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.

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.

Wildlife

Most Animals Are Decreasing In Size As Result Of Global Warming

Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile have succeeded in explaining why ectotherms (animals whose body temperature depends mainly on environmental temperature—that is, most animals) are reducing in size as a result of global warming.

heir study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, offers the first plausible physiological explanation for the general reduction in organism size that has been observed, as a consequence of global warming. Rising temperatures lead to metabolic restrictions which restrict growth—in other words, the animals cannot develop to achieve larger sizes. With increasing size, death due to thermal stress occurs at a lower metabolic rate compared to rest at a non-stressful temperature.

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.

Wildlife

Octopuses Adapt to Climate Change

With the impact of climate change increasing by the day, scientists are studying the ways in which human behavior contributes to the damage. A recent study at Walla Walla University, by a collaboration of researchers from Walla Walla University and La Sierra University, examined the effects of acidic water on octopuses, potentially bringing new insight into both how our activities impact the world around us, and the way that world is adapting in response.

The study focused on the metabolic rate of octopuses exposed to water acidified by carbon dioxide, and the changes it made to the animals. CO2 is a key indicator of the growing acidity of our oceans because much of the gas released into the air by humans is dissolving into the seawater.

For instance, studies on cuttlefish show no significant change in their metabolism after exposure to increased OA, while squid subjected to the same conditions showed a reduction in aerobic metabolism, indicating reduced oxygen circulation in the subjects. The results demonstrated a surprising amount of adaptability in the subjects.

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.

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.

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.

Global Warming

Recalculated Heat

The world may have less time than expected to curb carbon emissions and avert a life-threatening climate catastrophe after it was discovered that manmade greenhouse gases may have already warmed the planet by 18% more than predicted.

“Climate change hasn’t suddenly got worse. It’s just our estimate of how much warming has taken place has improved,” says Tim Osborn of Britain’s University of East Anglia.

The findings come as 2020 appears to be vying with 2019 as the second-warmest year on record.

The British Met Office predicts 2021 is still likely to at least be among the six warmest years on record, chilled a bit by the ongoing moderate La Niña ocean-cooling in the Pacific.

Global Warming

Arctic Report Card 2020

The average annual land-surface air temperature in the Arctic measured between October 2019 and September 2020 was the second-warmest since record-keeping began in 1900, and was responsible for driving a cascade of impacts across Arctic ecosystems during the year.

Extremely high temperatures across Siberia during spring 2020 resulted in the lowest June snow extent across the Eurasian Arctic observed in the past 54 years.

The 2020 Arctic minimum sea ice extent reached in September was the second-lowest in the satellite record. Overall thickness of the sea ice cover is also decreasing as Arctic ice has transformed from an older, thicker, and stronger ice mass to a younger, thinner more fragile ice mass in the past decade.

Extreme wildfires in the Sakha Republic of northern Russia during 2020 coincided with unparalleled warm air temperatures and record snow loss in the region.

Pacific Arctic bowhead whales have rebounded in the past 30 years, due to increases in both local plankton blooms and transport of increased krill and other food sources northward through the Bering Strait, a signal of long-term warming in the Arctic Ocean.

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Wildlife

Deadly Skin Disease Affects Dolphins

In collaboration with Australian researchers, The Marine Mammal Center has found that the increasing frequency and severity of storm systems drastically decrease the salinity of coastal waters, causing fatal skin disease in dolphins worldwide.

Scientists at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA — the largest marine mammal hospital in the world — and international colleagues have identified a novel skin disease in dolphins that is linked to climate change. The study is a groundbreaking discovery, as it is the first time since the disease first appeared in 2005 that scientists have been able to link a cause to the condition that affects coastal dolphin communities worldwide. Due to the decreased water salinity brought upon by climate change, the dolphins develop patchy and raised skin lesions across their bodies — sometimes covering upwards of 70 percent of their skin.

 

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Global Warming

Global warming has profoundly transformed Arctic in just 15 years

The Arctic as we once knew it, an inhospitable, barely accessible and icebound place, is gone. Climate change has transformed it into a region that can heat up to 100 degrees, is beset by ferocious wildfires, and is covered in permafrost that is no longer permanent. The sea ice cover that has long defined the Far North is fast disappearing. This is the picture from a new international scientific assessment released Tuesday.

The Arctic as a whole is warming at nearly three times the rate of the rest of the world, owing to feedback loops between snow, ice and land cover. This rapid warming, studies have shown, is largely the result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.

This year, the biggest Arctic climate extremes were the persistent, dramatically warmer than average conditions in the Siberian Arctic, which had a domino effect that led to record-low sea ice in the adjacent Kara and Laptev Seas, a wildfire season that defied historical norms, melting permafrost and changes in wildlife populations.

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Global Warming

The Climate Change Performance Index 2021

The CCPI analyzes and compares climate protection across 57 countries (plus EU as a whole) with the highest emissions. Together these countries account for 90 percent of global emissions. The index aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enable comparison of mitigation efforts and progress made by individual countries.

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