Current News

Earth's surface temperature each year from 1900–2020 compared to the 1981-2020 average, based on temperature histories put together by three different research groups: NOAA (red), University of East Anglia (pink line), and NASA (orange line). All show Earth is warming. (Image courtesy of NOAA Climate.gov, adapted from State of the Climate 2020).

The Earth is Heating Up

The entire planet is feeling the effects of a warming atmosphere and ocean, from Sudan to Siberia, and we are way passed denial or debate. Whether forest and brush fires, or droughts and water shortages, we are all in this together and we need to continue to take the steps needed now to get off of fossil fuels and move to renewables as fast as humanely possible. I think of action in terms of sober optimism and aggressive incrementalism…

Nurdles - plastic "gravel" (by Barbara Agnew CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr)

Nurdles: the worst toxic waste you’ve probably never heard of – the Guardian

Excerpts:

Billions of these tiny plastic pellets are floating in the ocean, causing as much damage as oil spills, yet they are still not classified as hazardous…

When the X-Press Pearl container ship caught fire and sank in the Indian Ocean in May, Sri Lanka was terrified that the vessel’s 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil would spill into the ocean, causing an environmental disaster for the country’s pristine coral reefs and fishing industry.

Classified by the UN as Sri Lanka’s “worst maritime disaster”, the biggest impact was not caused by the heavy fuel oil. Nor was it the hazardous chemicals on board, which included nitric acid, caustic soda and methanol. The most “significant” harm, according to the UN, came from the spillage of 87 containers full of lentil-sized plastic pellets: nurdles…

Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (by Andy Wraithmell, Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-ND 2.0)

Endangered sea turtles found on Louisiana islands for first time in 75 years – the Guardian

Excerpt:
For the first time in 75 years, hatchlings of the world’s smallest sea turtle species have been discovered on the Chandeleur Islands, a chain of barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of New Orleans.

The news was particularly uplifting for environmentalists because the hatchlings were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, an endangered species that also happens to be the world’s smallest sea turtle. The turtles are predominantly found in the Gulf, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sauðárkrókur, Iceland © 2014 D. Shrestha Ross

A Drop in the Ocean – CNN Interactive

Excerpts:

As the world experiences sea level rise, Iceland’s waters are falling — and flowing to the other side of the planet…

Where Iceland gets its name from is no mystery — around a tenth of the country is covered by glaciers. But the Arctic is experiencing the most dramatic temperature rise in the world, and as a result, Iceland is now losing around 10 billion tons of ice each year, according to NASA. At this rate, Iceland could be iceless by 2200….

Betty Tom selecting strands of dried tundra grass for demonstrating how to weave a basket (photo: Ernie Taylor CC BY 2.0)via Flickr).

Patagonia Films: Newtok – Losing ground to climate change, this Alaskan community resolves to save itself

Water will erase Newtok, Alaska. Built on a delta at the edge of the Bering Sea, the tiny Yup’ik village has been dealing with melting permafrost, river erosion and decaying infrastructure for decades. To keep their culture and community intact, the 360 Yup’ik residents must relocate their entire village to stable ground upriver while facing a federal government that has failed to take appropriate action to combat climate change. In moving their village, they will become some of America’s first climate change refugees. This is a film of a village seeking justice in the face of climate disaster…

The number of Earths needed if the world's population lived like the countries listed (illustration by Statista CC BY-ND)

The Earth Has Limits

Although it may be difficult to imagine because of its size, the Earth does have its limits…

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached its peak level for 2022, topping out at 421 parts per million. As seen in this graph, that is far higher than any concentration in the past 800,000 years. (Note: kyBCE = thousand years before the current era. The blue curves represent data recovered from Antarctic ice cores. Credit: NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory)

New CO2 Record Prompts a Scientist to Ask, ‘What’s It Going to Take for Us to Wake Up?’ – Discover Magazine

CO2 levels are now 50 percent higher than in pre-industrial times — a level not seen for 4 million years.

Every year at this time, headlines proclaim that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has climbed to record high levels. But that really shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that CO2 has risen to a new high every single year but one since direct measurements began in 1958.

Now, however, an arguably more meaningful milestone has been passed.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia (photo by Kyle Taylor CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

Great Barrier Reef records highest hard coral cover in 36 years – Reef Builders

The Australian Institute of Marine Science has reported a 36-year coral coverage high across the Great Barrier Reef for 2021/22. The greatest coverage increases were reported in the North and Central regions of the GBR, which is in direct contrast as they have also been the regions worst affected by coral bleaching via rising sea temperatures in recent years. In the Southern region, monitoring found that coral coverage decreased slightly, but that was due to other pressures affecting coral, like Crown of Thorns starfish outbreaks…

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