Global Warming

300,000 coastal homes in USA at risk from rising seas

Hundreds of thousands of homes along U.S. coasts are at risk of devastating coastal flooding over the next 30 years as climate change causes oceans to rise, according to a new study.

About 311,000 coastal homes, worth about $120 billion, are at risk of chronic flooding, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group, said in the report released Monday.

By the end of the century, homes and businesses currently worth more than $1 trillion — including those in Miami, New York’s Long Island and the San Francisco Bay area — could be at risk.

States with the most homes at risk by the end of the century are Florida, with about 1 million homes (more than 10 percent of the state’s current residential properties); New Jersey, with 250,000 homes; and New York with 143,000 homes.

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Global Warming

New Un Report Says Global Warming To Exceed Paris Agreement Limits

A draft of a report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.) says the world is on course to exceed the global warming limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement, signed by almost 200 nations, had asked signatories to commit to a goal of limiting global warming to well below a rise of 2°C above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher 1.5° goal.

Reuters obtained an exclusive copy of the draft report which stated that temperatures are already up 1°C and rising about 0.2°C a decade. “If emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5°C by around 2040,” according to the report.

Environment

Lighting Hazard

Greater care may need to be taken in choosing the color of outdoor LED lighting across Earth’s landscapes, as scientists warn that some hues of the modern-day lighting can be harmful to wildlife.

Researchers have spent years documenting how the brightness, color and direction of LED light affects migration, species attraction, predator-prey relationships and circadian rhythms.

A new study led by the University of Southern California finds that blue and white have the worst impacts, while the warmer yellow, amber and green LEDs are more benign.

Some creatures, like insects and sea turtles, are especially vulnerable.

Global Warming

Carbon Collecting

Recent advances in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the air have significantly brought down the cost, with one process having the ability to create synthetic fuel.

Carbon Engineering’s pilot facility in western Canada has been extracting about one ton of CO2 per day at a cost of about $100 per ton, far less than the prevailing price of about $600 per ton.

While the captured carbon can be stored in stone deep underground, Carbon Engineering says it can use renewable energy to take hydrogen from water and combine it with the collected carbon to create a synthetic liquid fuel.

The Bill Gates-funded company says it is already making about one barrel a day with that process.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 123 degrees Fahrenheit (50.6 degrees Celsius) in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 97.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 71.7 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

Antarctica Is Losing An Insane Amount of Ice. Nothing About This Is Good.

Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tons of ice in the past 25 years, and that ice loss has accelerated rapidly over the last five years.

In a new study, the most comprehensive to date of the continent’s icy status, an international group of 84 researchers analyzed data from multiple satellite surveys, from 1992 to 2017.

They discovered that Antarctica is currently losing ice about three times faster than it did until 2012, climbing to a rate of more than 241 billion tons (219 billion metric tons) per year. Total ice loss during the 25-year period contributed to sea level rise of about 0.3 inches (around 8 millimeters), approximately 40 percent of which — about 0.1 inches (3 mm) — happened in the past five years.

Millimeters of sea level rise may not sound like much, but previous surveys suggested that Antarctica’s massive ice sheets likely wouldn’t be affected by climate change at all. The new findings hint that the continent’s ice cover may not be as resistant to warming as once thought, and present a very different picture of Antarctica’s potential contributions to a rising ocean: Consider that if all of Antarctica’s ice melted, the resulting water could elevate sea levels by about 190 feet (58 meters), the researchers reported.

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Environment

Antarctica’s Largest Iceberg Is About to Die

NASA scientists reported that, after drifting for nearly 20 years, the largest iceberg ever to break away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf is about to disappear forever.

Now floating northwest of the South Georgia islands near the tail of South America, the iceberg — named B-15 — has traveled more than 6,600 miles (10,000 kilometers) from the ice shelf and is veering dangerously close to the equator.

The freewheelin’, formerly Connecticut-size iceberg first embarked on its long cruise after breaking away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000, NASA said. At the time, it was the largest single chunk of ice ever to split off from the shelf, measuring 160 nautical miles long and 20 nautical miles wide.

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Global Warming

Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years

The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns.

Last year there was an average of six flooding days per area across 98 coastal areas monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) – an all-time record. More than a quarter of these locations tied or broke their records for high tide flood days, the federal agency states in a new report.

The longer-term trend is even more certain, Noaa said, with melting glaciers, thermal expansion of sea water and altered ocean currents pushing the sea level steadily higher and causing further floods.

South Florida, where weather forecasts in some places now come with tidal warnings, and fish are a regular sight on flooded roads, is particularly vulnerable. The low-lying region sits on porous limestone, which pushes up floodwater from underground, and many communities are unable to easily retreat because they back on to the Everglades wetlands.

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Globally, the seas have risen by an average of nearly three inches since 1992. Parts of the US coastline are unusually prone, with Noaa that the oceans could swell by more than eight feet by 2100.

Space Events

Fireball Bonanza

Treasure hunters in southwestern China recovered hundreds of meteorites after a fireball exploded over the region on June 1. Some of the meteorites crashed through the roofs of homes.

Collectors were hoping to cash in on the windfall of cosmic stones, but government officials cautioned that the meteorites would be better used in scientific research than just sitting on the shelves of wealthy collectors.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Sibi, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 87.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.1 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

Experts “grossly underestimate” the economic cost of global warming

A group of authors from several backgrounds, including Thomas Stoerk of the Environmental Defense Fund, Gernot Wagner of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and Bob Ward of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, have written a paper warning that the true economic damage of global warming is “grossly” underestimated.

The authors state that there is “ … mounting evidence that current economic models of the aggregate global impacts of climate change are inadequate in their treatment of uncertainty and grossly underestimate potential future risks.”

One of the key components of their analysis is that the models used currently ignore the possibility and potential for “tipping points.” These are points beyond which “… impacts accelerate, become unstoppable, or become irreversible.” An example might be the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet; this would greatly accelerate the rate of change.

The projected economic damage, which will affect the southern United States much more seriously than the north, is already daunting: 30 percent of GDP destroyed, and a world cost of $535 trillion by the end of this century using existing climate/economic models.

Natural disaster USA map

Climate change has transformed much of Alaska over the past three decades

Climate change disproportionately impacts the Arctic, where rising global temperatures wrought by the burning of fossil fuels have brought rapid, fundamental changes to places like Alaska. In a new study published in Global Change Biology, researchers conclude that 67,000 square miles of land in Alaska, 13 percent of the total land, have been affected over the past three decades.

The land has been impacted by what the study calls ‘directional change,’ in which a location has experienced fundamental change in its ecology from historic levels. For example, some areas have become greener and wetter and others have dried out as glaciers shrink and wildfires rage across the state. Even trees have shifted, with treelines moving farther north to adjust to a warming Arctic.

Climate change has also disrupted the state’s historic water patterns. Melting permafrost has led to depressions, allowing wetlands to form in unusual places. This has also exacerbated erosion along the coasts, which are being tested by an ever-shorter season of sea ice.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 88.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.7 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

Drought in Mauritania

Mauritania is currently facing a very serious food and nutrition insecurity situation, the worst that the country has seen in the last five years. According to the results of the latest Harmonized Framework (HF) of March 2018, 350,600 people are currently in severe food insecurity (phase 3, 4) and these figures could reach 538,446 people for the projected period of June to August 2018. These projections for the period of June-August correspond to 14 percent of the population, raising fears of a major food crisis.

Global Warming

The Chemicals That Were Harming The Ozone Layer Are Back

One of humanity’s big achievements when it comes to managing our environment has been the phasing-out of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs – the chemicals that were blasting a hole in Earth’s ozone layer.

However, there may now be a new problem. Scientists from the US, UK and the Netherlands have discovered that someone, for some unknown reason, is continuing to produce CFCs, which were banned under the 1987 Montreal Protocol.

The specific chemical in question is CFC-11, which was once widely used in appliances and foam building insulation. Still found in some old freezers, it was supposed to be completely out of production by 2010. But an analysis of long-term atmospheric measurements suggests it’s still being made somewhere in East Asia—and that means the concentrations of CFC-11 in the atmosphere are declining more slowly than they should be.

The researchers found that emissions of CFC-11 were between 2014 and 2016 up by a quarter from the average between 2002 and 2012. If the source can be identified and controlled soon, they said, the damage to the ozone layer “should be minor.” If not, then it will take substantially longer than anticipated for the ozone layer to recover.