THE PHOTO: Where there was a lake…

There have always been droughts, but right now there are more droughts than ever… as there are some who underestimate the alarms.

These two fishermen carry a boat across mud that remains of what was formerly a lake. Likely, it will be so again, when drought ends. However, nobody knows the exact date.

Since the time we know began, there have always been alternation of wet and dry periods, even in places like this, in Botswana, in the northern Kalahari Desert. But now, the dry season is longer and crueler. Too many lakes have dried up in the last few years.

It’s possible that these men will be able to fish here again. Hopefully. But thousands of people have permanently lost their subsistence sources due to climate change.

The indescribable tenant of the White House has dared to say that climate change is an exaggeration, mounted by the enemies of global capital. Clearly, he hasn’t asked the people who fished in rivers that no longer exist.

Nor has he asked scientists, of course.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSí Translation Staff

Vintage film reveals Antarctic glaciers are melting faster than thought

We can learn a lot about the future from the past, and now environmental scientists have found a way to look further back in time in more detail than ever before. By studying vintage film containing radar data of Antarctica gathered throughout the 1970s, the team found that the ice shelf of Thwaites Glacier is melting even faster than we thought.

About the size of Florida, Thwaites Glacier lies on the western coast of Antarctica and is a key piece of the continent’s structure. It stands between the ocean and other glaciers, so it’s thought that if Thwaites falls others will soon follow.

And sadly, this is among the places climate change has hit the hardest. A recent study showed that almost a quarter of glacier ice in West Antarctica has become unstable, with ice loss happening five times faster now than it was in the 1990s. Thwaites Glacier in particularly vulnerable, after another survey discovered a huge cavity eating away at the ice from underneath.

But this is all based on modern data, gathered between 1992 and 2017. To make the most accurate predictions for the future, it’s important to cast the net as far back in time as possible. And now, scientists from Stanford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh have widened the window back to the early 1970s.

Dustin Schroeder (front) and art historian Jessica Daniel, preparing the film for digitizationDustin Schroeder (front) and art historian Jessica Daniel, preparing the film for digitization.

The team has digitized old film reels of data gathered between 1971 and 1979. This data was the result of around 250,000 miles (400,000 km) of flights across Antarctica during that decade, using ice-penetrating radar to examine the structure of the ice and the landscape beneath it.

By comparing the measurements taken back then to those gathered more recently, the team was able to get a sense of how much had changed in the intervening 40 to 50 years.

“By having this record, we can now see these areas where the ice shelf is getting thinnest and could break through,” says Dustin Schroeder, lead author of the study. “This is a pretty hard-to-get-to area and we’re really lucky that they happened to fly across this ice shelf.”

The researchers found that the old data was surprisingly detailed, allowing them to identify features like ash layers from past volcanic eruptions, and channels underneath the ice sheet where water is eroding the ice.

In particular, one of these channels was found to have remained fairly stable over the last 40 years – Thwaites, on the other hand, appears to have lost even more ice than previously thought, shrinking by up to a third between 1978 and 2009. And because the stable channel provides a good baseline comparison, the researchers can be more sure about the results.

https://assets.newatlas.com/dims4/default/37cf035/2147483647/strip/true/crop/705x470+0+0/resize/840x560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.newatlas.com%2F53%2Fba%2Faa7b97c948aeabde7acb4e6fd666%2Fantarctic-reel-1.jpgSeveral hundred rolls of vintage film were condensed into 75 before being digitized.

“The fact that we were able to have one ice shelf where we can say, ‘Look, it’s pretty much stable. And here, there’s significant change’ – that gives us more confidence in the results about Thwaites,” says Schroeder.

This study helps fill in more details about the environmental history of Antarctica, and how climate change is affecting it. Unfortunately, as usual it’s not great news.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef In "Very Poor" Condition, Says State Agency

Sydney: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in very poor condition because of climate change, over fishing and land clearing, a state agency said on Friday, as it downgraded the reef's status to the lowest level, which could jeopardise its World Heritage status.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said the health of the world's largest coral reef system, off the northeast coast of the Queensland state, had deteriorated since its last review, in 2014, but the problems the reef faces were not insurmountable.

"This report draws attention to the fact that the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef, the long term outlook, is very poor- that's largely driven by climate change," GBRMPA's Chief Scientists David Wachenfeld told reporters in Sydney.

"Despite that, with the right mix of local actions to improve the resilience of the system and global actions to tackle climate change in the strongest and fastest way possible, we can turn that around."

The report, which is compiled every five years, painted a deteriorating picture of widespread coral bleaching, habitat loss and degradation caused by human-induced climate change, overfishing, poor water quality, and coastal land clearing for grazing.

The reef stretching for more than 2,300 km (1430 miles) is home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of molluscs.

Some parts of the reefs remained in good condition but many species including dolphins, dugongs, sharks, rays and turtles were being threatened.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee last year called for global action on climate change to protect five large coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef.

The committee is due to consider the reef's heritage listing, considering its health and a possible "in danger" status.

"The Great Barrier Reef is one of the globe's most famous World Heritage Areas yet the report finds that its integrity is challenged and deteriorating," environmentalist group Australian Marine Conservation Society said in a statement.

"This is now the third Outlook Report. We've had ten years of warnings, ten years of rising greenhouse emissions and ten years watching the Reef heading for a catastrophe," said the group's director of strategy, Imogen Zethoven.

"This report will be a major input into UNESCO's committee and here is a very strong case for the reef to be considered for the in danger list."

The inclusion of the reef on the in danger list would be an embarrassment for the government and could damage the tourist industry.

Europe warming faster than expected due to climate change

Climate change is increasing the number of days of extreme heat and decreasing the number of days of extreme cold in Europe, posing a risk for residents in the coming decades, according to a new study.

Temperatures in Europe have hit record highs this summer, passing 46.0 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in southern France. New research in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the number of summer days with extreme heat has tripled since 1950 and summers have become hotter overall, while the number of winter days with extreme cold decreased in frequency by at least half and winters have become warmer overall.

The new study finds parts of Europe are warming faster than climate models project.

"Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability. That's really a signal from climate change," said Ruth Lorenz, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and lead author of the new study.

Extreme heat is dangerous because it stresses the human body, potentially leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Scientists knew climate change was warming Europe, but they mostly studied long-term changes in extreme temperatures. The new study looked at observational data to evaluate whether the climate models used for regional projections can reproduce observed trends.

In the new study, Lorenz and her colleagues used observational data taken by European weather stations from 1950-2018 and then analyzed the top 1% of the hottest heat extremes and highest humidity extremes, and the top 1% coldest days during that period.

"We looked further at the hottest day or coldest night per year, so for each year we looked for the maximum/minimum value and how these changed over time," Lorenz said.

They found the number of extreme heat days in Europe has tripled since 1950, while the number of extreme cold days decreased by factors of two or three depending on the region. Extremely hot days have become hotter by an average of 2.30 degrees Celsius (4.14 degrees Fahrenheit), while extremely cold days have warmed by 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on average. The hottest days and coldest nights warmed significantly more than their corresponding summer and winter mean temperatures.

Individual regions throughout Europe experienced drastically different temperature trends, which makes it difficult to compare the average European temperatures to specific stations' extremes, according to the authors. In Central Europe, the extremes warmed by 0.14 degrees Celsius (0.25 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade more than the summer mean, equivalent to an almost 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) increase more than the average over the whole study period, according to Lorenz.

More than 90% of the weather stations studied showed the climate was warming, a percentage too high to purely be from natural climate variability, according to the researchers.

The results also showed that the region was warming faster than climate models projected. Some regions experienced higher extremes than expected and some had lower extremes that expected.

"In the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the model trends are about two times lower than the observed trends," said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a climate analysist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in De Bilt, Netherlands, who was not connected to the new study. "We're reaching new records faster than you'd expect."

European summers and winters will only grow hotter in the coming years as climate change accelerates, impacting cities and people unprepared for rising temperatures, according to the study authors.

"Lots of people don't have air conditioning for instance and it makes this really important," Lorenz said. "We expected results based on modeling studies but it's the first time we see it in what we've observed so far."

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


More rain yet less water expected for up to 250 million people along the Nile

Hot and dry conditions coupled with increasing population will reduce the amount of water available for human, agricultural and ecological uses along the Nile River, according to a study from Dartmouth College.

The study, published in the AGU journal Earth's Future, shows that water scarcity is expected to worsen in coming decades even as climate models suggest more precipitation around the river's source in the Upper Nile Basin.

An increase in the frequency of hot and dry years could impact the water and food supplies for as many as 250 million people in the Upper Nile region alone toward the end of the century.

"Climate extremes impact people," said Ethan Coffel, a fellow at Dartmouth's Neukom Institute for Computational Science and lead author of the study. "This study doesn't only look at high-level changes in temperature or rainfall, it explains how those conditions will change life for real people."

The Upper Nile Basin is a chronically water-stressed region that includes western Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Uganda. Nearly all of the rain that feeds the Nile's northward flow to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea falls in this area that is already home to 200 million people.

"It's hard to overstate the importance of the Nile, and the risk of increasing water insecurity in an already water-scarce place," said Justin Mankin, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth and senior researcher on the study. "The Nile has served as an oasis for water, food, commerce, transportation and energy for thousands of years. But we show that the river won't be able to consistently provide all of those competing services in coming decades."

Using a mix of available climate models, the study demonstrates that it is likely that the Upper Nile Basin will experience an increase in regional precipitation for the remainder of this century. The projected upward trend in precipitation comes as a result of increased atmospheric moisture normally associated with warming.

At the same time, the study finds that hot and dry years in the region have become more frequent over the past four decades. Despite some uncertainties in the models, this trend is projected to continue throughout the century with the frequency of hot and dry years as much as tripling even if warming is limited to only 2 degrees Celsius.

Further complicating conditions, population in the region is projected to nearly double by 2080 and will impose large additional demands on water resources.

As a result, the report finds that increased evaporation from higher temperatures coupled with the doubling of runoff demand from a larger population counteract any projected increase in rainfall. The trend of increased precipitation will simply be too slow to result in significant changes in runoff over the time periods studied.

"At first glance you would expect more rain to reduce scarcity, but not on the Nile. The dice are loaded for additional hot and dry years in the future, meaning increasing shocks to households because of crop yield declines and less water available for households to be resilient against warming temperatures," said Mankin.

According to the study, annual demand for water runoff from the Nile will regularly exceed supply by 2030, causing the percentage of the Upper Nile population expected to suffer from water scarcity to rise sharply. By 2080, the study estimates that as much as 65 percent of the regional population -- 250 million people -- could face chronic water scarcity during excessively hot and dry years.

Even during normal years, the researchers found that as many as 170 million people on average could encounter unmet demand annually by the latter part of the century. Fewer than 25 million people in the region are projected to suffer from water scarcity in 2020.

Most of the increase in water demand is expected to occur during a period of rapid population rise between 2020 and 2040.

"The Nile Basin is one of several fast growing, predominantly agricultural regions that is really on the brink of severe water scarcity. Climate change coupled with population growth will make it much harder to provide food and water for everyone in these areas. Those environmental stresses could easily contribute to migration and even conflict," said Coffel.

To confirm the connection between the impact on food supply and climate conditions in the region, the researchers assessed agricultural yields data from six major crops in Ethiopia's food supply: maize, millet, barley, pulses, sorghum, and wheat.

While food shortages in the region are complex, and can result from a variety of factors such as governance and conflict, the study demonstrates that nearly all recent regional crop failures have occurred amid hot and dry conditions when water runoff is scarcer.

According to the paper, the frequency of hot and dry years that can cause poor crop yields is projected to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent depending on modelling assumptions on climate and greenhouse gas emissions. The result is less water and less food for a growing population.

"We already have a global-scale picture of water scarcity, but that does not tell the story for people in any particular place. With this study, we are able to explain these changes in water scarcity and what that actually means for the millions of people who are going to be in water poverty. It is no longer just colors of basins on a map."

Researchers from Columbia University and the United States Military Academy contributed to this study.

Key Numbers: In the Upper Nile Basin Region...

  • up to 250 million people (65% of population) at risk of water scarcity by 2080
  • 150% to 300% increase in frequency of hot and dry years even if warming limited to 2 degrees Celsius
  • between 19-60 million additional people that will suffer from water scarcity in hot and dry years as compared to normal years in the decade of 2080
  • up to 170 million average population with unmet water demand during normal years (2080)
  • up to 200 million average population with unmet water demand during hot and dry years (2080)
  • from 200 billion m3/yr to 400 billion m3/yr increase in runoff demand

Story Source:

Materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Climate change prompts wildlife movement, researchers say

Piercing dark eyes gazed at bird enthusiasts and scientists at Paynes Prairie in April. The snail kite, an endangered species native to the Everglades, hadn't been seen as far north as Gainesville for 100 years - until last year, that is.

Some research suggests climate change may play a role in the species' new breeding grounds.

A recently published study by University of Florida researcher Brett Scheffers and Gretta Pecl of the University of Tasmania suggests that wildlife is on the move as a result of climate change, and Florida's fauna seem to be following the observed trends.

"It's not a thing of the future," Scheffers said. "It's happening now."

The Nature Climate Change paper, "Persecuting, protecting or ignoring biodiversity under climate change," discusses the different ways people have responded to species that have moved because of climate change.

cambio climatico acciona

Some, like the snail kite, are well-liked and heavily protected.

Robert Fletcher, a UF associate professor of wildlife ecology and conservation who studies the bird, said he and other researchers found four snail kite nests at Paynes Prairie last year, but this year dozens have been sighted.

"There's a lot of birds that move north to come nesting at Paynes Prairie," he said.

Fletcher said increased flooding and the introduction of the exotic apple snail, a food source for the bird, has contributed greatly to the species' northward movement.

"It's very much provided the conditions necessary for snail kites," he said.

Fletcher said climate change is likely an indirect cause of snail kite movement into the area, causing extreme weather events such as the flooding that enable the snail kite, which nests directly over water, to put down roots.

Changing conditions have led to species population growth, Fletcher said, which gives him cautious optimism for the birds' success.

"Those are all very promising signs," he said. "But we still don't know what will happen in the future."

Scheffers, the study's author, said species that are not as well-liked, but are nevertheless on the move due to climate change, are often persecuted by society.

In South Florida, fewer instances of cold temperatures have led to a boom in the green iguana population.

Perry Colato, cofounder of Redline Iguana Removal in Hollywood, said the last record-breaking major cold snap in the area occurred in 2010, and since then, iguanas have been reigning supreme on South Florida golf courses, in yards and even in toilets.

"They're anywhere and everywhere," he said. "They don't have any predators around here."

The non-native, invasive reptiles were first reported in the state in the 1960s in Hialeah, Coral Gables and Key Biscayne, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.

The iguana has now been found in 33 counties stretching all the way up the Atlantic Coast into Georgia and along the Gulf Coast. Some have even been sighted in the panhandle region.

Colato and co-founder Blake Wilkins started the business about a year ago because the problem has become so significant.

Redline gets between 75 and 100 calls for service weekly, Colato said.

Steve Johnson, a UF associate professor of wildlife ecology and conservation, said the Cuban tree frog is another example of an invasive species in Florida whose spread may be "exacerbated" by climate change.

Cuban tree frogs are believed to have arrived in the Sunshine State in the 1920s as stowaways in shipping containers, Johnson said. The state's heat, humidity and year-long temperate weather kept their populations steady.

"It makes Florida sort of an ideal place for them," he said. "They're established throughout the state."

Much like the green iguana's takeover, Cuban tree frogs may have been impacted by climate change through decreased frequencies of cold temperatures.

They eat native tree frog species and take over environments, Johnson said. Although they are not poisonous to dogs like the cane toad, also known as the bufo toad, they cause headaches for people, too.

Some have even short-circuited air conditioning units, Johnson said.

Although non-native species have already been well-documented throughout the state, he said, people can make a difference by reporting new finds to authorities such as Florida Fish and Wildlife.

"If everyone did that, it would make a difference," he said.

New techniques have enabled researchers to make progress in tracking one of the most notorious invasive species in Florida, the Burmese python.

Margaret Hunter, a research geneticist at USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Gainesville, uses Environmental DNA by collecting water samples and extracting the python's genetic information, to track the elusive snakes, which have not yet been able to be stopped from spreading.

The technique isn't foolproof for determining exactly how many are in a given location, she said, but helps track overall trends.

"That is obviously very difficult given the size of the Everglades and how difficult they are to detect," she said.

Burmese pythons camouflage well in the swamp areas where they are mostly found.

When it came to the 2010 cold snap, the Burmese python reacted differently from the green iguana and Cuban tree frog, Hunter said.

"It appears they might have the ability to adapt to colder temperatures," she said.

Hunter said her team has not specifically studied whether climate change has impacted the Burmese python's expanded range, but that her research area has spread beyond just the Everglades since starting in 2014.

She said it would be difficult to completely stop the breeding of escaped or released invasive pythons in Florida, but that tracking them can help people as their ranges expand.

"It can help managers learn how to prepare when they move into an area," Hunter said.

David Zierden, the state climatologist and an associate researcher at Florida State University's Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, said weather patterns impacted by climate change include rising overnight temperatures and greater amounts of rainfall.

He said current research does not directly link extreme weather patterns to climate change in the state, but it is a definite possibility as temperatures and rainfall increase.

"It's been a combination of causes," Zierden said.

As temperatures increase, he said plant and animal species such as the snail kite or green iguana may continue moving north.

However, he stressed the importance of considering other impacts on animal movement, such as pollution and nutrient runoff.

"Our changing climate is only one stressor on our plants and animals here in the state," he said. "We need to take a holistic approach."

Florida Fish and Wildlife recently launched a website, www.climateadaptationexplorer.org, which details the impacts of climate change on species and environments, as well as potential solutions.

Scheffers, the study's author, said species movement caused by climate change is an issue that crosses geopolitical boundaries.

Scientists and policymakers from multiple states and nations will need to work together to create solutions, he said.

"We need people to come to the table to start talking," Scheffers said. "Climate change is not a single-country issue."

  • Published in World

Thirteen Dominican Provinces on Alert for Heavy Rains

The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) has expanded this Tuesday to 13 Dominican provinces in green alert (minimum), due to the incidence of a tropical wave combined with a watercourse causing rains.

The provinces on alert are Duarte, Sanchez Ramirez, Hato Mayor, San Cristobal, El Seibo, La Vega, Monte Plata, Monsignor Nouel, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, the great Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macoris, La Altagracia and Samana.

The National Meteorology Office (Onamet) reported Tuesday that moderate to heavy rains, thunderstorms and wind gusts will generate clouds from morning hours and at night.

Besides, as the tropical storm continues to move westward, the rains will spread to other parts of the country.

Both Onamet and COE ask people living in green alert areas to watch out for river, stream and canyon floods.

  • Published in World

US Lawmakers Move to Declare Climate Change Official Emergency

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plan to present today a resolution at the US Congress to recognize climate crisis as an official emergency.

According to Huffington Post website, the two legislators will introduce the proposal in their respective chambers in the Capitol building along with US congressman Earl Blumenauer, in order to pressure the government to recognize the magnitude of the threat of the greenhouse gases.

A Sanders spokesman quoted by Huffington Post said that US President Donald Trump has routinely declared 'false national emergencies to advance his deeply unpopular agenda, such as selling bombs to Saudi Arabia the Congress had blocked.'

However, the president insists on calling deception the existential threat that climate change means, and for that reason the independent senator and presidential candidate for the Democratic Party is proud to associate with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to challenge that absurd. he noted.

The objective is to make the Congress declare that 'we are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization,' Sanders spokesman said.

The initiative will be presented one day after Trump, who is widely criticized at the domestic and international level for refusing to recognize that humans are responsible for climate change, delivered a speech about supposed environmental achievements of his administration in which he did not mention the impact of that phenomenon. (PL)

  • Published in World
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