World’s Oceans Warming 40% Faster Than Previously Thought
An analysis of four recent studies of ocean temperatures has corrected some of the discrepancies between climate models that projected higher levels of ocean warming and observational data that turned up lower temperatures, concluding that the higher numbers were right.
The article, published in Science Friday, shows that the world's oceans are in fact warming about 40 percent faster than previously thought.
Estimates of ocean warming have been revised substantially upward – by around 40% – in the years since the IPCC 5th… https://t.co/v5HiGpZ9IR— Zeke Hausfather (@Zeke Hausfather)1547146834.0
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013, showed that leading climate change models seemed to predict a much faster increase in ocean heat content over the last 30 years than was seen in observations," study author and University of California (UC) Berkeley graduate student Zeke Hausfather said in a UC Berkeley press release. "That was a problem, because of all things, that is one thing we really hope the models will get right. The fact that these corrected records now do agree with climate models is encouraging in that is removes an area of big uncertainty that we previously had."
But what is encouraging for scientists in terms of better understanding climate change may also be alarming for marine life and coastal residents, especially in the tropics. Ocean warming can have the following serious consequences, according to The New York Times.
1. Sea Level Rise: Warm water expands, contributing to rising sea levels, and most of the sea level rise observed up until now is more because of this effect than because of melting glaciers. Ocean warming predicted to take place this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced would be enough to raise sea levels around one foot, the paper found.
2. Stronger, Wetter Storms: Warmer oceans contribute to storms that are both stronger and rain more, like this 2018's Hurricane Florence. As oceans warm, extreme weather events like these will become even more common.
3. Ocean Life: A fifth of all corals have already died because of warmer oceans, which have a harder time sustaining life. This could also be a problem for people in the tropics who depend on fish for protein. "The actual ability of the warm oceans to produce food is much lower, so that means they're going to be more quickly approaching food insecurity," Oceana Deputy Chief Scientist Kathryn Matthews told The New York Times.
Oceans are particularly important for understanding global warming because they absorb around 93 percent of the extra solar energy trapped by greenhouse gasses. Further, they tend to heat more regularly because they are not influenced by events like El Niño, The UC Berkeley release explained.
"If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans," Hausfather said in the release.
However, accurate ocean temperature readings were hard to come by until the mid 2000s, when a network of 4,000 floating robots called Argo was put in place. The robots dive below the ocean every few days to take temperature, PH and salinity readings, but before the network was created, ocean measurements could only be taken by bathythermographs that would record temperatures just once, since they could not be recovered from the ocean floor. More accurate meassurements means a more accurate understanding of the steady increase of ocean warming.
"We can now say with confidence now that 2018 will be the warmest year on record for the Earth's oceans, beating the second-place year (2017) by a comfortable margin," Hausfather wrote on Twitter.
We can now say with confidence now that 2018 will be the warmest year on record for the Earth's oceans, beating the… https://t.co/SB1fJ9y1hT— Zeke Hausfather (@Zeke Hausfather)1547146837.0
Three of the studies considered by Hausfather and his colleagues made more accurate ocean temperature readings as far back as the 1970s by using new methods to correct for errors in both Argo and bathythermograph readings.
The fourth used the novel method of measuring atmospheric oxygen levels, since oceans release oxygen as they warm. This last study caused a stir in fall of 2018 for originally calculating that oceans were warming 60 percent more than previously believed, a figure that had to be revised when errors were discovered. But Hausfather told The New York Times that those corrections brought the paper's findings in line with an emerging consensus.
"The correction made it agree a lot better with the other new observational records," Mr. Hausfather said. "Previously it showed significantly more warming than anyone, and that was potentially worrisome because it meant our observational estimates might be problematic. Now their best estimate is pretty much dead-on with the other three recent studies."
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
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