Climate Change: Warming Oceans Set Heat Record in 2018

A team of Chinese and U.S. scientists estimated that the world’s oceans are warming by up to 40% faster than previously thought.

The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018 in a trend that is causing major damage to marine life, a Science article published Thursday warns.

RELATED: Climate Change Causing 'Vicious C02 Circle': New Report

"How fast are the oceans warming?" was the main question addressed by a team of Chinese and U.S. scientists in a research which demonstrates that "global warming is here and has major consequences already. There is no doubt, none!"

New measurements, aided by an international network of 3,900 floats deployed in the oceans since 2000, showed more warming - since 1971 - than calculated by the 2013 UN assessment of climate change.

According to Lijing Cheng, a scientist from China's Institute of Atmospheric Physics, "2018 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean" as marine temperatures as far down as 2,000 meters rose about 0.1 degree Celsius. 

"Observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating," the team of scientists stated and also explained that greenhouse gas emissions warm the atmosphere, and a large part of the heat gets absorbed by the oceans.

The heat absorption process, in turn, changes the physical-chemical properties of marine ecosystems, which displaces marine like forcing them to flee to cooler waters.

Ocean warming: past and future! Ocean warming has already been detected in the past 60 years, and is accelerating now and well projected in the future! Read our new science study:

Deep ocean temperatures are less influenced by annual variations in weather and can take more than 1,000 years to adjust to changes like regions closer to the surface. "The deep ocean reflects the climate of the deep and uncertain past," Kevin Trenberth, a co-author of the study, said.

Among effects, extra warmth can reduce oxygen in the ocean and damage coral reefs that serve as nurseries for fish, the scientists said. While warmer seas release more moisture that can stoke more powerful storms.

Despite growing evidence of the human-driven global climate change, some heads of state and government across the globe - mainly far-right administrations - deny the existence of a problem.

In that sense, for example, U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies, such as Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, have, recently, questioned and make advancements towards terminating some multilateral agreements and shuttering institutions that could help contain environmental threats to humanity.

 

200 Nations Start 2-Week Talks To End Political Divide On Climate Change

Katowice, Poland: Delegates from nearly 200 nations on Sunday began two weeks of talks to tackle deep political divisions at the most important U.N. meeting on global warming since the landmark 2015 Paris deal to shift away from fossil fuels.

Expectations are low that negotiations in Katowice, at the heart of Poland's coal region, will fully resolve concerns laid out in reports over recent weeks on the severity of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The political climate has also been transformed since the Paris agreement and the fragile global unity that brought about that accord has shattered.

"This is a very, very important conference," U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa told reporters. "It also takes place in a scenario where we have clear signals about the urgency with which we need to address the issues of climate change."

4k393n8oDelegates said that one of the trickiest issues could be monitoring emissions as the United States, which cannot quit the pact until 2020, uses the talks to press for a level of detail it perceives as useful to its foreign policy dealings (Representational)

Four former presidents of U.N. talks, including Laurent Fabius of France, who led negotiations for the Paris agreement, issued a statement urging "decisive action".

"The world is at a crossroads and decisive action in the next two years will be crucial to tackle these urgent threats," they said in the joint statement.

However, political divisions were clear from the outset, with Brazil having withdrawn its offer to host the 2019 talks.

The United States, meanwhile, reiterated at the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday its decision to withdraw from the Paris accord and a U.S. commitment to all energy sources.

Year-End Deadline

The other members of the group of industrialised nations - including the biggest polluter, China - reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris deal, taking into account their national circumstances.

gq7e9d9G20 Summit, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Delegates said that one of the trickiest issues could be monitoring emissions as the United States, which cannot quit the pact until 2020, uses the talks to press for a level of detail it perceives as useful to its foreign policy dealings (Representational)

The Katowice talks precede an end-of-year deadline to produce a "rule book" to flesh out the broad details that were agreed in Paris on limiting the rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Delegates said that one of the trickiest issues could be monitoring emissions as the United States, which cannot quit the pact until 2020, uses the talks to press for a level of detail it perceives as useful to its foreign policy dealings.

Poland is hosting U.N. climate negotiations for a third time, but the nation remains hooked on coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Coal provides about 80 percent of Poland's power and has been a major source of employment and national pride.

The younger generation is less emotionally attached to coal and is increasingly environmentally aware, though any phasing out of the fuel in Poland is likely to be slow.

The energy ministry said only last week that Poland plans to invest in new coal capacity while its long-term energy strategy assumes it will still obtain about 60 percent of its power from coal in 2030.

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California wildfires: statewide death toll rises to 50 as search for remains continues

The statewide death toll in California’s wildfires reached 50 late on Tuesday, as authorities reported six more deaths in the Camp fire in the north of the state.

The deaths from the Camp fire, the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, have increased to 48, the Butte county sheriff, Kory Hone, said. Two people have also died in the Woolsey fire, a major blaze around Los Angeles.

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VIDEO depicts disturbing extent of Antarctic ice melt since 1976

Scientists have been issuing apocalyptic-level warnings over the melting ice caps for years, and now a new data-based animation highlights just how much ice has broken off Antarctica in recent decades.

The visualization by science animators Pixel Movers & Makers shows the accelerated level at which Antarctic icebergs have been melting since 1976 in just 51 seconds.

Pixel Movers & Makers @PixelMnM

Replying to @PixelMnM

We've been looking forward to making this!

Iceberg flux from Antarctica from 1976-2017.

Most icebergs travel counter-clockwise around Antarctica before travelling north through "Iceberg Alley" to the ACC. @kevpluck @MarloWordyBird

The alarming clip highlights the region’s recent disastrous climate change events, such as the journey of B-15, the world’s largest iceberg. It broke away in 2000, measuring a colossal 3,250 square kilometers wide (1,250 square miles) – or about the size of Connecticut.

READ MORE: Build that wall: Climate scientists propose walling off Antarctic ice sheets to protect them

Also captured is the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 – a 3,250 square kilometers (1,250 square mile), 20 meter (720 ft) thick area of the Antarctic Peninsula that splintered and collapsed over a month.

Climate change damaging male fertility

Climate change could pose a threat to male fertility -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects -- with negative impacts for fertility across generations.

The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.

Research group leader Prof Matt Gage said: "We know that biodiversity is suffering under climate change, but the specific causes and sensitivities are hard to pin down.

"We've shown in this work that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait when the environment heats up, and in a model system representing a huge amount of global biodiversity.

"Since sperm function is essential for reproduction and population viability, these findings could provide one explanation for why biodiversity is suffering under climate change.

"A warmer atmosphere will be more volatile and hazardous, with extreme events like heatwaves becoming increasingly frequent, intense and widespread.

"Heatwaves are particularly damaging extreme weather events. Local extinctions are known to occur when temperature changes become too intense. We wanted to know why this happens. And one answer could be related to sperm."

The research team investigated the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) to explore the effects of simulated heatwaves on male reproduction.

The beetles were exposed to either standard control conditions or five-day heatwave temperatures, which were 5°C to 7°C above their thermal optimum.

Afterwards, a variety of experiments assessed the potential damage to reproductive success, sperm function and offspring quality.

Heatwaves killed sperm

The team found that heatwaves halved the amount of offspring males could produce, and a second heatwave almost sterilised males.

Females, by contrast, were unaffected by heatwave conditions. However, female reproduction was affected indirectly because experiments showed that heatwaves damaged inseminated sperm within female reproductive tracts.

Following experimental heatwaves, males reduced sperm production by three-quarters, and any sperm produced then struggled to migrate into the female tract and were more likely to die before fertilisation.

Kirs Sales, a postgraduate researcher who led the research, said: "Our research shows that heatwaves halve male reproductive fitness, and it was surprising how consistent the effect was."

The group also explored the underlying causes of male vulnerability. Heatwaves caused some impact on male sexual behaviour -- with males mating half as frequently as controls.

Heatwaves caused damage across generations

"Two concerning results were the impact of successive heatwaves on males, and the impacts of heatwaves on future generations," said Sales.

"When males were exposed to two heatwave events 10 days apart, their offspring production was less than 1 per cent of the control group. Insects in nature are likely to experience multiple heatwave events, which could become a problem for population productivity if male reproduction cannot adapt or recover."

The research also shows that offspring sired by heatwaved dads -- or their sperm -- live shorter lives -- by a couple of months.

And the reproductive performance of sons produced by dads -- or sperm -- exposed to heatwave conditions was also impacted. Sons were found to be less able to fertilise a series of potential mates, and produced less offspring.

The researchers warn that this could add extra pressure to populations already suffering through climate change over time.

"Beetles are thought to constitute a quarter of biodiversity, so these results are very important for understanding how species react to climate change. Research has also shown that heat shock can damage male reproduction in warm blooded animals too, and past work has shown that this leads to infertility in mammals," added Sales.

The researchers hope that the effects can be incorporated into models predicting species vulnerability, and ultimately help inform societal understanding and conservation actions.

The work was funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the EnvEast DTP, UEA, and the Leverhulme Trust.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Oceans Heating Faster Than Previously Thought, Says Study

Paris: The world's oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought over the last quarter of a century, scientists said Thursday, leaving Earth more sensitive still to the effects of climate change.

Oceans cover more than two thirds of the planet's surface and play a vital role in sustaining life on Earth.

According to their most recent assessment this month, scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say the world's oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the temperature rise caused by man-made carbon emissions.

But new research published in the journal Nature used a novel method of measuring ocean temperature.

It found that for each of the last 25 years, oceans had absorbed heat energy equivalent to 150 times the amount of electricity mankind produces annually.

That is 60 percent higher than previous studies showed.

Whereas those studies relied on tallying the excess heat produced by known man-made greenhouse gas emissions, a team of US-based scientists focused on two gases found naturally in the atmosphere: Oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Both gases are soluble in water, but the rate at which water absorbs them decreases as it warms.

By measuring atmospheric oxygen and CO2 for each year, scientists were able to more accurately estimate how much heat oceans had absorbed on a global scale.

"Imagine if the ocean was only 30 feet (10 metres) deep," said Laure Resplandy, assistant professor of geosciences at Princeton and lead study author.

"Our data show that it would have warmed by 6.5 degrees Celsius (11.7 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade since 1991."

That compares with a IPCC estimate of a 4.0 C rise each decade.

Resplandy said the data showed mankind must once again revise down its carbon footprint, with emissions needing to fall 25 precent compared to previous estimates.

"The result significantly increases the confidence we can place in estimates of ocean warming and therefore helps reduce uncertainty," said Ralph Keeling, a geophysicist at the University of California-San Diego and co-author of the study.

The IPCC warns that drastic measures need taking in order to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius by the end of the century but the world produced a record amount of carbon emissions in 2017.

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Scientists Look to Jupiter, Saturn's Moon Titan for Global Warming Insight

By analyzing methane in the skies of Jupiter and Saturn's moon Titan, scientists are now pinpointing what effects this global warming gas is having on Earth, a new study finds.

Greenhouse gases warm the planet by trapping heat from the sun. The greenhouse gas that most often makes news is the carbon dioxide generated in great amounts by the burning of fossil fuels. However, methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas, pound for pound capable of warming the planet more than 25 times more than carbon dioxide over the span of a century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In the new study, researchers focused on the most poorly understood aspect of the role of methane in global warming — how much short-wavelength solar radiation it absorbs. Previous estimates from the IPCC regarding the effects of increased methane emissions on global climate omitted the impact of shortwave absorption. [Photographic Proof of Climate Change: Time-Lapse Images of Retreating Glaciers]

Recent climate models are designed to account for shortwave absorption of methane. However, their accuracy is limited by uncertainties in how well methane absorbs shortwave radiation. Whereas the carbon dioxide molecule has a relatively simple linear shape, methane has a more complex tetrahedral shape, and the way it responds to light is also complicated — too much so to pin down in the lab.

Instead, scientists examine the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn's largest moon Titan, which both have "at least a thousand times greater concentration of methane than Earth's atmosphere," study co-author Dan Feldman, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, told Space.com. As such, these celestial bodies can serve as "natural laboratories" for investigating sunlight's effects on methane, he explained.

The scientists analyzed data of Titan from the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, which landed on the big moon in January 2005, and of Jupiter from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. This helped pinpoint how methane absorbs various short wavelengths of sunlight, data the researchers plugged into climate models of Earth.

The scientists found the global warming effects of methane are likely not uniform on Earth, but vary over the planet's surface. For instance, since deserts near the equator have bright, exposed surfaces that reflect light upward, shortwave absorption is 10 times stronger over regions such as the Sahara desert and the Arabian Peninsula than elsewhere on Earth, Feldman said.

In addition, the presence of clouds can increase methane-shortwave absorption by nearly threefold. The researchers noted these effects west of southern Africa and the Americas, and with the cloud systems in the Intertropical Convergence Zone near the equator. 

"We can really nail down the methane greenhouse effect on Earth based on observations of Jupiter and Titan," Feldman said.

These findings support previous climate models regarding methane's effects on global warming. The researchers said their work could help advance climate-change mitigation strategies by clarifying the risks different regions across the world face.

The scientists detailed their findings online Wednesday (Sept. 26) in the journal Science Advances.

Climate Change Could Hit Point of No Return by 2035

London, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Earth could go through a point of no return by 2035 if governments do not act decisively when it comes to fighting climate change, warns a study published in the Earth System Dynamics magazine.

Scientists at the University of Oxford say it would be unlikely to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius by 2100 and consider that the deadline to reduce it to 1.5 degrees has already passed, unless radical climate action is taken.

The researchers wanted to find the last possible year to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.

In this regard, the concept of point of no return has the advantage of containing useful temporary information to report about the urgency of taking climate measures, says Matthias Aengenheyster, the study's lead author.

Through the use of information on climate models, the team determined the deadline to initiate actions, in order to keep global warming likely (with a probability of 67 percent) below two degrees Celsius by 2100.

This depends on how fast humanity can reduce emissions with the use of more renewable energy.

According to experts, the point of no return has already been exceeded for the most modest climate action scenario, where the proportion of renewable resources increases by two percent each year.

However, they consider that the elimination of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, through the use of negative emission technology, could give the Earth a little more time: between six and 10 years.

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