Category: Climate Change

Climate Change

Global Faith Leaders Call for Urgent Action

Representatives of the world’s religions have signed an appeal calling for political leaders at next month’s COP28 climate summit to take meaningful action to respond to the urgent crisis of climate change.

Climate Change

Manila, The Megacity On The Climate Frontline

Joshua Alvarez and his family fear for their lives when the monsoon rains come. Last August, their two-bedroom flat in Manila was flooded when severe tropical storm Trami dumped 15 inches of rain (380mm) in a few hours and the local reservoir overflowed. They fled to a flyover with thousands of others as five large areas of the capital were inundated with muddy waters up to three meters deep and a state of calamity was declared in three Philippine provinces.

Canadian Arctic Temperatures At Their Highest In 44,000 Years

“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” Professor Gifford Miller said. A fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who led the study, Miller says that “this study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” With his colleagues, Miller used dead moss clumps emerging from melting ice caps from the island as tiny calendars. Boasting of four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the Along mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago. Radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years. Since Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years. Compiling the age distribution of 145 radiocarbon-dated plants in the highlands of Baffin Island that were exposed by ice recession during the year they were collected proved daunting to researchers. All samples collected were within one meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by two to three meters a year.  Reconstructing the past climate of Baffin Island beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating, the team used data from ice cores previously retrieved by international teams from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet. Summer temperatures cooled in the Canadian Arctic by about five degrees Fahrenheit from roughly 5,000 years ago to about 100 years ago.  

America’s First Refugees

In the dream, Warner climbs on to the roof of her small house. As the waters rise, she swims for higher ground: the village school which sits on 20-foot pilings. Even that isn’t high enough. By the time Warner wakes, she is clinging to the roof of the school, desperate to be saved. Warner’s vision is not far removed from a reality written by climate change. The people of Newtok, on the west coast of Alaska and about 400 miles south of the Bering Strait that separates the state from Russia, are living a slow-motion disaster that will end, very possibly within the next five years, with the entire village being washed away. The Ninglick River coils around Newtok on three sides before emptying into the Bering Sea. It has steadily been eating away at the land, carrying off 100ft or more some years, in a process moving at unusual speed because of climate change. Eventually, all of the villagers will have to leave, becoming America’s first climate change refugees. It is not a label or a future embraced by people living in Newtok. Yup’ik Eskimo have been fishing and hunting by the shores of the Bering Sea for centuries and the villagers reject the notion they will now be forced to run in chaos from ancestral lands. But exile is undeniable. A report by the US Army Corps of Engineers predicted that the highest point in the village – the school of Warner’s nightmare – could be underwater by 2017. If Newtok cannot move its people to a new site in time, the village will disappear. A community of 350 people, nearly all related to some degree and all intimately connected to the land, will cease to exist, its inhabitants scattered to the villages and towns of western Alaska, Anchorage and beyond. It’s a choice confronting more than 180 native communities in Alaska, which are flooding and losing land because of the ice melt that is part of the changing climate. While some dispute the overwhelming scientific view that climate change is caused primarily by human activities, there is little argument in Alaska about its effects.   

Warmest Year On Record

Despite the cold winter in the Northern hemisphere, the global temperature this year reached its warmest on record. This is based on a twelve-month-rolling average, according to Dr. James Hansen, the top American climate scientist who works at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In an article published on the NASA website in June 2010, Hansen and his three co-authors claim that the mean surface temperature in the year through April 2010 was 0.65 degrees Celsius warmer than the period between 1951 and 1980. NASA scientists came to this conclusion after reviewing data from 6,300 monitoring stations around the world. Hansen is adamant that this data demonstrates that climate change is taking place.  Michael Grubb, a member of the UK Climate Change Committee, a body which advises the UK government on climate change, said that, “Hansen’s paper looks like a modest addition to the continuing build-up of evidence,” for climate change. This is particularly important since concerns about climate change have been pushed to the political ‘back-burner’ for a number of reasons. Firstly, the winter of 2009/2010 was an unusually cold winter in China, Europe and North America. Secondly, climate sceptics have launched a well organised campaign, casting doubts on climate change data which has been produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thirdly, there has been continuing fall-out from controversy at the UK’s University of East Anglia, where scientists have been accused of dissent on climate change. Grubb believes that “the public perception (on climate change) has been radically impacted by a short campaign” (by climate sceptics) and that this is “deeply troubling if you want a sensible long-term solution to climate change.” Grubb is hopeful that Hansen’s findings will reinvigorate attempts by governments to reach a fair, ambitious and binding agreement on greenhouse gases at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change which is scheduled for December, 2010 in Mexico. Many places, especially in Asia and Africa, are feeling the heat at this time. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the first four months of 2010 were the hottest ever measured, with record temperatures in North Africa, South Asia and Canada. In May and June 2010, heat waves hit Pakistan and India. Six people died and dozens more fell ill as temperatures soared to 47 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit) in central Pakistan on May 21 and 22, 2010. These land temperatures were measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. In the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro on the banks of the Indus, where civilization flourished over 4,000 years ago, temperatures reached 53.7 degrees Celsius on June 1, 2010. This is the fourth hottest temperature ever recorded. Previous highs were in 1922, when a record temperature of 57.8 degrees Celsius, the hottest temperature reached, was recorded at al-Aziziyah in Libya. This was followed by a temperature of 56.7 degrees Celsius recorded in Death Valley in California in 1913, and the third hottest, at 53.9 degrees Celsius, was

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