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Ocean Acidification

Fundamental changes in seawater chemistry are occurring throughout the world's oceans. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from humankind's industrial and agricultural activities has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. Initially, many scientists focused on the benefits of the ocean removing this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. However, decades of ocean observations now show that there is also a downside — the CO2 absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater, a process called OCEAN ACIDIFICATION. Website: NOAA Ocean Acidification


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2016 - Hottest Year on Records

For the first time, NASA shared a midyear climate analysis, doing so because temperature averages this year have been so in excess of previous data, agency officials said. NASA's data showed that each month in 2016 was the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. This trend suggests 2016 will surpass 2015 as the hottest year on record, NASA said.
Website: www.livescience.com

Some statistics from NOAA:

• The June temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average of 59.9°F (15.5°C). This was the highest for June in the 1880–2016 record.
• The average Arctic sea ice extent for June was 530,000 square miles (1.37 million square kilometers) below average, which is roughly twice the area of Texas. This is 11.4% below the 1981–2010 average and was the smallest June extent since satellite records began in 1979.
• The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.89°F (1.05°C) above the 20th century average of 56.3°F (13.5°C) . This was the highest for January-June in the 1880–2016 record.


Increased Desertification

climate_cartoon_carbon_footprint.jpg "Desertification is a silent, invisible crisis that is destabilizing communities on a global scale." UNCCD - 2014 (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) - In many dryland areas the climate is becoming even more arid and rivers, lakes and underground water sources are drying up. This can have major impacts not only on physical processes (such as the water cycle), but also on ecosystem functions. In terms of global populations, these changes also mean that food-production zones are shifting, and in many regions crops and livestock are failing. Drylands have the lowest GDP per capita and the highest infant mortality rates. Soil degradation in drylands exacerbates the problem even more. The decline in the fertility of land reduces crop production and additional income sources.
• By 2020, an estimated 60 million people could move from the desertified areas of sub-Saharan Africa towards North Africa and Europe.
• By 2025, up to 2.4 billion people across the world may be living in areas subject to periods of intense water scarcity. This may displace as many as 700 million people.
• By 2050, 200 million people worldwide may be permanently displaced environmental migrants.

Websites (1): UNCCD.int (PDF doc) --------- Website: (2) Climatica.org.uk

Extreme Weather Conditions and costs

Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts. A warmer climate creates an atmosphere that can collect, retain, and drop more water, changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier. climate_extreme_katrina.jpg "Extreme weather events are costing more and more," says Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC's Clean Power Plan initiative. "The number of billion-dollar weather disasters is expected to rise."

The HSBC (Climate Change Strategy) team estimates the cumulative damage from events relating to climate change from 2005-2014 cost the G20 countries $309 billion. 39% of costs were incurred by China, followed by the US (22%) and India (11%). Damage costs totaled $44 billion in 2014 alone. $11 billion of those costs came from droughts and a whopping $31 billion from floods, according to HSBC. "The dominance of floods and droughts added together, amongst categories of extreme events, illustrates how changing rainfall patterns are currently the driver for a major component of total extreme weather events and associated costs suffered. We expect flooding to become more common as climate impacts increase," HSBC analysts noted.
Website: UK Business Insider

Shrinking Arctic Ice Cap

Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts. A warmer climate creates an atmosphere that can collect, retain, and drop more water, changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier. climate_arctic_melt_map.jpg "Extreme weather events are costing more and more," says Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC's Clean Power Plan initiative. "The number of billion-dollar weather disasters is expected to rise."

The HSBC (Climate Change Strategy) team estimates the cumulative damage from events relating to climate change from 2005-2014 cost the G20 countries $309 billion. 39% of costs were incurred by China, followed by the US (22%) and India (11%). Damage costs totaled $44 billion in 2014 alone. $11 billion of those costs came from droughts and a whopping $31 billion from floods, according to HSBC. "The dominance of floods and droughts added together, amongst categories of extreme events, illustrates how changing rainfall patterns are currently the driver for a major component of total extreme weather events and associated costs suffered. We expect flooding to become more common as climate impacts increase," HSBC analysts noted. Website: UK Business Insider

Climate Change and Air Pollution

Air quality is strongly dependent on weather and is therefore sensitive to climate change. Studies have provided estimates of this climate effect through correlations of air quality with meteorological variables. Current evolving climate change is expected to be more stagnant, due to a weaker global circulation and a decreasing frequency of mid-latitude cyclones. climate_pollution_paris.jpg The two air pollutants of most concern for public health are surface ozone and particulate matter (PM). The observed correlation between surface ozone and temperature in polluted regions points to a detrimental effect of warming. Climate change alone will increase summertime surface ozone in polluted regions over the coming decades, with the largest effects in urban areas (Ozone pollution is in general mostly a summer problem. In Europe, the summer 2003 heat wave was associated with exceptionally high ozone).

climate_big_ben.jpg Particulate matter (PM) includes as principal components sulfate, nitrate, organic carbon, elemental carbon, soil dust, and sea salt. The first four components are mostly present as fine particles and these are of most concern for human health.

There is consensus among scientists that 21st-century climate change will increase the frequency of stagnation episodes over northern mid-latitudes continents. This increase in stagnation reflects the weakening of the general circulation and a northward shift of the mid-latitude cyclone tracks, decreasing the frequency of cold fronts that are the principal ventilation mechanism for eastern North America, Europe, and East Asia. General degradation of air quality is therefore expected if current CO2 emissions remain constant.
Website: DASH Harvard.edu (PDF doc)

Climate Refugees and Displaced Population

Climate change causes displacement of people in several ways, the most obvious—and dramatic—being through the increased number and severity of weather-related disasters which destroy homes and habitats causing people to seek shelter or livelihoods elsewhere. Effects of climate change such as desertification and rising sea levels gradually erode livelihood and force communities to abandon traditional homelands for more accommodating environments. This is currently happening in areas of Africa’s Sahel, the semi-arid belt that spans the continent just below its northern deserts.

The IPCC has estimated that 150 million environmental migrants will exist by the year 2050, due mainly to the effects of coastal flooding, shoreline erosion and agricultural disruption. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, more than 42 million people were displaced in Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011, more than twice the population of Sri Lanka.
Asia and the Pacific is the global area most prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, typhoons and water stress. Some Pacific Ocean island nations, such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Maldives, are considering the eventual possibility of evacuation, as flood defense may become economically unrealistic. Tuvalu already has an ad hoc agreement with New Zealand to allow phased relocation.

"We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change For a corall atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us."
Prime minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sapo'aga, addressing the United Nations.

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Climate Change Denial

The climate change denial industry is most widespread in the United States, where the official Senate Environmental Committee is chaired by James Inhofe, who famously called climate change "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and claimed to have debunked it in 2015 when he took a snowball with him and threw it on the Senate floor. climate_cartoon_denial.jpg Organised campaigning to undermine public trust in climate science is associated with conservative economic policies and backed by industrial interests opposed to the regulation of CO2 emissions. Climate change denial has been associated with the fossil fuels lobby, the Koch brothers, industry advocates and libertarian think tanks, often in the United States. More than 90% of papers skeptical on climate change originate from right-wing think tanks. The total annual income of these climate change counter-movement-organizations is roughly $900 million. Between 2002 and 2010, nearly $120 million (£77 million) was anonymously donated via the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund to more than 100 organisations seeking to undermine the public perception of the science on climate change. In 2013 the Center for Media and Democracy reported that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 U.S. think tanks, had been lobbying on behalf of major corporations and conservative donors to oppose climate change regulation. Investigative journalists have revealed internal documents showing that since the late 1970s, oil companies were aware that burning oil and gas could cause climate change and global warming. Despite this evidence, oil companies organized a climate change denial campaign to disseminate public disinformation for several decades, leading to comparisons of this strategy to the organized denial of the hazards of tobacco smoking by tobacco companies.


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