These Are the Crazy Climate Records from 2016 You Haven’t Heard Much About

These Are the Crazy Climate Records from 2016 You Haven’t Heard Much About

SOURCE: Climate Central

DATE: Aug 10, 2017

SNIP: By now, we’ve all heard that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and that heat-trapping greenhouse gases hit their highest concentration ever, surpassing 400 parts per million for the first time in nearly 1 million years.

But there are other climate change-related records that have flown more under the radar. Several of those records were highlighted Thursday in the annual State of the Climate report, released in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society:

For example, during August, ice-free areas of the Barents Sea (north of Norway and Russia) were up to 20°F (11°C) above average, a figure that stunned climate scientists.

The Chukchi Sea off Alaska and the waters to the west of Greenland were 13°F to 14°F above average. Those warm waters were linked to the smallest annual winter peak in sea ice levels and the second lowest annual minimum.

2016 was a year in the Arctic like we’ve never seen before,” Jeremy Mathis, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic research program and an author of the report, said.

Climate change could be a lot worse for America than you thought

Climate change could be a lot worse for America than you thought

SOURCE: Think Progress

DATE: Aug 10, 2017

SNIP: Climate change could be a lot worse for America than you thought. That’s one of the messages from deep inside the 600-page final draft of the Congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) that was leaked to the New York Times this week [NOTE: A previous draft of the report was also available online].

If America stays on its current emissions path—often referred to as business-as-usual, or for all intents and purposes, the path President Donald Trump seems determined to follow—the assessment identifies four extreme outcomes that could take a substantial toll on people across the country.

  • Sea level rise of 1 foot per decade after 2050, and 2 feet per decade after 2100.
  • Devastating drops in soil moisture across most of the country, including our breadbaskets.
  • Weakening of the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation, which would speed up warming and sea level rise.
  • What the report refers to as “Potential surprises: Compound extremes and tipping elements.”

In essence, the study lays out the choice between manageable warming (if we embrace and then keep strengthening the Paris climate agreement) and unmanageable catastrophe (if we pursue Trump’s policies of undoing global and U.S. climate action).

Climate change, sewage and fertilisers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn

Climate change, sewage and fertilisers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn

SOURCE: Independent

DATE: Aug 9, 2017

SNIP: The ocean is slowly being suffocated with levels of oxygen falling at a similar rate to 94 million years ago when there was a mass extinction of marine life, scientists have warned.

While that event was caused naturally, humans are responsible for several different factors driving the increase in “dead zones” in our seas.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, the researchers said that current rates of deoxygenation were similar to those 94 million years ago during what is known as Oceanic Anoxic Event-2 (OAE-2).

OAE-2, which developed over about 50,000 years, is believed to have caused the extinction of about 27 per cent of marine invertebrates.

One of the researchers, Dr Sune Nielsen, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, said: “Our results show that marine deoxygenation rates prior to the ancient event were likely occurring over tens of thousands of years, and surprisingly similar to the two per cent oxygen depletion trend we’re seeing induced by anthropogenic activity over the last 50 years.

“We don’t know if the ocean is headed toward another global anoxic event, but the trend is, of course, worrying.”

From all-time heat records to millions of charred acres of forest, summer of 2017 is no joke

From all-time heat records to millions of charred acres of forest, summer of 2017 is no joke

SOURCE: Mashable

DATE: Aug 8, 2017

SNIP: On July 7, Mike Flannigan, a scientist at the University of Alberta, stared at satellite imagery on his computer as one wildfire after another ignited across British Columbia during the course of the unusually hot day.

In total, 140 wildfires began on that one day, setting what may be a new record, Flannigan said in an interview.

In Canada, Flannigan said, the area burned each year has doubled since the 1970s, despite improvements in fire management.

“This is due to human caused climate change,” he said. “I can’t be more direct than that.”

It’s not just British Columbia that’s suffering this summer either. Across the globe, it’s as if summer weather is on steroids, with searing heat waves, deadly flash floods, and massive fires affecting many areas. Scientists say that we’d better get used to it, thanks in part to global warming.

Studies have tied the increasing number of large fires in parts of Canada and the U.S. to global warming. In fact, the level of fire activity across the boreal forests, which stretch from Alaska to Canada and around the top of the world to Scandinavia and Russia, is unprecedented in the past 10,000 years, according to a study published in 2013.

Wildfires haven’t just been confined to the far north this year either. In the U.S., 5.9 million acres have burned in fires so far in 2017, mainly across the West, which is 1.9 million acres above the past decade’s annual average amount. As of Monday morning, firefighters were battling 11 large blazes in California alone, with additional large fires burning in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

SOURCE: CarbonBrief

DATE: Aug 8, 2017

SNIP: Migrating birds might not be able to fly home fast enough to meet shifts in springtime in Europe driven by climate change, new research suggests.

Flying back too early or too late for spring is costly for birds. Their arrival must coincide with the emergence of food sources, such as caterpillars, in order to enable them to feed and successfully rear their young.

Birds that overwinter in warmer climes, including willow warblers, tree pipits and barn swallows, will be unable to cut their migrations short as climate change causes spring to arrive earlier in many parts of Europe, researchers find.

This new evidence suggests that birds are much less adaptable to climate change than previously hoped, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

SOURCE: BBC

DATE: Aug 8, 2017

SNIP: Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found.

Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy.

However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount of the substance being emitted.
Levels of some emissions from India and China are so uncertain that experts say their records are plus or minus 100%.

Prof Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate Research, in Oslo, said: “The core part of Paris [is] the global stock-takes which are going to happen every five years, and after the stock-takes countries are meant to raise their ambition, but if you can’t track progress sufficiently, which is the whole point of these stock-takes, you basically can’t do anything.

“So, without good data as a basis, Paris essentially collapses. It just becomes a talkfest without much progress.”

Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.

Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.

SOURCE: New York Times

DATE: Aug 7, 2017

SNIP: The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft and is awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

One government scientist who worked on the report, and who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed.

There’s a Wildfire Burning in West Greenland Right Now

There’s a Wildfire Burning in West Greenland Right Now

SOURCE: Climate Central

DATE: Aug 7, 2017

UPDATE: There are actually two wildfires burning in Greenland. SOURCE: Wild Fire Today

SNIP: It’s not just the American West and British Columbia burning up. A fire has sparked in western Greenland, an odd occurrence for an island known more for ice than fire.

A series of blazes is burning roughly in the vicinity of Kangerlussuaq, a small town that serves as a basecamp for researchers in the summer to access Greenland’s ice sheet and western glaciers. The largest fire has burned roughly 3,000 acres and sent smoke spiraling a mile into the sky, prompting hunting and hiking closures in the area, according to local news reports.

There’s no denying that it’s weird to be talking about wildfires in Greenland because ice covers the majority of the island. Forests are basically nonexistent and this fire appears to be burning through grasses, willows and other low-slung vegetation on the tundra that makes up the majority of the land not covered by ice.

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year

SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: Aug 7, 2017

SOURCE: A study was just published in the journal World Development that quantifies the amount of subsidies directed toward fossil fuels globally, and the results are shocking.

The subsidies were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later. According to the authors, these subsidies are important because first, they promote fossil fuel use which damages the environment. Second, these are fiscally costly. Third, the subsidies discourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that compete with the subsidized fossil fuels. Finally, subsidies are very inefficient means to support low-income households.