Global Warming

Carbon Capture

Researchers are urging governments and industry to develop systems to collect carbon dioxide pollution at power plants and factories, condense it and then pump it into deep wells to prevent the greenhouse gas from worsening climate change.

They say it needs to be a priority to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.

“Carbon capture and storage is going to be the only effective way we have in the short term to prevent our steel industry, cement manufacture and many other processes from continuing to pour emissions into the atmosphere,” said Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University. Research is also underway to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but the process is expensive and would require an enormous investment to curb global heating.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) in Learmonth, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 72.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.8 degrees Celsius) at Shologontsy, Siberia.

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

Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain belt

Future climate change will cause a regionally uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt — a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator. This development may threaten food security for billions of people.

In a study published today in Nature Climate Change, an interdisciplinary team of environmental engineers, Earth system scientists and data science experts stressed that not all parts of the tropics will be affected equally. For instance, the rain belt will move north in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere but will move south in areas in the Western Hemisphere.

According to the study, a northward shift of the tropical rain belt over the eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean will result in future increases of drought stress in southeastern Africa and Madagascar, in addition to intensified flooding in southern India. A southward creeping of the rain belt over the eastern Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean will cause greater drought stress in Central America.

Environment

The planet is dying faster than we thought

Humanity is barreling toward a “ghastly future” of mass extinctions, health crises and constant climate-induced disruptions to society — one that can only be prevented if world leaders start taking environmental threats seriously.

A eam of 17 researchers based in the United States, Mexico and Australia describes three major crises facing life on Earth: climate disruption, biodiversity decline and human overconsumption and overpopulation. Citing more than 150 studies, the team argues that these three crises — which are poised only to escalate in the coming decades — put Earth in a more precarious position than most people realize, and could even jeopardize the human race.

What will that future look like? Nature will be a lot lonelier. Since the start of agriculture 11,000 years ago, Earth has lost an estimated 50% of its terrestrial plants and roughly 20% of its animal biodiversity. If current trends continue, as many as 1 million of Earth’s 7 million to 10 million plant and animal species could face extinction in the near future.

Such an enormous loss of biodiversity would also disrupt every major ecosystem on the planet, with fewer insects to pollinate plants, fewer plants to filter the air, water and soil, and fewer forests to protect human settlements from floods and other natural disasters.

Meanwhile, those same phenomena that cause natural disasters are all predicted to become stronger and more frequent due to global climate change. Overpopulation will not make anything easier. By 2050, the world population will likely grow to ~9.9 billion. This booming growth will exacerbate societal problems like food insecurity, housing insecurity, joblessness, overcrowding and inequality.

Environment

Australia’s “dinosaur trees” afforded special status

A group of exceptionally rare wollemi pine trees in Australia’s Blue Mountains were officially designated an Asset of Intergenerational Significance by state authorities on Friday. Having narrowly avoided extinction during last summer’s bushfire crisis, the designation allows extra protection measures for the trees.

Prior to their discovery in 1994, wollemi pines were known only in fossil records, with evidence suggesting they existed up to 90 million years ago during the late-cretaceous period. The wollemi pines are often described as a living fossil, having been around when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Some of the adult trees are estimated to be up to 1,000 years old with their exact location kept secret from the public.

Wollemi pine

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Learmonth, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 69.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.1 degrees Celsius) at Verkhoyansk, Siberia.

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

Ghastly Future

An international group of scientists warns that Earth is headed for a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate-disruption upheavals” because of ignorance and dithering.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Conservation Science, experts say that the scale of the threat is so great that it’s difficult even for experts to grasp. The report warns that climate-induced mass migrations, more pandemics and conflicts over resources will become inevitable unless urgent action is taken. It asks world leaders to meet the challenges posed by the climate emergency.

Global Warming

Global Warming Heats 2020 to Record Temps

2020 capped off Earth’s hottest recorded decade and tied with 2016 for the hottest year, according to data released today by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a program of the European Commission.

Average global temperatures were about 2.25°F (1.25°C) above the preindustrial average. That 2020 tied 2016 alarmed climate scientists because the 2016 high was fueled in part by a largely natural El Niño cycle, which features above-average equatorial sea surface temperatures across the Pacific and adds more heat to the atmosphere, while 2020 featured a cooling La Niña cycle.

This means, in essence, human-caused global warming overwhelmed the planet’s natural cooling cycle.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will each issue their year-end global temperature data Jan. 14 and are expected to rank 2020 as either the first or second-warmest based on slight differences in measuring.

Global Warming

Native biodiversity collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean

The coastline of Israel is one of the warmest areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, most marine species have been at the limits of their tolerance to high temperatures for a long time — and now they are already beyond those limits. Global warming has led to an increase in sea temperatures beyond those temperatures that Mediterranean species can sustain. Consequently, many of them are going locally extinct.

The research team quantified this local extinction for marine molluscs, an invertebrate group encompassing snails, clams and mussels. They thoroughly surveyed the Israeli coastline and reconstructed the historical species diversity using the accumulations of empty shells on the sea bottom.

The shallow habitats at scuba diving depths are affected most. Here, the researchers were not able to find living individuals of up to 95 per cent of the species whose shells were found in the sediments. The study suggests that most of this loss has occurred recently, presumably in just the last few decades.

Additionally, most of the species still found alive cannot grow enough to reproduce, “a clear sign that the biodiversity collapse will further continue.

Environment

CO2 Fuel

Oxford University researchers say they have found a way to cheaply and simply convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into jet fuel. The technique uses heated citric acid, hydrogen and an iron-manganese-potassium catalyst to turn the CO2 into a fuel that would power jet aircraft. Even though the process would include capturing carbon emissions, the Oxford team says the process could be the most viable option for many commercial airline fleets to go carbon neutral until they can convert to electric propulsion or other greener options.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) in Dampier, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 64.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.3 degrees Celsius) at Toko, Siberia.

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

Tree line on Mt. Fuji reaches new heights

The tree line near the halfway point of 3,776-meter Mount Fuji, considered the uppermost limit where such plants can thrive, has steadily climbed over the past four decades and global warming offers the best explanation, researchers say.

A joint study by Niigata and Shizuoka universities also found that Japanese larch trees, known for their stunted posture as if to hug the wind-swept terrain, stand more upright these days. The only possible explanation appears to be the shift in global warming.

The latest findings show that the upper end of a Japanese larch forest, which defines the timberline, had moved 30 or so meters upward along the slope from 40 years earlier, and the number of trees in the area had also increased.

Environment

Magnetic Mystery

Scientists are struggling to understand a new weakening of Earth’s magnetic field in a region that stretches from South America to Africa and is causing technical problems in some of the satellites orbiting the planet.

The anomaly is allowing the inner Van Allen radiation belt to dip to an altitude of about 120 miles, sometimes exposing satellites to several minutes of higher-than-normal radiation. Astronauts have reported disturbances in their eyesight, known as cosmic ray visual phenomena, when passing through it.

EWCOLOR

Massive Ozone Hole

The ozone hole in the stratosphere above Antarctica reached its annual peak on Oct. 1, which scientists say was the largest and deepest in 15 years. This was in contrast to an unusually small and short-lived ozone hole in 2019, caused by unusual weather conditions.

Global Warming

Greenhouse Earth

Scientists predict that Earth’s atmosphere will soon contain the same high level of carbon dioxide that existed at the peak of the Pliocene Epoch warmth 3 million years ago. That’s when temperatures were 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer and sea levels were 65 feet higher.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 108.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 77.8 degrees Celsius) 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.