Hawaii CO2 monitor lab interrupted by Mauna Loa eruption


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Grace Smith | December 2, 2022

The Mauna Loa eruption on the morning of Nov. 28 caused a 124-foot tower, which collects carbon dioxide measurements nearly every hour for over 60 years, to stop operating Nov. 28. The tracker is not currently gathering data on rising level heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after the eruptions’ lava flow shut down power in the lab. 

The Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, erupted on Nov. 28 for the first time since 1984 and oozed lava on the volcano’s summit. Per the U.S. Geological Service, the lava contained within the summit does not impact downslope Hawaiians.

The carbon dioxide measurement lab, known as the Keeling Curve, is proof that human activity is causing climate change. Geoscientist Ralph Keeling, son of Keeling Curve creator Charles David Keeling, said the future carbon dioxide readings from the lab are “very troubling.” 

Charles Keeling originally selected Hawaii for the location of the famous recording system because, with the distance from Hawaii to other major land masses and the mountain’s landscape, there would be no contamination from the photosynthetic activity of plants in the area.

“The observatory will eventually come back, but it’s going to take a long time before it’s really back to normal,” Ralph Keeling said. “There’ll be a gap, and it’s too bad. It’s a really fantastic and important long-term record.”

Major world glaciers to disappear by 2050


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Grace Smith | December 1, 2022

Some of the world’s most major and famous glaciers will disappear after melting by 2050, according to a U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization report. These major glaciers include the Dolomites in Italy, the Yosemite and Yellowstone parks in the U.S., and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

UNESCO observes and studies 18, 600 glaciers around the world, and said by 2050, a third of them will be gone because of climate change. By 2100, 50 percent of all World Heritage Site glaciers — well-known, large, and highly visible glaciers around the world — will have fully melted. Half of the world’s population relies on water from glaciers for domestic, agricultural, and power use.

“This report is a call to action. Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

Keeping the global temperature increase at 1.3 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial levels, could save the other two-thirds of the World Heritage Site glaciers. Since 1970, the global temperature rise has been 1.7 degrees Celsius per century. But, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, global temperatures are likely to increase by about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and two to four degrees Celsius by 2100.

As temperatures rise, fungal infections are spreading


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Elyse Gabor | November 28, 2022

As temperatures warm, fungal infections are expected to spread outside of their typical regions. Currently, around 10% of infections are found in environments outside of where the fungus grew.  

Dr. George Thompson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Davis, said, “We’re definitely seeing disease in locations that we previously have not.” 

Thompson went on to say, “And that’s concerning, because if we’re recognizing those locations, where are the places it’s occurring that just have not been recognized quite yet?” Due to the lack of data, mistreatments are common, and it is hard for scientists to gauge how common fungal infections are. 

Fungal infections happen after an open sore has occurred on the body. Most immune systems fight it off, leaving people with symptoms like that of colds or cases of flu. However, some people can get more severe symptoms or even illnesses because of the infection, including meningitis or pneumonia.  

Polar bears continue to move inland as ice melts, creating danger for people


Polar Bear
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Elyse Gabor | November 21, 2022

As the ice melts in arctic regions, polar bears are pushed onto land. Their territories will now range into small towns. Researchers in Churchill, Manitoba, also known as the polar bear capital of the world, have begun to explore how to detect the animal’s presence in remote areas through radar technology. The instruments could be in use by next summer.  

Due to polar bears’ aggressive and dangerous nature, they pose a threat to civilization. By using technology that costs thousands of dollars, the animals can be tracked, helping to prevent any unwanted conflict. 

Senior director of conservation and staff scientist, Geoff York, said, “If we’re asking people to conserve a large predator like a polar bear, we have to make sure people who live and work with them are safe.” 

According to York, “Churchill is unique in that bears come to shore, depending on the year, from July to August, and they’re on land until this time of year.” Churchill has around 800 polar bears that roam its shores.  

As rising temperatures and global warming continue to melt ice, polar bears spend more time on land. It’s predicted that a larger number of polar bears will be forced on land and near the town. So, the response program will help to ensure people’s safety.  

Russia-Ukraine War is causing large releases of greenhouse gases into the air


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Grace Smith | November 15, 2022

The Russia-Ukraine War has released 33 million tons of greenhouse gases into the air, according to Ruslan Strilets, Ukraine’s environmental protection minister. The number of climate-warming gases that have been released is equivalent to adding 16 million cars to the UK’s roads for two years. 

“Russia is doing everything to shorten our and your horizons,” Strilets said at the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit on Nov. 14. “Because of the war, we will have to do even more to overcome the climate crisis.”

The number of emissions was calculated by counting all emissions including forest and agricultural fires and the oil burnt after attacks on storage depots. Strilets also said at the conference that 49 million more emissions are expected to be released into the air during the process of rebuilding Ukraine. As of Nov. 14, 2,200 environmental damage cases have been recorded. 

Strilets also said the war is harming animals immensely. According to BBC, 600 animals and 750 plants and fungi are under threat. Over 700 dolphins in the Black Sea have died since the war. Scientists said the dolphins are having trouble communicating with one another and struggling to find food and navigate. 

Along with impacts on the environment and animals, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February resulted in large food and gas shortages, causing surrounding countries to increase production to compensate.

Climate change is threatening ‘the things America values most’


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Grace Smith | November 11, 2022

The U.S. must slow down the use of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the risk of the threatening of water supplies and and public health throughout the nation, per a federal government release on Monday.

“The things Americans value most are at risk,” the National Climate Assessment authors wrote in the draft, that contained 1,695 pages. “Many of the harmful impacts that people across the country are already experiencing will worsen as warming increases, and new risks will emerge.”

Over the past 50 years, America has warmed 68 percent faster than the rest of the world as a whole. Climate change disasters, such as wildfires, have caused communties around the nation to be displaced. If current conditions continue, the report says millions more Americans could be displaced from their homes. 

In addition, climate change has impacted infrastructure and the economy. On average, the U.S. has experienced eight $1 billion disasters each year for four decades, but has seen a large increase over the past five years with 18 catastrophes. 

The authors of the report offered fast solutions to taking America off the track of destruction it is on, such as increasing public transit, quickening low-carbon technologies, improving agricultural management, and incentivizing renewable energy options such as vehicles.

‘We’re on a highway to climate hell,” U.N. Secretary-General says at COP27


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Grace Smith | November 8, 2022

United Nations secretary general António Guterres warned the world at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference on Nov. 7 that the world is headed to a “highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” The COP27 Summit began on Sunday, Nov. 6, and world speakers addressed climate issues and gave speeches in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

The climate conversations are the 27th of the Conference of Parties to the U.N. convention. Over 44,000 gov. Representatives, business groups, and civil society groups are registered to attend the conference.

Guterres’ speech about the state of the world’s climate began after talking about a release of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) data on Sunday stating that the world has most likely witnessed the warmest eight years on record. According to the data, the rate of sea-level rise has doubled since 1993, and the past two-and-a-half-years have accounted for 10 percent of sea-level rise in the past 30 years.

“The greater the warming, the worse the impacts. We have such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now that the lower 1.5°C of the Paris Agreement is barely within reach,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas. “All too often, those least responsible for climate change suffer most – as we have seen with the terrible flooding in Pakistan and deadly, long-running drought in the Horn of Africa. But even well-prepared societies this year have been ravaged by extremes – as seen by the protracted heatwaves and drought in large parts of Europe and southern China.” 

At this year’s COP27 summit, “funding arrangements” for vulnerable countries are on the agenda. Guterres spoke Monday strongly urging attendees at the summit to help vulnerable countries like Pakistan. An estimate between $290 billion to $580 billion is required for countries per year by 2030.

Europe’s climate is warming twice as fast as the global average


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Grace Smith | November 4, 2022

Temperatures in Europe have increased more than twice the global average rate in the last 30 years, per a report by the World Meteorological Organization. From 1991 to 2021, Europe increased an average of 0.5 degrees Celsius every decade. Earth has warmed 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade since 1981. 

Europe’s summer months this year brought record-breaking high temperatures and hot days, reaching 0.4 degrees Celsius above last year. In addition, the results of continuous warming in Europe melted about 38 feet of the Alpine glaciers and continue melting Greenland’s ice sheets, raising the sea level. 

“Europe presents a live picture of a warming world and reminds us that even well-prepared societies are not safe from impacts of extreme weather events,” WMO secretary-general, Prof Petteri Taalas, said. “This year, like 2021, large parts of Europe have been affected by extensive heatwaves and drought, fueling wildfires. In 2021, exceptional floods caused death and devastation.”

Reasons why Europe is warming more than other areas of the world include high land mass in Europe, as well as the Arctic and high northern latitudes which are the fasted global warming regions. To decrease climate change effects, the European Union decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 31 percent since 1990 and aims to decrease them by 55 percent by 2030.

Drought conditions predicted to continue through winter


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Elyse Gabor | November 2, 2022

This winter, the drought is expected to continue in the Western region of the United States. This news comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which has forecasted that the extreme drought will continue through the winter.  

The drought has affected Central California the most as the state experiences warmer temperatures and below-average rainfall. However, more states are feeling the effects of the widespread drought. The drought is causing shipping issues in the Mississippi River valley due to low water levels.  

Brad Pugh, the operational drought lead with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said, “We’re going on our third year of this extreme drought for much of the Western U.S.” He continued saying, “It’s adversely affecting agriculture, increasing wildfire danger and has impacts on tourism as well.” 

Around 25 percent of U.S. citizens are facing a drought. The National Integrated Drought Information System predicts that almost half of the U.S. will feel the effects of the drought.  

Current climate plans are not enough to avoid disastrous climate change, UN says


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Grace Smith | October 28, 2022

The world’s governments haven’t dedicated enough attention or promise to bypass the catastrophic climate change effects, the United Nations said in a released report on Oct. 26. This puts the world on course for a 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures by the end of the century. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that CO2 emissions need to be cut by 43 percent by 2030, but existing climate plans demonstrate a 10.6 percent increase instead.

“The downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “But the science is clear and so are our climate goals under the Paris Agreement. We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” Stiell warned.

Cutting methane emissions — the second largest contributor to climate change — would be the quickest and most effective way to alter the fast pace of global warming. Methane emissions have an 80 times more significant warming effect than carbon dioxide over 20 years.

Stiell suggested an urgent call for global leaders to seal the gap between where emissions are leaning toward and where science displays levels should be, calling for nations to be focused on a few key aspects: mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.