NOAA says 2018 was 4th warmest year on record, in an undeniable global warming trend

2018 was the fourth warmest year ever recorded on planet Earth, NOAA reported today. Read the rest “NOAA says 2018 was 4th warmest year on record, in an undeniable global warming trend”

Manhattan-sized hole opens up under Antarctic glacier

A massive cavity so large you could fit New York City inside of it has opened up under Thwaites glacier in Antarctica. Scientists say if it collapses, as it's likely to do within the next 50 to 100 years, it could cause a catastrophic rise in sea levels capable of flood coastal cities around the world. Read the rest “Manhattan-sized hole opens up under Antarctic glacier”

Climate change will make beer much more expensive

Over the next century, higher temperatures and an increased number of droughts will hit the global barley supply, pushing beer prices way up. University of East Anglia economist Dabo Guan and his colleagues developed multiple scenarios based on several climate and economic models. Nature:

The researchers then simulated the effect of these droughts and heat waves on barley production by using software to model crop growth and yield on the basis of weather and other variables.

They found that, globally, this extreme weather would reduce barley yield by between 3% and 17%. Some countries fared better than others: tropical areas such as Central and South America were hit badly, but crop yields actually increased in certain temperate areas, including northern China and the United States. Some areas of those countries saw yield increases of up to 90% — but this was not enough to offset the global decrease.

Finally, Guan and his colleagues fed these changes in barley yield into an existing economic model that can account for changes in supply and demand in the global market. This enabled them to look at how reduced barley production would affect pricing and consumption of beer in countries, as well as trade between nations.

In the worst-case scenario, the reduced barley supply worldwide would result in a 16% decrease in global beer consumption in the years of extreme-weather events. Prices would, on average, double...

One goal of the research, Guan says, was to make tangible how "climate change will impact people’s lifestyle... Read the rest “Climate change will make beer much more expensive”

New tick menace has the potential to spread terrifying viruses

Thanks to climate change, folks living in regions that were once tick-free zones have had to begin getting used to the blood-thirsty little bastards. Just as these unfortunate souls were getting used to this new reality, it seems that the bugs, which up until now have been happy working solo, are ganging up for all new levels of blood-draining terror.

According to Ars Technica, a species of tick that’s been a massive pain in the ass in Asia has made its way to North America. Currently doing its thing on the United States' eastern seaboard, the Asian Longhorned Tick travels in swarms and has the potential to spread all sorts of ugly diseases to livestock, pets and humans alike.

From Ars Technica:

Key to the tick’s explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually, that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one US population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females.

Most troubling is the fact that the Asian Longhorned Tick is known to carry a recently discovered virus that causes SFTS: severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Those that contract SFTS can expect a wide range of terrifying symptoms including “fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging, and organ failure.” With a mortality rate of up to 30%, it’s definitely nothing to scoff at. Read the rest “New tick menace has the potential to spread terrifying viruses”

Los Angeles cools street temperatures by painting them white

This very satisfying drone footage shows an innovative plan to reduce temperatures in Los Angeles by sealing streets with a reflective sealant. Read the rest “Los Angeles cools street temperatures by painting them white”

Comparing possible natural and human causes of climate change

These animated charts from Bloomberg looking at the possible causes of climate change show that the only thing that has really taken off in the last century is greenhouse gasses. Natural factors - orbital changes, sun temperature variation, volcanoes - have hardly changed. Other human factors - land use, ozone pollution, and aerosol pollution - have actually decreased. Read the rest “Comparing possible natural and human causes of climate change”

The arctic seed bank that was going to save us all is flooding

Strategically placed to survive any natural disaster, this winter's rains flooded the arctic seed bank. The bank wasn't destroyed, but it shows how fast things are a changing.

The Guardian:

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

Read the rest “The arctic seed bank that was going to save us all is flooding”

A message to Breitbart from Weather.com

"Note to Breitbart: Earth is not cooling, climate change is real and please stop using our video to mislead Americans." Read the rest “A message to Breitbart from Weather.com”

Open letter about climate change from scientists to Trump

More than 800 American energy and Earth science researchers have signed a letter to Donald Trump outlining six steps they're urging him to take to address human-caused climate change to protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” The letter is accompanied by a public change.org petition to "Tell Trump To #ActOnClimate." Here is that open letter:

To President-elect Trump

We, the undersigned, urge you to take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change. We write as concerned individuals, united in recognizing that the science is unequivocal and America must respond.

Climate change threatens America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety. Some communities are already experiencing its impacts, with low-income and minority groups disproportionately affected.

At this crucial juncture in human history, countries look to the United States to pick up the mantle of leadership: to take steps to strengthen, not weaken, this nation’s efforts to tackle this crisis. With the eyes of the world upon us, and amidst uncertainty and concern about how your administration will address this issue, we ask that you begin by taking the following steps upon taking office:

1. Make America a clean energy leader.The vast majority of Americans - whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent - support renewable energy research and deployment5. Embrace the enormous economic opportunities of transitioning to an energy-efficient, low-carbon society. Use part of your $1 trillion commitment to infrastructure development to expand democratized clean energy, boost U.S. competitiveness, and put America to work8. Since 2008, the cleantech industry has created one out of every 33 jobs in the United States.

Read the rest “Open letter about climate change from scientists to Trump”

Earth's wilderness decimated

A new study shows that our planet has 10% less wilderness than in the 1990s.

Via the CS Monitor:

Ten percent of Earth's wilderness has disappeared since the 1990s, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.

Over the last 20 years, we've lost a total area amounting to twice the size of Alaska, researchers report. But, experts say, there's still time to save the remaining wilderness areas – and they hope the recent findings will spur change.

At the moment, only about 23 percent of the world's land area is made up of wilderness, the study found. Most of this wilderness can be found in North Asia, North Africa, Australia, and North America (primarily the northern parts of Canada). South America has experienced the greatest loss, with a 30 percent decrease since the '90s, and Africa follows with 14 percent.

"The wilderness decline around the world is most in the tropical biomes​, the tropical rain forests​ have lost a lot of wilderness," study co-author Oscar Venter, of the University of Northern British Columbia, told CBS News. "A lot of the Amazon has been lost, the mangrove ecosystems, which are really important wilderness areas have been hit. They are a nursery ground for a lot of the world’s wildlife – young fish are reared in these mangrove ecosystems​, they are a base for a lot of the fisheries. Now, there is almost no wilderness left in the mangroves."

Other things from the '90s we have less of: golf visors and light up sneakers, so it isn't all bad. Read the rest “Earth's wilderness decimated”

Bill Nye: What if all the ice melted on Earth?

It would not be cool. At all. (AsapSCIENCE)

Read the rest “Bill Nye: What if all the ice melted on Earth?”

CO2 in Antarctica reaches 400 PPM for first time in 4 million years

Earth's most remote continent finally caught up with its more populated counterparts. “Carbon dioxide has been steadily rising since the start of the Industrial Revolution, setting a new high year after year,” writes Brian Kahn at Climate Central. “There’s a notable new entry to the record books. The last station on Earth without a 400 parts per million (ppm) reading has reached it.” Read the rest “CO2 in Antarctica reaches 400 PPM for first time in 4 million years”

Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire

Almost all of Canada's tar sands production has been shut down by a raging wildfire in Alberta's Fort McMurray region. Read the rest “Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire”

Canada's Fort McMurray wildfire is so massive, you can see it from space

The massive wildfire that continues to burn in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta, Canada has been captured from space by NASA imaging satellites. Read the rest “Canada's Fort McMurray wildfire is so massive, you can see it from space”

Earth just got hotter.

“July was the planet's warmest month on record, smashing old marks, U.S. weather officials said. And it's almost a dead certain lock that this year will beat last year as the warmest year on record, they said.” Read the rest “Earth just got hotter.”

Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers

Starring the lot of GOP 2016 contenders, Hillary adds a bit of entertainment to her campaign with this parody of climate change deniers in the form of a classic monster movie.

Read the rest “Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers”

What happens when wells run dry in California's drought?

Filmmaker Katherine Espejo has been documenting how the increasingly grim drought is affecting her home town in Central California, focusing on parts of East Porterville, where some wells have begun running dry. Read the rest “What happens when wells run dry in California's drought?”

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