Island Voices were heard in Shillong, India, (the “Scotland of the East”) in October last year as part of the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages celebrations at North-Eastern Hill University, where they held an “International Language Fest for Indigenous and Endangered Languages”. It was a two-day event with lectures and presentations at the university first, followed by a celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity in the town, with food and clothing stalls and exhibitions, and music and dance performances in many different genres and languages.
Gordon Wells took his camera with him for the Soillse Gaelic research network, and recorded some highlights for the wider “Mediating Multilingualism” project which is being led by the UHI Languages Sciences Institute, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund. The resulting film, which references Island Voices in several places, has already been uploaded onto the LSI and Soillse websites, and can now also be…
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By Andrew Freedman January 2
For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Thursday in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change.
The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution.
The new study, which was in part motivated by President Trump’s tweets about how a cold day in one particular location disproves global warming, uses statistical techniques and climate model simulations to evaluate how daily temperatures and humidity vary around the world. Scientists compared the spatial patterns of these variables with what physical science shows is expected because of climate change.The study concludes that the spatial patterns of global temperature and humidity are, in fact, distinguishable from natural variability, and have a human component to them.
Going further, the study concludes that the long-term climate trend in global average temperature can be predicted if you know a single day’s weather information worldwide.According to study co-author Reto Knutti of ETH Zurich, the research alters what we can say about how weather and climate change are connected.
“We’ve always said when you look at weather that’s not the same as climate,” he said. “That’s still true locally, if you are in one particular place and you only know the weather right now, right here, there isn’t much you can say.”However, on a global scale, that is no longer true, Knutti said. “Global mean temperature on a single day is already quite a bit shifted. You can see this human fingerprint in any single moment.“Weather is climate change if you look over the whole globe,” he said.
The research uses the techniques applied in other “detection and attribution” studies that have sought to identify the signal of human-caused climate change in longer-term changes at the global level such as the seasonal temperature cycle of the planet or heating of the oceans.
The authors, from research institutions in Switzerland and Norway, use machine learning to estimate how the patterns of temperature and moisture at daily, monthly and annual time scales relate to two important climate change metrics: global average surface temperatures and the energy imbalance of the planet. Increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing Earth to hold in more of the sun’s energy, leading to an energy surplus.
The researchers then utilized machine learning techniques to detect a global fingerprint of human-caused climate change from the relationships between the weather and global warming metrics, and compare it with historical weather data.
By doing this, scientists were able to tease out the signal of human-caused global warming from any single day of global weather observations since 2012. When looking at annual data, the human-caused climate signal emerged in 1999, the study found.
In what one outside expert, Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, termed a “profoundly disturbing” result, the study found that the global warming fingerprint remained present even when the signal from the global average temperature trend was removed.
“This … is telling us that anthropogenic climate change has become so large that it exceeds even daily weather variability at the global scale,” Wehner said in an email. “This is disturbing as the Earth is on track for significantly more warming in even the most optimistic future scenarios.”
According to Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, the new study advances our understanding of climate change’s effects. Diffenbaugh was not involved in the new research.“The fact that the influence of global warming can now be seen in the daily weather around the world — which in some ways is the noisiest manifestation — is another clear sign of how strong the signal of climate change has become,” he said in an email.
“This study provides important new evidence that climate change is influencing the conditions that people and ecosystems are experiencing every day, all around the world.”
The research may provide a bridge between two approaches to detecting the human fingerprint on the changing climate. One of these techniques focuses on long-term trends, while another looks at regionally specific, shorter-term extreme weather events. Until this new study, there was no way to integrate these two specialties.
Climate Change is a real and serious issue. In this video Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains what causes climate change, how it affects our planet, why we need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a […]Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye | National Geographic — News on Climate Change
Everything is connected, and everything is changing
By Kate Marvel on December 30, 2019
A state of emergency was declared on November 11, 2019 and residents in the Sydney area were warned of “catastrophic” fire danger as Australia prepared for a fresh wave of deadly bushfires that have ravaged the drought-stricken east of the country.
It rains in the Amazon because the trees want it to. There is plenty of moisture in the oceans that surround the continent, but there is also a hidden reservoir on the land feeding an invisible river that flows upward to the sky. The water held in the soil is lifted up by the bodies of the trees and lost through the surfaces of their leaves to the atmosphere. The local sky plumps with moisture, primed for the arrival of the seasonal rains driven by the annual back-and-forth march of the sun’s rays. As climate scientist Alex Hall puts it, the trees are co-conspiring with the sky to attract an earlier monsoon.
This is the decade we knew we were right. It began with the warmest year on record; it then broke that record at least five times. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached levels unprecedented since humans were hominins. There were droughts and floods and brutal heat waves. Coral reefs turned white and gave up. Australia is in drought. The Amazon is on fire.
Nothing is eternal and nothing is infinite. There were once forests in the Sahara—if not quite the Amazon, still lush and tropical, clustered around the largest freshwater lake on the planet. In geologic time, this was practically yesterday: less than ten thousand years ago. The lake is mostly gone now, vanished in the span of a few hundred years. In its place there is nothing but dust.
The changes now are different. We expected most of them, and they are occurring with a terrifying rapidity that is no more reassuring because it is easily understood. We have known that carbon dioxide traps heat for over a hundred years. We have known that we are changing the planet for decades now. There is no consolation in being right.
The climate always changes. It is dry in the Sahara because the planet wobbled slightly in its orbit, weakening the monsoon rains in the west of Africa. The plants sucked the moisture from the soil; it was not replaced. They died, and no more moisture entered the atmosphere: a vicious cycle of dying and drying that led to the dusty, depopulated desert we know today. This was climate change; it was likely not the fault of humans. But the existence of past climate change does not mean we are not responsible for it this time. There have always been gentle and natural deaths. This does not make murder impossible.
The decade began with lies and ended with evasions. Hackers, probably Russian, stole the emails of a few scientists and offered single sentences, taken wildly out of context, to an eager and credulous media. We heard both sides: the truth, and the not-truth, and were encouraged to draw our own conclusions. The temperature rose; physics was not watching the debate. We learned nothing from the experience.
The winds over the Sahara come from the East, dense, sinking forced sideways as the Earth rotates away underneath it. The dust is carried across the Atlantic, enlarging the beaches of the Caribbean, scattering low-angle sunlight into brilliant purple-orange sunsets, and landing gently on the forests of the Amazon. But the air over the Sahara has arrived from the tropics, rising and shedding its moisture on a journey toward the poles. When it can go no further, it cools and sinks. There are no deserts without the tropics.
Everything is connected. Children were murdered in their schools, and were angry about it. Children saw their futures bargained away for short-term profit, and were angry about it. Children saw the changing world, and were angry about it. The streets swelled with angry children and heartbroken parents, a chorus of hurt that would have echoed through the halls of power had they been able to hear. Nothing was done, and the anger grew louder. This was the decade we saw that history was renewable. We promised to make more of it.
If you want to see the future of the Amazon, you must use physics and assumptions and know that you are almost certainly wrong. All models are wrong, but all climate models strive to be useful, to show a plausible future that may still be avoidable. If the future atmosphere is larded with even more carbon dioxide, the plants of the Amazon will not need to open the pores on their leaves quite so much to take in the gases they need. They will expel less water from these shrunken pores into the atmosphere. The trees will lose their ability to summon the monsoon. There will be fire and drought. Where there was once forest will be only dust.
Here is one thing worth remembering in the dark days of the northern mid-latitude winter. The rainforest is so lush that it cannot fertilize itself. Every nutrient is seized by the greedy vegetation, locked up in the bodies of plants before it can leach into the soil. But the forest is fertilized, given life by the dead lake in the Sahara. There is phosphorus in the lakebed, turned into dust and swept across the Atlantic by the prevailing winds.
From the old comes the new, a fragile phoenix borne upward from the tropics on the rising updrafts of thick convective cloud. The Amazon exists because the Sahara does, the desert is there because the tropics are here. None of this was ever going to stand alone.Scientific American Blog Network @ https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/hot-planet/this-was-the-decade-we-knew-we-were-right/
Special Report on Climate Change and Land — IPCC site
— Read on www.ipcc.ch/srccl/
Deep-Sea Mining and the Race to the Bottom of the Ocean
– The Atlantic
Unless you are given to chronic anxiety or suffer from nihilistic despair, you probably haven’t spent much time contemplating the bottom of the ocean. Many people imagine the seabed to be a vast expanse of sand, but it’s a jagged and dynamic landscape with as much variation as any place onshore. Mountains surge from underwater plains, canyons slice miles deep, hot springs billow through fissures in rock, and streams of heavy brine ooze down hillsides, pooling into undersea lakes.
These peaks and valleys are laced with most of the same minerals found on land. Scientists have documented their deposits since at least 1868, when a dredging ship pulled a chunk of iron ore from the seabed north of Russia. Five years later, another ship found similar nuggets at the bottom of the Atlantic, and two years after that, it discovered a field of the same objects in the Pacific. For more than a century, oceanographers continued to identify new minerals on the seafloor—copper, nickel, silver, platinum, gold, and even gemstones—while mining companies searched for a practical way to dig them up.
Today, many of the largest mineral corporations in the world have launched underwater mining programs. On the west coast of Africa, the De Beers Group is using a fleet of specialized ships to drag machinery across the seabed in search of diamonds. In 2018, those ships extracted 1.4 million carats from the coastal waters of Namibia; in 2019, De Beers commissioned a new ship that will scrape the bottom twice as quickly as any other vessel. Another company, Nautilus Minerals, is working in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea to shatter a field of underwater hot springs lined with precious metals, while Japan and South Korea have embarked on national projects to exploit their own offshore deposits. But the biggest prize for mining companies will be access to international waters, which cover more than half of the global seafloor and contain more valuable minerals than all the continents combined…
Indigenous people were highly engaged both inside and outside COP 25, the UN Climate Conference just ended in Madrid, in December 2019. These video pieces provided by the Indigenous Rising Media team highlight the critical role of Indigenous people’s activism and engagement in UN climate negotiations.
Human Body Limit to Heat Stress from Abrupt Climate Change // Aug 3, 2018 The average persons core body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C). Human skin is a few degrees colder, being about 35 C (95 F). Heat travels from hot regions to cold regions, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thus when […]