NYT: As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.
ei.columbia: During the second half of the 21st century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying conditions “driven primarily” by human-induced global warming, a new study predicts.
Guardian: California is in the midst of its worst drought in over 1,200 years, exacerbated by record hot temperatures. A new study led by Benjamin Cook at Nasa GISS examines how drought intensity in North America will change in a hotter world, and finds that things will only get worse.
Global warming intensifies drought in several ways. In increases evaporation from soil and reservoirs. In increases water demand. It makes precipitation fall more as rain and less as snow, which is problematic for regions like California that rely on snowpack melt to refill reservoirs throughout the year. It also makes the snowpack melt earlier in the year. The record heat has intensified the current California drought by about 36%, and the planet will only continue to get hotter.
JRC: If no further action is taken and global temperature increases by 3.5°C, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least €190 billion, a net welfare loss of 1.8% of its current GDP. Several weather-related extremes could roughly double their average frequency. As a consequence, heat-related deaths could reach about 200 000.
The cost of river flood damages could exceed €10 billion and 8000 km2 of forest could burn in southern Europe. The number of people affected by droughts could increase by a factor of seven and coastal damage, due to sea-level rise, could more than triple
LANCELOT IS NOW ONLINE
Lancelot is the web application designed and produced by the Euro-Mediterranean Center on climate Change (CMCC) to provide an interactive, dynamic and integrated visualization of climate data on maps for a vast and differentiated audience. Select your indicators and explore hystorical data and climate projections provided by CMCC.
AGU: Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades, according to new research. The number of wildfires over 1,000 acres in size in the region stretching from Nebraska to California increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, according to a new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union. The total area these fires burned increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres a year – an area the size of Las Vegas, according to the study. Individually, the largest wildfires grew at a rate of 350 acres a year, the new research says.
Philip E. Dennison, Simon C. Brewer, James D. Arnold, Max A. Moritz. Large wildfire trends in the western United States, 1984-2011. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014GL059576
WMO: The dramatic impact of climate variability and climate change continued to be felt all over the world throughout 2013.The WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2013 pro¬vides a snapshot of global and regional trends in weather and climate over the past year and highlights some of the year’s most significant extreme events.
The year 2013 once again demonstrated the dramatic impact of droughts, heat waves, floods and tropical cyclones on people and property in all parts of the planet, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate. The report confirmed that 2013 tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest on record, continuing the long-term global warming trend. It provided a snapshot of regional and national temperatures and extreme events as well as details of ice cover, ocean warming, sea level rise and greenhouse gas concentrations – all inter-related and consistent indicators of our changing climate.
Available online at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdvoC9AeWjUeEV1cnZ6QURVaEE/edit?usp=sharing
AlertNet: The Middle East’s driest winter in several decades could pose a threat to global food prices, with local crops depleted and farmers’ livelihoods blighted, U.N. experts and climatologists say. Varying degrees of drought are hitting almost two thirds of the limited arable land across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.
“Going back to the last 100 years, I don’t think you can get a five-year span that’s been as dry,” said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) environmental economist. The dry season has already hurt prospects for the cereal harvest in areas of Syria and to a lesser extent Iraq. Several of the countries under pressure are already significant buyers of grain from international markets.
AUS Climate Couincil: The report examines the impact of climate change on heatwaves and hot weather in Australia and around the world.
FIVE TOP FACTS :
Climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of heatwaves in Australia. Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often.
Climate change is making heatwaves worse in terms of their impacts on people, property, communities and the environment. Heatwaves have widespread impacts, ranging from direct impacts on our health to damage to ecosystems, agriculture and infrastructure.
The climate system has shifted, and is continuing to shift, increasing the likelihood of more extreme hot weather.
Record hot days and heatwaves are expected to increase in the future
Limiting the increase in heatwave activity requires urgent and deep reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases.
CGIAR: Big Facts is a resource of the most up-to-date and robust facts relevant to the nexus of climate change, agriculture and food security. It is intended to provide a credible and reliable platform for fact checking amid the range of claims that appear in reports, advocacy materials and other sources. Full sources are supplied for all facts and figures and all content has gone through a process of peer review.
The Big Facts project is led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS is a strategic partnership of CGIAR and Future Earth, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CCAFS brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research, climate science and Earth System science, to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security.
The rain in Spain may lie mainly on the plain, but the location and intensity of that rain is changing not only in Spain but around the globe.
A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone. The research appears in the Nov. 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles.
Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity – while this number would grow by a further 50 percent if greenhouse-gas emissions are not cut soon. At 5 degrees global warming almost all ice-free land might be affected by ecosystem change. This is shown by complementary studies now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Location and type of events analyzed in “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective.” Credit: NOAA
NOAA: Human influences are having an impact on some extreme weather and climate events, according to the report Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective released September 5, 2013 by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Scientists from NOAA served as three of the four lead editors on the report. Overall, 18 different research teams from around the world contributed to the peer-reviewed report that examined the causes of 12 extreme events that occurred on five continents and in the Arctic.
The report shows that the effects of natural weather and climate fluctuations played a key role in the intensity and evolution of many of the 2012 extreme events. However, in several events, the analyses revealed compelling evidence that human-caused climate change was a secondary factor contributing to the extreme event. “This report adds to a growing ability of climate science to untangle the complexities of understanding natural and human-induced factors contributing to specific extreme weather and climate events,” said Thomas R. Karl, LHD, director of NCDC. “Nonetheless, determining the causes of extreme events remains challenging.” read more
Peterson, T. C., M. P. Hoerling, P. A. Stott and S. Herring, Eds., 2013: Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective.
IOP: Climate change is set to trigger more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years regardless of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit into the atmosphere, a new study has shown. Extreme heat waves such as those that hit the US in 2012 and Australia in 2009 – dubbed three-sigma events by the researchers – are projected to cover double the amount of global land by 2020 and quadruple by 2040. Meanwhile, more-severe summer heat waves – classified as five-sigma events – will go from being essentially absent in the present day to covering around three per cent of the global land surface by 2040. The new study, which has been published , Thursday 15 August, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, finds that in the first half of the 21st century, these projections will occur regardless of the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.
Dim Coumou, Alexander Robinson. Historic and future increase in the global land area affected by monthly heat extremes. Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8 (3): 034018
Refugees International: Recurrent climate-related shocks in West Africa’s Sahel region are having severe impacts on vulnerable populations. Increasingly, those unable to feed themselves or their families have no option but to leave their villages, resorting to new forms of migration that bring with them serious protection risks.
Although the Sahel region is prone to droughts, over the past decade, marked changes in rainfall patterns have emerged. Rains have become more erratic in terms of quantity, timing, and geographic scope, making droughts and poor harvests more frequent. These changes are, in turn, having enormous impacts on the region’s livestock herders (pastoralists) and farmers who rely on crops to feed their animals (agro-pastoralists), given their dependence on rainfall for their livelihoods. This is especially the case for agro-pastoralists, for whom proper forecasting of the timing, location, and quantity of precipitation is crucial for planting. read more
Global Times: A drought that has lingered since June has affected 27.11 million people living in 11 provincial-level areas across China, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).
The drought has caused drinking water shortages for 5.1 million local residents and incurred direct economic losses of 12.21 billion yuan ($1.99 billion), the ministry said in a report.
The World Resources Institute have compiled a useful timeline chronicling extreme weather events in 2012 and 2013.
The pattern for extreme events that we saw in 2012 continued into 2013. In early 2013, parts of the Southern Hemisphere witnessed record-high temperatures, with Australia experiencing its hottest month in January 2013 since record-keeping began more than a century ago. Meanwhile, the central and northeastern United States saw record snowfall and blizzard conditions. Precipitation continued to be extreme throughout the spring, with Spain seeing its wettest March on record and China experiencing its wettest May since 1973. At the same time, New Zealand saw its worst drought in three decades, and California experienced its driest year-to-date
Water in the Anthropocene is a 3-minute film charting the global impact of humans on the water cycle. Evidence is growing that our global footprint is now so significant we have driven Earth into a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.
Human activities such as damming and agriculture are changing the global water cycle in significant ways.
The data visualisation was commissioned by the Global Water Systems Project for a major international conference (Water in the Anthropocene, Bonn, Germany, 21-24 May, 2013).
As datasets build upon one another, the film charts Earth’s changing global water cycle, why it is changing, and what this means for the future. The vertical spikes that appear in the film represent the 48,000 large dams that have been built.
The Financial Times: Water shortages put a brake on economic growth
In the face of China’s rapid economic expansion and growing presence on the global stage, it is often forgotten that the country is running out of water. In per capita terms, China’s water resources are just a quarter of the world average. Eight of China’s 28 provinces are as parched as countries in the Middle East such as Jordan and Syria, according to China Water Risk, a consultancy based in Hong Kong.
Bureau of Meteorology: This summer hasn’t just felt hot. It’s been hot. The numbers are in, and the Bureau has confirmed this summer has been Australia’s hottest on record. Average temperatures across the country came in at 28.6°C, 1.1°C above normal, and exceeding the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1°C. A new daytime maximum temperature record was also set at 35.7°C, or 1.4°C above normal, and 0.2°C above the 1982/83 record. The most extreme heat occurred in the first three weeks of January during an exceptionally widespread and prolonged heatwave. The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia at 49.6°C.
Of the 112 locations used in long-term climate monitoring, 14 had their hottest day on record during the summer of 2012/13 – the largest number in any single summer. Record temperatures were also set in two capital cities; Sydney with 45.8°C and Hobart with 41.8°C.
A new record was also set for the number of consecutive days the average maximum daily temperature for Australia exceeded 39°C – seven days between 2 and 8 January 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973. More
The University of Adelaide: A worldwide review of global rainfall data led by the University of Adelaide has found that the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events is increasing across the globe as temperatures rise. In the most comprehensive review of changes to extreme rainfall ever undertaken, researchers evaluated the association between extreme rainfall and atmospheric temperatures at more than 8000 weather gauging stations around the world. Lead author Dr Seth Westra said, “The results are that rainfall extremes are increasing on average globally. They show that there is a 7% increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature. “Assuming an increase in global average temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, this could mean very substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change.” More
Global increasing trends in annual maximum daily precipitation
Seth Westra, Lisa V. Alexander, and Francis W. Zwiers
This study investigates the presence of trends in annual maximum daily precipitation timeseries obtained from a global dataset of 8326 high quality land-based observing stations with more than 30 years of record over the period from 1900 to 2009.
Global warming from greenhouse gases affects rainfall patterns in the world differently than that from solar heating, according to a study by an international team of scientists in the January 31 issue of Nature. Using computer model simulations, the scientists, led by Jian Liu (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Bin Wang (International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa), showed that global rainfall has increased less over the present-day warming period than during the Medieval Warm Period, even though temperatures are higher today than they were then. More
Nature: Divergent global precipitation changes induced by natural versus anthropogenic forcing, Nature 493, 656–659 (31 January 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11784
As a result of global warming, precipitation is likely to increase in high latitudes and the tropics and to decrease in already dry subtropical regions
NASA: An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change. More
Guardian: Global warming is turning the volume of extreme weather up, Spinal-Tap-style, to 11. The temperature forecast for next Monday by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is so unprecedented – over 52C – that it has had to add a new colour to the top of its scale, a suitably incandescent purple. More
NOAA: 2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average
2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. More
AlertNet : As glaciers melt in the Andes, western areas of South America can expect a period of repeated, extreme flooding that will later give way to drought conditions, creating new challenges for millions of people, researchers warn. Tropical Andean glaciers and high-altitude ecosystems are vital to the economies of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. The 8 million inhabitants of Peru’s capital Lima depend on them for drinking water. The Bolivian capital, La Paz, takes 30 to 40 percent of its drinking water from glaciers in the Cordillera Real. Glacial water powers hydro-electric generation and feeds agriculture in all four countries, while supporting biodiversity in the high Andes. More
ClimateCentral: The graphic, based on data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, shows that 1998 (white line) was the warmest year on record for the continental U.S. (each triangle marks the average temperature to date for a given month, so the October triangle, for example, represents the year’s average through October). So far 2012 (red line) is way above the 1998 average. If temperatures stay well above normal for the rest of the year (orange line), we’ll beat 1998 easily. If temperatures are about normal, we’ll still set a record.
NASA: Nearly two thirds of the contiguous United States was experiencing some level of drought by the end of August 2012, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 39 percent of the nation suffered from severe to extreme drought. Though the numbers changed a bit in mid-September, the drought parched much of the interior United States and left both domestic and wild animals scrounging for food. Continue
FAO: The severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States following extensive drought damage pushed up maize prices by almost 23 percent in July. International wheat quotations also surged 19 percent amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies. Continue
Oxford Research Group: Rising food prices point to a potential crisis later this year as poor communities across the world find themselves unable to afford basic foodstuffs. The crisis now unfolding has some similarities to the major problems that occurred in 2008 that led to food riots in many countries. It also has echoes of the much more severe World Food Crisis in 1973/74. This time, though, there is mounting evidence that climate change is playing a role. Continue
treehugger: The drought gets worse: The US Drought Monitor reports that areas on the nation under extreme drought conditions in key agricultural states has tripled in the past week. Furthermore, the amount of land experiencing drought conditions more broadly has increased to nearly two-thirds of the nation, up from 56% just a week ago. Continue
Climateprogress: The onslaught of extreme weather and record temperatures this year have had an impact on people globally, directly through drought and temperature, and more indirectly impacting food prices and public transportation.
Here are 10 impacts we’re seeing right now that climate change is very likely worsening, in some cases playing a major role: continue
AlertNet: The national Drought Monitor recently declared a drought for almost 80 percent of the contiguous United States, ranging in intensity from “abnormally dry” to “drought-exceptional.” Five days ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture followed by declaring disasters in 26 U.S. states. This is the largest national disaster area ever declared.
But while the drought is obviously a serious concern for the U.S. (historically, droughts are the nation’s most costly natural disaster), it also has worrying implications for other countries that are tied to the U.S. through the global food market. Coupled with other recent extreme weather events across the globe, the U.S. drought could have a globally destabilizing influence. And while it is too early to tell exactly why these events are happening, recent reports show that climatic changes are a part of the story. Continue
NOAA: Based on the Palmer Drought Index, severe to extreme drought affected about 33 percent of the contiguous United States as of the end of June 2012, an increase of about 10 percent from last month. About 4 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories.
About 55 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the moderate to extreme drought categories (based on the Palmer Drought Index) at the end of June. Continue
ThinkProgress: The U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a natural disaster declaration for more than 1,000 U.S. counties facing severe drought. This disaster declaration is the largest ever from the Agriculture Department and includes one-third of counties and spans 26 states. Some 53 percent of the Midwest is facing moderate or severe drought, but areas beyond the drought’s borders could pay higher world grain prices, due to a poor harvest.
UK Met Office: 10 July 2012 – Groundbreaking research has shown how climate change significantly increased the odds of some recent extreme weather events.
This latest science is featured in a companion piece to The State of the Climate in 2011 report, which is led by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US and is published as part of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).
The new report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective, includes contributions from the Met Office and many other research institutions from around the world. For the first time it includes so-called ‘climate attribution studies’, looking at six key weather events shortly after they have happened.
IPS: If climate change pushes the global average temperature to 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era levels, as many experts now expect, these regions will be under severe and permanent drought conditions. More
Projections of Future Drought in the Continental United States and Mexico
Wehner, Michael, David R. Easterling, Jay H. Lawrimore, Richard R. Heim, Russell S. Vose, Benjamin D. Santer, 2011: Projections of Future Drought in the Continental United States and Mexico. J. Hydrometeor, 12, 1359–1377.
ClimateCentral: Climate scientists have been saying for years that one of the many downsides of a warming planet is that both droughts and torrential rains are both likely to get worse. That’s what climate models predict, and that’s what observers have noted, most recently in the IPCC’s report on extreme weather, released last month. It makes physical sense, too. A warmer atmosphere can absorb more water vapor, and what goes up must come down — and thanks to prevailing winds, it won’t come down in the same place.
The idea of changes to the so-called hydrologic cycle, in short, hangs together pretty well. According to a new paper just published in Science, however, the picture is flawed in one important and disturbing way. Based on measurements gathered around the world from 1950-2000, a team of researchers from Australia and the U.S. has concluded that the hydrologic cycle is indeed changing. Wet areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier. But it’s happening about twice as fast as anyone thought, and that could mean big trouble for places like Australia, which has already been experiencing crushing drought in recent years. Continue
RTT: The journal Nature Climate Change contends that factors such as market policies or oil prices have comparatively little effect on corn prices than the climate. But heat waves sparked by rising global temperatures are expected to become more common, withering crops in Corn Belt states and triggering price spikes, the scientists say.
Response of corn markets to climate volatility under alternative energy futures
Noah S. Diffenbaugh, Thomas W. Hertel, Martin Scherer & Monika Verma
Received 19 December 2011 Accepted 20 March 2012 Published online 22 April 2012
NRDC: Across the U.S., the impacts of climate change on water resources are already being seen. Warmer temperatures, changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, and rising sea levels are beginning to affect our communities and natural resources.
As climate change affects communities across the U.S., some states are leading the way in preparing for the impacts on water resources. These states are reducing carbon pollution and planning for climate change impacts. Yet many states are not acting and remain woefully unprepared. Click on a state to find out what risks communities there may face and what the state is doing to prepare. Continue
(AlertNet) – Countries struggling to plot a greener energy mix face the extra headache of water scarcity from drought, squeezing their options as they look to cut carbon emissions and source locally. Energy choices are still wide open, from hydrogen to wind power and clean coal, in electricity generation and road transport. Yet accounting for water, to allow for climate change and concerns that energy demand compounds water scarcity, forces tradeoffs. Continue
NOAA concluded in 2011 that “human-caused climate change [is now] a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts.” Reds and oranges highlight lands around the Mediterranean that experienced significantly drier winters during 1971-2010 than the comparison period of 1902-2010.
Syria’s current social unrest is, in the most direct sense, a reaction to a brutal and out-of-touch regime and a response to the political wave of change that began in Tunisia early last year. However, that’s not the whole story. The past few years have seen a number of significant social, economic, environmental and climatic changes in Syria that have eroded the social contract between citizen and government in the country, have strengthened the case for the opposition movement, and irreparably damaged the legitimacy of the al-Assad regime. If the international community, and future policy-makers in Syria, are to address and resolve the drivers of unrest in the country, these changes will have to be better explored and exposed. Continue
The CCAPS program released the pilot version of its dynamic mapping tool today. In partnership with AidData, CCAPS developed the online data portal to enable researchers and policymakers to visualize data on climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid, and to analyze how these issues intersect in Africa.
The mapping tool, which uses Esri technology, allows users to select and layer any combination of CCAPS data onto one map to assess how myriad climate change impacts and responses intersect. For example, mapping conflict data over climate vulnerability data can assess how local conflict patterns could exacerbate climate-induced insecurity in a region. It also shows how conflict dynamics are changing over time and space. Continue
LONDON (AlertNet) – Picture this: a terrible drought forces you to abandon your meager plot of farmland, so you migrate to a city where the jobs are, only to end up living in a slum regularly submerged by floods.
It’s a scenario that’s going to become more and more familiar in coming years as climate change and rapid urbanization play an ever-greater role in shaping humanitarian crises, according to an AlertNet poll of the world’s biggest aid organizations. Continue
UNICEF: It’s not a tsunami or an earthquake – it is a predictable emergency. UNICEF estimates more than a million children under five will need to be treated in feeding centres for severe malnutrition in the Sahel region of Africa. It is a staggeringly high number, and there is little time to prepare.
Extreme food insecurity
The situation is extremely dire for children in many parts of the Sahel region of West and Central Africa. Due to poor rains and the resulting restricted harvests, entire populations are now vulnerable. In surveys carried out over the summer and autumn by UNICEF nutrition teams, seven of the eight countries showed pockets with elevated rates of global malnutrition for children under five. The driest parts of Chad and Mauritania had levels that put them into the category that requires an emergency response.
With an estimated 330,600 children under age five at risk of severe and acute malnutrition in Niger, the government has issued an alert saying more than half of the country’s villages are vulnerable to food insecurity. Other countries and regions where children are expected to require specialist treatment in clinics are northern Nigeria, the north of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali and northern Senegal. Continue