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Complete Archive (organized by chapter for each book)
New World View
Climate Change
Life and Climate
Losing Biodiversity
Energy Flow
Ecosystem Change
Population Growth
Energy Use
A Changing Cosmos
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Latest News and Updates

2017-04-28. Increased Extreme Heat and Heat Waves.

posted by Alan Gould

By Climate Signals. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: One of the strongest findings of climate science is that global warming amplifies the intensity, duration and frequency of extreme heat events. These events occur on multiple time scales, from a single day or week, to months or entire seasons. The more extreme the heatwave, the more likely the event can be attributed to global warming.  Roughly 75% of extreme heat events globally are attributed to climate change. The signal of climate change is particularly reflected in record-breaking heat waves. ...85% of recent record-hot days globally are attributed to climate change....

2017-04-27. Climate Change’s Pulse Is in Central America and the Caribbean.

posted by Alan Gould   [ updated ]

By J. E. González, M. Georgescu, M. C. Lemos, N. Hosannah, and D. Niyogi, Earth & Space News (EOS; AGU). For GSS Climate Change chapter 10. Excerpt: Nations that border the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea are ideally placed for tracking the effects of global climate change and testing innovative ways to adapt to future changes. ...The global trend of increasing sea surface temperatures, for example, may work with or against natural modes of climate variability in the region, highlighting the physical system’s complexity and nonlinear nature. Hand in hand with these physical changes are the hazards they pose to people. More than 120 million people live in the area. Despite steady, albeit inequitable, economic growth during recent decades, the region has become increasingly exposed to climate-related pressures that threaten its social and economic well-being. The region’s extensive coastlines, relatively low capacity to adapt to changing conditions, scarce natural resources, and limited infrastructure further intensify the perception of risk ...

2017-04-26. Going green shouldn't be this hard.

posted by Alan Gould

By Vox and the Climate Lab of the University of California. For GSS Climate Change chapter 10. Video #2 in a series: Going green does not need to be a sacrifice, either for us as individuals or for businesses, governments and the economy....

2017-04-19. Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change.

posted by Alan Gould

By Vox and the Climate Lab of the University of California. For GSS Climate Change chapter 10. Video #1 in a series: The biggest problem for the climate change fight isn’t technology – it’s human psychology....

2017-04-26. As Rising Seas Erode Shorelines, Tasmania Shows What Can Be Lost.

posted Apr 26, 2017, 3:36 PM by Alan Gould

By Justin Gillis, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ISLE OF THE DEAD, Tasmania — Maybe the hardened convicts who carved the 19th-century gravestones dotting this tiny island were barely literate, or perhaps one of them just had a wicked sense of humor. The schoolmaster Benjamin Horne went to his repose in 1843 with this sentence chiseled above his head: “Sincerely regretted by all who knew him.” ...The very island on which he lies is being chewed away by the sea. The roots of trees that have stood for decades now dangle perilously over a fast-eroding shore. A few miles away, a seaside coal mine once worked by the convicts is under similar assault by the waves. ...In country after country, managers of national parks and other historic sites are realizing that climate change, with its coastal flooding and erosion, rising temperatures and more intense rainstorms, represents a profound risk to the heritage they are trying to preserve. ...Venice, home of architectural and artistic masterpieces, is under such grave threat that $6 billion worth of sea gates are being installed to protect against increased tidal flooding. ...Archaeological sites on the Alaska coast are being lost. The very symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty, cannot be considered safe: Flooding from Hurricane Sandy, made worse by a century of sea-level rise, destroyed much of the infrastructure on Liberty Island in 2012 and closed the monument to visitors for months. ...Over the long term, the rise of the sea appears to be accelerating because of runaway growth in greenhouse emissions, and scientists fear much bigger effects this century, perhaps so large they could ultimately force the abandonment of entire coastlines.... 0

2017-04-19. A New Exoplanet May Be Most Promising Yet in Search for Life.

posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:26 AM by Alan Gould   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 9:31 AM ]

By Dennis Overbye, The New York Times. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 8. Excerpt: A prime planet listing has just appeared on the cosmic real estate market, possibly the most promising place yet to search for signs of life beyond the solar system, the astronomers who discovered it say. It is a rocky orb about one and a half times the size of Earth, about 40 light years from here. It circles a dwarf star known as LHS 1140 every 25 days, an orbit that puts it in the “Goldilocks” zone where temperatures are conducive to liquid water and perhaps life as we know it. It is close enough that astronomers are hopeful that with the next generation of big telescopes, they will be able to probe its atmosphere for signs of water or other evidence of suitability for life. “This planet is really close to us: If we shrank the Milky Way to the size of the United States, LHS 1140 and the sun would fit inside Central Park,” David Charbonneau, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in an email. His colleague Jason Dittmann, who led the discovery team and is lead author of a paper published on Wednesday in Nature, said in a statement,“This is the most exciting exoplanet I’ve seen in the last decade.” The planet was discovered by the MEarth-South survey at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, an array of small telescopes that looks for the dips in starlight when planets pass in front of nearby stars....

2017-04-19. How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration.

posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:22 AM by Alan Gould

By Jessica Benko, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: Climate displacement is becoming one of the world’s most powerful — and destabilizing — geopolitical forces. Climate change is not equally felt across the globe, and neither are its longer term consequences. This map overlays human turmoil — represented here by United Nations data on nearly 64 million “persons of concern,” whose numbers have tripled since 2005 — with climate turmoil, represented by data from NASA’s Common Sense Climate Index. The correlation is striking. Climate change is a threat multiplier: It contributes to economic and political instability and also worsens the effects. It propels sudden-onset disasters like floods and storms and slow-onset disasters like drought and desertification; those disasters contribute to failed crops, famine and overcrowded urban centers; those crises inflame political unrest and worsen the impacts of war, which leads to even more displacement. There is no internationally recognized legal definition for “environmental migrants” or “climate refugees,” so there is no formal reckoning of how many have left their homes because climate change has made their lives or livelihoods untenable. In a 2010 Gallup World Poll, though, about 12 percent of respondents — representing a total of 500 million adults — said severe environmental problems would require them to move within the next five years....

2017-04-18. When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty.

posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:18 AM by Alan Gould

By Brooke Jarvis, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ...Spend a few days talking about floods and real estate in Norfolk, and you’ll quickly learn the importance of even tiny inclines. Locals know where, on what appears to the uninitiated to be a flat street, to park their cars to keep them from flooding past the axles when the wind pushes the tide up. Landscapers build what are essentially decorative earthen dikes around houses. ...In the coming decades, these fine distinctions will mean little, as the risk of flooding becomes the certainty of it. The operative measurement for rising waters in Norfolk is not inches but feet — as many as six of them by the end of the century, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, though estimates vary. City planners are forthright that they’re preparing for a future in which parts of the city do not survive. “We absolutely cannot protect 200 miles of coastline,” George Homewood, Norfolk’s planning director, says. “We have to pick those areas we should armor, and the places where we’re going to let the water be.”...

2017-04-17. Climate Change Reroutes a Yukon River in a Geological Instant.

posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:14 AM by Alan Gould

By John Schwartz, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: In the blink of a geological eye, climate change has helped reverse the flow of water melting from a glacier in Canada’s Yukon, a hijacking that scientists call “river piracy.” This engaging term refers to one river capturing and diverting the flow of another. It occurred last spring at the Kaskawulsh Glacier, one of Canada’s largest, with a suddenness that startled scientists. A process that would ordinarily take thousands of years — or more — happened in just a few months in 2016. Much of the meltwater from the glacier normally flows to the north into the Bering Sea via the Slims and Yukon Rivers. A rapidly retreating and thinning glacier — accelerated by global warming — caused the water to redirect to the south, and into the Pacific Ocean. Last year’s unusually warm spring produced melting waters that cut a canyon through the ice, diverting more water into the Alsek River, which flows to the south and on into Pacific, robbing the headwaters to the north. The scientists concluded that the river theft “is likely to be permanent.” The impacts of climate change, like sea level rise or the shrinkage of a major glacier, are generally measured over decades, not months as in this case. “It’s not something you could see if you were just standing on the beach for a couple of months,” Professor Shugar said....

2016-12-12. ALMA Finds Compelling Evidence for Pair of Infant Planets around Young Star.

posted Apr 21, 2017, 9:09 AM by Alan Gould

By National Radio Astronomy Observatory. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: Astronomers now know that our galaxy is teeming with planets, from rocky worlds roughly the size of Earth to gas giants bigger than Jupiter. Nearly every one of these exoplanets has been discovered in orbit around a mature star with a fully evolved planetary system. New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) contain compelling evidence that two newborn planets, each about the size of Saturn, are in orbit around a young star known as HD 163296. These planets, which are not yet fully formed, revealed themselves by the dual imprint they left in both the dust and the gas portions of the star’s protoplanetary disk. [see image]...

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