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Climate Change sets the world on fire! #StopAdani #auspol 

Climate change sets the world on fire

Screenshot NASA FIRMS web fire mapper (NASA/FIRMS)

There have been many wildfires aound the world this summer. Canada has seen the worst season for fires since records began, with 894,941 hectares burned, the British Columbia Wildfire Service has confirmed. Large areas of the Western United States have also been affected. 
Meanwhile in Portugal, 2,000 people were recently cut off by flames and smoke encircling the town of Macao. And earlier this summer, 64 people were killed by a blaze in the country.
Like Canada, southern Europe has seen a record heatwave this year, creating hot, dry conditions that saw Italy, France, Croatia, Spain and Greece all swept by wildfires. As a result, Europe has reportedly seen three times the average number of wildfires this summer.
But it’s not just Canada and southern Europe that have been affected. In Siberia, wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes, and around 700 hectares of Armenian forest have also been destroyed by fire. Earlier this year, Chile saw wildfires that were unparalleled in the country’s history, according to the President.
Even Greenland, not known for its hot dry conditions, suffered an unprecedented blaze this summer.


Portugal Waldbrände (picture alliance/dpa/AP/A. Franca)

Central Portugal has been one of the areas hardest hit by fires this summer
The big picture
“A lot of these things are happening locally, but people don’t always connect them to climate change,” said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US. “But there is a real climate change component to this and the risk is going up because of climate change.”
With global temperatures rising, scientists say wildfires are likely to become increasingly frequent and widespread. “What’s really happening is that there is extra heat available,” Trenberth told DW. “That heat has to go somewhere and some of it goes into raising temperatures. But the first thing that happens is that it goes into drying – it dries out plants and increases the risk of wildfires.”
The map above, compiling NASA satellite data on fires from the beginning of 2017 until mid-August makes it looks as if the whole world is on fire.  
So is 2017 a record year of wildfires?

 Kanada Cache Creek Waldbrand (picture-alliance/empics/D. Dyck)

Wildfire rages in British Colombia, on July 8. It has now been confirmed the state’s biggest in more than 50 years
Tough competition
It certainly looks like it’s been a big year for fires in southern Europe and North America. But Martin Wooster, professor of earth observation science at King’s College London, says other parts of the world have seen worse in recent years.
“For example, this year, fires across Southeast Asia are extremely unlikely to be anything like as severe as they were in 2015,” he told DW.
Two years ago, drought caused by El Nino created lethal conditions for Indonesian forests and peatlands that were already degraded by draining and logging. The smoldering peat – ancient, decayed vegetable matter condensed into a carbon-heavy fuel – kept fires burning for months on end.
“This led to huge fires, far bigger than any seen in Europe, and some of the worst air pollution ever experienced,” Wooster said.


 Satellite wildfire photo (NASA)

NASA imagery shows a large wildfire burning in Sweden in early August
Longer fire seasons – longer recovery
But there does appear to be a distinct trend for fire seasons to be longer and more harsh. “In the western United States, the general perception is that there is no wildfire season any more, but that it’s continuous all year round,” Trenberth told DW.
In many parts of the world, wildfires are part of a natural cycle. Savannahs, for example, are maintained by fire. Some trees not only survive fires, but need them to release their seeds. Human intervention can disrupt these cycles, the scientific discipline of fire ecology has found. Putting out small fires can allow flammable debris to accumulate until a colossal fire starts that cannot be controlled.
But global warming is resulting in hotter, drier conditions that mean such infernos are becoming more common, even with careful forest management. And the changed climatic conditions can mean forests take far longer to recover. Meanwhile, fires are also starting in habitats in areas like the tropics that have no natural fire ecology.


Frankreich Waldbrände (picture-alliance/MAXPPP/F. Fernandes)

A wildfire smolders near Nice in the south of France in July
Human fingerprints
Climate change isn’t the only manmade factor. Fires can also be started by careless humans dropping cigarettes or letting campfires get out of control.
And in regions like the Amazon, where the annual fire season increased by 19 percent between 1979 and 2013, fire is deliberately used to clear forest to make way for agriculture. “Farmers light fires to clear an area and what happens in drought conditions is that these fires become wild because the vegetation is so dry, it gets out of control,” Trenberth said.
And all this can have a feedback effect – more fires mean more carbon released into the atmosphere, which in turn drives climate change.

Wildfires in Croatia (Reuters/A. Bronic)

Wildfires rage through Southeast Europe

Hope for the best
While there were no reports of casualties and the fires only reached a few homes, some people could only stand by and watch as the flames razed everything in their path, especially nature. Fires between the Croatian town of Omis and Split have reportedly destroyed 4,500 hectares of forest.

Press link for more: DW.COM

Going outside could be deadly #ClimateChange #StopAdani 

Going outside could be deadly in some parts of the world by the end of this century, scientists warn
Andrew Griffin

Thursday 3 August 2017 10:05 BST

Climate change could soon make it fatal to even go outside in some parts of the world, according to a new study.
Temperatures could soar so much in southern Asia by the end of the century that the amount of heat and humidity will be impossible to cope with and anyone going outside would die.

The study used new research that looked at the way humidity changes how people’s bodies can deal with heat. 

Temperatures and the amount of moisture will mean that the body will simply be unable to cool itself and so people will die, the researchers found.
The regions likely to be hardest hit include northern India, Bangladesh and southern Pakistan, home to 1.5 billion people.

The evidence is based on recent research showing the most deadly effects of hot weather come from a combination of high temperature and high humidity.
This is recorded using a measurement known as “wet-bulb” temperature, which reflects the ability of moisture to evaporate.
When wet-bulb temperatures reach 35C, the human body cannot cool itself enough to survive more than a few hours.
In today’s climate, wet-bulb temperatures have rarely gone above 31C anywhere on Earth. But in 2015, the limit was almost reached in the Persian Gulf region, during a year when heat killed an estimated 3,500 people in Pakistan and India.

The new research shows that without serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, extreme heatwaves could raise wet-bulb temperatures to between 31C and 34.2C.
“It brings us close to the threshold of survivability, and anything in the 30s is very severe,” said study author Dr Elfatih Eltahir, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
By 2100, around 70 per cent of India’s population was expected to suffer occasional exposures to 32C wet-bulb temperatures, the researchers wrote in the journal Science Advances. And two per cent could be subjected to deadly heat at the 35C limit.
Dr Eltahir added: “With the disruption to the agricultural production, it doesn’t need to be the heatwave itself that kills people. Production will go down, so potentially everyone will suffer.”

Press link for more: Independent.co.uk

Skeptics Guide To Climate Change.

Scientific skepticism is healthy. In fact, science by its very nature is skeptical. Genuine skepticism means considering the full body of evidence before coming to a conclusion. However, when you take a close look at arguments expressing climate ‘skepticism’, what you often observe is cherry picking of pieces of evidence while rejecting any data that don’t fit the desired picture.

This isn’t skepticism. It is ignoring facts and the science.

This guide looks at both the evidence that human activity is causing global warming and the ways that climate ‘skeptic’ arguments can mislead by presenting only small pieces of the puzzle rather than the full picture.

Press link to read: skepticalscience.com

The Climate and Heat.

The earth’s climate system absorbs heat in many different ways. Increases in the temperatures that people experience day to day are only one of several reservoirs for accumulating heat. While changes in the atmosphere are the easiest to recognize, they are also the most variable and subject to “noise”. Changes in the ocean, where most of the heat is going, have been more steady, while the melting of vast stores of ice is accelerating. The earth continues to warm, day after day, at a concerning rate.

Press link for more: 4 Hiroshimas per second

The Earth really is warming.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but the Earth really is warming. Air and ocean temperatures are rising fast, ice is melting across the planet, ecosystems are shifting, sea levels are rising, and so on.

The latest zombie climate myth to rise from the dead involves the oldest form of global warming denial. It’s a conspiracy theory that the Earth isn’t really warming; rather, fraudulent climate scientists are “fiddling” with the data to introduce a false warming trend.

In The Telegraph, which is a mostly serious UK newspaper, Christopher Booker calls scientists’ adjustments to temperature data “the biggest science scandal ever.” These accusations have echoed through conservative media and online blogs, even being aired on Fox News (three times).

In reality climate scientists process the raw temperature data for very good reasons. Sometimes temperature monitoring station locations move. Sometimes the time of day at which they’re read changes. Sometimes changes are made to the instruments themselves. In each case, if adjustments aren’t made, then biases will be included in the data that don’t reflect actual changes in temperatures.

Richard Muller at UC Berkeley was skeptical that climate scientists were doing all these adjustments correctly, so he assembled the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) team to check the data for themselves. The biggest initial financial contribution to the project came from the Koch brothers.

As Muller discusses in the video below, his team confirmed that the Earth’s surface temperatures are warming. In fact, BEST finds that NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office have slightly underestimated the warming over the past 15 years.

Press link for more: skepticalscience.com

People Power, the Solution to Climate Inaction

BRISBANE, Feb 10 (IPS) – Nothing is more important to farmers like me than the weather. It affects the growth and quality of our crops and livestock, and has a major impact on global food supply.

The world’s weather is being messed up by global warming, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which releases heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.3

Every national science organisation in the developed world agrees that global warming is real and caused by human activities. That’s good enough for me.

If we keep on burning coal, oil and gas at ‘business as usual’ levels, our grandchildren will inhabit a planet some 5 degrees Celsius hotter by the end of the century – rendering large parts of it uninhabitable, including many currently densely populated areas, which will be under water due to melting glaciers and ice caps.

The impacts on farming in Australia (and everywhere else) of such a rise in temperature would be very severe indeed.

To avoid such a bleak future, we simply must stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If our politicians had any common sense, they would change quickly to renewable energy, but sadly they are captives of the fossil fuel industry that funds their re-election campaigns.

So, for the sake of future generations, we have to make this change happen ourselves, and the best way to do this is to disrupt the business model of companies trying to make money from fossil fuels by pulling the financial rug out from underneath them.

It’s called divestment, which is simply the opposite of investment. Here’s how it works. If you’ve got shares in fossil fuel companies, then sell them and invest in something that won’t wreck the planet.

Press link for more: Rob McCreath | globalissues.org

“Baked Australia”

A new report out earlier this week says climate change is making Australia hotter, with anomalously warm days occurring more often and heat waves becoming hotter, longer and more frequent.

Perhaps the report should have been titled “Baked Australia” instead of “Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia.”

To be honest, at first I wasn’t going to post anything about this. That’s because the report, from Australia’s Climate Council, doesn’t seem to have much if anything that has not been published before. It’s certainly useful as a synthesis of information. But then I grew concerned that its release was timed to stick a fork in the eye of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was about to undergo a political near-death experience. More about that in a minute. But first…

Press link for more: Tom Yulsman | discovermagazine.com

How Warming May Alter Critical ‘Atmospheric Rivers.

The hose has been turned back on full-force over Northern California: A stream of moisture is flowing over the drought-riddled state and dropping copious amounts of rain just days after the close of one of the driest Januaries on record.

The influx of much-needed rain comes courtesy of a feature called an atmospheric river that is a key source of much of the state’s precipitation and water supply. A relatively recent meteorological discovery, these ribbons of water vapor in the sky are something scientists are trying to better understand. They are flying research planes into the heart of the current storm to study what fuels it, which could help improve forecasts of the events.

But while the rain is a welcome change, the fact that it has been so dry means that “the soil and the ground is going to soak up a lot of this water,” and reservoirs won’t benefit as much as if it had been a normal, wetter winter before this, White said.

Another downside is that the storm is very warm, as it is pulling moisture from the tropics near Hawaii, so any snow that falls will only be at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada range. The snowpack that accumulates in the winter months is a critical part of California’s water supply, slowly melting and refilling reservoirs in the spring and summer, and it is needed across a wider swath of the mountains.
Press link for more:

Andrea Thompson | climatecentral.org

‘Unbearable heat by 2090’ if climate change not addressed

Searing Australian heatwaves will feel cool by 2090 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, a leading climate scientist says.

A new report reveals Australia’s hottest year on record would not have happened without climate change.

The country experienced its hottest day, month, season and calendar year in 2013, registering a mean temperature 1.2C above the 1961-90 average.

The Climate Council says recent studies show those heat events would have occurred only once every 12,300 years without greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Professor Will Steffen says life will be tough by 2090 if emissions aren’t reduced to stabilise the climate.

“What you consider an extreme heat event now would be a normal summer by the middle of the century,” the author of Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia told reporters on Saturday.

“By 2090, when my grandkids are around, that’s going to be a cool summer.”

“You don’t want to live in that world.

“There’s even questions in the research community about whether societies will be viable in that world.”

Based on analyses of data and model outputs, the report says climate change triples the odds that heatwaves of the 2012-13 Australian summer will happen as frequently as they do.

Press link for more: sbs.com.au

California Prepares to Adapt to climate change.

California Prepares to Adapt.

The El Nino cycle, today and in the past; atmospheric rivers, floods and droughts; water resources and management; how California learned from air pollution; California’s regional assessments; Impacts on regional natural systems, regional technical systems, and populations.

Press link for more:

scripps.ucsd.edu