As temperatures rise, rainfall increases in the Arctic (The Guardian)
The northern ice cap continues to warm as the climate crisis rages on. Researchers have found that the amount of rainfall in the Arctic will soon surpass the amount of snowfall in the region. The study shows that all of the Arctic will see this effect by the end of the century if warming reaches 3 degrees C; even if temperatures only rise to 1.5 or 2 degrees, certain areas will still become “rain dominated.” This consequence of warming could also contribute to an accelerated rise in sea levels as oceans absorb more heat and glaciers continue to slide into the ocean. These new climate models show that the snow-to-rain switch was previously predicted to happen much (a couple of decades) later.
UK declared not on the path to meet emissions targets (BBC)
According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the UK’s current emission levels will contribute to a rise of 2.7 degrees C by 2100. The CCC suggests that Britain’s emission targets are fine but their handle on implementing policy to reach those targets is lacking. The chief executive of the committee offers a plan to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 and reduce emissions from the steel and cement industries, major polluters. UK climate experts also warn of the Treasury’s role in emissions policy, suggesting that they could be the reason for the lack of urgency; just recently the chancellor failed to support the Green Homes Grant and did not account for climate change in his budget plans.
Debate over proposal to replace oil pipeline in California (ABC)
After shutting down an oil pipeline in California over 5 years ago that caused one of the worst coastal spills in 25 years, a proposal has been made to replace the pipeline even as the state makes efforts towards reducing the use of oil-drilling and gas-powered vehicles. Alex Padilla, California Democratic U.S. Senator has expressed opposition to the proposal as he warns against potential risks. Even while California plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the years to come, the pipeline project still sparks debate.
Montana experiences wildfires during what a season typically filled with winter storms (NPR)
Around this time of year, residents of Montana would usually be experiencing winter storms, but since temperatures have been warmer, they are instead experiencing wildfires. As wildfires sweep through the state, the homes and belongings of many residents have been destroyed. Shaylee Ragar, someone who was among those who lost their homes to the wildfires, says that “research shows fire seasons are now at least two and a half months longer than they were in the 1970s.”
A snowless future for the Western U.S. (Washington Post)
A recently released study warns that in the next 3 to 6 decades, mountainous states could experience snowless seasons for years on end if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unchecked. Increasing temperatures have already reduced snowfall in the region by 20 percent since its 1950s level. Across the nation, snow cover is only at 6 percent, the lowest it has been since the government began recording these numbers in 2003. One model projection in the study found that by the end of the century, the majority of years could be nearly snowless ones for the Western United States. The shrinking snowpack could lead to devastating water supply issues in the years to come. Read the study here.
The effects of climate change on food safety, as determined by Sweden (Food Safety News)
According to a report from the Swedish Food Agency, rising average temperatures and more frequent droughts could increase the occurrence of certain pathogens. These bacteria, viruses, parasites, and mold toxins could cause diseases via food and drinking water. Extreme weather events could also lead to disruptions such as power outages and infrastructure damage that would affect the food supply chain as well.
Electrifying poo? Striking cow feces with lightning can help confine methane (CNN)
A Norwegian technology company found a method of reducing the methane released by cattle. The potent greenhouse gas can be kept trapped inside of the cow’s dung with artificial lightning. Using plasma technology, N2 Applied has been working at their sites in Europe and on multiple farms.
"In essence, we're harnessing lightning to zap livestock slurry and lock in harmful emissions," N2 Applied’s Chris Puttick said.
The system features a manure scraper which gathers the cow manure from the barn floors and then releases it into a pit to be transferred through the N2 machine. Nitrogen from the air and the fire from a plasma torch then trap the methane and ammonia emissions within the dung.
Too Much Salt! An overabundance of salt in soil is threatening food security (UN News)
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that improper water management, such as inadequate water supply and substandard drainage systems, is adding to the exorbitant amount of salt in world soils, which is putting international food security at risk. Unsustainable agriculture methods and the exploitation of natural resources have put pressure on and degraded soils, according to FAO. Over 833 million hectares of soils have already been salt-affected, which equates to nine percent of the planet’s land surface.