Archive for Climate Change

If You Think It’s Hot Now, Wait Until 2080

According to this study in Nature Communications – Contemporary climatic analogs for 540 North American urban areas in the late 21st century – climate change will so transform local weather that cities will then experience patterns akin to cities 280 miles south of them, so Washington, D.C. in 2080 will feel like Arkansas or Mississippi. As this article states: ” We show that climate of most urban areas will shift considerably and become either more akin to contemporary climates hundreds of kilometers away and mainly to the south or will have no modern equivalent.” (Abstract)

To see the visualizations for the 540 cities, please come here.

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New 2019 Threat Assessments: World Economic Forum and Pew Research Center

Two more important surveys have been recently released. In mid-January the World Economic Forum released its Global Risks Report 2019 that, inter alia, points out  “Environmental risks continue to dominate the results of our annual Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). This year, they accounted for three of the top five risks by likelihood and four by impact.”(6) Water crises figure prominently here.

Climate Change Still Seen as the Top Global Threat, but Cyberattacks a Rising Concern just released from Pew Research Center further reinforces the view that environmental concerns pose major security issue in the near-term.

 

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“The Garden of Eden Is No More”

This is from part of Sir David Attenborough’s speech at Davos. Read the speech here and watch it here.

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World’s Oceans Warming Up More Quickly Than Previously Thought

While this article in Science is short, it surely gives rise to dire thoughts; this article from Scientific American explains the situation in more manageable terms. In either case, the outlook is not promising. As if this isn’t frightening by itself, this warming will only accelerate the Antarctic ice melt that has been increasing exponentially over the past years as seen in this recent Nature article

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Recent Climate Change Reports the Present Administration Tried To Hide

On Black Friday, when most people are recovering from either too much feasting or shopping and are not paying attention to the news, the Trump administration released two reports that present dire consequences if the current policies and practices of this presidency are not cancelled.

The first report – Federal Lands Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sequestration in the United States: Estimates for 2005-14 – from the United States Geological Survey – while “simplistic” and limited only to production on Federal lands, does point to a correlation between high fuel production and increased greenhouse gases (19). This is the first attempt are measuring the impact of the fuel sector on levels of gases and sequestration.

The second report, the  Congressionally mandated – Fourth National Climate Assessment – addresses the various impacts that climate change presents and the forecasts are not good. Each individual section of this report resonates with a clarion call for action immediately if this nation is to surmount the encroaching challenges. For example, this statement is from section 4 and summarizes/reinforces other pronouncements in this important document “Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today.”

 

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Near-Term Effects of Climate Change

Many people have entered a space where they consider the ramifications of climate change in a future-world; however, the most recent report from the IPCC – Global Warming of 1.5 °C – shows that we have mere decades to ameliorate this situation.

A massive literature review reinforcing the various scenarios lends credence to this report, and puts climate change deniers in the unenviable position of having little to no research to substantiate their viewpoints.

As this report states:

“Warming of 1.5°C is not considered ‘safe’ for most nations, communities, ecosystems and sectors and poses significant risks to natural and human systems as compared to current warming of 1°C (high confidence) {Cross-Chapter Box 12 in Chapter 5}. The impacts of 1.5°C would disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements (medium evidence, high agreement) {5.2.1}. Some of the worst impacts on sustainable development are expected to be felt among agricultural and coastal dependent livelihoods, indigenous people, children and the elderly, poor labourers, poor urban dwellers in African cities, and people and ecosystems in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)….” (Chapter 5, executive summary)

Not only does climate change affect the physical environment, but it also takes on toll on mental health. Please read: Climate Change and Mental Health (Union of Concerned Scientists); Climate Changes Mental Health (American Public Health Association); and Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions (International Journal of Mental Health Systems).

 

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Wildfire Statistics

With the whole West seemingly on fire, this CRS publication – Wildfire Statistics – crams a lot of data into two pages. Current through August 1, it makes for a sobering read. And yes, things are getting progressively worse over time.

Is climate change having an impact on the frequency and severity of the fires? Here are some readings of interest: Is Global Warming Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks?   (Union of Concerned Scientists); Wildfires and Climate Change (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions); How Climate Change Contributed to This Summer’s Wildfires (New Yorker); and  Wildfire responses to abrupt climate change in North America (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

 

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