The National Library of Medicine has recently released Climate Change and Human Health, a guide to open access resources. Sites range from medical blogs to IPCC documentation to governmental agencies. Much valuable data can be extracted from this guide. An important tool given the publication of the 800+ page National Climate Assessment report that states “Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.”(Northeast regional report) Highlights of this tome can also be perused.
Archive for Climate Change
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report - Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability – is presented in two volumes comprising thirty chapters. Volume one deals with global/sectoral aspects such as natural resources, food security, and human settlements; volume two examines climate change through geographical perspectives (here is the chapter on North America). No matter how you look at it, the reports paints a dire pictures. The summary digests the massive amount of data and distills it into a forty-four page abstract. Among its points are: “Human interference with the climate system is occurring and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems”(1); “Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts”(7); “Climate change over the 21st century is projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions”(15); and “A first step towards adaptation to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present climate variability”(23). A valuable review of the IPCC and its assessments is at The Guardian.
The World Meteorological Organization has just issued its latest annual report of the state of the world’s climate. It ain’t pretty: “…it is clear that the planet is experiencing an overall warming trend. Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the twenty-first century….”(Foreword) It reviews the severe weather that impacted the world in 2013 from a record number of tropical cyclones to abnormally cold weather. And so it goes.
This short booklet – Climate Change: Evidence and Causes – co-published by The Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences – explains in a Q&A format the present state of scientific knowledge about the underlying causes of climate change. Helpful visuals aid in understanding this complex topic; additional readings are suggested. If you want an informative overview of climate change, written in clear English, this is surely the document to read. To this end, the U.S. government has released a storehouse of information at data.gov/climate. Numerous datasets and resources are now available, and more will be added over time. Whereas previously you had to search multiple sites to retrieve relevant information, these disparate sources (maps, tools, updates, challenges) have now been compiled into a single site. And this valuable report is also of interest: Climate Change Legislation in the 113th Congress.
The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study (4th edition) provides information on the various legislative processes that 66 countries, as well as the EU, use to mitigate the effects of climate change. Each country profile opens with its approach to climate change, an historical overview. This is then followed by the various policies implemented, whether it involved carbon pricing, biofuels, energy policy, or transportation policy to name a few areas of concern. Each national profile is then rounded off by a listing of the flagship legislation enacted to address climate change concerns.
We have of late been battered by cold, ice, sleet, snow and thunder snow. Great Britain has had its hare of weather woes as well – gale force winds, torrential rains (the most in 248 years), river flooding, etc. Can climate change be the cause of all this bad weather on both sides of the Atlantic? Maybe, according to The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK from the UK Meteorological Office. As this report states: “As yet, there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding.”(2) But it does go on to request that: “More research is urgently needed to deliver robust detection of changes in storminess and daily/hourly rain rates. The attribution of these changes to anthropogenic global warming requires climate models of sufficient resolution to capture storms and their associated rainfall. Such models are now becoming available and should be deployed as soon as possible to provide a solid evidence base for future investments in flood and coastal defences.”(26) Charts and references are provided. Reportage is found courtesy of The Guardian and Scientific American.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has just issued its Global Risks 2014. Environmental concerns appear three times in the top ten risk list: water crises (#3); failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation (#5); and greater incidence of extreme weather events (#6). As the report states: “This illustrates a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources from economic activity and population growth. Coupled with extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, which appears sixth on the list, the potential impacts are real and happening today.” (5) This is followed by an analysis from the Global Agenda Council on Water Security.(Its site is here.) This document just reinforces the importance of water security in the world. TowersWatson issued its Extreme Risks Report in 2013 where water scarcity was at the top of its list as well.