Friday, April 5, 2019

Its Raining On The Greenland Ice. In Winter

It's Raining on the Greenland Ice. In the Winter. | Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

   Rainy weather is becoming increasingly common over parts of the Greenland ice sheet, triggering sudden melting events that are eating at the ice and priming the surface for more widespread future melting, says a new study. Some parts of the ice sheet are even receiving rain in winter—a phenomenon that will spread as climate continues to warm, say the researchers. The study appears this week in the European scientific journal The Cryosphere.   Greenland has been losing ice in recent decades due to progressive warming. Since about 1990, average temperatures over the ice sheet have increased by as much as 1.8 degrees C (3.2F) in summer, and up to 3 degrees C (5.4F) in winter. The 660,000-square-mile sheet is now believed to be losing about 270 billion tons of ice each year. For much of this time, most of this was thought to come from icebergs calving into the ocean, but recently direct meltwater runoff has come to dominate, accounting for about 70 percent of the loss. Rainy weather, say the study authors, is increasingly becoming the trigger for that runoff.   The researchers combined satellite imagery with on-the-ground weather observations from 1979 to 2012 in order to pinpoint what was triggering melting in specific places. Satellites are used to map melting in real time because their imagery can distinguish snow from liquid water. Automated weather stations spread across the ice offer concurrent data on temperature, wind and precipitation. Combining the two sets of data, the researchers zeroed in on more than 300 events in which they found the initial trigger for melting was weather that brought rain. “That was a surprise to see,” said the study’s lead author, Marilena Oltmanns of Germany’s GEOMAR Centre for Ocean Research. She said that over the study period, melting associated with rain and its subsequent effects doubled during summer, and tripled in winter. Total precipitation over the ice sheet did not change; what did change was the form of precipitation. All told, the researchers estimate that nearly a third of total runoff they observed was initiated by rainfall.

Friday, February 8, 2019

A red screaming alarm bell

A red screaming alarm bell’: NASA confirms last five years were the hottest on record –   


"We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future. It's here. It's now."

 We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future. It's here. It's now." NASA scientists confirmed in a report Wednesday that 2018 was one of the hottest years on record, continuing what the New York Times called “an unmistakable warming trend.” Last year was the fourth-warmest on record since scientists began recording such data 140 years ago, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). This finding makes the last five years the five hottest years ever, scientists said, slapping down any question that the planet is growing warmer. “2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS director Gavin Schmidt in a statement. “The five warmest years have, in fact, been the last five years,” he told the Times. “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future. It’s here. It’s now.” Read More        

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

1.5 To Stay Alive

December 2018 I SIDSletter #22

"1.5 to Stay Alive"   

The SIDSletter is a monthly publication of the UNDP's Aruba Centre of Excellence (COE) for the Sustainable Development of SIDS. The COE aims to collect, connect and collaborate with stakeholders from SIDS from around the world to catalyze innovation, resilience and sustainable development.   COP24 is taking place this week in Katowice Poland. Discussions are taking place on the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, to which countries in the world agreed to keep global temperatures rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, while low-lying island states and others have lobbied for substantially more. The campaign 1.5 to Stay Alive is alive and more relevant than ever.   According to a comprehensive assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C released in October 2018, and examining more than 6,000 studies, the impacts and costs of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming will be far greater than expected. The past decade has seen more record-breaking storms, forest fires, droughts, coral bleaching, heat waves, and floods with just 1.0 degrees Celsius of global warming.    At the current level of commitments, the world is on course for a 3C of warming, risking natural tipping points such as thawing of large areas of permafrost—which could drive global temperatures uncontrollably higher. We need stronger larger country commitments flowing from COP24, but we can also take individual action.   Needles to say, for SIDS the consequences are even more dire, for example to keep shorelines where they are and preserve our coastal cities. At the COE, we try to do our part and focus on identifying, capturing and sharing knowledge to help SIDS policymakers act. We just concluded a gathering with renewable energy experts co-organized with IRENA's SIDS Lighthouse Initiative on "Resilience through Renewable Energy Strategies"; and are preparing for co-hosting the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA) on "Climate Security in the Caribbeannext week. The COE will capture and share the knowledge flowing from the consultation; you can follow the event live on the Planetary Security Initiative - Facebook Page.   Lastly, if you are at COP24 (or know colleagues who are) be sure to note the following SIDS side-event taking place December 6th :

    Enjoy this last SIDSletter of 2018 and we we wish you a Happy and  Resilient 2019!

Best wishes,

The UNDP COE Team Oranjestad, Aruba

ps. Feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues who may not yet be on our list. Also, please help spread the word about our activities, let us know what you think, and follow us on our Twitter account @COE4SIDS with hashtag #SustainableSIDS. 


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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Should nation-states be allowed to destroy pieces of the global commons just because they lie within their borders?

Take for example the Amazon, reading an article on the BBC's website a few minutes ago the headlines state 'Amazon rainforest deforestation 'worst in 10 years', says Brazil' <> Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brin a decade, according to official data. About 7,900 sq km (3,050 sq miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed between August 2017 and July 2018 - an area roughly five the size of London.     “Because its [the Amazon's] vegetation continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, it has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet". About 20% of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.”     Should they be put under sanctions by the international community and the United Nations?     The era we are now entering, the Anthropocene, promises to be an era with a high likelihood of conflict, triggered by many factors, climate change, energy security, sea level rise, water insecurity and massive refugee flows and massive ecosystem destruction. The international community therefore, needs to strive to its ultimate extent to prevent the destruction of the Global Commons.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Standard Chartered Plc Facilitates First World Bank ‘Blue Bond’

Standard Chartered Plc in partnership with the World Bank, has launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond for the Republic of Seychelles.

The bond raised US$15 million from international investors, which would help expand and protect marine areas, improve governance of priority fisheries and develop the Seychelles’ blue economy.

The World Bank assisted in developing the blue bond and reaching out to the three investors: Calvert Impact Capital, Nuveen, and Prudential. Standard Chartered acted as placement agent for the bond.

Speaking about the landmark placement, the Chief Executive, Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered, Simon Cooper, was quoted in a statement to have said: “The world’s first sovereign blue bond is a landmark transaction and one in which Standard Chartered is proud to have played a role, in partnership with the World Bank and the Republic of Seychelles.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Google’s Tool to Help Cities Fight Climate Change

“The first step toward taking climate action is creating an emissions inventory,”

The city-level leaders overseeing this task won’t have the same tools available to their national peers. Most of them won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (or its equivalent), a meteorological bureau, a team of military engineers, or nasa. So where will they start? Never mind how to reduce their city’s greenhouse-gas emissions; how will they know what’s spewing carbon dioxide in the first place?

Maybe Google will do it for them. Or, at least, do it with them. Read More

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

As the Biosphere Dies, So Do We: Using the Power of Nature to Heal the Planet

One only need look outside the window to understand that human-caused climate disruption is in overdrive.

Record warm temperatures, floods, droughts, wildfires and increasing incidents of extreme weather events have run rampant across the Northern Hemisphere this summer. These events, at least in part, stem from a global temperature increase of “only” 1 degree Celsius (1°C) above preindustrial baseline temperatures.

Harvard and MIT biogeochemist and climate and coral reef expert Dr. Thomas Goreau put this in stark perspective.

“Today’s carbon dioxide levels at 400 parts per million (ppm) [are] akin to bringing about a steady state temperature of 7°C higher and sea levels 23 meters higher than they are today,” Goreau, who is also president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance and coordinator of the Soil Carbon Alliance, told Truthout. In other words, the last time there was this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it increased the Earth’s temperature to a point 7°C higher than it is today, and increased sea levels 23 meters above their current level. Hence, we are now only waiting for the planet to catch up to what we’ve done to the atmosphere.
Read More