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extreme weather events

Stark evidence: A warming earth is sparking more and bigger wildfires

From Yale Environment 360: The wildfires presently raging in California are no exception. The increase in forest fires, seen from North America to Brazil, from the Mediterranean to Siberia, is directly linked to climate change, scientists say. And as the world continues to warm, there will be greater risk for fires on nearly every continent.

Puerto Rico: When the electricity stops

Hurricane Maria, which has devastated Puerto Rico, has left 97% the island’s population without power. Electricity is the essential pillar upon which the operations of all modern industrial societies depend. When electricity stops, pretty much everything else stops, as Puerto Rico demonstrates. Given an increasingly unstable climate, it’s a warning for everyone, writes Kurt Cobb.

The strange future Hurricane Harvey portends

Peter Brannen writes: Climate change is pushing more water into the atmosphere—with bizarre consequences. We’re headed toward a more arid world but one with unprecedented bursts of floodwaters. And in the tropics, a coming deluge unlike any witnessed by humanity. Also, James Hansen, Naomi Klein and others on climate change and hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

In the eye of Hurricane Irma lie the fingerprints of global warming – and inequality

From The Wire: The recent hurricanes have made some raise an obvious question: to what extent does global warming have a role to play? To which I would add one voiced less frequently: why should those least responsible for global warming have to constantly face its effects? And what does it bode for the future?

Sunita Narain: Old answers for ‘new’ monsoon

From Down to Earth: India’s vicious cycle of crippling drought and then devastating floods, which happens every year, is getting a new normal. First, floods and droughts come together. Secondly, rainfall is not only variable but also extreme.  There’s only one answer: obsessive attention to building millions and millions of connected and living water structures.

Nagraj Adve: When the floods hit

From Jacobin Magazine: Increasingly, extreme weather events including the annual floods are being recognized as the new normal. Less commonly noted is how this “new normal” tends to disproportionately hit the underclasses—the urban poor, agriculturalists, coastal communities, and poor women. In short, the greatest victims of global warming will be those least responsible for it.

What’s causing so many changes to India’s monsoons?

From The Third Pole: For the third year in a row, India’s monsoon season has produced floods in the northwest/northeast, while south India has a rainfall deficit. The key question right now is whether we’re headed towards increased monsoon extremes, or whether global warming is causing shifts in the duration, intensity and frequency of rainfall.

Want to talk climate change amidst floods? Show some compassion first.

From Grist.org: Yes, we should be having the conversation about climate change and the unprecedented floods, and anyone who tells you otherwise probably has ulterior motives. But before we go there, we need to show the victims that we genuinely care about them. Could our shared value be the lives of those who are hurting?

New study: Extreme heat will hit India’s most vulnerable the hardest

From Climate Central: If greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, parts of eastern India and Bangladesh will exceed the 95°F threshold by century’s end, a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found. The findings raise the issue of environmental justice, as these populations have done the least to cause global warming.

Permafrost – the Arctic’s sleeping giant: What is it, and why does it matter?

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.

Why landslides have been leading to a higher loss of life in recent times

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.

Spotlight: Here’s how India has warmed from 1901 till 2017

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.

China, India become climate leaders as West falters

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.

How Bidar beat back the drought

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.

The devastating reality of Somalia on the brink of famine

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

Indigenous myths carry warning signals about natural disasters

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.

Drought in South India: A Firstpost special series

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.

Heat waves are getting worse, but these simple measures can save many lives

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.

Analysis: Just four years left of the 1.5C carbon budget

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.

Early heat wave baking India is a sign of worse to come

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.

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