Back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 killed one in every two corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Now, looking just at that first year of heat-inducted death, a team of Australian researchers has concluded that the character of the northern Great Barrier Reef has been forever altered. The study, published today in Nature, places the blame squarely on rising global temperatures driven by human carbon emissions. “Scientists have been saying for a long time that bleaching events will become more frequent and change the mix of species,” lead author Terry Hughes of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies told Earther. “What our paper shows is that transition is already well underway.” Bleaching—when corals eject the symbiotic algae that live in their tissue, turn a pasty white, and begin to starve—occurs when temperatures rise just a little above corals’ comfort zone. When the water stays overheated for weeks on end, corals start … [Read more...] about Global Warming Has Permanently Transformed the Great Barrier Reef, Study Finds
In this NASA satellite image, Hurricane Sandy churns off the East Coast on Oct. 29, 2012, in the Atlantic Ocean. No doubt the hurricane that made landfall as a cyclone left immense destruction in its wake, but was it related to global warming? See more pictures of Hurricane Sandy. NASA/Getty Images When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in late October 2012, the forecasters referred to it as a Frankenstorm. That's not just because it had an eerie Halloween drop date. It's also because the hurricane hooked up with a really early nor-easter and was blocked by a big high-pressure system from the north, and it mutated into a real monster. But it was after the hurricane had landed and the damage was done that another tempest began brewing. When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama's re-election campaign, his endorsement hinged not just on Obama's response to the storm, but Bloomberg's belief that Obama "sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens … [Read more...] about Did global warming cause Hurricane Sandy?
Mount Everest still provides breathtaking views and the greatest climbing challenge in the world, but global warming and the proliferation of unstable glacial lakes could radically alter the local environment. See more Mount Everest pictures. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to successfully summit Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth. Now their sons are warning the world about the damage that global warming is doing to the mountain, one of world's most spectacular natural wonders. Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing, in an interview with British newspaper The Independent, lamented that global warming is radically altering the appearance, ecology and climate of Mount Everest and the surrounding area of Tibet. Inaction, they warn, could lead to an environmental disaster. Mount Everest Image Gallery Peter Hillary said that base camp at Everest has slid from an elevation of 5,320 meters, when his father climbed Everest, to 5,280 meters and … [Read more...] about Is global warming destroying Mount Everest?
Global warming was once an uncommon term used by a few scientists who were growing concerned over the effects of decades of pollution on long-term weather patterns. Today, the idea of global warming is well known, if not well understood. It is not unusual to hear someone complaining about a hot day or a freak storm and remark, "It's global warming." Well, is it? In this article, we'll learn what global warming is, what causes it, what its current effects are and what the future effects could be. Although there has been a scientific consensus on global warming, some aren't sure it's something we need to worry about. We'll examine some proposed changes in the United States' national policies related to curbing global warming and the criticisms and concerns surrounding them. Global warming is a significant increase in the Earth's climatic temperature over a relatively short period of time as a result of the activities of humans. In specific terms, an increase of 1 or more degrees Celsius … [Read more...] about How Global Warming Works
This diagram show how proposed aerosol injections into the stratosphere might help to block the heat of the sun. Wikimedia Commons With nations in the industrialized world falling behind on their promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the planet toward a climate catastrophe, it's tempting to look at more radical measures that might at least provide more time for governments to get their act together. Various geoengineering solutions would attempt to slow global warming by altering the environment. One geoengineering technique, stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), would pump millions of tiny sulfate particles into the stratosphere, where they would reflect a fraction of sunlight back into space before it reaches the Earth. That essentially would simulate the sunlight-blocking effect of large volcanic eruptions such as the 2001 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which pumped 15 million tons (13.6 million metric tons) of sulfur dioxide into the … [Read more...] about Could Injecting Particles Into the Stratosphere Slow Global Warming?