Global Warming

30 Year Old Climate Change Warning Vindicated

‘It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.’ – Dr. James Hansen

This sounds like a comment that might have been overheard in Madrid this week, where the U.N. is yet again huddling to discuss the climate crisis.

No doubt similar sentiments were expressed among those delegates in recent days but this was the viewpoint offered as many as three decades ago from NASA scientist James Hansen, who was giving congressional testimony.

Dr. Hansen is considered to be among the first climatologists to sound the alarm on man-made global warming in this context, including charting a projection for just how hot conditions could get by 2019.

As 2019 draws to a close, the year is on course to be among the top three warmest years on record. Data issued this week shows that the world continues to increase the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide it pumps into the air, led by China and India, but it’s not rising as fast as in the previous couple years.

Global Warming

UN Chief Warns of ‘Point of No Return’ on Climate Change

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the world’s efforts to stop climate change have been “utterly inadequate” so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the “point of no return.”

Speaking before the start Monday of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, the U.N. chief said the impact of rising temperatures — including more extreme weather — is already being felt around the world, with dramatic consequences for humans and other species.

He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but “what is lacking is political will.”

Environment

Record Temperature in South Africa

Vioolsdrif, a village in the Northern Cape, has broken a new record for the highest temperature in the country — reaching over 50 degrees Celsius. On Thursday, it reached a new record of 50.1°C and then it broke its own record again on Friday by reaching 53.2°C.

There was an upper high weather system situated over the area that resulted in an increase of temperatures, which is the reason we had a heatwave condition in parts of SA. Planet Earth and Storm Report SA reported that the temperature recorded at the Viooldrif weather station is now the highest yet recorded anywhere in Africa in the modern era.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 65.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 48.3 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

Global Coal Power Generation Falls

Electricity generated from coal-fired plants is set to fall by a record 3% this year, raising chances for slowing global carbon dioxide emissions growth, according to a report released by Carbon Brief.

The global usage rate for coal-fired generation this year is about 54% and suggests that electricity from the plants, which are built to run at or near capacity for extended periods, is more expensive, according to the report, which was written by researchers from several climate research groups, including the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. The decline comes even as new coal-fired generation capacity in places including China and Southeast Asia is rising.

Reindeer Herders at Risk From Vanishing Ice Due to Global Warming

Deep in the Sayan Mountains of northern Mongolia, patches of ice rest year-round in the crooks between hills.

Locals in this high tundra call the perennial snowbanks munkh mus, or eternal ice. They’re central to lives of the region’s traditional reindeer herders, who depend on the snowy patches for clean drinking water and to cool down their hoofed charges in summer months.

Now, a new study led by archaeologist William Taylor suggests that this eternal ice, and the people and animals it supports, may be at risk because of soaring global temperatures. The research team discovered, the once-reliable munkh mus is melting faster than at any time in recent history.

Reindeer are cold-loving animals and can overheat when the weather gets too warm. To compensate, the Tsaatan bring their herds to the ice to give them a break from the heat and the tundra’s abundant insects.

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Largest global assessment of ocean warming impacts

Climate change is reorganizing the life in our oceans in a big way: as waters warm, cold-loving species, from plankton to fish, leave the area and warm water species become more successful. So say an international group of scientists in the most comprehensive assessment of the effects of ocean warming on the distribution fish communities.

The results showed how subtle changes in the movement of species that prefer cold water or warm water, in response to rising temperatures, made a big impact on the global picture.

While the global warming trend was widely seen, the North Atlantic showed the largest rise in average temperature during the time period. However, for fish communities in the Labrador Sea, where the temperature at 100 meters deep can be as much as five degrees Celsius cooler than the surface, moving deeper in the water column allowed the cold-water species to remain successful.

Most of the data collected were targeted surveys of commercial fish stocks, so the changes seen reflect those likely to be seen in fish markets as cold-water fish like cod and haddock decline, while warm-water species like red mullet increase with warming.

There has been a temperature rise of almost one degree Celsius in some parts of the ocean since 1985.

Global Warming

Nitrous Greenhouse Threat

A new study finds that emissions of the ozone-eating greenhouse gas nitrous oxide have increased more than expected.

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research and other institutions found that the increased use of fertilizers containing nitrogen has been the main driver in the increase.

“We see that the N2O emissions have increased considerably during the past two decades, but especially from 2009 onwards,” said author Rona Thompson.

While fertilizer use has made it possible to grow a lot more food, the researchers say it resulted in destruction of stratospheric ozone and further climate change.

Current Fossil Fuel Plans Will Shatter Paris Climate Limits

The world’s top fossil fuel-producing nations are on track to extract enough oil, gas and coal to send global temperatures soaring past the goals of the Paris climate agreement, according to a United Nations report published Wednesday.

If countries follow through on their current plans, they will produce about 50 percent more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be compatible with the international goal of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, the report said.

They would blow past the more ambitious target of keeping warming under 1.5°C, the report found, with countries poised to produce twice as much oil, gas and coal by 2030 than would be allowable to meet that goal.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Mandora, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 55.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 48.3 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.

Global Warming

Venice Floods and Local Government

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Venice regional council’s offices on the city’s Grand Canal were flooded for the first time in history just minutes after officials rejected a plan to combat climate change.

Greenland airport becomes 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. Kangerlussuaq Airport, the country’s main hub, had 11,000 planes landing or departing last year. Permafrost, the layer of soil usually frozen solid, is shrinking as temperatures rise.

Environment

Oxygen bar sells fresh air in pollution-hit New Delhi

With India’s capital engulfed in choking pollution, someone has sniffed an opportunity.

A bar offering fresh puffs of oxygen is proving popular among middle-aged and elderly residents of New Delhi. It was introduced in June but has proven a hit in recent weeks. The bar offers a 15-minute session to inhale a cocktail of oxygen in different flavours, for 500 rupees (€6.32).

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) in Mandora, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 63.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.8 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.

Environment

Locust Infestation – Ethiopia

A Desert Locust infestation has been ravaging crop and pasture-land, as well as trees and other vegetation since June 2019 in parts of Afar, Amhara, Somali and Tigray regions. The swarms have produced hopper bands that have covered more than 174 square kilometers and are consuming approximately 8,700 metric tons of green vegetation every day.

Rift Valley Fever – Sudan

On 10 October 2019, the National IHR Focal Point for Sudan notified WHO of 47 suspected cases of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), including two deaths in Arb’aat Area, Towashan Village, in El Qaneb locality, Red Sea State.

Global Warming

Climate change triggers a 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 (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since preindustrial times, making it one of the fastest-warming spots in the world, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the nonprofit organization Berkeley Earth.

The rising temperatures are starting to shut down the single most dynamic sea ice factory on Earth. The intensity of ice generation in the northwestern Sea of Okhotsk exceeds that of any single place in the Arctic Ocean or Antarctica, and the sea ice reaches a lower latitude than anywhere else on the planet. Its decline has a cascade of consequences well beyond Japan as climate dominoes begin to fall.

When sea ice forms here, it expels huge amounts of salt into the frigid water below the surface, creating some of the densest ocean water on Earth. That water then sinks and travels east, carrying oxygen, iron and other key nutrients out into the northern Pacific Ocean, where marine life depends on it.

As the ice retreats, that nutrient-rich current is weakening, endangering the biological health of the vast northern Pacific – one of the most startling, and least discussed, effects of climate change so far observed.

Global Warming

Economic Effect of Climate Change

Top economists say the economic effects of climate change are just starting to be felt — and they’re likely to start snowballing.

Wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters could harm the nation’s financial backbone, damaging vital electronic payment systems, causing bank failures, and disrupting the economy in myriad unanticipated ways.

The Federal Reserve — arguably the most influential economic body in the world — held its first-ever climate change research conference on Friday, where economists sounded the alarm about the toll the U.S. economy could face.

Among the findings:

Global GDP per capita could fall 7% by 2100 in the absence of climate change mitigation effects, according to a paper presented by Hashem Pesaran, an economist at the University of Southern California.

If countries abide by the Paris Accord, that would bring that loss down to 1%, the paper said.

Extreme heat impacts the productivity of workers. For each degree the temperature rises above above a daily average temperature of 59°F, productivity declines by 1.7% — a figure that Sandra Batten, a senior research economist at the Bank of England, cited in research presented Friday.

Global Warming

Thickest Mountain Glacier Is Melting

Massive and meaty, the Taku Glacier in Alaska’s Juneau Icefield was a poster child for the frozen places holding their own against climate change. As the largest of 20 major glaciers in the region and one of the single thickest glaciers in the world (it measures 4,860 feet, or 1,480 meters, from surface to floor), Taku had been demonstrably gaining mass and spreading farther into the nearby Taku river for nearly half a century, while all of its neighboring glaciers shrank.

In a new pair of satellite photos shared by NASA’s Earth Observatory, the slow decline of Taku Glacier has finally become apparent. Taken in August 2014 and August 2018, the photos show the icy platforms where the glacier meets the river retreating for the first time since scientists began studying Taku, in 1946.

While the shrinkage is subtle for now, the results are nonetheless shocking. According to glaciologist Mauri Pelto, who has studied the Juneau Icefield for three decades, Taku was predicted to continue advancing for the rest of the century. Not only have these signs of retreat arrived about 80 years ahead of schedule, Pelto said, but they also snuff a symbolic flicker of hope in the race to understand climate change. Of 250 mountain (or “alpine”) glaciers that Pelto has studied around the world, Taku was the only one that hadn’t clearly started to retreat.

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Environment

Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago

Sea levels rose 10 metres above present levels during Earth’s last warm period 125,000 years ago, according to new research that offers a glimpse of what may happen under our current climate change trajectory.

The paper, published today in Nature Communications, shows that melting ice from Antarctica was the main driver of sea level rise in the last interglacial period, which lasted about 10,000 years.

Rising sea levels are one of the biggest challenges to humanity posed by climate change, and sound predictions are crucial if we are to adapt.

This research shows that Antarctica, long thought to be the “sleeping giant” of sea level rise, is actually a key player. Its ice sheets can change quickly, and in ways that could have huge implications for coastal communities and infrastructure in future.

Earth’s cycles consist of both cold glacial periods – or ice ages – when large parts of the world are covered in large ice sheets, and warmer interglacial periods when the ice thaws and sea levels rise.

The Earth is presently in an interglacial period which began about 10,000 years ago. But greenhouse gas emissions over the past 200 years have caused climate changes that are faster and more extreme than experienced during the last interglacial. This means past rates of sea level rise provide only low-end predictions of what might happen in future.