BAECCC (Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consoritum) Monthly News Update April 24 2017
The New York Times reviews a recent study about the impact of a 2°C rise in earth’s average temperature on the extent of permafrost. Using empirical methods, this study concludes that about 20% more permafrost than previously thought will melt in response to this temperature rise (keeping the rise to 1.5°C reduces melting by 30%). [The study suggests that permafrost is more susceptible to global warming that previously thought, as stabilising the climate at 2ºC above pre-industrial levels would lead to thawing of more than 40% of today’s permafrost areas. S. E. Chadburn, E. J. Burke, P. M. Cox, P. Friedlingstein, G. Hugelius, S. Westermann. An observation-based constraint on permafrost loss as a function of global warming. Nature Climate Change, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3262]
The New York Times Magazine Climate Issue (April 23), which is worth reviewing in its entirety, has article that describes the impacts of climate change that are forcing human migration and engendering social unrest and conflict. Another article describes SCOPEX (Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment), an investigation underway at Harvard regarding the feasibility (including the ethical challenges) of geoengineering by release of particles to the atmosphere. And another reviews the history of mosquito borne illness in the US and the recent evidence that climate change will be exacerbating this phenomenon. [and another one I liked: Climate future is actually our climate present.]
An article in Yale Environment 360 examines the growing conservative movement for climate action (the bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus is expanding). Axios reviews corporate positions on climate change, noting that the corporate sector is supporting the Paris agreement and distancing itself from the stance of the Trump administration. The Christian Science Monitor reports on the how conservative California farmers are thinking about water conservation and efficiency of use (just don’t talk about climate change).
Brad Plumer at VOX has an excellent discussion of why we need to be concerned about the Trump administration’s lack of action on climate change. While it’s true renewables are growing and states and local governments are taking action, we need the federal government to be planning for the deep decarbonization that is required to meet the 2°C goal. Should we seek decarbonization using 100% renewables (as suggested by Professor Mark Jacobson with The Solutions Project at Stanford), or also plan for using nuclear and fossil fuel with carbon capture and storage? Dave Roberts at VOX has an overview of this debate. [Here is an article on Bloomberg’s take on this.]
The budget proposed by President Trump would eliminate the National Estuary Program at US EPA, and almost completely eliminate the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program (I expect we can count on drastic proposed reductions in federal funding directed toward San Francisco Bay). The New York Times has a short video describing the kinds of work in the Chesapeake that will be eliminated if this budget is adopted.
The talented communicators at the Years of Living Dangerously have produced a video to encourage you and your friends to participate in the People’s Climate March. Please take a look and distribute the link far and wide. Realclimate now has a page devoted to comparisons of model prediction with predicted temperature measurements.
The Ocean Protection Council and Ocean Science Trust released of a new report entitled Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science. This report summarizes recent sea-level rise science, including recent scientific advances on the role of polar ice loss, and presents probabilistic projections for sea level rise in California. The Atlantic has an interesting article about the presence of surface water in Antarctica, and the growing understanding that there are active hydrologic networks that play a role in the resiliency of the ice sheets to warming temperatures.
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Andrew Gunther, Ph.D., Executive Coordinator
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