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...
Quantifying excess deaths related to heatwaves under climate change scenarios

Quantifying excess deaths related to heatwaves under climate change scenarios

SOURCE: PLOS One Journal DATE: July 31, 2018 SNIP: We collected historical daily time series of mean temperature and mortality for all causes or nonexternal causes, in periods ranging from January 1, 1984, to December 31, 2015, in 412 communities within 20 countries/regions. We estimated heatwave–mortality associations through a two-stage time series design. The changes in 2031–2080 compared with 1971–2020 range from approximately 2,000% in Colombia to 150% in Moldova under the highest emission scenario and high-variant population scenario, without any adaptation. If people cannot adapt to future climate change, heatwave-related excess mortality is expected to increase the most in tropical and subtropical countries/regions, while European countries and the United States will have smaller increases. The more serious the greenhouse gas emissions, the higher the heatwave-related excess mortality in the future. Future changes in heatwave-related excess mortality are highly affected by greenhouse gas emissions and human adaptation to climate...
Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike heart of China by end of century

Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike heart of China by end of century

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: July 31, 2018 SNIP: The deadliest place on the planet for extreme future heatwaves will be the north China plain, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and the most important food-producing area in the huge nation. New scientific research shows that humid heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike the area repeatedly towards the end of the century thanks to climate change, unless there are heavy cuts in carbon emissions. “This spot is going to be the hottest spot for deadly heatwaves in the future,” said Prof Elfatih Eltahir, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, who led the new study. The projections for China’s northern plain are particularly worrying because many of the region’s 400 million people are farmers and have little alternative to working outside. “China is currently the largest contributor to the emissions of greenhouse gases, with potentially serious implications to its own population,” he said. “Continuation of current global emissions may limit the habitability of the most populous region of the most populous country on Earth.” The scientists did the analysis by running detailed computer climate models for the past 30 years on the north China plain. Those models that closely replicated the actual measurements were then used to project the climate of the region from 2070-2100 for different levels of carbon...
Heat waves can be deadly for workers and will drain the US economy

Heat waves can be deadly for workers and will drain the US economy

SOURCE: Vox DATE: July 27, 2018 SNIP: As temperatures surge around the world, many cities and countries are breaking heat records. Massive wildfires have ignited in Europe and the United States amid the scorching weather, destroying thousands of acres of wilderness. Hundreds have died this year between the heat and fires. But the recent hot weather is dangerous in more subtle ways, and is an ominous signal of what increasing average temperatures and climate change portend for some of the most vulnerable who must endure the heat to earn a living. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 15 million people in the United States have jobs that require them to be outdoors at some point, and rising temperatures are already proving dangerous for them. In Georgia, Miguel Angel Guzman Chavez, a 24-year-old farmworker, died of heatstroke while working the field last month when the heat index reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Earlier this month, 52-year-old Cruz Urias-Beltran was found dead in a cornfield in Nebraska after temperatures topped 100°F. Postal worker Peggy Frank died in her mail truck near Los Angeles on July 6, when the temperature reached 117°F. She was 63. As the climate changes, heat waves are poised to get longer and more intense. That means more workers will face triple-digit temperatures, often for single-digit wages, threatening lives and livelihoods. While much of the rest of the workforce is in air-conditioned offices and stores, they’re not immune to the economic blows from climate change. By 2028, climate change will cost the US $360 billion per year, about half the expected growth of the economy, according...
Climate change is supercharging a hot and dangerous summer

Climate change is supercharging a hot and dangerous summer

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: July 26, 2018 SNIP: In the town of Sodankyla, Finland, the thermometer on July 17 registered a record-breaking 90 degrees, a remarkable figure given that Sodankyla is 59 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in a region known for winter snowmobiling and an abundance of reindeer. This is a hot, strange and dangerous summer across the planet. Greece is in mourning after scorching heat and high winds fueled wildfires that have killed more than 80 people. Japan recorded its highest temperature in history, 106 degrees, in a heat wave that killed 65 people in a week and hospitalized 22,000, shortly after catastrophic flooding killed 200. Ouargla, Algeria, hit 124 degrees on July 5, a likely record for the continent of Africa. And the 109-degree reading in Quriyat, Oman, on June 28 amazed meteorologists because that wasn’t the day’s high temperature. That was the low . It was the hottest low temperature ever recorded on Earth. The brutal weather has been supercharged by human-induced climate change, scientists say. Climate models for three decades have predicted exactly what the world is seeing this summer. And they predict that it will get hotter — and that what is a record today could someday be the norm. The proximate cause of the Northern Hemisphere bake-off is the unusual behavior of the jet stream, a wavy track of west-to-east-prevailing wind at high altitude. The jet stream controls broad weather patterns, such as high-pressure and low-pressure systems. The extent of climate change’s influence on the jet stream is an intense subject of research. If nothing is done to curb greenhouse-gas emissions,...