Tag Archives: climate change

Lawsuit could put U.S. government’s role in climate change on trial


Vanessa. Photograph courtesy of: ©JP

Excerpts;

A lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 kids alleges the U.S. government knowingly failed to protect them from climate change. If the plaintiffs win, it could mean massive changes for the use of fossil fuels…

Read Full Article and Watch Video; CBS News (03-02-2019)

Poll: Millennials care about climate change; Axios (02-26-2018)
The nonprofit Alliance for Market Solutions released new polling on millennial attitudes about the reality of human-induced climate change and efforts to combat it. Millennials are broadly convinced human-induced climate change is real and deserves action…

A judge asks basic questions about climate change. We answer them; Guardian UK (03-21-2018)
California judge William Alsup put out a list of questions for a climate change ‘tutorial’ in a global warming case…

Coastal waters are unexpected hotspots for nitrogen fixation


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Nitrogen fixation is surprisingly high in the ocean’s coastal waters and may play a larger role than expected in carbon dioxide uptake, a new study shows.

The findings — based on thousands of samples collected in the western North Atlantic — upend prevailing theories about where and when nitrogen fixation occurs, and underscore the need for scientists to revisit the global distribution of marine nitrogen fixation and reevaluate its role in the coastal carbon cycle…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (02-21-2018)

Rapa Nui’s Stone Statues and Marine Resources Face Threats from Climate Change


The island’s volcanic origin has generated kilometers of amazing rocky coastline, dominated by erosional features. Captions and photo courtesy of: © Nelson Rangel-Buitrago, William J. Neal & Adriana Gracia

Excerpts;

Social activists and local authorities in Rapa Nui or Easter Island are calling for urgent action to address rising sea temperatures, declining rainfall, and rising tides that threaten their fishing resources and their Moais, the mysterious volcanic stone monoliths.

On this island in the Polynesia region of the Pacific Ocean, 3,800 kilometers from the coast of Chile, to which it belongs, the effects of climate change are already evident.

Ludovic Burws, a teacher at the Hanga Roa Educational Village, the island’s primary and secondary school, says that with “rising water temperatures some corals are beginning to bleach” on the shores of Rapa Nui…

Read Full Article; IPS News (02-14-2019)

Easter Island is critically vulnerable to rising ocean levels; The New York Times (03-15-2018))

Te Pito O Te Henua shore (Rapa Nui or Easter Island): a remote and mysterious place with rare beaches; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago, William J. Neal & Adriana Gracia (03-01-2018)
One of the most remote and youngest inhabited volcanic islands in the world is Te Pito o Te Henua Island, or as more commonly known: Easter Island (Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua). World famous for its mysterious monumental statues (moai) erected by the early Rapa Nui people, the island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean nearly 3,650 km west of Chile…

Solving the ancient mysteries of Easter Island; Science Daily (01-10-2019)
The ancient people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) built their famous ahu monuments near coastal freshwater sources, according to a team of researchers…

Sand from glacial melt could be Greenland’s economic salvation?


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

As climate change melts Greenland’s glaciers and deposits more river sediment on its shores, an international group of researchers has identified one unforeseen economic opportunity for the Arctic nation: exporting excess sand and gravel abroad, where raw materials for infrastructure are in high demand…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (02-11-2019)

The hidden environmental toll of mining the World’s sand; Yale E360 (02-05-2019)
Sand mining is the world’s largest mining endeavor, responsible for 85 percent of all mineral extraction. It is also the least regulated, and quite possibly the most corrupt and environmentally destructive…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde (09-2013)
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. This is because it represents 80% of the composition of concrete that it is the object of such greed…

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand; The Economist (04-24-2017)
It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

Journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases run over by truck, MP, India; First Post (03-26-2018)
A journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh was run over by a truck on Monday, media reports said.

This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu, The Huffington Post Int. (03-17-2017)
All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

Riddle of the sands: the truth behind stolen beaches and dredged islands; Guardian UK (07-01-2018)
The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…”—Denis Delestrac -(©-2013)

Ugandan children abandon school for sand mining, Daily Monitor (08-06-2018)

The Women Sand Thieves, Cape Verde; A Video (08-05-2010),
-Translation from french original by Claire Le Guern / Coastal Care –
“Every day, hundreds of women scrape, shovel, dig, sift and hoard beach sand by the tons…”


Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care

beach-sand-mining
Illegal beach sand mining, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

What is the polar vortex – and how is it linked to climate change?

hudson-river-frozen
Hudson river, ice and snow. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The polar vortex has broken into ‘two swirling blobs of cold air’, bringing the most frigid conditions in decades to the midwest…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (01-31-2019)

Polar Vortex in U.S. May be Example of Global Warming, Climate Central (01-07-2014)
Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action…

Study: Global Warming Doubles Risk of Extreme Weather; BBC News (01-26-2015)

Blizzard of Nor’Easters No Surprise, Thanks to Climate Change, National Geographic (01-2015)

Warm Water and Strange Weather May Be Connected; NASA (04-18-2015)

Where global warming gets real: inside Nasa’s mission to the north pole; Guardian UK (07-27-2017)
For 10 years, Nasa has been flying over the ice caps to chart their retreat. This data is an invaluable record of climate change…

Study: humans have caused all the global warming since 1950; Guardian UK (04-21-2016)
A new study has found that humans are responsible for virtually all of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century. It’s not a novel result – in fact, most global warming attribution studies have arrived at the same general result – but this study uses a new approach…

Huge Cavity in Antarctic Glacier Signals Rapid Decay


Thwaites Glacier. Credit: NASA/OIB/Jeremy Harbeck

By JPL / NASA;

A gigantic cavity – two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall – growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier. The findings highlight the need for detailed observations of Antarctic glaciers’ undersides in calculating how fast global sea levels will rise in response to climate change.

Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites’ bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below. The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them. It’s big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, and most of that ice melted over the last three years.

“We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it,” said Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Rignot is a co-author of the new study, which was published today in Science Advances. “Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail,” he said.

The cavity was revealed by ice-penetrating radar in NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign beginning in 2010 that studies connections between the polar regions and the global climate. The researchers also used data from a constellation of Italian and German spaceborne synthetic aperture radars. These very high-resolution data can be processed by a technique called radar interferometry to reveal how the ground surface below has moved between images.

“[The size of] a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting,” said the study’s lead author, Pietro Milillo of JPL. “As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster.”

Numerical models of ice sheets use a fixed shape to represent a cavity under the ice, rather than allowing the cavity to change and grow. The new discovery implies that this limitation most likely causes those models to underestimate how fast Thwaites is losing ice.

About the size of Florida, Thwaites Glacier is currently responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise. It holds enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet (65 centimeters) and backstops neighboring glaciers that would raise sea levels an additional 8 feet (2.4 meters) if all the ice were lost.

Thwaites is one of the hardest places to reach on Earth, but it is about to become better known than ever before. The U.S. National Science Foundation and British National Environmental Research Council are mounting a five-year field project to answer the most critical questions about its processes and features. The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration will begin its field experiments in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2019-20.

How Scientists Measure Ice Loss

There’s no way to monitor Antarctic glaciers from ground level over the long term. Instead, scientists use satellite or airborne instrument data to observe features that change as a glacier melts, such as its flow speed and surface height.

Another changing feature is a glacier’s grounding line – the place near the edge of the continent where it lifts off its bed and starts to float on seawater. Many Antarctic glaciers extend for miles beyond their grounding lines, floating out over the open ocean.

Just as a grounded boat can float again when the weight of its cargo is removed, a glacier that loses ice weight can float over land where it used to stick. When this happens, the grounding line retreats inland. That exposes more of a glacier’s underside to sea water, increasing the likelihood its melt rate will accelerate.

An Irregular Retreat

For Thwaites, “We are discovering different mechanisms of retreat,” Millilo said. Different processes at various parts of the 100-mile-long (160-kilometer-long) front of the glacier are putting the rates of grounding-line retreat and of ice loss out of sync.

The huge cavity is under the main trunk of the glacier on its western side – the side farther from the West Antarctic Peninsula. In this region, as the tide rises and falls, the grounding line retreats and advances across a zone of about 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 kilometers). The glacier has been coming unstuck from a ridge in the bedrock at a steady rate of about 0.4 to 0.5 miles (0.6 to 0.8 kilometers) a year since 1992. Despite this stable rate of grounding-line retreat, the melt rate on this side of the glacier is extremely high.

“On the eastern side of the glacier, the grounding-line retreat proceeds through small channels, maybe a kilometer wide, like fingers reaching beneath the glacier to melt it from below,” Milillo said. In that region, the rate of grounding-line retreat doubled from about 0.4 miles (0.6 kilometers) a year from 1992 to 2011 to 0.8 miles (1.2 kilometers) a year from 2011 to 2017. Even with this accelerating retreat, however, melt rates on this side of the glacier are lower than on the western side.

These results highlight that ice-ocean interactions are more complex than previously understood.

Milillo hopes the new results will be useful for the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration researchers as they prepare for their fieldwork. “Such data is essential for field parties to focus on areas where the action is, because the grounding line is retreating rapidly with complex spatial patterns,” he said.

“Understanding the details of how the ocean melts away this glacier is essential to project its impact on sea level rise in the coming decades,” Rignot said.

The paper by Milillo and his co-authors in the journal Science Advances is titled “Heterogeneous retreat and ice melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica.” Co-authors were from the University of California, Irvine; the German Aerospace Center in Munich, Germany; and the University Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France.

Original Article; JPL / NASA (01-30-2019)