Category Archives: News

Climate change has pushed the world’s oceans to record temperatures


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The world’s oceans were warmer in 2019 than at any time in recorded history, a new analysis confirms.

Compared to the 1981-2010 average, scientists calculated that the 2019 average ocean temperature had increased by 0.075 degrees Celsius.

While that may not sound like much, the amount of energy the ocean has absorbed to warm by that much is about 228 sextillion joules — the equivalent of around 3.6 billion Hiroshima bomb explosions…

Read Full Article; ABC News (01-15-2020)

NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By NASA;

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.

Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet’s long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

This past year, they were 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (0.98 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.


This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest.
Credits: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt.

“We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Schmidt said.

Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences has some uncertainties. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2019’s global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 95% certainty level.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2019 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 34th warmest on record, giving it a “warmer than average” classification. The Arctic region has warmed slightly more than three times faster than the rest of the world since 1970.

Rising temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean are contributing to the continued mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica and to increases in some extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, intense precipitation.

NASA’s temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from more than 20,000 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

These in situ measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heat island effects that could skew the conclusions. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different interpolation into the Earth’s polar and other data-poor regions. NOAA’s analysis found 2019 global temperatures were 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA’s full 2019 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used for: the temperature calculation and its uncertainties are available.

GISS is a laboratory within the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.

NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to better understand Earth as an interconnected system. The agency also uses airborne and ground-based measurements, and develops new ways to observe and study Earth with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. NASA shares this knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

Original Article; NASA (01-15-2020)

Dramatic Video Shows How Sneaky Sneaker Waves Can Be


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Sneaker Waves are deadly, larger-than-average swells that suddenly surge far up the beach following long periods of quiet surf and smaller waves. Along much of the West Coast, these waves can pull beachgoers into frigid, rushing currents, killing more people than all weather hazards combined. Before getting too close to the ocean, check for at least 15 minutes to see how far the waves reach. NOAA

Excerpts;

The destructive power of sneaker waves was on full display this past weekend, with a near miss at Moonstone Beach in Trinidad and a heartbreaking tragedy in Oregon, where two children — one of whom died while the other is missing — were swept off of a beach with their father, who survived…

Read Full Article; Northcoast Journal (01-13-2020)

Dangerous waves; NOAA (08-14-2018)

Greenland’s Rapid Melt Will Mean More Flooding


The Greenland Ice Sheet, seen here in Oct. 2018, is melting at a rapidly accelerating rate because of Earth’s warming climate. As the ice melts into the ocean, it raises the sea level around the world, causing flooding and other damage to coastal communities. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

By NASA;

The Greenland Ice Sheet is rapidly melting, having lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2018, a new study from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) finds. The study combined 26 independent satellite datasets to track global warming’s effect on Greenland, one of the largest ice sheets on Earth, and the ice sheet melt’s impact on rising sea levels. The findings, which forecast an approximate 3 to 5 inches (70 to 130 millimeters) of global sea level rise by 2100, are in alignment with previous worst-case projections if the average rate of Greenland’s ice loss continues.

Changes to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are of considerable societal importance, as they directly impact global sea levels, which are a result of climate change. As glaciers and ice sheets melt, they add more water to the ocean. Increasing rates of global warming have accelerated Greenland’s ice mass loss from 25 billion tons per year in the 1990s to a current average of 234 billion tons per year. This means that Greenland’s ice is melting on average seven times faster today than it was at the beginning of the study period. The Greenland Ice Sheet holds enough water to raise the sea level by 24 feet (7.4 meters).

The paper, published Dec. 10 in Nature, is the result of an international collaboration between 89 polar scientists from 50 scientific institutions supported by NASA and ESA. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise, or IMBIE, used well-calibrated data from 13 NASA and ESA satellite missions to create the most accurate measurements of ice loss to date. The team found that half of the loss is tied to surface ice melting in warmer air. The rest of the loss is the result of factors such as warmer ocean temperatures, iceberg calving and the ice sheet shedding ice into the ocean more quickly.

“There are climate projections that are based on models of varying levels of complexity and observations, but they have large uncertainties. Our study is purely an observational one that tests those uncertainties. Therefore, we have irrefutable evidence that we seem to be on track with one of the most pessimistic sea level rise scenarios,” said Erik Ivins, second author and lead scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Greenland is home to the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. The sheet covers three-fourths of Greenland’s land mass. But in the last 26 years, Greenland’s melting ice has added 0.4 inches (11 millimeters) to sea level rise. Its cumulative 3.8 trillion tons of melted ice is equivalent to adding the water from 120 million Olympic-size swimming pools to the ocean every year, for 26 years.

“As a rule of thumb, for every centimeter rise in global sea level, another 6 million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet,” said Andrew Shepherd, lead author and scientist from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. “On current trends, Greenland ice melting will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century, so 400 million in total due to sea level rise.”

In addition to storm surges and high tides that will increase flooding in many regions, sea level rise exacerbates events like hurricanes. Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet also speeds up global warming. The vast expanse of snow and ice helps cool down Earth by reflecting the Sun’s rays back into space. As the ice melts and retreats, the region absorbs more solar radiation, which warms the planet.

The new study will contribute to the evaluation and evolution of sea level rise models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in evaluating risks to current and future populations. The results of the study currently appear consistent with the panel’s worst-case projections for sea level rise in the next 80 years.

“The full set of consequences of future melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet remain uncertain, but even a small increase in sea level can have devastating effects on ports and coastal zones, cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, and aquifer and agricultural soil contamination with salt,” said Ivins.

This is the third IMBIE study on ice loss as a result of global warming. IMBIE’s first report in 2012 measured both Greenland and Antarctica’s shrinking ice sheets, finding that the combined ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland had increased over time and that the ice sheets were losing three times as much ice as they were in the early 1990s. Antarctica and Greenland continue to lose ice today, and that rate of loss has accelerated since the first IMBIE study.

IMBIE is supported by the NASA Earth Science Division and the ESA Climate Change Initiative.

Original Article; NASA (12-10-2019)

Collaborative Conservation Approach for Endangered Reef Fish Yields Dramatic Results


Photo source: Beyond Preservation: The Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire; By Andrew Jalbert – ©

Excerpts;

Nassau Grouper populations increased threefold in response to dynamic fishing management actions in the Cayman Islands…

Read Full Article; SCRIPPS – UCSD (01-06-2020)

Beyond Preservation: The Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire; By Andrew Jalbert (08-01-2018)
When avid scuba diver and famed Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton first visited Bonaire decades ago, he eloquently described the underwater environment as, “a world of riotous, outrageous color.” Years later, Bonaire has seen some changes but his assessment still largely rings true…

Integrating social and ecological science for effective coral reef conservation; Science Daily (12-19-2019)

Chinese paddlefish extinct after surviving 150 million years

dam-construction-china
Chinese companies and Chinese banks are now the biggest builders and financiers of global dam building. Chinese banks and companies are involved in some 307 dams in 74 different countries, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, including Kamchay Dam (Cambodia), Bakun Dam (Sarawak, Malaysia), Myitsone Dam (Burma) and Merowe Dam (Sudan). Captions and Photo source: ©© International Rivers

Excerpts;

The Chinese paddlefish — one of the world’s largest freshwater fish — has officially been declared extinct after surviving some 150 million years.

The giant species, which measured as long as 23 feet and weighed as much as 1,100 pounds, has been killed off by overfishing and dam construction…

Read Full Article; NY Post (01-09-2020)

China’s Great Dam Boom: A Major Assault; Yale E360 (12-08-2013)
China is engaged in a push to build hydroelectric dams on a scale unprecedented in human history. While being touted for producing lower-emission electricity, these massive dam projects are wreaking havoc on river systems across China and Southeast Asia…

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

Himalayas to Become The Most Dammed Region In The World, IPS News

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

California is suing a Silicon Valley billionaire for blocking public access to a beach


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

For nearly a century, people flocked to Martin’s Beach, a picturesque stretch of sand just south of Half Moon Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then in 2008, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla, through two limited liability companies, bought two large pieces of land next to the popular beach, which happened to contain the only viable public path to the shore.

For more than a decade, Khosla has fought numerous legal battles to keep the public off the beach

Read Full Article; CNN (01-08-2020)

Surfers Win Back California’s Martin’s Beach; Huffington Green (10-29-2014)

The missing 99%: why can’t we find the vast majority of ocean plastic?


Micro plastic pollution. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
— Claire Le Guern, author of “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide” ©.

Excerpts;

What scientists can see and measure, in the garbage patches and on beaches, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the total plastic entering the water…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (12-31-2019)

Plastic Pollution: “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide,” Coastal Care
Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature…