Heat may kill more people in the US than previously reported, according to a new study.
There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of electric cars versus fossil fuel cars in the context of lithium mining. Please can you tell me which one weighs in better on the environmental impact in terms of global warming and why?
Every car has an optimal speed range that results in minimum fuel consumption, but this range differs between vehicle types, design and age.
For airlines, the reckoning is no longer far away on the horizon. It’s now a jumbo jet meters from the runway, landing gear down.
The Australian government’s investment roadmap for low-emissions technologies promises more taxpayers’ money to the gas industry but fails to deliver the policy needed for people to support a transition to renewable energy.
If I were to buy an electric vehicle it would add to the load on the national grid. Is the only way we are currently able to add the extra power to burn more coal?
Ice shelves, massive floating bodies of ice, are well-known for their buffering effect on land-based ice sheets as they slow their flow towards the sea.
Green growth has emerged as the dominant narrative for tackling contemporary environmental problems.
The tornadoes that swept across the Southeast this spring were a warning to communities nationwide:
Summer temperatures in Chicago normally peak in the low 80s, but in mid-July 1995 they topped 100 F with excessive humidity for three days straight.
COVID-19 has radically changed our travel habits in just a matter of weeks. Walking and cycling are up, as people enjoy their daily exercise or take essential journeys they might otherwise have made by public transport.
When the southern Great Plains of the US were blighted with a series of droughts in the 1930s, it had an unparalled impact on the whole country.
The numbers of people cycling and walking in public spaces during COVID-19 has skyrocketed.
The explosive growth and success of human society over the past 10,000 years has been underpinned by a distinct range of climate conditions.
Climate scientists use mathematical models to project the Earth’s future under a warming world, but a group of the latest models have included unexpectedly high values for a measure called “climate sensitivity”.
Earth had several periods of high carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and high temperatures over the last several million years.
Humans are amazing creatures, in that they have show they can live in almost any climate.
Changes in ocean circulation may have caused a shift in Atlantic Ocean ecosystems not seen for the past 10,000 years, new analysis of deep-sea fossils has revealed.
Agriculture has long been framed in the global climate action discussion as a sector whose activities conflict with meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
Politicians and business people are fond of making promises to plant thousands of trees to slow climate change. But who actually plants those trees, and who tends them as they grow?
The Australian summer just gone will be remembered as the moment when human-caused climate change struck hard. First came drought, then deadly bushfires, and now a bout of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef – the third in just five years. Tragically, the 2020 bleaching is severe and the most widespread we have ever recorded.
Coral bleaching at regional scales is caused by spikes in sea temperatures during unusually hot summers. The first recorded mass bleaching event along Great Barrier Reef occurred in 1998, then the hottest year on record.
Since then we’ve seen four more mass bleaching events – and more temperature records broken – in 2002, 2016, 2017, and again in 2020.
This year, February had the highest monthly sea surface temperatures ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef since the Bureau of Meteorology’s records began in 1900.
Not a pretty picture
We surveyed 1,036 reefs from the air during the last two weeks in March, to measure the extent and severity of coral bleaching throughout the Great Barrier Reef region. Two observers, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, scored each reef visually, repeating the same procedures developed during early bleaching events.
The accuracy of the aerial scores is verified by underwater surveys on reefs that are lightly and heavily bleached. While underwater, we also measure how bleaching changes between shallow and deeper reefs.
Of the reefs we surveyed from the air, 39.8% had little or no bleaching (the green reefs in the map). However, 25.1% of reefs were severely affected (red reefs) – that is, on each reef more than 60% of corals were bleached. A further 35% had more modest levels of bleaching.
Bleaching isn’t necessarily fatal for coral, and it affects some species more than others. A pale or lightly bleached coral typically regains its colour within a few weeks or months and survives.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
But when bleaching is severe, many corals die. In 2016, half of the shallow water corals died on the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef between March and November. Later this year, we’ll go underwater to assess the losses of corals during this most recent event.
Compared to the four previous bleaching events, there are fewer unbleached or lightly bleached reefs in 2020 than in 1998, 2002 and 2017, but more than in 2016. Similarly, the proportion of severely bleached reefs in 2020 is exceeded only by 2016. By both of these metrics, 2020 is the second-worst mass bleaching event of the five experienced by the Great Barrier Reef since 1998.
The unbleached and lightly bleached (green) reefs in 2020 are predominantly offshore, mostly close to the edge of the continental shelf in the northern and southern Great Barrier Reef. However, offshore reefs in the central region were severely bleached again. Coastal reefs are also badly bleached at almost all locations, stretching from the Torres Strait in the north to the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef – the northern, central and now large parts of the southern sectors. The north was the worst affected region in 2016, followed by the centre in 2017.
In 2020, the cumulative footprint of bleaching has expanded further, to include the south. The distinctive footprint of each bleaching event closely matches the location of hotter and cooler conditions in different years.
Of the five mass bleaching events we’ve seen so far, only 1998 and 2016 occurred during an El Niño – a weather pattern that spurs warmer air temperatures in Australia.
But as summers grow hotter under climate change, we no longer need an El Niño to trigger mass bleaching at the scale of the Great Barrier Reef. We’ve already seen the first example of back-to-back bleaching, in the consecutive summers of 2016 and 2017. The gap between recurrent bleaching events is shrinking, hindering a full recovery.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
After five bleaching events, the number of reefs that have escaped severe bleaching continues to dwindle. Those reefs are located offshore, in the far north and in remote parts of the south.
The Great Barrier Reef will continue to lose corals from heat stress, until global emissions of greenhouse gasses are reduced to net zero, and sea temperatures stabilise. Without urgent action to achieve this outcome, it’s clear our coral reefs will not survive business-as-usual emissions.
About The Author
Terry Hughes, Distinguished Professor, James Cook University and Morgan Pratchett, Professor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
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Humanity has only recently become accustomed to a stable climate. For most of its history, long ice ages punctuated with hot spells alternated with short warm periods.
Climate deniers have been hanging out for the United Nations’ next big summit to fail. In a sense, the coronavirus and its induced policy responses have more than satisfied their wildest dreams, precipitating a global recession that they no doubt hope has pushed the issue of the low-carbon transition well down the political and policy agenda.
‘We’re doomed’: a common refrain in casual conversation about climate change. It signals an awareness that we cannot, strictly speaking, avert climate change.
Every aspect of our lives has been affected by the coronavirus. The global economy has slowed, people have retreated to their homes and thousands have died or become seriously ill.
Climate change is an interdisciplinary subject that both school children and adults think is important. And as we deal with the current crisis – which is also having its own effects on the environment – there is perhaps no better time to think about how to avoid the next, potentially even greater one.
The Arctic is predicted to warm faster than anywhere else in the world this century, perhaps by as much as 7°C.
This isn’t a normal period of disruption, which is usually caused by failures in supply such as road accidents or industrial action. In this case it is the lack of demand that is the problem.
Science warns us that the 2020s will be humanity’s last opportunity to save itself from a climate catastrophe.
It’s an uncomfortable but inescapable historic fact that great pandemics often bring about social reform.
How do you respond to a crisis? It’s obvious that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been dramatically different to anything provoked by repeated scientific warnings about climate change.
The World Meteorological Organisation today published a definitive climate report card showing concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to rise, and the last five years were the warmest on record.
Tropical forests matter to each and every one of us. They suck colossal quantities of carbon out of the atmosphere, providing a crucial brake on the rate of climate change.
The world's top meteorological experts issued the warning as cities and countries around the world reported record-breaking warm winters.
Luxembourg recently became the first country in the world to make all public transport free.
Up to half of the world’s sandy beaches are at risk of disappearing by the end of this century if no action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
I recently watched an interview with David Attenborough, in which he was asked whether there is hope that things can get better for our planet.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease in our use of fossil fuels, we are on track for a global average increase of 2℃ in the next few decades, with extremes of between 3 to 6℃ at higher latitudes.
A quarter of climate-related tweets in the studied period—around when Trump announced plans to ditch the Paris agreement—came from bots.
A common demand in discussions about climate change is to respect the science. This is appropriate. We should all be paying close attention to the urgent and terrifying conclusions being published by climate scientists.
As the brutal reality of climate change dawned this summer, you may have asked yourself a hard question: am I well-prepared to live in a warmer world?
If you’re a traveller who cares about reducing your carbon footprint, are some airlines better to fly with than others?
Successful implementation of the Paris agreement targets could help reduce extinctions considerably, possibly to 16% or less by 2070, according to lead author Cristian Román-Palacios.
The relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and climate change is often perceived as a controversial subject.
Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global warming to 1.5°C requires a worldwide transformation to carbon-neutral societies within the next 30 years.
To get people to stop and pay attention, successful advertising delivers information simply and with an emotional hook so that consumers notice and, hopefully, make a purchase.
Evidence suggests the number of species going extinct, and the rate at which they disappear, is increasing dramatically.
The world’s largest polar research expedition is currently underway in the Arctic. The year-long expedition, known as the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC), involves 300 researchers from 19 countries.
Australia’s recent bushfire crisis will be remembered for many things – not least, the tragic loss of life, property and landscape.
When we talk about innovations to deal with the climate crisis, we tend to think of new technologies developed by physical scientists.
The Bank for International Settlements – the “central bank” for central banks – made headlines with a report outlining how the next major financial crisis may come from unexpected climate risks.
Experienced anglers recognize that for a trout, the ultimate “steak dinner” is a stonefly or mayfly.
This erasure of one government’s climate project by its successor was only the tip of the melting iceberg.
It’s far easier to avoid burning fossil fuels than it is to clean up CO₂ emissions once they’re in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Can the future be predicted? Most certainly. Can anyone or anything predict the future with any certainty?
Between the summer of 2015 and the spring of 2016, a marine heatwave swept the northern Pacific Ocean that was hotter and lasted longer than any since records began in 1870.
Noisy reefs are a very good thing. So good, in fact, that we might be able to use the sound of healthy coral reefs to improve the quickly increasing number of degraded ones.
For over a quarter of a century, United Nations climate negotiations have failed to reach a legally binding treaty.
This analysis shows that we're heading in the wrong direction and really need to slow emissions growth from the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries.
Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide?
Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York and Sadiq Khan of London on Tuesday urged every major city in the world to divest from the fossil fuel industries that are wrecking the planet.
How does your food shop affect the planet? Well, think of it like this
2019 might well be remembered as the year the world caught fire. Some 2.9 million hectares of eastern Australia have been incinerated in the past few months, an area roughly the same size as Belgium.
The catastrophic bushfires raging across much of Australia have not only taken a huge human and economic toll, but also delivered heavy blows to biodiversity and ecosystem function.
Climate researchers can now detect the fingerprint of global warming in daily weather observations at the global scale.
Climate researchers have not given up hope and authors were asked to highlight some more positive stories from 2019.
The 12 Days of Christmas is a song that promises a great deal, but there’s a line that carollers may have to omit in future.
Geothermal means, literally, “earth heat”. The temperature of the earth increases as we drill deeper towards its core.
Society’s defining issues are rarely presented as raw facts and stats, and climate change is no exception.
Intensive agriculture may be nourishing most of the Earth’s inhabitants, but it’s doing the opposite to earth itself.
The most important individual climate action will depend on each person’s particular circumstances
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) recently declared climate change a health emergency, reflecting similar positions taken by a growing list of peak medical bodies around the world.
About a quarter of all the greenhouse gas emissions that humans generate each year come from how we feed the world.
Modern society has given significant attention to the promises of the digital economy over the past decade. But it has given little attention to its negative environmental footprint.
From Sudan to Syria to Bangladesh, climate change is often presented as a powerful and simple root cause of violent conflict and mass migration.
Climate fiction, climate change fiction, “cli-fi” – whatever you want to call it – has emerged as a literary trend that’s gained astonishing traction over the past ten years.
As bushfires rage and our cities lie shrouded in smoke, climate change is shaping as a likely topic of conversation at the family dinner table this Christmas.
Almost 40% of global land plant species are very rare, and these species are most at risk for extinction as the climate continues to change, according to new research.
Reforestation has enormous potential as a cheap and natural way of sucking heat-absorbing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and restoring the degraded natural world
The world is often better and getting better than people think. Murder rates, deaths from terrorism and extreme poverty are all down.
Eighteen countries from developed economies have had declining carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for at least a decade.
The United Nations is beginning its climate summit in Madrid.
People who directly depend on the natural world for their livelihoods, like farmers and fishers, will be among the greatest victims of the climate crisis.
In shouting “system change not climate change”, young people understand that the 3-4℃ warmer world we’re headed for would be far more painful, costly and disruptive than any short-term costs or inconvenience we face from taking rapid, bold action.
The fossil fuel industry, political lobbyists, media moguls and individuals have spent the past 30 years sowing doubt about the reality of climate change - where none exists. The latest estimate is that
A new modeling approach can help us better understand how policy decisions will influence human migration as sea levels rise across the globe.
When it comes to tackling climate change the UK is still taking baby steps. A lot more needs to be done – and fast – to hit the 2050 net zero carbon emission targets, which involves offsetting any emissions by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.
Climate plans are the order of the day in the presidential primary campaign because carbon pollution is a global threat of unique proportions.
Cities are on the front line of climate change. While their footprints cover a mere two per cent of the Earth’s surface, they consume 78 per cent of global energy and account for over 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Spring and summer 2017 were among the wettest on record in eastern North America.
Growing up in Tanzania, I knew that fruit trees were useful. Climbing a mango tree to pick a fruit was a common thing to do when I was hungry, even though at times there were unintended consequences.
Droughts are a natural feature of the Australian environment. But the Millennium drought (or “Big Dry”), which ran from 1997 to 2010, was a wake-up call even by our parched standards.
The devastating impacts of Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria across the United States and the Caribbean provide tragic reminders of the catastrophic risks we face on our coasts.
Coastal wetlands don’t cover much global area but they punch well above their carbon weight by sequestering the most atmospheric carbon dioxide of all natural ecosystems
This year, three studies showed that humour is useful for engaging the public about climate change.
One year ago, the international scientific community could hardly have expected that Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden, would become one of its greatest allies.
For more than 3.5 billion years, living organisms have thrived, multiplied and diversified to occupy every ecosystem on Earth.
The concept of a canary in a coal mine – a sensitive species that provides an alert to danger – originated with British miners, who carried actual canaries underground through the mid-1980s to detect the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
We live in an era — the Anthropocene — where humans and societies are reshaping and changing ecosystems.
The grasslands of the Canadian Prairies are a hidden gem for bird watchers, with millions of migratory birds passing through the area each year.