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A media release from The Climate Institute alerts that humanity entered uncharted territory on Saturday 11 May, as the concentration of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record daily average high of 400 parts per million (ppm). “The atmosphere hasn’t seen CO2 this high for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. We are in dangerous and uncharted territory, with little time to ensure a safe and sustainable future,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. The 400 ppm mark was measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory by the University of California – San Diego, which has tracked northern hemisphere levels of CO2 since 1958.
A NASA-led modeling study provides new evidence that global warming may increase the risk for extreme rainfall and drought. The study shows for the first time how rising carbon dioxide concentrations could affect the entire range of rainfall types on Earth. Climate models indicate wet regions of the world, such as the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Asian monsoon regions, will see increases in heavy precipitation because of warming resulting from projected increases in carbon dioxide levels. Arid land areas outside the tropics and many regions with moderate rainfall could become drier.
A project between NASA, the US Geological Survey (USGS), TIME, Google, and the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University has compiled images of Earth taken from space into an interactive time-lapse experience, revealing a comprehensive picture of our changing planet between 1984 and 2012. The Timelapse story reveals the impacts on resource use, climate change, and urbanisation, and a selection of animated Timelapse images captured by Google shows the stark changes from glacier retreat, urban and coastal expansion, mining, deforestation, and water resource over-use. To see an animation of the changes in your area, visit Timelapse, click “Explore the World” in the bottom right corner of the animated story heading image, then enter your desired location and search.
Food security is increasingly recognised as a problem facing urban populations in developed countries like Australia as well as in the developing countries of the global south. Recent disasters, especially floods, have highlighted the fragility of food supply lines in Australian cities. Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change is a NCCARF-funded project that explored urban agricultural practices through a critical review of relevant literature and case study research in two major Australian cities. It found that urban agriculture has the potential to play a greater role in strengthening the food security of Australian cities and building urban resilience in a changing climate.
When extreme weather events occur the Climate Commission is consistently asked questions about the link to climate change. The new report The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather unpacks current knowledge about different types of extreme weather events: extreme temperatures, rainfall, drought, bushfires, storm surges, cyclones and storms. Key facts from the report are:
Australians’ concerns about the environment have lessened over the past few years, and they feel the natural environment has improved, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS finds that this drop in concern coincided with good rainfall across much of Australia over the last few years which has also led to fewer people worrying about water shortages. The proportion of people reporting water restrictions has more than halved from where it was in 2007–08, down from 76 per cent to just 30 per cent. At a national level, concern about climate change has also decreased, down from 73 per cent to 57 per cent.
Earth Hour returns at 8.30pm this Saturday 23 March. It started with Earth Hour Australia and has now become a global event to show what one simple idea can achieve and what one person’s actions can inspire. This Earth Hour people aren’t just switching off their lights as a show of unity in protecting the planet, they’re taking action into their hands and pledging to switch on to renewable energy.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) 9th Biennial Bushfire Conference will explore the role holistic fire management can play in making our landscapes and communities more resilient in a changing climate. There will be four symposia on the themes of resilience (environmental, social and cultural), good fire vs bad fire, using fire for restoration, and strengthening community resilience. Submission of presentation, speed talk and poster abstracts closes Thursday 28 March 2013, and early bird registrations close Friday 29 March 2013.
The Doha United Nations Conference on Climate Change is underway and has the aim of establishing a new international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions that extends the Kyoto Protocol. What will the conference decide for our climate future? Follow the deliberations at Doha Climate Change Conference – November 2012. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ends in 2012. Governments of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have decided that a second commitment period, from 2013 onwards, will seamlessly follow the end of the first commitment period.
The Hestia Project™ of the Arizona State University can quantify, simulate and visualise the metabolism of greenhouse gas emitting activity down to the building and street level. Hestia can provide stakeholders an unprecedented opportunity to design and implement carbon management strategies, verify emissions reduction, strengthen and support basic research in climate prediction and carbon cycle science, and allow the public, decision-makers, scientists and industry access to detailed space-time information on fossil/industrial energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
© Bruce Boyes 2008-2013
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