By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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Colorado is no stranger to drought. The current one is closing in on 20 years, and a rainy or snowy season here and there won't change the trajectory.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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Taking business trips – or even just commuting to work – can produce a lot of carbon pollution. But for a long time, many people resisted the alternative of remote work and virtual meetings.
There are more than 90,000 dams in the United States. Many of those dams are at risk of failure.
People who love winter sports like skiing and snowboarding know there's something special about being out in the cold.
"We find things in deep winter or at high altitude elevations that we don't find anywhere else, that speak very directly to our connection to nature and to the human soul, really," says Mario Molina, executive director of the nonprofit Protect Our Winters.
He says people who enjoy winter sports want to preserve this experience for future generations.
"They want to pass those sports on to their kids and their grandkids," Molina says.
But global warming is causing warmer winters and more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow. That puts winter sports at risk.
So the Protect Our Winters campaign mobilizes outdoor enthusiasts to take action.
"We turn passionate outdoor enthusiasts into effective climate advocates," Molina says.
For example, one campaign encourages athletes to speak out against fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Another asks winter sports lovers to contact their elected officials in support of clean energy.
So Protect Our Winters encourages everyone from casual skiers to big-mountain snowboarders to get involved, join together, and demand climate action.
Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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By Jeff Masters, PhD and Dana Nuccitelli
Calendar year 2020 was an extreme and abnormal year, in so many ways. The global coronavirus pandemic altered people's lives around the world, as did extreme weather and climate events. Let's review the year's top 10 such events.
1. Hottest Year on Record?<p>The official rankings will not be released until January 14, but <a href="https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/1338518056457396226" target="_blank">according to NASA</a>, Earth's average surface temperature in 2020 is likely to tie with 2016 for the hottest year on record, making the last seven years the seven hottest on record.</p><p>Remarkably, the record warmth of 2020 occurred during a minimum in the solar cycle and in a year in which a moderate La Niña event formed. Surface cooling of the tropical Pacific during La Niña events typically causes a slight global cool-down, as does the minimum of the solar cycle, making it difficult to set all-time heat records. The record heat of 2020 in these circumstances is a demonstration of how powerful human causes of global warming have become.</p>
Figure 1. The eye of category 5 Hurricane Iota on November 16, the strongest hurricane of the 2020 season, as seen by the Sentinel-2 satellite. Image credit: Pierre Markuse<h4>2. The Wild 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season</h4><p>The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season produced an extraordinary 30 named storms (highest on record), 13 hurricanes (second-highest on record), and six major hurricanes (tied for second-highest on record): more than double the activity of an average season (12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes).</p><p>The 2020 season was notable not only for its record number of named storms (after breaking into the Greek alphabet by the ridiculously early date of September 18), but also for its record number of rapidly intensifying storms (10), record number of landfalling U.S. named storms (12), and record number of landfalling U.S. hurricanes (six). Every single mile of the mainland U.S. coast from Texas to Maine was under a watch or warning related to tropical cyclones at some point in 2020. U.S. hurricane damage exceeded $37 billion, according to insurance broker Aon, the eighth-highest annual total on record.</p><p>Two catastrophic category 4 hurricanes hit Central America in November: Hurricane Iota, the latest category 5 storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, and Hurricane Eta, the deadliest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2020, with at least 274 people listed as dead or missing. At least seven hurricanes from 2020 will be worthy of having their names retired: Iota, Eta, Zeta, Delta, Sally, Laura, and Isaias – although there is still <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/11/17/greek-letter-hurricane-names-retire/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">no official mechanism</a> for retiring storm names from the Greek alphabet. The record for most names retired in one Atlantic season was set in 2005, when five hurricanes had their names retired.</p>
Figure 2. Global energy-related emissions (top) and annual change (bottom) in gigatons of carbon dioxide, with projected 2020 levels highlighted in red. Other major events are indicated to a give a sense of scale. Image credit: Carbon Brief, using data from the Global Energy Review
3. Record-High Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Despite Record Emissions Drop<p>As a result of restrictions taken to curb the coronavirus pandemic, carbon emissions to the atmosphere in 2020 declined by 9 to 10% in the U.S. and 6 to 7% globally, although some of those reductions were offset by carbon released by wildfires. Those are the largest annual carbon emissions declines since World War II and far more than the 1% global and 6% U.S. emissions drops brought about by the 2008 Great Recession.</p><p>Nevertheless, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose by 2.6 parts per million from 2019 to 414 ppm in 2020. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere will not decline until human emissions reach net zero. Moreover, as coronavirus restrictions were lifted during 2020, global carbon pollution nearly rebounded to pre-COVID levels.</p>
Figure 3. A wildfire in the Sakha Republic, Arctic Circle, Siberia, Russia creates smoke and pyrocumulus clouds on July 9, 2020. A record heat wave in Siberia during June led to the Arctic's first-ever 38.0°C (100.4°F) temperature and helped drive the Arctic's worst wildfire season on record. Image credit: Copernicus Sentinel data via Pierre Markuse<h4>4. An Apocalyptic Wildfire Season</h4><p>The year 2020 brought record levels of fire activity to the U.S. and Arctic, but unusually low levels in Canada and tropical Africa, resulting in a below-average year for global fire activity, according to the <a href="https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/wildfires-americas-and-tropical-africa-2020-compared-previous-years" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service</a>. According to Insurance broker Aon, the global direct cost of wildfires in 2020 was $17 billion, ranking as the fifth-costliest wildfire year, behind 2017, 2018, 2015 (major Indonesian fires), and 2010 (major Russian fires).</p><p>The Australian bushfire season ending in early 2020 (due to seasons in the Southern hemisphere being the reverse of those in the Northern hemisphere) was also <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/how-climate-change-influenced-australias-unprecedented-fires/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a record-breaker</a>, having burned more than 46 million acres and destroyed more than 3,500 homes.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">National Interagency Fire Center</a> reported that U.S. wildfires burned 10.25 million acres as of December 18, 2020, the highest yearly total <a href="https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">since accurate records began in 1983</a>. The previous record was 10.13 million acres in 2015. <a href="https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/regional/time-series/109/tavg/3/10/1895-2020?base_prd=true&begbaseyear=1901&endbaseyear=2000&trend=true&trend_base=10&begtrendyear=1895&endtrendyear=2020" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The hottest August through October period</a> in Western U.S. history, combined with severe drought and a once-in-a-generation offshore wind event, conspired to bring about an apocalyptic western U.S. wildfire season. Total U.S. wildfire damages in 2020 were $16.5 billion, said Aon, ranking as its third-costliest year on record, behind 2017 ($24 billion) and 2018 ($22 billion). Wildfires caused at least 43 direct U.S. deaths. But the indirect death toll among people 65 and older in California alone during the period August 1-September 10 – due to wildfire smoke inhalation – was likely between 1,200 and 3,000, researchers at Stanford University reported in <a href="http://www.g-feed.com/2020/09/indirect-mortality-from-recent.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a September 11 study</a>. The 4.2 million acres burned in California in 2020 was more than double the previous record set in 2018.</p><h4>5. Super Typhoon Goni: Strongest Landfalling Tropical Cyclone on Record</h4><p>Super Typhoon Goni made landfall near Bato, Catanduanes Island, Philippines, on November 1 with sustained winds of 195 mph and a central pressure of 884 mb, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, or JTWC. Goni was the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone in world recorded history, using one-minute average wind speeds from the National Hurricane Center for the Atlantic/Northeast Pacific and one-minute average winds from JTWC for the rest of the planet's ocean basins.</p><p>Goni killed 31 people, damaged or destroyed 250,000 homes, and caused over $1 billion in damage, tying it with Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and Typhoon Vamco in 2020 as the Philippines' second-most expensive typhoon on record, adjusted for inflation. Only Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 ($11.1 billion) was more damaging.</p><p>Ominously, seven of the 10 strongest landfalls in recorded history have occurred since 2006.</p>
Figure 5. Arctic sea ice age near the time of the annual minimum in 1985 (left) and in 2020 (right). There is very little old, thick ice left in the Arctic, increasing the chances of a late-summer ice-free Arctic by the 2030s. Image credit: Zack Labe
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By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.
Looking for climate-oriented gifts that can be purchased, delivered, and enjoyed under COVID-safe, socially-distanced conditions? Look no further.
1. The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change, edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder (Harper Collins 2020, 560 pages, $29.99)<p>The <em>Fragile Earth</em> tells the story of climate change – its past, present, and future – taking readers from Greenland to the Great Plains, and into both laboratories and rain forests. It features some of the best writing on global warming from the last three decades, including Bill McKibben's seminal essay "The End of Nature," the first piece to popularize both the science and politics of climate change for a general audience, and the Pulitzer Prize – winning work of Elizabeth Kolbert, as well as Kathryn Schulz, Dexter Filkins, Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, Eric Klinenberg, and others. The result, in its range, depth, and passion, promises to bring light, and sometimes heat, to the great emergency of our age.</p>
2. Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World, edited by John Freeman (Penguin Random House 2020, 320 pages, $18.00 paperback)<p>In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta, has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman's, and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality. In the course of this work, one major theme came up repeatedly: Climate change is making already dire inequalities much worse. In this new book, Freeman engages some of today's most eloquent storytellers – including Margaret Atwood, Lauren Groff, Edwidge Danticat, Tahmima Anam, Yasmine El Rashidi, Eka Kurniawan, Chinelo Okparanta, and Anuradha Roy – many of whom hail from places under acute stress. His is a literary all-points bulletin of fiction, essays, poems, and reportage about the most important crisis of our times.</p>
3. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson (Penguin Random House 2020, 448 pages, $29.00)<p>There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. <em>All We Can Save</em> illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States – scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race – and aims to advance a more representative and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. Curated by two climate leaders and intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide, bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future.</p>
4. Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans, by Deborah Rowan Wright (University of Chicago Press 2020, 200 pages, $22.50)<p>The world's oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In <em>Future Sea</em>, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, <em>Future Sea</em> not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.</p>
5. The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations, by Daniel Yergin (Penguin Random House 2020, 512 pages, $38.00)<p>The world is being shaken by the collision of energy, climate change, and the clashing power of nations in a time of global crisis. The "shale revolution" in oil and gas – made possible by fracking technology, but not without controversy – has transformed the American economy, ending the "era of shortage." Yet concern about energy's role in climate change is challenging our economy and way of life, accelerating a second energy revolution in the search for a low carbon future. All of this has been made starker and more urgent by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic dark age that it has wrought. A master storyteller and global energy expert, Daniel Yergin takes the reader on a riveting journey across the world's new map. He poses the great questions of this era of political turbulence and points to the challenges that lie ahead.</p>
6. Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis, by David Miller (University of Toronto Press 2020, 208 pages, $29.95)<p>Taking cues from progressive cities around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Oslo, Shenzhen, and Sydney, David Miller, director of International Diplomacy for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, summons every city to make small but significant changes that can drastically reduce humanity's carbon footprint. Solved demonstrates that the initiatives cities have already taken to control the climate crisis can make a real difference in reducing global emissions if implemented worldwide. As much a "how to" guide for policymakers as a call to action for concerned citizens, Solved aims to inspire hope through its analysis of what can be done – now, today – to pave the way to a 1.5-degree world.</p>
7. Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, by Pope Francis (Simon & Schuster 2020, 160 pages, $26.00)<p>In the COVID crisis, Pope Francis saw the cruelty and inequity of our society exposed more vividly than ever before. He also saw, in the resilience, generosity, and creativity of so many people, the means to rescue our society, our economy, and our planet. In direct, powerful prose, Pope Francis urges us not to let the pain be in vain. In <em>Let Us Dream</em>, the Pope offers an inspiring and actionable blueprint for building by putting the poor and the planet at the heart of new thinking. For this plan, he draws not only on sacred sources, but on the latest findings from scientists, economists, and activists. Let Us Dream is an epiphany, a call to arms, and a pleasure to read. With this book, and with open hearts, we can change the world.</p>
8. Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution, by Andrew Joyner (Penguin Random House 2020, 40 pages (for 4-to-8-year olds), $17.99)<p>Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet … by organizing volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to hosting a clothing swap and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small – and no person is too young – to make a difference. With simple text and lively illustrations, Andrew Joyner has given young children a timely story about activism, community, and hope.</p>
9. Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World, by The Dalai Lama and Franz Alt (Hanover Square 2020, 176 pages, $19.99)<p>Saving the climate is our common duty. With each passing day, climate change is causing Pacific islands to disappear into the sea, accelerating the extinction of species at alarming proportions and aggravating a water shortage that has affected the entire world. In this new book, the Dalai Lama, one of the most influential figures of our time, calls on political decision makers to finally fight against deadlock and ignorance on this issue and to stand up for a different, more climate-friendly world and for the younger generation to assert their right to regain their future. From this beloved world religious leader comes an eye-opening manifesto that empowers the generation of today to step up, take action and save our environment.</p>
10. The 2084 Report: An Oral History of the Great Warming: A Novel, by James Lawrence Powell (Simon & Schuster 2020, 240 pages, $27.00)<p>2084: Global warming has proven worse than even the direst predictions scientists had made at the turn of the century. No country – and no one – has remained unscathed. Through interviews with scientists, political leaders, and citizens around the globe, this riveting fictional oral history describes in graphic detail the irreversible effects the Great Warming has had on humankind. In short chapters, The <em>2084 Report</em> brings global warming to life, revealing a new reality in which Rotterdam doesn't exist, Phoenix has no electricity, and Canada is part of the United States. Characters describe the issues they confront in a world they share with the next two generations. Simultaneously fascinating and frightening, The 2084 Report will inspire you to take action.</p>
11. A Diary in the Age of Water: A Novel, by Nina Munteanu (Inanna 2020, 328 pages, $22.95 paperback)<p>Centuries from now, in a dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may answer her yearning for Earth's past – to the Age of Water, when the "Water Twins" destroyed humanity in hatred. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century life of 33-year-old Lynna, a single mother who works in CanadaCorp, an international water utility. A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth and humanity through four generations of women, each with a unique relationship to water. The novel explores our concepts of what is "normal" – as a nation and an individual – in a world that is rapidly changing.</p>
12. The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Hachette Book Group – Orbit 2020, 576 pages, $28.00)<p>From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us – and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. (Editor's note: Readers can find YCC's review of this book <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/10/the-ministry-for-the-future-a-novel-by-kim-stanley-robinson/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a> and an interview with the author <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/11/a-crucial-collapse-in-the-ministry-for-the-future/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p>
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Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
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JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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Living in an energy-efficient home does not just save money on utility bills. A well-insulated, weather-tight house holds heat longer than one that's poorly insulated and drafty.
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From broken buildings to uprooted trees, extreme weather can leave behind a lot of visible damage. But there is invisible damage, too. Many survivors face mental health struggles after a storm.
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