Global Warming

No quick fix in fight against global warming

Slashing greenhouse gas emissions would probably not yield visible results until mid-century, researchers have said, cautioning that humanity must manage its expectations in the fight against global warming.

Even under optimistic scenarios in which carbon pollution falls sharply, climate change will continue for decades, they reported on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Two factors will make it difficult to feel and measure a drop in Earth’s surface temperature, if and when that happens.

One is lag time – Over the past half-century, human activity has loaded the atmosphere with more than 1-trillion tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas that lingers for hundreds of years.

The second factor is natural variability – Over the past half-century the planet has warmed 0.2°C every decade, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels.

Global Warming

Thin Arctic Ice

The biggest ever science expedition to the Arctic encountered extremely thin sea ice, which could threaten future efforts to study the region.

A team on board the Polarstern icebreaker ship began drifting last September until their vessel became locked in an ice floe. In the area off the Russian continental shelf where they started their journey, the ice was exceptionally thin compared with what models had predicted for the past two decades. The ice was around 50 centimetres thick, while it had been around 150 to 160 centimetres thick the previous three years.

Global Warming

Italian glacier turns pink due to global warming-linked algae

In a first for Italy, pink snow is observed on parts of the Presena glacier, in the north of the country. The phenomenon is caused by algae that develops when snow melts, simultaneously colouring the ice a darker colour. In a vicious circle, the algae in turn increases the rate at which the snow melts by accelerating the absorption of radiation.

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Global Warming

Warming Waters Inhibit Fish from Reproducing

As many as 60 percent of the world’s fish species could struggle to breed and reproduce if climate change causes the Earth to warm by 5 degrees Celsius over the next 80 years, the current projection for what will happen if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, according to a new study.

A study released Thursday in the journal Science that examined nearly 700 species of freshwater and saltwater fish found that 6 in 10 species would be affected if bodies of water around the world continue to warm. If global warming was limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the study’s authors added, that number falls as low as 1 in 10 species.

Species unable to reproduce in traditional habitats may either move to deeper water or further north and would result in local extinctions.

Global Warming

Global Warming Has Undone 6,500 Years Of Worldwide Cooling

Caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels global warming circulates carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and is leading to the gradual heating of Earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere.

A new study has surfaced suggesting that global warming has toppled six millennia of global cooling in the last 150 years.

The findings of the study show that global cooling started approximately 6,500 years ago when the long-term average global temperature peaked at around 0.7 degree Celsius warmer than the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, accelerating greenhouse gases have contributed to global average temperatures that are now moving past one degree Celsius above the mid-19th century.

Global Warming

South Pole Warming Faster

The South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday. Antarctica’s temperature varies widely according to season and region, and for years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the continent heated up.

Researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analysed 60 years of weather station data and used computer modelling to show what was causing the accelerated warming. They found that warmer ocean temperatures in the western Pacific had over the decades lowered atmospheric pressure over the Weddell Sea in the southern Atlantic. This in turn had increased the flow of warm air directly over the South Pole — warming it by more than 1.83°C since 1989.

Authors of the research said the natural warming trend was likely boosted by manmade greenhouse gas emissions and could be masking the heating effect of carbon pollution over the South Pole.

Beavers Gnaw at Permafrost

The beaver may be an unlikely agent of climate change, but the cuddly-looking creatures are transforming the Arctic landscape in a way that could be exacerbating global warming, a new study has suggested.

With their sharp teeth, beavers fell trees and shrubs and build dams, which flood small valleys and form new lakes that can cover several hectares of land. These new water bodies contribute to the thawing of the frozen permafrost soil, which is a huge natural reservoir of methane — a potent greenhouse gas. Scientists are concerned that as the permafrost degrades, the climate-changing methane and carbon leak into the atmosphere.

Global Warming

Six Month Deadline

The Paris-based International Energy Agency has warned that world leaders have only six months to take measures to control carbon emissions, before a post-lockdown recovery brings a surge in the greenhouse gases that may be impossible to curb. The organization cautions that without immediate action, reaching the targets to address global warming will not be possible.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. He told The Guardian governments must design economic recovery packages that promote shifts away from carbon-based fuels.

Wildlife

Antarctic Penguin Boom

Antarctic penguins could experience a ‘population boom’ due to global warming as melting sea ice means they have to spend less time foraging for food. Japanese scientists describe the Adélie species of penguin, which is native to Antarctica, as a ‘rare global warming winner’ thanks to melting ice.

In low-ice conditions, penguins are able travel more by swimming than by walking, which increases their access to foods such as fish and krill. For Adélies, swimming is four times faster than walking, meaning faster access to food and, in turn, healthier offspring and longer lifespans.

Environment

Heat Record North of Arctic Circle

A small town in Siberia reached a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, which, if verified, would mark the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures have jumped in recent months to levels rarely seen in the Russian region, and it’s a sign of a broader trend of human-caused climate change that’s transforming weather patterns in the Arctic Circle.

The town of Verkhoyansk is one of the coldest towns on Earth — temperatures dropped to nearly 60 degrees below zero there this past November — and the average June high temperature is 68 degrees.

The 100.4 reading in Verkhoyansk, which sits farther north than Fairbanks, Alaska, would be the northernmost 100-degree reading ever observed.

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Global Warming

Island Building

An international team of scientists says rising sea levels don’t necessarily mean all the world’s coral reef islands will become submerged over the next century.

New modelling suggests that as rising tides bring waves crashing on the islands’ shores, the wave action will send the coral material surrounding the beaches into the interior, building the reef higher.

“It is important to realize that these coral reef islands have developed over hundreds to thousands of years as a result of energetic wave conditions removing material from the reef structure and depositing the material towards the back of reef platforms, thereby creating islands,” said researcher Gerd Masselink.

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Global Warming

Burning coal in Siberia ignited by volcanic eruptions led to catastrophic global warming that caused the Earth’s most severe extinction event 250 million years ago

Burning coal may have been to blame for a catastrophic global warming event 250 million years ago that wiped out 96 per cent of marine and 70 per cent of terrestrial species on Earth.

For years it has been attributed to extensive volcanic eruptions in Siberia over two million years, which belched tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But now scientists have uncovered evidence that the boiling lava ignited coal seams buried in the Earth, which released more greenhouse gases and exacerbated the disaster.

Global Warming

Global Warming/Climate Change – Do we need an Ecological Leninism?

On the final day of 2019 — a year marked by record high temperatures, wildfires, and tropical storms — China reported to the World Health Organization that a new virus had broken out in the city of Wuhan. Initially dismissed by many Western observers as an unfortunate event in a far-off land, COVID-19 quickly grew into a full-blown pandemic, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, rapidly intensifying class and racial inequalities, and ushering in the greatest worldwide recession since the Great Depression.

In the space of a few short weeks, received economic wisdom on the bounds of state intervention was turned upside down, as were the day-to-day lives of billions of workers worldwide. Factories and schools have been shuttered, borders closed, and whole populations confined to their homes under threat of hefty fines and imprisonment. Otherwise mundane technocratic leaders have recast themselves as wartime commanders doing battle with an invisible invader.

At the same time, the ongoing climate crisis has been largely erased from the mainstream narrative. Social media has been flooded with images of blue skies over normally smog-eclipsed cities, dolphins skipping through waterways, and wild animals foraging for food in deserted cities. Many environmentally minded observers have expressed hope for a green recovery from the crisis — but also remained largely silent regarding the structural constraints that bar its way.

The most important driving force behind the production of pandemics is clear in the scientific literature and it is deforestation — which is also the second biggest contributor to global climate change. The place in which you find the greatest biodiversity on Earth is in tropical forests, and this biodiversity includes pathogens. These pathogens, which circulate among nonhuman animals in wild habitats, do not generally pose a problem to humanity as long as humans stay away from them. However, the problem arises as the human economy makes deeper and deeper incursions into these habitats.

Global warming itself also accelerates this trend. As temperatures rise, certain animals are forced to migrate in search of climates that match those to which they are adapted.

There was a moment in March 2020 when many of us in the climate justice movement felt a degree of surprise to find that governments in Europe and elsewhere were prepared to basically shut down their entire economies in an effort to contain the pandemic. This is striking, given that the same states had never contemplated undertaking any kind of intervention in the economy for the sake of the climate crisis.

It is incredibly difficult to see how anything other than state power could accomplish the transition required to truly fight the ecological catastrophe that is climate change, given that it will be necessary to exert coercive authority against those who want to maintain the status quo.

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Global Warming

Greenhouse Gas Rises

The level of atmospheric carbon dioxide reached a new record high last month even as lockdowns and economic slowdowns during the coronavirus pandemic caused a sharp decline in greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography say they measured a monthly average high of 417 parts per million (ppm) during May at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, up from 414.8 ppm a year earlier.

While global emissions dropped by 17% in April, Scripps scientists say much larger drops of 20% to 30% would be needed for an entire year to slow the growth of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.