Something to keep in mind…
the international focus on fossil fuels
the most powerful and cost-efficient
the world has yet seen: forests
are capable of storing
of the carbon dioxide emissions
of entire countries
School Strikes • Extinction Rebellion • Resistance
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg)
Extinction Rebellion: Make ‘Rebel for Life on Earth’ your New Year’s Resolution
XR December 31, 2018
As 2019 begins, Extinction Rebellion is urging people to ‘Rebel for Life on Earth’ as their New Year’s resolution, so that together we can acknowledge and address the climate and ecological emergency.
To kick this resolution off – and to give focus to our personal and collective actions in the year ahead – from 1st to 7th January 2019, people are invited to take part in Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Rebel for Life on Earth’ campaign. Open to people of all faiths and none, not beholden to one tribe – whether left or right – this campaign is part of the global 7 Days of Rest initiative.
“Complementing Extinction Rebellion’s nonviolent peaceful protests which aim to highlight the stark reality of government and media inaction in the face of human-caused ecological collapse, this January we are asking people to take time to reflect on their personal and collective relationship with different aspects of the foundations of life on earth,” said Douglas Rogers of Extinction Rebellion.
“We invite people to take this time of reflections and resolutions to contemplate our relationship with the earth, water, fire, air, climate, biodiversity, and the web of life: how we depend on them, and the imperative to restore their natural balance. We do this in the belief that when people decide to acknowledge and face the escalating global emergency – as well as the associated grief and anger – that acceptance (rather than denial or avoidance or distraction) will come. Then together, we can become more determined, courageous and effective in our actions.”
JOIN EX USA via Facebook
JOIN EX USA via the web
Abergavenny Extinction Rebellion takes to the streets
Abergavenny Chronicle December 22, 2018
Abergavenny Extinction Rebellion held its first Rebellion Day on Saturday December 22.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a new and growing movement demanding of local and national government that climate change is recognised as an existential emergency and acted upon immediately. Rebellion Days are peaceful, nonviolent protest events conducted by local XR groups to pressurise councils to pass Climate Emergency motions and take action to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
XR member Rob Proctor explained, “I am a local Monmouthshire resident with two young children. I am genuinely concerned with the future for them and want to make sure that I do everything in my power to try and hand over the same opportunities and environment I have been able to enjoy and benefit from.”
Abergavenny Rebellion Day took the theme of a Remembrance Procession, to mourn the species already lost in the ongoing sixth mass extinction event caused by human activity. Local accordionist Simon Bilsborough played mourners clad in black, wearing beautiful wool and felt animal heads created by local artist Diana Wallace, and around 150 people carrying banners and flags from the Market Hall to the square outside Shackleston’s Chemists. The procession was paced by the slow drums of Taiko Mynydd Ddu, stationed at the Market Hall. XR member Mary Ann Swanson began a roll-call of species extinguished since 1970, each one honoured with the word ‘gone’ called in response by the crowd, beneath a banner proclaiming ‘200 species lost every day’.
Resistance Is the Supreme Act of Faith
Truth Dig December 31, 2018 by Chris Hedges
The struggle against the monstrous radical evil that dominates our lives—an evil that is swiftly despoiling the earth and driving the human species toward extinction, stripping us of our most basic civil liberties and freedoms, waging endless war and solidifying the obscene wealth of an oligarchic elite at our expense—will be fought only with the belief that resistance, however futile, insignificant and even self-defeating it may appear, can set in motion moral and spiritual forces that radiate outward to inspire others, including those who come after us. It is, in essence, an act of faith.
The Berrigans excoriated the church hierarchy for sacralizing the nation, the government, capitalism, the military and the war. They argued that the fusion of secular and religious authority would kill the church as a religious institution. The archbishop of New York at the time, Cardinal Francis J. Spellman, in one example, sprinkled holy water on B-52 bombers and blessed the warplanes before their missions in Vietnam. He described the conflict as a “war for civilization” and “Christ’s war against the Vietcong and the people of North Vietnam.”
It has been 50 years since Catonsville. And yet, often unheard and unheralded, the steadfast drumbeat of nonviolent religious protest against the war machine continues. Elizabeth McAlister, of Jonah House in Baltimore and the widow of Phil Berrigan, along with the Jesuit priest Steve Kelly and Catholic Worker Movement members Carmen Trotta, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy (the granddaughter of Catholic Worker Movement co-founder Dorothy Day), Mark Colville and Patrick O’Neill, will be put on trial next spring for trespassing onto the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, Ga., to protest our nuclear weapons arsenal.
The activists entered the base on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who thundered against the “triple evils of militarism, racism and materialism.” They carried hammers and baby bottles of their own blood to defile the nuclear weapons storage bunkers. The Kings Bay naval facility is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. Four of the group were released on bond and are forced to wear ankle monitors. Kelly, Colville and McAlister, who turned 79 in jail last month, remain incarcerated in the Glynn County Detention Center.
The Importance of Trees
Each summer, trees use up to 8,500 cubic yards of water per square mile, which they release into the air through transpiration. This water vapor creates new clouds that travel farther inland to release their rain.
This water pump works so well that the downpours in some large areas of the world, such as the Amazon Basin, are almost as heavy thousands of miles inland as they are on the coast. The whole process breaks down if coastal forests are cleared.
From The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology
Scientific American December 5, 2018
Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.
Forests’ power to store carbon dioxide through the simple process of tree growth is staggering: one tree can store an average of about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in one year. Recent research shows intact forests are capable of storing the equivalent of the carbon dioxide emissions of entire countries such as Peru and Colombia.
Natural climate solutions
PNAS September 5, 2017
66% chance of holding warming to below 2 °C. One-third of this cost-effective NCS mitigation can be delivered at or below 10 USD MgCO2−1. Most NCS actions—if effectively implemented—also offer water filtration, flood buffering, soil health, biodiversity habitat, and enhanced climate resilience. Work remains to better constrain uncertainty of NCS mitigation estimates. Nevertheless, existing knowledge reported here provides a robust basis for immediate global action to improve ecosystem stewardship as a major solution to climate change.
Forests, health and climate change
European Environmental Agency December 19, 2011
Forests are essential to our survival and well-being. Forests clean our air, our water, our soil and they regulate our climate, amongst many other things. Trees and forests are not always associated with urban landscapes. However, there too they provide invaluable, often invisible, services. Simply by acting as ‘green oasis’ in our concrete jungles, they offer recreation and health services for many European citizens.
Trees and shrubs cool surrounding areas by several mechanisms. Their leaves reflect light and heat back upwards and provide shade, while transpiration releases water into the air which results in lower temperatures around them.
Forests and green spaces help improve air quality in urban and rural areas. They extract a wide range of air pollutants from the air such as particles and carbon oxides, emitted, for example, by traffic and industry.
Another study concluded that every 10% increase in green space is associated with a reduction in diseases equivalent to an increase of five years of life expectancy.
Carbon uptake by mature Amazon forests has mitigated Amazon nations’ carbon emissions
BMC December 9, 2016
The sink of carbon into mature forests has been remarkably geographically ubiquitous across Amazonia, being substantial and persistent in each of the five biogeographic regions within Amazonia. Between 1980 and 2010, it has more than mitigated the fossil fuel emissions of every single national economy, except that of Venezuela. For most nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname) the sink has probably additionally mitigated all anthropogenic carbon emissions due to Amazon deforestation and other land use change. While the sink has weakened in some regions since 2000, our analysis suggests that Amazon nations which are able to conserve large areas of natural and semi-natural landscape still contribute globally-significant carbon sequestration.
Forests and poverty reduction
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN May 15, 2015
Close to 1.6 billion people – more than 25% of the world’s population – rely on forest resources for their livelihoods and most of them (1.2 billion) use trees on farms to generate food and cash. Moreover, many countries in the developing world draw on fuelwood to meet as much as 90% of energy requirements. Despite the importance of these resources for the range of economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits they provide, data on such dimensions are either sketchy or not available. Therefore, the extent to which they contribute to national development, reduce poverty, and enhance food security for vulnerable populations is not well recognized or appreciated. Increasingly however, case studies and other convincing evidence are documenting the role forests and trees outside forests play in national economic growth, rural development and livelihoods. Scientific research also is improving our understanding of how forestry contributes to achieving all UN Millennium Development Goals, not only those pertaining to poverty, hunger and the environment.
Classifying drivers of global forest loss
Science September 14, 2018
Forest loss is being driven by various factors, including commodity production, forestry, agriculture, wildfire, and urbanization. Curtis et al. used high-resolution Google Earth imagery to map and classify global forest loss since 2001. Just over a quarter of global forest loss is due to deforestation through permanent land use change for the production of commodities, including beef, soy, palm oil, and wood fiber. Despite regional differences and efforts by governments, conservationists, and corporations to stem the losses, the overall rate of commodity-driven deforestation has not declined since 2001.
Our results indicate that 27% of global forest loss can be attributed to deforestation through permanent land use change for commodity production. The remaining areas maintained the same land use over 15 years; in those areas, loss was attributed to forestry (26%), shifting agriculture (24%), and wildfire (23%). Despite corporate commitments, the rate of commodity-driven deforestation has not declined. To end deforestation, companies must eliminate 5 million hectares of conversion from supply chains each year.
Community: The Secret to Stopping Deforestation in Guatemala
Rainforest Alliance August 16, 2018
But the MBR is not your typical protected area. Rather than a single expanse of state-controlled land, the reserve is a network of more than two dozen different management units. Eleven of these units are 25-year forestry concessions, nine of which are managed by local communities for timber and other forest products.
This approach, called community forestry, is founded on the idea that people who make their living from the forest have a strong incentive to protect it. Does community forestry work as a conservation strategy? Let’s put it this way: the forest concessions of the MBR have boasted a near-zero deforestation rate for the last 14 years–a remarkable feat given that areas directly adjacent to these concessions suffer some of the highest deforestation rates in the Americas.
But it wasn’t until the Rainforest Alliance held trainings (with logistical support from the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP)) in 2012 that López, along with women from seven communities in the region, learned to process the ramón nut into a flour for export, most commonly for use in beverages; these products fetch higher prices than the raw nuts. At home the women use the flour to make tamales and baked goods that they can sell or feed to their families.
Bonn Challenge approaches target to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land
International Union for Conservation of Nature September 4, 2018
The Government of Malawi and the Association of Guatemalan Private Natural Reserves have committed to restoring a total of 4.54 million hectares of degraded land as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative, as announced today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently taking place in Hawai’i.
Today’s announcements bring the total of Bonn Challenge pledges to just over 113 million hectares committed by 36 governments, organisations and companies – exceeding the 100 million hectare milestone just five years after its launch and bringing the 150 million target within reach.
“This exciting news is evidence that forest landscape restoration is increasingly looked to as an avenue to achieving the ambitions of the 2015 agreements,” says Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN. “We’ve watched the Bonn Challenge initiative transform from a global ambition to a powerful movement driven by governments, business leaders and local communities.
“Over the next four years, we will be working with our partners to embed forest landscape restoration into national priorities, achieve restoration at scale and deliver real results to the communities and individuals living in these landscapes.”
These nine measures reveal how forests are controlled by climate
EurekAlert! December 27, 2018
Instead of blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate, the vital signs for a forest are captured in key traits such as the amount of nitrogen in a tree’s leaves, the leaf area, or the density of the wood. These “functional traits” can impact how trees grow — and therefore how forests respond to climate change. While researchers have begun trying to tease out these patterns in recent decades, incomplete data has made it difficult to understand what’s happening to particular traits in any meaningful way — especially when you get down to the level of individual trees in a forest.
The study — one of the first to examine how climate is influencing functional traits in forest communities on a global scale — found evidence of major changes in these traits, which could affect forest productivity and composition and even how forests are distributed around the globe. And they found that climate affects nine different traits in various ways: For example, they discovered that leaf area is most influenced by vapor pressure and temperature, while height is primarily affected by temperature variability. To the authors’ surprise, two climatic factors in particular had an outsized effect on trait diversity overall: temperature variability — not just mean temperature — and vapor pressure. They also found evidence that forests are currently shifting their traits in response to global warming.
Head in the clouds: the woman scaling fresh climate change heights
The Guardian December 15, 2018
Known as epiphytes – plants that grow on other plants – they are Nadkarni’s special field of scientific research, omnipresent in the unique ecosystem of Costa Rica’s montane cloud forest. They thrive between 1,500 and 1,800 metres and depend on their ability to take water and nutrients directly from the swirling mists that should cloak these slopes.
But the continued existence of the cloud forest in Monteverde, familiar to the millions of tourists who have visited it, is under threat from global warming.
Only occurring in a narrow altitude band whose upper limit is defined by where the mountain tops run out and by the altitude at which the trees can grow, it is being squeezed in a vice from below by warmer and drier weather patterns eradicating the enfolding cloud.
Nadkarni identifies the montane cloud forest as one of the world’s three most sensitive along with the threatened coral reefs and ice caps.
“It is one of the canaries in the coal mine, more sensitive to climate change than others. All are indicative of a world that is experiencing climate change and that’s happening now.”
Norway bans biofuel from palm oil to fight deforestation
The Green Optimist January 1, 2019
In December 2018, the Norwegian parliament voted for a ban on palm-oil based biofuels. Starting from 2020, the government is expected to impose taxes and policies to exclude biofuels linked to deforestation risk.
While the Norwegian market accounts for less than 1% of the total palm oil exports, it sets an example towards market-based deforestation combatting policies. The EU has also decided to ban the use of palm oil in motor fuels starting from 2021.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
Noam Chomsky: The Future of Organized Human Life Is At Risk Thanks to GOP’s Climate Change Denial
It is definitely worth watching the whole Rupert Read video below…
This Civilization Is Finished: Shed a Light by Rupert Read
The Rupert Read video above paints a very stark but realistic picture of the state of Climate Breakdown. Rupert Read is an English environmental philosopher who has worked with the Climate Change movement for years. He presents three end-case scenarios and a seven-step plan for adaption.
The what-is-to- be-done-about-it section of the video starts at 18:34. His presentation lasts 40 minutes and the rest is Q&A. Following are the seven steps on his “To Do List”:
1. Wake up
2. Talk about it
3. Think civilization succession
4. Build lifeboats e.g. transition towns, seed banks, plant non-native species that will be comfortable in higher temperatures, consider deep adaptation possibilities for worst case scenarios, move nuclear power stations away from the oceans, do no geoengineering, think and act now in ways that
5. Participate in holding actions e.g. consumer boycotts, divestment campaigns, etc.
7. STOP e.g. slow down, think and reflect on this.
Cover crops may increase winter temperatures in North America
NCAR UCAR December 19, 2018
Cover crops grown in fields during winter may be warming temperatures in the northern United States and southern Canada, according to a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The crops, a land management strategy farmers use between growing seasons, create a darker surface than a snow-covered field, absorbing more heat from the Sun and producing a local warming effect.
Cover crops have several ecological benefits, such as reducing erosion and increasing soil productivity, but until now researchers have not looked at the way cover crops could be affecting winter temperatures.
“Dark cover crops absorb the Sun’s heat and then warm the atmosphere. Even crops partially covered by snow could decrease reflectivity enough to influence the winter temperature,” said Lombardozzi.
When “Green” Doesn’t “Grow”: Facing Up to the Failures of Profit-Driven Climate Policy
Global Research January 1, 2019
The market-focused approach to climate protection has failed spectacularly. Using “sticks and carrots” policies aimed at the private sector, governments anticipated a surge of new “green growth” investment that would create millions of good jobs. This did not happen. It is now absolutely clear that climate policy must shift in a radically different direction, and unions can help ensure that such a shift occurs as soon as possible.
Growing numbers of unions are already calling for a decisive shift away from policies that push privatization – including predatory “public private partnerships” (P3s) – and that are designed to please private investors who deliver too little and take too much.
Majority of glaciers in Western Canada will likely disappear in next 50 years
CTV News December 27, 2018
Climate change is prompting glaciers in British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta to retreat faster than at any time in history, threatening to raise water levels and create deserts, scientists say.
David Hik, an ecology professor at Simon Fraser University, said the region is one of the hotspots for warming and the magnitude of change in the glaciers is dramatic. “Probably 80 per cent of the mountain glaciers in Alberta and B.C. will disappear in the next 50 years,” he said.
While the melt increases water levels and sets off coastal erosion and flooding, it also causes dry areas and dust bowls.
As glaciers recede, more water flows downhill, but the further the ice sheets retreat, the less water there is to go down stream and soon the area begins to dry, Hik said.
“In places like the Kluane River in Yukon there is significantly more dust because the valley that the river flows through is essentially dried out,” he said.
But the area still experiences katabatic winds — winds coming off the glacier — which are quite strong and blow the dust from the dried stream beds farther out on the landscape, Hik said.
This dust can create problems for vegetation by settling on trees and plants, and reducing photosynthesis, he said.
Glaciers act as a bank account during hot summers when water is scarce, Hik said.
Operation Virus Hunter: Sea Shepherd Announces Major Victory
for Wild Salmon and Orca Whales
Sea Shepard December 29, 2018
Operation Virus Hunter began in 2016 as a collaboration between Sea Shepherd, Dr. Alexandra Morton and the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations.
Sea Shepherd provided our sailing vessel Martin Sheen each summer for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The objective was to assist and support the research efforts of Dr. Morton and the activist activities of the First Nations of British Columbia. Dr. Morton and our Sea Shepherd crew visited salmon farms throughout each summer to do tests that successfully exposed evidence of salmon retroviruses and sea lice parasites being transmitted from domestic alien Atlantic salmon to indigenous native Pacific salmon. The Sea Shepherd crew also provided transportation and support for First Nations activists who boarded and occupied salmon farms.
These activities led to a recent decision by the Provincial Government of British Columbia to remove salmon farms and to give First Nations the power to inspect salmon farms and order their removal from their legal territories if they should so choose.
Removing salmon farms from the salmon migration routes is a huge step in the right direction for the salmon, as well as the Southern Resident Killer Whales who rely on wild salmon as a major food source.
Paul Beckwith: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
December 30, 2018 [VIDEO]
Many people know that accelerating sea-ice loss (12-13% per decade in September’s) is darkening the region leading to Temperature Amplification. However, darkening from loss of terrestrial snow cover in Spring (23% per decade in June) is an even larger effect, and is rapidly accelerating.
Paul Beckwith: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
December 31, 2018 [VIDEO]
Recently released by NOAA, the Arctic Report Card 2018 details profound changes underway in the Arctic from rapid temperature increases.
“What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.” Quote: Beckwith, 2009
Abrupt Climate Change; “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. As Arctic sea-ice hurtles to oblivion, Greenland becomes exposed as the last bastion of coldness in the vast Arctic region. Shortly thereafter, around the world, “the coast is toast”, or rather submerged. Jet streams Kaput…
Ten Grim Climate Scenarios If Global Temperatures Rise Above 1.5 Degrees Celsius
Truthout December 28, 2018
The latest version, titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” asserts that most of the environmental challenges raised in the original letter — i.e., depletion of freshwater sources, overfishing, plummeting biodiversity, unsustainable human population growth — remain unsolved and are “getting far worse.”
So what we saw this summer? Unless humanity gets its act together, we can expect much worse to come. Here’s a peek into our climate-addled future.
1. Species Extinction
Food Insecurity and Nutritional Deficiencies
3. Farewell to Coastal Cities and Island Nations
4. Social Conflict and Mass Migration
5. Lethal Heat
6. Surging Wildfires
7. Hurricanes: More Frequent, More Intense
8. Melted Polar Ice and Permafrost
9. The Spread of Pathogens
10. Dead Corals
11. Half a Degree Matters
This Is NO Fart Joke.
Greenhouse gases held steady for hundreds of years, but have jumped up since the start of the industrial era https://t.co/o3LvUPQUaZ via @ClimateCentral @1mimi4ever @AugustEve2012 @brontyman @buell003 @yogaskidogs @ShiCooks @PaulHBeckwith @climateguyw pic.twitter.com/nfK4D4WYMu
— Allan Margolin (@AllanMargolin)
Europe Is Closing a Whole Lot of Coal Mines on January 1
Science Alert December 31, 2018
Every unprofitable coal mine in the European Union must cease production by the first day of 2019, the date on which all public funds for the mines will come to an end.
In Spain, that means that 26 coal mines are about to close up shop, according to Reuters.
This move away from coal is a refreshing bit of bluntness — letting the failed remnants of a fossil fuel industry fade away — compared to how the federal government in the U.S. is grasping at anything to keep coal alive.
Adaption and Sustainability
Website for carbon farming with comprehensive and wide-ranging information…
Why Carbon Farming?
Land management is the second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions on planet earth. Agriculture is the ONE sector that has the ability to transform from a net emitter of CO2 to a net sequesterer of CO2 — there is no other human managed realm with this potential.
Common agricultural practices, including driving a tractor, tilling the soil, over-grazing, using fossil fuel based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides result in significant carbon dioxide release. Alternatively, carbon can be stored long term (decades to centuries or more) beneficially in soils in a process called soil carbon sequestration. Carbon Farming involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter.
Carbon farming is successful when carbon gains resulting from enhanced land management and/or conservation practices exceed carbon losses.
Solar Tree® website
Envision Solar’s Solar Tree® Arrays are the highest quality, fastest deployed and most attractive turnkey photovoltaic parking shade systems in the industry. A Solar Tree® structure shades six to eight standard car parking spaces and simultaneously produces enough clean energy to deliver up to 700 e miles or power six family homes per day. The energy produced can be used to reduce utility bills, charge EVs and be stored for use in an emergency. Solar Tree® products consist of a 35’ by 35’ square, PV canopy mounted atop a single column. There is a 12’ standard minimum clearance from the lowest point on the array even when it is tracking the sun. Solar Tree® arrays are the ideal combination of form, function and sustainability.
Using Hemp in Construction Mother Earth News February 2016
Hempcrete is made from lime and hemp shivs (a waste product from hemp fiber growing); it can be used for walls, floors, and for roof insulation; it’s breathable, absorbing and emitting moisture to regulate internal humidity and avoid trapped moisture and mold growth; it provides excellent acoustic and thermal insulation and thermal mass; it’s lightweight and reduces construction costs; and it’s environmentally friendly.
[It] forms a non-load-bearing, sustainable, ‘breathable’ (vapour permeable) and insulating material that can be used to form walls, floor slabs, ceilings and roof insulation, in both new build and restoration projects.
Thanks to the cell structure of the hemp stalk and the matrix structure created by the individual pieces of hemp inside the wall, together with the properties of the lime binder itself, a hempcrete wall has a good ability to absorb and release moisture. Also, since a great deal of air is trapped inside a hempcrete wall (both within the hemp itself and within the matrix of the hemp shiv in the cast material), it is a surprisingly good insulating material, and the density which the lime binder adds gives the finished material a good amount of thermal mass.
Building with Hemp – an Incredible Natural Insulation & Sustainable Material
Scientists Are Fighting Climate Change by Making Their Own Snow
Mother Jones December 24, 2018
Last winter, Lawrence’s team seeded clouds in the mountains of Wyoming that nourished the Colorado River Basin, which has lost nearly 20 percent of its volume since 2000 due to a lack of rain and snow. The program was funded to the tune of $400,000 by four of the seven states who benefit from the river’s supply. After seeding 18 storms, it was deemed successful, and the states are planning to repeat the program this winter. Colorado’s Water Enhancement Authority, a coalition of public utilities, ski resorts, and irrigation companies, has also funded small cloud seeding projects for around $40,000 annually. “Even if three out of five of your opportunities work, it pays for itself,” says the group’s treasurer, Mark Ritterbush, who also works as Grand Junction’s water services manager.
Collecting clean water from air, inspired by desert life
EurekAlert! December 26, 2018
They started studying the ways by which different surfaces might collect water, and which surfaces might be the most efficient. Using 3D printers, they built surfaces with bumps and barbs, then created enclosed, foggy environments using a commercial humidifier to see which system gathered the most water.
They learned that conical shapes gather more water than do cylindrical shapes–“which made sense, given what we know about the cactus,” Bhushan said. The reason that happens, he said, is because of a physics phenomenon called the Laplace pressure gradient. Water gathers at the tip of the cone, then flows down the cone’s slope to the bottom, where a reservoir is waiting.
Grooved surfaces moved water more quickly than ungrooved surfaces–“which seems obvious in retrospect, because of what we know about grass,” Bhushan said. In the research team’s experiments, grooved surfaces gathered about twice as much water as ungrooved surfaces. The materials the cones were made out of mattered, too. Hydrophilic surfaces–those that allowed water to bead up rather than absorbing it–gathered the most water.
Wildlife & the Environment
It’s ‘Going to End with Me’: The Fate of Gulf Fisheries in a Warming World
Inside Climate News December 28, 2018
Everything is different now. The decline of the American shellfishing industry is inextricably linked to global systems both economic and environmental. From cheap food imports to hurricanes fueled by a warming planet, these systems support, or strain, the tapestry of what it takes to get seafood to the dinner plates of diners.
“We’re getting drowned in freshwater,” he says. “The rain is crazy. That weather just comes and dumps and dumps and dumps. You used to get these little rains, now it just pours on.” This influx of rain leads to a domino effect that’s being felt up and down the Gulf coast.
Between the floods are droughts, when bay salinity shoots up. Oysters thrive in these conditions, but so do the parasites that attack them—again leading to oyster die-offs that cause the health department to shut down oyster beds. Extreme droughts have already resulted in losses to fish, crabs, oysters and waterfowl, and the swings between drought and flood are more common than a century ago.
Parks Canada shirks UN request for review of Site C dam impacts on imperilled national park
The Narwhal December 11, 2018
Canada will not provide the UNESCO World Heritage Committee with an assessment of the impacts of the Site C dam on Wood Buffalo National Park, despite a recommendation it do so to keep the 4.5 million hectare park off a list of world heritage in danger — a list usually reserved for sites in countries facing war, poverty or disaster.
‘It’s warm water now’: climate change strands sea turtles on Cape Cod shores
The Guardian December 26, 2018
In the 1980s, the number of sea turtles stranded on the shores of Cape Cod every year averaged in the dozens. That average went up through the 1990s and 2000s, but over the past decade it has risen dramatically: 2014 saw more than 1,200 turtles make landfall. This year, more than 790 sea turtles have washed up on Cape Cod so far. Some 720 of those are Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, a critically endangered species that nests on the shores of the much warmer Gulf of Mexico.
Climate change affects breeding birds
EurekaAlert! December 19, 2018
“We know that many birds are breeding earlier as temperatures get warmer,” Watts said. “Almost all of those studies are on birds that eat insects or other animals. What we don’t know is if seed-eating birds are shifting the timing of breeding too.”
Studying seed-eaters is important because it can help clarify how temperature is affecting breeding habits. It is still uncertain if temperature is having a direct effect on the animals or if it causes indirect effects like shifts in the timing of plant growth. Previous studies suggest that plant-eating animals are likely to experience stronger effects due to climate change compared to those that eat other foods because of these indirect influences.
California’s coastal habitats face existential threat from rising seas
The Guardian December 31, 2018
California is one of the most biodiverse states and its coast hosts most of its native species. Estuaries like Elkhorn Slough, where saltwater and freshwater meet, also filter pollution, reduce flooding and erosion and trap greenhouse gases.
But as the seas encroach due to climate change and rising water levels, governments and conservationists are asking themselves: where will the coastal habitats go? If they retreat farther inland, they will meet cliffs, condos and farms. With intensive planning, minimally undeveloped land could be conserved to accommodate them. Without it, the west coast of the United States could lose a significant number of its unique ecosystems. “The coast of California that we know today is not going to be the coast of California of the future,” says Walter Heady, a coastal marine scientist for the Nature Conservancy.
More than two-thirds of Californians live in coastal counties, and manmade pressures from development and pollution make it hard enough to protect coastal habitats, Heady said. Sea-level rise will only increase the challenge.
Leafcutter ant ‘compost piles’ produce potent greenhouse gases
Science Mag January 1, 2019
Researchers analyzed the exhalations of 22 leafcutter mounds in southwestern Costa Rica. They found that in the humid, oxygen-poor conditions of the piles, bacteria produce prodigious amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. Levels of methane seeping from the mounds were about 20 times higher than those emanating from the surrounding forest floor. But the big surprise was nitrous oxide, which left the mounds in concentrations 1000 times or more above background levels,
Third of Wales’ birds are in decline
Bird Guides December 30, 2018
A major report has found that one in three species of bird is in significant decline in Wales. The State of Birds in Wales study found farmland and woodland species were especially vulnerable, with the researchers identifying loss of habitat and climate change while urging urgent conservation action.
The West Coast’s biggest bird oasis is dying. Will it be saved?
National Geographic December 28, 2018
The Salton Sea is a vast, shallow body of water percolating in the hot desert inland of San Diego and a key stopover point for many birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. Over the years, as other wetlands along the flyway have been lost to development, drought, or other causes, it has taken on an outsized importance for migrating birds. Nearly all of California’s population of eared grebes, for example, stop over at the lake, and at least a third of all the white pelicans living in North America dip in and out of its waters on their migratory travels.
But the Salton Sea is shrinking. Because of a host of reasons climate-related, agricultural, and political, less and less water ends up trickling into the lake each year, while the hot desert sun keeps evaporating its water away
Greenland ice melting ‘even in winter’
The Scottish Journal December 24, 2018
He said: “These waves are pushing warm water into the fjord and towards the glacier, causing melting hundreds of metres below the ocean surface.”
Dr Fraser concentrated his work on the Kangerdlugssuaq fjord which drains one of Greenland’s major glaciers.
The team used computer simulations because it is difficult to study the system during the extreme Arctic winter.
Greenland’s ice melt is accelerating, with the volume of meltwater reaching unprecedented levels.
SAMS said an estimated 600 gigatonnes of water flowed into the ocean in 2012.
Greenland accounts for more than 20% of the total annual increase in sea level.
Reliable tropical weather pattern to change in a warming climate
EurekAlert! December 27, 2018
The Madden-Julian Oscillation’s precipitation variations are likely to increase in intensity under a warmer climate, while wind variations are likely to increase at a slower rate.
Every month or two, a massive pulse of clouds, rainfall and wind moves eastward around the Earth near the equator, providing the tropics their famous thunderstorms.
This band of recurring weather, first described by scientists in 1971, is called the Madden-Julian Oscillation. It has profound effects on weather in distant places, including the United States. Atmospheric scientists have long studied how the Madden-Julian Oscillation modulates extreme weather events across the globe, from hurricanes to floods to droughts.
As human activities cause the Earth’s temperature to increase, reliable, well-studied weather patterns like the Madden-Julian Oscillation will change too, say researchers at Colorado State University.
the Madden-Julian Oscillation’s precipitation variations are likely to increase in intensity under a warmer climate, wind variations are likely to increase at a slower rate, or even decrease. That’s in contrast to the conventional wisdom of a warming climate producing a more intense Madden-Julian Oscillation, and thus an across-the-board increase in extreme weather.
According to Maloney’s work, the Madden-Julian Oscillation’s impact on remote areas may gradually decrease. Degradation in the oscillation’s wind signal may thus diminish meteorologists’ ability to predict extreme weather events. In particular, preferential warming of the upper troposphere in a future, warmer climate is expected to reduce the strength of the Madden-Julian Oscillation circulation.
Rise of carbon dioxide–absorbing mountains in tropics may set thermostat for global climate
Science Mag December 28, 2018
Many mountains in Indonesia and neighboring Papua New Guinea consist of ancient volcanic rocks from the ocean floor that were caught in a colossal tectonic collision between a chain of island volcanoes and a continent, and thrust high. Lashed by tropical rains, these rocks hungrily react with CO2 and sequester it in minerals. That is why, with only 2% of the world’s land area, Indonesia accounts for 10% of its long-term CO2 absorption. Its mountains could explain why ice sheets have persisted, waxing and waning, for several million years (although they are now threatened by global warming).
Now, researchers have extended that theory, finding that such tropical mountain-building collisions coincide with nearly all of the half-dozen or so significant glacial periods in the past 500 million years. “These types of environments, through time, are what sets the global climate,”
Planetary Waves drive South America’s Monsoon rains
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research December 20, 2018
Monsoon rainfall in South America is to a large extent driven by huge airstreams high up in the atmosphere, a new study finds. Using innovative methods to explore teleconnections between different parts of the world, the scientists found evidence that the so-called Rossby waves – airstreams swinging from the tropics to Antarctica and back while circling the globe – are key for the variability in regional precipitation especially in parts of Brazil and Argentina. This has been assumed before but, to the knowledge of the authors, never been properly conceptualized and detected in actual data.
Paul Beckwith: “I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions.”
Kevin Hester: “There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles … 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change”
Guy McPherson: “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least an order of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun.”
Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!