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Climate Change Impacts in Pictures: 8 Stark IPCC Images | Climate Central ("for serious advocates")

Climate Change Impacts in Pictures: 8 Stark IPCC Images | Climate Central ("for serious advocates") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The IPCC's latest report is chock full of images that starkly illustrate climate change's impacts. Here's eight of them.

100-year floods: More extreme precipitation, expected with climate change, means that major flood events could happen more often and thus more people are likely to be impacted. By 2100, hundreds of millions of people per year are projected to have to deal with the challenges flooding poses, the IPCC shows in the above graph. That graph even keeps population steady at 2005 levels, meaning even more people will be under threat with population rise.

Fisheries on the move: The best fisheries are likely to shift to mid-latitude oceans by the middle of the 21st century. However, the tropics and Southern Ocean fisheries will likely suffer over the period as oceans become too warm and net ocean productivity decreases. Not only will fisheries shift but the maximum weight of fish will change too. In some areas, such as the North Atlantic, the increase in catch potential will at least be partially offset by a decrease in fish body weight.

3.6°F means more risks: Climate impacts are already occurring, but so far they’ve caused relatively low levels of risk. However, future temperature increases will pose dramatically higher risks to both human and natural systems. Ecosystems as well as human systems that are highly specialized are most at risk to these impacts.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Warning: This link is only for the serious climate advocate. Are you serious enough to take time out and read this stuff?

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NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts")

NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows in recent years extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized. They also found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures. The result was published Thursday in the journal Science.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentrations increased and trapped more heat energy on Earth, global surface temperatures also increased. However, in the 21st century, this pattern seemed to change temporarily.

The Pacific Ocean is the primary source of the subsurface warm water found in the study, though some of that water now has been pushed to the Indian Ocean. Since 2003, unusually strong trade winds and other climatic features have been piling up warm water in the upper 1,000 feet of the western Pacific, pinning it against Asia and Australia.

"The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago," said Nieves, the lead author of the study.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.


"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, Today, 12:17 AM

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.

 

"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Pope and mayors sign declaration on climate and trafficking ("alliance with cities is good action")

Pope and mayors sign declaration on climate and trafficking ("alliance with cities is good action") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Please find below the full text of the common declaration:


We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address two inter-connected dramatic emergencies: human-induced climate change, and social exdusion in the extreme forms of radical poverty, modern slavery and human trafficking, We join together from many cultures and walks of life, reflecting humanity's shared yearning for prosperity, justice and environmental sustainability peace, happiness.
On the basis of the encyclical Laudato si', we have considered the over-whelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerability of the poor to economic, social and environmental disasters.
In the face of the emergencies attributable to human-induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare the following:

Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.

In this core moral space, cities play a very vital role. All of our cultural traditions uphold the inherent dignity and social responsibility of every individual and the related common good of all humanity. They affirm the beauty, wonder and inherent goodness of the natural world, and appreciate that it is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to steward rather than ravage the garden that is our "common home". ...

The financing of sustainable development, including the effective control of human-induced climate change, should be bolstered through new incentives for the transition towards low-carbon and renewable energy, and through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable a shift of public financing from military spending to urgent investments for sustainable development. ...

As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration. ...

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The alliances are set and the battle lines versus climate change have been drawn. The Pope is showing what it means to be a true "shepherd"!


"As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration."

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Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this city smog or a sandstorm?")

Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this city smog or a sandstorm?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

#6 It's hard to recognize Beijing through the smog (Image 2 of 7)
Be thankful if you live anywhere else in the world. There is so much smog in China that trace amounts of it has even been measured as far as California!

Bert Guevara's insight:

Imagine yourself living in this city. 

How is the air in your side of the world?

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Simon BdR's curator insight, July 15, 3:34 AM

Incredible photos of pollution in China...

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2015 Arctic Sea Ice: How Low Will It Go? ("the melting goes on & 2015 may set another record low")

2015 Arctic Sea Ice: How Low Will It Go? ("the melting goes on & 2015 may set another record low") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Scientists say the Arctic Sea ice extent in 2015 is likely to be among the lowest on record.

This year, the usual period where summer melt ramps up — from mid-June to early July — saw only modest declines, so it’s unlikely any records will be broken. But even a non-record annual low nowadays is far lower than it was decades ago, before warming really started to kick in.

The overall warming of the planet, which is happening at a faster pace in the Arctic, has caused steady declines in both the max and min over recent decades (as well as an overall thinning of the ice), ranging from 10 to 15 percent per decade depending on the season. This sea ice retreat has major implications for regional wildlife, which can depend on the sea ice for hunting food; the livelihoods of indigenous cultures; and commerce, including oil exploration and shipping.

But that background warming driven by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere isn’t the only factor that affects what happens to Arctic sea ice from year to year and season to season. Weather patterns can act over that trend, sometimes reinforcing it and sometimes counteracting it. In 2012, an intense storm helped drive the summer extent to a record low, whereas in other years, weather has had less impact and the summer melt has fallen in line with the decades-long decline.


Bert Guevara's insight:

No alarms raised; but the melting goes on!


"Right now, given the melt so far this summer, it seems unlikely that 2015 will break 2012’s record, Scambos and Meier said, but it will still be in line with the overall downward trend. As Meier put it: “Not extreme, not record-setting, but still far lower than what was normal for the 1980s and 1990s.”

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The Lilypad floating city concept is designed to house climate change refugees ("timely ideas needed")

With global sea levels predicted to rise significantly over the next century due to climate change, a lot of people living in low lying areas are expected to be displaced from their homes. Architect Vincent Callebaut has come up with a possible relocation destination for these climate change refugees in the form of the “Lilypad” concept – a completely self-sufficient floating city that would accommodate up to 50,000.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Rising sea levels are real and beach fronts and low-lying areas are increasingly threatened. Here is a forward-looking planner who may have a doable design for a floating relocation center of up to 50,000 inhabitants. Settling climate refugees inland may not always be possible, especially for island towns.

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How Fireworks Pollution Could Be Hurting Your Health ("42% higher small pollutants in air")

How Fireworks Pollution Could Be Hurting Your Health ("42% higher small pollutants in air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Levels of tiny pollutants are 42% higher on the holiday than on a typical day, one study says

The level of particulate matter, or small pollutants like dust, dirt and soot present in the air, increased by 42% on average across the U.S. on the Fourth of July, according to the study. Air conditions are at their worst between 9 and to 10 p.m. on the day of the holiday. The researchers, who looked at data from 315 sites across the country, found that ten of the sites met a threshold deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when sustained for a prolonged period of time.

Extended exposure to particulate matter can lead to coughing, wheezing and even lead to an early death for people with pre-existing conditions like heart or lung disease, according to the EPA.

Not all fireworks are created equal, and a number of factors—including weather patterns, location of the fireworks and the size and number of shows—may determine levels of firework pollution, according to Seidel. One site in Ogden, UT, saw nearly a five-fold increase in particulate matter on the Fourth compared to an average day.

Avoiding firework pollution can be difficult, if not impossible, health experts say. People in the immediate vicinity of fireworks will experience the most pollution. From there, the particles will disperse throughout the area, hardly leaving any place untouched. People sitting downwind from the fireworks will receive the brunt of pollution, says Joel Schwartz, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard University. Indeed, the EPA advises children and the elderly, along with people with heart disease, asthma and other lung diseases, to consider watching upwind from fireworks. But given how long particles linger, it may be difficult to avoid firework pollution altogether if you live in the vicinity of a fireworks show.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Just a reminder during fireworks displays or during holidays.

 

“Particles tend to stay suspended in the air for days,” says Schwartz. “They’re going to drift whichever way the winds goes, so it’s not just going to be the people sitting in the park watching the fireworks.”

"But while the increase in pollution due to fireworks may sound frightening, most public health experts say those levels would need to be sustained for much longer before widespread health problems emerge."

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Drought, dry spell likely till December; rainfall can drop by 60% - Pagasa ("rainwater harvesting!")

Drought, dry spell likely till December; rainfall can drop by 60% - Pagasa ("rainwater harvesting!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
After experiencing scorching heat, the Philippines is likely to face up to six straight months of drought and a maximum four consecutive months of dry spell in the second half of the year, the state weather agency Pagasa said.

Data from Pagasa this week indicate neither drought nor dry spell will affect several provinces during the second semester of 2015.

Those provinces are Batanes in Luzon and Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, and Lanao del Sur all in Mindanao.

Citing results of its rainfall analysis, however, Pagasa said provinces facing six straight months of drought from July to December this year are the Leyte and Southern Leyte as well as South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Sulu.

The agency also forecast five months of drought from August to December this year in Luzon's Isabela and Camarines Norte provinces as well as the Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Biliran.

Four months of drought from September to December is forecast for Aurora, Batangas, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and Romblon provinces and the Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo, Pagasa continued.

Pagasa also expects three-month drought from October to December in Metro Manila and Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Cavite, and Laguna.

Over 60 percent reduction from average rainfall can be expected in drought-stricken areas, said Pagasa.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's time to seriously consider nationwide rainwater harvesting programs. While rains come before the drought, catching the rainwater for later use makes the most common sense.

 

"He said people must take advantage of the rainy season and save water as this wet period will prevail until around September only.

"We expect the country to experience a long, dry period afterwards," he said.

"Pagasa said occurrence of El Nino doesn't reduce number of TCs expected in the country.

"El Nino affects TCs' intensity and direction, however, Pagasa clarified."

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Study: Severe Ozone Depletion Avoided ("the problem peaked in 1993 and had been declining ever since")

Study: Severe Ozone Depletion Avoided ("the problem peaked in 1993 and had been declining ever since") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

We are already reaping the rewards of the Montreal Protocol, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the UN treaty, according to a new study in Nature Communications.

Study lead author Professor Martyn Chipperfield, from the School of Earth & Environment at the University of Leeds, said: "Our research confirms the importance of the Montreal Protocol and shows that we have already had real benefits. We knew that it would save us from large ozone loss 'in the future', but in fact we are already past the point when things would have become noticeably worse."

Although the Montreal Protocol came into force in 1987 and restricted the use of ozone-depleting substances, atmospheric concentrations of these harmful substances continued to rise as they can survive in the atmosphere for many years. Concentrations peaked in 1993 and have subsequently declined.

In the new study, the researchers used a state-of-the-art 3D computer model of atmospheric chemistry to investigate what would have happened to the ozone layer if the Montreal Protocol had not been implemented.

In the new study, the researchers used a state-of-the-art 3D computer model of atmospheric chemistry to investigate what would have happened to the ozone layer if the Montreal Protocol had not been implemented.

Professor Chipperfield said: "Ozone depletion in the polar regions depends on meteorology, especially the occurrence of cold temperatures at about 20km altitude - colder temperatures cause more loss. Other studies which have assessed the importance of the Montreal Protocol have used models to predict atmospheric winds and temperatures and have looked a few decades into the future. The predictions of winds and temperatures in these models are uncertain, and probably underestimate the extent of cold winters.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The problem of the ozone hole would have been a serious climate problem has it not been for the Montreal Protocol. The concentration of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere peaked in 1993 and has been declining ever since.

The monitoring continues but the momentum is on the side of the environment.

 

"We could see that previous models used to predict the impact of the Montreal Protocol in the future would not have predicted such extreme events and we wondered how much worse things could have been if the Montreal Protocol had not been in place," 

"The Montreal Protocol has been strengthened over time through amendments and adjustments, supported by ongoing research. The researchers behind the new study say that scientists must continue to monitor the situation to ensure all potential threats to the ozone layer are mitigated."

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The world is off course to prevent two degrees C of warming, says energy agency (too little, too late?)

The world is off course to prevent two degrees C of warming, says energy agency (too little, too late?) | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The International Energy Agency says the world needs to peak its energy related greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.

In a major report to be released Monday, the Paris-based International Energy Agency — which provides independent energy analysis and has 29 member countries, including the United States — will state that current national commitments to cut greenhouse gases are still insufficient to keep the world below two degrees Celsius of warming above preindustrial levels. At the same time, the agency will also offer a path forward, showing how the world, with a bit more ambition, could peak its emissions by the year 2020 and get onto a safer path.

Since 2010, the two-degree target has been a core feature of international attempts to stave off the worst consequences of global warming. It is central to a major December meeting in Paris organized under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, where it is hoped that countries will agree upon new global emissions reductions.

In advance of December’s Paris meeting, many nations have submittedIntended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, detailing their plans to limit their emissions. The United States has pledged to reduce its emissions 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by 2025. The European Union is widely regarded as having one of the most ambitious goals – a cut of 40 percent or more below 1990 levels, by the year 2030.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The world looks grim for our children, climate-wise. I cannot over-emphasize the urgency of a climate deal in the next UN talks. But even if the talks fail, we the inhabitants of this planet have to do our bit.


“If stronger action is not forthcoming after 2030, the path in the INDC Scenario would be consistent with an average temperature increase of around 2.6 °C by 2100 and 3.5 °C after 2200,” notes the report.

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The Weird Effect Climate Change Will Have On Plant Growth ("instead of CO2 capture, plants will emit")

The Weird Effect Climate Change Will Have On Plant Growth ("instead of CO2 capture, plants will emit") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Climate change could turn forests them into carbon emitters

Climate change affects a number of variables that determine how much plants can grow. A 7% decline in the average number of freezing days will actually aid plant growth, according to the study, which relied on an analysis of satellite data and weather projections. At the same time, extreme temperatures, a decrease in water availability and changes to soil conditions will actually make it more difficult for plants to thrive. Overall, climate change is expected to stunt plant growth.

Declining plant growth would destroy forests and dramatically change the habitats that are necessary for many species to survive. And, if conditions get bad enough, forests could actually produce carbon instead of removing it from the atmosphere, exacerbating the root cause of climate change.

“Those that think climate change will benefit plants need to see the light, literally and figuratively,” said lead study author Camilo Mora, a professor at the University of Hawaii, in a statement.

The effects of climate change on plant growth will likely vary by region, with northern areas in places like Russia, China and Canada gaining growing days. But already hot tropical regions could lose as many as 200 growing days per year. In total, 3.4 billion people would live in countries that lose nearly a third of their growing days. More than 2 billion of those people live in low-income countries, according to the study.

Bert Guevara's insight:

May God forbid such a scenario: that climate change may affect plants so much that they become net carbon emitters. This is an extreme scenario that may happen only if man does not act on climate change mitigation efforts immediately.

If this dire scenario happens, carbon emissions will increase drastically and we lose one of our major carbon sinks.


"The researchers’ findings sound pretty dire, but they acknowledge that these consequences would be the result of a worst-case scenario of sorts, one in which humans take minimal action to stem climate change. With strong or even moderate efforts, worldwide plant growth will fare much better, according to the study."

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The Climate Context for India’s Deadly Heat Wave | Climate Central ("likely more frequent repetition")

The Climate Context for India’s Deadly Heat Wave | Climate Central ("likely more frequent repetition") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Heat waves like the one that killed hundreds in India are likely to be more frequent in a warmer world.

Such oppressive heat waves are likely to become more common in a warming world. That is one of the more robust links in climate science, but teasing out such a connection with specific, local events can be difficult, as a new analysis from scientists working with Climate Central, as part of its World Weather Attribution program, shows. The program combines observational data, output from multiple models, peer-reviewed research, and on-the-ground reports to more quickly analyze extreme weather events. This analysis found some suggestions that extreme heat waves in this region are more common than they once were, but more research is needed to firm up such a link.

Beginning in mid-May, parts of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana — home to about 80 million people — and other nearby areas saw temperatures soar up to about 120°F during the days and linger in the 80s and 90s during nights, leaving little chance for the millions of residents of the region to gain relief. Those who work primarily outdoors, such as construction workers, along with the very young and old, and the poorest are at particular peril during such events, having little recourse for relief from air conditioning or plentiful clean drinking water.

It is expected that extreme heat waves will become more common worldwide as a rising average global temperature, which has increased by 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century, tips the odds more in their favor.

Because this link is one of the most robust between climate change and extreme weather the budding field of extreme event attribution has focused much attention on trying to pinpoint what role warming may have played in particular events. One of the first attribution studies came in 2004, and found that warming made the heat wave that hit Europe in 2003 and killed some 70,000 people at least twice as likely. A study published just last year found that now such a heat wave is 10 times as likely to happen as it was just a decade ago.


Bert Guevara's insight:

I get shocked in hearing about 52-deg C "heat index" temperatures in Cabanatuan City in June this year. How hotter can it get?


"It is expected that extreme heat waves will become more common worldwide as a rising average global temperature, which has increased by 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century, tips the odds more in their favor."

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Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Challenged by NOAA Research ("simple math correction shows otherwise")

Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Challenged by NOAA Research ("simple math correction shows otherwise") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The new findings try to correct for problems in the way global temperatures were measured and suggest there has not been a slowdown in global warming since 2000.
Now, new research suggests the whole thing may have been based on incorrect data. When adjustments are made to compensate for recently discovered problems in the way global temperatures were measured, the slowdown largely disappears, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared in a scientific paper published Thursday. And when the particularly warm temperatures of 2013 and 2014 are averaged in, the slowdown goes away entirely, the agency said. “The notion that there was a slowdown in global warming, or a hiatus, was based on the best information we had available at the time,” said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information, a NOAA unit in Asheville, N.C. “Science is always working to improve.” A leading hypothesis to explain the slowdown is that natural fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean may have temporarily pulled some heat out of the atmosphere, producing a brief flattening in the long-term increase of surface temperatures. NOAA is one of four agencies around the world that attempts to produce a complete record of global temperatures dating to 1880. They all get similar results, showing a long-term warming of the planet that scientists have linked primarily to the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests. A huge body of physical evidence — notably, that practically every large piece of land ice on the planet has started to melt — suggests the temperature finding is correct.
Bert Guevara's insight:
It's still a warming world after all. A little mathematical correction leads to the same conclusion. “If you just wanted to release to the American public our uncorrected data set, it would say that the world has warmed up about 2.071 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880,” Dr. Vose said. “Our corrected data set says things have warmed up about 1.65 degrees Fahrenheit. Our corrections lower the rate of warming on a global scale.” "Even if the warming slowdown in the early 21st century was real, there seems to be little question that it is ending. By a small margin, the global temperature hit a record in 2014, and developing weather patterns suggest that record will likely be broken by a larger margin in 2015."
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Beijing promises coal-free power by 2017 to fight pollution ("symbolic gesture but not enough")

Beijing promises coal-free power by 2017 to fight pollution ("symbolic gesture but not enough") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing will build four gas-fired power and heating plants by next year and shut the last of its coal-fired generators by 2017 as part of its campaign against hazardous air pollution,

However, while progress has been made in cutting major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, China's sprawling capital will still need many years to bring smog down to acceptable levels as the authorities struggle to find alternative energy supplies.

"The level of small particulate matter or PM2.5 that we monitored is 1.5 times higher than the standard," Zhang Dawei, director of the monitoring center at the municipal environmental bureau, said late on Thursday during a media tour of facilities.

"It will still need two decades to clean up the smog."

Beijing is on the frontline of a "war on pollution" launched by central government last year, amid fears that public disquiet about the state of the country's sky, water and soil could spill over into political unrest.

The city authorities have already promised to relocate big polluting industries into neighboring Hebei province and slash total coal use to less than 10 million tonnes by 2017, a fall of 13 million tonnes in just four years.

Beijing will also invest 47.7 billion yuan ($7.70 billion) to build four natural-gas-fired cogeneration plants by this year to provide cleaner heat and power for its 20 million citizens.

The switch to gas for the generation of power will help Beijing meet 70 percent of its planned coal cuts.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It was a political move to clean the air, otherwise the people may not be able to take it anymore.

 

"It will still need two decades to clean up the smog."

"Beijing is on the frontline of a "war on pollution" launched by central government last year, amid fears that public disquiet about the state of the country's sky, water and soil could spill over into political unrest."

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Earth just had its warmest June on record, and warmest year so far ("breaking all records in 136 yrs")

Earth just had its warmest June on record, and warmest year so far ("breaking all records in 136 yrs") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
June was the warmest such month for the globe in 136 years of record-keeping, with both the land and the sea setting all-time temperature records.

At this point, it's safe to assume you'll see a story like this (just with a different month in the headline) again and again, given that Planet Earth's thermostat seems to be stuck on "record warm."

Three of the official climate reporting organizations around the world, including the Japan Meteorological Agency, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have each found that June was the Earth's warmest such month on record.

In addition, NOAA found that the first six months of this year were the warmest on record, increasing the likelihood that 2015 will overtake 2014 for the warmest year title. According to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina, the global average surface temperature was so far above average during June that it was the fourth-highest monthly departure from average for any month on record.

This is particularly noteworthy, since the two highest monthly departures have both occurred this year, in February and March. So the heat in 2015 isn't just breaking records, it's smashing them.

 This, in part, is due to the development of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which tends to boost global sea and air temperatures. However, the El Niño alone cannot account for the full amount of warming, nor its consistency in recent years, which include years when no El Niño was present.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Just an update on global temperature records for the first half of 2015. The El Nino phenomenon is aggravating the situation a little, but with or without it, the planet is really getting hotter.


"The average global temperature across land surfaces in June was 2.27 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.26 degrees Celsius, above the 20th-century average. This was the highest June temperature over land on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2012 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.06 degrees Celsius."

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The world's most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario ... - Washington Post

The world's most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario ... - Washington Post | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The new paper, says James Hansen, may be his most important work.

 In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years. By contrast, Hansen and colleagues note, the IPCC assumed more of a linear process, suggesting only around 1 meter of sea level rise, at most, by 2100.

“If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters,” the new paper says.

Using climate models and an analogy with the so-called Eemian period or “Marine isotope stage 5e” — an interglacial period some 120,000 years ago that featured considerable sea level rise — the paper goes on to suggest that major ice loss from both Antarctica and Greenland will change the circulation of the oceans, as large volumes of cold, fresh water pour into the seas. This freshening or decreasing saltiness of the ocean, at both poles, could ultimately block the oceans’ overturning circulation, in which (in the northern hemisphere) warm water travels northward, and then colder, denser water sinks and travels back south again.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Remember the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"? The climate model discussed in the movie resembles some of the alarming possibilities posed by James Hansen in his new study.

What strikes me is the change in ocean currents caused by ocean warming trends - a real scenario. This means that the ocean circulation may be disturbed, causing cooler oceans to grow colder; while the warmer oceans to grow hotter (also mentioned by Al Gore). Even wind velocities will be affected, disturbing wind power capacities.

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U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology

U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The United States Army has patented new solar cell technology that is 1,000 times thinner than current solar panels on the market, as well as being stronger and more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.

At the heart of advancements in solar power technology is the drive to make solar cells smaller, lighter, and more efficient. It’s already possible to print paper-thin solar cells, but the Army’s latest patent is for solar cells just a fraction of that thickness, which is tough to imagine. A piece of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick, while the Army’s new solar cells are made from layers of silver and gold semiconductors that result in “a combined thickness of only a few hundred nanometers,” according to Dr. Michael Scalora, a research physicist at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), who is the co-inventor of the new technology.

In addition to being 1,000 times slimmer, the new solar cells are less expensive to manufacture, more durable, and more robust than current solar cell technology. “Low-cost, compact, flexible and efficient solar cells are destined to impact all sorts of Department of Defense applications, as lightweight solar panels will eventually power all kinds of equipment, particularly in remote, inaccessible areas,” Scalora said.

Although the Army has won the patent rights for the concept, research is still ongoing at AMRDEC in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, conducted by Scalora and his co-inventors Maria Antonietta Vincenti, Neset Akozbek, and Domenico de Ceglia. What’s clear is that this kind of advancement could have a widespread impact on the solar power industry, outside of its military applications.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Great breakthroughs in solar tech coming from the US military?


"Military research leads to a lot of cool technological advancements that can benefit the public as much as the troops. United States Army researchers have been working on improved solar technology, and they have developed a tiny photovoltaic solar cell that is substantially smaller and more cost effective than any other solar cell on the market. The new design has won the Army a patent, and the inventors are calling it a “breakthrough” in clean energy."

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Simon BdR's curator insight, July 15, 3:37 AM

Will this be a real breakthrough ?

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Historic Climate Court Decision in the Netherlands ("another precedent-setting case for environment")

Historic Climate Court Decision in the Netherlands ("another precedent-setting case for environment") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Big news from the Netherlands, where a court just decided that the government was not doing enough to combat climate change. Yep. You read that right.

Big news from the Netherlands, where a court just decided that the government was not doing enough to combat climate change. Yep. You read that right.

“The state must do more to reverse the imminent danger caused by climate change, given also its duty to protect and improve the environment,” the court said in its ruling.

The court’s decision is being seen as not only a victory for environmentalists, but also for human rights advocates worldwide. This is the first attempt by European citizens to hold the state accountable for potentially devastating inaction on climate change. It’s also the first case in the world in which human rights are used as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change, according to the Urgenda Foundation.

“This makes it crystal clear that climate change is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with much more effectively, and that states can no longer afford inaction,” said Marjan Minnesma, a Dutch citizen and one of the plaintiffs in the case. “States are meant to protect their citizens, and if politicians will not do this of their own accord, then the courts are there to help.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Major pro-environment precedent-setting court decision!!! The government is accountable for climate mitigation!

 

"The logic behind the court case was, actually, quite simple. As Minnesma stated above, governments have an obligation to protect us, its citizens, from dangers. And few dangers have as widespread, potentially devastating impacts as climate change. Attempts to both plan for, and mitigate, emissions require incredible coordination between governments, businesses and citizens."

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We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind?

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The World Bank’s head of agriculture and food security speaks of a “frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture” at the climate talks and calls for advances in climate-smart farming

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change,generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.

First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers - especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, we still grow our food largely using 20th century technology - over 100 years old in the case of fertilizer production! We need more and better agricultural research to bring farming into the 21st century. Other sectors like energy have made great breakthroughs in remarkably short periods of time, but where is the “electric car” for agriculture? The Copenhagen Consensus concludes that agricultural research is one of the single most effective investments we could make to fight malnourishment. Therefore, we need more support for bodies like the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research that focus on crops and cropping systems that are of greatest importance to poor farmers and poor countries. Such research is a global public good that the private sector cannot be expected to deliver alone.

Bert Guevara's insight:

To have climate smart agriculture, we need smarter people who can introduce better ways to increase food production. 


"If the sustainable development goals and COP 21 in Paris are opportunities to come up with bold ideas to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and address climate change, then climate smart agriculture should be acknowledged as one of those ideas that will enable us to do all three in one."

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Farm Waste and Animal Fats Will Help Power a United Jet ("pioneering use of biofuels in airlines")

Farm Waste and Animal Fats Will Help Power a United Jet ("pioneering use of biofuels in airlines") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Later this summer, United Airlines will begin using fuel generated from farm waste and oil from animal fats to help power its commercial flights.

For years, biofuels have been seen as an important part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And airlines, with their concentration around airports and use of the same kind of fuel, have been seen as a promising customer in a biofuels industry that has struggled to gain traction.

Now that relationship is showing signs of taking off.

On Tuesday, United plans to announce a $30 million investment in one of the largest producers of aviation biofuels, Fulcrum BioEnergy, the biggest investment so far by a domestic airline in the small but growing field of alternative fuels. 

But airlines are increasingly under pressure to reduce carbon emissions. The Obama administration proposed this month that new limits on aviation emissions be developed, and the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, is expected to complete its own negotiations on limiting carbon pollution by February 2016.

Alaska Airlines aims to use biofuels at least at one of its airports by 2020. Southwest Airlines announced last year that it would purchase about three million gallons a year of jet fuel made from wood residues from Red Rock Biofuels. The first blend of this new fuel product, however, won’t be available until 2016.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Why is the attempt to use bio-fuel in the airline industry important?


"Behind the deals is pressure on airlines to reduce carbon pollution. Although they account for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, airlines are one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution around the world."

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G7 Carbon Goal May Come Too Late, Scientists Say ("severe effects will already take place very soon")

G7 Carbon Goal May Come Too Late, Scientists Say ("severe effects will already take place very soon") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Leading scientists say the G7's decarbonization goal may be too little too late considering the pace at which greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet.

“Decarbonization by the end of the century may well be too late because the magnitude of climate change long before then will exceed the bounds of many ecosystems and farms, and likely will be very disruptive,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said.

The goal is a step in the right direction, but not very meaningful considering greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced dramatically within the next decade, well ahead of the G7’s timeline, Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said.

“In my view, the science makes clear that 2050 or 2100 is way too far down the road,” he said. “We will need near-term limits if we are going to avoid dangerous warming of the planet.”

The leaders of the G7 nations met at an economic summit over the weekend and declared on Monday that in order to keep global warming to the world’s main climate goal of 2°C (3.6°F), the global economy must end its reliance on fossil fuels by the end of the century, with emissions from most of them disappearing within 35 years.

Without mapping out exactly how emissions can be cut so dramatically, the nations said they support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recommendation that global greenhouse gas emissions be slashed to 40 to 70 percent below 2010 levels by mid-century, and the Paris climate talks, known as COP21, should set binding rules to track countries’ progress toward that goal.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The present targets and plans may be too slow, too late. A zero-emissions policy is needed now to have any significant impact, according to scientists, but that of course will almost be impossible.


“COP21 and all of its predecessors have set the agenda and raised awareness. That is valuable, but will not solve the problem or slow climate change,” he said. “I think the transition to a renewable resource-based economy will need to take place sooner than 2100, but it is useful to articulate a vision of a fossil fuel-free economy.”

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The latest global temperature data are breaking records | John Abraham ("old news but increased alarm")

The latest global temperature data are breaking records | John Abraham ("old news but increased alarm") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
John Abraham: Today’s global temperature data keep 2015 as hottest year to date

Just today, NASA released its global temperature data for the month of May 2015. It was a scorching 0.71°C (1.3°F) above the long-term average. It is also the hottest first five months of any year ever recorded. As we look at climate patterns over the next year or so, it is likely that this year will set a new all-time record. In fact, as of now, 2015 is a whopping 0.1°C (0.17°F) hotter than last year, which itself was the hottest year on record.

Below, NASA’s annual temperatures are shown. Each year’s results are shown as black dots. Some years are warmer, some are cooler and we never want to put too much emphasis on any single year’s temperature. I have added a star to show where 2015 is so far this year, simply off the chart. The last 12 months are at record levels as well. So far June has been very hot as well, likely to end up warmer than May. 

When we combine surface temperatures with ocean heat content, as seen below, a clear picture emerges. Warming is continuing at a rapid rate.

There is an emerging view that the so-called surface warming slowdown was caused from poor instrument coverage around the globe, volcanic eruptions, and a multi-year oscillation in the oceans. The issue of instrument coverage is being fixed as we speak.

But, any short term fluctuations can only temporarily influence the long term trend. In the ocean heat content image above, you might notice a slight change in the trend around 2005. The trend change has since disappeared; it was associated with the ocean oscillations I mentioned earlier.


Bert Guevara's insight:

How hot is Global Warming?


"It was a scorching 0.71°C (1.3°F) above the long-term average. It is also the hottest first five months of any year ever recorded. As we look at climate patterns over the next year or so, it is likely that this year will set a new all-time record. In fact, as of now, 2015 is a whopping 0.1°C (0.17°F) hotter than last year, which itself was the hottest year on record."

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El Niño in 90 Seconds | Climate Central

El Niño in 90 Seconds | Climate Central | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
In our new series called "Climate Indicators," Climate Central's own meteorologist, Bernadette Woods Placky, explains what you need to know about El Nino in just 90 seconds.
Bert Guevara's insight:

What is El Niño? Here is a 90-second explanation of what you may need to know.

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Air pollution is world’s top environmental health risk, WHO says - The Economic Times ("action needed")

Air pollution is world’s top environmental health risk, WHO says - The Economic Times ("action needed") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Air pollution is the worlds biggest environmental health risk, causing at least one in eight deaths around the globe, the World Health Organization has said.

Air pollution is the world's biggest environmental health risk, causing at least one in eight deaths around the globe, the World Health Organization has said. 

The new estimation significantly increases the threat posed by air pollution and has dire health implications for countries such as India, where pollution load is high and public health infrastructure underdeveloped.
WHO had last year ranked Delhi as the most polluted among 1,600 cities across the world, worse than Beijing which had previously held the dubious tag.

Of the 8 million deaths globally, 3.7 million are from outdoor or ambient air pollution, the data shows. Around 88% of premature deaths due to air pollution exposure occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest number in the western Pacific and south-east Asia regions.
Latest studies by WHO and other international agencies show that apart from development of respiratory diseases, exposure to air pollution leads to severe risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes ...

In rural areas, reducing outdoor emissions from household coal and biomass energy systems, agricultural waste incineration, forest fires and certain agro-forestry activities can lead to a potential reduction in air pollution. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The WHO assessment says, "Reducing outdoor air pollution also reduces emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon particles and methane, thus contributing to the near- and long-term mitigation of climate change."


"Experts say policies and investments supporting cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing, power generation, industry and better municipal waste management would reduce key sources of urban outdoor air pollution. 

"In rural areas, reducing outdoor emissions from household coal and biomass energy systems, agricultural waste incineration, forest fires and certain agro-forestry activities can lead to a potential reduction in air pollution."

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Burning Coal Is Hot; Its Warming Is Far Hotter | Climate Central (100,000 times hotter than burning")

Burning Coal Is Hot; Its Warming Is Far Hotter | Climate Central (100,000 times hotter than burning") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Burning fossil fuels has a much bigger effect on global warming than the heat produced while burning them, a new study says.

That’s the conclusion of a Carnegie Institution for Science study published Tuesday that shows two things: Emissions from burning a lump of coal or a gallon of gas has an effect on the climate 100,000 times greater than the heat given off by burning the fossil fuel itself. And, the heat trapped by those emissions can be felt within just a few months of the fuel being burned. Burning fossil fuels is the globe’s biggest source of human-caused greenhouse gases and the primary cause of climate change.

“If a power plant is burning continuously, within three to five months, depending on the type of power plant, the carbon dioxide from the power plant is doing more to heat the earth than the fires in its boiler,” Ken Caldeira, a climate scientists at the Carnegie Institute and the study’s co-author, said. “As time goes on, the rate of burning in the power plant stays the same, but the carbon accumulates, so by the end of the year, the greenhouse gases will be heating the earth much more than the direct emissions of the power plant.”

Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann called it “an interesting study from highly respected climate researchers” that highlights the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels quickly. There is uncertainty about how much the earth could warm between now and 2100 if the rate of greenhouse gas emissions remains unchanged, he said, but generally scientists agree that warming could fall somewhere between 3.5°F and 8°F.

“The real reason for concern is that we cannot rule out the upper end of that uncertainty range, i.e. around 9°F warming of the globe by the end of the century,” Mann said. “That alone conveys the urgency in dramatically reducing our burning of fossil fuels now.”


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a radically mind-blowing research finding which, if confirmed, can change the way we use fossil fuel.


"Caldeira said the study’s most significant finding is that the carbon released from burning a gallon of gas — or any fossil fuel — heats the climate dramatically more than the heat given off during burning."

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Heat wave kills more than 1,100 in India - CNN.com ("toll doubles in just 2 days")

Heat wave kills more than 1,100 in India - CNN.com ("toll doubles in just 2 days") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
More than 1,100 people have lost their lives in a sustained and severe heat wave in India.

The worst-hit area is the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, where authorities say 852 people have died in the heat wave. Another 266 have died in the neighboring state of Telangana.

India recorded its highest maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius -- 117 degrees Fahrenheit -- at Angul in the state of Odisha on Monday, according to B.P. Yadav, director of the India Meteorological Department.

Hot, dry conditions are being made worse by winds blowing in from Pakistan's Sindh province across the northern and central plains of India. "This extreme, dry heat is being blown into India by westerly winds," Yadav said.

The high temperatures are expected to continue for another two days before any respite, the meteorological department warned Tuesday. However, the agency said that another hot spell would likely soon follow.

Among the worst-hit states are Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the south. The northern states of Rajasthan and Haryana are also reeling from the intense summer as is India's capital, New Delhi, Yadav said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The poor continue to be the victims of extreme warming.


"India recorded its highest maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius -- 117 degrees Fahrenheit -- at Angul in the state of Odisha on Monday, according to B.P. Yadav, director of the India Meteorological Department.

"The high temperatures are expected to continue for another two days before any respite, the meteorological department warned Tuesday. However, the agency said that another hot spell would likely soon follow."

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