Archive for Climate Change

As Climate Change Continues, the Heat Index Increases

The heat index is used by the National Weather Service to issue heat event warnings. This article – Increased frequency of and population exposure to extreme heat index days in the United States during the 21st century –  from Environmental Research Communications– posits that this measure of the “apparent temperature” will reach beyond the upper thresholds of this tool as more episodes of high heat are experienced, putting millions of people at risk. The combination of high heat and humidity will jeopardize many with the likelihood of heat stroke. We will have an adumbration of this condition this upcoming weekend. Stay out of the sun, limit physical activity, and stay hydrated.

 

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Climate Change is a Priority Health Issue

Against a background of soaring temperatures in northern Europe (100+ degrees), rainfall that has flooded parts of southern New Jersey, hail the size of golf balls in France, and in light of the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit, a number of United States medical /health groups have joined together to issue U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda that states “Climate change is the ‘greatest public health challenge of the 21st century’.” This brief but cogent document outlines steps that must be taken to address this most pressing problem. Since climate change more adversely affects those already in dire straits, a social justice component in battling climate change is introduced.

 

 

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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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