Friday, January 19, 2018

Why the ocean needs an Oscar


News about vanishing coral reefs was part of the story of 2017. Every time I dive a reef, my breath is taken away by the incredible beauty and bewildering diversity of life in the tropical seas. But around the world, corals are now sadly sentinels of ocean change.

Since the 1970s, more than 93 per cent of the extra heat from greenhouse gases has been absorbed by the ocean. To understand how much heat that is, researchers who worked on the amazing Netflix documentary Chasing Coral have suggested that we think of it this way: If the ocean wasn’t absorbing it, average global temperatures on land would be far higher—around 122°F (50 Celsius). Global average surface temperature right now is about 59°F (15 Celsius). A 122°F world, would be unlivable.

So more than 93 per cent of climate change is out of sight and out of mind for most of us, but as the ocean continues to take on all of this heat, it is becoming a real hazard for the majority of life on Earth. Their home, the world’s ocean, is becoming too hot and too acidic to live in. In turn, the risks we are exposing ourselves to as a result, are terrifying.

Chasing Coral is a must-watch documentary for everyone. It is the story of a band of scientists, film-makers and concerned individuals who set out to tell us one story and end up documenting the heart-wrenching death of parts of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a powerful story of the importance of science, the wonders and pitfalls of technology, the opportunities of innovation, and the stories and experiences of each of the people involved. Read More

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Battling the Titans – Albert Bates


North America fell into a pocket in 2017 but it was not the pocket of banksters. It fell into that in 2008.
In 2017 it found itself niftily enveloped by the ingenious pincer movements of three generals. First, the Southern attack by General Poseidon, God of the Oceans, striking at Houston before making amphibious landings on the coasts of Florida after devastating aerial attacks on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Next, the Western attack of General Hephaestus, God of Fire, reducing Santa Rosa and much of the Los Angeles foothills to ashes. Finally, the cyclone bombing invasion of the North by Moroz-Voevoda (General Winter).
Four decades of climate data now show that the jet stream — usually referred to as the polar vortex this time of year — is weakening. Normally a freight train circling the Arctic, it has slowed to more resemble a curious python, poking its nose below the Great Lakes more frequently and for longer looks. Just as the cold air that precedes the arrival of Nosferatu, a deep and foreboding chill is being felt at ever lower latitudes. Read More

Friday, January 12, 2018

Act now to protect millions from floods — study


When we think of climate catastrophes, flooding is pretty high on the list of nightmare scenarios. But it's not just rising sea levels that are threatening communities with inundation: New research shows that ever more of us are at risk from rivers bursting their banks.
As the global temperature rises, water evaporates into the air, humidity increases, clouds form — and what goes up must come down. It's among the laws of physics: Warmer air holds more moisture, meaning bigger clouds that can travel further, resulting in even more extreme storms.
Since the mid-1980s, climate scientists have recorded a 20 percent increase in record-breaking rainfall around the world — with devastating consequences.
In 2017, flooding across India, Bangladesh and Nepal affected 40 million people, and more than 1,200 died. In flooding in Sierra Leone, more than 1,100 people perished. As Peru recorded 10 times the normal level of rainfall, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and at least 70 killed.
To round out the inventory of flooding's impact for last year, lives were also lost to flooding in China, the Philippines, Italy, and Vietnam, among other locations.
And 2018 has carried the trend forward. This week, at least 17 people were killed as dramatic storms swept California. Roads looked like rivers and homes were destroyed.


(http://www.dw.com/en/act-now-to-protect-millions-from-floods-study/a-42110153

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

CARICOM states urged to address climate change to prevent total annihilation of economies

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), have been urged to tackle climate change with courage and realism to prevent total annihilation of their economies.

The plea was made by Opposition People's National Party (PNP) foreign affairs spokesperson, Lisa Hanna, as she addressed patrons at the 18th annual New Year's Gala hosted by former St Kitts Prime Minister Dr Denzil L Douglas.

According to Hanna, climate change “is real and potentially destructive and a destructive issue for all who call the Caribbean home.”

“Climate change has serious implications for small island developing states in CARICOM and must be tackled with courage and realism. All of us could face a total annihilation of our economies if we do not tackle this fight,” she said


(http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/CARICOM_states_urged_to_address_climate_change_to_prevent_total_annihilation_of_economies?profile=1228

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Landmark California Plan Puts Floodplains Back in Business


A Landmark California Plan Puts Floodplains Back in Business — Water Deeply

SOMETHING MONUMENTAL HAPPENED on August 25 in California water management that received almost no media attention: It became official policy to reconnect the state’s major rivers with their floodplains.

The action by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, an obscure panel appointed by the governor, clears the way for the state to embrace projects that allow floods to recharge groundwater. This could include projects like breaching levees, building setback levees and creating flood bypass structures so rivers can inundate historic floodplains for the first time in a century.

In short, it means rivers must no longer be confined within levees as a standard practice.

The result could be not only reduced flood risk, but reviving severely depleted groundwater aquifers, restoring wildlife habitat and improving the capabilities of existing water storage reservoirs.

The state calls these “multibenefit” flood-control projects, said Mike Mierzwa, chief of the office of flood planning at the California Department of Water Resources. They’re a major focus of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, a massive policy document the board adopted at its August 25 meeting.
Read More

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Three extremes in 2016 'not ... possible' without human warming

Three extremes in 2016 'not ... possible' without human warming » Yale Climate Connections

For the first time, an annual report issued by the American Meteorological Society has found that the extreme magnitudes of three weather events in 2016 “was not possible without the influence of human-caused climate change.”

Explaining Extreme Events of 2016 from a Climate Perspective, published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), is AMS’s sixth annual report on extreme weather events. It was officially released and presented on December 13 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in New Orleans.

The report includes 27 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Authors of those papers examined 21 different extreme weather events around the globe in 2016 – including wildfires in North America and Australia, droughts in South Africa and Brazil, cold snaps in Eastern China, and an anomalous body of warm water in the Pacific Ocean.

Two-thirds of papers found human-caused influence
Of the 27 papers presented in the AMS annual report, 18 found that anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change influenced the event they studied. But three papers in particular concluded that the extremes of three of the events they examined would not have happened in the absence of that human-caused climate change. More