Tag Archives: climate change

How airplane contrails are helping make the planet warmer

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


White wispy trails across the blue sky on a sunny day are one of the few attractive features of air travel. But they have a darker side, especially at night. For the condensation trails produced by the exhaust from aircraft engines are creating an often-invisible thermal blanket of cloud across the planet.

Though lasting for only a short time, these “contrails” have a daily impact on atmospheric temperatures that is greater than that from the accumulated carbon emissions from all aircraft since the Wright Brothers first took to the skies more than a century ago…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (07-12-2019)

As Ocean Temperatures Rise, Corals Are Steadily Moving Poleward

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Rising ocean temperatures are increasingly causing coral reefs to shift away from the equator into more temperate waters. Over the past 40 years, the number of young corals has declined by 85 percent on tropical reefs, while at the same time doubling in cooler regions, according to a recent study…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (07-10-2019)

Heatwave has broken temperature records in several parts of Europe

NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC.

By Kathryn Hansen, NASA;

It’s early summer and Europe is already feeling the heat. Many parts of the continent saw the hottest temperatures so far for 2019, with some cities recording their hottest day on record.

The heatwave is apparent on this map, which shows temperatures across Europe on June 27, 2019. The map was derived from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model, and represents air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F).

The GEOS model, like all weather and climate models, uses mathematical equations that represent physical processes (like precipitation and cloud processes) to calculate what the atmosphere will do. Actual measurements of physical properties, like temperature, moisture, and winds, are routinely folded into the model to keep the simulation as close to observed reality as possible.

On June 27, an awareness report from the Network of European Meteorological Services specified “very dangerous” temperatures—the highest alert level—in parts of Spain, France, Switzerland, and Croatia. The meteorological department in France listed numerous cities where records for the hottest June day were broken, many of which were set during the deadly heatwave in 2003. France’s national record for the hottest temperature (of any time of the year), set in 2003, was broken in the town of Carpentras, which hit 45.9°C (114.6°F) on June 28 at 4:20 p.m. local time.

The 2019 heatwave got its start in late June, when warm air masses from the Sahara first hit Spain and then spread to Central Europe. News reports also cite a pair of high-pressure systems responsible for drawing in the warm air and suppressing cloud cover. The exceptional heat was expected to last through the month.

Original Article; NASA / Earth Observatory (06-29-2019)

These sled dogs aren’t walking on water, but something fishy is going on

Photo: Steffen M. Olsen/Twitter


Each year in June, just before all the sea ice has melted, climate scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute head out by dog sled onto the Greenland sea ice to collect their instruments. Typically the dogs walk on ice for this task, but because of warming temperatures, this year the dogs were splashing in ankle-deep water.

The photo above was taken on June 13 by climatologist Steffen Olsen from the Center for Ocean and Ice at the institute. Olsen’s colleague, Rasmus Tonboe, tweeted the image, saying “rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks leaves the melt water on top…”

Read Full Article; MNN (06-19-2019)

Photo of sled dogs walking through water shows reality of Greenland’s melting ice sheet; CNN (06-19-2019)
Steffen Olsen, a scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, was on a routine mission in northwest Greenland. The incredible photo he took, of sled dogs ankle deep in a wide expanse of light blue water, quickly went viral, destined to join pictures of starving polar bears, shrunken glaciers, stranded walruses and lakes turned bone dry in the pantheon of evidence of our ongoing climate catastrophe…

Greenland lost 2 billion tons of ice this week, which is very unusual

Melting Greenland. Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care


Over 40% of Greenland experienced melting Thursday, with total ice loss estimated to be more than 2 gigatons (equal to 2 billion tons) on just that day alone.

While Greenland is a big island filled with lots of ice, it is highly unusual for that much ice to be lost in the middle of June. The average “melt season” for Greenland runs from June to August, with the bulk of the melting occurring in July…

Read Full Article; CNN (06-15-2019)

Renewable Energy Capacity Now Exceeds Coal in U.S.

Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care


Renewable energy now generates more electricity in the United States than coal. Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal totaled 21.56 percent of U.S. generating capacity as of April, according to a report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Coal, meanwhile, accounted for just 21.55 percent of capacity, down from 23.04 percent last year…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (06-13-2019)

As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise

Sea salt on shore. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


After decades of slow progress, desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. Costs for processing salt water for drinking water have dropped, but it remains an expensive option and one that creates environmental problems that must be addressed…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (06-11-2019)

Scientists start the clock on human impact

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Though it’s clear we’re currently living in it, scientists have long debated when the Anthropocene, the epoch of human dominance over the planet, first began.

The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), a panel of scientists, recently voted to official recognize the epoch and suggested starting it in the middle of the 20th century, according to Nature…

Read Full Article; MNN (05-28-2019)

Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things; Guardian UK (05-21-2018)

Scale of human impact on planet has changed course of Earth’s history, scientists suggest; Science Daily (10-02-2017)
The significant scale of human impact on our planet has changed the course of Earth history, an international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has suggested…

The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age; Guardian UK (08-29-2016)
Experts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete were now under consideration…

Anthropocene Period Would Recognize Humanity’s Impact on Earth, Science Daily (07-11-2013)
The Anthropocene is the name of a proposed new geological time period that may soon enter the official Geologic Time Scale. The Anthropocene is defined by the human influence on Earth, where we have become a geological force shaping the global landscape and evolution of our planet…

Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces, Guardian UK (02-12-2017)
For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces…