Archive for Climate Change

Climate Change Is Already Affecting Us

The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) states that “Evidence for a changing climate abound, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Thousands of studies by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes….Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities…are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes.”(11) Past, present and future impacts on the United States and the world are found on pp.13-14.

This version of the document is its third draft; the fifth draft, fundamentally unchanged from its predecessor, is at the White House, waiting approval for release. A review of this report was undertaken by the National Academies of Sciences that found “The Committee agrees that the draft CSSR is largely accurate and generally represents the breadth of available literature pertaining to the state of the science at the time of writing, with the exception of some specific topic areas detailed in this report.”(5) The CSSR is part of the fourth iteration of the National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally mandated review of climate due out every four years, the next to be delivered in late 2018.

In a related development, The Guardian has just published a series of emails detailing how the term “weather extremes” is to be used rather than “climate change” within parts of the Department of Agriculture. Other euphemisms are also indicated. This follows a similar pattern at the EPA.

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National Academies Press “America’s Climate Choices” Series

“Produced at the request of Congress, the America’s Climate Choices series of reports provides authoritative analyses to inform and guide responses to climate change across the nation.  The reports were produced by committees of experts convened by the National Research Council….” There are four volumes in the series along with an overview volume. For additional climate science reports/documents by this esteemed publisher, please visit this site

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More Species Threatened By Climate Change Than First Thought

According to this article from Nature Climate Change, “Our results suggest that populations of large numbers of threatened species are likely to be already affected by climate change, and that conservation managers, planners and policy makers must take this into account in efforts to safeguard the future of biodiversity.” The percentage of endangered species facing imminent eradication is much higher than first postulated. More efforts need to be expended in the here and now, rather than in future speculation.

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What Is New Jersey Doing About Drought?

For those who do not know, northern and central New Jersey are now under a drought warning, the first issued in 15 years. We remember the last time a drought warning was declared – you needed permission to refill your swimming pool and a placard had to be prominently displayed verifying that you indeed had the go-ahead to do so. Lawn-watering was curtailed and car-washing was forbidden, among other steps. So you would think the state would have mobilized around a water plan to address this dire situation. Come on, this is Jersey. The last time the master state plan for water was updated was in 1996! And the population of the state has increased by over 500,000 just since 2000. NJ Spotlight has a good report on the situation; a recent report/presentation by the state climatologist is online.

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Could Movement of Polar Vortex Signal a Colder Northeast?

That would appear to be the premise of this article from Nature Climate Change. This report from Scientific American explains the situation in more understandable terms. Everyone got their winter clothes ready?

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Is It Hot Enough For You?

According to the American Meteorological Society’s State of the Climate 2015, we are now 1 degree Celsius warmer than in preindustrial times. That is a big deal. And to add to the discomfort, July 2016 was the hottest on record. Much more information can be found at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

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Recent Reports on Water

Both national and international bodies have issued important documents pertaining to water scarcity and its implications. The World Bank has published High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy. This report details how the lack of potable water will exacerbate already bad conditions in areas where water scarcity already exists as well as impacting areas that presently do not have to contend with this issue. If left unabated, climate change will affect the supply of water to the world’s cities by 2050, in some cases  by two-thirds. These conditions will give rise to mass migrations, “water wars”, and otherarmed conflicts that will in the long run reduce the economies of many of the world’s countries by up to 6%. It offers some hope of amelioration in its Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands: Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience .

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued Municipal freshwater scarcity: Using technology to improve distribution system efficiency and tap nontraditional water sources and an E-Supplement containing the survey of 1300 municipal water systems upon which the report is based. As stated in the highlights page: “Of all municipal services, providing a safe and adequate supply of water is perhaps the most essential. Reports about lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan and ongoing drought in several regions of the United States highlight some of the challenges water utilities are facing. In times of shortage, conflicts over limited freshwater resources—including for irrigation, power production, and municipal water use—increase. Further, freshwater shortages are expected to continue into the future.”

The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has produced Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector that states:”Projected changes in climate are likely to alter growing conditions across important agricultural regions in the United States.”(Summary 1) Reductions in crop yields are expected by 2020.

A search of PMC (PubMed Central) shows over 700 articles on water scarcity; over 350 articles are in DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals); and more than 100 articles can be found courtesy of HighWire Press.

 

 

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