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.
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 […]
By Nathaniel Rich
Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz
AUG. 1, 2018
Shared from Terra Informa’s report on the IPCC Conference on Cities and Climate Change, held in Edmonton, Canada, in 2017.