Global Warming

Consensus: Humans Caused Climate Change

More than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a new survey of 88,125 climate-related studies.

The research updates a similar 2013 paper revealing that 97% of studies published between 1991 and 2012 supported the idea that human activities are altering Earth’s climate. The current survey examines the literature published from 2012 to November 2020 to explore whether the consensus has changed.

The results of these studies demonstrate the absolute absurdity of climate change deniers.

Global Warming

Climate Change Famine – Madagascar

Climate change is battering the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. This is the fourth year that drought has devastated southern Madagascar. Now more than one million people, or two out of five residents, of the region require emergency food aid in what the United Nations is calling a “climate change famine.”

Temperatures in southern Africa are rising at double the global rate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says. Cyclones, already more frequent in Madagascar than any other African country, are likely getting stronger as the earth warms.

Climate Change Pervasive

Climate change could already be affecting 85 percent of the world’s population, an analysis of tens of thousands of scientific studies found.

The analysis, released on Monday, was carried out by a team of researchers that used machine learning to comb through vast troves of research published between 1951 and 2018 and found some 100,000 papers that potentially documented evidence of climate change’s effects on the Earth’s systems.

The study found 80 percent of the globe – home to 85 percent of the world’s population, had generated impact studies that matched predictions for temperature and precipitation changes due to global warming.

“The burning of fossil fuels is killing us. Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity,” the WHO said on Monday.

Global Warming

Water Warnings

Much of the world appears unprepared for the hazards that global heating will bring, with increased flooding, hurricanes and drought.

A new report by the World Meteorological Organization says that well over half of the 100 countries surveyed need better weather forecasting systems to cope. The report documents that since 2000, flooding disasters rose by 134% compared with the last two decades of the 20th century. Drought-related disasters rose by 29% during the same period.

Asia suffered most from increased flooding, while African nations recorded the most drought-related deaths. A quarter of all cities around the world already experience water shortages.

Global Warming

Climate Scientists Win 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for Linking Global Warming and Human Activity

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics recognizes three scientists for their work in weather and climate modeling and the human effects on global warming.

Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi received the prestigious award on Tuesday at the annual event in Stockholm. They received the award for demonstrating how increased levels of carbon dioxide produced by human activity warmed the earth’s surface and creating climate models that linked weather and climate.

Global Warming

Cloth Sheets Protect Glacier from Melting

A cloth sheet used to shield part of the Helags glacier in northern Sweden over the summer saved at least 3.5 metres in height from melting, according to organisers of the private initiative, the first of its kind in Scandinavia.

Global warming is causing glaciers to shrink all over the world. For example, the glacier on Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, has lost two metres in height over the past year alone.

The cloth experiment was performed on the Helags glacier, on Sweden’s highest mountain south of the Arctic Circle. The sheet actually protected 3.5-4 metres from melting.

A larger experiment will be tried to reproduce the results of a bigger scale.

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Global Warming

Global Warming Kills 14 percent of Corals Worldwide

Global warming helped wipe out 14 percent of the world’s coral reefs between 2009 and 2018, the largest-ever survey of coral health has found, warning that more of the vibrant underwater ecosystems were likely to die if oceans warm further.

Corals in South Asia and the Pacific, around the Arabian Peninsula, and off the coast of Australia, were the hardest hit, according to the report which was released on Tuesday, compiled by more than 300 scientists in the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

The report spanned data for 40 years, 73 countries and 12,000 sites and found the total area destroyed equal to about 11,700 square kilometres (4,517 square miles).

Besides anchoring marine ecosystems, they also provide food, protection from storms and shoreline erosion and jobs for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The study looked at 10 coral reef-bearing regions around the world and found that reef loss was mainly the result of coral bleaching, but also overfishing, unsustainable coastal development and declining water quality.

Global Warming

Earth is Dimming due to Climate Change

Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study.

Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine—the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon—as well as satellite measurements to find that there has been a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance, or albedo, over the past two decades.

The Earth is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago, with most of the drop occurring in the last three years of earthshine data.

Specifically, there has been a reduction of bright, reflective low-lying clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean in the most recent years. That’s the same area, off the west coasts of North and South America, where increases in sea surface temperatures have been recorded because of the reversal of a climatic condition called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The dimming of the Earth can also be seen in terms of how much more solar energy is being captured by Earth’s climate system. Once this significant additional solar energy is in Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, it may contribute to global warming, as the extra sunlight is of the same magnitude as the total anthropogenic climate forcing over the last two decades.

Global Warming

Melting Polar Ice Warps Earth’s Crust

As the polar ice sheets melt, the process is not just raising sea levels – it’s also warping the underlying surface of Earth, a new study reveals, and some of the effects can be seen across thousands of miles.

What’s happening is that Earth’s crust is rising and spreading as the weight of the ice across Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic Islands gets lifted. The movement isn’t huge, averaging less than a millimeter a year, but it’s there and it covers a lot of ground.

The changes in the Earth’s crust may lead to altered tectonic movements over time, further affecting how the ice continues to melt.

Ozone Hole

The annual hole in the layer of stratospheric ozone over Antarctica has surged in size to now cover an area larger than the continent itself. Stratospheric ozone helps protect the Earth’s surface from dangerous ultraviolet radiation.

While a worldwide ban on the chemicals responsible for ozone depletion is showing signs of helping the hole to heal, scientists say it will still take decades because those chemicals are slow to break down. The European Space Agency says this year’s hole is now larger than 75% of those since the late 1970s. The ozone holes typically reach their largest size between mid-September and mid-October.

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Climate Change Fuels Migration – Guatemala

The agricultural economy of Guatemala has been hit by intense droughts alternating with devastating floods – two extremes made worse by climate change.

In Guatemala, years of severe drought interspersed with tropical storms, Hurricanes Eta and Iota last year and other heavy precipitation events have not only destroyed crops but also battered the land. Plants no longer grow and the soil remains infertile. This situation has caused severe food insecurity where almost half of children under five years old suffer malnutrition.

In the result, people are migrating away from rural areas to cities and other countries where prospects to earn a living are more favourable. While there is no clear definition, legal or otherwise, on who is a climate migrant, climate change is rarely the main reason why someone decides to leave their home, but it’s almost certainly a compounding factor in many cases.

Global Warming

Record-Breaking Carbon Emissions

The amount of carbon emitted from severe wildfires that tore across many parts of the Northern Hemisphere this summer broke records, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service published Tuesday.

Intense blazes, including fires in hotspots in the Mediterranean, North America and Siberia, let off more than 2.7 billion metric tons of carbon over the summer, with July and August both breaking monthly records for emissions from fires. More than half of July’s emissions could be put down to fires in North America and Siberia.

Europe experienced its hottest summer on record this year and the Mediterranean also broke temperature records by large margins, as did parts of the Arctic and Canada.

Meanwhile, wildfires in the Arctic — a region that has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet since 2000 — released 66 million tons of CO2 between June and August, Copernicus said.

Global Warming

Oil Should Remain in the Ground

A new study says that oil and gas production around the world must fall by 3% each year, with 58% of known petroleum reserves remaining in the ground, to hold global heating to the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal in the Paris Agreement.

“There’s a good likelihood the rates of decline are going to have to be even larger, and the total amount of carbon that’s going to stay in the ground is also going to be larger,” said James Price at University College London, involved in the analysis.

While some oil companies have cut their plans for future oil and gas extraction as they transition to low-carbon energy, Price says the outlook is bleak for cooperation from countries that rely on revenue from oil and gas.

Global Warming

World now sees twice as many days over 50C

The number of extremely hot days every year when the temperature reaches 50C has doubled since the 1980s, a global BBC analysis has found. They also now happen in more areas of the world than before, presenting unprecedented challenges to human health and to how we live.

The total number of days above 50C (122F) has increased in each decade since 1980. On average, between 1980 and 2009, temperatures passed 50C about 14 days a year.

The number rose to 26 days a year between 2010 and 2019. In the same period, temperatures of 45C and above occurred on average an extra two weeks a year.

“The increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels,” says Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

Global Warming

Ice Persists in the Northwest Passage, Despite Global Warming

For centuries, explorers have tested the icy waters of the Arctic, looking for sea routes through the cluster of islands north of mainland Canada. Such a route, known as the Northwest Passage, can dramatically shorten the journey between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The decline of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has made this passage increasingly viable. But as this image shows, it’s still not always smooth sailing.

Part of the “southern route”—one of two main routes most feasible for the passage of large ships. Since about 2006, the Northwest Passage has become navigable for a short period late in most summers. So far this year, that hasn’t quite happened.

Northwest Passage August 2021 Annotated

Global Warming

Dwindled Giant

South America’s once- mighty Paraná River is now at its lowest level since 1941, causing thousands of acres of wetlands to dry up as well as threatening public water supplies and the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers.

Experts say they don’t know if this is part of a natural cycle or climate change. But there has been a three-year period of below-normal rainfall at the river’s source in southern Brazil. Low water levels have also created a 50% drop in hydroelectric power at generating plants along the Argentina-Paraguay border.

Global Warming

Polluters Are Trying to Ensure They’re Never Held Responsible for Climate Change

Last week, Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc from Louisiana to New York — but that wasn’t the only part of the country or world experiencing extreme weather events. The day before Ida raged through New Orleans, fire tornadoes blazed in California, a state currently grappling with more than a dozen active wildfires. The entire Pacific Northwest has been plagued by drought and heat waves all summer. The turmoil hasn’t been limited to North America. Italy, Lebanon, Siberia, Spain, Turkey, and Greece have been experiencing wildfires, while the Chinese province of Shaanxi has been struggling with extreme flooding and landslides.

The culprit is easily identified: man-made climate change. In recent years, “attribution science,” or the science of identifying causal connections between climate change and individual weather events, has become much more accurate. And last month, for the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserted that human activity is the driving force behind planetary warming. “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land,” noted the new report.

According to the well-established “polluter pays” legal principle, those responsible for this warming should be held liable for the cost. Sure enough, the fossil fuel industry has increasingly found itself in the legal crosshairs of governments, impacted communities, students, and activists all over the world, especially in light of investigations showing that companies like Exxon knew about the dangers of climate change decades ago, did little to address it, and even misled the public on the dangers.

According to a January report from the UN’s Environment Programme, the number of climate change cases filed against countries and corporate actors nearly doubled in the past few years, with at least 1,550 cases filed as of July 2020. In the United States alone, twenty-four climate lawsuits — including some related to climate change–fueled wildfires — are currently moving through the courts. In February, the International Bar Association even released a model for litigants to pursue legal action related to climate change.

But the biggest polluters have yet to face meaningful consequences for planetary destruction — and it remains to be seen if they ever will. As efforts mount to hold polluters accountable, fossil fuel companies and other corporate interests are working overtime to leverage the US court and political system to avoid responsibility for the climate crisis — and offload the costs of environmental damage onto taxpayers.

Wildlife

Animals are ‘shape-shifting’ as a response to climate change

New review of existing research done by the authors of Trends in Ecology & Evolution, show some animals are adapting to climate change by changing their body size.

Research done on more than 30 animals show that average body size is decreasing while appendages and limbs, such as tails, beaks, and legs are growing for some animals. It’s suggested this is in order to adapt to a warming world caused by climate change. A smaller body size holds onto less heat and therefore keeps the animal cooler. Increased surface area though from a larger appendage now allows for better cooling and easier regulation of body temperature. This means larger appendages would be more advantageous in warmer climates than in cooler ones.

Australian parrots were found to have up to a 10% increase in beak surface area since 1871. Shrews and bats were also found to have an increase in ear, tails, legs and wing size as the climate warmed.