Climate Change May Cause More Storms to Rapidly
Intensify, As Delta Did
Hurricane Delta is currently churning toward the Gulf Coast, expected
to make landfall in Louisiana later today. Delta is the 25th named storm this
season and the ninth hurricane. It’s the earliest in the year that any season
has reached 25 storms. An average Atlantic hurricane season sees only 12
named storms, six of which typically become hurricanes and three of which
grow into major hurricanes.
A comprehensive quantification of global nitrous oxide
sources and sinks
Nitrous oxide (N2O), like carbon dioxide, is a long-lived greenhouse
gas that accumulates in the atmosphere. Over the past 150 years, increasing
atmospheric N2O concentrations have contributed to stratospheric ozone
depletion1 and climate change2, with the current rate of increase estimated
at 2 per cent per decade. Existing national inventories do not provide a full
picture of N2O emissions, owing to their omission of natural sources and
limitations in methodology for attributing anthropogenic sources.
Dissolved black carbon is not likely a significant refractory organic
carbon pool in rivers and oceans
Rivers are the major carriers of dissolved black
carbon (DBC) from land to ocean; the sources of DBC during its continuous
transformation and cycling in the ocean, however, are not well characterized.
Here, we present new carbon isotope data for DBC in four large and two small
mountainous rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow river estuaries, the East China
Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. We found that the carbon isotope signatures
of DBC are relatively homogeneous, and the DBC 14C ages in rivers are
predominantly young and increase during continuous transport and cycling in
the ocean. The results of charcoal leaching experiments indicate that DBC is
released from charcoal and degraded by bacteria.
Personal exposure to fine particulate air pollutants
impacts blood pressure and heart rate variability
Air pollution has increasingly been
recognized as a major healthcare concern. Air pollution, particularly fine
particulate matter (≤ 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter [PM2.5]) has demonstrated an increase in
adverse cardiovascular events.
Temperature variability implies greater economic damages from climate
A number of influential assessments of the economic
cost of climate change rely on just a small number of coupled climate–economy
models. A central feature of these assessments is their accounting of the
economic cost of epistemic uncertainty—that part of our uncertainty stemming
from our inability to precisely estimate key model parameters, such as the
Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity. However, these models fail to account for
the cost of aleatory uncertainty—the irreducible uncertainty that remains
even when the true parameter values are known. We show how to account for
this second source of uncertainty in a physically well-founded and tractable
way, and we demonstrate that even modest variability implies trillions of
dollars of previously unaccounted for economic damages.
‘Burn more oil.’ Exxon’s internal plans reveal rising
Darren Woods entered 2018 with big plans for Exxon
Mobil Corp. In a presentation to investors early that year, the CEO of
America’s most prominent oil company outlined a strategy to double Exxon’s
earnings by 2025. It called for a massive increase in drilling: 25 new
projects capable of boosting production by about 1 million barrels a day.
The Earth Is on Fire
It’s immoral to saddle today’s young people with an
inheritance of environmental catastrophe. As some of the worst wildfires on
record tear through the American West, painting the sky orange, and as
hurricanes ravage the South, leaving behind apocalyptic fields of ruin. In
today’s pandemic moment, nature’s storyline has reached a low point.
Crop switching reduces agricultural losses from climate change in the
United States by half under RCP 8.5
A key strategy for agriculture to adapt to climate change
is by switching crops and relocating crop production. We develop an approach
to estimate the economic potential of crop reallocation using a Bayesian
hierarchical model of yields. We apply the model to six crops in the United
States, and show that it outperforms traditional empirical models under
cross-validation. The fitted model parameters provide evidence of
considerable existing climate adaptation across counties. If crop locations
are held constant in the future, total agriculture profits for the six crops
will drop by 31% for the temperature patterns of 2070 under RCP 8.5.
Oil companies push into biorefining
French firm Total is latest to convert a fossil fuel
refinery to biofuels, but the trend has its limits. The French oil and
petrochemical giant Total will invest around $600 million to convert its
refinery in Seine-et-Marne, France, from refining petroleum to refining
natural oils and fats. Other oil companies are also deploying this strategy
in response to the Paris climate agreement and coming legislation in
Biomass-burning-derived particles from a wide variety of
fuels – Part 2: Effects of photochemical aging on particle optical and
Particles in smoke emitted from biomass
combustion have a large impact on global climate and urban air quality. There
is limited understanding of how particle optical properties – especially the
contributions of black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) – evolve with
photochemical aging of smoke.
Atmospheric Chemistry and
Greenland Is Melting at Some of the Fastest Rates in
If greenhouse gas emissions do not decline, melt
rates could quadruple and further add to sea level rise. The vast Greenland
ice sheet is melting at some of its fastest rates in the past 12,000 years.
And it could quadruple over the next 80 years if greenhouse gas emissions
don’t decline dramatically in the coming decades. Research published
yesterday in the journal Nature warns that the ice sheet’s future losses
depend heavily on how quickly humans cut carbon emissions today.
Banks pushed to track carbon-heavy lending
A first-of-its-kind framework to push banks,
insurers and other financial firms to set emissions reduction targets was
released yesterday by a coalition of environmental groups. The coalition,
known as the Science Based Targets initiative, has identified nearly 1,000
companies across the economy that are working to take “science-based
climate action.” Nearly half of those companies have received a stamp of
approval by the initiative, which was formed in 2015 and whose members
include the U.N. Global Compact, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the World
Resources Institute (WRI) and CDP, an environmental nonprofit.
Fire in our future
It can seem like Earth itself is on fire. In places
such as Australia and California for which fire is a natural feature,
landscapes are burning at historic if not epic scales. In the Arctic and
Greenland, where fire is rare, tundra is smoldering and melting permafrost.
In Amazonia, Indonesia, and Mediterranean Europe, fires are interacting with
the land clearing of rainforest, the draining of peatlands, and the
abandonment of rural lands to create damaging, even lethal conditions. There
is no single driver except humanity behind this outbreak. But increasingly,
anthropogenic climate change is recognized as an enabler, performance
enhancer, and globalizer. Fire seasons are lengthening, fire severity is
escalating, and collateral damages are compounding.
Atmospheric dispersion of methane emissions from
sugarcane burning in Mexico
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas whose
atmospheric dispersion may have different implications at distinct scales.
One significant contributor to methane emissions is sugarcane farming in
tropical areas like in Mexico, which has the sixth highest production level
in the world.
Europe is building a ‘digital twin’ of Earth to
revolutionize climate forecasts
The European Union is finalizing plans for an
ambitious “digital twin” of planet Earth that would simulate the atmosphere,
ocean, ice, and land with unrivaled precision, providing forecasts of floods,
droughts, and fires from days to years in advance. Destination Earth, as the
effort is called, won’t stop there: It will also attempt to capture human
behavior, enabling leaders to see the impacts of weather events and climate
change on society and gauge the effects of different climate policies.
Ninety Percent of U.S. Cars Must Be Electric by 2050 to
Meet Climate Goals
Any move away from gas-powered cars should also be
accompanied by efforts to beef up public transportation. The United States is
not expected to electrify passenger cars fast enough to stay on track with
the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees
Celsius, according to a new study. Published in the journal Nature Climate
Change yesterday, the study by engineers at the University of Toronto
concludes that 90% of light-duty cars on American roads would need to be
electric by 2050 to keep the transportation sector in line with climate
The worst is yet to come for the Greenland ice sheet
An assessment of past, present and future ice loss
from the Greenland ice sheet shows that rates of loss in the twenty‑first century will be much higher than those at any
time during the past 11,700 years.
Can China, the world’s biggest coal consumer, become
carbon neutral by 2060?
China’s surprise pledge last week to cut its net
carbon emissions to zero within 40 years has reignited hopes of limiting
global climate change to tolerable levels. The country is the world’s largest
producer of carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for 28% of global emissions, and
its move may inspire other countries to follow suit. But observers warn that
China faces daunting challenges in reaching its goals. Kicking its coal habit will be particularly hard.
Anatomy of the March 2016 severe ozone smog episode in
This paper reports continuous detection
of the daytime convective boundary layer height, the stable boundary layer
height, and the residual layer height as estimated from the vertical profiles
of virtual potential temperature, and moisture retrieved from a microwave
radiometer (MWR) in Mexico City for the period 6–18 March 2016.
Future warming exacerbated by aged-soot effect on cloud
Clouds play a critical role in
modulating the Earth’s radiation balance and climate. Anthropogenic aerosol
particles that undergo aging processes, such as soot, aid cloud droplet and
ice crystal formation and thus influence the microphysical structure of
Human Activity is Increasing Severity and Frequency of
Major Marine Heatwaves
Marine heatwaves have become more than 20 times more
frequent over the past 40 years due to human activity and the burning of
greenhouse gases, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
The research is the first to analyze the anthropogenic impacts on marine heatwaves,
and points to the need for ambitious climate action.
Yale Environment 360
High-impact marine heatwaves attributable to human-induced global
climate change is causing not only more episodes of historically high air
temperatures but also more frequent spells of unusually increased ocean
temperatures. Marine heatwaves, defined as periods of anonymously high
regional surface ocean temperatures, have also become common in recent
Mapping carbon accumulation potential from global natural forest
To constrain global warming, we must strongly
curtail greenhouse gas emissions and capture excess atmospheric carbon
dioxide. Regrowing natural forests is a prominent strategy for capturing
additional carbon, but accurate assessments of its potential are limited by
uncertainty and variability in carbon accumulation rates. To assess why and
where rates differ, here we compile 13,112 georeferenced measurements of
carbon accumulation. Climatic factors explain variation in rates better than
land-use history, so we combine the field measurements with 66 environmental
covariate layers to create a global, one-kilometre-resolution map of
potential aboveground carbon accumulation rates for the first 30 years of
natural forest regrowth.
Investigating PM2.5 responses to other air pollutants
and meteorological factors across multiple temporal scales
study, we explored such interaction at various temporal scales, taking the
city of Nanjing, China as a case study ensemble empirical mode
decomposition-meteorological factors-Daily scales
The hysteresis of the Antarctic Ice Sheet
More than half of Earth’s freshwater resources are
held by the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which thus represents by far the largest
potential source for global sea-level rise under future warming conditions1.
Its long-term stability determines the fate of our coastal cities and
cultural heritage. Feedbacks between ice, atmosphere, ocean, and the solid
Earth give rise to potential nonlinearities in its response to temperature
changes. So far, we are lacking a comprehensive stability analysis of the
Antarctic Ice Sheet for different amounts of global warming. Here we show
that the Antarctic Ice Sheet exhibits a multitude of temperature thresholds
beyond which ice loss is irreversible.
China Says It Will Stop Releasing CO2 within 40 Years
surprise announcement vaults the country ahead of U.S. climate ambitions and
could encourage developing countries to follow suit. China pledged yesterday
to stop releasing carbon emissions before 2060 in a surprise move that
catapults it ahead of U.S. ambitions on climate change and instantly raised
questions about whether it can radically alter its status as the world’s top
emitter within 40 years.
Evaluating scenarios toward zero plastic pollution
It is not clear what strategies will be most
effective in mitigating harm from the global problem of plastic pollution.
Borrelle et al. and Lau et al. discuss possible solutions and their impacts.
Both groups found that substantial reductions in plastic-waste generation can
be made in the coming decades with immediate, concerted, and vigorous action,
but even in the best case scenario, huge quantities of plastic will still
accumulate in the environment.
The Age of Megafires: The World Hits a Climate Tipping
From Siberia to Australia to the western U.S.,
massive fires have consumed millions of acres this year and spawned
fire-generated tornados and other phenomena rarely seen before. Scientists
say the world has entered a perilous new era that will demand better ways of
Yale Environment 360
Global Biodiversity Is in Free Fall
A U.N. report reveals that countries worldwide have
failed to meet key conservation targets set for 2020. The 20 Aichi
Biodiversity Targets were established under the U.N.’s Convention on
Biological Diversity at a conference in Japan in 2010. Their aim was to
protect the world’s imperiled flora and fauna by 2020. Many human activities
can shrink biodiversity, including deforestation, pollution and the
introduction of invasive species. The Aichi goals to counter losses were
equally diverse. But experts say the participating countries have failed, in
large part, because they have struggled to address conservation while
focusing on their economies and rising populations.
An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its
predictability over the last 66 million years
Deep-sea benthic foraminifera preserve an essential
record of Earth’s past climate in their oxygen- and carbon-isotope
compositions. However, this record lacks sufficient temporal resolution
and/or age control in some places to determine which climate forcing and
feedback mechanisms were most important. Westerhold et al. present a highly
resolved and well-dated record of benthic carbon and oxygen isotopes for the
past 66 million years. Their reconstruction and analysis show that Earth’s climate
can be grouped into discrete states separated by transitions related to
changing greenhouse gas levels and the growth of polar ice sheets. Each
climate state is paced by orbital cycles but responds to variations in
radiative forcing in a state-dependent manner.