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Showing posts with the label Climate Change

Record 2021 heat wave could become once-per-decade event

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A study offers new insights into the record 2021 Western North America heat wave Combined unusual weather systems, supercharged by climate change COLUMBIA CLIMATE SCHOOL The heat wave that hammered western North America in late June and early July 2021 was not just any midsummer event. Over nine days, from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon and beyond, it exceeded average regional temperatures for the period by 10 degrees C and, on single days in some locales, by an astounding 30 C. Among many new daily records, it set a new national benchmark for all of Canada, at 121.3 F in Lytton, British Columbia. The next day, the entire town burned down amid an uncontrollable wildfire—one of many sparked by the hot, dry weather. Across the region, at least 1,400 people died from heat-related causes. More here.

North American boreal trees show a decline in the survival of saplings in response to warming or reduced rainfall.

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Nature  Four separate papers exploring how forests and tree species respond to global changes — such as rising temperatures — are published in Nature this week. The studies highlight some of the challenges forests in North America and the Amazon may face in response to climate change. Temperate deciduous tree with a dendrometer band, of the type used in the study, in the ForestGEO plot at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA. Credit: Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira A study of nine North American boreal tree species, including maples, firs, spruces and pines, shows a decline for all species in the survival of saplings in response to warming or reduced rainfall. In a five-year open-air field experiment, Peter Reich and colleagues found that fir, spruce and pine species abundant in southern boreal forests had the largest reductions in growth and survival due to changes in climate.  Temperate deciduous tree with a dendrometer band, of the type used in the study,

Takin’ it to the bank

The National Observer Trouble’s brewing for RBC. Canada’s climate movement is converging on the bank as its common target for pressure campaigns.   Details here. RELATED: How Ethical are Ethical Funds?   "Conscientious" investments & the tar sands connection.

Unsettling currents: Warm water flowing beneath Antarctica’s ’Doomsday Glacier'

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Science Daily The calving front of Thwaites Ice Shelf looking at the ice below the water's surface as seen from the NASA DC-8 on Oct. 16, 2012.  Data from underneath Thwaites Glacier, also known as the Doomsday Glacier. Story here.

Greener northern landscapes under climate change no help to endangered caribou

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Proceedings of the Royal Society The Woodland Caribou. Photo by Steve Forrest.   Globally, climate change and habitat loss are increasing “global greening.” While these changes benefit some species, animals such as woodland caribou may suffer in a greener world. We studied links between habitat alteration (e.g. forest cutting), primary productivity, moose, wolves and caribou across part of the Canadian Boreal forest. By studying all these components simultaneously, we found that habitat alteration led to more productivity, which in turn produced more moose and wolves, and precipitated caribou declines. Species like caribou, which are adapted to low productivity environments, however, are not expected to do well in a greener world. Find the full study here.

Someday, even wet forests could burn due to climate change

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PHYS ORG A wet "sclerophyll" mixed forest. Might even it be vulnerable in a warming world?  Photo by Hagasfagas. Millions of years ago, fire swept across the planet, fuelled by an oxygen-rich atmosphere in which even wet forests burned, according to new research by CU Boulder scientists. Story here.

Global carbon emissions decline during COVID-19

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NATURE RESEARCH -  Climate sciences:  Empty streets are the order of the day now that Covid-19 has forced lockdowns in many places. Daily global CO 2  emissions fell by 17% by early April 2020, compared to mean 2019 levels, as a result of governments’ policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, suggests a paper in  Nature Climate Change .  Policies implemented by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have had a significant impact on energy demand globally. With much of the world’s population confined to their homes and international borders closed, consumption and transportation rates have fallen. However, the lack of real-time global emissions data has made it difficult to quantify the impacts. Corinne Le Quéré and colleagues reviewed a combination of energy, activity and policy data available up to end of April 2020 to estimate the changes in daily CO 2  emissions compared to 2019. Changes in CO 2  emissions were estimated across six economic sectors — pow

Canadian doctors link fracked natural gas to cancer and birth defects

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straight A protest sign in a window in Halifax. Photo by Tony Webster. MDs also call attention to fracking-associated links to pollution and global warming.   Story here. RELATED: Is the "Dubious Duo" of Fracking & Earthquakes More Common in Canada Than we Know? Planet In Peril Wonders...

The hand of man shows through once again in a major weather catastrophe.

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 by Larry Powell The Green Wattle Creek bushfire moves  toward the Southern Highlands township of  Yanderra, Australia as police evacuate. Dec. 2019. Photo by Helitak 430. A new study finds,  manmade climate change did, indeed, worsen the bushfires which ravaged much of southeastern Australia late last year and early this year. An international team of seventeen scientists has just concluded, the probability of conditions developing like the ones which kindled the catastrophic blazes “has increased by at least 30% since 1900 as a result of anthropogenic climate change.”   And that figure could be much higher considering that extreme heat, one of the main factors behind this increase, is underestimated in the models used.  The heating of the planet, largely due to human extraction and burning of fossil fuels, has, for some time been shown to be the main factor behind the development of storms that are more intense and frequent than before. Looking to the future, t

Climate Change: Life’s a beach - a disappearing one!

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natureresearch A Pexels photo. Half of the world's beaches, many of which are in densely populated areas, could disappear by the end of the century under current trends of climate change and sea level rise, suggests a paper published in  Nature Climate Change .  Sandy beaches occupy more than one third of the global coastline and have high socio-economic value. Beaches also provide natural coastal protection from marine storms and cyclones. However, erosion, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns threaten the shoreline, its infrastructure and populations. Michalis Vousdoukas and colleagues analysed a database of satellite images showing shoreline change from 1984 to 2015. The authors extrapolated historical trends to predict future shoreline dynamics under two different climate change scenarios. They determined the ambient shoreline change, driven by physical factors (geological or anthropogenic) and shoreline retreat due to sea level rise. They als

New research shows, human exploitation of fossil fuels may be playing an even bigger role in our climate crisis than earlier thought.

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Extraction of Earth's oil, gas and coal reserves is probably unleashing  vastly more methane (CH4) into the air than is currently being estimated. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and significant contributor to the dangerous heating of our planet.  by Larry Powell. Pump jacks extract crude oil from the Bakken field southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada. Are such operations releasing even more methane t han we once thought? A  PinP  photo. Using the largest ice drill in the world (below), the researchers “looked back in time” to the 17 hundreds, by drilling deep into the ice in Greenland and Antarctica.    The Blue Ice Drill, used to collect  the cores  used in this study.  Photo by B. Hmiel.                                                                        By analyzing air bubbles trapped, both in the ice cores and the snow , they were able to measure how much methane was escaping into the air at the time. Since this was the “pre-industrial era,” before major human expa

Climate change to create farmland in the north, but at environmental costs, study reveals

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PHYS ORG High Alpine Tundra in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska.  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In a warming world, Canada's north may become our breadbasket of the future - but this new "farming frontier" also poses environmental threats from increased carbon emissions to degraded water quality, according to the first-ever study involving University of Guelph researchers.   Story here.

Australian blazes will ‘reframe our understanding of bushfire’

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Science Magazine Fire on Cape Barren Is. Australia, 2016. Photo by Planet Labs, Inc. Summary Australia is on fire like never before—and this year's "bushfire" season, which typically peaks in January or February, has barely begun. Driven in part by a severe drought, fires have burned 1.65 million hectares in the state of New South Wales, more than the state's total in the previous 3 years combined. Six people have died and more than 500 homes have been destroyed. As  Science  went to press, some 70 uncontrolled fires were burning in adjacent Queensland, and South Australia was bracing for potentially "catastrophic" burns. David Bowman, a fire geographer and director of the Fire Centre Research Hub at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, spoke with  Science  about the unprecedented crisis. The flames have charred even wet ecosystems once thought safe, he says. And the fires have become "white-hot politically," with Prime Minister Sco

Carbon bomb: Study says climate impact from loss of intact tropical forests grossly underreported

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Science News -  Wildlife Conservation Society A tropical forest in Guatemala. Photo by Chixoy. A new study says that carbon impacts from the loss of intact tropical forests has been grossly underreported. Story here.

Agricultural impacts of our climate crisis are becoming more apparent

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PhysOrg Photo credit - IPCC. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presents a sobering analyses addressing the substantial contributions of agriculture to climate change and the ways the climate crisis is projected to jeopardize global food security if urgent action isn't taken. Story here.

Glacial rivers absorb carbon faster than rainforests, scientists find

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The Guardian Ellesmere Island, northern Canada. Satellite photo by NASA. ‘Total surprise’ discovery overturns conventional understanding of rivers. Story here.

Trump’s Justice Dept. Sues California to Stop Climate Initiative From Extending to the Province of Quebec.

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The New York Times The Trump administration took another legal shot at California on Wednesday, suing to block part of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program and limit its ability to take international leadership in curbing planet warming emissions. Story here.

Busting more carbon tax myths. A letter-to-the-editor.

by Dan Soprovich. Conservative politicians lie about the carbon tax.  Jason Kenny, Doug Ford, Andrew Scheer … you know who the rest are.  And Conservative politicians have been lying about the carbon tax for more than a decade.  When the Stephane Dion Liberals proposed a carbon tax in 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper lied about it.  At the time, my dear departed Uncle Jack, who made millions of dollars from the oil industry, sent me an Internet article indicating that a poor retired couple in New Brunswick would be terribly impacted by the Liberal’s proposed carbon tax.  However, that was simply not true.  The proposed carbon tax included a rebate so that folks at the lower end of the economic spectrum would not be hurt (very similar to the carbon tax implemented by the Trudeau Liberal government).  The Stephane Dion Liberals also provided an online calculator at the time.  When I applied the circumstances of the retired couple within the calculator, the inconvenient truth was that

Carbon tax most powerful way to fight climate crisis: IMF

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Boreal Forest Fires Could Release Deep Soil Carbon

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NASA Courtesy Environment & Climate Change, Canada. Increasingly frequent and severe forest fires could burn generations-old carbon stored in the soils of boreal forests .  Releasing this previously buried carbon into the atmosphere could change these forests’ balance of carbon gain and loss, potentially accelerating warming. Story here.