Articles from 2023
2023-12-07. Climate Change Makes East Africa’s Deadly Floods Worse, Study Finds. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/07/climate/climate-change-flooding-east-africa.html] By Delger Erdenesanaa, The New York Times. Excerpt: Heavy rain and floods in East Africa that started in October have killed at least 300 people and displaced millions more. …East Africa has an annual rainy season in fall, but this year’s disastrous rainfall is about double what it would have been without human-caused climate change, according to research made public on Thursday. A natural climate cycle called the Indian Ocean Dipole has also contributed to heavier rain than usual, but this phenomenon alone does not account for the extreme amount….
2023-12-05. Inside the Marshall Islands’ life-or-death plan to survive climate change. [https://grist.org/extreme-weather/marshall-islands-national-adaptation-plan-sea-level-rise-cop28/] By Jake Bittle, Grist. Excerpt: The Marshall Islands extend across a wide stretch of the Pacific Ocean, with dozens of coral atolls sitting just a few feet above sea level. …Over the past two years, government officials have fanned out across the country, visiting remote towns and villages as well as urban centers like its capital of Majuro to examine how Marshallese communities are experiencing and coping with climate change. They found that a combination of rapid sea-level rise and drought has already made life untenable for many of the country’s 42,000 residents, especially on outlying atolls where communities rely on rainwater and vanishing land for subsistence. The survey was part of a groundbreaking, five-year effort by the Marshall Islands to craft a sweeping adaptation strategy that charts the country’s response to the threat of climate change. The plan, shared with Grist ahead of its release at COP28 in Dubai, calls for tens of billions of dollars of new spending to fortify low-lying islands and secure water supplies….
2023-11-30. Climate Change Drives New Cases of Malaria, Complicating Efforts to Fight the Disease. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/30/health/malaria-climate-change.html] By Stephanie Nolen, The New York Times. Excerpt: There were an estimated 249 million cases of malaria around the globe last year, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, an increase of five million over 2021. Malaria remains a top killer of children. Those new cases were concentrated in just five countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Papua-New Guinea. Climate change was a direct contributor in three of them, said Dr. Daniel Ngamije, who directs the W.H.O. malaria program. In July 2022, massive flooding left more than a third of Pakistan underwater and displaced 33 million people. An explosion of mosquitoes soon followed. The country reported 3.1 million confirmed cases of malaria that year, compared with 275,000 the year before, with a fivefold increase in the rate of transmission….
2023-11-28. They Fled Climate Chaos. Asylum Law Made Decades Ago Might Not Help. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/28/us/climate-migrants-asylum.html] By Miriam Jordan, The New York Times. Excerpt: First came the hurricanes — two storms, two weeks apart in 2020 — that devastated Honduras and left the country’s most vulnerable in dire need. …homes were leveled and growing fields were ravaged. Then came the drug cartels, who stepped into the vacuum left by the Honduran government, ill-equipped to respond to the catastrophe. Violence soon followed. …Cosmi, who asked to be identified only by his first name out of concern for his family’s safety and that of relatives left behind, was staying at a squalid encampment on a spit of dirt along the river that separates Mexico and Texas. Hundreds of other Miskito were alongside him in tiny tents, all hoping to claim asylum. The story of the Miskito who have left their ancestral home to come 2,500 miles to the U.S.-Mexico border is in many ways familiar. Like others coming from Central and South America, they are fleeing failed states and street violence. But their lawyers also hope to test a novel idea: Extreme weather wrought by climate change can be grounds for asylum, a protection established more than seven decades ago in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust….
2023-11-21. Rude Awakening. [https://www.science.org/content/article/how-rains-pigs-and-waterbirds-fueled-shocking-disease-outbreak-australia] By MEREDITH WADMAN, Science. Excerpt: The appearance of a “tropical” mosquito-borne illness in southeastern Australia has unsettled researchers. …McCann was the fourth patient in as many weeks admitted to Albury with encephalitis. Like McCann, the three others had turned up feverish and confused. …among the possible causes were mosquito-borne viruses, in particular two encephalitis-causing viruses endemic to Australia: Kunjin, a strain of West Nile virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV), named for the river valley where McCann has swum, water skied, fished, and boated since he was a boy. …As with other weather events, the record-breaking wetness of the 2021–22 season can’t be attributed with certainty to climate change. But as the globe warms, the atmosphere holds more water, enabling more intense rainfall and flooding; daily rainfall associated with thunderstorms increased between 13% and 24% in Australia between 1979 and 2016. …“El Niño and La Niña cycles are natural, but they are more extreme than they have ever been before,” says Eloise Skinner, an epidemiologist at Stanford University and Griffith University. Those extremes can create and remove water sources, changing the distribution of species, including those that bear disease, she says. “As someone that looks at animals, diseases, and movement, I think climate change is critically important.”…
2023-11-09. Adapting to growing wildfire property risk. [https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adk7118] By JUDSON BOOMHOWER, Science. Excerpt: Wildfire-threatened communities are on the front lines of climate change. From 2013 to 2022, the share of global disaster losses caused by wildfires more than doubled compared with losses in previous decades (1). …Radeloff et al. (2) draw on a 30-year time series of housing counts and vegetation to show how housing expansion, area burned, and vegetative fuels contribute to wildfire losses and the increasing number of homes at risk in the United States. With tens of millions of US homes now confronting a growing risk of destruction by wildfires, adaptation is an urgent policy and research challenge. Success will require scaling up cost-effective investments in physical protection to reduce wildfire losses, ensuring well-functioning insurance markets to absorb risk that cannot be cost-effectively mitigated away, and addressing disparities in protection and postfire recovery for socially vulnerable populations…. See also New York Times article America’s New Wildfire Risk Goes Beyond Forests.
2023-11-08. Climate Change Is Causing Severe Drought in a Volatile Mideast Zone, Study Finds. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/08/climate/climate-change-drought-fertile-crescent.html] By Manuela Andreoni, The New York Times. Excerpt: Syria, Iraq and Iran were parched by high temperatures that would have been “virtually impossible” without the effects of global warming, scientists said….
2023-11-07. Rapid disintegration and weakening of ice shelves in North Greenland. [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-42198-2] By R. Millan et al, Nature Communications. Abstract: The glaciers of North Greenland are hosting enough ice to raise sea level by 2.1 m, and have long considered to be stable. …Here, we show that since 1978, ice shelves in North Greenland have lost more than 35% of their total volume, three of them collapsing completely. For the floating ice shelves that remain we observe a widespread increase in ice shelf mass losses, that are dominated by enhanced basal melting rates. Between 2000 and 2020, there was a widespread increase in basal melt rates that closely follows a rise in the ocean temperature. …These results suggest that, under future projections of ocean thermal forcing, basal melting rates will continue to rise or remain at high level, which may have dramatic consequences for the stability of Greenlandic glaciers…. See also Greenland-wide accelerated retreat of peripheral glaciers in the twenty-first century by L. J. Larocca et al in Nature Climate Change.
2023-11-01. Drought Saps the Panama Canal, Disrupting Global Trade. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/01/business/economy/panama-canal-drought-shipping.html] By Peter Eavis, The New York Times. Excerpt: For over a century, the Panama Canal has provided a convenient way for ships to move between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, helping to speed up international trade. But a drought has left the canal without enough water, which is used to raise and lower ships, forcing officials to slash the number of vessels they allow through. That has created expensive headaches for shipping companies and raised difficult questions about water use in Panama. The passage of one ship is estimated to consume as much water as half a million Panamanians use in one day. …The problems at the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that opened in 1914 and handles an estimated 5 percent of seaborne trade, is the latest example of how crucial parts of global supply chains can suddenly seize up….
2023-10-26. Hurricane Otis smashed into Mexico and broke records. Why did no one see it coming?. [https://www.science.org/content/article/hurricane-otis-smashed-mexico-and-broke-records-why-did-no-one-see-it-coming] By PHIE JACOBS, Science. Excerpt: Early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Otis became the strongest storm in recorded history to strike the Pacific coast of Mexico. The Category 5 hurricane made landfall near Acapulco, where its heavy rain and 265-kilometer-per-hour (kph) winds unleashed massive landslides and knocked out power lines, killing at least 2 dozen people and causing widespread devastation. But just 2 days earlier, meteorologists doubted whether Otis—then a tropical storm—would even achieve hurricane status. Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center expected the storm to undergo “gradual strengthening,” with most computer models predicting maximum wind speeds of about 100 kph. Instead, as Otis careened toward Mexico’s coastline, its winds increased by 180 kph in 24 hours, a record amount of “rapid intensification.” …ocean waters have been “unusually warm” throughout this year’s hurricane season, with the El Niño climate pattern channeling even more heat into the tropical Pacific Ocean. As Otis neared shore, it crossed over a patch of water that reached 31°C—several degrees above the average expected for late October. …some scientists are concerned that rapidly intensifying hurricanes like Otis will become more frequent….
2023-10-24. Arctic Warming Triggers Abrupt Ecosystem Shift in North America’s Deepest Lake. [https://eos.org/articles/arctic-warming-triggers-abrupt-ecosystem-shift-in-north-americas-deepest-lake] By Cheryl Katz, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Great Slave Lake looks like a giant goose winging across Canada’s Northwest Territories. Spanning an area the size of Belgium and reaching depths of up to 614 meters, it’s the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world and North America’s deepest. Its huge mass of cold water helped shield Great Slave Lake from the climate impacts that have upended the ecosystems of shallower lakes in high northern latitudes. But no longer, according to a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Spurred by accelerating Arctic warming, the microscopic algae, or phytoplankton, at the foundation of this massive lake’s food web have made a radical regime shift since the turn of the century. …Great Slave Lake’s abrupt transformation corresponds to accelerating Arctic climate change, said the study’s lead author, Queen’s University paleolimnologist Kathleen Rühland. The region is now warming several times faster than the global average….
2023-10-22. A Glimpse Into Spain’s Future, Where Water Comes by Truck, Not Tap. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/22/world/europe/spain-drought-water.html] By Rachel Chaundler, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Spain has been blighted by a long-running drought, caused by record-high temperatures in 2022, a string of heat waves in 2023, and almost three years of reduced rainfall. Throughout the country, reservoirs have been depleted; in the worst-affected areas, they are at less than 20 percent of their capacity. …Pozoblanco, a village of about 18,000 in southern Spain, where the daily struggle for drinkable water has become a glimpse of what may lie ahead for parts of Europe where drought and extreme heat have become increasingly common. …Pozoblanco and 22 other villages in this traditional pig- and cattle-farming area north of the city of Córdoba have needed deliveries of fresh water since April, when the Sierra Boyera reservoir, which supplies the area, completely dried up. …If precipitation levels remain low this winter, the southernmost region of Spain, Andalusia, could lose 7 percent of its gross domestic product, according to local officials. Deeper into the future, studies have shown that 74 percent of Spain risks encroachment by deserts this century….
2023-10-20. From green to red: Urban heat stress drives leaf color evolution. [https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq3542] By YUYA FUKANO et al, Science. Abstract: Prevalence of impervious surface and resulting higher temperatures in urban areas, known as urban heat islands, comprises prominent characteristics in global cities. However, it is not known whether and how urban plants adapt to such heat stress. This study …examined whether the leaf color variation is associated with urban heat stress. Field observations revealed that green-leaved plants were dominant in green habitats, and red-leaved individuals were dominant in urban habitats…. Growth and photosynthesis experiments demonstrated that red-leaved individuals performed better under heat stress, while green-leaved individuals performed better under nonstressful conditions. …the red leaf may have evolved multiple times from the ancestral green leaf. Overall, the results suggest that the red leaves of O. corniculata observed in cities worldwide are evidence of plant adaptive evolution due to urban heat islands….
2023-10-19. Agriculture and hot temperatures interactively erode the nest success of habitat generalist birds across the United States. [https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.add2915] By KATHERINE S. LAUCK et al, Science. Summary: For several weeks after hatching, baby birds that live in nests are largely immobile, unable to feed themselves or even regulate their body temperature, making them vulnerable to extreme heat. …agricultural landscapes are often 10°C hotter than neighboring forests, researchers …examined more than 150,000 nesting attempts spanning 23 years by 58 bird species in forests, grasslands, farms, and cities across the continental United States. They found that, during periods of extreme heat, the probability of a nest successfully fledging at least one young bird dropped a whopping 46% in agricultural settings. And birds already considered endangered, such as the oak titmouse, were particularly vulnerable. Surprisingly, extreme heat modestly increased the reproductive success of forest-dwelling birds—though the team says these results don’t indicate that climate change is good for these species, as it likely has detrimental effects on the survival of adult birds. The researchers hope their findings will grant insight into the decline of bird populations across North America and help guide efforts to conserve their natural habitats….
2023-10-19. Atlantic Hurricanes Are Getting More Dangerous, More Quickly. [https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/atlantic-hurricanes-are-more-likely-to-power-up-quickly-180983104/] By Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine. Excerpt: …a new study, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, found that in recent decades Atlantic hurricanes were far more likely to dial up from weak Category 1 to major Category 3 or higher storms in only 24 hours. Storms from 2001 to 2020 did so at more than twice the rate as the same types of storms between 1970 and 1990. …While the study did not include an analysis that attempts to firmly identify the cause or causes of the more quickly intensifying storms, Garner interprets the results as a warning call on how climate change is raising sea surface temperatures. …Hurricanes are fueled by warm surface water. …since reliable global satellite data began to be collected in the 1980s, there has been a remarkably consistent average of about 80 tropical cyclones each year. Most current research suggests that Atlantic hurricanes …may actually become less frequent with climate change. That sounds like good news, but …Research also shows that the hurricanes we are experiencing are becoming more destructive, and that trend also seems likely to continue—because of climate change and human behavior. Climate change is causing hurricanes to produce more rainfall, according to reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For every degree Celsius of warming, studies suggest, rainfall rates may rise by about 7 percent. So under a 2-degree Celsius warming scenario, hurricanes will be expected to saturate impacted communities with 14 percent more rainfall….
2023-10-05. Preventing Heat-Related Illness among Outdoor Workers — Opportunities for Clinicians and Policymakers. [https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2307850] By Rosemary K. Sokas, M.D., M.O.H., and Emily Senay, M.D., M.P.H., New England Journal of Medicine. Excerpt: Efforts to implement heat-safety protections for workers are falling short. Given these gaps, clinicians can help support their patients who may be at risk for heat-related illness. [Hear 14 min interview with first author Rosemary Sokas] See also New York Times article Workers Exposed to Extreme Heat Have Few Protections.
2023-10-02. Arctic Ice Loss Could Shorten Winter Feeding Time for Zooplankton. [https://eos.org/articles/arctic-ice-loss-could-shorten-winter-feeding-time-for-zooplankton] By Veronika Meduna, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Hauke …Flores, a polar ecologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, has coauthored a study warning that ongoing ice loss in the Arctic could force copepods and other zooplankton to stay at depth for longer, cutting their winter feeding time by up to a month. The Arctic has been losing sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade since the start of satellite monitoring. As ice floes shrink and thin, more sunlight reaches deeper into the ocean. …“Any negative repercussions for the zooplankton will have impacts on the whole food web because the zooplankton is the switch that transmits the carbon to higher predators,” he explained….
2023-09-26. AN UNHEALTHY CLIMATE. [https://www.science.org/content/article/heat-and-disease-will-exact-heavy-toll-climate-warms] Collection of articles in Science. Excerpt: …the stories in this special package will explore the threats, and how we can minimize them. Vector-borne diseases are a special worry. A warmer climate favors the mosquito that spreads dengue and may already be fueling a worldwide surge in the debilitating disease. Warming may also have enabled malaria-carrying mosquitoes to flourish in Africa’s cooler highlands and ticks that carry Lyme disease to advance northward. Migratory birds, which ferry cargoes of pathogens such as West Nile virus and influenza across continents, are changing the timing and routes of their journeys, with consequences that have yet to emerge. Then there are the direct effects of heat on the human body. The worsening toll of heat waves is unmistakable, with thousands dying every summer, but researchers are also discerning subtler impacts. Among the most vulnerable to extreme heat are pregnant people and their fetuses. Here are the articles:
- FEELING THE HEAT (Warming is making many places more suitable for the dengue-carrying mosquito Aedes aegypti. By FERNANDO DA CUNHA)
- FLIGHT RISKS (Migratory birds efficiently ferry pathogens around the world. As a warming climate reshapes their journeys, infectious disease experts are on guard for new threats to humans)
- LURKING IN THE DEEP FREEZE? (Climate change may release dangerous pathogens frozen for centuries in Arctic permafrost, By JON COHEN)
- EXPECTING EXTREMES (Intense heat is a particular hazard in pregnancy. New studies are probing why. By MEREDITH WADMAN)
2023-09-19. Climate change exacerbates deadly floods in Libya and worldwide. [https://www.npr.org/2023/09/13/1199273629/climate-change-exacerbates-deadly-floods-worldwide] By Rebecca Hersher, Lauren Sommer, NPR. Excerpt: Catastrophic floods in eastern Libya killed at least 3,958 people, according to the United Nations. The disaster comes after a string of deadly floods around the world this month, from China to Brazil to Greece. In every case, extremely heavy rain was to blame. The enormous loss of life on multiple continents reinforces the profound danger posed by climate-driven rain storms, and the need for better warning systems and infrastructure to protect the most vulnerable populations. Climate change makes heavy rain more common, even in arid places where the total amount of precipitation is small. That’s because a hotter atmosphere can hold more moisture. Everyday rainstorms, as well as bigger storms such as hurricanes, are increasingly dangerous as a result. Human-caused warming made the extreme rainfall in Libya 50 times more likely to happen, according to a rapid analysis done by World Weather Attribution, a team of international climate scientists. It was also up to 50 percent more intense, compared to a climate without the added greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. The magnitude of the storm was outside the bounds of historical weather records, which means the study’s findings have more uncertainty about how strong a role climate change played….
2023-09-02. A California Beach Town Is Desperate to Save Its Vanishing Sand. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/02/us/oceanside-california-sand.html] By Jill Cowan, The New York Times. Excerpt: In Oceanside …The sand is disappearing. …Visitors who could once sprawl on wide stretches of sand near the pier must now compete for space on a narrow stretch studded with rocks. …A recent study predicted that California could lose as much as 75 percent of its beaches by 2100, given projected sea level rise related to climate change….
2023-08-31. Arctic sea ice may melt faster in coming years due to shifting winds. [https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ice-melting-dipole-arctic-oscillation] By arolyn Gramling, Science. Excerpt: From 2007 to 2021, winds over North America and Eurasia were circulating in such a way that they reduced the influx of warmer Atlantic water into the Arctic, researchers report in the Sept. 1 Science. That helped slow the rate of sea ice loss during that time period — even as atmospheric warming ramped up (SN: 8/11/22). But that grace period may come to an end within just a few years. When the winds shift back, enhanced “Atlantification” of the Arctic may speed up sea ice loss, by giving an extra oomph of warming from below. “This phase has lasted about 15 years. We’re about at the end,” says physical oceanographer Igor Polyakov of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. …From 1979 to 2006, the Arctic Dipole was in a “negative” phase, with winds rotating counterclockwise over North America and clockwise over Eurasia. That brought more Atlantic water into the Arctic via the Fram Strait, a narrow strip of ocean between Greenland and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. During that time period, summertime sea ice extent shrank rapidly from year to year, vanishing at a rate of about 1 million square kilometers per decade. …The year 2007, a record-breaking year for Arctic sea ice loss, marked the end of this “negative” phase of the Arctic Dipole (SN: 12/9/20). From then until 2021, the rate of sea ice loss across the entire Arctic slowed, shrinking by only about 70,000 square kilometers per decade….
23-08-31. Scorching Heat Is Contributing to Migrant Deaths. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/31/us/heat-migrant-deaths-texas-mexico.html] By Edgar Sandoval, The New York Times. Excerpt: …at 100 degrees or higher. The heat has been stifling for many Texans, but deadly for some of those making their way through the hot, barren shrub land where migrants travel to avoid detection from Border Patrol agents. …Fewer people are crossing from Mexico this year compared with last year, but already there have been more than 500 deaths in 2023….
2023-08-28. America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There’s No Tomorrow. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/08/28/climate/groundwater-drying-climate-change.html] By Mira Rojanasakul, Christopher Flavelle, Blacki Migliozzi and Eli Murray, The New York Times. Excerpt: …another climate crisis is unfolding, underfoot and out of view. Many of the aquifers that supply 90 percent of the nation’s water systems, and which have transformed vast stretches of America into some of the world’s most bountiful farmland, are being severely depleted. These declines are threatening irreversible harm to the American economy and society as a whole. The New York Times conducted a months-long examination of groundwater depletion, interviewing more than 100 experts, traveling the country and creating a comprehensive database using millions of readings from monitoring sites. The investigation reveals how America’s life-giving resource is being exhausted in much of the country, and in many cases it won’t come back. Huge industrial farms and sprawling cities are draining aquifers that could take centuries or millenniums to replenish themselves if they recover at all…. See also Five Takeaways From Our Investigation Into America’s Groundwater Crisis.
2023-08-25. Will climate change amplify epidemics and give rise to pandemics?. [https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.adk4500] By TULIO DE OLIVEIRA AND HOURIIYAH TEGALLY, Science. Excerpt: While the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, another crisis continues to spiral at a much faster speed than was expected. Climate change is dominating our lives and causing a high level of distress. Countries all over the world are struggling to survive the damage caused by extreme events. …However, there is also a new threat that is being overlooked—the interaction between climate change and infectious diseases. A comprehensive meta-analysis revealed that climate change could aggravate more than 50% of known human pathogens. Unfortunately, this is happening now. …some people may think neither climate change nor epidemics are real or that both will pass. However, there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is fueling disease outbreaks and epidemics and that it is not a matter of if, but when, such events will precipitate another pandemic….
2023-08-25. Sweltering Temperatures Disrupt the New School Year. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/25/us/heat-wave-school-year.html] By Ernesto Londoño, Ann Hinga Klein and Colbi Edmonds, The New York Times. Excerpt: The late-summer heat wave that blanketed a large portion of the country this week prompted several schools to cancel classes or send students home early, underscoring how ill-prepared many districts are to cope with extreme weather events that have become more common. In Des Moines, school bus drivers received medical aid at the end of sweltering shifts. Chicago teachers were told to turn off overhead lights and draw shades to keep classrooms bearable. A marching band instructor outfitted students with water backpacks to prevent them from passing out from the heat — at 7:30 a.m….
2023-08-23. When will the next ocean heat wave strike? Scientists develop early warning systems. [https://www.science.org/content/article/when-will-next-ocean-heat-wave-strike-scientists-develop-early-warning-systems] By WARREN CORNWALL, Science. Excerpt: When heat waves began to sweep the world’s oceans in June, Alistair Hobday was not surprised. The biological oceanographer had foreseen the coming temperature spikes in forecasting models he’d helped develop. The massive pool of hot water in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the coral-killing warmth in the Caribbean Sea, and the sweltering sea in the north Pacific Ocean had all appeared months earlier as orange and red patches on his computer screen at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The forecasts, which weren’t widely disseminated beyond fisheries managers and those in the fishing and aquaculture industry, proved to be a prescient warning of what was to come. …As the global climate continues to warm, scientists around the world have been working to develop models that predict when and where marine heat waves are likely to hit. …Scientists hope that as the models are fine-tuned, their predictions will be robust enough to alert people 3 months in advance or more, informing decisions for fisheries, aquaculture, and marine conservation….
2023-08-11. Devastating Hawaii fires made ‘much more dangerous’ by climate change. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/11/hawaii-fires-made-more-dangerous-by-climate-crisis] By Oliver Milan, The Guardian. Excerpt: Katharine Hayhoe, the chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, said that global heating is causing vegetation to dry out, priming it as fuel for an outbreak of fire. “Climate change doesn’t usually start the fires; but it intensifies them, increasing the area they burn and making them much more dangerous,” Hayhoe tweeted. …Nearly a fifth of Maui, the Hawaiian island where the fires have occurred, is in severe drought, according to the US Drought Monitor. The island has experienced other serious fires in recent years, with blazes in 2018 and 2021 razing hundreds of homes and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents and tourists. Experts say that wildfires in Hawaii are now burning through four times the amount of area than in previous decades, in part due to the proliferation of more flammable non-native grasses but also rising global temperatures. …Hawaii is experiencing increasingly dry conditions, with scientists calculating that 90% of the state is getting less rainfall than it did a century ago, with the period since 2008 particularly dry…. See also New York Times article How Climate Change Turned Lush Hawaii Into a Tinderbox.
2023-08-10. Heat Singes the Mind, Not Just the Body. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/10/health/heat-mental-health.html] By Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Soaring temperatures can damage not just the body but also the mind. As heat waves become more intense, more frequent and longer, it has become increasingly important to address the impact on mental health, scientists say. “It’s really only been over the past five years that there’s been a real recognition of the impact,” said Dr. Joshua Wortzel, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s committee on climate change and mental health, which was set up just two years ago. …High temperatures are strongly associated with an increase in suicides, researchers have found. Heat has been linked to a rise in violent crime and aggression, emergency room visits and hospitalizations for mental disorders, and deaths — especially among people with schizophrenia, dementia, psychosis and substance use. For every 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature, scientists have estimated that there is a nearly 5 percent increase in the risk of death among patients with psychosis, dementia or substance use. Researchers have reported a 0.7 percent increase in suicides linked to rising temperatures, and about a 4 percent to 6 percent increase in interpersonal violence, including homicides. Heat not only fuels feelings like irritability and anger, but also seems to exacerbate mental illnesses, such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression. Older adults, adolescents and people with pre-existing mental illnesses are particularly vulnerable, as are people who do not have housing or are of lower socioeconomic status….
2023-08-04. On the Afghanistan-Iran border, climate change fuels a fight over water. [https://www.science.org/content/article/afghanistan-iran-border-climate-change-fuels-fight-over-water] By Ruchi Kumar, Science. Excerpt: Fueled in part by a prolonged drought, tensions over water between Iran and Afghanistan have escalated this year, with Iran accusing Taliban leaders of violating a long-standing agreement to share water from the Helmand River that flows from Afghanistan into Iran. In late May, clashes near the river reportedly led to the deaths of at least two Iranian border guards and one Taliban fighter. Climate change could only worsen the conflict, researchers say. Although detailed data are scarce, a recent study concluded that average temperatures in Afghanistan have risen by between 0.6°C and 1.8°C since 1950. And, “If you look at the map [of Afghanistan], the area that has the highest change in temperatures [is] … where the conflict has occurred,” says water specialist Assem Mayar, a former lecturer at Kabul Polytechnic University….
2023-07-31. Displaced from Home and Sheltered in an Extreme Environment. [https://eos.org/articles/displaced-from-home-and-sheltered-in-an-extreme-environment] By Humberto Basilio, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Millions of people, displaced from their home countries, take refuge in areas that are highly vulnerable to extreme weather. …Kakuma refugee camp, …which includes refugees from more than 20 countries, often lacks access to services such as clean water and nutritious food. A common building material in the camp is wood-iron sheets, which are vulnerable to dust storms and hailstorms. The refugee community must also endure the latent threat posed by Kenya’s increasing heat, combined with unprecedented drought and a lack of trees. …In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists analyzed refugees’ exposure to extreme weather events in Kakuma and 19 other large refugee settlements. The results confirmed that refugee camps are exposed to harsher conditions than those found in the rest of the host country….
2023-07-31. ‘Shocking levels of stress.’ A marine heat wave is devastating Florida’s corals. [https://www.science.org/content/article/shocking-levels-stress-marine-heat-wave-devastating-florida-s-corals] By Warren Cornwall, Science. Excerpt: Ocean water temperatures off southern Florida have spiked to record levels, with sea surface temperatures hovering at more than 2°C above typical seasonal peaks for the past few weeks. The heat wave threatens coral reef ecosystems already buffeted by years of ocean warming, disease, and pollution. Coral bleaching, in which heat-stressed coral polyps eject the symbiotic algae that live in their tissues and help nourish the coral, is already widespread this year off Florida’s coast. Corals are also shedding tissue and swiftly dying without going through bleaching…. [Interview with Ian Enochs, a coral reef ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heads the coral program at the agency’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory]
2023-07-26. Meltwater from Antarctic Glaciers Is Slowing Deep-Ocean Currents. [https://eos.org/articles/meltwater-from-antarctic-glaciers-is-slowing-deep-ocean-currents] By Veronika Meduna, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Antarctic ice drives crucial deep-ocean currents that help regulate Earth’s climate. But the system is slowing down. …When the sea freezes around Antarctica’s fringes in winter, the ice expels salt into the water below. Trillions of metric tons of this briny, supercooled, heavy water cascade down Antarctica’s continental slope, dropping into the deep ocean in submarine waterfalls. As these waters sink from the Antarctic shelf, they spread north through the Southern Ocean, driving abyssal circulation—the lower limb of the global ocean overturning circulation. They are the densest water masses in the world’s oceans and the engine room of a current system that conveys heat, dissolved gases, and nutrients around the world. …But diminishing glaciers in West Antarctica—primarily the Amundsen Sea—are freshening the shelf waters in the Ross Sea and slowing the production of bottom water, according to research led by Kathy Gunn, a physical oceanographer at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Hobart, Tasmania….
2023-07-25. July Heat Waves Nearly Impossible Without Climate Change, Study Says. [https://www.wsj.com/articles/july-heat-waves-nearly-impossible-without-climate-change-study-says-a6dad9e1] By Eric Niiler, The Wall Street Journal. Excerpt: Record temperatures have been fueled by decades of fossil-fuel emissions. …The extreme heat blanketing the southern regions of the U.S., Mexico, and Europe this month would have been nearly impossible without the warming effects of human-induced climate change, according to a study released Tuesday by a group of European scientists who carry out rapid assessments of extreme weather events. The study by World Weather Attribution, a group of researchers based in London and the Netherlands, found that three separate heat waves in July across the Northern Hemisphere were made much worse because of decades of fossil-fuel emissions that have raised the planet’s average temperature by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century….
2023-07-18. How Canada’s Record Wildfires Got So Bad, So Fast. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/07/18/climate/canada-record-wildfires.html] By Nadja Popovich, The New York Times. Excerpt: Wildfires in Canada have burned a staggering 25 million acres so far this year, an area roughly the size of Kentucky. …“The recipe for a wildfire is simple,” said Mike Flannigan, a professor who studies wildland fires at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. “You need three ingredients: First, vegetation. We call it fuel. Second: ignition, which in Canada is people and lightning. And, third: hot, dry, windy weather.” Those ingredients came together over and over again this year across much of the country, he said, resulting in a fire season that stands “head and shoulders above any other year.”…
2023-07-18. Heat Waves Grip 3 Continents as Climate Change Warms Earth. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/18/world/extreme-heat-wave-us-europe-asia.html] By Alan Yuhas, The New York Times. Excerpt: Punishing heat waves gripped three continents on Tuesday, breaking records in cities around the Northern Hemisphere less than two weeks after the Earth recorded what scientists said were likely its hottest days in modern history. Firefighters in Greece scrambled to put out wildfires, as parched conditions raised the risk of more blazes throughout Europe. Beijing logged another day of 95-degree heat, and people in Hangzhou, another Chinese city, compared the choking conditions to a sauna. From the Middle East to the American Southwest, delivery drivers, airport workers and construction crews labored under blistering skies. …In the United States, Phoenix broke a nearly half-century-old record on Tuesday, with the city’s 19th consecutive day of temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius)…. See also June Was Earth’s Hottest on Record. August May Bring More of the Same.
2023-07-12. Parts of Arizona have seen 110-degree temperatures every day this month. And it’s about to get hotter. [https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/12/us/arizona-southwest-heat-wave/index.html] By Christina Maxouris, CNN. Excerpt: Arizonans have endured scorching temperatures for more than two weeks and that hot streak is about to get even hotter, with a brutal heat wave starting to take shape ahead of the weekend. Temperatures in Phoenix have reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit every single day this month. On Wednesday, the city’s high was 111 degrees, making it the third longest streak in history during which Phoenix recorded continuous temperatures of at least 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The longest streak, set in 1974, was 18 days. Meteorologists expect the weekend heat will be record-breaking, reaching a staggering 119 degrees in some parts. …CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward said “Over the coming days many locations will experience some of the top 10 temperatures they have ever recorded. This type of heat has to be taken seriously as heat stress can occur very quickly for those out in the elements.” …Over the next week, nearly 70% of all Americans will see a high temperature at or above 90 degrees, while more than 55 million people will see temperatures at or above 100 degrees…. See also New York Times article In Phoenix, Heat Becomes a Brutal Test of Endurance.
2023-07-11. Taking a Fine-Grained Approach to Investigating Climate’s Impact on Crops. [https://eos.org/articles/taking-a-fine-grained-approach-to-investigating-climates-impact-on-crops] By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Studying the effects of variable weather on all three aspects of production—planting, harvesting, and yield—can help farmers and policymakers build resilience to climate change. …To study climate change’s impacts on food and other crop systems, scientists have typically measured the change in crop yield in different weather scenarios. But when it comes to building a resilient food production system, it is valuable to look beyond this single metric, according to the authors of a new study published in Nature Sustainability….
2023-07-10. Florida in hot water as ocean temperatures rise along with the humidity. [https://apnews.com/article/florida-ocean-heat-climate-coral-record-bfc3010460eb077fc14d53a6f768931d] By Seth Borenstein and Mike Schneider, AP. Excerpt: ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Record global ocean heating has invaded Florida with a vengeance. Water temperatures in the mid-90s (mid-30s Celsius) are threatening delicate coral reefs, depriving swimmers of cooling dips and adding a bit more ick to the Sunshine State’s already oppressive summer weather. Forecasters are warning of temperatures that with humidity will feel like 110 degrees (43 degrees Celsius) by week’s end. If that’s not enough, Florida is about to get a dose of dust from Africa’s Saharan desert that’s likely to hurt air quality. …Water temperature near Johnson Key came close to 97 degrees (36.1 degrees Celsius) Monday evening, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoy. Another buoy had a reading close to 95 (35 Celsius) near Vaca Key a day earlier. These are about 5 degrees warmer than normal this time of year, meteorologists said…. See also New York Times article, How Hot Is the Sea Off Florida Right Now? Think 90s Fahrenheit. Researchers are recording ocean temperatures that pose severe risks to coral reefs and other marine life.
2023-07-05. Agriculture 3.0: Preparing for a Drier Future in the Colorado River Basin. [https://eos.org/features/agriculture-3-0-preparing-for-a-drier-future-in-the-colorado-river-basin] By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Years of drought and climate change are causing water resources to dwindle in the Colorado River Basin. But farmers and scientists are collaborating to learn how to grow crops with less water. …Colorado River flow has shrunk by nearly 20% in the past 2 decades. And in 2022, the nation’s largest reservoirs—Lake Mead (in Arizona and Nevada) and Lake Powell (in Arizona and Utah)—were at unprecedented low levels. If the water levels at Lake Powell were to drop much further, in the future, the dam would no longer be able to deliver hydropower or water to people, farmers, and businesses in Arizona, California, and Nevada. To prevent this doomsday scenario, in 2022, the Interior Department said that the seven states relying on the Colorado River need to reduce water usage by as much as 4 million acre-feet (493 cubic kilometers)—30% of what the states have historically used….
2023-07-03. Canada Offers Lesson in the Economic Toll of Climate Change. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/03/business/economy/canada-wildfires-economy.html] By Lydia DePillis, The New York Times. Excerpt: Canada’s wildfires have burned 20 million acres, blanketed Canadian and U.S. cities with smoke and raised health concerns on both sides of the border, with no end in sight. The toll on the Canadian economy is only beginning to sink in. The fires have upended oil and gas operations, reduced available timber harvests, dampened the tourism industry and imposed uncounted costs on the national health system. …What long seemed a faraway concern has snapped into sharp relief in recent years, as billowing smoke has suffused vast areas of North America, floods have washed away neighborhoods and heat waves have strained power grids. That incurs billions of dollars in costs, and has longer-reverberating consequences, such as insurers withdrawing from markets prone to hurricanes and fires. In some early studies of the economic impact of rising temperatures, Canada appeared to be better positioned than countries closer to the Equator; warming could allow for longer farming seasons and make more places attractive to live in as winters grow less harsh. But it is becoming clear that increasing volatility — ice storms followed by fires followed by intense rains and now hurricanes on the Atlantic coast, uncommon so far north — wipes out any potential gains….
2023-06-30. Wildfire Smoke and High Heat Have Something in Common. Guess What. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/28/climate/heat-smoke-climate-change.html] By Raymond Zhong and Delger Erdenesanaa, The New York Times. Excerpt: Human-caused climate change is making high temperatures more common and intensifying the dryness that fuels catastrophic wildfires….
2023-06-28. Sea Ice Is Going, but When Will It Be Gone?. [https://eos.org/articles/sea-ice-is-going-but-when-will-it-be-gone] By Saima May Sidik, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Every September since 1979, the U.S. government has measured the extent of sea ice in the Arctic. And the picture is not a pretty one—more than 2 million square kilometers have been lost in that time, leaving about 4.67 million square kilometers of sea ice intact. …climate models underestimate the melting that’s been observed in recent years, leaving scientists uncertain of whether they can use these models to make predictions. Two new publications have added to this discussion. The first, published in Nature Communications, provided evidence that the Arctic will become seasonally sea ice free in the next few decades even under low-emissions scenarios. The second, published in Nature Climate Change, proposed that the extent of Arctic sea ice will decline more slowly than previously thought because the effect of wind has not been adequately incorporated into models….
2023-06-27. Facing extinction, Tuvalu considers the digital clone of a country. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/27/tuvalu-climate-crisis-rising-sea-levels-pacific-island-nation-country-digital-clone] By Kalolaine Fainu, The Guardian. Excerpt: Tuvalu is expected to be one of the first countries in the world to be completely lost to climate change. The three coral islands and six atolls that make up the country have a total land mass of less than 26 sq km. At current rates of sea level rise, some estimates suggest that half the land area of the capital, Funafuti, will be flooded by tidal waters within three decades. By 2100, 95% of land will be flooded by periodic king tides, making it essentially uninhabitable. …Facing potential extinction, Tuvalu has formulated the Future Now Project, a set of three major initiatives designed to preserve its nationhood, governance and culture in the event of a worst-case scenario. First, encouraging the international community to work together on implementing climate-change solutions, embodying the Tuvaluan cultural values of “olaga fakafenua” (communal living systems), “kaitasi” (shared responsibility) and “fale-pili” (being a good neighbour). Second, securing Tuvalu’s statehood and maritime boundaries under international law in the event their land ceases to exist. Third, the development of a digital nation….
2023-06-19. Scores die in northern India as heat wave scorches region. [https://www.reuters.com/world/india/scores-die-northern-india-heat-wave-scorches-region-2023-06-19/] By Saurabh Sharma, Reuters. Excerpt: At least 54 people died in a district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh over the last few days, the Times of India newspaper reported on Monday, …Another 45 people died in neighbouring Bihar state, …Temperatures have soared close to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent days in Ballia with a severe power crisis compounding the situation….
2023-06-14. Dangerous fire weather conditions becoming more common across U.S. [https://www.axios.com/2023/06/14/fire-weather-expanding-across-us-west-southwest] By Andrew Freedman and Kavya Beheraj, Axios. Excerpt: Fire weather days — featuring a volatile mix of low humidity, strong winds and high temperatures — have increased in number across much of the Lower 48 states during the past 50 years, a new analysis shows. …An analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate science research organization, found that wildfire seasons are getting longer and more intense, especially in the West. Many parts of the East have also seen increases in fire weather days. …The report uses weather data from 476 recording sites across the country during the years 1973-2022. It finds that Southern California, Texas and New Mexico have experienced some of the greatest increases in fire weather days each year, with some areas now seeing around two more months of fire weather compared with a half century ago. …The Climate Central analysis has not been peer reviewed, though the data and method it relies on are widely used in the scientific literature. It also matches findings from peer-reviewed research. …a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that “nearly all” of the increase in burned area across California during the past half-century is tied to human-caused climate change….
2023-06-10. Arizona, Low on Water, Weighs Taking It From the Sea. In Mexico. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/10/climate/arizona-desalination-water-climate.html] By Christopher Flavelle, The New york Times. Excerpt: …As the state’s two major sources of water, groundwater and the Colorado River, dwindle from drought, climate change and overuse, officials are considering a hydrological Hail Mary: the construction of a plant in Mexico to suck salt out of seawater, then pipe that water hundreds of miles, much of it uphill, to Phoenix. The idea of building a desalination plant in Mexico has been discussed in Arizona for years. But now, a $5 billion project proposed by an Israeli company is under serious consideration, an indication of how worries about water shortages are rattling policymakers in Arizona and across the American West. On June 1, the state announced that the Phoenix area, the fastest-growing region in the country, doesn’t have enough groundwater to support all the future housing that has already been approved….
2023-06-08. Record Pollution and Heat Herald a Season of Climate Extremes. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/08/climate/canada-wildfires-smoke-extreme-weather.html] By Somini Sengupta, The New York Times. Excerpt: It’s not officially summer yet in the Northern Hemisphere. But the extremes are already here. Fires are burning across the breadth of Canada, blanketing parts of the eastern United States with choking, orange-gray smoke. Puerto Rico is under a severe heat alert as other parts of the world have been recently. Earth’s oceans have heated up at an alarming rate. …the science is unequivocal that global warming significantly increases the chances of severe wildfires and heat waves like the ones affecting major parts of North America today. Now comes a global weather pattern known as El Niño, which can drive up temperatures and set heat records. Thursday morning, scientists announced its arrival….
2023-06-07. Flash Droughts Are Getting Flashier. [https://eos.org/articles/flash-droughts-are-getting-flashier] By Roberto González, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: In the summer of 2012, a severe drought unexpectedly struck the central United States. The event began in May and rapidly intensified until it peaked in mid-July, when precipitation hit record lows throughout the Midwest, affecting approximately 80% of U.S. agricultural land and causing $34.5 billion in losses. Flash droughts such as this are developing more quickly and happening more frequently because of climate change, according to a recent study published in Science. Unlike slow droughts, which develop over years, flash droughts arise in a matter of weeks and can last 30–45 days (or even years). Because these events are abrupt and relatively localized, they are more difficult to forecast….
2023-06-07. Wildfire Smoke Blots Sun and Prompts Health Alerts in Much of U.S. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/06/us/canada-wildfires-us-smoke-air-quality.html] By Jesus Jiménez, Derrick Bryson Taylor and Judson Jones, The New York Times. Excerpt: An eye-watering and cough-inducing smoky haze from Canadian wildfires smothered a swath of the eastern and northern United States on Tuesday, with officials warning residents with health risks to stay indoors and keep their windows closed. Health alerts were issued from New York to the Carolinas, and as far west as Minnesota. In New York City, the smoke could be tasted as well as smelled, and it wrapped the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Manhattan’s other landmarks in a blanket of orange-gray haze. …The worst effects were in Canada, where more than 400 active wildfires were burning, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, exacerbating an already active wildfire season that is expected only to worsen. More than 200 of the fires, many of them in Quebec, were burning out of control, the agency said. Toronto briefly ranked among the worst 10 cities in air quality on Tuesday….
2023-06-05. Climate Change Is Drying Out Earth’s Soils. [https://eos.org/research-spotlights/climate-change-is-drying-out-earths-soils] By Rachel Fritts, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: …In a new study, Hsu et al. quantify how global warming affects soil moisture. Although climate change will dehydrate soil, they found, it is not clear how dry is too dry. …the models disagreed on the threshold at which Earth would become a more moisture-limited system—a value called critical soil moisture. …Critical soil moisture has wide-ranging impacts on the water cycle, climate, ecosystems, and society. Getting a solid grasp on that value would improve climate models and paint a fuller picture of Earth’s future. (Earth’s Future, https://doi.org/10.1029/2023EF003511, 2023)….
2023-06-02. Spain’s Seafaring Sports See Fewer Calm Days. [https://eos.org/articles/spains-seafaring-sports-see-fewer-calm-days] By Kimberly M. S. Cartier, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: …The changing seasonality of weather conditions will affect the local economy, which relies on tourism, and points to how climate change is affecting the region. …In 2022, Tarragona’s shores experienced roughly 8 more brave days, 3 more surf days, and 5 fewer calm days per month than in 1958, though the trends are still preliminary, Boqué Ciurana said. The peak period for snorkeling and other gentle recreation, typically July and August, has gotten shorter, whereas periods that are good for more active sports such as surfing and sailing have grown longer. Boqué Ciurana presented these results at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2023….
2023-06-02. Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/31/climate/climate-change-insurance-wildfires-california.html] By Christopher Flavelle, Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn, The New York Times. Excerpt: This month, the largest homeowner insurance company in California, State Farm, announced that it would stop selling coverage to homeowners. That’s not just in wildfire zones, but everywhere in the state. Insurance companies, tired of losing money, are raising rates, restricting coverage or pulling out of some areas altogether — making it more expensive for people to live in their homes. …In parts of eastern Kentucky ravaged by storms last summer, the price of flood insurance is set to quadruple. In Louisiana, the top insurance official says the market is in crisis, and is offering millions of dollars in subsidies to try to draw insurers to the state. …And in much of Florida, homeowners are increasingly struggling to buy storm coverage. Most big insurers have pulled out of the state already, sending homeowners to smaller private companies that are straining to stay in business — a possible glimpse into California’s future if more big insurers leave….
2023-05-31. Short-Lived Solutions for Tall Trees in Chile’s Megadrought. [https://eos.org/research-spotlights/short-lived-solutions-for-tall-trees-in-chiles-megadrought] By Rebecca Dzombak, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Some southern beeches in the Andes have plumbed deeper for moisture as the surface has dried up. But doing so may deplete resources and undermine the trees’ future health. For more than a decade, forests across much of Chile have been experiencing a megadrought, its effects overprinted on an already warming and drying climate. …Sourcing deeper water might be only a temporary fix, however. As droughts become longer, more frequent, and more severe, those reserves may run dry. In addition, trees relying on deeper water may receive fewer nutrients, stymieing their development even if they are getting enough water. So although some trees have successfully adapted to drought in the short term, it’s unclear how long they’ll be able to continue. (Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JG007293, 2023).
2023-05-24. Tracking Marine Heat Waves. [https://eos.org/articles/tracking-marine-heat-waves] By Robin Donovan, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Heat waves have spiked in recent years. The United States is now scorched by about six per year, compared to just two annually in the 1960s. At sea, marine heat waves such as the Blob, which warmed waters off the U.S. West Coast from 2013 to 2016, are becoming hotter over time. Now, scientists have discovered that more intense, longer-lasting heat waves on continental shelves can strike the ocean bottom independently from the surface. Excess heat disrupts oceanic ecosystems and thwarts the ocean’s twin promises of cooling and carbon sequestration. …data revealed bottom marine heat waves that lasted up to 6 months and were 0.5°C–3°C warmer than average. These spikes are enough to stress or kill species that live on continental shelves: lobsters, Dungeness crab, Pacific cod, oysters, clams, and other bottom dwellers, Amaya said. The hot spells sometimes occurred concurrently at the surface, but not always….
2023-05-20. Rice Gets Reimagined, From the Mississippi to the Mekong. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/05/20/climate/rice-farming-climate-change.html] By Somini Sengupta, reporting from Arkansas and Bangladesh, and Tran Le Thuy, from Vietnam, The New York Times. Excerpt: Rice is in trouble as the Earth heats up, threatening the food and livelihood of billions of people. Sometimes there’s not enough rain when seedlings need water, or too much when the plants need to keep their heads above water. As the sea intrudes, salt ruins the crop. As nights warm, yields go down. These hazards are forcing the world to find new ways to grow one of its most important crops. Rice farmers are shifting their planting calendars. Plant breeders are working on seeds to withstand high temperatures or salty soils. Hardy heirloom varieties are being resurrected….
2023-05-20. In Flood-Stricken Area of Italy, Residents Fear This Won’t Be the Last of It. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/20/world/europe/italy-floods-emilia-romagna.html] By Gaia Pianigiani and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times. Excerpt: When the floods hit in the northern Italian town of Lugo this past week, overflowing a local watercourse and sending water gushing into streets and the surrounding fields, Irinel Lungu, 45, retreated with his wife and toddler to the second floor of their home. …The floods have upended tens of thousands of lives in the region, Emilia-Romagna, as exceptional weather in some areas brought about half the typical annual rainfall in 36 hours. And experts say it may no longer be so exceptional. …Extreme weather events have become more commonplace in Europe, from the violent storms and raging floods that killed dozens in Germany two years ago to the scorching temperatures that set records in a normally temperate Britain last July. Italy has suffered its own fair share of extreme events, caught between bouts of extreme drought that parch towns, cripple agriculture and dry out the country’s breadbasket, and then torrential rains and floods like those of this past week….
2023-05-16. Indonesia Plans on Building Nusantara, a New Capital City. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/05/16/headway/indonesia-nusantara-jakarta.html] By Hannah Beech, The New York Times. Excerpt: Since Indonesia’s independence in 1945, Jakarta had expanded from less than a million people to roughly 30 million. It had grown tall with skyscrapers built with fortunes made from timber, palm oil, natural gas, gold, copper, tin. …Jakarta was sinking, as thirsty residents drained its marshy aquifers and rising sea waters lapped its shores. Forty percent of the Indonesian capital now lies below sea level. …Joko Widodo …the governor of a capital city that seemed to teeter on the brink of ruin …raised sea walls and improved public transport. He later talked up the construction of a constellation of artificial islands to break the waters hitting Jakarta. …All the Sisyphean dredging, the endless concrete inches slathered on sea walls, the duct tape solutions could not raise Jakarta above the sea’s reach. And so Mr. Joko has turned to a different solution: …forsake the capital on the slender island of Java and construct a new one on Borneo, the world’s third largest island, about 800 miles away. The new capital is to be called Nusantara, meaning “archipelago” in ancient Javanese and befitting an unlikely nation of more than 17,000 islands scattered between two oceans….
2023-05-05. Climate Change Powered the Mediterranean’s Unusual Heat Wave. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/05/climate/heat-wave-spain-morocco.html] By Raymond Zhong, The New York Times. Excerpt: The early-season heat wave that broiled parts of Algeria, Morocco, Portugal and Spain last week almost certainly would not have occurred without human-induced climate change, an international team of scientists said in an analysis issued Friday. A mass of hot, dry air from the Sahara parked itself above the western Mediterranean for several days in late April, unleashing temperatures that are more typical of July or August in the region. Mainland Spain set an April record of 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38.8 Celsius, in the southern city of Córdoba. In Morocco, the mercury climbed to more than 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Marrakesh, according to provisional data, very likely smashing that nation’s April record as well….
2023-04-28. Climate Change, Megafires Crush Forest Regeneration. [https://eos.org/articles/climate-change-megafires-crush-forest-regeneration] By Nancy Averett, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: High-intensity fires in western states kill mature trees and their seeds while warmer, drier conditions stress seedlings. But forest managers can still intervene to change this trajectory.…
2023-04-27. Climate Change Made East Africa’s Drought 100 Times as Likely, Study Says. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/27/climate/horn-of-africa-somalia-drought.html] By Raymond Zhong, The New York Times. Excerpt: Two and a half years of meager rain have shriveled crops, killed livestock and brought the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s poorest regions, to famine’s brink. Millions of people have faced food and water shortages. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, seeking relief. A below-normal forecast for the current rainy season means the suffering could continue. Human-caused climate change has made droughts of such severity at least 100 times as likely in this part of Africa as they were in the preindustrial era, an international team of scientists said in a study released Thursday. The findings starkly illustrate the misery that the burning of fossil fuels, mostly by wealthy countries, inflicts on societies that emit almost nothing by comparison. In parts of the nations hit hardest by the drought — Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — climate hazards have piled on top of political and economic vulnerabilities. The region’s string of weak rainy seasons is now the longest in around 70 years of reliable rainfall records. But according to the study, what has made this drought exceptional isn’t just the poor rain, but the high temperatures that have parched the land….
2023-04-26. Record ocean temperatures put Earth in ‘uncharted territory’, say scientists. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/26/accelerating-ocean-warming-earth-temperatures-climate-crisis] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: Temperatures in the world’s oceans have broken fresh records, … in an “unprecedented” run that has led to scientists stating the Earth has reached “uncharted territory” in the climate crisis. …Data collated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), known as the Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (OISST) series, gathered by satellites and buoys, has shown temperatures higher than in any previous year, in a series stretching back to 1981, continuously over the past 42 days. …Warming oceans are a concern for many reasons. Seawater takes up more space at higher temperatures, accelerating sea level rise, and warmer water at the poles accelerates the melting of the ice caps. Hotter temperatures can also be dire for marine ecosystems, as it can be difficult or impossible for species to adapt. …Some scientists fear that the rapid warming could be a sign of the climate crisis progressing at a faster rate than predicted. The oceans have acted as a kind of global buffer to the climate crisis over recent decades, both by absorbing vast amounts of the carbon dioxide that we have poured into the atmosphere, and by storing about 90% of the excess energy and heat this has created, dampening some of the impacts of global heating on land….
2023-04-24. Redefining “Glacial Pace”. [https://eos.org/features/redefining-glacial-pace] By Damond Benningfield, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Glaciers and ice sheets are moving much faster now than they were just a couple of decades ago. The vast majority of them are retreating, thinning, cracking, or shrinking at unprecedented speeds. Heated by Earth’s warming atmosphere and oceans, Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting more rapidly and running into the sea. Weakened by changing currents in the Southern Ocean, the floating extensions of Antarctica’s even bigger ice sheet are cracking off like slivers of peanut brittle. And smaller mountain glaciers from Alaska to New Zealand are vanishing, setting up potentially major consequences for people and ecosystems that depend on their water. “Every region that has glaciers is out of balance,” said Alex Gardner, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “None are in equilibrium with the climate. None are healthy. And the problem has been accelerating.” …All of that is contributing to one more speedup: the rise in global sea level. “The most dominant reason we study the speed of ice is to understand the current and future contributions of ice to sea level rise,” said Richard Forster, a geologist and associate dean at the University of Utah….
2023-04-23. Leonardo’s Ferry Left High and Dry by Global Warming and Red Tape. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/23/world/europe/italy-climate-drought-da-vinci-ferry-imbersago.html] By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times. Excerpt: Since at least 500 years ago, when the opposing banks of the Adda belonged to the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice, ferries have run on water currents and a taut rope above a narrow stretch of the river. Leonardo spent a lot of time in the area and sketched the motorless ferry around 1513. …But a year after Italy’s worst drought in seven decades — when much of Europe gasped for precipitation — a winter without much rain or snow has turned into a dry spring across the country’s north. …the scarcity of rainfall, which has also hit the Adda, where swans glide on water so low that islands have emerged, rowboats are beached and the last of what the town calls “Leonardesque” ferries has become a stationary landmark….
2023-04-22. Eureka! After California’s Heavy Rains, Gold Seekers Are Giddy. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/22/us/california-gold-prospectors.html] By Thomas Fuller, The New York Times. Excerpt: There’s a fever in California’s gold country these days, the kind that comes with the realization that nature is unlocking another stash of precious metal. California’s prodigious winter rainfall blasted torrents of water through mountain streams and rivers. And as the warmer weather melts the massive banks of snow — one research station in the Sierra recorded 60 feet for the season — the rushing waters are detaching and carrying gold deposits along the way. The immense wildfires of recent years also loosened the soil, helping to push downstream what some here are calling flood gold….
2023-04-21. Climate Change Knocks It Out of the Park. [https://eos.org/articles/climate-change-knocks-it-out-of-the-park] By Kimberly M. S. Cartier, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Home runs in baseball have been getting steadily more common for decades, and a recent spike in home runs might be driven by anthropogenic climate change. A new analysis combined decades of baseball statistics and ballistics data with predictive climate modeling. The study showed that more than 500 home runs since 2010 can be attributed to climate-driven, unseasonably hot temperatures. …Jim Albert, a statistician at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, noted that although these results are statistically significant, the number of home runs attributable to climate change is small relative to other ball and player effects. …Callahan speculated that there will likely come a point when team owners decide that the increase in home runs isn’t worth the heat-related health risks to players and fans. “I don’t know that we’ve seen a baseball game canceled for heat yet, but I think it’s coming,” he said. Teams might opt to shift from day games to night games, invest in a domed stadium, or even relocate to a cooler city—mitigation strategies that could have profound economic impacts on a region…..
2023-04-18. Colorado River snaking through Grand Canyon most endangered US waterway – report. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/apr/17/colorado-river-grand-canyon-climate-crisis-endangered] By Nina Lakhani. The Guardian. Excerpt: A 277-mile stretch of the Colorado River that snakes through the iconic Grand Canyon is America’s most endangered waterway, a new report has found. The unique ecosystem and cultural heritage of the Grand Canyon is on the brink of collapse due to prolonged drought, rising temperatures and outdated river management, according to American Rivers, the conservation group that compiles the annual endangered list. …The 2023 list includes rivers that traverse 17 states and scores of sovereign tribal nations, and supply drinking water, food, recreation and spiritual nourishment to millions of people. The waterways are under threat from mining, the climate breakdown, dams, industrial pollution and outdated river management practices that for too long have rebuffed traditional knowledge and sustainable techniques tried and tested by Indigenous Americans. …The climate crisis has led to prolonged drought across the entire river basin and reduced snowfall on the Rockies, which, along with chronic overuse, has left the reservoirs with historically low water levels…. See also article in Eos/AGU: Ten Rivers Facing Pollution, Development, and Climate Change—And Policies That Can Help.
2023-04-17. ‘From bad to worse’: drought puts Kenya’s hospitals under pressure. [https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/apr/17/from-bad-to-worse-drought-puts-kenyas-hospitals-under-pressure] By Caroline Kimeu, The Guardian. Excerpt: The morning rounds at Modogashe hospital in Lagdera do not take long. …According to a local official, patient numbers in Lagdera – a district in Garissa County, in the east of Kenya – have dropped from nearly 12,000 in 2019 to just over 8,000 last year, as people move away in search of water. …Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing their worst drought in 40 years, with their sixth consecutive failed rainy season. The number of people in Kenya facing severe hunger is expected to rise to 5.4 million this year, particularly in the north of the country, where about 95% of surface water sources have dried up….
2023-04-14. As the Arctic Warms, These Rivers Are Slowing Down. [https://eos.org/articles/as-the-arctic-warms-these-rivers-are-slowing-down] By Danielle Beurteaux, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Permafrost is the understructure of the Arctic, but it’s thawing at a drastic pace, putting infrastructure and landscape in peril. Researchers wanted to ascertain how rising temperatures and thawing permafrost are affecting the movement of the Arctic’s large rivers. A new study published in Nature Climate Change found that such rivers’ channel migration is actually decreasing. Rivers across Alaska and Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories migrated 20% less between 1972 and 2020, a period when the region’s temperatures spiked. …researchers evaluated Landsat imagery of 10 rivers that were more than 100 meters wide in Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. These rivers, including the Yukon and Mackenzie, are in areas with varying amounts of permafrost, from continuous to sporadic. …The rivers that slowed down the most were in the areas with the most increased shrubification….
2023-04-11. Dwindling sea ice may speed melting of Antarctic glaciers. [https://www.science.org/content/article/dwindling-sea-ice-may-speed-melting-antarctic-glaciers] By Paul Voosen, Science. Excerpt: In February, on an icebreaker off the coast of West Antarctica, Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), came on deck to a startling sight: open gray water as far as the eye could see. There was no ice at all for the ship to break. The next day, satellite surveys would find sea ice around the continent hitting a record low. Unlike fast-shrinking Arctic sea ice, the sea ice ringing Antarctica seemed more resistant to climate change—until recently. But now a long-term decline may have set in, and it could have unexpected and ominous domino effects, according to several recent studies. Dwindling sea ice could strengthen a whirling current called the Ross Gyre, bringing warm waters closer to land and hastening the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which locks up enough water to raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters. The warmer water and glacial melt expected from a stronger gyre already show hints of slowing part of the global ocean’s overturning circulation, a critical “conveyor belt” of currents that distributes heat and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere….
2023-04-10. A jail for wayward polar bears? You must be in Churchill, Canada…. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/10/a-jail-for-wayward-polar-bears-you-must-be-in-churchill-canada] By Zed Nelson, The Guardian. Excerpt: Perched on the southern edge of the Arctic on the shores of Hudson Bay, residents of the Canadian town of Churchill share their streets with the world’s largest land carnivore. Their regular encounters with polar bears have earned Churchill the nickname “Polar bear capital of the world”. …The 900 or so residents are used to looking cautiously around corners and not walking after dark. But it’s the bears that could claim to have a grievance: the town was built on their annual migratory route. …Living side by side with apex predators certainly poses challenges for the town’s residents, but it is the spectre of climate change that looms large over Churchill. The number of polar bears in western Hudson Bay has fallen by 27% in the past five years, according to a recent government survey that counted bears from the air. Polar bears need an enormous amount of body fat to sustain themselves on land in the ice-free summer months. While waiting for sea ice to form, they lose about 1kg (2.2lb) a day. Female bears and cubs have an especially hard time. Warmer summers mean longer stretches without sea ice, and less time to hunt seals….
2023-04-07. Baseball’s sluggers hit more home runs thanks to global warming. [https://www.science.org/content/article/baseball-s-sluggers-hit-more-home-runs-thanks-global-warming] By Christian Elliott, Science. Excerpt: Climate change will affect essentially every aspect of our lives, climate researchers say, even America’s unofficial pastime, baseball. Because warmer air is less dense and exerts less drag on a batted ball, the number of home runs should in theory climb as global temperatures increase. And, sure enough, a new study shows that about 0.8% of the homers hit in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 2010 made it over the fence thanks to the extra distance global warming lent their flight. Other factors, however, from the explicit effort of players to hit more home runs to the design of the ball itself, play bigger roles in explaining why home run numbers have skyrocketed in recent decades. “From a purely baseball point of view, this is primarily an academic result, not a result that Major League Baseball should really worry about,” says Alan Nathan, a physicist at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, who was not involved in the work….
2023-04-05. Ice sheets can collapse at 600 metres a day, far faster than feared, study finds. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/05/ice-sheets-collapse-far-faster-than-feared-study-climate-crisis] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: Ice sheets can collapse into the ocean in spurts of up to 600 metres (2,000 feet) a day, a study has found, far faster than recorded before. …the finding, based on sea floor sediment formations from the last ice age, was a “warning from the past” for today’s world in which the climate crisis is eroding ice sheets. …The research, published in the journal Nature, used high-resolution mapping of the sea bed off Norway, where large ice sheets collapsed into the sea at the end of the last ice age 20,000 years ago. The scientists focused on sets of small ridges parallel to the coast, which formed at the line where the base of the ice sheet met the oceans, called the grounding line. …Measuring the distance between the ridges enabled the scientists to calculate the speed of the Norwegian ice sheet collapse. They found speeds of between 50 metres a day and 600 metres a day. That is up to 20 times faster than the speediest retreat recorded previously by satellites, of 30 metres a day at the Pope Glacier in West Antarctica….
2023-04-03. California Salmon Stocks Are Crashing. A Fishing Ban Looks Certain. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/03/climate/salmon-fishery-closed-california.html] By Catrin Einhorn, The New York Times. Excerpt: This week, officials are expected to shut down all commercial and recreational salmon fishing off California for 2023. Much will be canceled off neighboring Oregon, too. The reason: An alarming decline of fish stocks linked to the one-two punch of heavily engineered waterways and the supercharged heat and drought that come with climate change. There are new threats in the ocean, too, that are less understood but may be tied to global warming, according to researchers….
2023-04-04. ‘Tornado alley’ is shifting farther into the US east, climate scientists warn. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/04/us-tornadoes-global-heating-climate-science] By Oliver Milman, The Guardian. Excerpt: A spate of devastating tornadoes that have recently ripped through parts of the eastern and southern US states could portend the sort of damage that will become more commonplace due to changes wrought by global heating, scientists have warned….
2023-03-29. Melting Antarctic ice predicted to cause rapid slowdown of deep ocean current by 2050. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/30/melting-antarctic-ice-predicted-to-cause-rapid-slowdown-of-deep-ocean-current-by-2050] By Graham Readfearn, The Guardian. Excerpt: Melting ice around Antarctica will cause a rapid slowdown of a major global deep ocean current by 2050 that could alter the world’s climate for centuries and accelerate sea level rise, according to scientists behind new research. The research suggests if greenhouse gas emissions continue at today’s levels, the current in the deepest parts of the ocean could slow down by 40% in only three decades. This, the scientists said, could generate a cascade of impacts that could push up sea levels, alter weather patterns and starve marine life of a vital source of nutrients. …Prof Matt England, of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and a co-author of the research published in Nature, said the whole deep ocean current was heading for collapse on its current trajectory. “In the past, these circulations have taken more than 1,000 years or so to change, but this is happening over just a few decades. It’s way faster than we thought these circulations could slow down….
2023-03-16. Global fresh water demand will outstrip supply by 40% by 2030, say experts. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/17/global-fresh-water-demand-outstrip-supply-by-2030] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. Governments must urgently stop subsidising the extraction and overuse of water through misdirected agricultural subsidies, and industries from mining to manufacturing must be made to overhaul their wasteful practices, according to a landmark report on the economics of water. …Many governments still do not realise how interdependent they are when it comes to water, according to Rockstrom. Most countries depend for about half of their water supply on the evaporation of water from neighbouring countries – known as “green” water because it is held in soils and delivered from transpiration in forests and other ecosystems, when plants take up water from the soil and release vapour into the air from their leaves. The report sets out seven key recommendations, including reshaping the global governance of water resources, scaling up investment in water management through public-private partnerships, pricing water properly and establishing “just water partnerships” to raise finance for water projects in developing and middle-income countries….
2023-03-15. Schizophrenia pinpointed as a key factor in heat deaths. [https://www.science.org/content/article/schizophrenia-pinpointed-key-factor-heat-deaths] By Warren Cornwall, Science. Excerpt: …more than 600 people died from the heat in British Columbia, as temperatures topped 40°C for days, shattering records in a region better known for temperatures usually half as high. Now, new research has zeroed in on one of the hardest hit groups: people with schizophrenia. Epidemiologists combing through provincial health records found that, overall, those with mental health conditions seemed to have an elevated risk of a heat-related death. That was most severe for people with schizophrenia—a 200% increase compared with typical summers. …schizophrenia can affect the brain’s hypothalamus, which helps regulate temperature through sweating and shivering. Some antipsychotic medications can raise body temperature, which can have deadly effects when coupled with extreme heat. The disease affects people’s ability to make reasoned decisions or sense when they are ill. People with schizophrenia tend to have other conditions tied to heat-related illness, such as diabetes. Finally, schizophrenia is associated with isolation and homelessness, which puts people at risk when temperatures rise….
2023-03-13. Rivers in the Sky Are Hindering Winter Arctic Sea Ice Recovery. [https://eos.org/articles/rivers-in-the-sky-are-hindering-winter-arctic-sea-ice-recovery] By Rachel Fritts, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Atmospheric rivers are reaching farther north with greater frequency than they were 4 decades ago, according to new research. These lofted highways of water vapor are dumping rain on recovering Arctic sea ice during the winter, when ice should be at its peak. At any given time, multiple atmospheric rivers are moving more than a Mississippi River’s worth of water from the equator to higher latitudes. When researchers first described the phenomenon several decades ago, it was seen as a midlatitude event, associated with flooding in California and snowmelt in the Pacific Northwest. But recently, atmospheric rivers have been snaking their way to the poles as well. A new study definitively links these extreme weather events with broader trends in Arctic sea ice loss….
2023-03-04. ‘Everyone should be concerned’: Antarctic sea ice reaches lowest levels ever recorded. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/04/everyone-should-be-concerned-antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-lowest-levels-ever-recorded] By Graham Readfearn, The Guardian. Excerpt: For 44 years, satellites have helped scientists track how much ice is floating on the ocean around Antarctica’s 18,000km coastline. The continent’s fringing waters witness a massive shift each year, with sea ice peaking at about 18m sq km each September before dropping to just above 2m sq km by February. But across those four decades of satellite observations, there has never been less ice around the continent than there was last week. …Hobbs and other scientists said the new record – the third time it’s been broken in six years – has started a scramble for answers among polar scientists. The fate of Antarctica – especially the ice on land – is important because the continent holds enough ice to raise sea levels by many metres if it was to melt. While melting sea ice does not directly raise sea levels because it is already floating on water, several scientists told the Guardian of knock-on effects that can. …Sea ice helps to buffer the effect of storms on ice attached to the coast. If it starts to disappear for longer, the increased wave action can weaken those floating ice shelves that themselves stabilise the massive ice sheets and glaciers behind them on the land….
2023-02-27. How Hail Hazards Are Changing Around the Mediterranean. [https://eos.org/science-updates/how-hail-hazards-are-changing-around-the-mediterranean] By Sante Laviola, Giulio Monte, Elsa Cattani and Vincenzo Levizzani, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: A new method for studying hailstorms from space offers more consistent and more complete views of how and where hail forms, and how climate change might influence hail’s impacts in the future. The Mediterranean Basin is one of the most vulnerable areas on Earth to the effects of rapid climate change. Observed rates of temperature rise indicate that the region is warming 20% faster compared with the global average, inducing a trend toward drier conditions and changing precipitation regimes. The steep temperature rise increases the vulnerability of the Mediterranean Basin to several hazards that affect ecosystems and human health and security, such as heat waves, droughts, and fires. Along with such events, the frequency and intensity of storm-related hazards also may be amplified around the Mediterranean in a warming climate. Hail is one hazard of interest because of its dangerous and destructive nature, especially when hail particles grow to large sizes. …Our analysis of the 22-year data set demonstrates, despite high interannual variability, that there are statistically significant (significance > 90%) increasing trends in the numbers of large hail and super hail events across the entire Mediterranean Basin …there has been a roughly 30% increase in the incidence of the phenomena in the past decade (2010–2021) with respect to the preceding 1999–2010 period….
2023-02-27. ‘Big irony’ as winter sports sponsored by climate polluters, report finds. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/feb/27/big-irony-as-winter-sports-sponsored-by-climate-polluters-report-finds] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: Winter sports are being sponsored by high-carbon companies despite their pollution helping to melt the snow the sports require to exist, according to a new report. The report found that more than 100 events, organisations and athletes were sponsored by fossil fuel companies, carmakers and airlines. The sponsorships were like “winter sport nailing the lid on its own coffin”, said one Olympic champion. The report, by campaign group Badvertising and thinktank New Weather Sweden, found 83 sponsorship deals from car manufacturers. The largest governing body in winter sports, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS), is itself sponsored by Audi. Almost 90% of the vehicles produced by Audi in 2021 were petrol or diesel driven. The report also found sponsorship deals from 12 fossil fuel companies, including Gazprom and Equinor, and five airlines, including British Airways and SAS. …The European Alps suffered a poor winter for snow in 2023 and recent research found the duration of snow cover there is now 36 days shorter than the long-term average, as CO2 emissions drive up global heating….
2023-02-25. The Salton Sea, an Accident of History, Faces a New Water Crisis. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/25/climate/salton-sea-colorado-river-drought-crisis.html] By Henry Fountain, The New York Times. Excerpt: The vast California lake relies on runoff from cropland to avoid disappearing. But as farmers face water cuts due to drought and an ever drier Colorado River, the Salton Sea stands to lose again. …As the sea has shrunk it’s become so salty — it’s currently nearly twice as salty as seawater — that only a handful of fish species, including tilapia and the endangered desert pupfish, remain. With fewer fish, bird populations along what is an important migratory flyway have declined. …Human health has been affected, too. The retreating water has exposed huge expanses of lake bed, and with wind stirring up dust from them, air quality in the Imperial Valley is among the worst in the state. That’s led to a high incidence of childhood asthma and other respiratory illnesses among the valley’s 180,000 residents….
2023-02-16. Will global warming make temperature less deadly? [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2023/hot-cold-extreme-temperature-deaths/] By Harry Stevens, The Washington Post. Excerpt: Both heat and cold can kill. But cold is far more deadly. For every death linked to heat, nine are tied to cold. The scientific paper published in the June 2021 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change was alarming. Between 1991 and 2018, the peer-reviewed study reported, more than one-third of deaths from heat exposure were linked to global warming. …A month later, the same research group, which is based out of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine but includes scientists from dozens of countries, released another peer-reviewed study that told a fuller, more complex story about the link between climate change, temperature and human mortality. …the second paper reported that between 2000 and 2019, annual deaths from heat exposure increased. But deaths from cold exposure, which were far more common, fell by an even larger amount. All told, during those two decades the world warmed by about 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit, and some 650,000 fewer people died from temperature exposure….
2023-02-10. Cacti replacing snow on Swiss mountainsides due to global heating. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/feb/10/cacti-replacing-snow-on-swiss-mountainsides-due-to-global-heating] By Alessio Perrone, The Guardian. Excerpt: The residents of the Swiss canton of Valais are used to seeing their mountainsides covered with snow in winter and edelweiss flowers in summer. But as global heating intensifies, they are increasingly finding an invasive species colonising the slopes: cacti…. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8.
2023-02-01. Dangerous Fungi Are Spreading Across U.S. as Temperatures Rise. [https://www.wsj.com/articles/fungi-spread-last-of-us-valley-fever-climate-11675260773] By Dominique Mosbergen, Wall Street Journal. Excerpt: Dangerous fungal infections are on the rise, and a growing body of research suggests warmer temperatures might be a culprit. …Climate change might also be creating conditions for some disease-causing fungi to expand their geographical range, research shows. …Deaths from fungal infections are increasing, due in part to growing populations of people with weakened immune systems who are more vulnerable to severe fungal disease, public-health experts said. At least 7,000 people died in the U.S. from fungal infections in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, up from hundreds of people each year around 1970. …A January study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that higher temperatures may prompt some disease-causing fungi to evolve faster to survive….
2023-01-31. With rapidly increasing heat and drought, can plants adapt?. [https://news.berkeley.edu/2023/01/31/with-rapidly-increasing-heat-and-drought-can-plants-adapt/] By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News. Excerpt: At a time when climate change is making many areas of the planet hotter and drier, it’s sobering to think that deserts are relatively new biomes that have grown considerably over the past 30 million years. Widespread arid regions, like the deserts that today cover much of western North America, began to emerge only within the past 5 to 7 million years. Understanding how plants that invaded these harsh deserts biomes were able to survive could help predict how ecosystems will fare in a drier future. An intensive study of a group of plants that first invaded emerging deserts millions of years ago concludes that these pioneers — rock daisies — did not come unequipped to deal with heat, scorching sun and lack of water. They had developed adaptations to such stresses while living on dry, exposed rock outcroppings within older, more moist areas and even tropical forests, all of which made it easier for them to invade expanding arid areas. The study by University of California, Berkeley, researcher Isaac Lichter-Marck is the first to provide evidence to resolve a long-standing evolutionary debate: Did iconic desert plants, like the stately saguaro cacti, the flaming ocotillos and the Seussian agaves, adapt to arid conditions only after they invaded deserts? Or did they come preadapted to the stresses of desert living? …Lichter-Marck and Bruce Baldwin, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, curator of the Jepson Herbarium and chief editor of The Jepson Desert Manual: Vascular Plants of Southeastern California(2002), published their study about the evolution of rock daisies in North American deserts this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….
2023-01-16. Skipped Showers, Paper Plates: An Arizona Suburb’s Water Is Cut Off. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/16/us/arizona-water-rio-verde-scottsdale.html] By Jack Healy, The New York Times. Excerpt: RIO VERDE, Ariz. — Joe McCue thought he had found a desert paradise when he bought one of the new stucco houses sprouting in the granite foothills of Rio Verde, Ariz. There were good schools, mountain views and cactus-spangled hiking trails out the back door. Then the water got cut off. Earlier this month, the community’s longtime water supplier, the neighboring city of Scottsdale, turned off the tap for Rio Verde Foothills, blaming a grinding drought that is threatening the future of the West. Scottsdale said it had to focus on conserving water for its own residents, and could no longer sell water to roughly 500 to 700 homes — or around 1,000 people. …Almost overnight, the Rio Verde Foothills turned into a worst-case scenario of a hotter, drier climate, showing what happens when unregulated growth collides with shrinking water supplies….
2023-01-15. Dwindling Snow Leaves Swiss Alpine Villages Staring at an Identity Crisis. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/15/world/europe/switzerland-skiiing-alpine-villages-no-snow.html] By Erika Solomon, The New York Times. Excerpt: …As the planet warms, Europe has faced a bruising year of climate crises. In the summer, many regions suffered severe drought and record heat. Already this year, some areas have seen the highest-recorded winter temperatures — so warm that many ski resorts could not even make snow. For Switzerland, whose glaciers and snowpack form a crucial storehouse for European water supplies, the effect has been especially alarming. The country is warming at more than double the rate of the global mean and its glaciers lost 6 percent of their volume in the last year alone, according to Swiss federal authorities and a glacier monitoring group. The changes pose a risk to some parts of a Swiss ski industry that by some estimates generates around $5.5 billion a year. But in a country where nearly everyone skis, the loss of snow is more than an economic or environmental danger. It is a threat to national identity….
2023-01-11. Oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2022, analysis shows. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/11/oceans-were-the-hottest-ever-recorded-in-2022-analysis-shows] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: The world’s oceans were the hottest ever recorded in 2022, demonstrating the profound and pervasive changes that human-caused emissions have made to the planet’s climate. More than 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed in the oceans. The records, starting in 1958, show an inexorable rise in ocean temperature, with an acceleration in warming after 1990. Sea surface temperatures are a major influence on the world’s weather. Hotter oceans help supercharge extreme weather, leading to more intense hurricanes and typhoons and more moisture in the air, which brings more intense rains and flooding. Warmer water also expands, pushing up sea levels and endangering coastal cities…. See also New York Times article The Last 8 Years Were the Hottest on Record.
2023-01-11. As Storms Hammer California, Homeless Campers Try to Survive Outside. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/11/us/california-storms-homeless.html] By Shawn Hubler, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Corina Knoll, The New York Times. Excerpt: From rural Sonoma County to the celebrity enclave of Montecito, a brutal parade of atmospheric rivers has tested California’s infrastructure and endurance. Streets have flooded, levees have failed, mudslides have closed highways and wind gusts have knocked out electricity for days. At least 17 people have died since late December. But few have faced as stark a challenge as the more than 170,000 people who are homeless in California. The state not only has the nation’s largest population of homeless residents, but unlike in colder locales, nearly 70 percent of them sleep in tents, vehicles or public open spaces. …The extreme weather driven by climate change has intensified the need for efforts to protect homeless people across the country, where about 230,000 people are living unsheltered, according to an annual estimate coordinated by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the Phoenix region, heat-related deaths among unhoused people nearly doubled between 2013 and 2021. In Salt Lake City last month, plunging temperatures claimed the lives of five unsheltered people in a week…. See also Soaked and Battered by Repeating Rainstorms, California Girds for More.
Ecological Impacts of Climate Change. Free booklet, with powerpoints on current effects of climate changes from the National Academy Press. Each example is of a specific species. The powerpoints are tailored for different parts of the country. You can choose the region you live in or all of them. You can get the booklet in hard copy or as a PDF file.
Climate Time Machine – NASA JPL. Visualizations of changes in ice melt,
sea level, CO2, and global temperatures.
Realclimate — a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. … to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. Discussion is restricted to scientific topics, not any political or economic implications of the science.
Blog: SCIAM OBSERVATIONS – GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE–Opinions, arguments and analyses from the editors of Scientific American
New maps of potential U.S. coastal areas to be inundated by global warming–These maps correspond with a one meter rise in sea level — the amount of sea level rise scientists predict will occur whether or not we cease emitting carbon today, on account of all the warming the earth has yet to do in order to reach equilibrium with the amount of C02 we’ve already put into the atmosphere.
More denials of Climate Change, and answers, from Grist magazine.
Track Wildfires in the West (New York Times; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/wildfires-air-quality-tracker.html)
Fire and Smoke Map (https://fire.airnow.gov)