Some bad news on climate and the Antarctic
Three news on climate change got my attention the past week, each one could have been worthy of a full post. First and foremost, it seems scientists have underestimated the rate of global warming. As IFLScience reports :
While scientists have been gathering data on ocean temperatures and sea levels for some time, new research has suggested that the rate of warming in the upper ocean has been vastly underestimated. However, it is not entirely doom and gloom as another study found that the deep ocean has barely changed since 2005, although they readily admit that their estimate has a large uncertainty. The two studies appear in Nature Climate Change.
The second piece of bad news is that the Antarctic is melting so much it is changing Earth’s gravity. Yes you read that right. MNN has the details :
So much ice has disappeared from West Antarctica in recent years that Earth’s gravity is now weaker there, researchers reported in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Earth’s gravity fluctuates in small ways that are caused by changes in mass.
When hefty ice sheets melt, there is less ice and thus less gravitational force pulling in that area. The new results come partly from the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellites, a four-year endeavor to finely map Earth’s gravity.
The Antarctic is indeed has been losing a staggering, massive, huge 204 Billion Tons of Ice in Three Years. Now that’s some ice cubes for your drinks. More seriously, if this continued we would have big problem of rising sea levels.
Last but not least, US greenhouse gases emissions recently rebounded, and this despite the growth of solar, wind and other renewables. The culprit ? Coal ! Business Green noted :
US emissions from consuming fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas have reversed their downward trend to rise significantly over the past 18 months, new figures show.
Days after President Barack Obama told the UN Climate Conference in New York the US “is stepping up to the plate” in tackling climate change, data published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) show CO2 emissions from fossil fuels for the first half of 2014 were 2.74 per cent higher than the same period in 2013 and almost six per cent higher than the first six months of 2012.
(…) Carbon dioxide emissions due to the consumption of coal were more than 12 per cent higher during the first half of 2014 than during the first six months of 2012, while those from natural gas and petroleum rose by 7.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.
So growing renewables is fine, but keeping old coal isn’t doing any wonders for our climate or our health. This reminds me that I have to finish my article on a carbon tax in the United States. So stay tuned !