Opinion | On a Divided Mount Everest, Climate Cooperation Is Being Tested – The New York Times

“. . . Warming in this Third Pole is happening at roughly double the global rate and has been especially pronounced over the past 60 years. This century is becoming the warmest period in these high mountains in 2,000 years, making the region an important ground for research in the effort to avert climate disaster.

This year, a comprehensive climate assessment for the Third Pole warned that two-thirds of the present mass of the glaciers in the region around Everest could disappear by the year 2100. Yet as the assessment noted, there are significant “knowledge gaps” in climatic data coming from the region. This is particularly true in high-altitude environments where the annual snows collect atop the region’s myriad glaciers.”

“. . . .  New discoveries from our undertaking and from others are yielding an astonishing picture of a landscape in flux.

For instance: An ice core extracted at an altitude above 26,000 feet from the South Col, Everest’s highest glacier, showed that the ice at the surface was approximately 2,000 years old, meaning that ice that had accumulated afterward, which might have risen to a height of 180 feet, had vanished. Mountaineers on Everest also appear to have taken a heavy toll. Snow samples revealed the presence of microplastics nearly all the way up the mountain, and snow and water samples from Everest were laden with PFAS, long-lasting chemicals widely used by a range of industries and in consumer products.”

Climate Groups Use Endangered Species Act to Try to Stop Drilling – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Oil burned from a well drilled in Wyoming adds to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is heating the planet and devastating coral reefs in Florida, polar bears in the Arctic and monk seals in Hawaii. But drawing a direct line from any single source of pollution to the destruction of a species is virtually impossible.

Environmentalists want the government to try.

On Wednesday a coalition of organizations sued the Biden administration for consistently failing to consider the harms caused to endangered species from the emissions produced by oil and gas drilling on public lands.

If the coalition succeeds by invoking the protections under the Endangered Species Act, more than 3,500 drilling permits issued during the Biden administration could be revoked and future permitting could be far more difficult.”

How Logging Is Affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo – The New York Times

“The mighty Congo River has become a highway for sprawling flotillas of logs — African teak, wenge and bomanga in colors of licorice, candy bars and carrot sticks. For months at a time, crews in the Democratic Republic of Congo live aboard these perilous rafts, piloting the timber in pursuit of a sliver of profit from the dismantling of a crucial forest.

The biggest rafts are industrial-scale, serving mostly international companies that see riches in the rainforest. But puny versions also make their way downriver, tended by men and their families who work and sleep atop the floating logs.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you. Breathtaking, heartbreaking, a real cause for grief for the future of life as we know it on the planet. Edward O Wilson, and many others, say we are on track to lose about 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years, and if we lose 50%, humans probably won’t survive. There are solutions, and ideas to develop, but we need to change our ways in this decade to avoid ugly outcomes, like the losing of half of earths human population through starvation and war. If you love rocks, take comfort, the planet and it’s rocks will do fine. Its just the wonderful life forms that will perish from the overheating of the planet. Climate Change is a marketing euphemism for global warming, and it is here now, the wolf is at your door.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net

A Hotter World, about India, in the Morning Newsletter – The New York Times

“India has contributed little to climate change: Home to 18 percent of the world’s population, it has emitted just 3 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

But India is suffering from climate change. It is happening right now: Over the past three months, a heat wave has devastated North India and neighboring Pakistan. Temperatures surpassed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It is so hot that overheated birds fell out of the sky in Gurgaon, India, and a historic bridge in northern Pakistan collapsed after melting snow and ice at a glacial lake released a torrent of water.

Scientists say global warming almost certainly played a role in the heat wave. And rising temperatures stand to make unusually hotter weather more common not just in India and Pakistan but around the world, including in the U.S.

Indians have responded by staying indoors as much as possible, particularly during the afternoon hours. The government has encouraged this, pushing schools to close early and businesses to shift work schedules. The measures have kept down deaths — with fewer than 100 recorded so far, an improvement from heat waves years ago that killed thousands.”

Chandni Singh | In India’s Heat Wave, Air-Conditioning Is the Divider – The New York Times

Dr. Singh is a climate change researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore.

“BANGALORE, India — I am no stranger to heat. I know the stifling breath of “loo,” the hot and dry summer winds that blow over North India and Pakistan. “Take a scarf to cover your head, keep a bottle of water with you” was the advice my mother gave me every summer.

Delhi is a city of violent weather and especially excruciating summers. But on a visit there in April — springtime — I was ill equipped for 111 degrees Fahrenheit heat. Caught outdoors from noon to 3 p.m., I had to choose between a packed bus with air-conditioning and an emptier one without it to reach home. With reports of increasing Covid-19 cases weighing on me, I chose the hot bus.

Despite plenty of water and a cool house to rest in, I felt the effects of heat exposure a day later. I woke at 5 a.m., extremely tired, nursing a throbbing headache and completely dehydrated.

And yet, I am one of the privileged. In India, higher temperatures are coming earlier and staying longer every year. The most vulnerable are bearing the impacts of this prolonged heat now. Those who can cool will cool; those who can’t, cope.”

David Lindsay: Great essay and comments. Here is a comment I admired:

Erik Frederiksen
Asheville, NC2h ago

In the presentation linked to below the renowned glaciologist Richard Alley shows a map of the world with red areas where he says that if we don’t change our ways, by the time his students are old the average summer would be hotter than anything yet experienced, with 90 percent confidence. And that we would lose 40 percent of the ability to work outside in the hot months, with some countries it’ll be closer to 100 percent. (unless you can afford an air-conditioned tractor) By late in this century you’d start to have places where it is projected to be too hot to survive outside, it’s like being locked in a hot car on a summer day with no air conditioning, you die. Next century those areas would spread. We’re talking about taking the average out of human experience in a world where our food is already stressed by heat. https://youtu.be/KsecTT1SIrg?t=38m45s

Reply7 Recommended

Here Are the Wildfire Risks to Homes Across the Lower 48 States – The New York Times

“DAMMERON VALLEY, Utah — The nation’s wildfire risk is widespread, severe and accelerating quickly, according to new data that, for the first time, calculates the risk facing every property in the contiguous United States.

The data, released Monday by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group in New York, comes as rising housing prices in cities and suburbs push Americans deeper into fire-prone areas, with little idea about the specific risk in their new locale.

That’s because the federal government maps flood risk at the property level but doesn’t do the same for wildfires, which are growing more frequent and severe because of climate change.

“For too long, we have let people live in communities, and even attracted them to join a community, while keeping them in a state of ignorance about the risk that they’re under,” said Roy Wright, a former head of risk mitigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Wright said he hoped the new data would “draw attention to the risk and drive people to take action.” “

Did Warming Play a Role in Deadly South African Floods? Yes, a Study Says. – The New York Times

“The heavy rains that caused catastrophic flooding in South Africa in mid-April were made twice as likely to occur by climate change, scientists said Friday.

An analysis of the flooding, which killed more than 400 people in Durban and surrounding areas in the eastern part of the country, found that the intense two-day storm that caused it had a 1-in-20 chance of occurring in any given year. If the world had not warmed as a result of human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, the study found, the chances would have been half that, 1 in 40.

The study, by a loose-knit group of climate scientists, meteorologists and disaster experts called World Weather Attribution, is the latest in a string of analyses showing that the damaging effects of global warming, once considered a future problem, have already arrived. And extreme events like this one are expected to increase as warming continues.

“We need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a new reality where floods and heat waves are more intense and damaging,” one of the study’s authors, Izidine Pinto, a climate scientist at the University of Cape Town, said in a statement issued by World Weather Attribution.

The flooding and related mudslides caused more than $1.5 billion in damage and were “the biggest tragedy that we have ever seen,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the time. Bridges and roads were destroyed and thousands of homes, many of them in makeshift settlements, were swept away or damaged.

The disaster led to sharp criticism of the government for not fulfilling pledges to improve infrastructure to handle heavy downpours and to tackle a longstanding housing crisis.

Image

Shipping containers that were swept up by floodwaters in Durban, a major port on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast.
Credit…EPA, via Shutterstock

World Weather Attribution conducts its analyses within days or weeks of an event, while it is still fresh in the public’s mind. This one looked at the two-day storm that hit eastern South Africa beginning on April 11 and produced rainfall totals of nearly 14 inches in some areas, half or more of the area’s annual total. The work has yet to be peer-reviewed or published, but it uses methods that have been reviewed previously.

This includes using observational data and two sets of computer simulations, one that models the world as it is, about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than it was before widespread emissions began in the late 19th century, and a hypothetical world in which global warming never happened.

The finding that the likelihood of such an extreme rain event has increased with global warming is consistent with many other studies of individual events and broader trends. A major reason for the increase is that as the atmosphere warms, it can hold more moisture.”

Climate Change Will Accelerate Viral Spillovers, Study Finds – The New York Times

“Over the next 50 years, climate change will drive thousands of viruses to jump from one species of mammal to another, according to a study published in Nature on Thursday. The shuffling of viruses among animals may increase the risk that one will jump into humans and cause a new pandemic, the researchers said.

Scientists have long warned that a warming planet may increase the burden of diseases. Malaria, for example, is expected to spread as the mosquitoes that carry it expand their range into warming regions. But climate change might also usher in entirely new diseases, by allowing pathogens to move into new host species.

“We know that species are moving, and when they do, they’re going to have these chances to share viruses,” said Colin Carlson, a biologist at Georgetown University and a co-author of the new study.”

Why Did the Larsen A and B Ice Shelves Fail? Scientists Say They Now Know. – The New York Times

“The rapid collapses of two ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula over the last quarter-century were most likely triggered by the arrival of huge plumes of warm, moisture-laden air that created extreme conditions and destabilized the ice, researchers said Thursday.

The disintegration of the Larsen A shelf in 1995 and of the Larsen B shelf in 2002 were preceded by landfall of these plumes, called atmospheric rivers, from the Pacific Ocean. They generated extremely warm temperatures over several days that caused surface melting of the ice that led to fracturing, and reduced sea ice cover, allowing ocean swells to flex the ice shelves and further weaken them.

“We identify atmospheric rivers as a mechanism that can create extreme conditions over the ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula and potentially lead to their destabilization,” said Jonathan Wille, a climatologist and meteorologist at the Université Grenoble Alpes in France and the lead author of a study describing the research in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.”

Andrew Schwartz | California’s Drought Is Worse Than We Thought – The New York Times

Dr. Schwartz is the lead scientist and station manager at the University of California, Berkeley, Central Sierra Snow Lab.

“Outside my lab near Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, new animal tracks are on the snow after a winter of hibernation, bird songs are lofting through the air, and the creek is flowing strongly with water from the melting snow. Spring has come worryingly early to the Sierra Nevada.

This past week, I joined teams of other scientists gathering the most important measurements of the Sierra Nevada snowpack from over 265 sites throughout the state. Typically, this measurement marks the transition from snow accumulation season to the melt season and contains the most snow of any measurement throughout the year. The 2022 results, however, confirmed what those of us monitoring the state’s drought had feared: California’s snowpack is now at 39 percent of its average, or 23 percent lower than at the same point last year. This signals a deepening of the drought — already the worst in the western United States in 1,200 years — and another potentially catastrophic fire season for much of the West.

Many people have a rather simplistic view of drought as a lack of rain and snow. That’s accurate — to an extent. What it doesn’t account for is human activity and climate change that are now dramatically affecting the available water and its management. As more frequent and large wildfires and extended dry periods batter the land, our most important tools for managing water are becoming less and less accurate. At the same time, our reliance on these models to try to make the most of the little water we have is becoming more and more problematic.”