Climate, News, World Problems

We’re halfway past the dangerous 2 °C warming limit set by the UN, and it’s only 2015

global warming

Boy, was this year a scorcher! Well, what can I say, apart from get ready for more. According to an exclusive info ran by New Scientist, all but one main tracker of global surface temperature will report that this year will mark the first full degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. I remind you that the International Panel on Climate Change warns that a two degree Celsius warming should be avoided on all costs if irreversible consequences like sea level rise, habitat loss and cataclysmic events are to be averted. This means that we’re already halfway there, and the two degree mark might be reached by 2050. A four degree warming might end civilization as we know it.

Climate, News

Capital under water: the ground underneath Washington DC is sinking

What the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC might look like if sea levels would rise. Image: Out Traveler

A geological survey found Washington DC and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay region is gradually sinking. By the end of the century, the Chesapeake bay would be six inches lower than it is today. This is due to a natural phenomenon, not man-made global warming. But when the two add up, it could put the nation’s capital a couple of feet under water, significantly affecting the lives of local residents and the city at large.

Climate, News

Massive aquifers beneath the world’s deserts might store more carbon than all living plants

The Tarim basin

Chinese researchers sampled water from an underground aquifer in the Tarim Basin and found these store vast quantities of carbon dioxide as a result of human activities. If the same holds true for all the desert aquifers around the world, the trapped carbon would amount to about a quarter more than the amount stored in living plants on land. Previously, the carbon trapped in aquifers was thought to be negligible. Clearly, this isn’t the case and these should not be disturbed so that the carbon doesn’t wash up into the atmosphere.

Climate, Environment, News, Science

Extra salted: California’s almond industry is being crippled by salty ground water

More and more almond farmers are dealing with problems caused by the lack of water: smaller almonds, less-than-modest yields, and salt-burned leaves, as the plants suffer from high salinity in the soil.

Almonds use a lot of water — about one gallon per nut. As their surface water has been cut off, most growers are relying on groundwater even more than usual. But that brings a different problem all together: too much salt.

Climate, News

Hillary Clinton wants to install half a billion solar panels if she’s elected

Hillary Clinton climate change

Democrat Hillary Clinton is maybe the first presidential candidate to make tackling climate change a central point. Now we actually have specifics after Clinton released on Sunday a fact sheet detailing her plan for action. Her proposals are bold, for sure. For instance, if she’s elected, Hilary promises that clean renewable energy will power every home in America within a decade. To achieve this goal, she plans on bringing the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term. Should we believe her?

Climate, News

Growing CO2 levels are messing up radiocarbon dating

radiocarbon dating

Scientists rely on a method called radiocarbon dating to determine the age of fossils or artifacts. With little or no other information available, the widely used method can accurately determine how old a sample is. This makes it one of the most powerful tools archaeologists, anthropologists and paleontologists have at their disposal. Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere are, however, artificially aging the atmosphere and this might drastically interfere with the accuracy of radiocarbon dating. According to a new paper published by a team at the Imperial College London, “by 2050 a new T-shirt would have the same radiocarbon date as a robe worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years earlier.”

Climate, News, Pollution

New carbon capture technologies promise to remedy climate change

Belch.

Three startups – Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat and Climeworks – are making machines capable of managing the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The new devices literally suck carbon dioxide out of the air.

Climate, News

Climate change will raise sea levels by 20 feet – and this is no surprise

Sea levels should actually be higher, considering today's temperatures. Further global warming will lead to a bigger rise.

The media is abuzz with disturbing headlines, warning us that even reduced levels of global warming will cause massive sea level rise, up to 20 feet (6 meters). Unfortunately, that’s true. But what’s almost as worrying is that everyone is treating this as news, when in fact, we’ve known for quite a while that this is bound to happen. The

Animals, Climate, Environmental Issues, News

Bumblebees in Europe and North America bumble away from the equator as habitats shrink due to climate change

Image via: pixgood.com

In the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the impacts of climate change on critical pollinators, scientists have discovered that global warming is rapidly shrinking the area where these bees are found in both North America and Europe.

Climate, News, World Problems

Dangers of global warming to marine life and ecosystems reiterated in new report

ocean global warming

A team led by scientists at University of British Columbia highlights the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and marine life. Two scenarios were analyzed. One followed the changes that would arise if the world banded together to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions; the other summarized impacts 100 years from now if we’d go on with business as usual. The report outlines the consequences under each scenario and found immediate action is required if we’re to avert at a catastrophic outcome, particularly regarding the planet’s oceans.