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Category Archives: Climate Change

Antarctica has lost nearly 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992

Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017  [paywall] – see also Axios – “Why this matters: The safety of coastal populations, including growing megacities worldwide, is intricately tied to the fate of Antarctica’s ice sheet. Until a few years ago, Antarctica was assumed to be far more stable than the Greenland Ice Sheet, but that is no longer the case. The faster and more significantly that Antarctica melts due to global warming, the higher that seas will rise. This means more damaging storm surges and so-called “sunny day” flooding during ordinary high tides. Such flooding is already happening along the U.S. East Coast. If all of Antarctica were to melt, the study says, it would raise global sea levels by a catastrophic 58 meters, or 190 feet. Luckily, no study is projecting this will happen, at least not anytime soon. However, greater than 1 meter, or 3.3 feet, of sea level rise is possible by the end of this century, with more to come thereafter…”

[Via the article in Nature] The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year. We find large variations in and among model estimates of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment for East Antarctica, with its average rate of mass gain over the period 1992–2017 (5 ± 46 billion tonnes per year) being the least certain.”

See also the Washington Post – Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.

Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years

The Guardian: Demise of nine out of 13 of the ancient landmarks linked to climate change by researchers – “Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers. The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide… Continue Reading

Mapping the World’s Coal Capacity

Center for Data Innovation: “Climate news publication Carbon Brief has created several data visualizations mapping the location and capacity of the world’s coal power plants. An interactive timeline map allows users to scroll from 2000-2017 to see where plants are operating, opening, and have closed. The maps illustrate that the world’s coal capacity has nearly… Continue Reading

Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880

“Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880, NASA data shows, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman reports: The planet isn’t warming equally, however — the fastest temperature increases are taking place at the poles. That Arctic, for example, is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of… Continue Reading

Alaska Refuge May Be the Most Contested Land in the U.S.

The National Geographic [includes photos and graphics]: Congress voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Here’s what’s at stake for America’s wild frontier. “…the current U.S. administration is eager to proceed with the two lease sales, of at least 400,000 acres each, ordered by the new law. Assuming various regulatory and… Continue Reading

Preview – 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Via The Atlantic – these breathtaking photographs will no doubt bring you back to the finale – “The National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is underway, with entries being accepted for just one more day—the competition closes at noon, EDT, on May 31. The grand-prize winner will be awarded $10,000 (USD). National Geographic… Continue Reading

Commentary – Welcome to the ‘New Dark Age.’

OpenDemocracy – “Data is making us dumber. This seeming paradox has been gaining currency, at least in the tech-saturated Global North. We’re increasingly bombarded with advice on how to manage data overload. The English comedian Dave Gorman summed it up in the tongue-in-cheek title of his recent book: “Too much information: Or: Can Everyone Just… Continue Reading

Visualizing the Patterns of Natural Disasters in the United States

Center for Data Innovation: “The New York Times has created several data visualizations that illustrate a pattern of natural disasters occurring in the same locations in the United States. The visualizations use data from the U.S. Small Business Administration to show that areas with 20 percent of the U.S. population have accounted for 90 percent… Continue Reading

Uncensored version of government report on impact of climate change to national parks

Reveal – Center for Investigative Reporting: “Backing away from attempts at censorship, the National Park Service on Friday released a report charting the risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms. Drafts of the report obtained earlier this year by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed park service officials had deleted… Continue Reading

These 20 Water-Stressed Countries Have the Most Solar and Wind Potential

World Resources Institute: “Most power generation consumes water, whether to cool steam in thermoelectric plants or power turbines for hydropower. And the global demand for both water and electricity will continue to increase substantially in the coming decades. Although growth is generally a good thing for the economy, it challenges nations—particularly ones that are water-stressed—to… Continue Reading

10 tips for verifying viral social media videos

Poynter – Danile Funke: “Of all types of misinformation, video is among the hardest to fact-check. First, it isn’t easily searchable like text and photos are. You can’t paste or upload a video on Facebook or Google to see if it’s true or even trending.  Second, there’s currently no way to see which videos are going… Continue Reading

What are the ten most cited sources on Wikipedia? Let’s ask the data.

Wikimedia: “Citations are the foundation of Wikipedia’s reliability: they trace the connection between content added by our community of volunteer contributors and its sources. For readers, citations provide a mechanism to validate and check for themselves that what Wikipedia says is sound and trustworthy: they act as a gateway towards a broader ecosystem of reliable… Continue Reading