It was raining in San Francisco on the damp December morning that three scientists gathered at the offices of Climate Nexus to hold a press conference about the drought. It had been raining regularly for more than a week, in fact, and Stanford University had just recorded its rainiest day ever on campus.
These three drought experts had gathered to swim upstream against all that rain and evaporate any false optimism it might be washing into California.
A year-end report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US-based organization, indicates that the arctic air is warming up at a rate that is 200% of what is seen in other parts of the world. At the same time, other factors have combined to show the ice sheets in Greenland are melting at a rate that is negligible. In other words, the ice sheets appear to be holding steady at this time.
SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.
Tomorrow on December 4th, the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) will hold a press conference at the COP-20 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Lima, Peru. AMEG is a group that formed several years ago in response to the rapid decline of Arctic ice and concerns about rapidly releasing methane coming from the Arctic region.
Scientists, environmentalists and world leaders alike have generally agreed that capping Earth’s temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would prevent the worst effects of climate change — a cut-off touted again in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
But many experts in the field, including former IPCC leaders, have said that even if global warming is kept to that limit, such a rise could nevertheless devastate the environment and endanger humanity — the very effects that the latest study warns will happen if the 2 C ceiling is breached.
Climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the most important assessment of global warming yet published.
The stark report states that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heatwaves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts. But it also found that ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable.
Floating over the US Southwest is a cloud of methane the size of Delaware, writes Mike G - reflecting the release of almost 600,000 tonnes of the powerful greenhouse gas every year. Its origins? Coalbed gas production, fracking and horizontal drilling.
The hot spot happens to be above New Mexico's San Juan Basin, the most productive coalbed methane basin in North America.
When NASA researchers first saw data indicating a massive cloud of methane floating over the American Southwest, they found it so incredible that they dismissed it as an instrument error.