Follow Skeptical Science on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 
Editor's Pick 5 reasons the Arctic’s extremely warm winter should alarm you

You can see dramatic climate change impacts even in the dead of Arctic winter. 

This polar bear is alarmed. LightRocket via Getty Images 

Cape Morris Jesup in Greenland is just about the northernmost piece of land on planet Earth. It’s located just 400 miles south of the North Pole, on Greenland’s craggy, desolate north shore. This is a place so far north that the sun doesn’t rise for most of the winter months.

In February, in the dark of winter, Cape Morris Jesup’s weather station recorded nearly 60 hours of temperatures above freezing — a new record. On February 24, the temperature reached a high of 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

Think of it like this: On February 24, you could be standing on the northernmost bit of land in the entire world, in darkness, in shorts and a T-shirt. That you wouldn’t quickly die is astounding because the cape’s temperatures are usually closer to minus 30 degrees in February.

It’s often said that on this warming planet, nowhere is changing faster than the Arctic. But this winter is providing stunning new evidence of a region in extraordinary, worrying flux. It’s also a hint of the future to come: an Arctic Ocean that’s not permanently frozen and all the disastrous consequences that come with that.

Here are five of the most alarming observations of the Arctic from the beginning of this year.

5 reasons the Arctic’s extremely warm winter should alarm you by Brian Resnick, Energy & Environment, Vox, Mar 16, 2018 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Mar 11, 2018

Mon Mar 12, 2018

Tue Mar 13, 2018

Wed Mar 14, 2018

Thu Mar 15, 2018

Fri Mar 16, 2018

Sat Mar 17, 2018

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Daisy Dunne

The arduous journey that king penguins must make in order to hunt fish to bring back to their young could become even longer as the climate warms, research suggests.

The study finds that future ocean warming in Antarctica could drive the penguins’ primary hunting grounds further poleward – away from their favoured breeding spots.

If little is done to tackle climate change, up to 70% of king penguins could be forced to find new places to breed by 2100, the lead authors tell Carbon Brief.

However, if these animals cannot find anywhere suitable to move to, they could be at risk of “disappearing” by the end of the century, the authors add.

Penguin pilgrimage

King penguins are well attuned to life in harsh Antarctic conditions. Breeding pairs raise their chicks on sub-Antarctic islands, including the Falklands and the Crozet Islands. In these spots, temperatures stay above freezing and predators, such as leopard seals, are kept at bay.

However, to find food for their chicks, adult penguins must venture to an ocean boundary known as the Antarctic Polar Front, where cold Antarctic waters meet and sink beneath warmer waters from mid-latitude regions. In these less frigid waters, a number of Antarctic fish species gather in large numbers.

A typical journey to this ocean boundary, which is currently situated in between the penguins’ most northern and southern breeding islands, takes seven to ten days and stretches over 300-500km.

However, future ocean warming could drive the Antarctic Polar Front to move polewards – further away from penguin breeding sites, according to Dr Robin Cristofari from the University of Turku, Finland, Dr Celine Le Bohec from the National Scientific Research Centre in France and Dr Emiliano Trucchi from the University of Ferrara, Italy, who jointly led the study published in Nature Climate Change.

If climate change continues unabated, the journey to find food could become impossible from some breeding islands, they tell Carbon Brief in a joint interview:

“The Antarctic Polar Front is moving poleward as temperatures increase due to climate change.”

Adult king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and chick Salisbury Plain South Georgia. Credit: Renato Granieri/Alamy Stock Photo.

Crumbling kingdom

For the study, the researchers used a set of global climate models to simulate changes to future sea temperatures and, therefore, the potential foraging distance from each penguin breeding island.

The models used three different future scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from a scenario where global warming is limited to 2C above pre-industrial levels (RCP2.6) to a “business as usual” scenario where future climate change continues to rise unchecked (RCP8.5).

Based on their research, the scientists determined that 700km was the maximum distance that penguins could travel to hunt fish.

The maps below show the location of the penguins’ breeding islands (numbered) and the foraging area (dashed red line) during 1981-2005 (left) and under a future high emissions scenario in 2100 (right). The shaded blue areas show the extent of Antarctic sea ice.

For each island, orange shows the presence of a breeding colony; grey indicates that the island is too far away from a foraging site; white shows that the island that has never been occupied by penguins and blue shows that the island is covered in ice and, therefore, too cold for penguins to establish a breeding colony.

The islands on the charts are: (1) Tierra del Fuego, (2) Falklands, (3) South Georgia, (4) South Sandwich, (5) Gough, (6) Bouvet, (7) Marion and Prince Edward, (8) Crozet, (9) Kerguelen, (10) Heard and McDonald, (11) Amsterdam, (12) Macquarie, (13) Auckland, (14) Campbell and (15) Chatham.

The location of the penguins’ breeding islands (numbered and coloured; see text above) and foraging area (dashed-red line) in a historical period from 1981-2005 to a future high emissions scenario in 2100. Shaded blue shows the extent of Antarctic sea ice. Source: Cristofari et al. (2018)

The right-hand map shows that the foraging area is expected to move out of reach of some islands by 2100, including Tierra del Fuego, the Falklands, Marion and Prince Edward and Crozet.

Together, these islands are home to roughly 70% of the total breeding population of king penguins, the research finds.

However, some southern islands are expected to become closer to the foraging boundary as it moves polewards. These include South Sandwich and Bouvet.

Changes in foraging distance on each island are shown in more detail on the charts below, which highlight results for the low emissions scenario (RCP2.6; green), the intermediate emissions scenario (RCP4.5; orange) and the high emissions scenario (RCP8.5; red).

On the charts, the red-dashed line shows the upper limit for foraging distance, beyond which penguins cannot successfully rear their chicks.

Changes in foraging distance expected on each breeding colony under a low emissions scenario (RCP2.6; green), a moderate emissions scenario (RCP4.5; orange) and a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5; red). Red line shows the upper limit for foraging distance. Source: Cristofari et al. (2018)

Under the high emissions scenario, 49% of the total population are expected to lose their breeding grounds completely by 2100, while a further 21% could “see their habitat strongly altered,” the researchers say.

The results also show that, even under low and intermediate scenarios, the Crozet and Falkland Islands are likely to become unworkable breeding grounds, the researchers say:

“The largest colonies on Crozet will still be in trouble under RCP4.5 and RCP2.6, which corresponds to around 1m breeding pairs.”

Island hopping?

The results show that a large proportion of king penguins could be forced to leave their breeding islands as the climate warms. However, it is not yet clear whether these animals will be able to successfully relocate to more southerly islands, which could become closer to the foraging grounds, the researchers say:

“King penguins move a lot among islands and, if a new suitable island becomes available, they will likely colonise it. The problem is that the new islands have to become available before the old one is not suitable anymore.”

Although the southern islands are expected to become closer to the Arctic Polar Front, the islands may be covered by sea ice and, therefore, be too cold for penguins to rear their chicks successfully, the researchers say:

“Southern islands may be still too cold for the king penguin to breed when northern islands get too far from the food.”

If no suitable breeding spots emerge in time, a large proportion of king penguins could “disappear” by the end of the century, the researchers say. In their paper, they conclude:

“Under the ‘business-as-usual RCP8.5 scenario, 70% of the present-day 1.6m king penguin breeding pairs are expected to abruptly relocate or disappear before the end of the century.”

Cutting global emissions

The new study provides an “interesting and well executed” first look at how climate change could threaten king penguins, says Dr Norman Ratcliffe, a seabird ecologist from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who was not involved in the research. He tells Carbon Brief:

“It’s quite a crude habitat model, I’m sure there’s a lot more to it – what king penguins need from life – than these two variables [breeding spaces and foraging distance].”

The research shows that some breeding colonies could be protected if the world were to limit the amount of future climate change, he adds:

“It’s a matter of cutting global emissions. There’s not very much compensatory habitat management you could do, you can’t create islands in the ocean.”

Cristofari, R. et al. (2018) Climate-driven range shifts of the king penguin in a fragmented ecosystem, http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0084-2

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

The figure is from paper #57.

Climate change

1. Insights into Atmospheric Predictability Through Global Convection-Permitting Model Simulations

2. Dynamical core in atmospheric model does matter in the simulation of Arctic climate

Extreme events

3. Changes in tropical cyclone activity in north Indian Ocean during satellite era (1981–2014)

"The frequency and duration of intense cyclones (wind speed >64 knots) show notable increase in recent years. However, a decreasing trend is observed in total frequency."

4. Drought persistence errors in global climate models

5. Relationship of drought frequency and severity with range of annual temperature variation

Temperature and precipitation

6. Unrealized Global Temperature Increase: Implications of Current Uncertainties

"Within these uncertainty ranges the increase in GMST due to temperature lag for future forcings held constant is slight (0.09–0.19 K over 20 years; 0.12–0.26 K over 100 years). However the incremental increase in GMST that would result from a hypothetical abrupt cessation of sources of aerosols could be quite large, but is highly uncertain, 0.1–1.3 K over 20 years."

7. Weak cooling of cold extremes vs. continued warming of hot extremes in China during the recent global surface warming hiatus

"Although mean temperature experienced warming hiatus after 1998, the continued warming of hot extremes and reverse from warming to weak cooling of cold extremes imply an increase of temperature variability in China simultaneously."

8. Influences of Pacific Climate Variability on Decadal Subsurface Ocean Heat Content Variations in the Indian Ocean

9. Multidecadal Changes of Upper-ocean Thermal Conditions in the Tropical Northwest Pacific Ocean versus South China Sea during 1960-2015

10. Observed climate variability over Chad using multiple observational and reanalysis datasets

11. On the relationship between the early spring Indian Ocean's sea surface temperature (SST) and the Tibetan Plateau atmospheric heat source in summer

12. Bioclimatic conditions of the winter months in Western Kazakhstan and their dynamics in relation to climate change

13. Air temperature conditions in northern Nordaustlandet (NE Svalbard) at the end of World War II

14. An extreme climate transition in the Caribbean's Virgin Islands. I. Evidence of teleconnection with the 1976/1977 Pacific climate shift

15. The role of local sea surface temperature pattern changes in shaping climate change in the North Atlantic sector (open access)

16. Recent trends in rainfall and temperature over North West India during 1871–2016

17. Warming slowdown over the Tibetan plateau in recent decades

18. Future climate change enhances rainfall seasonality in a regional model of western Maritime Continent

19. An assessment of the XBT Fall-Rate Equation in the Southern Ocean

"The overall depth bias was positive, further supporting the hypothesis of a regional dependence of the XBT fall-rate on water temperature, which leads to a general overestimation of Ocean Heat Content in the upper layer (~4.79 x 109J/ or ~10%)."

Forcings and feedbacks

20. Implications of potential future grand solar minimum for ozone layer and climate (open access)

"Global warming will persist in the 21st century, even if the solar activity undergoes an unusually strong and long decline. Decreased ozone production caused by reduction of solar activity and change of atmospheric dynamics due to the global warming might result in further thinning of the tropical ozone layer. Globally, total ozone would not recover to the pre-ozone hole values as long as the decline of solar activity lasts. This may let more ultra-violet radiation reach the Earth's surface."

21. Assessment of emission scenarios for 2030 and impacts of black carbon emission reduction measures on air quality and radiative forcing in Southeast Asia (open access)

22. Diurnal, synoptic and seasonal variability of atmospheric CO2 in the Paris megacity area (open access)

Carbon cycle

23. Atmospheric CO2 inversions on the mesoscale using data-driven prior uncertainties: quantification of the European terrestrial CO2 fluxes (open access)

24. The influence of the ocean circulation state on ocean carbon storage and CO2 drawdown potential in an Earth system model (open access)

25. Forecasting responses of a northern peatland carbon cycle to elevated CO2 and a gradient of experimental warming


26. Glacial lakes in Austria - Distribution and formation since the Little Ice Age (open access)

27. Salinification in the South China Sea since late 2012: a reversal of the freshening since 1990s

28. Long-term and seasonal trends in estuarine and coastal carbonate systems

29. The future of coastal upwelling in the Humboldt current from model projections (open access)

30. Linear Predictability: A Sea Surface Height Case Study


31. Modelling the climate and surface mass balance of polar ice sheets using RACMO2 – Part 1: Greenland (1958–2016) (open access)

32. Sensitivity of glaciation in the arid subtropical Andes to changes in temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation

33. Geodetic reanalysis of annual glaciological mass balances (2001–2011) of Hintereisferner, Austria (open access)

34. Using SAR satellite data time series for regional glacier mapping (open access)

35. Climatology of snow phenology over the Tibetan plateau for the period 2001–2014 using multisource data

36. Historical and future changes of frozen ground in the upper Yellow River Basin

Atmospheric and oceanic circulation

37. Origin of early-spring central Pacific warming as the 1982–1983 El Niño precursor

38. Downward Wave Coupling between the Stratosphere and Troposphere under Future Anthropogenic Climate Change

39. Understanding Bjerknes Compensation in Meridional Heat Transports and the Role of Freshwater in a Warming Climate

40. Does extreme El Niño have a different effect on the stratosphere in boreal winter than its moderate counterpart?

Climate change impacts


41. Willingness to Pay to Avoid Water Restrictions in Australia Under a Changing Climate (open access)

42. Resettlement as climate change adaptation: what can be learned from state-led relocation in rural Africa and Asia?

43. Crop modelling: towards locally relevant and climate-informed adaptation (open access)

44. Vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate change in Central America and Mexico: current knowledge and research gaps

45. Constraints to the capacity of smallholder farming households to adapt to climate change in South and Southeast Asia

46. Impact of regional climate model projected changes on rice yield over southern India

47. Archetypes of Climate Vulnerability: a Mixed-method Approach Applied in the Peruvian Andes

48. New insights into thermal growing conditions of Portuguese grapevine varieties under changing climates

49. Land, Water, and Wind Watershed Cycle: a strategic use of water, land and wind for climate change adaptation

50. Harnessing cross-border resources to confront climate change

51. Multi-temporal assessment of vulnerability to climate change: insights from the agricultural sector in Mexico

52. Preparing for the health impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities: The role of community-based adaptation (open access)


53. Climate effects on vegetation vitality at the treeline of boreal forests of Mongolia (open access)

54. Vulnerability of forests in the Himalayan region to climate change impacts and anthropogenic disturbances: a systematic review

55. Impacts of droughts and extreme-temperature events on gross primary production and ecosystem respiration: a systematic assessment across ecosystems and climate zones (open access)

"We show that heat extremes typically increased mainly respiration whereas drought decreased both fluxes. Combined heat and drought extremes had opposing effects offsetting each other for respiration, but there were also strong reductions in GPP and hence the strongest reductions in the ecosystems carbon sink capacity."

56. Population collapse dynamics in Acropora downingi, an Arabian/Persian Gulf ecosystem-engineering coral, linked to rising temperature

"Observed population collapse and environmental changes in the Gulf suggest that A. downingi is heading towards at least functional extinction mainly due to increasingly frequent temperature-induced mortality events, clearly linked to climate change."

57. Effect of temperature rise and ocean acidification on growth of calcifying tubeworm shells (Spirorbis spirorbis): an in situ benthocosm approach (open access)

"The worms were able to grow tubes even at CO2 levels favouring shell dissolution but did not survive at mean temperatures over 24° C. This indicates that Spirorbisworms will suffer from future excessive ocean warming and from ocean acidification fostering corrosion of their protective tubes."

58. Phenological changes of the most commonly sampled ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) species in the UK environmental change network

59. Process-oriented modeling of a high Arctic tundra ecosystem: Long-term carbon budget and ecosystem responses to interannual variations of climate

60. Persistent nitrogen limitation of stream biofilm communities along climate gradients in the arctic

61. Combining abundance and performance data reveals how temperature regulates coastal occurrences and activity of a roaming apex predator

"For example, tiger sharks are mostly caught at Australia's popular New South Wales beaches (i.e. near Sydney) in the warmest months, but our data suggest similar abundances will occur in winter and summer if annual sea surface temperatures increase by a further 1–2°C."

62. Misleading prioritizations from modelling range shifts under climate change

63. Multi-Decadal Changes and Interannual Variation in Springtime Phenology of North American Temperate and Boreal Deciduous Forests

64. Functional Group, Biomass, and Climate Change Effects on Ecological Drought in Semiarid Grasslands

65. Increasingly important role of atmospheric aridity on Tibetan alpine grasslands

66. Elucidating the sponge stress response; lipids and fatty acids can facilitate survival under future climate scenarios

67. Elevated CO2 and water addition enhance nitrogen turnover in grassland plants with implications for temporal stability

Climate change mitigation

68. Keeping global climate change within 1.5 °C through net negative electric cities

69. Adjusting Mitigation Pathways to stabilize climate at 1.5 and 2.0 °C rise in global temperatures to year 2300

70. Small-scale farmers in a 1.5°C future: The importance of local social dynamics as an enabling factor for implementation and scaling of climate-smart agriculture (open access)

71. Positive tipping points in a rapidly warming world (open access)

72. Coal taxes as supply-side climate policy: a rationale for major exporters?

73. Potential and costs of carbon dioxide removal by enhanced weathering of rocks

74. Consumers' perceptions of energy use and energy savings: A literature review (open access)

75. Household time use, carbon footprints, and urban form: a review of the potential contributions of everyday living to the 1.5 °C climate target (open access)

76. Comparison and evaluation of anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOx over China (open access)

77. Consumption-based versus production-based accounting of CO2 emissions: Is there evidence for carbon leakage?

78. What about greenhouse gas emissions from students? An analysis of lifestyle and carbon footprints at the University of Applied Science in Konstanz, Germany

79. A social trap for the climate? Collective action, trust and climate change risk perception in 35 countries

80. The literature landscape on 1.5 °C climate change and cities

81. Land use policies and deforestation in Brazilian tropical dry forests between 2000 and 2015 (open access)

82. Implementing nationally determined contributions: building energy policies in India's mitigation strategy (open access)

83. Meeting conditional targets in nationally determined contributions of developing countries: Renewable energy targets and required investment of GGGI member and partner countries

84. Exploring synergies between the intended nationally determined contributions and electrification goals of Ethiopia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (open access)

85. High-resolution quantification of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada (open access)

Other papers


86. Sundaland peat carbon dynamics and its contribution to the Holocene atmospheric CO2 concentration

87. Astronomical tunings of the Oligocene–Miocene transition from Pacific Ocean Site U1334 and implications for the carbon cycle (open access)

"Furthermore, it provides independent evidence that the relatively large (several 10 000 years) time lags documented in the benthic foraminiferal isotope records relative to orbital eccentricity constitute a real feature of the Oligocene–Miocene climate system and carbon cycle. The age constraints from Site U1334 thus indicate that the delayed responses of the Oligocene–Miocene climate–cryosphere system and (marine) carbon cycle resulted from highly non-linear feedbacks to astronomical forcing."

88. Response of a comprehensive climate model to a broad range of external forcings: relevance for deep ocean ventilation and the development of late Cenozoic ice ages (open access)

89. Evidences of anthropogenic tipping points in fluvial dynamics in Europe

90. Observations for Reanalyses (open access)

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Facing the reality of human-caused warming, we now look for ways to reduce the problem so that future generations will not inherit a disaster. So, what can we do now to help the future?

The easiest answer is to use energy more wisely and quit wasting our precious resources. Second, we can increase our use of clean energy, particularly wind and solar power. These are great starts but we will still need some liquid fuels and for those, we can make decisions about the best fuels for the environment. There has been extensive conversation recently about biofuels and how they may help solve the climate problem.

The term “biofuels” has many meanings, but basically they are grown fuels (like corn ethanol) that we can use instead of fossil fuels (like petroleum). While biofuels can be any fuel produced from plant material, historically they have been produced from food crops such as corn and soy. But, new technologies are enabling biofuel production from non-edible gases, wood, and other plant waste material.

The beauty of biofuels is that they suck carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow. When we burn them in our automobiles, we release carbon dioxide, but it is the same carbon that the plants absorbed while growing. Just on that basis, biofuels appear to be zero net emitters.

But this view is too simplistic. It takes energy to grow biofuels; it takes fertilizer, tractors, transportation, and energy to convert the plants to liquid fuels. Planting and growing these crops can also change how much carbon is stored in the soil. And using existing food crops or arable land for biofuel production might lead to deforestation if farms are expanded elsewhere to make up for lost food production.

So, if you want to accurately assess the impact of biofuels, you need to look at what’s called a “life cycle analysis,” which basically means the effort it takes to grow the crops, harvest them, convert them to fuel, transport them to distribution sites, and combust them. 

I have done some research in this area. Back in 2009, I did a study with my former student Fushcia-Ann Hoover, and we compared different feedstocks for ethanol. You can have corn, soybeans, sugarcane, switchgrass, poplar trees, and others. What is the best crop? Which is easiest to grow? Which is best for the environment?

What we found, way back in 2009, is that if non-commercial crops were grown, you could actually end up with fuel that was significantly cleaner than petroleum. The trick was finding clean crops that don’t need a lot of fertilizer, water, and other inputs. Corn ethanol for instance is not the best choice. You need so much water, fertilizer, and other costs, that it almost doesn’t make it worthwhile. But other crops such as switchgrass, grown on marginal lands, have real a potential. Marginal lands are farmlands that are not optimal for growing crops.

Our conclusion in 2009 was straightforward. Don’t use good cropland for biofuels. Rather, use marginal croplands, with minimal water and fertilizer, to create plants that can be converted to biofuels. 

But our conclusion wasn’t the end of the story. There are other details that researchers should consider. For instance, how far from the croplands to the refinery? How much energy is needed to transport the fuels? All these issues matter and they were the focus of a recent research paper just published in Nature Energy. This study used an actual biofuel refinery located in Kansas for the basis of the study. And the authors counted all the emissions that occur during the lifecycle analysis of these biofuels. They realized that marginal croplands give lower yields, so there are competing issues of productivity and greenhouse gas reduction.

Then there’s the complicating factor of economics. The price of biofuels and the price of greenhouse gases matter. If society is willing to pay a small pollution charge like a carbon tax, it supports the producers of clean energy. But if society doesn’t put a premium on clean energy, it’s harder for clean industry companies to thrive.

In the new study, the authors discovered something fascinating. The found that the choices a farmer may make regarding what land to use for biofuels and how much fertilizer to use depend strongly on the price of clean fuels and the cost of greenhouse gases. Simply put, it we put a reasonable price on carbon pollution, farmers will be able to grow switchgrass, poplars, and other species, reduce greenhouse gases, and make money.

But, if there is no cost to carbon pollution, farmers will be motivated to spend more money on fertilizer and that, in the end, will lead to more emissions. While all the scenarios resulted in large emissions reductions compared to gasoline, the reductions were especially large for the scenarios that included a carbon price.

So, there is a delicate balance. The balance is made more clear when we realize that farming location matters. If biofuels are grown close to refineries, less pollution is created in transporting the fuels to the refinery. However, this limits cropland choices to those nearer to refineries. 

With this balance of competing factors, the authors find room for improvement; currently we are not optimizing the performance in terms of both economic and environmental factors. In order to do this right, we have to balance all these mentioned issues. We can’t just focus on transportation costs, fertilizer costs, and land quality costs; we have to consider these costs all together as a system.

I spoke to the lead author of the paper, Dr. John Field, from Colorado State University and asked him about the significance of this work.

Click here to read the rest

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 
Editor's Pick Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk

Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study

Severe flooding in Carlisle, north-west England, December 2015. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable.

The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”

The ClimateWise coalition of 29 insurers, including Allianz, Aon, Aviva, Lloyd’s, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich, conclude that the industry must use more of its $30tn of investments to help fund increased resilience of society to floods, storms and heatwaves. 

Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk by Damian Carrington, Climate, Guardian, Mar 7, 2018 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Mar 4, 2018

Mon Mar 5, 2018

Tue Mar 6, 2018

Wed Mar 7, 2018

Thu Mar 8, 2018

Fri Mar 9, 2018

Sat Mar 10, 2018

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

The figure is from paper #57.

Climate change mitigation

1. How modifications of China's energy data affect carbon mitigation targets

"After revision, China's mitigation challenges increase by 5%."

2. The contribution of sectoral climate change mitigation options to national targets: a quantitative assessment of dairy production in Kenya

3. An optimal mix of conventional power systems in the presence of renewable energy: A new design for the German electricity market

4. Effect of major policy disruptions in energy system transition: Case Finland

5. Intermediaries’ perspectives on the public’s role in the energy transitions needed to deliver UK climate change policy goals

6. Factoring in the forgotten role of renewables in CO2 emission trends using decomposition analysis

7. Development of a high-resolution spatial inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for Poland from stationary and mobile sources

8. Implication of the cluster analysis using greenhouse gas emissions of Asian countries to climate change mitigation

9. Bridging the gap: Do fast-reacting fossil technologies facilitate renewable energy diffusion?

10. Designing sustainable landuse in a 1.5 °C world: the complexities of projecting multiple ecosystem services from land

11. Applying a systems approach to assess carbon emission reductions from climate change mitigation in Mexico’s forest sector

12. What role can a livelihood strategy play in addressing climate change? Lessons in improving social capital from an agricultural cooperative in Ukraine

13. Pricing Carbon and Adjusting Capital to Fend Off Climate Catastrophes

14. Climate for women in climate science: Women scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

"While we find that some women reported a positive experience, others felt women were poorly represented and heard and encountered barriers beyond their gender including race, nationality, command of English, and discipline."

15. Are renewable energy subsidies in Nepal reaching the poor?

16. The implications of how climate funds conceptualize transformational change in developing countries

17. Relationship between economic growth and residential energy use in transition economies

18. Deconstructing resilience: why gender and power matter in responding to climate stress in Bangladesh

19. Framing clean energy campaigns to promote civic engagement among parents

"In both studies, we find the odds of taking action are reduced by over 90% when participants are asked to make a phone call and leave a voicemail message, versus signing an online petition. Among the parents already engaged in advocacy, we observe a ceiling effect regarding attitudes towards clean energy and find the cost campaign produces unintended consequences. Among our public sample, we find that participants who believe the campaign to be credible and comprehendible are more likely to take action than those who discredit the campaign or do not understand its message. Additionally, we find parents who have children under the age of 18 negatively adjust their attitudes towards fossil fuels after being presented with health information. Ultimately, we find that campaign messages can influence energy attitudes and parents are willing to take action on the topic if the advocacy action seems like an effective approach."

20. Potential environmental benefits from woodfuel transitions in Haiti: Geospatial scenarios to 2027

21. A historical analysis of US climate change policy in the Pan-American context

22. Bearing Witness? Polar Bears as Icons for Climate Change Communication in National Geographic

23. Greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin

24. Does risk perception limit the climate change mitigation behaviors?

25. Carbon emission scenarios of China's power sector: Impact of controlling measures and carbon pricing mechanism

26. How Climate Change Risk Perceptions Are Related to Moral Judgment and Guilt in China

27. Exploring News Frames, Sources and Editorial Lines on Newspaper Coverage of Nuclear Energy in Spain

28. Land-use, land-use history and soil type affect soil greenhouse gas fluxes from agricultural landscapes of the East African highlands

Climate change

29. Enlargement of the semi-arid region in China from 1961 to 2010

30. The seasons’ length in 21st century CMIP5 projections over the eastern Mediterranean

Temperature and precipitation

31. Causes and probability of occurrence of extreme precipitation events like Chennai 2015

32. Variability of precipitation in Poland under climate change

33. Urban surface effects on current and future climate

"Projection of urban land surface temperature shows urban regions get warmer by up to 13 °C at the end of 21st century under RCP85 scenario and the urban heat island intensity also increases by from 1 to 1.5 °C."

34. South American precipitation changes simulated by PMIP3/CMIP5 models during the Little Ice Age and the recent global warming period

35. Winter Precipitation Efficiency of Mountain Ranges in the Colorado Rockies Under Climate Change

36. Decadal fluctuations in the western Pacific recorded by long precipitation records in Taiwan

37. Skilful seasonal predictions of Summer European rainfall

38. CAUSES: On the role of surface energy budget errors to the warm surface air temperature error over the Central U.S.

Extreme events

39. Floridian heatwaves and extreme precipitation: future climate projections

"Results show a tripling in the frequency, and greater than a sixfold increase in the mean duration of heatwaves over Florida when the current standard of heatwaves was used. The intensity of heatwaves also increased by 4–6 °C due to the combined effects of rising mean temperatures and a 1–2 °C increase attributed to the flattening of the temperature distribution."

40. Projected trends of extreme rainfall events from CMIP5 models over Central Africa

41. Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States

"Our data show that the total US population exposed to serious flooding is 2.6–3.1 times higher than previous estimates, and that nearly 41 million Americans live within the 1% annual exceedance probability floodplain (compared to only 13 million when calculated using FEMA flood maps). We find that population and GDP growth alone are expected to lead to significant future increases in exposure, and this change may be exacerbated in the future by climate change."

42. Characteristics of tropical cyclone extreme precipitation and its preliminary causes in Southeast China

43. Trends of cyclone characteristics in the Arctic and their patterns from different re-analysis data

44. Vb cyclones and associated rainfall extremes over Central Europe under present day and climate change conditions

45. Extended-range forecasting of Chinese summer surface air temperature and heat waves

46. Consideration of land-use and land-cover changes in the projection of climate extremes over North America by the end of the twenty-first century

47. Probabilistic assessment of projected climatological drought characteristics over the Southeast USA


48. Evaluating impacts of recent Arctic sea-ice loss on the northern hemisphere winter climate change

49. Increasing mobility of high Arctic sea ice increases marine hazards off the east coast of Newfoundland

50. Vulnerability of Southeast Greenland glaciers to warm Atlantic Water from Operation IceBridge and Ocean Melting Greenland data

51. A century of stability of Avannarleq and Kujalleq glaciers, West Greenland, explained using high-resolution airborne gravity and other data

"The results reveal a 700-m deep fjord that abruptly ends on a 100-300 m deep sill along the calving fronts. The shallow sills explain the presence of stranded icebergs, the resilience of the glaciers to ocean-induced undercutting by warm Atlantic water, and their remarkable stability over the past century."

52. Spatiotemporal variability of Canadian High Arctic glacier surface albedo from MODIS data, 2001–2016

53. Mechanisms influencing seasonal to inter-annual prediction skill of sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean in MIROC

54. Effects of short-term variability of meteorological variables on soil temperature in permafrost regions

"In fact, results of the land surface model experiments show that the projected increase of variability of meteorological variables leads to cooler permafrost soil in contrast to an otherwise soil warming in response to climate change."

55. The European mountain cryosphere: a review of its current state, trends, and future challenges

56. Antarctic ice sheet thickness estimation using the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio method with single-station seismic ambient noise

Forcings and feedbacks

57. Abundant pre-industrial carbon detected in Canadian Arctic headwaters: implications for the permafrost carbon feedback

58. Human-induced climate change: the impact of land-use change

59. What can decadal variability tell us about climate feedbacks and sensitivity?

"Together these results suggest that some of the physical processes responsible for setting the magnitude of global temperature change in the twenty-first century and climate sensitivity also help set the magnitude of the natural decadal variability. Furthermore, a statistically significant correlation exists between climate sensitivity and decadal variability in the tropics across CMIP5 models, although this is not apparent in the earlier generation of CMIP3 models. Thus although the link to sensitivity is not conclusive, this opens up potential paths to improve our understanding of climate feedbacks, climate sensitivity and decadal climate variability, and has the potential to reduce the associated uncertainty."

60. Numerical simulation of surface solar radiation over Southern Africa. Part 1: Evaluation of regional and global climate models

61. Improved representation of surface spectral emissivity in a global climate model and its impact on simulated climate

62. Lifetimes, direct and indirect radiative forcing, and global warming potentials of ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), and butane (C4H10)

63. Long-term cloud condensation nuclei number concentration, particle number size distribution and chemical composition measurements at regionally representative observatories

64. Chemical and climatic drivers of radiative forcing due to changes in stratospheric and tropospheric ozone over the 21st century

65. Historical tropospheric and stratospheric ozone radiative forcing using the CMIP6 database

"The total ozone RF grows rapidly until the 1970s, slows towards the 2000s, and shows a renewed growth thereafter. Since the 1990s the shortwave RF exceeds the longwave RF. Global stratospheric ozone RF is positive between 1930 and 1970 and then turns negative, but remains positive in the Northern Hemisphere throughout. Derived stratospheric temperature changes show a localized cooling in the sub-tropical lower stratosphere due to tropospheric ozone increases, and cooling in the upper stratosphere due to ozone depletion by more than 1K already prior to the satellite era (1980), and by more than 2K out to the present day (2014)."

66. Evaluating Emergent Constraints on Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity

"For 4 of the 19 constraints, the originally-proposed explanation for correlation is borne out by our analysis. These 4 constraints all predict relatively high climate sensitivity. The credibility of 6 other constraints is called into question due to correlation with ECS coming mainly from unexpected sources and/or lack of robustness to changes in ensembles. Another 6 constraints lack a testable explanation and hence cannot be confirmed. The fact that this study casts doubt upon more constraints than it confirms highlights the need for caution when identifying emergent constraints from small ensembles."

67. An ensemble covariance framework for quantifying forced climate variability and its time of emergence

68. Multi-model surface temperature responses to removal of U.S. sulfur dioxide emissions

Carbon cycle

69. Controls on boreal peat combustion and resulting emissions of carbon and mercury

70. Evaluating humidity and sea salt disturbances on CO2flux measurements

71. Constraining projection-based estimates of the future North Atlantic carbon uptake


72. Quantifying Land and People Exposed to Sea-Level Rise with No Mitigation and 1.5 and 2.0 °C Rise in Global Temperatures to Year 2300

73. Recent acceleration of the terrestrial hydrologic cycle in the U.S. Midwest

74. The influence of water storage in marine sediment on sea-level change

75. Reconstructing Tropical Pacific Sea Level Variability for the Period 1961-2002 Using a Linear Multimode Model

Atmospheric and oceanic circulation

76. Changes in ENSO Activity during the Last 6,000 Years Modulated by Background Climate State

Climate change impacts


77. Food security and climate change: the case of rainfed maize production in Mexico

78. Vulnerability of Ghanaian women cocoa farmers to climate change: a typology

79. Climate change adaptations of shrimp farmers: a case study from southwest coastal Bangladesh

80. Fanning the Blame: Media Accountability, Climate and Crisis on the Australian “Fire Continent”

81. Adaptation of global land use and management intensity to changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide

82. Climate variability, rice production and groundwater depletion in India

83. Perspectives on adaptive capacity to climate change in hazardous environments: insights from Broward County, Florida

84. Climate change evidence and community level autonomous adaptation measures in a canal irrigated agriculture system of Pakistan

85. Sovereign insurance to incentivize the shift from disaster response to adaptation to climate change – African Risk Capacity's Extreme Climate Facility

86. How will East African maize yields respond to climate change and can agricultural development mitigate this response?


87. Climate change likely to reduce orchid bee abundance even in climatic suitable sites

88. Massive Mortality of a Planktivorous Seabird in Response to a Marine Heatwave

"Carcass deposition followed an effective reduction in the energy content of mesozooplankton, coincident with the loss of cold-water foraging habitat caused by the intrusion of the NE Pacific MHW [Marine HeatWave] into the nearshore environment. Models examining interannual variability in effort-controlled carcass abundance (2001-2014) identified the biomass of lipid-poor zooplankton as the dominant predictor of increased carcass abundance. In 2014, Cassin's Auklets dispersing from colonies in British Columbia likely congregated into a nearshore band of cooler upwelled water, and ultimately died from starvation following the shift in zooplankton composition associated with onshore transport of the NE Pacific MHW."

89. Projected changes of thermal growing season over Northern Eurasia in a 1.5 °C and 2 °C warming world

90. Detecting early warning signals of tree mortality in boreal North America using multi-scale satellite data

91. Reproductive trade-offs in a temperate reef fish under high pCO2 levels

"Parental pairs in the simulated ocean acidification conditions exhibited increased reproductive output, with 50% more clutches and 44% more eggs per clutch than pairs under control conditions. However, there was an apparent trade-off between offspring number and size, as larvae of parental pairs under high pCO2 levels hatched significantly smaller, suggesting differences in parental provisioning, which could be related to the fact that these females produce more eggs. Moreover, results support the hypothesis of different energy allocation strategies used by females under high pCO2 conditions. These changes might, ultimately, affect individual fitness and population replenishment."

92. Carbon quality and soil microbial property control the latitudinal pattern in temperature sensitivity of soil microbial respiration across Chinese forest ecosystems

93. Forest resilience to drought varies across biomes


Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

by Deepak Kumar, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Stephen P. Long, Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Vijay Singh, Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Director of Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The aviation industry produces 2 percent of global human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. This share may seem relatively small – for perspective, electricity generation and home heating account for more than 40 percent – but aviation is one of the world’s fastest-growing greenhouse gas sources. Demand for air travel is projected to double in the next 20 years.

Airlines are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions, and are highly vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations. These challenges have spurred strong interest in biomass-derived jet fuels. Bio-jet fuel can be produced from various plant materials, including oil crops, sugar crops, starchy plants and lignocellulosic biomass, through various chemical and biological routes. However, the technologies to convert oil to jet fuel are at a more advanced stage of development and yield higher energy efficiency than other sources.

We are engineering sugarcane, the most productive plant in the world, to produce oil that can be turned into bio-jet fuel. In a recent study, we found that use of this engineered sugarcane could yield more than 2,500 liters of bio-jet fuel per acre of land. In simple terms, this means that a Boeing 747 could fly for 10 hours on bio-jet fuel produced on just 54 acres of land. Compared to two competing plant sources, soybeans and jatropha, lipidcane would produce about 15 and 13 times as much jet fuel per unit of land, respectively.

Creating dual-purpose sugarcane

Bio-jet fuels derived from oil-rich feedstocks, such as camelina and algae, have been successfully tested in proof of concept flights. ASTM International, a global standards development organization, has approved a 50:50 blend of petroleum-based jet fuel and hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel for commercial and military flights.

However, even after significant research and commercialization efforts, current production volumes of bio-jet fuel are very small. Making these products on a larger scale will require further technology improvements and abundant low-cost feedstocks (crops used to make the fuel).

Sugarcane is a well-known biofuel source: Brazil has been fermenting sugarcane juice to make alcohol-based fuel for decades. Ethanol from sugarcane yields 25 percent more energy than the amount used during the production process, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent compared to fossil fuels.

Harvesting sugarcane in Brazil. Jonathan Wilkins, CC BY-SA

We wondered whether we could increase the plant’s natural oil production and use the oil to produce biodiesel, which provides even greater environmental benefits. Biodiesel yields 93 percent more energy than is required to make it and reduces emissions by 41 percent compared to fossil fuels. Ethanol and biodiesel can both be used in bio-jet fuel, but the technologies to convert plant-derived oil to jet fuel are at an advanced stage of development, yield high energy efficiency and are ready for large-scale deployment.

When we first proposed engineering sugarcane to produce more oil, some of our colleagues thought we were crazy. Sugarcane plants contain just 0.05 percent oil, which is far too little to convert to biodiesel. Many plant scientists theorized that increasing the amount of oil to 1 percent would be toxic to the plant, but our computer models predicted that we could increase oil production to 20 percent.

With support from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, we launched a research project called Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sorghum, or PETROSS, in 2012. Since then, through genetic engineering we’ve increased production of oil and fatty acids to achieve 12 percent oil in the leaves of sugarcane.

A bottle of oil produced from PETROSS lipidcane. Claire Benjamin/University of Illinois, CC BY-ND

Now we are working to achieve 20 percent oil – the theoretical limit, according to our computer models – and targeting this oil accumulation to the stem of the plant, where it is more accessible than in the leaves. Our preliminary research has shown that even as the engineered plants produce more oil, they . We call these engineered plants lipidcane.

Multiple products from lipidcane

Lipidcane offers many advantages for farmers and the environment. We calculate that growing lipidcane containing 20 percent oil would be five times more profitable per acre than soybeans, the main feedstock currently used to make biodiesel in the United States, and twice as profitable per acre as corn.

To be sustainable, bio-jet fuel must also be economical to process and have high production yields that minimize use of arable land. We estimate that compared to soybeans, lipidcane containing 5 percent oil could produce four times more jet fuel per acre of land. Lipidcane with 20 percent oil could produce more than 15 times more jet fuel per acre.

And lipidcane offers other energy benefits. The plant parts left over after juice extraction, known as bagasse, can be burned to produce steam and electricity. According to our analysis, this would generate more than enough electricity to power the biorefinery, so surplus power could be sold back to the grid, displacing electricity produced from fossil fuels – a practice already used in some plants in Brazil to produce ethanol from sugarcane.

A potential US bioenergy crop

Sugarcane thrives on marginal land that is not suited to many food crops. Currently it is grown mainly in Brazil, India and China. We are also engineering lipidcane to be more cold-tolerant so that it can be raised more widely, particularly in the southeastern United States on underutilized land.

A map of the growing region of cold-tolerant lipidcane. PETROSS

If we devoted 23 million acres in the southeastern United States to lipidcane with 20 percent oil, we estimate that this crop could produce 65 percent of the U.S. jet fuel supply. Presently, in current dollars, that fuel would cost airlines US$5.31 per gallon, which is less than bio-jet fuel produced from algae or other oil crops such as soybeans, canola or palm oil.

Lipidcane could also be grown in Brazil and other tropical areas. As we recently reported in Nature Climate Change, significantly expanding sugarcane or lipidcane production in Brazil could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by up to 5.6 percent. This could be accomplished without impinging on areas that the Brazilian government has designated as environmentally sensitive, such as rainforest.

In pursuit of ‘energycane’

Our lipidcane research also includes genetically engineering the plant to make it photosynthesize more efficiently, which translates into more growth. In a 2016 article in Science, one of us (Stephen Long) and colleagues at other institutions demonstrated that improving the efficiency of photosynthesis in tobacco increased its growth by 20 percent. Currently, preliminary research and side-by-side field trials suggest that we have improved the photosynthetic efficiency of sugarcane by 20 percent, and by nearly 70 percent in cool conditions.

Normal sugarcane (left) growing beside engineered PETROSS sugarcane, which is visibly taller and bushier, in field trials at the University of Florida. Fredy Altpeter/University of Florida, CC BY-ND

Now our team is beginning work to engineer a higher-yielding variety of sugarcane that we call “energycane” to achieve more oil production per acre. We have more ground to cover before it can be commercialized, but developing a viable plant with enough oil to economically produce biodiesel and bio-jet fuel is a major first step.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 
Editor's Pick We’ve radically underestimated how vulnerable Americans are to flooding

New research claims that official estimates lowballed the risk by, uh, about a factor of three.

A giant nor’easter — incongruously named Winter Storm Riley, like some Brooklyn kid’s play date — is expected slam into New England coast today, bringing snow, rain, high tides, and damaging winds.

The Boston Globe reports that the National Weather Service has “high confidence” that the eastern coast of Massachusetts is going to experience “moderate to major flooding.” It has “moderate confidence” that heavy rains of two to three inches could cause urban and street flooding throughout southeastern Massachusetts, including Boston.

NWS Boston‏@NWSBoston [HAZARDS] Updated. Coastal flood warning E MA, advisory S MA & RI; hurricane / storm force wind warnings for the waters; high wind warning & advisory across the interior; flood watch for E MA, RI & CT; winter storm warning for the high terrain ... Mainly Friday through Saturday

So it is somewhat ironic (if that’s the word) that this week also features the publication of a new paper in Environmental Research Letters showing that Americans are at far greater risk from flooding than official estimates reveal — as in, three times the risk.

We’ve radically underestimated how vulnerable Americans are to flooding by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Mar 2, 2018

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Feb 25, 2018

Mon Feb 26, 2018

Tue Feb 27, 2018

Wed Feb 28, 2018

Thu Mar 1, 2018

Fri Mar 2, 2018

Sat Mar 3, 2018

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.


Climate change impacts


1. Warmer winters reduce the advance of tree spring phenology induced by warmer springs in the Alps

"Our results showed that for similar preseason (i.e. after dormancy break) temperatures, warmer winters significantly delayed budburst and flowering along the elevation gradient (+0.9 to +5.6 days °C−1) except for flowering of Corylus and budburst of Picea. For similar cold winter temperatures, warmer preseasons significantly advanced budburst and flowering along the elevation gradient (−5.3 to −8.4 days °C−1). On average, the effect of winter warming was 2.3 times lower than the effect of spring warming. We also showed that warmer winter temperature conditions have a significantly larger effect at lower elevations. As a consequence, the observed delaying effect of winter warming might be beneficial to trees by reducing the risk of exposure to late spring frost on a short term. This could further lead to partial dormancy break at lower elevations before the end of the 21st century, which, in turn, may alter bud development and flowering and so tree fitness."

2. Precipitation alters temperature effects on ecosystem respiration in Tibetan alpine meadows

3. Non-uniform time-lag effects of terrestrial vegetation responses to asymmetric warming

"NPP responds to asymmetric warming (AW) with near 12-month lags globally."

4. Contrasting shrub species respond to early summer temperatures leading to correspondence of shrub growth patterns

"We found that annual growth variability of both species at this site is strongly driven by early summer temperatures, despite their contrasting traits and habitats."

5. Warmer temperatures reduce net carbon uptake, but do not affect water use, in a mature southern Appalachian forest

"Warm temperatures in early 2012 caused leaf-out to occur two weeks earlier than in cooler years and led to higher seasonal carbon uptake. However, these warmer temperatures also drove higher winter ecosystem respiration, offsetting much of the springtime carbon gain. Interannual variability in net carbon uptake was high (147 to 364 g C m−2 y−1), but unrelated to growing season length. Instead, years with warmer growing seasons had 10% higher respiration and sequestered ∼40% less carbon than cooler years."

6. Limitations to winter and spring photosynthesis of a Rocky Mountain subalpine forest

"We tested the hypothesis that this warming has been significant enough to allow photosynthesis during sunny warm days in winter. Using thermal imagery, we found that foliage in winter was sometimes near the temperature optimum for photosynthesis, but no net carbon gain occurred for most of the cold season."

7. Predatory strategies and behaviours in cephalopods are altered by elevated CO2

8. Drought timing and local climate determine the sensitivity of eastern temperate forests to drought

9. Antagonistic effects of growing season and autumn temperatures on the timing of leaf coloration in winter deciduous trees

10. Ocean acidification affects coral growth by reducing skeletal density

"Here, we show that skeletal density is directly sensitive to changes in seawater carbonate ion concentration and thus, to OA, whereas extension is not."

11. Tundra plant above-ground biomass and shrub dominance mapped across the North Slope of Alaska

12. Macroalgal response to a warmer ocean with higher CO2concentration

13. Climate Change Impacts on Net Ecosystem Productivity in a Subtropical Shrubland of Northwestern México

14. Sea surface temperatures and seagrass mortality in Florida Bay: Spatial and temporal patterns discerned from MODIS and AVHRR data

15. Experimental strategies to assess the biological ramifications of multiple drivers of global ocean change – a review

16. It takes a few to tango: Changing climate and fire regimes can cause regeneration failure of two subalpine conifers

17. Partitioning of ecosystem respiration in a beech forest


18. Understanding the Changes in Global Crop Yields through Changes in Climate and Technology

19. Analysis of the relationship between rainfall and economic growth in Indian states

20. Climate change impacts on regional rice production in China

21. Climate change and potential impacts on tourism: evidence from the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls

22. Impacts of 1.5 versus 2.0 °C on cereal yields in the West African Sudan Savanna

23. Economic development and declining vulnerability to climate-related disasters in China

24. Multi-scale assessment of social vulnerability to climate change: An empirical study in coastal Vietnam

25. Managing Climate Risks on the Ranch with Limited Drought Information

26. Emergence of new knowledge for climate change adaptation

27. Coastal low cloudiness and fog enhance crop water use efficiency in a California agricultural system

Climate change mitigation

28. Not carbon neutral: Assessing the net emissions impact of residues burned for bioenergy

29. Have fossil fuels been substituted by renewables? An empirical assessment for 10 European countries

"The paper provides evidence for the substitution effect in solar PV and hydropower, but not in wind power sources."

30. Multi-model comparison of CO2 emissions peaking in China:Lessons from CEMF01 study

31. Effectiveness of pilot carbon emissions trading systems in China

32. National contributions to climate change mitigation from agriculture: allocating a global target

33. The impact of global dietary guidelines on climate change

"Our results show a wide disparity in the emissions intensity of recommended healthy diets, ranging from 687 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) capita−1 yr−1 for the guideline Indian diet to the 1579 kg CO2e capita−1 yr−1 in the USA. Most of this variability is introduced in recommended dairy intake."

34. The impact of the Tokyo Metropolitan Emissions Trading Scheme on reducing greenhouse gas emissions: findings from a facility-based study

35. Optimize emission reduction commitments for international environmental agreements

36. The challenge of coordinated civic climate change education

37. A comparative study of the economy’s environmental impact between states in the USA and provinces in China

38. Would constraining US fossil fuel production affect global CO2 emissions? A case study of US leasing policy

39. Integrated Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Removal

40. Participatory arts and affective engagement with climate change: The missing link in achieving climate compatible behaviour change?

41. Coastal people dispute offshore oil exploration: toward a study of embedded seascapes, submersible knowledge, sacrifice, and marine justice

42. Household air pollution, health, and climate change: cleaning the air

Climate change

43. Observation-based detection and attribution of 21st century climate change

44. Deciphering the contrasting climatic trends between the central Himalaya and Karakoram with 36 years of WRF simulations

Temperature and precipitation

45. Human influence on Canadian temperatures

"Most of the observed warming of 1.7 °C increase in annual mean temperature during 1948–2012 [90% confidence interval (1.1°, 2.2 °C)] can only be explained by external forcing on the climate system, with anthropogenic influence being the dominant factor. It is estimated that anthropogenic forcing has contributed 1.0 °C (0.6°, 1.5 °C) and natural external forcing has contributed 0.2 °C (0.1°, 0.3 °C) to the observed warming. Up to 0.5 °C of the observed warming trend may be associated with low frequency variability of the climate such as that represented by the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and North Atlantic oscillation (NAO)."

46. Northern Galápagos corals reveal twentieth century warming in the eastern tropical Pacific

47. Mean and extreme temperatures in a warming climate: EURO CORDEX and WRF regional climate high-resolution projections for Portugal

48. Air temperature changes in Toruń (central Poland) from 1871 to 2010

49. Impacts of internal variability on temperature and precipitation trends in large ensemble simulations by two climate models

"Because of ICV, local and regional P trends may remain statistically insignificant and differ greatly among individual model simulations over most of the globe until the later part of the twenty-first century even under a high emissions scenario, while local Tas trends since 1979 are already statistically significant over many low-latitude regions and are projected to become significant over most of the globe by the 2030s."

50. Underestimated interannual variability of East Asian summer rainfall under climate change

51. Contributions of natural climate changes and human activities to the trend of extreme precipitation

52. Bias correction and projection of surface air temperature in LMDZ multiple simulation over central and eastern China

53. An assessment of high-resolution gridded temperature datasets over California

54. Precipitation and temperature trends over central Italy (Abruzzo Region): 1951–2012

55. Role of Natural Climate Variability in the Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change Signal for Mean and Extreme Precipitation at Local and Regional Scales

56. A three-stage hybrid model for regionalization, trends and sensitivity analyses of temperature anomalies in China from 1966 to 2015

Forcings and feedbacks

57. A New Research Approach for Observing and Characterizing Land-Atmosphere Feedback

58. WIVERN: A new satellite concept to provide global in-cloud winds, precipitation and cloud properties

59. Long-term series and trends in surface solar radiation in Athens, Greece

60. Increase of surface solar irradiance across East China related to changes in aerosol properties during the past decade

61. Changing response of the North Atlantic/European winter climate to the 11 year solar cycle

62. The role of the water vapor feedback in the ITCZ response to hemispherically asymmetric forcings

63. The climatological impacts of continental surface evaporation, rainout, and sub-cloud processes on δD of water vapor and precipitation in Europe


64. Changes in glacier dynamics in the northern Antarctic Peninsula since 1985

"Since 1985 a total frontal retreat of 238 km2 and since 1992 regional mean changes in ice flow by up to 58 % are observed. The trends in ice dynamics are correlated with geometric parameters of the glacier catchments and regional climatic settings."

65. New mass-conserving bedrock topography for Pine Island Glacier impacts simulated decadal rates of mass loss

66. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation modulates the impacts of Arctic sea ice decline

67. Land Ice Freshwater Budget of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. Part I: Data, Methods and Results

68. Climate warming over the past half century has led to thermal degradation of permafrost on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau

"Approximately 88 % of the permafrost area in the 1960s has been thermally degraded in the past half century over the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. The mean elevations of the very cold, cold, cool, warm, very warm, and likely thawing permafrost areas increased by 88 m, 97 m, 155 m, 185 m, 161 m, and 250 m, respectively. This degradation may lead to increases in risks to infrastructure, flood, reductions in ecosystem resilience, and positive climate feedback."

69. Optimising assimilation of sea ice concentration in an Earth system model with a multicategory sea ice model

70. Greenland iceberg melt variability from high-resolution satellite observations


71. Limited predictability of extreme decadal changes in the Arctic Ocean freshwater content

Extreme events

72. Historical and future drought in Bangladesh using copula-based bivariate regional frequency analysis

73. Future heat-waves, droughts and floods in 571 European cities

"We find that HW days increase across all cities, but especially in southern Europe, whilst the greatest HW temperature increases are expected in central European cities. For the low impact scenario, drought conditions intensify in southern European cities while river flooding worsens in northern European cities. However, the high impact scenario projects that most European cities will see increases in both drought and river flood risks. Over 100 cities are particularly vulnerable to two or more climate impacts. Moreover, the magnitude of impacts exceeds those previously reported highlighting the substantial challenge cities face to manage future climate risks."

74. Examining the role of unusually warm Indo-Pacific sea surface temperatures in recent African droughts

75. Effects of anthropogenic heat due to air-conditioning systems on an extreme high temperature event in Hong Kong

76. Territorial early warning systems for rainfall-induced landslides

77. Changing population dynamics and uneven temperature emergence combine to exacerbate regional exposure to heat extremes under 1.5 °C and 2 °C of warming

Other papers

78. Keep your feet warm? A cryptic refugium of trees linked to a geothermal spring in an ocean of glaciers

79. The Ross Sea Dipole – temperature, snow accumulation and sea ice variability in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica, over the past 2700 years

"Temperature and snow accumulation records from the annually dated Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) ice core show that for the past 2 700 years, the eastern Ross Sea warmed, while the western Ross Sea showed no trend and West Antarctica cooled. From the 17th century onwards, this dipole relationship changed. Now all three regions show concurrent warming, with snow accumulation declining in West Antarctica and the eastern Ross Sea."

80. Digitizing the plant phenological dataset (1750–1875) from collections of Professor Adolf Moberg: Towards the development of historical climate records

81. Sensitivity of the Eocene climate to CO2 and orbital variability

"In the Eocene (~ 55 million years ago), the Earth had high levels of atmospheric CO2, so studies of the Eocene can provide insights into the likely effects of present-day fossil fuel burning. We ran a low-resolution but very fast climate model with 50 combinations of CO2 and orbital parameters, and an Eocene layout of the oceans and continents. Climatic effects of CO2 are dominant but precession and obliquity strongly influence monsoon rainfall and ocean–land temperature contrasts, respectively."

82. Differentiation of high-latitude and polar marine faunas in a greenhouse world

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A new study published in Nature looks at how much global sea level will continue to rise even if we manage to meet the Paris climate target of staying below 2°C hotter than pre-industrial temperatures. The issue is that sea levels keep rising for several hundred years after we stabilize temperatures, largely due to the continued melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland from the heat already in the climate system.

The study considered two scenarios. In the first, human carbon pollution peaks somewhere between 2020 and 2035 and falls quickly thereafter, reaching zero between 2035 and 2055 and staying there. Global temperatures in the first scenario peak at and remain steady below 2°C. In the second scenario, we capture and sequester carbon to reach net negative emissions (more captured than emitted) between 2040 and 2060, resulting in falling global temperatures in the second half of the century.

The authors found that global average sea level will most likely rise by about 1.3 meters by 2300 in the first scenario, and by 1 meter in the second. However, there is large uncertainty due to how little we understand about the stability of the large ice sheets in Greenland and especially Antarctica. At the high end of possible ice sheet loss, we could see as much as 4.5 meters of sea level rise by 2300 in the first scenario, and close to 3 meters in the second scenario.

Carbon emissions (top frames), global temperatures (middle frames), and sea level rise (left frames) in the study’s two scenarios (left and right frames). Illustration: Mengel et al. (2018), Nature Communications

The study also shows that it’s critical that our carbon pollution peaks soon. Each 5-year delay – a peak in 2025 instead of 2020, for example – most likely adds 20 cm of sea level rise by 2300, and could potentially add a full meter due to the uncertainty associated with the large ice sheets:

we find that a delay of global peak emissions by 5 years in scenarios compatible with the Paris Agreement results in around 20 cm of additional median sea-level rise in 2300 … we estimate that each 5 years of delay bear the risk of an additional 1 m of sea-level rise by 2300 … Delayed near-term mitigation action in the next decades will leave a substantial legacy for long-term sea-level rise.

And remember, this is all for scenarios in which we meet the Paris climate targets, which we’re currently not on pace to achieve. If we miss the Paris targets, sea levels will rise higher yet.

Another new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that sea level rise has been accelerating. If the rate of acceleration continues – which the lead author notes is a conservative estimate – we would see an additional 65 cm (close to a meter above pre-industrial sea level) of sea level rise by 2100.

Yet another new study published in The Cryosphere using satellite data found that while the East Antarctic Ice Sheet has remained stable in recent years, ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has accelerated. Antarctica is now discharging 1.93 trillion tons of ice each year, up from about 1.89 trillion tons per year in 2008. When accounting for snow accumulation, the continent is losing about 183 billion tons of ice per year – enough to raise sea levels by about 3 to 5 millimeters per decade by itself. The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is likewise accelerating and is now responsible for about 25% of annual sea level rise (8.5 millimeters per decade).

The flow of Antarctic ice, derived from feature tracking of Landsat imagery. Illustration: NASA Earth Observatory

Meanwhile, the Arctic has been remarkably warm in February – as much as 35°C hotter than average in some areas. In mid-winter, when sea ice should be growing, in the Bering Sea it’s instead shrinking.

Click here to read the rest

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview