Photo courtesy of Andrea Della Adriano via Flickr.
Our noble blue planet has been moving in and out of ice ages and warmings since long before the existence of humans – but its current rapid warming poses a number of possibly irreversible threats to the world.
Here’s some findings of the most recent environmental reports and what they contribute to the conversation surrounding climate change.
1. Hot west, cold east a symptom of “drunken jet stream”
This winter, the northeast and south experienced extreme cold while the west dealt with heat and intense drought. A study in Nature Communications attributed this pattern to a 4,000 year old curvy jet stream, which some scientists say is getting curvier/”drunker” due to climate change.
2. Biodiversity not in crisis, yet
Research published in the journal Science found that in a study of 100 communities and over 35,000 species, there has not been a consistent drop in species around the world – rather, a systematic change in species locations, thought in part due to a warming climate.
Findings suggest that conservation scientists should study not just numbers of species, but their composition change.
3. 99% certainty of warming cause
Though there are likely still those who dispute the claim, a recent study published in the journal Climate Dynamics concluded with 99% certainty that the planet’s warming from the Industrial era to now is not a natural fluctuation of climate, but a result of man-made emissions.
4. Biofuels worse than gas
Biofuels made from corn husks have been found to be worse than gas to global warming in the short term, research published in Nature Climate Change concludes. The government-funded study found that though better in the long run, the “clean” fuel alternative would release 7% more greenhouse gases in early years.
5. Forest fires on the rise
University of Utah research confirmed that wildfires have become more frequent and larger in recent decades – a level of severity associated with climate change related droughts and temperature increases.
The study found that between 1984 and 2011, 90,000 more acres per year were burned from central Nebraska to the Cascades in a range of ecosystems that experienced the worst of droughts.
6. A 15 year window
The IPCC estimates only a 15-year window for the planet to bend the greenhouse emissions curve downward and prevent a looming climate crisis before the price of last minute fixing becomes overwhelming.
Next December, delegates from 190 nations will meet to attempt a global treaty, which could result in placing a global price on carbon if negotiations can be agreed upon.
Do you know of any other new findings that we should include in this living listicle? Tweet us @Curiousmatic.