Climate Change ☀️
Arctic sea ice thinning faster than expected
Sea ice thickness is inferred by measuring the height of the ice above the water, and this measurement is distorted by snow weighing the ice floe down. Scientists adjust for this using a map of snow depth in the Arctic that is decades out of date. In the new study, researchers swapped this map for the results of a new computer model designed to estimate snow depth as it varies year to year.

"Previous calculations of sea ice thickness are based on a snow map last updated 20 years ago. Because sea ice has begun forming later and later in the year, the snow on top has less time to accumulate. Our calculations account for this declining snow depth for the first time, and suggest the sea ice is thinning faster than we thought."
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Ten-fold increase in carbon offset cost predicted
The cost of offsetting corporate carbon emissions needs to increase ten-fold to drive meaningful climate action, says a landmark report.

Current prices of carbon offsets are unsustainably low and need to increase significantly to encourage greater investment in new projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere.

If prices stay low companies could be accused of greenwashing their emissions, as real emissions reduction and carbon removals are more costly than today's prices.

Prices of carbon credits used by companies to offset their emissions are currently low, due to an excess of supply built up over several years, together with issues over whether payments for credits really result in additional reductions in carbon emissions.
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Corals tell Arabian Sea story of global warming
Coral insights into 1,000 years of seasonal changes in the Arabian Sea warn of significant impacts caused by global warming.

Every year, the southwesterly winds of the summer monsoon sweep down the Arabian Peninsula, pushing the surface waters of the Arabian Sea away from the coast and driving an upwelling of deep waters to the surface. This rising seawater is colder and less saline than the surface water and is rich in nutrients, providing energy for the various organisms living in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
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Plant competition during climate change
Researchers show how extreme drought and plant invasion impact ecosystems in the Mediterranean region.
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A Million Years of Data Confirms: Monsoons Are Likely to Get Worse
The monsoon season, which generally runs from June to September, brings enormous amounts of rain to South Asia that are crucial to the region’s agrarian economy. Those rains affect the lives of a fifth of the world’s population, nourishing or destroying crops, causing devastating flooding, taking lives and spreading pollution. The changes wrought by climate change could reshape the region, and history, the new research suggests, is a guide to those changes.

The researchers had no time machine, so they used the next best thing: mud. They drilled core samples in the Bay of Bengal, in the northern Indian Ocean, where the runoff from monsoon seasons drains away from the subcontinent.

The core samples were 200 meters long, and provided a rich record of monsoon rainfall. Wetter seasons put more fresh water into the bay, reducing the salinity at the surface. The plankton that live at the surface die and sink to the sediment below, layer after layer. Working through the core samples, the scientists analyzed the fossil shells of the plankton, measuring oxygen isotopes to determine the salinity of the water they lived in. The high rainfall and low salinity times came after periods of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, lower levels of global ice volume and subsequent increases in regional moisture-bearing winds.

Now that human activity is boosting levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, the research suggests, we can expect to see the same monsoon patterns emerge.
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Biden administration moves to bring back endangered species protections undone under Trump
The decision to bolster the federal government’s power to protect vanishing plants and animals comes as the world finds itself in the midst of what United Nations scientists say is a worldwide decline in biodiversity that threatens to erode food systems and other key parts of the global economy.

Martha Williams, principal deputy director at the Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement her agency will work with both industry and Native America tribes “to not only protect and recover America’s imperiled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st century challenges.”

Led by former interior secretary David Bernhardt, an expert on the Endangered Species Act, the Trump administration whittled down several long-standing protections for imperiled plants and animals following complaints from loggers, ranchers and other business interests.

For example, the previous administration allowed wildlife officials to take the economic cost of conserving species into account when deciding whether to put a plant or animal on the endangered species list — a move many environmentalists claimed violated both the letter and spirit of the law.

Trump officials also made it easier to remove protections for threatened species, such as the American burying beetle, which once scurried nearly everywhere east of the Rockies but now lives in only a few parts of the country and is further threatened by climate change. Under Trump, the Fish and Wildlife Service weakened protections for the beetle at the behest of oil and gas drillers who must work around the imperiled insect.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service say they will revise or rescind those rules.

David Henkin, a senior attorney at Earthjustice, which sued the Trump administration over the changes, said the Biden administration’s announcement is “excellent news for critically endangered species.”

“As long as they do it quickly,” he added, “we can avoid bad on-the-ground consequences.”
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Fungus creates a fast track for carbon
New research focused on interactions among microbes in water suggests fungal microparasites play a bigger than expected role in aquatic food webs and the global carbon cycle.

Tiny algae in Earth's oceans and lakes take in sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into sugars that sustain the rest of the aquatic food web, gobbling up about as much carbon as all the world's trees and plants combined.

New research shows a crucial piece has been missing from the conventional explanation for what happens between this first "fixing" of CO2 into phytoplankton and its eventual release to the atmosphere or descent to depths where it no longer contributes to global warming. The missing piece? Fungus.
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Why scientists want to solve an underground mystery about where microbes live
A team of biologists revealed, for the first time, that it is possible to accurately predict the abundance of different species of soil microbes in different parts of the world.

Though it might seem inanimate, the soil under our feet is very much alive. It's filled with countless microorganisms actively breaking down organic matter, like fallen leaves and plants, and performing a host of other functions that maintain the natural balance of carbon and nutrients stored in the ground beneath us.

... Because there's still so much unknown about soil organisms, until now scientists have not attempted to predict where certain species or groups of soil microbes live around the world. But having that knowledge about these organisms -- too small to see with the naked eye -- is key to better understanding the soil microbiome, which is made up of the communities of different microbes that live together.
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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