By the end of the century, one third to two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers will melt because of climate change. The glaciers were formed over 70 million years ago and feed into 10 of the world’s most important river systems, including the Ganges, Indus and Mekong. The glaciers are a critical water source to 250 million mountain dwellers and 1.65 billion others living in the valleys below.

Source: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

According to the 2018 Annual Energy Outlook, by 2050 the U.S. is projected to consume roughly the same amount of energy it does today to up to 20% more depending on economic growth. Oil (petroleum) consumption is predicted to remain relatively constant through 2050. Natural gas consumption is predicted to grow considerably through 2050. Coal consumption is predicted to remain relatively stable through 2050. While renewable energy is expected to grow most rapidly on a percentile basis, renewable energy is projected to contribute a minority share of overall energy consumption in 2050.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The world has warmed by one degree Celsius ( C ) so far. The amount of additional warming in the coming years will have enormous implications. The number of people projected to experience heat waves, water stress and other climate events rises sharply as global mean temperature increases.

At 3 degrees C of warming above pre-industrial levels:

7.1 billion people at risk from heat waves

3.9 billion people at risk from water stress

1.8 billion people at risk from changes in crop yields

1.4 billion people at risk from habitat degradation

Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis from IPCC reports. New York Times

China and India have increased their foliage by 5% since 2000 thanks to ambitious tree-planting in China and intensive farming in both countries.

Extra foliage helps slows climate change, but researchers warn this will be offset by rising temperatures. Scientists recently warned that CO2 in the atmosphere could reach record levels this year which is likely to reduce CO2 uptake in plants.

Source: BBC

Overlooked by modern researchers, Eunice Foote, in 1856, was the first scientist to discover the principal cause of global warming by conducting experiments on the absorption of heat by greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and water vapor, and by speculating that even modest increases in the concentration of CO2 could result in significant atmospheric warming.

According to conventional wisdom John Tyndall was the first to conduct similar experiments and to predict the impact on the climate of small changes in atmospheric gas composition, three years later.

Image: The front cover of physicist Eunice Foote’s 1856 paper on global warming.

Source: UC Santa Barbara,

Albedo is a measure of the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s albedo contributes to how much energy is absorbed from the sun and therefore has an effect on global temperatures.

When snow and ice, which are in light in color (high albedo), melt and are replaced by darker land or water (low albedo), this creates a reinforcing feedback loop that leads to increased global warming.

Sources: NASA

Weather is to mood as climate is to personality.

Climate is the sum total of the weather conditions that generally prevail at a place or over a region and encompasses the averages, variability, and extremes of temperature, humidity, atmosphere pressure, wind velocity, cloud cover, precipitation, and other meteorological variables over a long period of time. The standard interval used to define climatic characteristics by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is 30 years.

In contrast, weather is the condition of these same elements and their variations over time intervals of a few days (up to 10-15 days).

Source: Essentials of the Earth’s Climate System, Roger G. Barry & Eileen A. Hall-McKim, University of Colorado at Boulder, Cambridge University Press

Greenland’s enormous ice sheet is melting at such an accelerated rate that it may have reached a “tipping point” and could become a major factor in sea-level rise around the world within two decades.

Greenland loses ice to the sea mainly through two processes: the shedding of icebergs from glaciers that run into the sea, and surface melt runoff.

A series of scientific papers have been published this year suggesting that scientific estimates of the effect of a warming planet have been too conservative.




New York Times:

Learn more tomorrow.

No more pages to load

Close Menu