Showing posts from October, 2016

Spain Could Turn Into A Desert

The Paris Agreement recently adopted on global warming resolves to keep the increase in global atmospheric temperature to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.  The Mediterranean is warming faster than other parts of the world and is already at 1.3 degrees.  Unless action is taken immediately, which is unlikely, it will hit 2 degrees there (and also throughout the world) in twenty years or so.  And if even the most drastic action isn't taken, the worst case scenario is dire for most the world by the end of the century.

Climate change rate to turn southern Spain to desert by 2100, report warns Mediterranean ecosystems will change to a state unprecedented in the past 10,000 years unless temperature rises are held to within 1.5C, say scientists Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned. Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will se…

Cold Winters Coming In The Northeast

As the Arctic warms atmospheric patterns normally confined to the Arctic begins to spread out and affect latitudes further south.  During the winter months it is called the Polar Vortex, and it is heading for the American Northeast.  While the air in this vortex is getting warmer, it remains a lot colder than what people are used to further south, a lot colder.

It’s coming back. The polar vortex that shocked the northeast with extremely cold days may bring more bitterly cold winters to North America, according to a new study. The polar vortex is a massive system of swirling air that usually contains cold air around the North Pole. It has been shifting for decades, researchers found — but it has only recently become a household term, after it was blamed for causing record cold weather affecting some 200 million people in 2014. [....]
A weakened vortex means cold Arctic air moves to lower latitudes, as happened in early 2014 and 2015. Some experts are reporting the polar vortex is alread…

20 to 30 Feet Sea Level Rise Is Inevitable

Scientists have learned that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is accelerating.

Extreme Melting: Antarctic Glacier Lost 1000 to 1500 Feet in Thickness of Solid Ice in 7 Years

The bottom line from this study and many others is that rapid melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has started. We know from many studies of global coastlines that the last time temperatures were as warm as were 1.5 Celsius above baseline — the Paris agreement target — sea levels were 20 to 30 feet above today’s level. We now know from this study that glaciers are already melting at astonishing rates but predicting how rapidly the west Antarctic ice sheet will collapse is a major scientific challenge. Thus predicting the changing rates of sea level rise and the effects on coastlines will be controversial and political, but 20 to 30 feet (minimum) of sea level rise is pretty much inevitable. It's only a matter of time. Although 20 to 30 feet of sea level rise will be very destructive to coastlines, ef…

Obituary: The Great Barrier Reef, 25 million BC - 2016

Climate change and ocean acidification have killed off one of the most spectacular features on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Among its many other achievements, the reef was home to one of the world’s largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles.  [....]
 Corals derive their astonishing colors, and much of their nourishment, from symbiotic algae that live on their surfaces. The algae photosynthesize and make sugars, which the cor…

Good News, Bad News

India has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change.  This is big deal.  The U.S. and China are in, and most of the European Countries. Only Russia demurs. Nevertheless it appears that the treaty will "enter into force".
The Paris Agreement will formally come into force next month, legally binding countries that have ratified the deal to act on the pledges made last year. This includes a commitment by every country to prepare increasingly ambitious pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions every five years, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. This is an important step forward.

The good news doesn't stop there.  The price of clean energy continues to drop

And Standing Rock may presage the beginning of a popular uprising against oil.

The corner may have been turned.  The Paris Agreement signifies that the the deniers have lost the battle
195 world nations have agreed to ignore climate science denial and cut carbon pollution as much as possible So maybe th…