2018 Record - Ocean Warming Accelerates: There are troubled waters ahead. In 2018, the Earth's oceans were the warmest on record. Scientists are alarmed that the rate of ocean warming has sharply accelerated since the 1990s. The direct effects are more intense storms, hurricanes, coral reef loss, and rising sea levels. The rate of warming is approximately 40% above previous estimates. Changes will have collateral impacts on the atmosphere, economies, health, fisheries and other marine food sources.
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE PARIS ACCORD AMOUNTS TO MURDER: With the United States recent withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, those concerned with climate change and its undeniable negative effects need to speak even louder than before. As found in a study by Michigan Technical University, switching all energy in the United States from coal to renewable would prevent 52,000 premature deaths per year. These premature deaths can be caused by everything from cardiovascular disease to water borne diseases to heat related deaths. The impacts of climate change are vast. More extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, increased CO2 levels, and global warming are all occurring and will be exacerbated until something is done to change this cycle. All of these outcomes of climate change have negative health effects as well, causing thousands of premature, and avoidable, deaths each year.
The solution is simple — replace coal energy with renewable energy. This would be a moderate expense for the United States but renewable energy provides enough economic payback that it would pay for itself over time. Additionally, the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector is rapidly increasing and will continue to do so as well as due to economies of scale, the initial cost of solar energy is decreasing. These factors make solar energy even more economically viable. It is now up to the consumers and their energy choices. The current trends now lean strongly towards renewable energy. President Trump continues to advocate for the use of coal energy.
Article credit: Bryn, Tesla High School
UNESCO; Global Ocean Oxygen Levels Are Going Down: As the Oceans warm their capacity to hold oxygen declines. The dramatic increases in warming are primarily due to human sources from fossil fuel emissions to fertilizers and other pollutants. A reduced capacity to hold oxygen is changing the entire ocean ecosystem and creating "dead zones" that are devoid of oxygen and life.
Water covers 71.2% of the Earth's surface and is primarily responsible for air circulation and the climate.
Photo Credit: W. Douglas Smith
Unusually warm Arctic winter stuns scientists with record low ice extent for January: "Right about now, Arctic sea ice should be building up toward its annual maximum, making most of the region impenetrable to all but the most hardened icebreakers. Instead, January and indeed much of the winter so far has been unusually mild throughout large parts of the Arctic. A freak storm brought temperatures to near the freezing point, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit, near the North Pole for a short time in late December and early January, and other storms have repeatedly acted like space heaters plopped on top of the globe, turning nascent sea ice to slush and eventually, to open water."
Photo credit: Portland Press Herald, Maine | Dec 08, 2015 | by Tom Bell
Forests are not equal when it comes to climate change: Darker conifer forests absorb more radiant energy than deciduous forests (broad leaf). The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed does not compensate for the heat taken in according to a new article appearing in Nature. Simply planting more trees is less important than the species planted when it comes to combating CO2 in the atmosphere.
Yale Environment 360: How Rising Seas and Coastal Storms Drowned the U.S. Flood Insurance Program.
Rising seas and severe storms are bankrupting the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood damaged property owners continue to rebuild despite warnings and diminishing insurance availability. Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Ike ran a debt of $25 billion that has yet to be paid by the NFIP. It doesn't look like this Congress will appropriate funds this year either.
RECENT RESEARCH, REPORTS, and JOURNALS:
STOCKHOLM RESILIENCE CENTRE: In 2009 a group of 28 renowned scientists identified nine planetary boundaries that support humanity and the future of civilization. Crossing these boundaries would likely cause abrupt and/or irreversible environmental changes jeopardizing future prosperity or even survival. Since identifying these boundaries it has become more clear that three of these boundaries (in red) have already been crossed and demand urgent attention. As a consequence of these findings the centre has prepared a number of presentations and documents for public consumption and policy planners.
WHAT IS THE CARBON BUDGET? We must stay within the carbon budget if we are to keep the planet and our habitat safe in over the coming centuries. Global emissions rose at a faster rate in 2019 than at any time in the past two decades and continues to accelerate. The U.N. projects that the world will reach the point of no return within 6 to 10 years. Beyond that there is no known technology, economy, or science that can be brought to scale to prevent mass extinction and the total collapse of civilization.