Global Warming

Climate Disasters

Many of the extreme weather events so far this year, such as blistering heat waves and the catastrophic flooding in parts of India, Bangladesh and China, can be directly linked to global heating, scientists say.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research: Climate, an international team says that every heat wave occurring today is more intense due to climate change. The team reports that such heat waves are now five times more likely on average than in pre-industrial times. However, the World Weather Attribution group says the one in April that baked India and Pakistan was made 30 times more likely by climate change. The report says attributing drought and wildfires to a warming world is far more challenging.

Global Warming

Northwest Passage

Melting Arctic sea ice during summer may soon become so pervasive if carbon emissions are not drastically curbed that new shipping lanes not controlled by Russia will open up. Current Russian law requires that all vessels passing through the Northern Sea Route off Siberia in summer pay tolls, be piloted by Russians and provide advance notice of their plans to use the route.

But a new study by Brown University finds that there will soon be shorter, more eco-friendly maritime routes that bypass Russian control. Arctic shipping routes between Asia and Europe are 30% to 50% shorter than using the Suez and Panama canals, and are an estimated 14 to 20 days faster.

Global Warming

Climate change is causing an increase in desertificaton

Climate change has caused an increase in desertification. The consequence for countries such as Mauritania is a significant drop in the agricultural production of some regions, leaving farmers struggling to grow enough food to eat or sell. The region of Guidimakha used to have significant rainfall, up to 1600mm in the 1990s, now rainfall barely reaches 400mm.

Politicians and experts met last week in Madrid to discuss ways to tackle drought and the increasing spread of deserts across the globe.

Global Warming

Tropical Trees Are Dying Twice As Fast Due to Climate Change

The results of a long-term international study published in Nature on May 18th, 2022 show that tropical trees in Australia’s rainforests have been dying at a rate twice as high as before since the 1980s, presumably due to climate impacts. According to this study, as the drying effect of the environment has increased due to global warming, the mortality rates of tropical trees have doubled over the last 35 years.

Global Warming

Arctic Sea Ice Levels

Arctic sea ice has been much slower to melt this spring than in the last 10 years, the result of temperatures being closer to the 1981 to 2010 average than the record warmth mainly experienced this century.

Ice coverage in May was almost 5 million square miles, with Hudson Bay, the Beaufort Sea, waters of Arctic Canada and the eastern Siberian Sea still mainly frozen at a time when the ice should have been melting. While the June 1 sea ice extent was the highest of the last nine years, it was still 16,000 square miles lower than the 1981 to 2010 average and the 16th lowest ever recorded for the date.

Global Warming

Climate change: Green energy ‘stagnates’ as fossil fuels dominate

A new study says that the transition to renewables, in essence, has stalled. The use of coal, oil and gas continues to dominate total energy consumption. The share of renewable energy has moved in the last decade from 10.6% to 11.7%, but fossil fuels, all coal and gas have moved from 80.1% to 79.6% showing the situation is stagnating.

While renewable energy had reached 10% of global electricity production in 2021, the problems lie in challenging areas such as transport. Cars, lorries, ships and airplanes account for 32% of total final energy consumption, but green energy only had a 3.7% share last year.

As energy prices have risen for consumers, some countries, including the UK, have imposed new taxes on the profits made by oil and gas producers. However, many nations have also enacted new subsidies for fossil fuels. We’re spending globally $11m per minute on subsidising fossil fuel. In 2020, this was 7% of the global GDP.

This obviously creates a system which is unbalanced, because even though renewable energy is an economic alternative to fossil fuels, it’s not playing in a fair market.

The world’s largest trees are struggling to survive climate change

They are the largest trees in the world, living monuments with massive trunks and towering canopies that can thrive for 3,000 years. But ancient sequoia trees, which have been decimated by severe wildfires around California’s Sierra Nevada, are struggling to keep up with ever worsening conditions. And this summer, they could face their worst fate yet.

The trees, which grow in a narrow band of the Sierra Nevada, are accustomed to frequent wildfires — their tree rings show fire recurring every six to 30 years. But the worsening intensity of recent blazes have been too much for them to handle. Since 2020, three fires have resulted in the loss of 13 to 19 percent of the entire population. In August 2020, the Castle Fire killed up to 10,600 trees. And as many as 3,637 sequoias were killed or will ultimately die as a result of the September 2021 Windy and KNP Complex fires in the southern Sierra Nevada, according to the National Park Service.

Sequoias have thick bark that can withstand lower-intensity fire, and their high canopies are usually above the flames, but recent fires are reaching and consuming the canopy.

The southern Sierra, hard hit during the 2012-2016 drought, has become an epicenter for tree mortality. Drought-weakened trees, particularly pine and cedar, were killed by insects during those years, and the effects of the past two years of extreme drought are also becoming apparent. Given record-setting dryness in 2022, another significant die-off is possible this year. Hotter and longer fire seasons due to climate change are exacerbating already volatile forest conditions.

Global Warming

Satellite Surveillance used to Spot Methane Leaks

Scientists have for the first time used satellite data to detect a major offshore leak of the potent greenhouse gas methane. The findings add a crucial tool to an expanding space-based arsenal for pinpointing previously invisible methane plumes from the oil and gas industry.

The satellite data identified a plume from an oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico that spewed some 40,000 tonnes over a 17-day period in December. The platform, near Campeche in southern Mexico, is in one of the country’s biggest oil producing fields.

Global Warming

Massive Antarctica glaciers have melted the most in at least 5,500 years

The Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers have experienced unprecedented ice loss over the past 5,500 years, according to new scientific research, suggesting the retreat could be irreversible.

The two glaciers, both part of the west Antarctic ice sheet, originated in the mid-Holocene period, roughly 7,000 to 5,000 years ago, and have remained stable until very recently. That part of Antarctica is retreating and thinning quickly, with the two glaciers melting underneath given deep, warm currents.

The melting of the glaciers could trigger extensive ice loss in that part of Antarctica, which could contribute as much as 3.4 meters to global sea level rise over the next few centuries.

Global Warming

Alien species are moving across oceans faster, accelerated by climate change

Oceans and coastlines have been subjected to human use for centuries. But the effects of human activity on the oceans are now more extensive, with the resulting changes happening more rapidly than ever before.

It is hard to find a spot in the ocean that has not been invaded by an alien species. Shipping is a big contributor to this process as over 90% of the world’s trade occurs via shipping.

The marine environment is changing too: ocean temperatures, salinity, chemistry, sea levels, ice content and weather patterns are all being altered as a result of climate change. These changes in oceanic environments are bound to affect biological invasions.

A recent paper found that climate change is likely to lead to more marine invasions because it will shift which species are moved, how they are moved and where they are moved to.

Global Warming

Earth’s CO2 level passes a new climate milestone

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in May were 50 percent higher than during the pre-industrial era, reaching levels not seen on Earth for about four million years, the main US climate agency said on Friday.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the threshold of 420 parts per million (ppm), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Last May, the rate was 419ppm, and in 2020, 417ppm.

The level now is comparable to what it was between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when CO2 levels were near or above 400ppm, the NOAA said. At that time, sea levels were between five and 25 metres higher than now, high enough to submerge many of today’s major cities. Large forests also occupied parts of the Arctic, according to studies.

Global Warming

Global Warming affects the Alps

Global warming has a particularly pronounced impact on the Alpine region. Like the Arctic, this European mountain range is becoming greener. Writing in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Lausanne and the University of Basel have now used satellite data to show that vegetation above the tree line has increased in nearly 80% of the Alps. Snow cover is also decreasing, albeit so far only slightly.

Global Warming

Climate Change Ravages Southern Iraq

Southern Iraq was once known as the “black land” – the vast swaths of palm trees blocking out everything else, and providing food, shelter, and shade.

But the palm trees, as well as fruit trees and vegetable farms, have now mostly disappeared in and around the southern port city of Basra. Instead, real estate projects have taken over, as well as deserts.

The effect of climate change on agricultural land in Iraq, including rising water salinity and higher temperatures, has forced many farmers to turn to building and selling houses. Where farmers used to grow pomegranates, figs, olives, oranges, and other fruits and vegetables, the land has now turned into a desert.

Global Warming

Kyoto cherry blossoms blooming sooner

Kyoto, Japan’s, iconic cherry blossoms marking the start of spring are now fully blooming 11 days sooner due to climate change warming.

The full flowering of Kyoto’s cherry trees in 2021 was on March 26, the earliest date recorded in 1200 years, according to a study published Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Global Warming

Four Critical Climate Change Indicators Broke Records in 2021

Humanity’s over-reliance on fossil fuels and ecological damage has released historic levels of greenhouse gases to the point that four critical indicators of climate change broke records in 2021, according to a new report by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The world smashed records for all global indicators: greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean temperatures and acidification. Carbon dioxide and methane – a potent planet-warming gas – emissions have soared to unprecedented levels in 2021 despite worldwide pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions, the State of the Global Climate in 2021 report found. CO2 concentration has also reached 50% higher than pre-industrial levels.

Global Warming

Rainforest trees may have been dying faster since the 1980s because of climate change

Tropical trees in Australia’s rainforests have been dying at double the previous rate since the 1980s, seemingly because of climate impacts, according to the findings of a long-term international study. This research has found the death rates of tropical trees have doubled in the last 35 years, as global warming increases the drying power of the atmosphere.

Deterioration of such forests reduces biomass and carbon storage, making it increasingly difficult to keep global peak temperatures well below the target 2 °C, as required by the Paris Agreement.