Tag: climate change

Climate Study of Past 66 Million Years Reveals Earth’s Temperature Rise as Unprecedented

Image Courtesy: Earth.com

The study concludes that this human made climate change is far beyond the natural changes that are triggered by Earth’s changing orbit.

Periodicity is an inherent part of the natural world. It not only limited to day-night, winter-summer periodicity in the natural world extends to the Earth’s climatic conditions as well. In the past millions of years, the planet has undergone such periodic changes in its climatic conditions. In a latest study published in Science, scientists have reported how Earth’s climate has changed in the previous 66 million years.

The research includes detailed account of Earth’s climate in the entire Cenozoic era, which is a huge time period of 66 million years spanning from the beginning of the extinction of dinosaurs to the present epoch of human made climate change. The researchers divide the entire period into four categories—warmhouse, hothouse, coolhouse and icehouse stages. Each of these four categories had distinct climatic conditions depending upon the change of the planet’s orbit, greenhouse gas level and the extent of polar ice sheets.

What is worrying is that the study projects that human induced emission of greenhouse gases, in the current epoch, are causing the global temperature to rise to such a level that was not seen in tens of millions of years. The study concludes that this human made climate change is far beyond the natural changes that are triggered by Earth’s changing orbit.

The basis of the study was the deep-sea foraminifera. These are tiny deep sea amoebas. Around 66 million years ago a massive asteroid hit Earth, releasing immense energy in the collision, which, some estimations say was equivalent to thousands of nuclear bombs being exploded together. As a result, ash, dust and rocks that vaporised covered the sky so that even sunrays could not penetrate. Plants and animals had to suffer mass extinction which included the dinosaurs as well. But, the foraminifera remained active in the deep sea and they continued reproducing and colonising. These tiny deep sea amoebas form sturdy shells of calcium and other minerals available at deep sea. When the amoebas died, they formed deep sea sediments and preserved the ancient history of the planet in the fossilised shells.

Scientists have been using these fossils for decades to study the ancient climatic conditions of Earth and to gain some clues about ocean temperature, carbon footprint and also the compositions of other minerals. The current study published in Science also used these foraminifera fossils and analysed the chemical elements in thousands of such samples and revealed the most detailed account of ancient climate of Earth that has ever been made. The study consists of decades of drilling into deep-sea and compiled them to get the conclusions.

In the zig zag pattern of the chart given below, one can find the boundaries of the four categories of climatic conditions in various time period as enumerated by the authors.

Image Source: livescience.com

The chart also ends with a peak depicting the current pace of man made global warming. The researchers conclude that the current global warming trend is far beyond any natural climatic fluctuation that could have ever been seen in the entire Cenozoic era. This has the potential to drive the planet into a hothouse state.

James Zachos, one of the co-authors of the study and professor of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, said in a statement, “Now that we have succeeded in capturing the natural climate variability, we can see that the projected anthropogenic warming will be much greater than that. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections for 2300 in the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario will potentially bring global temperature to a level the planet has not seen in 50 million years.”

To study the era long climate conditions, the researchers analysed fossil forma shells in deep-sea sediments. Particularly, the ratio of carbon and oxygen isotopes in the sediment shells. This ratio holds important information about past climatic conditions. For example, the ratio of oxygen 18 and oxygen 16 isotopes reveal the warmth of the surrounding water when a foram shell was being constructed. A higher ratio implies a colder water. Again, the ratio of carbon 13 and carbon 12 isotopes can reveal the amount of organic matter in the form of carbon that was available for the consumption of the microbes. A higher ratio signifies a greater amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The researchers also considered astronomical variables in their study. These astronomical variables include the extremely slow change of the Earth’s orbit and its tilt towards the sun, known as the Milankovitch cycle. They analysed how these changes impacted sunlight available at different part at different time. They observed that these natural changes contributed towards very small scale changes to the global climate. Importantly, with each significant jump between different states, the researchers observed a massive change in greenhouse gas profiles.

For example, in the period known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, a period about 10 million years after dinosaurs went extinct, there was a temperature rise of about 16 degree Celsius above the modern level. This was due to release of huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere resulting, probably, from volcanic eruptions in the North Atlantic. Subsequently, during the next 10 million years, as carbon disappeared from the atmosphere, ice sheets began to form in the Arctic and the planet eventually entered the coolhouse stage.

Three million years ago from now, the planet entered the icehouse phase marked by waning of northern hemisphere ice sheets. And now, we have the anthropogenic global warming period that supersedes any natural fluctuations seen in millions of years.

Source- newsclick.in

Periods of extreme heat in 2019 bookend Australia’s warmest and driest year on record


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 9 January: The year 2019 was Australia’s warmest and driest year on record. This is revealed in the Annual Climate Statement 2019 of the Bureau of Metrology released today. The revelations are a big cause of concern amidst Australia’s drought and worst bushfires which have spilled into 2020. It’s connection to climate change remains potent.

Environmentalists have been warning of the dangers of climate change which continues to be denied at the highest levels. What tragedies are in the offing for humans and other living beings in the near future can be anybody’s guess.

The Statement details the Bureau’s official summary of the previous year and includes information on temperature, rainfall and significant weather.

The Statement reveals, “Australia’s mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.

Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.”

Australia’s mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record of 1.33 °C above average set in 2013.

Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.

“Most of this year, Australia’s climate has been dominated by a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which acted to both warm and dry Australia’s landscape, particularly from around the middle of the year.

“We also saw the influence of a rare Sudden Stratospheric Warming event high above the south pole, which acted to push our weather systems northward and compound the warmer and drier than average conditions over southern Queensland and New South Wales during spring, amplifying the fire weather.

“The other key factor at play is that Australia’s climate has warmed by more than a degree since 1910, which means very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur, while the trend in recent decades has been for drier winter and spring seasons in the south.”

Last year also saw some periods of significant rain in northern Queensland and northwest Western Australia.

“In January and February, we saw exceptional rainfall have a major impact on communities in northern Queensland, particularly around Townsville.

“The floodwaters were so significant they eventually made their way to South Australia, where we saw one of the largest fillings of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre in many years.”

In recent weeks, some of the key drivers of the recent warm and dry patterns over Australia have eased. As a result, rainfall for the coming months is expected to be average to below average in the east, while wetter than average conditions are possible for much of Western Australia and South Australia. However, temperatures are likely to remain warmer than average over the rest of summer.

“Unfortunately the outlook is not indicating a widespread return to wetter than average conditions over drought and fire-affected parts of eastern Australia. But with the likely return of the monsoon by mid-January for northern Australia, it raises the chance that we could see some periods of higher rainfall move south in the coming months,” Dr Braganza said.

“It’s important the community remains vigilant to the risk of more heat and fire days this summer, particularly given how dry the country has been over the past 12 months.”


Adani opens solar farm near Moranbah amidst climate protests at Haughton river site

Photo: Adani Renewals

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 31 October: Adani Australia today announced first renewables project in Australia, a 65 MW solar farm in central Queensland which has been officially switched on. The project is powering more than 23,000 regional Queensland homes and businesses, says an Adani Renewables media release today.

Located near Moranbah in central Queensland, Rugby Run solar farm’s 247,000 solar panels makes it the eighth largest solar farm in Queensland and a significant contributor in renewable energy production for Queensland.

The announcement comes amidst reports of climate activists this morning disrupting work on BMD’s site at Haughton River just south of Townsville, calling on the construction company to cut ties with Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine.

Photo: Frontline Action On Coal

A press statement emailed today by the Frontline Action on Coal to the SAT says, “A group of 25 people stopped work by blocking the gates to BMD’s site on the Haughton River floodplain upgrade just off the Bruce Highway. BMD is contracted to work on the construction of Adani’s Carmichael rail line.”

Frontline Action on Coal Spokesperson Andrea Valenzuela said “businesses like BMD can no longer defend working on destructive fossil fuel projects like Adani’s mine as ‘just doing their job’. The choice is between drastic climate action or accepting responsibility for the wilful destruction of our planet.

Adani CEO Lucas Dow was joined by Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker to officially open the solar farm in Moranbah today.

“We are delighted to officially open the Adani Rugby Run solar farm today, adding an Australian arm to our already significant international renewables portfolio,” Mr Dow said.
“People are often surprised when we say we’re in the renewables business, but the reality is that we recognize the world needs a reliable and affordable energy mix of both coal and renewables in order to meet current and future global energy demand, “he said.

VIDEO: The Australian Govt’s plan for the Great Barrier #Reef is a sham: Greenpeace

Source: #GreenpeaceAP

Believe It or Not, Pulses Reduce Gas Emissions!

A key message of the 2016 International Year of Pulses is that pulses are highly nutritious—the little seeds are packed with nutrients, and are a fantastic source of protein. Photo: Courtesy of FAO

ROME, Sep 6 2016 (IPS) – Lentils, beans, chick peas, and other pulses often produce negative “collateral social effects” on people hanging around, just a couple of hours after eating them. But, believe it or not, they contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. How come?

See the facts: it is estimated that globally, some 190 million hectares of pulses contribute to five to seven million tonnes of nitrogen in soils. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, they need less fertilizer, both organic and synthetic and, in this way, they play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

And pulses are very popular-the global production of pulses increased from 64 million hectares in 1961 to almost 86 million in 2014.

These facts, which have been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), also tell that, additionally, when included in livestock feed, pulses’ high protein content contributes to increase the food conversion ratio while decreasing methane emissions from ruminants, thus at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This good news reveals how far this UN specialised agency is concerned about the impact of climate change on food security.

Climate change has a huge impact on global food production and food security, it says. “Changing weather patterns can cause an increase in natural disasters like droughts, floods, hurricanes, which can impact every level of food production.”

Unless urgent and sustainable measures are established, climate change will continue to put pressure on agricultural ecosystems, particularly in regions and for populations that are particularly vulnerable, warns FAO while informing about the so called climate-smart varieties of pulses.

On this, it emphasises the fact that pulses have a broad genetic diversity from which improved varieties can be selected and bred. This diversity is a particularly important attribute because more climate-resilient strains can be developed for use in areas prone to floods, droughts and other extreme weather events.

Pulses and Agroforestry

Added to all the above, agroforestry systems that include pulses such as pigeon peas grown at the same time as other crops, do help sustain the food security of farmers, by helping them to diversify their sources of income, FAO reports.

And “agroforestry systems are more able to withstand climate extremes as pulses are hardier than most crops and help to nourish the soil. When using these systems, farmers see an increase in crop productivity that extends to subsequent crop yields.”

It is significant that the United Nations has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses and held in April this year in Marrakesh, Morocco, an International Conference on Pulses for Health, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture in Drylands that came out with the “Morocco Declaration on Pulses as Solutions toFood and Nutrition Security, Agricultural Sustainability and Climate ChangeAdaptation.”

The conference gathered world science experts to find a path forward for boosting pulses production in developing countries through measures in science, research for development investments, policy and markets.

The Morocco Declaration recommends to increase global pulses production by 20 per cent from the current level by 2030 through closing the yield gaps, expansion in new niches that include intensification of rice fallows with pulses, and short season windows in existing intensive cropping systems.

t recognises that pulses production has significantly lagged behind the rising demand in the developing world in spite of many benefits of pulses, which are a “win-win for people and the environment – healthier soils, low carbon and water footprints, and greater household nutritional security, while also generating extra income for farmers.”

But What Are Pulses?…

In case you do not have enough information, FAO has elaborated the following set of facts.

To start with, pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.

But they do not include crops, which are harvested green (e.g. green peas, green beans)—these are classified as vegetable crops. Also excluded are those crops used mainly for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnuts) and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (e.g. seeds of clover and alfalfa).

You probably already eat more pulses than you realise! Popular pulses include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. Chickpeas, cow peas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas are also pulses, as are all varieties of lentils.

Staples dishes and cuisines from across the world feature pulses, from hummus in the Mediterranean (chick peas), to a traditional full English breakfast (baked navy beans) to Indian dal (peas or lentils).

… And Why Are They Important?

Pulses are essential crops for a number of reasons. They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, making them an ideal source of protein particularly in regions where meat and dairy are not physically or economically accessible.

Pulses are low in fat and rich in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol and help in the control of blood sugar. Because of these qualities they are recommended by health organisations for the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Pulses have also been shown to help combat obesity.

For farmers, pulses are an important crop because they can be both sold and consumed by the farmers and their families. Having the option to eat and sell the pulses they grow helps farmers maintain household food security and creates economic stability.

Furthermore, the nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases and extends the productivity of the farmland. By using pulses for inter cropping and cover crops, farmers can also promote farm biodiversity and soil biodiversity, while keeping harmful pests and diseases at bay.

Pulses can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing dependence on the synthetic fertilisers used to introduce nitrogen artificially into the soil.