THE BLOG

Climate Change This Week: Melting Poles, Fading Forest, Solar Soars, and More!

03/30/2015 10:23 am ET | Updated May 30, 2015

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

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As we cut down much of the Amazon forest , much of the rest is starting to die off, greatly decreasing the cheapest way to store carbon in the world. Along the way, we are losing fascinating wildlife.

Amazon Forest Now Stores A Third Less Carbon than formerly as deforestation and die-off of the remainder increases, reports Karl Mathiesen at The Guardian. Much deeper carbon emission cuts will be necessary to offset this loss of storage, say scientists.

Related Headline:

OO Deforestation Slowing, But Forests Are Breaking Down

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"Please take my baby back with you!" the poor mother pleaded to Melinda Gates, explaining that Melinda's health program helped her give birth to yet another unwanted child she could not feed. A health triumph was another tragedy for this woman, who wished she had had access to contraceptives instead. Source: Gary L. Darmstadt at the Huffingtonpost

OO Call to Action: Give All Women Worldwide the Choice of Family Planning

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@@ Sheldon Whitehouse, March 25, 2015: Oceans Warn,We Don't Listen - the Senator warns how warming oceans threaten our marine life.

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@@ Everyday Climate Change at Instagram
Bringing you the face of climate change daily

March 15, 2015: A building block yields to the sea and sand in Jakaarta, where ever-rising sea levels continue to eat away at the city. @sean_gallagher_photo

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Arctic ice floes in Baffin Bay. Jonathan Hayward at the Canadian Press via AP

OO Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Winter Peak and much earlier than normal.

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And THAT is why you should be worried about it's rapid decline...

Related Headlines:

OO The Arctic Sea Ice Just Set A Disturbing New Record

OO Arctic Death Spiral: Sea Ice Extent Hits Record Winter Low As Thickness Collapses, part of a 30+ year trend with serious implications for extreme weather, sea level rise and permafrost melt. As the surface area of sea ice has declined, the ice thickness during the summer minimum dropped a remarkable 85% from 1975 to 2012.

What does all this melted ice do?....

@@ Massive Melting Slows Major Atlantic Current by decreasing the salinity of the North Atlantic, which helps slow down the Atlantic oceanic conveyor belt. This massive current and other marine conveyors belts worldwide are responsible for redistributing massive amounts of heat, thus influencing weather worldwide.

Related Headline:

Atlantic Circulation Weaker Than In Last Thousand Years
Powerful Atlantic Ocean
currents fuel Gulf streams, affect sea levels, warm cities in continental Europe and North America, and bring nutrients up from ocean depths that help sustain marine ecosystems and fisheries. But an avalanche of cold water from the melting Greenland ice sheet appears to be slowing the ocean circulation to historically low levels says a new study, reports John Upton at Climate Central.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the Earth...

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The mass of Anrartic ice is so large that its gravitational force pulls a mass of water close to it; but once melted, that mountain of water will disperse evenly worldwide to the farthest areas - the northern hemisphere - with relatively more water that bring its levels from below average to mid average levels. Thus, sea level rise will be faster there. Credit Jonathan Bamber

OO From Bad To Worse:
Antarctic Melt Now Destabilizing 2 Large Glaciers
which, when completely melted, will add over 20 feet in sea level rise, especially in the US, due to the law of gravity: the current gigantic mass of ice attracts more water to it, but once melted, the attraction stops, with even more water dispersing to areas farthest away, that formerly had below average levels - the northern hemisphere will get more that an average rise.

Related Headline:

OO Warm Water Channel Found Under One Of Antarctica's Largest Glaciers - scientists found two pathways that are likely channelling warm ocean water under a massive Antarctic glacier, helping to melt it, and raise sea levels.

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Fossil fuel pollution, and the health hazards it creates, add greatly to these fuels' real but invisible costs. Credit Kyodo News/AP

OO Fossil Fuels Are Way More Expensive Than You Think when you factor in the pollution costs (and health damages) associated with burning them.

SOLAR KEEPS SURFING

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OO Outlook For Solar Gets A Bit Brighter - as its cost has fallen dramatically, more than 60 percent, over the last five years.

OO Solar Rooftop PV Could Power California Nearly 5 Times Over says a new study.

OO SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It by creating a program for cities, remote communities, campuses and military bases under which they will design and operate small, independent power networks called microgrids.

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Source: solarenergy.net

OO France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels

OO China Boosts Solar Target for 2015 as It Fights Pollution

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Check it out here, right now!

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GOOD CLEAN NEWS

OO Obama Signs to Cut US Government's Carbon Emissions 40% Over 10 Years

OO California, Quebec Teaming Up On Climate Change

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When Less Is More: as coal plants get canceled, expect more clean air and clean energy. Source: RTCC

OO More Coal Plants Are Being Canceled Than Built Worldwide - canceled projects are outstripping completed plants by 2 to 1.

OO A Surprising Benefit Of Electric Cars: Cooler Cities

OO Canada Could Go 100% Renewable By 2035
If Its Government Gets Serious About Climate Change

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WHAT WORKS

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Speaking Out:

OO China's Top Meteorologist:
'Serious Threat' Of Climate Change Could Have 'Huge Impacts'

OO Ignored By Government,
Canadian Academics Offer Nation Their Own Climate Policy

Good Ideas:

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Credit University of Texas

OO Oil's Climate Impacts Can Be Minimized while alternative sources are developed, indicates a new index, which shows that oil's climate impacts vary widely.

OO FEMA To States: No Climate Planning, No Money - governors seeking billions of dollars in US preparedness funds will have to sign off on plans to mitigate effects of climate change.

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WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies

OO The Biggest Source Of U.S. Carbon Emissions Is
Coal Extracted From Public Lands
- the US government does not currently measure the total greenhouse gas emissions from public lands that it manages.

Clueless Leadership:

OO GOP Senate Leader McConnell Urges States to
Help Thwart Obama's 'War on Coal'
- someone fill his xmas stocking with coal.

OO GOP McConnell Aims To Stop National And Global Climate Action - his efforts can't save the coal industry, but sadly he can make it much harder for Americans to save ourselves from Dust-Bowlification and loss of our coastal cities.

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OO Republicans Trying to Block New Environmental Rules For Fracking - already, 27 GOP Senators have introduced a bill to block them, and two oil industry groups have filed a lawsuit to nullify them.

OO GOP Senate Hearing On Oil Exports Didn't Mention The Environment Once
"It feels ridiculous to have a discussion about lifting the ban on oil exports and not talk about climate change."

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WHY WE SHOULD ACT NOW: RISING RISKS

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, Mar 29, 2015

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is "caused" by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US and the waters surrounding it are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures: the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, sending it into further drought. Part of the US is also experiencing unusually cold weather, also predicted to occur as climate change effects produce both extremely cold and hot weather.

Much of the areas surrounding the North Pole are experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures - not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice. Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

Natural Repercussions:

@@ Welcome To The 'Double El Niño'
-- And More Extreme Weather
- a rare weather phenomenon that climatologists had warned about several months ago.

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A common Boston winter scene. Credit Steven Senne/AP

OO Boston's Record-Breaking Snow Season
'A Harbinger Of The Future' Say Climate Scientists

Natural Repercussions:

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Changing flavor? Climate change will likely lower the quality and taste of produce. Wikipedia

OO Climate Change Could Make Food Taste Worse - report warns as higher temperatures and less reliable rainfall affect the quality of food grown.

OO Farming Absorbs 22% Of Cost Of Disasters In Developing Countries - especially poor farmers who do not have the insurance or resources to rebuild their lives, says a UN report.

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Folsom Lake, CA, before and after the drought, where far less water is running through the dam. Credit Google Earth, CA Dept Water Resources

OO California Staring At Decline In Hydro-Power Due To Drought

OO California Drought Pushes Up Utility Bills study finds

There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I've compiled, "Climate Change News Resources," at Wordpress.com here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check this out!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by these crocuses I photographed one spring. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you'd like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It's our way of letting Congress know there's a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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