Climate Change ☀️
Irrigation management key for bioenergy production to mitigate climate change
To avoid a substantial increase in water scarcity, biomass plantations for energy production need sustainable water management, a new study shows. Bioenergy is frequently considered one of the options to reduce greenhouse gases for achieving the Paris climate goals, especially if combined with capturing the CO2 from biomass power plants and storing it underground. Yet growing large-scale bioenergy plantations worldwide does not just require land, but also considerable amounts of freshwater for irrigation.
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Switzerland's energy transition
Can Switzerland, as planned, cut its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050? Researchers have investigated what measures would be necessary to achieve this reduction and how much it might cost per person.
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Global Warming’s Deadly Combination: Heat and Humidity
A new study suggests that large swaths of the tropics will experience dangerous living and working conditions if global warming isn’t limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Here’s one more reason the world should aim to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal of the international Paris Agreement: It will help keep the tropics from becoming a deadly hothouse.

A study published Monday suggests that sharply cutting emissions of greenhouse gases to stay below that limit, which is equivalent to about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming since 1900, will help the tropics avoid episodes of high heat and high humidity — known as extreme wet-bulb temperature, or TW — that go beyond the limits of human survival.

... Ms. Zhang, along with two other Princeton researchers, Isaac Held and Stephan Fueglistaler, looked at how the combination of high heat and high humidity is controlled by dynamic processes in the atmosphere. They found that if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, the wet-bulb temperature at the surface can approach but not exceed 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in the tropics.

That region, a band roughly 3,000 miles from north to south that encircles Earth at the Equator, includes much of South and East Asia, Central America, Central Africa. It is home to more than 3 billion people.

Above a wet-bulb temperature of 35 Celsius, the body cannot cool down, as sweat on the skin can no longer evaporate. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can be fatal, even for healthy people. Lower but still high wet-bulb temperatures can affect health and productivity in other ways.

... A growing body of research has found that global warming so far is taking an increasing toll on human health indirectly through drought and crop failures, extreme storms and flooding, increased spread of certain insect-borne diseases and other effects.

But heat also has direct effects on the human body. Even relatively dry heat can be enough to kill people, as evidenced by the toll from heat waves in recent years. And the combination of heat and high humidity has already reached dangerous levels in parts of the world.

... The effects of heat and humidity are worse for women, older people and those with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, said Glen Kenny, a professor of physiology at the University of Ottawa who studies how the body copes with heat stress.

Work or exercise generates heat, and the body has to dissipate it. If the air temperature is higher than body temperature, the main source of cooling is through evaporation of sweat. But if the humidity reaches a point where sweat cannot evaporate, “essentially the body will gain heat,” said Dr. Kenny, who was not involved in the new study.

That stresses the cardiovascular system. “The strain that the heart is facing becomes progressively greater, especially if there’s successive days of heat exposure,” he said.
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Unique sensor network for measuring greenhouse gases
Munich is home to the world's first fully automated sensor network for measuring urban greenhouse gas emissions based on ground-based remote sensing of the atmosphere. Now, anyone can view the measurement data via an Internet platform.

The sensor network MUCCnet (Munich Urban Carbon Column network) consists of five high-precision optical instruments that analyze the sun's light spectra. They measure the concentration of the gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO). Since each gas has its own unique spectral "fingerprint," concentrations of these gases can be determined in the columns of air between the instruments and the sun.

"By measuring a vertical column of the atmosphere, local disturbances, such as the disproportionate influence of neighboring stacks, can be removed. Therefore, this type of greenhouse gas balancing is considered particularly robust and accurate," says Prof. Jia Chen.
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Oceans were stressed preceding abrupt, prehistoric global warming
Shelled organisms helped buffer ocean acidification by consuming less alkalinity from seawater

Microscopic fossilized shells are helping geologists reconstruct Earth's climate during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a period of abrupt global warming and ocean acidification that occurred 56 million years ago. Clues from these ancient shells can help scientists better predict future warming and ocean acidification driven by human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.
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Biden administration gives major push to giant offshore wind farm
The proposed 800-megawatt project, called Vineyard Wind, would be located approximately 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha's Vineyard and would be the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the country. Two other small offshore projects have been built off the coasts of Rhode Island and Virginia, but at 30 MW and 12 MW, respectively, are a fraction of the size of the Vineyard Wind project, which needs a final record of decision before construction can begin. That decision could come this spring.

The BOEM analysis' preferred alternative would allow up to 84 turbines to be installed in 100 of the 106 proposed blocks for the facility. It would prohibit the installation of wind turbine generators in six locations in the northernmost section of the development area and the wind turbine generators would also be required to be arranged in in a north-south and east-west orientation, with at least 1 nautical mile between each turbine.

But that preferred alternative still anticipates moderate impacts on commercial fisheries, as well as minor to moderate impacts on for-hire recreational fishing. The fishing industry has been among the biggest opponents of wind farms, and it has been critical of the Biden administration's sharp turn from the slow-walking approach the Trump administration had taken.

... Biden has called for eliminating carbon pollution from the power sector by 2035, and shortly after entering the White House, issued an executive order pushing the Interior Department to increase renewable energy production on public lands and waters.

Vineyard Wind says the project will provide clean electricity to power more than 400,000 homes, creating thousands of jobs, and reducing electricity rates by $1.4 billion over its first 20 years of operation.

"Offshore wind is a critical component of the president's executive order, and it's a really important opportunity for growth in the United States," Laura Davis, principal deputy assistant secretary of Land and Minerals Management at the Interior Department, told reporters. Davis added that the demand for offshore wind has "never been greater," amid falling costs and advances in technology that make it "a really promising avenue for diversifying our national energy portfolio."

BOEM said Monday there are approximately 1.7 million acres leased in the outer continental shelf for offshore wind development, with 16 active leases on the Atlantic.
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Climate Change Activist Spends 589 Days And Counting Picking Up Litter In Calif. Park
After spending 589 consecutive days picking up litter at one of Los Angeles County's most popular hiking spots, 20-year-old Edgar McGregor says the park is clean of municipal waste. But his job is far from over.

The climate activist, who says he has autism, made the trip to Eaton Canyon — part of the Angeles National Forest in southern California — throughout the pandemic and in extreme weather, picking up litter left behind by visitors and posting his progress on social media.

He announced on Friday that there was no more trash to be found, but that he plans to return several times a week for maintenance while also turning his attention to new parks.

"Not worrying about litterbugs and simply immersing myself in this work has made me more excited than ever to go out every single day and pick up," McGregor told NPR over email. "There is nothing more satisfying than seeing brand new animals return to your park after months of cleaning up. I highly encourage anyone with any spare time to give this mission a shot. Your parks need you."

McGregor documented the entire process in photos and videos posted daily to Twitter. He encourages his more than 17,000 followers to go on pickup expeditions of their own, and reposts their photos shared under the hashtag #EarthCleanUp.
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Northern Hemisphere summers may last nearly half the year by 2100
Without efforts to mitigate climate change, summers spanning nearly six months may become the new normal by 2100 in the Northern Hemisphere, according to a new study. The change would likely have far-reaching impacts on agriculture, human health and the environment, according to the study authors.

In the 1950s in the Northern Hemisphere, the four seasons arrived in a predictable and fairly even pattern. But climate change is now driving dramatic and irregular changes to the length and start dates of the seasons, which may become more extreme in the future under a business-as-usual climate scenario.

"Summers are getting longer and hotter while winters shorter and warmer due to global warming," said Yuping Guan, a physical oceanographer at the State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, AGU's journal for high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

The new study found that, on average, summer grew from 78 to 95 days between 1952 to 2011, while winter shrank from 76 to 73 days. Spring and autumn also contracted from 124 to 115 days, and 87 to 82 days, respectively. Accordingly, spring and summer began earlier, while autumn and winter started later. The Mediterranean region and the Tibetan Plateau experienced the greatest changes to their seasonal cycles.

If these trends continue without any effort to mitigate climate change, the researchers predict that by 2100, winter will last less than two months, and the transitional spring and autumn seasons will shrink further as well.
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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