Climate Change ☀️
Lightning and subvisible discharges produce molecules that clean the atmosphere
Lightning bolts break apart nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the atmosphere and create reactive chemicals that affect greenhouse gases. Now, a team of atmospheric chemists and lightning scientists have found that lightning bolts and, surprisingly, subvisible discharges that cannot be seen by cameras or the naked eye produce extreme amounts of the hydroxyl radical -- OH -- and hydroperoxyl radical -- HO2.

The hydroxyl radical is important in the atmosphere because it initiates chemical reactions and breaks down molecules like the greenhouse gas methane. OH is the main driver of many compositional changes in the atmosphere.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210429141949.htm

How to start tackling your home’s water — and climate — footprint
Every time we turn on the tap, we run up not only a water bill, but also climate emissions. Two percent of all electricity use in the United States goes toward pumping and treating water and wastewater. A 2005 estimate put the carbon emissions from public water and sewer systems, and wastewater treatment, at about 65 million metric tons annually. Heating water once it’s inside homes adds another 169 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Combined, that’s equivalent to the emissions from about 50 million cars driven for a year.

And minding our taps will only become more urgent as climate change worsens. “If we are using less water,” says Ed Ossan, the water efficiency project director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, “we are better prepared for the droughts to come.”


There are, of course, aspects of water consumption that the public doesn’t have direct control over. For example, leaky infrastructure, which costs the United States trillions of gallons of drinking water and roughly $2.6 billion each year. And much of an individual’s water use is actually embedded in what they eat and buy. So tackling our water footprint will also ultimately entail broader societal and policy changes.
Read the full article: How to start tackling your home’s water — and climate — footprint

Cave deposits reveal Pleistocene permafrost thaw, absent predicted levels of CO2 release
Expanding the study of prehistoric permafrost thawing to North America, researchers found evidence in mineral deposits from caves in Canada that permafrost thawing took place as recently as 400,000 years ago, in temperatures not much warmer than today. But they did not find evidence the thawing caused the release of predicted levels of carbon dioxide stored in the frozen terrain.

The vast frozen terrain of Arctic permafrost thawed several times in North America within the past 1 million years when the world's climate was not much warmer than today, researchers from the United States and Canada report in today's edition of Science Advances.

Arctic permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. But the researchers found that the thawings -- which expel stores of carbon dioxide sequestered deep in frozen vegetation -- were not accompanied by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The surprising finding runs counter to predictions that as the planet warms, the volume of these natural carbon stores can add significantly to CO2 produced by human activity, a combination that could increase the climatological toll of greenhouse gases.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430093206.htm

Northern forest fires could accelerate climate change
New research indicates that the computer-based models currently used to simulate how Earth's climate will change in the future underestimate the impact that forest fires and drying climate are having on the world's northernmost forests, which make up the largest forest biome on the planet. It's an important understanding because these northern forests absorb a significant amount of Earth's carbon dioxide.

The finding, reached by studying 30 years of the world's forests using NASA satellite imaging data, suggests that forests won't be able to sequester as much carbon as previously expected, making efforts to reduce carbon emissions all the more urgent.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430093222.htm

Brazilian Amazon released more carbon than it stored in 2010s
The Brazilian Amazon rainforest released more carbon than it stored over the last decade -- with degradation a bigger cause than deforestation -- according to new research.

More than 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil, and the new study used satellite monitoring to measure carbon storage from 2010-2019.

The study found that degradation (parts of the forest being damaged but not destroyed) accounted for three times more carbon loss than deforestation.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430120343.htm

Antarctic ice-sheet melting to lift sea level higher than thought, Harvard study says
Global sea level rise associated with the possible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been significantly underestimated in previous studies, meaning sea level in a warming world will be greater than anticipated, according to a new study from Harvard researchers.

The new predictions show that in the case of a total collapse of the ice sheet, global sea level rise estimates would be amplified by an additional meter within 1,000 years.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210430165912.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