From the Chasing Ice website:
In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
This documentary looks incredible. Has anyone seen it?
A new study suggests record warming is in store for us: By observing several indirect temperature indicators, researchers looking at weather patterns since the end of the last Ice Age are predicting that average surface temperatures will be at their highest point in human experience by the end of this century.
Photo: John McConnico / Associated Press
Container Ship Starts Yearlong Climate Study
A Horizon Lines container ship outfitted with meteorological and atmospheric instruments installed by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory will begin taking data for a yearlong mission aimed at improving the representation of clouds in climate models. The study, a collaborative effort between DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement(ARM) program Climate Research Facility and Horizon Lines, marks the first official marine deployment of the second ARM Mobile Facility, AMF2, and is likely the most elaborate climate study ever mounted aboard a commercial vessel.
“We are very grateful to Horizon Lines for giving us the opportunity to install our research equipment aboard the Horizon Spirit,” says lead investigator Ernie Lewis, an atmospheric scientist at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Horizon Spirit makes a roundtrip journey from Los Angeles to Hawaii every two weeks, which allows for repeated measurements over the same transect at different seasons.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/10/container-ship-starts-yearlong-climate-study
This might be the best video describing Arctic ice melt I’ve ever seen. It is also the scariest. The Arctic is the Earth’s air conditioner. It helps regulate temperatures around the globe in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the Arctic provides stability. Once the ice is melted, the system blows up and gets all out of wack. It impacts everything from fisheries to weather to coastal infrastructure to animal habitat. Click here to read an easy summary by WaPo for more reasons why this matters.
I’ve seen, heard, read, viewed, participated, and debated dozens and dozens of aspects of climate change. This one, this video, is one of the best explainers of how much trouble the Earth is in.
…produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.
“We are now in uncharted territory,”
New sea ice is finally starting to form again in the Arctic, scientists reported Wednesday, but not before reaching another record low last Sunday.
“We are now in uncharted territory,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a statement announcing the record low of 1.32 million square miles — nearly half the average extent from 1979 to 2010. The extent has been tracked by satellite since 1979.
Ocean Temps Reach Record Highs in Northeast
During the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem were the highest ever recorded, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region, and the above average temperatures extended beyond the shelf break front to the Gulf Stream.
The annual 2012 spring plankton bloom was intense, started earlier and lasted longer than average. This has implications for marine life from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/09/ocean-temps-reach-record-highs-northeast
Scientists are trying to determine why some polar bears in Alaska are suffering from fur loss and skin lesions, and whether the phenomenon is related to a disease that has been killing seals in the region.
According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) chief biologist Tony DeGange, scientists examined 33 bears during routine field studies in the southern Beaufort Sea region near Barrow in late March and early April; of those, nine had fur loss, or alopecia, and other skin lesions. DeGange says that, while it is not atypical to find some bears with those symptoms, it is unusual to discover the ailments in so many in such a short time.
“The first day we observed it was on March 21st and we had three captures and two of them had alopecia, and so it was like, ‘Oh that’s interesting,’” he told the Alaska Public Radio Network. “Then we started picking it up on other animals in later March so it was like, this is more than normal.”
The Question on Everyone's Mind: If Spring Came Early, What Will Summer Feel Like?
A new study asserts that natural gas is a weak weapon against climate change—
Although natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, a new study argues that replacing all the world’s coal power plants with natural gas would do little to slow global warming this century.
“There are lots of reasons to like natural gas, but climate change isn’t one of them,” said physicist Nathan Myhrvold, lead author of the new study. “It’s worthless for [fighting] climate change, as far as we can tell.”
Because natural gas still produces carbon dioxide, it won’t cut emissions effectively enough to reverse global warming. Bottom line: it’s time to come to terms with the fact that fossil fuels are not going to help us with our climate change problem.
How climate change could be the ruin of Los Angeles (AtlanticCities)
“L.A. still gets nearly 90 percent of its drinking water from out-of-town resources, just as it has for more than a century. But the Sierra Nevada snowpack could shrink by as much as 90 percent by 2100, experts say. Runoff already peaks 10 to 15 days earlier today than it did 50 years ago, according to a 2008 Purdue University study.
Meanwhile, aquifers along the coast of Los Angeles County are already experiencing “seawater intrusion,” according to the National Resources Defense Council, which last year called out L.A. officials for lagging behind other big cities in planning for such climate change-related effects. The group warns that a 55-inch sea level rise would double the number of toxic waste sites, power plants and other critical infrastructure situated inside L.A. County’s 100-year flood zones.”
Read the rest at The Atlantic Cities
I talk about this all the time. The watersheds of Los Angeles don’t support the population in the first place.
From Science Daily:
By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth’s land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type — such as forest, grassland or tundra — toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study.
Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., investigated how Earth’s plant life is likely to react over the next three centuries as Earth’s climate changes in response to rising levels of human-produced greenhouse gases. Study results are published in the journal Climatic Change.
The model projections paint a portrait of increasing ecological change and stress in Earth’s biosphere, with many plant and animal species facing increasing competition for survival, as well as significant species turnover, as some species invade areas occupied by other species. Most of Earth’s land that is not covered by ice or desert is projected to undergo at least a 30 percent change in plant cover — changes that will require humans and animals to adapt and often relocate.
In addition to altering plant communities, the study predicts climate change will disrupt the ecological balance between interdependent and often endangered plant and animal species, reduce biodiversity and adversely affect Earth’s water, energy, carbon and other element cycles.
“For more than 25 years, scientists have warned of the dangers of human-induced climate change,” said Jon Bergengren, a scientist who led the study while a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. “Our study introduces a new view of climate change, exploring the ecological implications of a few degrees of global warming. While warnings of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and other environmental changes are illustrative and important, ultimately, it’s the ecological consequences that matter most.”
When faced with climate change, plant species often must “migrate” over multiple generations, as they can only survive, compete and reproduce within the range of climates to which they are evolutionarily and physiologically adapted. While Earth’s plants and animals have evolved to migrate in response to seasonal environmental changes and to even larger transitions, such as the end of the last ice age, they often are not equipped to keep up with the rapidity of modern climate changes that are currently taking place. Human activities, such as agriculture and urbanization, are increasingly destroying Earth’s natural habitats, and frequently block plants and animals from successfully migrating.
Check out the rest of the article here.
Climate Change and Extreme Weather
Climate change increases the risk of record-breaking extreme weather events that threaten communities across the country. In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck communities in the US.
Want to do something about it? Send a message to Congress, asking them to uphold the Clean Air Act and clean up the carbon pollution that drives climate change.
Big news! For weeks, the Discovery Channel refused to show the stunning conclusions of its own Frozen Planet documentary series that showed the devastating effects that climate change has had on the North and South Poles — and the danger it portends for the rest of the planet.
But just hours after Claudia Abbott-Barish’s Change.org petition hit 75,000 signatures, Discovery backed down, and agreed to air the final episode (all about climate change) in its entirety!
It’s another sign that something different is happening all over the world. Every day, people are taking a stand on local, state and national issues that matter to them, and they’re winning.
Change.org has a simple goal — enable anyone, anywhere, to start, join and win campaigns about issues that are important to them. We’re a community of more than 5 million people, and together we’ve achieved some amazing victories.
In the last few weeks, people have used the Change.org platform to stop young people from being deported, save homes from foreclosure, and force big banks to drop outrageous fees for using a debit card. A Burmese monk living in Brooklyn successfully petitioned Hillary Clinton to speak out forcefully about political prisoners in his home country. An animal lover stopped a shelter in North Carolina from slaughtering thousands of dogs. A Syrian activist got Western tech companies to stop supplying spying technology to the violent Syrain regime. Two LGBT teens in Michigan pushed their state legislature to drop a harmful exemption from an anti-bullying law.
Climate change episode of Frozen Planet won't be shown in the U.S. as viewers don't believe in global warming
An episode of the BBC’s Frozen Planet documentary series that looks at climate change has been scrapped in the U.S., where many are hostile to the idea of global warming.
British viewers will see all seven episodes of the multi-million-pound nature series throughout the Autumn.
But U.S. audiences will not be shown the last episode, which looks at the threat posed by man to the natural world.
It is feared a show that preaches global warming could upset viewers in the U.S., where around half of people do not believe in climate change.
Strange… according to a recent Stanford University/Reuters/Ipsos poll, approximately 83% of Americans believe that climate change and global warming are happening right now. 71% of these people believe that global warming is at least in part the fault of human civilization. Only 15% of adults surveyed believe that global warming is not currently occurring. These skeptics are yet only 53% certain of their belief.
The fact that this program is supposedly not being shown because it will be too “controversial” for American audiences smells fishy to me.