If you read our earlier blog post on the connection between extreme weather and climate change http://carbonfund.org/blog/item/4605-un-climate-panel-report-links-global-warming-and-weather-extremes, you’re already aware of this issue and have connected the dots to an extent. But perhaps you walked away from the blog post asking yourself, what can I do about climate change? Well here is an event in which you can participate. This Saturday, May 5, 2012 is Climate Impacts Day.
Climate Impacts Day is a global day of action that spotlights people around the world who are connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change. The focus of individual events varies among assorted communities spanning the globe. Follow this link to find an event near you. http://act.climatedots.org/event/impacts_en/search/#
Next steps after connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change are to connect the dots to solutions. Clean energy, food-based initiatives, and political organizing for climate action are just a few solutions anyone can put their efforts toward to address climate change and its impacts.
There are also a couple things we can do regarding the impact of climate change. We must adapt to the impacts that are we are already seeing, and the impacts we know are coming. Then it’s important to organize to make our governments and businesses take the bold action needed to prevent the truly catastrophic effects of climate change, the effects to which we cannot adapt. This includes eliminating the use of fossil fuels and moving to renewable power sources as soon as possible.
Extreme weather and climate change may seem like a far-off problem, but it is here and there is something everyone can do. Attend a Climate Impacts Day event. Learn more at http://www.climatedots.org/.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on Wednesday last week, warning that there is evidence from observations gathered since 1950 of change in some weather and climate extremes, including heat waves and record high temperatures.
“Evidence of climate change is expressing itself to people in different parts of the world in lots of different ways. There are some places in the world where there has been an increase in droughts, especially in Southern Europe and Africa. In other parts of the world there have been increases in heavy rainfall events. We’ve seen that especially in North America,” said the Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group II, Chris Field, a climate expert with the Carnegie Institution for Science in a video overview of the report.
The 592-page Special Report is named, “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)” and is the first to focus on extreme weather changes whereas past IPCC reports highlighted the gradual rise of temperatures and oceans.
SREX is the world’s most current assessment of climate change risks. The report is aimed at policymakers and its main thrust is that enough is known about climate change for the world’s leaders to start making decisions about how to handle the risks.
The report does not address reducing greenhouse gas emissions which have been blamed in large part for increasing global warming. Instead, it offers a range of strategies for adapting to a warmer world. Although mitigation of climate change is not the focus of this report, adaptation and mitigation can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change.
“It’s beginning to dawn on people that something is going on; that something bigger is afoot. The frontline of climate change is in the backyard,” said Susanne Moser of Susanne Moser Research & Consulting. Nations need to act now, because increasingly extreme weather is already a trend.
For more information or to read the full report from the IPCC, click this link. http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/
According to a United Nations report released Monday of this week, significant threats to global water supplies include climate change, rapid urbanization, and an unprecedented rise in the demand for food. The report also indicates that a drastic new approach to managing this essential resource is necessary to sustain future generations.
The 4th edition of the World Water Development Report (WWDR4), ‘Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk’ was launched on the first day of the World Water Forum, in Marseille, France. The report estimates that there will be a 70 percent increase in demand for food by the year 2050, spurring a 19 percent surge in water used for agriculture. Currently, 70 percent of freshwater is already being used for agricultural purposes.
Climate change has an increasing impact on water resources as it changes soil humidity and rainfall patterns, causes glaciers to melt, and raises the number of water-related disasters such as floods and droughts. All of these impact food production. The report estimates that by 2070, this impact will affect up to 44 million people world-wide.
The report also shows that sanitation infrastructure is not keeping pace. More than 80 percent of the world's waste water is neither collected nor treated.
However, the report does not stop at pointing to the world’s water problems. It also aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water. Best practices are offered as well as in-depth theoretical analyses to help stimulate ideas and actions for better stewardship in the water sector. Additionally, through a series of assessments, a mechanism is provided for monitoring changes in water management and tracking progress towards achieving targets.
Americans across the US have been experiencing a mild winter this year. However, you may also be wondering if the balmy temperatures point to climate change.
According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), part of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this winter has been particularly warm. Looking at the winter-to-date period (December 2011-January 2012), temperatures across the contiguous United States were the fourth warmest on record. NCDC data records date back to 1895.
Global warming is a reality regardless of the season. The contiguous United States has been experiencing a long-term warming trend during all months of the year, including the winter season. In fact, winter-time temperatures across the lower 48 states have been increasing at about 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
There are numerous global patterns and trends which can drive weather across a region of the globe or during a time of year. The warmer-than-average temperatures this season are consistent with climate change. However, the role of other climate phenomenon cannot be ruled out. Some other factors which influenced weather conditions this season were the presence of La Niña in the Equatorial Pacific, the North Atlantic Oscillation in the North Atlantic, and the Arctic Oscillation across the High Latitudes.
More information on the "State of the Climate" during this winter season can be found in the NCDC’s online reports.