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The Crop Trust

'Doomsday' Seed Vault Flooded After Arctic Permafrost Melts

Flooding breached a supposedly impregnable Arctic "doomsday" vault containing a collection of seeds stored for an apocalypse scenario last week, after warmer-than-average temperatures caused a layer of permafrost to thaw.

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Not Even Trump's Mar-a-Lago Will Be Spared From Sea Level Rise

By Nika Knight

A new report shows that many previous estimates of global sea level rise by 2100 were far too conservative, the Washington Post reported Thursday, and the research comes as new maps and graphics from Climate Central vividly show how disastrous that flooding will be for U.S. cities.

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Anything But the Wine! Climate Change Takes Its Toll on Grapes

A new Global Wine Index outlines the most at-risk wine regions according to natural disasters, rising temperatures and other climate change factors. Unfortunately, some of the world's finest grapes are unlikely to survive.

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Governor Declares State of Emergency to Save Louisiana Coast

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday for coastal Louisiana to highlight the state's need for more federal funding to address extreme weather events.

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Employees of the Matunuck Oyster Bar farm at work on Potters Pond in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, Photo credit: Sea Grant

NOAA's Sea Grant Program on Trump's Chopping Block

By Mandy Sackett

As has been reported, the Trump administration is proposing massive cuts to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), budget. Included in those cuts is the complete elimination of the Sea Grant program.

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An aerial view of the deadly landslide that followed heavy rains in Mocoa, in the Putamayo region of southwest Colombia, on April 1. Photo credit: Colombian Army

254 Dead in Colombia Mudslides

By Jeff Masters and Lee Grenci

At least 254 people were killed in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia's recorded history.

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Scientists Sound the Alarm: CO2 Levels Race Past Point of No Return

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that carbon dioxide levels in 2016 broke records for the second year in a row with an increase of 3 parts per million (ppm).

The measurements are coming from the Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory in Hawaii and were confirmed by NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The numbers show that the rate of CO2 in the atmosphere is now at 405.1 ppm, the highest it has been in more than 10,000 years. Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said the findings are accurate and disturbing.

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Photo credit: Climate Council

Brutal Heat Waves Crush Eastern Australia

A hot air mass parked over central Australia is delivering the second brutal heat wave this month. January is quickly approaching a record-breaking month Down Under.

These heat waves are being driven by warmer ocean temperatures, in turn heating-up central Australia and spilling across the eastern half of the continent.

"The heat waves were likely driven by warmer sea temperatures combining with the unusual spread of a 'reservoir of hot air' that had been building in central Australia over the past several weeks," said Phil King of the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Tuesday overnight temperature for Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), a city of 4.3 million people, registered 77F. By 6 a.m. the mercury read 88F and later in the afternoon, in the western suburbs, it reached a scorching 109F.

It was the hottest sticky night in five years. Thousands of people appeared at Sydney's Bondi Beach just after sunrise to cool off.

"We're not used to seeing that many people, normally it's crickets [this early in the morning] ... but there's a lot of people in the water, it makes it difficult to see them with the sun glaring in our face," said Bondi lifeguard Andrew Reid.

Along with stifling heat, the levels of smog in Sydney are very high. This prompted the NSW Health agency to issue a warning for people with respiratory conditions like asthma. High temperatures exacerbate toxic ozone created by automobiles.

"When it's really hot and quite still, we can get a built up of some pollutants, and in this case it's ozone," said David Berry, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster. "It's from the burning of fuels and having lots of air-cons on and that sort of thing."

The latest heat wave created an extreme fire emergency elsewhere in NSW and into the Australian Capital Territory near the nation's capital city, Canberra. A fast moving wildfire charred 5,500 acres of eucalypt forests.

While temperatures are beginning to relax in Sydney, the deadly heat wave is moving north into the state of Queensland and its capital city of Brisbane with 2.1 million people.

Last week, a vicious heat wave claimed the life of Matthew Hall, a fit and healthy 30-year-old man, while dirt bike riding along the Sunshine Coast.

"People need to be really aware that heat can affect especially the elderly and young children, but [also] people with previous medical conditions can really suffer a great deal," paramedic Lara King said. "Also young healthy fit people who don't think they have got any concerns need to be really cautious."

Last week, 200 other Queenslanders were treated for heat stroke and dehydration.

Two key findings on heat waves from Australia's Climate Council report Silent Killer highlighted that:

  • Heat waves are a silent killer. Major heatwaves have caused more deaths since 1890 than wildfires, cyclones (hurricanes), earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined.
  • Extreme heat increases the risk of heat illness and can also exacerbate pre-existing illnesses such as heart and kidney conditions. Children, the elderly, the disabled and outdoor workers are among those most at risk.

In addition to fierce heat waves, new research from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science warned that as Earth's temperatures approach 2C, the upper limit of the Paris climate agreement, Australia will see an 11.3-30 percent intensification of rainfall from extreme precipitation events, while some areas will increase in drought.

"There is no chance that rainfall in Australia will remain the same as the climate warms," said Professor Steve Sherwood, an author of the research from University of New South Wales.

Another report, The Heat Matches On, warned that "as Australians continue to suffer from more frequent and worsening extreme heat events, the path to tackling climate change is becoming more urgent: no new coal mines can be built, existing coal mines and coal-fired power stations must be phased out and renewable energy must be scaled up rapidly."

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