Earth barreling toward ‘Hothouse’ state not seen in 50 million years, epic new climate record shows

Earth barreling toward ‘Hothouse’ state not seen in 50 million years, epic new climate record shows

SOURCE: Live Science and Science DATE: September 10, 2020 SNIP: Sixty-six million years ago, after a massive asteroid hit Earth with the explosive energy of roughly 1 billion nuclear bombs, a shroud of ash, dust and vaporized rock covered the sky and slowly rained down on the planet. As plant and animal species died en masse, tiny undersea amoebas called forams continued to reproduce, building sturdy shells out of calcium and other deep-sea minerals, just as they had for hundreds of millions of years. When each foram inevitably died — pulverized into seabed sediment — they kept a little piece of Earth’s ancient history alive in their fossilized shells. For decades, scientists have studied those shells, finding clues about the ancient Earth’s ocean temperatures, its carbon budget and the composition of minerals spilling through the air and seas. Now, in a new study published today (Sept. 10) in the journal Science, researchers have analyzed the chemical elements in thousands of foram samples to build the most detailed climate record of Earth ever — and it reveals just how dire our current climate situation is. The new paper, which comprises decades of deep-ocean drilling missions into a single record, details Earth’s climate swings across the entire Cenozoic era — the 66 million-year period that began with the death of the dinosaurs and extends to the present epoch of human-induced climate change. The results show how Earth transitioned through four distinct climate states — dubbed the Warmhouse, Hothouse, Coolhouse and Icehouse states — in response to changes in the planet’s orbit, greenhouse gas levels and the extent of polar ice sheets....
UN Warns of Extreme Weather Ahead After Declaring Hottest Decade in Recorded History

UN Warns of Extreme Weather Ahead After Declaring Hottest Decade in Recorded History

SOURCE: Science Alert DATE: January 16, 2020 SNIP: The past decade has been the hottest on record, the UN said Wednesday, warning that the higher temperatures were expected to fuel numerous extreme weather events in 2020 and beyond.​ The World Meteorological Organization, which based its findings on analysis of leading international datasets, said increases in global temperatures had already had dire consequences, pointing to “retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather”. WMO said its research also confirmed data released by the European Union’s climate monitor last week showing that 2019 was the second hottest year on record, after 2016. “Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said. The UN agency said that average global temperatures during both the past five-year (2015-2019) and 10-year (2010-2019) periods were the highest ever recorded. Since more than 90 percent of excess heat is stored in the world’s oceans, their heat content is a good way to quantify the rate of global warming, WMO said. Conservationists said the UN agency’s findings were to be expected. “It is no surprise that 2019 was the second hottest year on record – nature has been persistently reminding us that we have to pick up the pace,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice, calling for dramatic measures to halt the warming...
July Was the Hottest Month in Human History

July Was the Hottest Month in Human History

SOURCE: Rolling Stone DATE: August 1, 2019 SNIP: July 2019 is now the hottest month in recorded history, the U.N. confirmed on Thursday. At a press conference in New York, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced that the month of July had reached 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a figure that “at least equaled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history,” according to data released by the World Meteorological Organization. Temperature information from July is still streaming in, but preliminary data show last month’s warmth is roughly on par, or perhaps slightly warmer than the previous record of July 2016. In cities and towns around the world, record high temperatures outpaced record low temperatures on nearly a 3-to-1 basis during July, underscoring the fact that this crisis is being felt almost everywhere, by almost everyone. But there’s an added madness to this crisis. In its annual Statistical Review of World Energy released a few weeks ago, the global oil giant BP confirmed that in 2018 the world burned the most fossil fuels of any year in history. In short: Our addiction to fossil fuels is getting worse and worse even as the planet gets hotter and hotter. The world’s current climate policies point to an unlivable future. Scientists are increasingly convinced that if warming rises above 1.5 degrees, cascading ecological and meteorological tipping points could threaten the stability of human civilization. The current level of action, if sustained, would result in global warming of about 3.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and surpass 1.5 degrees as soon as 2030. The new record is...
Extreme temperatures ‘especially likely for next four years’

Extreme temperatures ‘especially likely for next four years’

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: August 14, 2018 SNIP: The world is likely to see more extreme temperatures in the coming four years as natural warming reinforces manmade climate change, according to a new global forecasting system. Following a summer of heatwaves and forest fires in the northern hemisphere, the study in the journal Nature Communications suggests there will be little respite for the planet until at least 2022, and possibly not even then. Rising greenhouse gas emissions are steadily adding to the upward pressure on temperatures, but humans do not feel the change as a straight line because the effects are diminished or amplified by phases of natural variation. From 1998 to 2010, global temperatures were in a “hiatus” as natural cooling (from ocean circulation and weather systems) offset anthropogenic global warming. But the planet has now entered almost the opposite phase, when natural trends are boosting man-made effects. [T]he statistical upward nudge from natural variation this year is twice as great of that of long-term global warming. Next year, it is likely to be three times...
Heatwave and climate change having negative impact on our soil say experts

Heatwave and climate change having negative impact on our soil say experts

SOURCE: Science Daily DATE: August 2, 2018 SNIP: The recent heatwave and drought could be having a deeper, more negative effect on soil than we first realised say scientists. This could have widespread implications for plants and other vegetation which, in turn, may impact on the entire ecosystem. That’s because the organisms in soil are highly diverse and responsible not only for producing the soil we need to grow crops, but also other benefits such as cleaning water and regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The new study, led by researchers at The University of Manchester and published today (02/08/2018) in Nature Communications, provides new insight into how a drought alters soil at microbial level. It shows that expected changes in climate will affect UK soil and that soil is not as tough as previously thought. Due to climate change, disturbances such as drought are increasing in intensity and frequency. These extreme weather conditions change vegetation composition and soil moisture, which in turn impacts the soil’s underlying organisms and microbial networks. Professor Nick Ostle, from the Lancaster Environment Centre, said: “Our hot and dry summer this year is a ‘wake up’ to prepare for future weather stresses. We have just had the hottest ten years in UK history. This work shows that continued summer droughts will change soil biology. This matters as we plan for ensuring food security that depends on healthy...