some worry that eight billion humans is too many for planet Earth, most experts say the bigger problem is the overconsumption of resources by the wealthiest people.

Environment

Efforts to Save the Giant Sequoias

Devastating fires over the last three years in California have endangered the limited number of giant sequoias to the point where scientists are cloning the huge trees and planting them farther north where climate change may produce suitable growing conditions. Preliminary surveys found that in a two year period, 2020 and 2021, almost 20 percent of all giant sequoias has been lost to wildfires.

Global Warming

Climate Change – The Devastating Toll On Africa’s Animals

Climate change has produced a number of threats to wildlife. Over time, changing rainfall patterns have transformed habitats and forced animals to move. Increasing temperatures are causing mass die-off events during heat waves and making it hard for animals to find food.

Drought is recurring in parts of the continent. The increased frequency means there’s little or no time to recover before the next one occurs. The wildlife in some of these regions lives alongside people who are also struggling to survive and keep their livestock alive. This puts people and wildlife into conflict as they compete for diminishing sources of water and food.

Climate change can also strongly influence the physiology, behaviour and breeding success of animals. Over the past two decades, the Horn of Africa – specifically Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya – has experienced more intense and frequent droughts. Drought adds to the pressure on resources like water and pasture. This makes livestock and wildlife more susceptible to malnutrition, disease, mass mortalities and competition with each other over resources.

Gabon is home to some of the highest densities of forest elephants. Many of them live in Lopé National Park, a 5,000km² protected area. The condition of these elephants has declined by 11% since 2008 due to a massive collapse in tree-fruiting events.

For birds in arid zones, rising temperatures pose a significant problem. They usually breed in response to rainfall, which often occurs during the hottest time of the year. And birds are mostly active during the day, when they are exposed to the sun’s heat. This is when their vital processes for reproduction take place – such as territorial defence, courtship, finding food for their young and attending the nest.

Breeding attempts of the Kalahari Hornbill all failed when average daily maximum air temperatures exceeded 35.7°C. In the Kalahari, air temperatures have already risen more than 2°C in a few decades. At this rate, by 2027, these birds will not breed at all at this site. They will quickly become locally extinct.

Global Warming

COP27 Climate Conference

Data shows that fossil fuel lobbyists outnumber almost every national delegation at COP27. Campaigners say that “Those perpetuating the world’s fossil fuel addiction should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference”.

UN chief António Guterres told those attending the COP27 climate summit in Egypt that the world must quickly cooperate to curb global heating or face “collective suicide.”

He also described the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) provisional 2022 State of the Global Climate report as a “chronicle of chaos” because it details the catastrophic speed of a changing climate that is devastating lives and livelihoods on every continent. Since little is being done to eliminate carbon emissions and reduce the likelihood of more climate disasters and extreme weather events around the world, Guterres says there must be a rush to develop early warning systems to prepare before they strike. “We must answer the planet’s distress signal with action — ambitious, credible climate action,” he urged.

Climate Refugees

Latin America’s first residents to be moved by the government due to rising sea levels will soon abandon Panama’s Gardi Sugdub Island as it is slowly engulfed by the Caribbean.

“When the tide goes up, the water enters some houses and the people have to move their belongings to higher ground,” said local teacher Pragnaben Mohan. Students and teachers on the tightly packed small island already have to wade through floodwaters with rubber boots at times. The move to modern homes in the new mainland community of La Barriada late next year has been planned for more than a decade, according to The Wall Street Journal. Three other nearby islands will also soon have to be evacuated