From Miami to Shanghai: 3C of warming will leave world cities below sea level

From Miami to Shanghai: 3C of warming will leave world cities below sea level

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 3, 2017 SNIP: Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers around the world face their cities being inundated by rising seawaters if latest UN warnings that the world is on course for 3C of global warming come true, according to a Guardian data analysis. Data from the Climate Central group of scientists analysed by Guardian journalists shows that 3C of global warming would ultimately lock in irreversible sea-level rises of perhaps two metres. Cities from Shanghai to Alexandria, and Rio to Osaka are among the worst affected. Miami would be inundated – as would the entire bottom third of the US state of Florida. The Guardian has found, however, that local preparations for a 3C world are as patchy as international efforts to prevent it from happening. At six of the coastal regions most likely to be affected, government planners are only slowly coming to grips with the enormity of the task ahead – and in some cases have done nothing. The momentum for change is currently too slow, according to the UN Environment Programme. In its annual emissions gap report, released on Tuesday, the international body said government commitments were only a third of what was needed. Non-state actors such as cities, companies and citizens can only partly fill this void, which leaves warming on course to rise to 3C or beyond by the end of this century, the report said. The UN’s environment chief, Erik Solheim, said progress in the year since the Paris agreement entered into force has been inadequate. “We still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing...
The three-degree world: the cities that will be drowned by global warming

The three-degree world: the cities that will be drowned by global warming

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 3, 2017 SNIP: When UN climate negotiators meet for summit talks this month, there will be a new figure on the table: 3C. Until now, global efforts such as the Paris climate agreement have tried to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels. However, with latest projections pointing to an increase of 3.2C by 2100, these goals seem to be slipping out of reach. “[We] still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” said Erik Solheim, the UN environment chief, ahead of the upcoming Bonn conference. One of the biggest resulting threats to cities around the world is sea-level rise, caused by the expansion of water at higher temperatures and melting ice sheets on the north and south poles. Scientists at the non-profit organisation Climate Central estimate that 275 million people worldwide live in areas that will eventually be flooded at 3C of global...
Greenland melt speeds East Coast sea level rise

Greenland melt speeds East Coast sea level rise

SOURCE: NASA DATE: October 31, 2017 SNIP: Gravity is putting its thumb on the scale of sea level rise along the U.S. East Coast, a study tracing the effects of Greenland ice-melt shows. The recent work reveals a substantial acceleration in sea level rise, roughly from Philadelphia south, starting in the late 20th century. And it is likely a strong confirmation of sea-level “fingerprints,” one of the most counter-intuitive effects of large-scale melting: As ice vanishes, the loss of its gravitational pull lowers sea level nearby, even as sea level rises farther away. The result could be an early indication of an expected acceleration of global sea level, long predicted by computer models of Earth’s...
Sea level fears as Greenland darkens

Sea level fears as Greenland darkens

SOURCE: BBC News DATE: July 24, 2017 SNIP: Scientists are “very worried” that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected. They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. A five-year UK research project known as Black and Bloom is under way to investigate the different species of algae and how they might spread, and then to use this knowledge to improve computer projections of future sea level rise. The possibility of biologically inspired melting was not included in the estimates for sea level rise published by the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, in its latest report in...
Shifting storms to bring extreme waves, damage to once placid areas

Shifting storms to bring extreme waves, damage to once placid areas

SOURCE: UNSW Sydney DATE: July 20, 2017 SNIP: The world’s most extensive study of a major storm front striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. “If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley, lead author and a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL). “What this study confirms, is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating. And that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.” Ian Turner, director of WRL and a co-author, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas. “Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal...