Antarctica is melting faster and faster

According to recent data Antarctica appears to warm much faster than previously thought. This could have dire consequences for rising sea levels and the hundreds of million of people living in coastal regions worldwide.

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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.

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Flood costs and risks to soar in Europe

It seems the huge floods in the United Kingdom could become the new normal because of climate change. The frequency of such destructive events could almost double by mid century as a new study published in Nature Climate Change reports. According to the Guardian :” The huge cost of flood damage is set to soar … Read more

The IPCC latest report is out

IPCC report 2013You must have heard or read about it : Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published the first part of its latest report. The results are even more frightening than in 2007 and stress how urgent action is needed.

Now the IPCC is between 95 percent sure that most of the warming is human made. To me that doesn’t make much difference since the previous report stated that it was 90 percent sure. That was already enough to urge us toward action.

By the end of the century global temperatures could rise by 4.8°C, compared to an agreed goal of 2°C of increase. This is still achievable but would require huge action quickly.

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Are our cities just too big to flood ?

Flood in BangkokThis was the question asked on the the Yale Environment 360 blog and I believe the timing is perfect as last year cities such as New York City, Manila and Bangkok got it by record floods. Now it is the turn of Jakarta.

The capital megacity of Indonesia now has water in its streets and people to evacuate because of another flood. Given that rising temperatures mean rising sea levels and more extreme weather, the threat is huge.

First in terms of people – as the majority of people will live in cities in 2050 and as 14 of the world’s 17 largest cities are located along coasts.

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Hurricane Sandy, aka the Frankenstorm

Sandy hitting the United StatesUnless you have spent the week remote from civilization, you must have heard of THE event of the week : Disney bought the Star Wars franchise. Ooops, sorry, I meant : Hurricane Sandy, also known as the Frankenstorm.

All joking aside, the matter is tremendously serious as dozens died in the Caribbean and the United States. Billion of Dollars of damages will probably be recorded as New York and many other cities were flooded.

This hurricane broke the deafening climate silence of the US presidential election, or at least in the collective mind (but not for candidate Romney).

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Many large cities at risk due to rising sea levels

To new research carried out and recently released by Maplecroft, many booming megalopolis around the world are at extreme risk because of rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

Manila, Jakarta and Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) would be threatened the most. Others cities, including Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Chennai, Karachi, Lagos and Guangdong, would also be in danger.

This reminds me of a series of posts I had published here as early as 2008 on that very subject. This time, the research had been carried out by the OECD and the World Bank.

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Soon to be lost paradises

In the past few weeks – and further to my articles on rising sea levels – I have been wondering how the beautiful islands in Oceania and elsewhere will be affected by this phenomenon.

It seems many people will have to flee their homes. Indeed, many islands like Tuvalu and the Maldives (pictured) may disappear from the surface of our planet by mid-century.

Today I propose you some of the latest articles on that topic. Climate change is happening right now, those islanders witness it as you read this.

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What if Antarctica’s ice melt ?

As we saw three weeks ago in my article on the scientific data on level sea rise, the melting of both Arctic and Antarctica are one of the main components of the phenomenon.

Even if the Arctic is quite well documented, Antarctica is not that well known. 25 times bigger than France and weighting billions of tons of ice, the sixth continent is a huge unknown.

If a single percent of all this ice melt, it would represent a sea level rise by a staggering 60 centimeters (two feet)… A serious danger I will study today.

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The major threat of rising sea levels : the consequences (2/2)

After my post on the scientific research behind rising sea levels and the one on their dramatic consequences worldwide, I would like to conclude this series with my home country, France.

Even if it won’t be the most stricken by the phenomenon, it would suffer from dire consequences of rising sea levels provoked by a full scale climate change.

You will find below an overview of the main cities, regions and economic activities that will be the most hit. The list is quite impressive.

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The major threat of rising sea levels : the consequences (1/2)

After last week’s article on the scientific data of rising sea levels, it is time for us to have a look at how they would affect millions of people and possibly destroy assets worth billions.

The OECD report mentioned last week gives us further data on this very topic and the least I can say is that the situation is truly frightening with possible catastrophes in many countries.

The vast majority of risks are located in Asia, and more particularly in India and China as their coastal populations are due to increase in an important way.

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