1 March 21
Changing rain and snow patterns
1.Varying rainfall threatens biodiversity in Western Ghats The Western Ghats, one of India’s largest natural carbon sinks and a biodiversity hotspot, is facing a new threat due to changing rainfall patterns. The Sahyadri, a 1,600km-long mountain range that runs parallel to the west coast of India, records more than 500 cm of rainfall in many places but new weather models show that there are now changes that do not bode well for this Unesco World Heritage Site.
The researchers are looking at the rainfall data of the past 100 years and the initial patterns are shocking. In line with other weather models, the latest research indicates that the rain that earlier fell over four months may now occur within a span of a few days or weeks. The forests in the northern, central and southern Western Ghats declined by 2.84%, 4.38% and 5.77%, respectively.
2 March 1
Last year was also the hottest year in 115 years. The average global temperature in 2015 was 0.750C higher than the long-term average between 1961 and 1990, much higher than the 0.570C in 2014, which itself was a record.
The heatwave of India last year lead to deaths of more than 2300 people. It was the fifth deadliest in the world and second deadliest in India after the one in 1998 that claimed 2541 lives (Emergency Events Database). Climatologists warned that the heatwaves are likely to increase in both intensity, frequency and will be of longer duration in the future. The temperature of Angul in the state of Odisha on May 25 was a scorching 480C (1180F).
2. Drought in Eastern Mediterranean Worst in 900 Years – NASA
A new NASA study finds that the recent drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant region, which comprises Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, is likely the worst drought of the past nine centuries. The recent drought in the Levant region, from 1998 to 2012, stands out as about 50 per cent drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20 per cent drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years.
The average global temperature has risen by about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past century. In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F (0.1°C). This warming has occurred from the surface to a depth of about 2,300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives.
Rising sea level
A sea-level rise of approximately 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) for each degree Celsius of temperature rise is expected. Approximately three feet of sea level rise is expected by 2100. There are approximately 150 million people worldwide that live within three feet of today’s water levels, because of the interconnected economies and societies, ocean rise will affect us all.
3 March 29
3. Extreme weather predicted for Cape
Extreme weather conditions are predicted for Cape Town past week, with gale-force winds and rain expected along the coast, and fire warnings issued. Summer came to an abrupt end when, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, about 15cm of snow fell as chill factors dropped to -3ºC on the Matroosberg, near Ceres, and much-needed rain fell in a chilly and windswept Cape Town.
4. Ocean acidification caused by climate change threatens
A newly published scientific
study has found that ocean acidification caused by climate change is damaging shellfish such as mussels and oysters. According to the study, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from humans burning fossil fuels are causing ocean acidification and that acidification is damaging shellfish. This increase causes the seawater to become more acidic and causes carbonate ions to be relatively less abundant. Decreases in carbonate ions can make building and maintaining shells and other calcium carbonate structures difficult for calcifying organisms.
5 March 28
Shrinking sea ice
5. Arctic sea ice levels are lower than they’ve ever been
The largest extent of sea ice this year occurred on March 24, with a total area of 5.607 million square miles of ice. For comparison, the average maximum sea ice level, based on data from 1980-2010, is 6.04 million square miles, or 431,000 more square miles of ice than there was in 2016.
As ice on land (primarily glaciers and ice sheets) in the Arctic melts as the temperature rises, it’s responsible for a rise in sea level worldwide, thereby wreaking havoc on coastal communities around the world. Arctic ice and snow helps reflect sunlight, directly aiding in cooling the planet. When that ice disappears, the sunlight is instead absorbed by the ocean, thereby contributing to warming and further melting the ice in a vicious cycle.
6 March 28
6. Study anticipates disappearance of ice from Juneau Ice Field by 2099
The Mendenhall Glacier, a 13-mile river of ice, terminates about 10 miles north of downtown Juneau. One of the largest ice fields in the Western Hemisphere, the Juneau Ice Field, covers 1,500 square miles in the steep Coast Mountains, the range that lines Alaska’s Panhandle and much of British Columbia. If current global temperature will keep on climbing, a loss of 60% of the ice in Juneau Ice Field would be nowhere to be seen. The climate models also anticipated no halt in the process of global warming.
There’s a layer of permanently frozen soil in the Arctic, known as permafrost, that has two times more carbon trapped in it than is in the atmosphere. As permafrost thaws, which is happening right now, it will release massive amounts of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane which will in turn increase temperature further more.
7 March 29
7. Great Barrier Reef suffers worst coral bleaching on record
Scientists say parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are going through the worst coral bleaching on record. Experts have looked at more than 500 areas between Cairns and Papua New Guinea – and 95 percent have been put in the most severe category. Bleaching is heat-induced, generated by high sea temperatures that kill algae.