Something to keep in mind… carbon emissions are caused by an economic system built on resource extraction and consumption.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP General Climate Change News
100 Dead in Nigeria Following Severe Flooding EcoWatch September 19, 2018
Nigeria declared a national disaster in four states Monday in response to deadly flooding that National Emergency Management Agency. “Based on the data available, 100 people have so far died in 10 states,” Datti said Monday, as Al Jazeera reported.
Mysterious Microbes Turning Polar Ice Pink, Speeding Up Melt National Geographic September 2018
A surprisingly happy and healthy ecosystem of algae is not only turning parts of the Greenland ice sheet pinkish-red, it’s contributing more than a little to the melting of one of the biggest frozen bodies of water in the world. The discolored snow isn’t just an Arctic phenomenon. “It’s actually a global occurrence,”
Nearing the Arctic’s seasonal minimum Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis September 19, 2018
The seasonal minimum of Arctic sea ice extent is imminent; extent at the minimum is likely to be the sixth lowest in the satellite record, tied with 2008.
Container ship crosses Arctic route for first time in history due to melting sea ice Independent September 18. 2018
A commercial container ship has for the first time successfully navigated the Northern Sea Route of the Arctic Ocean, a route made possible by melting sea ice caused by global warming.
A highlight from the Global Climate Action Summit summation…
Global Climate Action Summit Strives to Stoke Ambition Environment News Service September 14, 2018
State of California is joining with San Francisco-based Earth imaging company Planet Labs to develop and launch a satellite to track climate change-causing pollutants and help reduce these destructive emissions.
Interesting debate on geoengineering… A Debate on Geoengineering: Should We Deliberately “Hack” Planet Earth to Combat Climate Change? Democracy Now September 14, 2018
Supporters of geoengineering endorse radical ways to manipulate the planet, from spraying aerosols with sulfur particles into the stratosphere, to scrubbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The World Has Never Seen Anything Like What’s Happening at the Equator Right Now Mother Jones September 17, 2018
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that science doesn’t know if a warming planet will have more hurricanes, but its assembled researchers do agree that what hurricanes happen will be worse. More intense wind, more rain, parked for longer over coastal cities unprepared for 100-year-storms that now come once every five years instead. … “What is certain is that the coming changes will be very, very inconvenient to human society.”
In Florence’s Floodwater: Sewage, Coal Ash and Hog Waste Lagoon Spills Inside Climate News September 18, 2018
Clean-water advocates who surveyed the state by plane on Monday documented two breaches in a coal ash landfill near Wilmington, and found that giant ash piles near a power plant in another part of the state had been overcome by floodwater. They spotted dozens of hog farms with waste lagoons under water. One poultry company estimated that 1.7 million of its chickens had drowned and said its farmers hadn’t been able to reach millions more.
3.4 Million Chickens, 5,500 Hogs Killed in Florence’s Flooding EcoWatch September 18, 2018
Hurricane Florence’s Unusual Extremes Worsened by Climate Change inside climate news September 14, 2018
They estimated that Florence’s rainfall forecast is more than 50 percent higher than it would have been without global warming, and that the hurricane’s projected size is about 80 kilometers larger. … Woods Hole Research Center president and director Phil Duffy. “Not all the science is set, but the global warming projections are robust for more Category 4 and 5 storms, as well as a trend to more rapid intensification”,
This is how the world ends: will we soon see category 6 hurricanes? The Guardian September 15, 2018
has begun to wonder publicly about the potential for a category 6 hurricane. … “A ‘black swan’ hurricane – a storm so extreme and wholly unprecedented that no one could have expected it – hit the Lesser Antilles Islands in October 1780,” Masters wrote to open the post. “Deservedly called The Great Hurricane of 1780, no Atlantic hurricane in history has matched its death toll of 22,000. So intense were the winds of the Great Hurricane that it peeled the bark off of trees – something only EF5 tornadoes with winds in excess of 200mph have been known to do.” Masters then made the startling claim that such a “black swan” hurricane was not only possible now but almost certain to occur more than once.
Wildlife & the Environment
In Alaska, Starving Seabirds and Empty Colonies Signal a Broken Ecosystem Audubon September 11, 2018
The murres’ disappearance this year isn’t limited to Nome. Throughout Alaska’s coastal waters on the Bering and Chukchi Seas, Common and Thick-billed Murres failed to breed this year. Typically millions of the raucous black-and-white seabirds gather at some 170 colonies along Alaska’s coast to nest and raise their chicks together. But this year barely any birds showed up to their breeding grounds in May and June, and those that did arrived uncharacteristically late. Some birds in the Pribolof Islands in the Bering Sea were still sitting on eggs in mid-August, about a month later than normal. At the same time, when Alaskan communities fringing the Bering and Chukchi Seas weren’t finding live birds on nests, they were finding dead birds on beaches. From May through July, hundreds of emaciated Thick-billed Murres, Common Murres, Fork-tailed Petrels, Short-tailed Shearwaters, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Northern Fulmars washed up on the Alaskan coast. Their cause of death? Starvation.
‘A single piece of plastic’ can kill sea turtles, says study BBC September 13, 2018
Researchers found there was a one in five chance of death for a turtle who consumed just one item – rising to 50% for 14 pieces. The team found that younger turtles are at a higher risk of dying from exposure to plastic than adults. The authors say their research raises concerns over the long term survival of some turtle species.
What the world needs now to fight climate change: More swamps The Conversation September 12, 2018
…the world needs more swamps – and bogs, fens, marshes and other types of wetlands. These are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. They also are underrated but irreplaceable tools for slowing the pace of climate change and protecting our communities from storms and flooding. … Vast stores of carbon have accumulated in wetlands, in some cases over thousands of years. This has reduced atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and methane – two key greenhouse gases that are changing Earth’s climate. … Natural wetlands typically absorb more carbon than they release. But as the climate warms wetland soils, microbial metabolism increases, releasing additional greenhouse gases. In addition, draining or disturbing wetlands can release soil carbon very rapidly.
This is a ‘long read’ and interesting if you like bugs. Buried deep in the article are some gems about Climate Change…
‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off The Guardian December 14, 2017
Everywhere, invertebrates are threatened by climate change, competition from invasive species and habitat loss. Insect abundance seems to be declining precipitously, even in places where their habitats have not suffered notable new losses. A troubling new report from Germany has shown a 75% plunge in insect populations since 1989, suggesting that they may be even more imperiled than any previous studies suggested. … “any long automobile journey,” especially one undertaken in summer, “would result in a car windscreen that was insect-spattered”. In recent years this phenomenon seems to have vanished.
This is another related article cited in the article above…
Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers The Guardian October 18, 2017
The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. … “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”
And this is the study cited in the article about ecological Armageddon…
More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas PLOS one October 17, 2018
Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline.
Climate change may drive 10 percent of amphibian species in the Atlantic Rainforest to extinction Eurekalert September 12, 2018
Global warming could lead to the extinction of up to 10% of frog and toad species endemic to Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest biome within about the next 50 years.
Recent Climate Change Studies
Long and informative…
Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise Motherboard August 28, 2018
Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources. … Those are the stark implications of a new scientific background paper prepared by a team of Finnish biophysicists. The team from the BIOS Research Unit in Finland were asked to provide research that would feed into the drafting of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which will be released in 2019.
Air pollution particles found in mothers’ placentas The Guardian September 16, 2018
Scientists are increasingly finding that air pollution results in health problems far beyond the lungs. In August, research revealed that air pollution causes a “huge” reduction in intelligence, while in 2016 toxic nanoparticles from air pollution were discovered in human brains.
Flood frequency of the world’s largest river has increased fivefold University of Leeds September 19, 2018
A recent study of more than 100 years of river level records from the Amazon shows a significant increase in frequency and severity of floods. The scientists’ analysis of the potential causes could contribute to more accurate flood prediction for the Amazon Basin. Water levels of the Amazon River have been recorded daily in Port of Manaus, Brazil since the beginning of the last century. The team used 113 years of water level records and found extreme floods and droughts have become more frequent over the last two to three decades. … As a result of greenhouse warming, wind belts in mid to high latitudes in the Southern hemisphere have shifted further south, opening a window for transport of warm Indian ocean waters around the tip of Africa, via the Agulhas current, towards the tropical Atlantic.
Book Review The Vanishing Face of Gaia by James Lovelock was published in 2009.
I just finished this book and am impressed by how much of what he says is still relevant today. The data from a number of current studies reinforces what he was saying in this book nine years ago.
Since the 1970s, James Lovelock has been involved in ‘global heating’ conversations with many leading current climate scientists. He proposed the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system. Lovelock is known for his dire warnings about ‘global heating’. He is 99 years old.
Here are some of the most interesting passages from his book. He has carefully considered these issues and responds with well-reasoned and contentious analysis…
It is time to wake up and realize that Gaia is no cozy mother that nurtures humans and can be propitiated by gestures such as carbon trading or sustainable development. Gaia, even though we are a part of her, will always dictate the terms of peace. Back in May 1940, we in the UK woke to find facing us across the Channel a wholly hostile continental force about to invade. We were alone without an effective ally but fortunate to have a new leader, Winston Churchill, whose moving words stirred the whole nation from its lethargy: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” We all need modern Churchill’s to lead us from the clinging, flabby, consensual thinking of the late twentieth century and to bind our nations with a singleminded effort to wage a difficult war. We need a leader who will stir us all but especially to stir those young environmentalists who so bravely protested against all forms of desecration of the country side and wilderness.
We have been hearing a lot about “hot-house Earth” in the news today. Already in 2009, he mentions hot-house events in connection to the Eocene period…
The long-term history of the Earth suggests the existence of hot and cold stable states that geologists refer to as the greenhouses and the ice houses. In between are the metastable periods like the present interglacial. The best-known hot-house happened 55 million years ago, near the beginning of the period known by geologists as the Eocene. The Eocene was already warm by present standards, and a geological accident caused the release of between 1 and 2 teratons of carbon dioxide into the air (a teraton is 1 million million tons). Putting this much carbon dioxide in the air caused the temperature of the temperate and Arctic regions to rise by fifteen degrees, and the tropics by between nine and fifteen degrees; and it took about two hundred thousand years for conditions to return to their previous states. Soon we will have injected a comparable quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the Earth itself may release as much again. …the Earth was 0.5 percent cooler then and there was no agriculture anywhere, so that natural vegetation was free to regulate the climate.
From his chapter on geoengineering…
Global heating would not have happened but for the rapid expansion in numbers and wealth of humanity. … Whatever we do as geoengineers is unlikely to stop dangerous climate change or prevent death on a scale that makes all previous wars, famines, and disasters small; but to continue “business as usual” could be worse… … Perhaps the greatest value of the Gaia concept lies in its metaphor of a living Earth, which reminds us that we are
me… We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!
QMS: Time to disconnect greed from the welfare of earth, if survival means anything.
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.”