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.

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.

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

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) in Sikasso, Mali.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 66.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.4 degrees Celsius) at Concordia, 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

Scientists around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’

A global team of more than 11,000 scientists from over 150 countries officially declared that the world is in a “climate emergency,” according to a new paper released Tuesday.

“Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any great threat,” said Thomas Newsome of the University of Sydney, one of the paper’s authors, in a statement. “From the data we have, it is clear we are facing a climate emergency.”

The scientists warned that “untold human suffering” is unavoidable without deep and lasting shifts in human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other factors related to climate change. Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected.

This is the first time a group of scientists have come together to use the word “emergency” in regards to climate change.

USA Withdraws from the Paris Climate Treaty

The United States has formally notified the United Nations that it is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, triggering expressions of concern and regret from other major powers on Tuesday. Donald Trump is moving to formally exit the Paris climate agreement, making the United States the only country in the world that will not participate in the pact, as global temperatures are set to rise 3C and worsening extreme weather will drive millions into poverty.

The paperwork sent by the US government to withdraw begins a one-year process for exiting the deal agreed to at the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015. The Trump administration will not be able to finalize its exit until a day after the presidential election in November 2020.

October 2019 Warmest Month on Record

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which analyzes temperature data from around the planet, said October 2019 was the warmest in their data record, which goes back to 1979. Globally, October was 0.69 degrees Celsius (1.24 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the average of all the Octobers in the 30-year span from 1981-2010, Copernicus said in its report. Last month narrowly edged out the previous record for October, set in 2015.

Environment

Pollution – Oil Spill, Brazil

Brazil says a Greek ship carrying Venezuelan oil has caused an oil spill that blackened tropical beaches along 2,500 km of its coasts over the last two months. Oil slicks have been appearing for three months off the coast of northeast Brazil and fouling beaches along a 2 500km area of Brazil’s most celebrated shoreline. Crews and volunteers have cleaned up tons of oil on the beaches.

Officials say it not yet possible to quantify the environmental and economic damage from the oil slicks. The government on Friday named a Greek-flagged tanker as the prime suspect behind the oil slicks. The ship Bouboulina took on oil in Venezuela and was headed for Singapore.

Global Warming

North Sea Oil Expansion Plans

Ten oil companies are planning to invest £6.8 billion in six major new projects in the North Sea in breach of international targets to cut climate pollution, according to an expert analysis.

In the next three years big oil multinationals from the UK, the US, Canada, Norway, Japan and Korea want to start exploiting new oil and gas fields off Scotland. But the carbon emissions that would result would accelerate dangerous global warming, experts say.

The financial think tank, Carbon Tracker, also warns that the new North Sea projects would be “deeply loss-making”. Multi-million pound investments would risk becoming “stranded assets”, it says.

Campaigners are demanding a halt to new oil developments in the North Sea to prevent a “climate disaster”. But the offshore oil industry insists that continued investment is “fully compatible” with the UK government’s aim to reach “net zero” climate emissions by 2050.