• Climate change losses for Southeast Asia well above previous estimate: ADB

    Economic losses from the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia could be 60 percent higher than previously estimated, reducing the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 11 percent by 2100, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study. The analysis is an update to a 2009 ADB report that estimated a 7 percent annual reduction in economic output due to climate change.

  • U.S. facing looming grain failures

    Across the United States, record quantities of corn and soybeans have been harvested in recent years. However, according to new research, this trend may soon change. “By midcentury,” the interdisciplinary team reports, “temperatures in Illinois will likely be closer to those of today’s mid-South, and precipitation will range somewhere between that of today’s East Texas and that of the Carolinas.” In the face of a rapidly changing climate, the researchers call for a U.S. Midwest field research network to address crucial agricultural challenges.

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  • Climate change rapidly warming world’s lakes, threatening freshwater supplies

    Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a study spanning six continents. The study is the largest of its kind and the first to use a combination of satellite temperature data and long-term ground measurements. A total of 235 lakes, representing more than half of the world’s freshwater supply, were monitored for at least twenty-five years. The study found that lakes are warming an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit (0.34 degrees Celsius) each decade. This is greater than the warming rate of either the ocean or the atmosphere, and it can have profound effects, the scientists say.

  • Autumn 2015 was record warm for the contiguous U.S.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ha release a report which shows that the autumn of 2015 was the warmest autumn in the last 121 years — since measurements began in 1895. The September-November contiguous U.S. average temperature was 56.8°F, 3.3°F above the twentieth century average, surpassing the previous record of 56.6°F set in 1963. Record and near-record warmth spanned much of the nation. The November contiguous U.S. temperature was 44.7°F, 3.0°F above the twentieth century average and the thirteenth warmest in the 121-year period of record.

  • The third intifada; new, smaller Schengen; EU border patrol

    Mahmud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has been warned by the military wing of the PLO that unless he can persuade the UN Security Council to vote for a resolution calling for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, a new intifada will be launched to convince Israel that a continued occupation of Palestinian lands will be costly; European officials are planning to abandon the 30-year old Schengen Agreement and replace it with a much smaller, Western Europe-only free-travel zone; facing rising seas, residents of the Pacific island of Tuvalu are looking for a new home.

  • “Unprecedented” storms, floods in north-west England are more common than we think

    The recent “unprecedented” flooding in north-west England might be more common than currently believed, a group of scientists has warned. A team of experts has drawn on historic records to build a clearer picture of the flooding. They conclude that twenty-first-century flood events such as Storm Desmond are not exceptional or unprecedented in terms of their frequency or magnitude, and that flood frequency and flood risk forecasts would be improved by including data from flood deposits dating back hundreds of years.

  • Nature influences water in the Colorado River basin more than humans do

    Researchers have found that the water supply of the Colorado River basin, one of the most important sources for water in the southwestern United States, is influenced more by wet-dry periods than by human use, which has been fairly stable during the past few decades. The team found that water storage decreased by 50 to 100 cubic kilometers (enough water to fill Lake Mead as much as three times) during droughts that occur about every decade. The big difference between recent and previous droughts is that there have been few wet years since 2000 to replenish the water. In contrast, multiple wet years followed drought years in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Climate outlook may be worse than feared

    The impact of climate change may be worse than previously thought, a new study suggests. The research first created a simple algorithm to determine the key factors shaping climate change and then estimated their likely impact on the world’s land and ocean temperatures. The method is more direct and straightforward than that used by the IPCC, which uses sophisticated, but more opaque, computer models.

  • Climate change impacts may appear in some areas sooner than expected

    Some impacts of global climate change will appear much sooner than others — with only moderate increases in global temperature. While rising sea levels may one day threaten the commuter tunnels and subway lines of New York City, it will have effects much sooner in other parts of the world – for example, the Marshall Islands and Bangladesh. In countries exposed to the destructive effects of climate change sooner rather than later, there will be little incentives to do something about climate change because the damage has already been done. Thus, once significant portions of the Marshall Islands or Bangladesh are destroyed by rising seas, the rate of damage will reach “saturation” — an inflection point beyond which further temperature increases have little additional effect. Once the Marshall Islands are large sections of Bangladesh are uninhabitable, there is not more damage that can be done there, and the governments of these countries will not have an incentive to participate in global climate efforts because they will not have anything more to lose.

  • Global freshwater loss due to dams, irrigation much larger than previously thought

    Dams and irrigation, by increasing evapotranspiration, raise the global human consumption of freshwater to a much higher level than previously thought. This effect increases the loss of freshwater to the atmosphere and thereby reduces the water available for humans, societies and ecosystems on land.

  • U.S. worsening droughts require alternative ways of protecting urban water supplies

    In the American West, unprecedented droughts have caused extreme water shortages. The current drought in California and across the West is entering its fourth year, with precipitation and water storage reaching record low levels. Droughts are ranked second in the United States in terms of national weather-related economic impacts, with annual losses just shy of $9 billion. With water scarcity likely to increase due to advancing climate change, the economic and environmental impacts of drought are also likely to get worse. Alternative models of watershed protection that balance recreational use and land conservation must no longer be ignored to preserve water supplies against the effects of climate change, experts argue.

  • Global warming may affect oxygen-producing ocean phytoplankton

    Past and current climate change has affected the food sources in the surface waters in the North Pacific Ocean. Climate change is predicted to alter marine phytoplankton (algae and diatoms) communities and affect productivity, biogeochemistry, and the efficacy of the biological pump. The slow global warming over the most recent approximate 150 years – roughly corresponding to the industrial revolution — has been beneficial, seeing an increase in nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria resulting in food production. “It’s sort of a carbon credit because the phytoplankton are making their own nitrogen-based fertilizer out of dissolved nitrogen,” says one researcher. But if global warming continues, the consequences may be dire. “This picoplankton community shift may have provided a negative feedback to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, during the last 100 years. However, we cannot expect this to be the case in the future,” the researcher said.

  • Depletion of ocean phytoplankton could suffocate life on planet Earth

    About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton — and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale, which could threaten the mortality of animals and humans.

  • Coal plant plans could make it impossible to hold warming below 2°C

    There are 2,440 planned coal plants around the world, totaling 1428GW, which could emit approximately 16-18 percent of the total allowed emissions in 2030 (under a 2°C-compatible scenario, medium range). If all coal plants in the pipeline were to be built, by 2030, emissions from coal power would be 400 percent higher than what is consistent with a 2°C pathway, according to a new analysis.

  • Climate change poses multiple threats to global food system

    Climate change is likely to have far-reaching impacts on food security throughout the world, especially for the poor and those living in tropical regions, according to a new international report. The report warns that warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns can threaten food production, disrupt transportation systems, and degrade food safety, among other impacts. As a result, international progress in the past few decades toward improving food security will be difficult to maintain.