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Arlington Vision 2020 Committee/Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) Chapter

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This page includes content from the Climate Change News blog, which is maintained daily by David Landskov, and content from our old SA blog archives.

  • Sunday, Feb 18

    Climate Change News Feb 19, 2018 | 04:50 am

    Sunday, Feb 18

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  • Alaska's Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

    Climate Change News Feb 17, 2018 | 17:57 pm

    Alaska's Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days Globally, sea ice is at record lows as the polar regions warm faster than the rest of the planet.  Along the Alaska coast, it's affecting people's lives.In just eight days in mid-February, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska's west coast disappeared.  That kind of ice loss and the changing climate as the planet warms is affecting the lives of the people who live along the coast. At a time when the sea ice should be growing toward its maximum extent for the year, it's shrinking instead—the area of the Bering Sea covered by ice is now 60 percent below its average from 1981-2010. "[Bering sea ice] is in a league by itself at this point," said Richard Thoman, the climate science and services manager for the National Weather Service Alaska region.  "And looking at the weather over the next week, this value isn't going to go up significantly. It's going to go down. Read more at Alaska's Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

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  • Backbone for New England Offshore Wind Farms “Massachusetts Ocean Grid” Takes Shape

    Climate Change News Feb 17, 2018 | 15:35 pm

    Backbone for New England Offshore Wind Farms “Massachusetts Ocean Grid” Takes Shape On Tuesday February 13, Anbaric Development Partners (ADP) announced that it had gained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the right to develop a shared transmission system, which it says will enable Massachusetts to fully harness the potential of offshore wind power. The FERC decision grants authority to solicit customers and sell transmission rights to a 2,000 to 2,400 megawatt offshore wind transmission system in southern New England called the “Massachusetts Ocean Grid.” FERC’s approval of the application allows ADP to offer its backbone transmission system to offshore wind developers that currently hold federal leases as well as future lease holders who are likely to emerge.  “We fundamentally believe that the separation of transmission and generation is important, that you need to build out the backbone system to realize the full potential of the resource,” said Steve Conant, a partner and member of the transmission team with ADP.  Conant added that the company is starting with Massachusetts but is also eyeing New York and New Jersey as other potential offshore wind transmission backbone opportunities. The Massachusetts Ocean Grid will provide a common offshore interconnection point for multiple wind developers, the company explained in a press release, so that each individual developer doesn’t have to build its own individual generator lead. Read more at Backbone for New England Offshore Wind FarRead more atms “Massachusetts Ocean Grid” Takes Shape

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  • Friday, Feb 16

    Climate Change News Feb 17, 2018 | 15:25 pm

    Friday, Feb 16

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  • Polar Ice Is Lost at Sea

    Climate Change News Feb 16, 2018 | 09:01 am

    Polar Ice Is Lost at Sea Our planet reached another miserable milestone earlier this week:  Sea ice fell to its lowest level since human civilization began more than 12,000 years ago. That worrying development is just the latest sign that rising temperatures are inflicting lasting changes on the coldest corners of the globe.  The new record low comes as the planet’s climate system shifts further from the relatively stable period that helped give rise to cities, commerce, and the way we live now. So far, the new year has been remarkably warm on both poles.  The past 30 days have averaged more than 21 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal in Svalbard, Norway — the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.  Last month, a tanker ship completed the first wintertime crossing of the Arctic Ocean without the assistance of an icebreaker.  Down south in the Antarctic, sea ice is all but gone for the third straight year as summer winds to a close.   The loss of Earth’s polar sea ice has long been considered one of the most important tipping points as the planet warms.  That’s because as the bright white ice melts, it exposes less-reflective ocean water, which more easily absorbs heat.  And that, sorry to say, kicks off a new cycle of further warming. According to  research published last fall, that cycle appears to be the primary driver of ice melt in the Arctic, effectively marking the beginning of the end of permanent ice cover there. The wide-ranging consequences of this transition, such as[…]

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  • Wednesday, Feb 14

    Climate Change News Feb 16, 2018 | 06:49 am

    Wednesday, Feb 14

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  • New Science Suggests Methane Packs More Warming Power Than Previously Thought

    Climate Change News Feb 15, 2018 | 07:40 am

    New Science Suggests Methane Packs More Warming Power Than Previously Thought It’s long been known that methane is a major contributor to global warming, responsible for roughly a quarter of the warming we’re experiencing today and second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on the current climate. But research suggests methane has an even more potent warming effect on the climate than scientists previously thought. For example, a study in Geophysical Research Letters significantly revises estimates of the energy trapped by methane by including its previously-neglected absorption of near-infrared radiation (past research included only infrared absorption—a different part of the radiation spectrum). Packing a bigger punchThe study finds that the radiative efficiency—how much energy is trapped in the climate system by unit mass of methane—is 23% higher than estimates used in the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Methane also impacts warming indirectly by creating more tropospheric ozone and stratospheric water vapor.  Its global warming potential (GWP) accounts for both its direct and indirect warming effects.  But the new research affects only the direct radiative properties.  The net increase in methane’s GWP is 14% compared to their IPCC AR5 values (over both 20- and 100-year time horizons). Bigger challenge, greater opportunityReducing methane emissions is especially important for curbing near-term warming.  Because methane only lasts for a decade or so in the atmosphere, reducing emissions can have a near-immediate impact on slowing the rate of warming.  This is critical for reducing the impacts that we’re already seeing, such as sea level rise and worsened extreme weather[…]

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  • Intelligence Agencies Warn of Climate Risks in Worldwide Threat Assessment

    Climate Change News Feb 14, 2018 | 07:10 am

    Intelligence Agencies Warn of Climate Risks in Worldwide Threat Assessment While top Trump administration officials deny climate change, the intelligence agencies warn global warming can fuel disasters and violent conflicts. In their annual summary of global threats, the nation's intelligence agencies warned on Tuesday that climate change and other environmental trends "are likely to fuel economic and social discontent—and possibly upheaval—through 2018." While there may not be indications of an abrupt and cataclysmic event on the immediate horizon, the trends are already visible, they said in a statement presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee at a hearing where the Trump administration's top intelligence officials testified. The statement was matter-of-fact and brief, but unambiguous. Normally, conclusions like these might not deserve much notice.  But in an administration where top officials, including some with intelligence responsibilities, have repeatedly questioned the basic science of global warming, such a frank confirmation of the mainstream consensus was striking. The intelligence agencies' Worldwide Threat Assessment contrasted with two other recent documents issued by the Trump administration:  the National Defense Strategy published in January and the National Security Strategy published in December.  Both of those broke from the pattern of recent years and omitted climate change as a significant concern. The intelligence community, instead, aligned itself with science agencies.  The report's views reflect those in the thoroughly peer-reviewed interagency National Climate Assessment issued last year, and the facts consistently reported by major scientific agencies like NOAA and NASA. Read more at Intelligence Agencies Warn of Climate Risks in Worldwide Threat Assessment

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  • Tuesday, Feb 13

    Climate Change News Feb 14, 2018 | 05:13 am

    Tuesday, Feb 13

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  • Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating:  4 Inches Per Decade (or More) by 2100

    Climate Change News Feb 13, 2018 | 08:00 am

    Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating:  4 Inches Per Decade (or More) by 2100 Satellite data confirm what computer models have warned for years:  Oceans are rising faster as the planet warms, and coastal communities face increasing flood risk. The rate of sea level rise is accelerating so fast that some coastal communities could confront an additional 4 inches per decade by the end of the century—a growing concern now confirmed by thorough measurements from space. At that rapid pace of change, vulnerable communities might not be able to keep up.  Storm surges will increase erosion and damage homes, businesses, and transportation infrastructure in some areas.  In other places, seawater will intrude on freshwater aquifers.  In South Asia and the islands, people will lose the land where they live and farm.  And the changes will arrive much faster than they do today. Scientists have been warning about this speed-up for many years based on computer climate simulations.  A new study released Monday confirms the modeled trend with a detailed analysis of satellite observations spanning a quarter of a century. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reinforce the outlook that average global sea level is likely to go up at least 2 feet by the end of this century compared to 2005 levels. The study confirms that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), NASA and the European Environmental Agency were correct when they found that the rate of change had increased in recent years. And if the rate of acceleration intensifies—as it might if global warming speeds the[…]

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