What is permafrost? What happens when permafrost thaws? This animation, based on research by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, answers these questions. Understanding this problem, and its connection to global climate change, is of vital importance at a time when the thawing Arctic tundra is creating massive craters and bringing back diseases like anthrax.
extreme weather events
From The Wire: Why are landslides are proving so costly in terms of loss of human lives in recent years? Relentless deforestation leads to denudation of the hills, making them more vulnerable to landslides. Another factor is that without giving due consideration to vulnerability of certain areas, indiscriminate construction and mining activities are taken up.
Here are the key findings from Centre for Science and Environment’s study of how India has warmed over the years, also plotted in animation. The analysis looks at temperature trends in the country –both annual and seasonal– from 1901 till recent years. It finds that the country has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.
Climate Central reports: Two years after the Paris climate accord, climate policies are advancing in developing countries but stalling or regressing in richer ones. Here’s a trip around the world, assessing how pro-climate and anti-climate forces are faring in key nations and regions, showing how recent developments are affecting the languishing fight against global warming.
From The Hindu: Bidar’s Naubad karez, or tunnel wells, are an ancient engineering marvel. It’s a complex system, which works inversely underground to leverage gravity — that is, the plateau’s natural gradient ascends from the mouth to the mother well but the tunnel underneath has been cut to descend from the mother well to the mouth.
Vice News reports: Drought has devastated vegetation and water supplies, and hunger is soaring. More than half the country — 6.2 million people — are in need of emergency aid to avoid starvation. And around 1.4 million children will risk acute malnutrition in 2017, according to UNICEF — 50 percent more than what the charity
Carrie Arnold writes: Humans have always passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. In the past decade, geologists have begun to pay attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.
This is the introductory article in Firstpost’s nine-part series of ground reports on the ongoing water crisis in south India. The series will cover various aspects of the near-calamitous situation in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with the onset of blistering heat waves that are putting more pressure on existing water resources.
Gulrez Shah Azhar writes: This summer’s shaping up to be especially bad in India. Satellite images show large areas dried up from lack of water. Without access to water, heat waves become particularly deadly. But heat deaths are preventable and simple measures could save lives. Here are three actions that would make an enormous difference.
Carbon Brief reports: Four years of current emissions would be enough to blow what’s left of the carbon budget for a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C. That’s the conclusion of this analysis, which brings the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s carbon budgets up to date to include global emissions in 2016.
Climate Central reports: The early heat this year is due to a shift in wind patterns that has seen air flowing in from the south and west, across dry areas that quickly cause that air to warm. That heat-waves will become more common and intense is one of the clearest outcomes of human-driven global warming.
Dave Lindorff writes: The concern is that if the Arctic Ocean waters were to warm even slightly, as they will do as the ice cap vanishes in summer, at some point the clathrates which have currently trapped massive amounts of methane will suddenly dissolve releasing tens of thousands of gigatons of methane in huge bursts.
Yale Environment 360 reports: Last year marked the first time in several million years that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed 400 parts per million. Frighteningly, this modern rise of CO2 is also accelerating at an unusual rate. By looking at the Earth’s climate history, scientists are getting a sobering picture of where we are headed.
Common Dreams reports: For the third year in a row, the world experienced its warmest year ever recorded. In 2016, a total of 22 nations set all-time records for their hottest ever temperatures. This breaks the record of eighteen all-time heat records in 2010 for the greatest number of such records set in one year.
Brian Kahn writes: This year is likely to remembered as a turning point for climate change, with world leaders agreeing to move toward a clean energy future. It’s clear 2016 was a year where planetary peril and human hope stood out in stark contrast. Here are the 10 most important climate milestones of the year.
Sophie Lewis writes: We often hear people saying it’s impossible to attribute any single weather event to climate change. While this may have been true in the 1990s, the science of linking extreme events to global warming has advanced significantly since then. However, how we communicate these findings has not kept pace with the science.
The National Geographic reports: Arunabha Ghosh, chief executive officer of India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water, an environmental group, estimated that natural disasters exacerbated by climate change cost the Indian government roughly $30 billion (US dollars) between 2010 and 2015. That number will likely rise along with the global temperature, according to his research.
The Washington Post reports: In a massive new study published in the influential journal Nature, more than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades. That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon.
Brian Kahn writes: Climate change has entered a new phase, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization. Concentrations of carbon dioxide “surged again to new records in 2016,” and the WMO predicts that the annual average for CO2 would remain above 400 parts per million, 44 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution, for generations.
According to an authoritative new report, some of the heat that accumulates in oceans over the years can get released back to the atmosphere. In a nutshell, the oceans were behaving less like heat sponges over the last year or more, instead releasing heat to the surface, and hence the spike in average global temperatures.