Bearing Witness to Climate Change April 2019

According to new research, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat of collapsing due to warming oceans and mass bleaching events.

Canada is said to be warming at twice the global rate said an official Canadian government report, similar to what is happening to the Arctic. The grim reports heatwaves and extreme weather events will impact the economy, public health, and of course natural environment.

Canada steps up to the challenge when it extended its carbon-pricing program to the entire country by placing a tax on fossil fuels. The U.S. continues to ignore the threat of climate change while other countries from around the world move ahead to protect future generations.

In some good news, the global petrol giant Royal Dutch Shell has left an American oil industry trade group in dispute about the group’s denial of climate change.

Scientists who report that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are now at 410 ppm and rising, say that the last time it was that high the world’s oceans were 20 meters higher several millions years ago.

A few months after experiencing one of the greatest deadliest fire disasters in the state’s history, destroying the towns of Paradise and Magalia, the nearby town of Chico has become one of the first American towns to declare a climate emergency that threatens their lives and well-being. The town has experienced a refugee crisis of its own as displaced residents of the disaster sought housing.

The first tornado ever recorded is reported in Nepal in a storm that killed over two dozen with injuries to over 1000.

A new study reports that glaciers are melting much faster than previously thought. They are now retreating 5 times faster than 50 years ago. Antarctica is reported to be losing ice at a rate 6 times as fast as 50 years ago. Temperatures there are some 3.5 degrees warmer on average than 70 years ago. If the huge glaciers of the continent melt it will raise ocean levels by several feet.

Russian’s President Putin said he intends for Russia to build new ports and secure its claim to arctic oceans which are expected to be free of ice in future decades. Will this climate change precipitate more conflict?

Temperatures in Alaska during March 2019 were as much as 20 degrees warmer than average for some locations. This year there is almost a complete absence of ice in the Bering Sea which had helped heat air coming over Alaska.

Climate activists continue to protest around the world. This time in London protesters where they occupied landmarks and blocked public transportation to demand the government declare a climate emergency. Over a thousand have been arrested. Some English businesses are listening. A governor with the Bank of England warned that the financial sector including banks and insurance markets face an existential threat from climate change.

Researchers in urban development and climate adaptation in the U.S. have started looking at where the best locations might be in the U.S. to avoid the consequences of climate change.

The Spring tornado season has begun in earnest. As in recent years most of the tornadoes are now occurring in the southeast states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia more so that the traditional tornado alley states of Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Greenland ice sheet is said to be falling apart according to a Journal of the National Academy of Sciences. If these glaciers melt they will raise world’s oceans by many feet.

Researchers at Stanford University are predicting that climate change will impact poor nations far more than the richer ones. The reason is that most are already located in equatorial regions which are expected to experience more severe weather.

Over the next century, North America should expect to see more migrants and refugees from Central America due to climate change where temperatures have already reason some 2 degrees F over recent decades.

Despite the job that forests perform in capturing CO2, the planet is estimated to have lost over 30 million acres of tropical forests in the last year alone. Some forests worldwide have been lost to cutting by humans, but others are lost due to warmer weather, drier summer, drought, and invasive insects on the move all due to a changing climate.