December 2019

Top story

We ended the decade with flooding in Jakarta and massive wildfires in Australia.

14 inches of rain in 24 hours:

http://floodlist.com/asia/indonesia-floods-jakarta-january-2020

12 million acres burned:

https://time.com/5758186/australia-bushfire-size/

Australian bush fires exacerbated by a decade of hot, dry weather.

https://twitter.com/RARohde/status/1213359362737102848

Oxford Dictionary word of the year was “climate emergency: a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”

Impacts on communities

Florida might need to spend $76 billion to prepare for sea level rise.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/299259-report-florida-will-have-to-spend-76-billion-to-prepare-for-sea-level-rise

Brazil’s worst drought in 80 years.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/earth/11242908/Brazils-worst-drought-in-80-years-from-the-air-in-pictures.html

Public opinion

National Geographic ran a summary of climate effects and public opinion during the last decade.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/12/the-decade-we-finally-woke-up-to-climate-change/

Public policy

World governments plan to extract “more coal and gas and oil by 2030 than the planet can burn and have even half a hope of meeting the Paris climate targets.”

https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-new-climate-math-the-numbers-keep-getting-more-frightening

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the point of no return on climate change is “hurtling toward us”.

https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/chief-warns-point-return-climate-change-67416787

Major economies resist bold action at global climate summit.

http://news.trust.org/item/20191214130658-4qqbp/

Climate records and trends

Hottest decade on record (almost every decade in the last 150 years has set a new record for heat).

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/03/climate-change-warmest-decade-record/2595133001/

The 2019 Federal Arctic Report Card shows “The Arctic is undergoing a profound, rapid and unmitigated shift into a new climate state,”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/12/10/arctic-may-have-crossed-key-threshold-emitting-billions-tons-carbon-into-air-long-dreaded-climate-feedback/

Arctic permafrost melting 70 years earlier than expected.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/18/arctic-permafrost-canada-science-climate-crisis

Victoria Falls dries up.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/07/victoria-falls-dries-to-a-trickle-after-worst-drought-in-a-century

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was in the 1990s.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48387030

Scientific research

New discoveries and warnings from the last decade:

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27122019/climate-science-decade-2019-year-review-tipping-points-jet-stream-ocean-circulation

The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet. A new study reviews changes in the Arctic over the last decade and outlines likely consequences over the next few decades.

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/12/eaaw9883

Climate models published in the last 50 years have a good track record of predicting the global warming that occurred after being published.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL085378

What other countries are doing

New Zealand passed a zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-zealand-passes-historic-zero-carbon-bill-with-near-unanimous-bipartisan-support-33500/

Denmark to cut emissions 70% by 2030.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/12/06/denmark-adopts-climate-law-cut-emissions-70-2030/

Ireland to plant 440 million trees in the next 20 years to fight climate change.

https://www.marthastewart.com/2126607/ireland-440-million-trees-planted-fight-climate-change

Fundamentals and Fun Facts

Great overview of the science (about 30 minutes):

https://www.va-bne.de/index.php/de/veranstaltungen/124-world-in-transition/climate-change-and-climate-impact/347-basic-facts-about-global-warming

Note: some of the one-liners are direct quotes.