Category Archives: Climate Change

The ‘Blob,’ a massive marine heat wave, led to an unprecedented seabird die-off

refugio-oil-spill-cc
Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

From 2015–2016, 62,000 dead common murres washed onto U.S. and Canadian Pacific coast beaches. All together, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the region’s total population was wiped out…

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

A giant ‘blob’ of hot water larger than New South Wales threatens the survival of fish and coral near New Zealand (12-28-2019)
About 800 kilometres east of New Zealand’s South Island, near the Chatham Islands, ocean temperatures have spiked to almost 6 degrees Celsius warmer than average. When sea-surface temperatures spike precipitously, it’s considered a marine heat wave…

‘We can’t wait’: Maldives desperate for funds as islands risk going under


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The tropical Maldives may lose entire islands unless it can quickly access cheap financing to fight the impact of climate change, its foreign minister said…

Read Full Article; Strait Times (01-17-2020)

The sinking state, The Washington Post (07-26-2018)

What happens when a country drowns? These 5 island nations will disappear first; Inverse (06-05-2019)

Escaping the Waves: a Fijian Village Relocates, a Video (10-03-2015)
“When many understand climate change in concept but not through personal experience, this exhibit carries great weight…”

Global warming cited as Antarctica’s chinstrap penguin population drops by half

boulders-south-africa
Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The numbers have dropped across the region as average temperatures have soared by more than five degrees over 50 years. That increase is about five-times the global average.

“It’s very dramatic to have a wildlife population decline by 50% – an unexploited wildlife population. They’re not hunted,” says activist and researcher Steve Forrest. “I think climate change is driving almost all of the processes down here now in a way they’ve never experienced before…”

Read Full Article; CBS News (01-16-2020)

A great carbon reckoning comes to architecture


Illegal beach sand mining. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource…”— Denis Delestrac, “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker (©-2013).

Excerpts;

Practitioners have finally begun taking a more nuanced approach to the carbon emitted by new buildings. Are they too late?…

Read Full Article; CBS News (12-09-2019)

Scientists Propose a New Architecture for Sustainable Development; The New York Times

Concrete, or Beaches? World’s Sand Running Out As Global Construction Booms; The Ecologist (05-09-2017)
A crucial component of concrete, sand is vital to the global construction industry…

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

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)

The plastic polluters won 2019 – and we’re running out of time to stop them

andaman-south-sentinel
Although inhabited and remote, South Sentinel island is covered with marine debris, mostly plastic. South Sentinel, Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal. Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Further steps have been taken to clean up beaches and seas in 2019 – but much more needs to be done.

From having little impact on the climate just 20 years ago, the production and disposal of plastic now uses nearly 14% of all the world’s oil and gas. Plastic production is expected to grow to 20% by 2050 by which time the industry’s climate emissions could rise to 2.75bn tonnes a year and plastic could be driving half of all oil demand growth…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (01-02-2020)

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…