nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Poorest nations say Paris Climate Agreement is their “lifeline”

https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/poorest-nations-say-paris-climate-agreement-is-their-lifeline-stopadani-auspol/

The world’s poorest nations say the Paris climate agreement is their “lifeline” and must be strengthened.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, (CVF) representing 48 countries, said the deal was crucial to their survival.

In a swipe at President Trump’s oft-used phrase, they said that “no country would be great again” without swift action.
Thousands of delegates are meeting here in Bonn to develop the rule book for the Paris deal.
Around one billion people live in countries that are part of the CVF.
The group firmly supports the idea, enshrined in the Paris agreement, that countries would do all in their power to keep temperatures from increasing more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
“Keeping to 1.5 degrees is quite simply a matter of survival,” said Debasu Bayleyegn Eyasu from Ethiopia, which holds the presidency of the CVF.

“For all of us, the Paris agreement is our lifeline.”
Other speakers highlighted the fact that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the current US position on climate change.
President Trump is expected to decide on future US participation in the Paris accord after the G7 summit in Italy next week.
Picking up on Mr Trump’s “make America great again,” election battle-cry, Emmanuel Guzman from the Philippines said: “Without increased climate action, no country will be great again.”
“The measure of greatness is how you are able to increase and enhance your climate action.”
Mr Guzman said he was calling on all world leaders to increase their ambition and not just Mr Trump.
“I would not like to point a finger at someone, but it is a call for action by all big or small.
“If we don’t achieve the goals of the Paris agreement there are irreversible damages and consequences.”

Rising sea levels are causing problems for farmers in many climate vulnerable nations including Vietnam

“It’s a grim scenario – that’s really unacceptable to us.”
The group highlighted some of the important differences between keeping temperature rises under 2 degrees or under 1.5.

he Greenland ice sheet would enter irreversible long-term decline, with significant impacts on sea levels at 1.6 degrees one delegate said.
Warming beyond 1.5 would also “appreciably increase the prevalence of extreme storms that have already been capable of large-scale loss of life and cutting a year’s GDP in half for some of our members.”
At the last major conference of negotiators in Marrakech last November, members of the CVF committed themselves to moving towards 100% renewable energy as soon as possible.
“Costa Rica produces 100% renewable energy most of the year,” said William Calvo, the country’s adjunct chief negotiator.
“But we won’t stop there: we are tackling now the transport sector and hope to even export renewable power more widely in the region.”
The idea that other countries are capable of picking up the slack if the Americans pull out of Paris gained support this week with the release of an analysis showing that India and China are likely to overshoot existing targets to cut carbon

President Trump’s actions to revitalise the coal industry in the US and to de-regulate oil and gas are unlikely to rapidly increase emissions before 2030 says the study from the Climate Action Tracker.
Between 2013 and 2016 Chin’s coal use declined each year and a continued slow decline is expected.

India says that planned coal-fired power plants may not be needed if recently announced green policies are effective. You have to have the U.S. on board ultimately to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement,” Bill Hare from Climate Analytics told news agencies.

“But if there’s a hiatus for four years it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the game.”

Press link for more: BBC.COM

May 20, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Severe coastal floods set to double in number, as sea levels rise

Rising seas could double the number of severe coastal floods  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2131642-rising-seas-could-double-the-number-of-severe-coastal-floods/ By Chelsea Whyte, 8 May 2017  Just 35 years from now, severe coastal flooding could hit twice as often as it does now – if the seas rise by between just 5 and 10 centimetres.

Such a hike would make 50-year weather events happen twice as often, according to work by Sean Vitousek, a coastal scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his colleagues. A 50-year event is an increase in sea level so large that it’s only likely to happen twice a century.

Sea levels are actually projected to rise by more than this – estimates put it at between 10 and 20 centimetres over the next few decades.

 “It doesn’t take a ton of sea level rise to significantly change the frequency at which you have flooding,” says Vitousek.

Extremely high water levels are sometimes caused by storm surges and low pressure atmospheric systems, when the easing of pressure on the sea allows water levels to rise. But normal tides and waves also play a part.

Cities under water

Taking those factors into account in his model, Vitousek found that, by 2050, wave-exposed Indian cities like Mumbai and Kochi, and Abidjan in Ivory Coast would see increased frequency of flooding with just a 5-centimetre rise in seas.

If the rise were 10 centimetres, increased flooding would also hit Shanghai, London and New York.

Sea level rise is a global phenomenon that affects regions differently. The ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are so massive that their gravity draws ocean water towards them. As they melt, that water will go elsewhere.

If you lose Greenland, you’ll have more water in the ocean, which will elevate sea level everywhere. But the effect will be stronger farther away from Greenland,” says Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “In Greenland or Antarctica, the water levels may even drop. The tropics always lose because they’re in the middle.”

Sea levels are currently going up by about 3 to 4 millimetres across the globe somewhat uniformly, Vitousek says, but some areas are more susceptible to sea level rise than others because that makes up a larger percentage of their overall water levels.

n the higher latitudes where the difference between high and low sea level in a given year could be 3 metres, a few centimetres may not be noticeable. But in the tropics, that small increase could account for 10 to 20 per cent of the variation, Vitousek says. “It’s not a trivial percentage of the water level,” he says.

Accept the danger

Aimée Slangen, a climate change scientist at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, says regional events like El Niño could keep down some of the sea level rise in the tropics, but not forever.

“I think it would only delay the inevitable: at some point, flooding frequencies are going to increase as long as sea level keeps on rising,” she says. Vitousek says possible responses are to retreat from coastlines or to invest in engineering solutions, like building up natural beaches or creating artificial ones or building sea walls that provide shoreline protection.

But over the next few decades, an increase of 10 to 20 centimetres is inevitable, says Levermann. Even with large reductions in emissions, the die has already been cast for the near future.

“No one has to be afraid of sea level rise, if you’re not stupid,” he says. “It’s low enough that we can respond. It’s nothing to be surprised about, unless you have an administration that says it’s not happening. Then you have to be afraid, because it’s a serious danger,” Levermann says.

Journal reference: Nature Scientific ReportsDOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01362-7

Read more: Unexpected Antarctic melt could trigger 2-metre sea level rise

May 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

19 May Climate News

Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions
Growing plants and then storing the CO2 they have taken up from the atmosphere is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows.
http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/51292

Antarctica ‘greening’ due to climate change
Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/uoe-ad051617.php

May 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change could kill off all coral reefs by 2050

Dahr Jamail | Coral Reefs Could All Die Off by 2050, May 15, 2017, By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report “…… over the last two years, the Great Barrier Reef, which is so dear to Miller and countless others who revel in the beauty and mysteries of the oceans, has been dying off at an unprecedented rate due primarily to warming ocean waters.

Coral bleaching occurs when corals become stressed by warmer-than-normal water, causing them to expel symbiotic algae that live in their tissues, from which they get their energy. Coral turns completely white when it bleaches. If it remains bleached long enough, it dies.

One scientist has already gone so far as to declare the Great Barrier Reef is now in a “terminal stage.” Most of those studying the reef agree that what is happening is unprecedented. This is because, at a minimum, two-thirds of the 1,400-mile long reef bleached out last year, which led to 22 percent of it dying. Now another bleaching event has resulted in at least two-thirds of the reef bleached again.

The bleaching this year has moved much farther south and has taken scientists by surprise in its severity and extent,” Miller said. And he fears the state of the reef could be even worse than scientists realize, since only aerial surveys have been conducted to assess the damage and no research vessel is currently active on the reef to provide finer details.

With ocean temperatures rising across the globe as anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continues to pick up speed, the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral ecosystem on Earth, may well be an example of what is happening to all of the coral on the planet.

“This Is New for All of Us”……..

Miller is equally stunned by what he is seeing along the Great Barrier Reef, which is eerily similar to what Burdick is seeing on Guam.

“Parts of the reef that didn’t bleach last year are now under immense pressure, and this is totally different because this is back-to-back bleaching,” Miller explained. “The system was already stressed, and this is a new stress event. We are seeing much mortality on reefs in our area…. What didn’t die last year is dying this year.”

In addition to the new bleaching in this year’s event, southern portions of the reef that are typically in cooler waters are now also bleaching out.

“It’s heartbreaking to see,” Miller added. “Seventy thousand direct tourism-related jobs and a $6 billion tourism industry are all at risk, especially on top of the recent damage from Cyclone Debbie.”

study published this March in the journal Nature found that last year’s bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef was so severe that there was no similar analog in the thousands of years of ancient coral cores scientists use to study past climates.

Another study published in Nature projected that by the year 2050, more than 98 percent of global coral reefs will be afflicted by “bleaching-level thermal stress” every single year.

However, the prognosis could be even worse: The scientists involved in the study from this March speculated that the era of never-ending global coral bleaching may have already arrived, albeit several decades earlier than was predicted even just last year. They explained that the Great Barrier Reef needs 10 to 15 years between bleaching events in order to fully recover, and that recovery time period is “no longer realistic.”

“We Don’t Even Know What We Are Losing”……..

report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization shows that coral reefs are responsible for producing 17 percent of all globally consumed protein, with that ratio being 70 percent or greater in island and coastal countries like those of Micronesia.

At the time of this writing, Earth has lost nearly half of its coral, and oceanic warming only continues to accelerate.

“We are finding that reefs living under anthropogenic stresses for many years have already lost their more sensitive coral species, and the ones that are there now are already the tough bastards,” Raymundo said. “And when reefs have lower diversity, there is less ecological redundancy; hence, they are more likely to collapse.”

A Future Without Coral?

2012 study revealed that half of the Great Barrier Reef had already vanished in just the previous 27 years. Two years later, the world’s most qualified coral reef experts released a report showing that, without dramatic intervention, the Great Barrier Reef would disappear completely by 2030.

Furthermore, a study published and released by NOAA in 2011 warned that, “unless action is taken now to reduce the threats,” 90 percent of all reefs will be “threatened” by 2030, and all of Earth’s coral reefs could be completely gone by 2050. The study, “Reefs at Risk Revisited,” listed human-caused climate disruption, warmer water temperatures, ocean acidification, shipping, overfishing, coastal development and agricultural runoff as the contributing factors.

While that might sound extreme, Miller told Truthout he thought the report actually didn’t go far enough.

“I think it’s too conservative,” he explained. “Corals need many years to adjust to the warmer ocean waters, and we don’t have that kind of time anymore. The warming we are seeing now is happening far too fast to allow for evolution…. So what we’re seeing now is death. That’s what bleaching is.”……..

Back in Australia, Miller is dismayed by the fact that his government is doing very little, if anything, to mitigate the crisis.

Truthout asked Miller what steps the Australian government is taking to save the Great Barrier Reef.

“From what I can tell, virtually nothing,” he answered. “They are not focussed on this at all, but rather are pushing for the Adani Coal Mine to go ahead. We here in Australia can hardly believe it, to be honest. In fact, the government has had almost no comment on the bleaching at all.”

The coal mine he referred to is looking like it is going to move forward, which will, according to Miller, bring an additional 500 ships carrying coal across the Great Barrier Reef every single year.

Truthout interviewed Miller’s colleague, John Rumney, the managing director of Great Barrier Reef Legacy in February, when this year’s bleaching event began.

“This coral is in big trouble,” Rumney said at the time. Like Miller, Burdick and Raymundo, Rumney warned of the extreme loss of biodiversity that comes with the disappearance of reefs.

“When all that coral goes, all that diversity of fish that depends on it goes,” Rumney told Truthout. “The entire food chain is in big trouble.”

Miller concurred, saying, “We might see ecosystem collapse as we know it.” The need for independent research on the Great Barrier Reef during this second mass-bleaching event is needed more than ever, according to Miller. His and Rumney’s organization is striving to get more scientists out to the reef as quickly as possible.

“The world’s greatest natural icon and largest living structure needs our help more than ever, and unless we act as a concerned global population, nothing will be done,” he concluded. “It is not too late. The reef is worth saving — and our actions now will determine the fate of coral reefs in as little as 5 to 10 years. We must act.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40579-coral-reefs-generate-half-of-earth-s-oxygen-and-they-could-all-die-off-by-2050

May 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

BMO Global Asset Management dumps BHP Billiton and other fossil fuel shares

Guardian 15th May 2017, Archbishop of Canterbury plays crucial role in BMO Global Asset Management’s decision to dump £20m of shares in firms such as BHP Billiton  One of Britain’s biggest managers of ethical funds is to dump £20m of shares in fossil fuel companies in one of the biggest divestments so farbecause of climate change.

Shares in BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, will be among those sold by BMO Global Asset Management’s range of “responsible” funds, which manage £1.5bn of assets. They were previously known as the “stewardship” funds, the first ethical funds launched in Britain. The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, played a crucial role in the divestment, as president of BMO’s responsible investment council. The Church of England has already pulled out of investing in companies that make more than 10% of its revenues from thermal coal or oil from tar sands….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/top-uk-fund-manager-divests-from-fossil-fuels

May 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Lawyers and scientists defend the integrity of climate science

Under Fire, Climate Scientists Unite With Lawyers to Fight Back https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/science/under-fire-climate-scientists-unite-with-lawyers-to-fight-back.html?_r=0  MAY 15, 2017  Lawyers and scientists do not always get along, but some are now finding common cause in an effort to defend the integrity of science — especially climate science — in government and academia.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Two experts resign from EPA in protest to the sacking of science members

Two experts resign from EPA posts to protest the agency’s science committee shake-up, WP  May 12 In an expanding controversy over the role of science in the Trump administration, two expert advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency resigned Friday in protest at the dismissal of half of the members of a key science committee.

Carlos Martín, an engineer with the Urban Institute, and Peter Meyer, an economist with the E.P. Systems Group, an environmental and economic research firm, posted a joint resignation letter on Twitter, saying they were standing down to protest the agency’s decision to remove the scientists.

“We cannot in good conscience be complicit in our co-chairs’ removal, or in the watering down of credible science, engineering, and methodological rigor that is at the heart of that decision,” they wrote.

Martín and Meyer had advised the EPA science’s branch on research related to environmental contaminants and spills, the disposal of waste, and techniques for environmental cleanups.

The Trump administration has proposed to cut the budget of that branch, called the Office of Research and Development, by $233 million in 2018…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/12/two-experts-resign-from-epa-posts-to-protest-the-agencys-science-committee-shakeup/?utm_term=.65cba6cecfec

May 15, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump to pick climate sceptic non scientist to head science agency!

Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist Is Not a ScientistSam Clovis likely to be named undersecretary of the USDA department that manages research on everything from climate change to nutrition. Pro Publica, by Jessica Huseman , May 12, 2017, The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.

Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television……https://www.propublica.org/article/trumps-expected-pick-for-top-usda-scientist-is-not-a-scientist

May 15, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Vanishing Pacific island calls on Australia for help

Our country will vanish’: Pacific islanders bring desperate message to Australia, Guardian, 14 May 17,   Kiribati and other low-lying countries are under threat from climate change, and while their people would rather stay behind, they may be left with no choice “……… i-Kiribati man Erietera Aram is in Australia delivering his message about the reality of climate change in his country, and of its immediacy. Each discussion, he says, is like a drop of water, adding to the one before it, slowly building understanding of the existential threat to his people and place.

“Climate change is not something off in the future, it’s not a problem for later. We are living it now,” he says.

The archipelago of Kiribati – 33 tiny coral atolls spanning 3.5m square kilometres of ocean – is the world’s lowest-lying country, with an average height above sea level of just two metres.

Most of the 113,000 i-Kiribati live crammed on to Tarawa, the administrative centre, a chain of islets that curve in a horseshoe shape around a lagoon.

“My place is very small,” Aram says. “If you stand in the middle, you can see water on both sides. We are vulnerable. One tsunami, one tsunami and our whole country will disappear.”

Already, there is less and less of Kiribati for its inhabitants. The coastline is regularly being lost to king tides and to creeping sea levels, and in a very real sense, there is nowhere to go.

The loss of land is causing conflict – Tarawa is growing ever more densely crowded, as families living on the coastline are forced inwards, infringing on another’s claim.

The next round of multinational climate talks in November – COP 23 – will be chaired by Fiji, and is expected to swing particular focus of the global climate debate to the Pacific, where comparatively minuscule amounts of carbon are produced, but the effects of climate change have been felt first, and most acutely.

Assuming the COP presidency, the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said he would “bring a particular perspective to these negotiations on behalf of some of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – Pacific Islanders and the residents of other small island developing states and low-lying areas of the world”…….https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/14/our-country-will-vanish-pacific-islanders-bring-desperate-message-to-australia

May 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

USA intelligence’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report warns Trump on global warming

Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, 12 May 17  Each year the intelligence community puts together a “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report, and it inevitably scares the hell out of Congress and the public by detailing all the dangers facing the U.S. (Hint: there are a lot of them.)

 This year’s report, published Thursday and discussed at a congressional hearing, makes for particularly disquieting reading.

While it focuses on the increasing danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses as well as cyberterrorism threats, one environmental concern stands out on the list: climate change.   According to the new report, delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), warns that climate change is raising the likelihood of instability and conflict around the world.

This is surprising given the Trump administration’s open hostility to climate science findings.

“The trend toward a warming climate is forecast to continue in 2017,” the report states, noting that 2016 was the hottest year on record worldwide. Climate scientists have firmly tied this to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, though the report does not make that link.

“This warming is projected to fuel more intense and frequent extreme weather events that will be distributed unequally in time and geography. Countries with large populations in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to tropical weather events and storm surges, especially in Asia and Africa,” the report states………..http://mashable.com/2017/05/11/trump-intel-report-cites-climate-change-risks/#iCN3X703iiqw

May 13, 2017 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

USA signs up to Arctic agreement for action on climate change

Tillerson, at Arctic meeting, signs document affirming need for action on climate change, LA Times, William Yardley, 11 May 17, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed his name Thursday to a document that affirms the need for international action against climate change, adding further uncertainty to the direction of climate policy under the Trump administration.

The document, signed by Tillerson and seven foreign ministers from Arctic nations meeting this week in Fairbanks, Alaska, says the participants concluded their meeting “noting the entry into force of the Paris agreement on climate change and its implementation, and reiterating the need for global action to reduce both long-lived greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants.”

Called the Fairbanks Declaration, the document says the leaders signed it “recognizing that activities taking place outside the Arctic region, including activities occurring in Arctic states, are the main contributors to climate change effects and pollution in the Arctic, and underlining the need for action at all levels.”

The Trump administration has been in conflict for months over what to do about U.S. involvement in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, which commits nearly 200 nations to establishing goals to reduce emissions that lead to climate change.

Trump has repeatedly questioned climate science, calling climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and vowing during his campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement……..

Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon, is among those who have argued that the U.S. should keep its commitment.

The Fairbanks Declaration does not affirm that the U.S. will honor the Paris accord. Nor does it explicitly state that human activity is causing climate change.

And Tillerson’s spoken remarks at the meeting made clear that the administration is divided. After vowing that the U.S. would “continue to be vigilant in protecting the fragile environment in the Arctic,” Tillerson said this about current U.S. climate policy:

“In the United States, we are currently reviewing several important policies, including how the Trump administration will approach the issue of climate change. We’re appreciative that each of you has an important point of view and you should know that we are taking the time to understand your concerns. We’re not going to rush to make a decision. ……..

No part of the world is warming faster than the Arctic.

Summer sea ice regularly shrinks to record lows, coastlines are eroding and wildfires are getting worse. Even the frozen tundra, a critical natural storage tank for carbon emissions, is no longer so frozen. Scientists reported this week that it is warming so rapidly that it now is emitting more carbon than it captures.

The Fairbanks Declaration includes several other references to climate change and taking action to mitigate it or adapt to it. It refers to “reiterating the importance of climate science to our understanding of the changing Arctic region and our activities in the Arctic environment.”……http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-arctic-council-20170511-story.html

May 13, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

Montana’s glaciers disappearing – shrinking, like many glaciers world-wide

Glaciers rapidly shrinking and disappearing: 50 years of glacier change in Montana https://phys.org/news/2017-05-glaciers-rapidly-years-glacier-montana.html#jCphttp://phy.so/413641276  May 10, 2017 The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University. On average, the glaciers have reduced by 39 percent and only 26 glaciers are now larger than 25 acres, which is used as a guideline for deciding if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers.

The data include scientific information for the 37 named glaciers in Glacier National Park and two glaciers on U.S. Forest Service land. The retreat of glaciers is significant in Montana because of the impact shrinking glaciers can have on tourism, as well as being a visual indicator of mountain ecosystem change in the northern Rocky Mountains.

“The park-wide loss of ice can have ecological effects on aquatic species by changing stream water volume, water temperature and run-off timing in the higher elevations of the park,” said lead USGS scientist Dr. Daniel Fagre.

Portland State geologist Andrew G. Fountain partnered with USGS on the project. He said glaciers in mountain ranges throughout the United States and the world have been shrinking for decades.

“While the shrinkage in Montana is more severe than some other places in the U.S., it is in line with trends that have been happening on a global scale,” Fountain said.

Scientists used digital maps from aerial photography and satellites to measure the perimeters of the glaciers in late summer when seasonal snow has melted to reveal the extent of the glacial ice. The areas measured are from 1966, 1998, 2005 and 2015/2016, marking approximately 50 years of change in glacier area.

Site visits to glaciers were also made over several years to investigate portions that were covered by rock debris that are difficult to see with digital imagery. The mapped measurements of glaciers complement ground surveys of glaciers using GPS along with repeat photography that involves re-photographing historic photos of glaciers taken early last century when there were an estimated 150 glaciers larger than 25 acres in Glacier National Park.

“Tracking these small alpine glaciers has been instrumental in describing climate change effects on Glacier National Park to park management and the public,” said Lisa McKeon, USGS scientist who has been documenting glacier change since 1997.

This information is part of a larger, ongoing USGS glacier study of glaciers in Montana, Alaska and Washington to document mass balance measurements that estimate whether the total amount of ice is increasing or decreasing at a particular glacier. This information helps scientists understand the impact of large scale climate patterns on glaciers in distinctly different mountain environments.

The data for Glacier National Park’s named glaciers are available at the USGS ScienceBase website. Additional information about the glacier research can be found at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center website and the USGS Benchmark Glacier program website.

 

May 12, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Arctic Council meeting: USA might be confronted by Arctic Nations concerned about climate change

Arctic Nations May Confront U.S. on Climate Change Leaders of the Arctic Council could rebuff U.S. position, Scientific American, By Margaret Kriz HobsonClimateWire on May 10, 2017, FAIRBANKS, Alaska—Diplomats from eight Arctic nations are facing a standoff today over the Trump administration’s efforts to downplay the importance of climate change in an Arctic Council ministerial statement marking the end of the United States’ two-year council chairmanship.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the top foreign ministers from the world’s seven other Arctic nations are due to arrive in Fairbanks today for tomorrow’s Arctic Council ministerial meeting.

During that meeting, the top government officials are scheduled to sign a final statement highlighting the accomplishments of the U.S. chairmanship, as well as Finland’s plans for its upcoming term as head of the council.

But foreign policy staff arriving in Fairbanks early this week said they have not yet signed off on the wording of the ministerial statement proposed by the White House in advance of the meeting. They disagree with Trump administration efforts to weaken the references to climate change and the Paris climate accord.

The officials are meeting with U.S. officials this morning to hammer out the final language of the ministerial statement. Like all Arctic Council actions, that statement must be reached on a consensus basis. Along with the United States, the council is made up of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.

At issue is the abrupt change in the U.S. position on the Paris Agreement since the November election. Former President Obama made climate change the top issue when the United States took the lead of the Arctic Council in 2015.

President Trump, however, has sidelined Arctic policy issues and largely ignored the Arctic Council climate priorities of his predecessor. Trump has dismissed the science backing climate change and proposed to open the American Arctic to oil and gas drilling. His White House is currently embroiled in debate over whether the United States should continue to participate in the Paris Agreement.

Meanwhile, most of the other members of the Arctic Council have been emphasizing their commitment to reducing greenhouse gases under the Paris agreement.

The five Nordic countries recently issued a statement strongly affirming the Paris accord and vowing to take the lead on climate and energy policies. At the same time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported the Paris Agreement on the floor of the Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario, and called climate action “particularly important amongst Arctic nations.”…….https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/arctic-nations-may-confront-u-s-on-climate-change/

May 12, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

Environmental Protection Agency dismisses at least five members of a major scientific review board

E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board MAY 7, 2017 WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

May 10, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Medical scientists report on impact of climate change on health in USA

Medical scientists report on the impact climate change is having on health https://www.skepticalscience.com/medical-scientists-report-climate-health-impact.html5 May 2017 by John Abraham mEDICAL sCIENTISAs a climate scientist, I spend time and energy studying how fast the Earth is warming and what is causing the warming. This knowledge helps us predict what the future will look like. But, what most people are interested in is, “how will it affect me?”

Some impacts we are pretty clear about, like the impacts related to sea level rise, increased storms and heavy precipitation, and increased drought and heat waves – particularly the impacts these events have on the economy. But climate change will affect us personally as well (by personally, I mean our physical person).

In fact, climate change is already affecting personal human health around the world. This subject was the focus of a summary report just published by the Medical Society Consortium. What I really liked about this report is that it breaks down some of the key impacts by region. Unfortunately, the report is limited in scope to the USA. However, the general conclusions and trends can be illuminating for people outside the USA as well.

What was also welcome is that this report was prepared by physicians (not climatescientists) of major medical societies and the conclusions are based on the best available and current information of both the climate and health fields.

So what did they find? Perhaps most importantly they find that climate change is already affecting our health. This isn’t a future problem for the next generation. It is a problem that is present and growing. They also report that some populations are more susceptible to climate change effects. Among the most vulnerable groups are children, student athletes, pregnant women, elderly, people with chronic health conditions, and the impoverished. A third key takeaway is that the problems will get much worse as climate change continues.

The study reports that if you live on the West Coast, wildfires, extreme temperatures, poorer air quality, extreme weather events, and agricultural risks are occurring. On the East Coast, you can add vector-borne diseases as a risk area. The central USA region is also similarly being affected.

As you dig deeper into the report, you learn about how these various climate-related features are affecting health. Each factor is dealt with by three questions: 1) What is happening? 2) How does it harm our health? 3) Who is being harmed?

For instance, with respect to extreme weather, the report correctly notes that the frequency and severity of some weather events such as heavy downpours, floods, droughts, and major storms are increasing. This harms our health because these events can cause direct injury and death as well as displacement. Extreme weather can also harm vital infrastructure like communication systems, homes, and reduce the availability of clean water and food. Finally, extreme weather can lead to acute outbreaks of infectious disease while at the same time reducing access to health care.

Click here to read the rest

May 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment