Climate Change ☀️
Study on submarine permafrost suggests locked greenhouse gases are emerging
Frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about the frozen sediment and soil -- called submarine permafrost -- even as it slowly thaws and releases methane and carbon that could have significant impacts on climate.

Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it's not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery.

According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about the frozen sediment and soil -- called submarine permafrost -- even as it slowly thaws and releases methane and carbon that could have significant impacts on climate.

To put into perspective the amount of greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost, humans have released about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, said Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick, one of the authors on the study published in IOP Publishing journal Environmental Research Letters.

While researchers predict that submarine permafrost is not a ticking time bomb and could take hundreds of years to emit its greenhouse gases, Frederick said submarine permafrost carbon stock represents a potential giant ecosystem feedback to climate change not yet included in climate projections and agreements.


"It's expected to be released over a long period of time, but it's still a significant amount," she said. "This expert assessment is bringing to light that we can't just ignore it because it's underwater, and we can't see it. It's lurking there, and it's a potentially large source of carbon, particularly methane."
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210210133418.htm

Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance are back on the decline
Global emissions of a potent substance notorious for depleting the Earth's ozone layer -- the protective barrier which absorbs the Sun's harmful UV rays -- have fallen rapidly and are now back on the decline, according to new research.

Two international studies published today in Nature, show emissions of CFC-11, one of the many chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemicals once widely used in refrigerators and insulating foams, are back on the decline less than two years after the exposure of their shock resurgence in the wake of suspected rogue production.

... Whilst the findings suggest the rapid action in eastern China and other regions of the world has likely prevented a substantial delay in ozone layer recovery, any unreported production will have a lingering environmental impact.

Professor Rigby added: "Even if the new production associated with the emissions from eastern China, and other regions of the world, has now stopped, it is likely only part of the total CFC-11 that was made has been released to the atmosphere so far. The rest may still be sitting in foams in buildings and appliances and will seep out into the air over the coming decades."


Since the estimated eastern Chinese CFC-11 emissions could not fully account for the inferred global emissions, there are calls to enhance international efforts to track and trace any future emitting regions.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210210133423.htm

Flooding in the Columbia River basin expected to increase under climate change
The Columbia River basin will see an increase in flooding over the next 50 years as a result of climate change, experts say.

The magnitude of flooding -- the term used to describe flooding severity -- is expected to increase throughout the basin, which includes the Columbia, Willamette and Snake rivers and hundreds of tributaries. In some areas, the flooding season will expand, as well.

... The findings are based on natural river conditions and do not take into account potential flood control measures, including dams, but the increases are significant nonetheless,
said study co-author Philip Mote, a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and dean of the Graduate School at OSU.

"We don't know how much of this increased flood risk can be managed through mitigation measures until we study the issue further," Mote said. "But managing a 30% to 40% increase, as is predicted for many areas, is clearly beyond our management capabilities."

... The Pacific Northwest has a history of costly and disruptive flooding. The largest flood in modern history occurred in late spring 1948 when flooding from the Columbia River destroyed the city of Vanport, Oregon, displacing more than 18,500 people. Floods on the Chehalis River in 2007 and 2009 closed Interstate 5 in Washington and floods along the Willamette River in 1996 and 2019 caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

... One of the drivers of the change is warmer winters that will see precipitation fall more as rain instead of snow. Lower spring snowpack will lead to earlier spring streamflows in many rivers. The cold upper Columbia River basin in Canada is projected to experience little change in snowpack volume, but the snow will melt faster.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210210142155.htm

Small mammals climb higher to flee warming temperatures in the Rockies
The golden-mantled ground squirrel is one of the most photographed animals in the Rocky Mountains. It's also joining many other species of rodents and shrews in Colorado that are making an ominous trek: They're climbing uphill to escape from climate change.

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel
... The golden-mantled ground squirrel, which is often confused for a chipmunk, lives in conifer forests in the Rockies and several other western mountain ranges.

"It is likely one of the most photographed mammals in Rocky Mountain National Park as it poses and preens on rocks near the roadside and in campgrounds," said McCain, also curator of vertebrates at the CU Museum of Natural History. "They hibernate in winter, are territorial in the summer, and they make distinctive alarm calls to notify each other of nearby dangers."

... The team reports that, on average, the ranges of these critters seem to have shifted by more than 400 feet up in elevation since the 1980s. Montane mammals, or those already living at higher elevations like the ground squirrel, have taken the biggest brunt -- moving up by 1,100 feet on average. It's a significant change that, if it continues, could wind up squeezing many of these animals out of Colorado entirely.


... The study, McCain said, paints a stark picture of a mountain range in crisis. But it's one with a silver lining: There may still be time to protect the West's iconic ponderosa pine forests, alpine meadows and scraggly tundra -- but only if Coloradans and people around the world act now to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's a wake-up call," McCain said. "We have to start taking this seriously immediately if we want to have healthy mountains and ecosystems."
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210211144307.htm

Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations