Geography News on Climate change

February 2015

Southwest, Central Plains Face ‘Unprecedented’ Drought
Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall mean that future drought could be more extreme than any drought seen in at least the past 1,000 years and the effects could reverberate for urban dwellers and farmers across the regions.

Climate Just web tool
The UK is increasingly under threat from the effects of climate change, and disadvantaged neighbourhoods are likely to be hit hardest. Climate Just will help practitioners in England address issues of social vulnerability to climate change.

How is the world getting both a) warmer and b) snowier in some places? Here’s how.
It can still get cold in the winter, but overall the air and oceans are warming up and that means more moisture in the air and more precipitation, and where that moisture hits below-freezing air temperatures,that can mean a lot of snow.

Warmer Seas Linked To East Coast Hurricane Outbreaks
Last year was the globe’s hottest on record, and most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas pollution ends up in the upper levels of the oceans. That marine heat is helping to power storms and, because warmer water expands and can melt ice, it’s raising sea levels, which worsens flooding caused by storm surges.

Did Ocean’s Big Burps End Last Ice Age?
A massive outpouring of carbon dioxide from the deep ocean may have helped end the last ice age, scientists report today.

The countries most vulnerable to climate change, in 3 maps

Effects of volcanic eruptions on climate change and people: Effects of Laki eruption

Graph and time series of average variation of global surface temperatures from 1884 to 2014

Farming Now Worse For Climate Than Deforestation
A new study describes how agriculture overtakes deforestation as the leading source of land-based greenhouse gas pollution during the past decade.

Rising meat consumption pushes farming past deforestation as global warming driver
Rising meat and dairy consumption are having an outsized impact on growing agricultural emissions. Global meat production jumped nearly 70 percent between 1990 and 2012, while milk production increased 39 percent and eggs 93 percent.

January 2015

Climate concern ‘linked to floods’ BBC News
Britons named climate change as a major issue facing the UK alongside crime and education in a national survey.

The Impacts of Climate Change: From Global to Local. An Interesting talk by experts from Lancaster University-Video

Climate change “refugees” off the agenda, but problem looms large.
According to human rights lawyer Walter Kälin, in the past six years some 160 million people have been displaced by sudden-onset disasters, 90 percent of them linked to weather events.

Climate change is lifting Iceland – and it could mean more volcanic eruptions
Iceland is rising because of climate change, with land freed by the melting of the ice caps rebounding from the Earth at a rate of up to 1.4in per year. Researchers believe the extra uplift could be behind an increase in volcanic activity, with three Icelandic eruptions in the last five years shutting down flights and spewing ash in the air.
On the same topic: How Climate Change Leads to Volcanoes

Warmer seas could cause faster melting of Antarctic ice leading to rising sea levels, says study
Total melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is close to the regions known to be warming, would raise global sea levels by 4.8 metres (15.7ft) – enough to have a severe impact on coastal populations.

Car ownership reaches record high in China
China gained an additional 17 million new cars in 2014, taking ownership to a record 154 million – according to its Ministry of Public Security.

World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds
Everyone will feel the impact, particularly the poor, as weather extremes become more commons and risks to food, water, and energy security increase.

Could Western diets derail climate action?
A growing body of evidence shows the impact that unsustainable levels of meat consumption – particularly of meats like beef and lamb – have on the planet. As shown in a recent Chatham House report, the livestock sector contributes nearly 15 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, roughly equivalent to those from transport.

What Is the Greenhouse Effect?
A simple explanation by livescience
Greenhouse-effectStudy shows methane leaking from Siberian permafrost. 
“The thawing of permafrost on the ocean floor is an ongoing process, likely to be exaggerated by the global warming of the world´s oceans.” says PhD Alexei Portnov at Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) at UiT.

Scientists blame climate change for world’s biggest trees dying 
New research carried out over 90 years has found that up to half of California’s iconic big trees have disappeared, with scientists suspecting climate change as the prime reason.

Melting glaciers dump carbon into the sea
In addition to adding water to the oceans, eroding ice sheets are also contributing significant amounts of carbon that feed the bottom of the food chain in marine ecosystems. The findings raise a new question: What will happen to these ecosystems when the glaciers melt away?

Sea Level Rise: The Basics — Global Warming & Physics
The first reason for increased sea level, is that the increase in global temperatures leads to melting icecaps and glaciers. The second reason warmer temperatures cause sea level rise is good old physics and that pesky thermal expansion.

Why the Arctic is climate change’s canary in the coal mine (Lesson)
The Arctic may seem like a frozen and desolate environment where nothing ever changes. But the climate of this unique and remote region can be both an early indicator of the climate of the rest of the Earth and a driver for weather patterns across the globe. Video

Watch 28 Years of Old Arctic Ice Disappear in One Minute
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration has released an animation showing the decline of old sea ice since 1987, the first year for which accurate data is available on ice thickness. It shows a region of change in terms of the long-term trend as well as season-to-season fluctuations.

Climate Change’s Calling Card in 2014: Heat
The oceans are warming, likely storing the planet’s excess heat (though that can’t continue indefinitely). The polar regions are melting, raising sea levels. Increased heat fuels wildfires and exacerbates drought, which feeds into water and food scarcity, potentially igniting regional conflicts. Public health could also be threatened by heat waves and insect-borne diseases that thrive in the heat.

Tropical Forests May Inhale Third of Fossil Fuel Emissions
A new study highlights how critical forests may be, especially in the tropics, in absorbing human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and mitigating climate change.

Watch 63 Years of Global Warming in 14 Seconds
This animation from NASA depicts how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1950. You’ll note an acceleration of the temperature trend in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide and clean air laws reduced emissions of pollutants that had a cooling effect on the climate, and thus were masking some of the global warming signal.

Connections between climate change and extreme weather events
Heat waves and cold snaps, hurricanes and tornadoes, downpours and blizzards — they form the extreme ends of the weather spectrum, affecting our health, infrastructure and livelihoods. And as manmade greenhouse gases are steadily boosting the Earth’s temperature, the nagging question becomes, is global warming to blame? And then, is there more extreme weather in our future?

The vast majority of glaciers in the European glacial regions are in retreat
The vast majority of glaciers in the European glacial regions are in retreat. Glaciers in the European Alps have lost approximately two thirds of their volume since 1850, with clear acceleration since the 1980s. Glacier retreat is expected to continue in the future. The volume of European glaciers has been estimated to decline between 22 and 84 % compared to the current situation by 2100 under a moderate greenhouse gas forcing scenario and between 38 and 89% under a high forcing scenario.

Climate change is helping pests and diseases that attack crops to spread around the world, a study suggests.
Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Oxford have found crop pests are moving at an average of two miles (3km) a year.The team said they were heading towards the north and south poles, and were establishing in areas that were once too cold for them to live in Currently, it is estimated that between 10% and 16% of the world’s crops are lost to disease outbreaks. The researchers warn that rising global temperatures could make the problem worse.

2014 officially the hottest year on record
“We can safely say it’s probably the warmest year in 1,700 and 2,000 years, and I think it’s probably safe to say 5,000 years,” said Don Wuebbles, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois.

The tides are changing: Sea levels rising at faster rate than predicted, study finds
The last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that the average global rise in sea levels could be between 52cm and 98cm by 2100 for high CO2 emissions and between 28cm and 61cm for lower emissions. This would mean that even if the world commits to lower greenhouse gas emissions under a new climate treaty, many coastal areas will still be seriously threatened by a sea-level rise of about half a metre by the end of this century – and further inevitable rises in subsequent centuries.

Climate changes: Global highlights 2014
During 2014, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1°C above the 20th century average.

Tibetan glaciers are shrinking at their summits: Ice loss at high elevations threatens water supply for hundreds of millions of people
New findings raise questions about the fate of the region’s water resources. The Tibetan ice acts as a reservoir for vast regions in China and South Asia, with hundreds of millions of inhabitants.

In 2014, a Fijian village was 1st to be relocated under the small island nation’s “climate change refugee” programme-Video

December 2014

By mid-century, sea level rise is set to make floods a monthly occurrence in more than two dozen major cities in the US.
Flooding has already become 10 times more likely in Baltimore and Honolulu and five times more likely in Philadelphia, Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C., since 1930. That’s in large part because since the start of the 20th century, sea levels have risen by about 8 inches globally due to human greenhouse gas emissions that have caused oceans to warm and land ice to melt, swelling the seas.

2014 will be Europe’s hottest year since the 1500s.
In Europe, nine of the 10 hottest years ever recorded have all occurred since 2000. There hasn’t been an annual cold record across Europe since 1956.

Chinese meat demand drives livestock greenhouse emissions.
‘Greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector are estimated to account for 14.5 per cent of the global total, more than direct emissions from the transport sector’. Furthermore, they claim ‘it is unlikely global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celsius without a shift in global meat and dairy consumption’.

What Is Global Warming? by livescience
Explanation and effects of global warming

Water’s edge: the crisis of rising sea levels
Series of articles examining the phenomenon of rising seas by Reuters

The remote village of Shishmaref, Alaska, has been experiencing the effects of climate change first-hand.
In the last decades, the island’s shores have been eroding into the sea, falling off in giant chunks whenever a big storm hits.

Sept 2014 sea level rise is 56.35 mm with a rate of change of 3.17 mm a year-chart

Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country-Map

Major coral bleaching in Pacific may become worst die-off in 20 years, say experts Scientists warn extreme sea temperatures could cause a “historic” coral reef die-off around the world over the coming months, following a massive coral bleaching already underway in the North Pacific. Experts said the coral die-off could be the worst in nearly two decades.

Most of Alaska’s Permafrost Could Melt This Century
Scientists estimate that 800 gigatons of carbon are locked in the top 10 feet (3 meters) of the Northern Hemisphere’s permafrost. If the climate continues to warm, that carbon could be released into the atmosphere, fueling a vicious cycle.

Report suggests forest-cutting can immediately harm climatic patterns
“Tropical deforestation on many scales influences local, regional and even global climate. Deforestation-driven changes to water availability and climate variability could have strong implications for agricultural production systems and food security in some regions,”

Climate Change is Melting Mount Rainier’s Glaciers at Unprecedented Rates
While receding glaciers is nothing new, with climate change intensifying, it is happening more rapidly than scientists have ever seen before. Changes that normally occur over a matter of centuries are transpiring over decades.

Almost 7,000 UK properties to be sacrificed to rising seas
Almost 7,000 homes and buildings will be sacrificed to the rising seas around England and Wales over the next century. Over 800 of the properties will be lost to coastal erosion within the next 20 years. The properties, worth well over £1bn, will be allowed to fall into the sea because the cost of protecting them would be far greater. But there is no compensation scheme for homeowners to enable them to move to a safer location.

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