threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Nuclear Fallout From Chernobyl and Fukushima Disasters are Stored In Melting Glaciers

This report by Ted Ranosa was published a year ago in the Tech Times:

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/241378/20190412/nuclear-fallout-from-chernobyl-fukushima-disasters-stored-in-melting-glaciers-are-ticking-time-bomb.htm

glacier

Irradiated glaciers from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters threaten the environment as they could release their stored radiation particles at any moment.

In a study presented at the European Geosciences Union’s General Assembly, researchers discussed how ice and snow in glaciated areas can capture fallout from nuclear accidents and store them for long periods of time.

However, these glaciers are starting to melt at a rapid pace as a result of climate change. They are now at risk of releasing their contaminants into the environment, which could poison humans and wildlife alike.

Chernobyl

Chernobyl

Nuclear Fallout In Glaciers

Dr. Caroline Clason, an expert on physical geography from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, led an international team of researchers in examining the effects of nuclear radiation on glaciers.

They focused their work on particles known as fallout radionuclides, which are the byproducts of nuclear weapons testings and accidents. These contaminants are often stored in ice surface sediments called cryoconite.

Clason and her colleagues traveled to different sites around the world, such as Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Antarctica. The FRNs detected in these environments have orders of magnitude that are higher than those found in non-glaciated areas.

The team’s discovery underscores the role of glaciers, particularly the interaction between cryoconite and meltwater, in collecting contaminants in the atmosphere from various human activities.

The researchers also found that FRN buildup is not restricted to areas directly affected by nuclear activity such as in Chernobyl and Fukushima. This highlights the impacts of nuclear fallout and other atmospheric pollutants on the entire planet.

Clason said previous studies on nuclear accidents mainly focused on their impacts on humans and ecosystems in non-glaciated areas. However, evidence suggest that cryoconite on glaciers are more adept at collecting and storing dangerous levels of FRNs.

While high concentrations of FRNs have already been detected in the past, not much is known about how they could potentially impact the environment yet. This is something that Clason and her colleagues have been trying to explore in their research.

“Our collaborative work is beginning to address this because it is clearly important for the pro-glacial environment and downstream communities to understand any unseen threats they might face in the future,” Clason said.

Effects Of Radiation Exposure

The high levels of radiation produced after a nuclear disaster can cause long-lasting effects on human health. The longer the body is exposed to the energy, the more cells and tissues are damaged.

One of the most visible health effects of radiation is hair loss (Alopecia), which often occurs when people are exposed to 200 rems or higher.

The brain is also susceptible to damaging from nuclear exposure. Radiation with 5,000 rems or higher can destroy small blood vessels and nerve cells, resulting in seizures and even immediate death in extreme cases.

High amounts of radioactive iodine can seriously damage the thyroid and other cells related to the gland. However, when used properly and in controlled doses, radioiodine can help treat thyroid cancer.

People exposed to 100 rems of radiation may experience a lowering of their lymphocyte cell counts. This leaves them more vulnerable to various infections.

Data from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing suggest that symptoms of this form of radiation sickness can last up to 10 years, and can increase the risk of developing lymphoma and leukemia.



 


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Melting Greenland ice ‘could leave 400 million homeless by the end of the century’

Scientists have warned that coasts could be swamped by regular floods by the end of the century.  This is because the Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than originally predicted.  Calculations suggest that up to 400,000 million people could be left homeless as a result, 40 million more than that predicted by the IPCC.

Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tonnes of ice since 1990. The figures from this latest research are similar to the IPCC’s worst case scenario.

GreenlandIcemelt

A team of 96 polar scientists from 50 international organisations contributed to the new findings published in Nature.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07617-1

Analysis indicated rise in air and ocean temperatures caused the surface ice to melt and increased glacial flow.

According to the researchers, Greenland stores enough water to raise global sea levels by six metres and knowing how much of this ice is lost is key to understanding the effects and impact of climate change.



Another report from Danish scientists was published last June, which estimated that 2019 could be the year of record high temperatures in the Arctic (2012 having been the previous high).

On June 12 2019, the day before the photograph below was taken, the closest weather station, in Qaanaaq, registered temperatures of 17.3 degrees Celsius (63.1 Fahrenheit), just 0.3 points lower than the previous record set on June 30, 2012.

“There was a dry winter and then warm air, clear skies and sun — all preconditions for an early melting,” Ruth Mottram explained. She is a climatologist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

While researching oceanographic moorings and a weather station, Steffen Olsen snapped a picture of his sled dogs pushing through a fjord, the sea ice submerged under several centimetres of meltwater.

Sled dogs wade through standing water on the sea ice during an expedition in northwestern Greenland, whose ice sheet may have completely melted within the next millennium if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, a study has found (AFP Photo/Steffen Olsen)

Locals who accompanied Olsen’s expedition didn’t expect the sea ice to start melting that early. They usually take that route because the ice is very thick, but they had to turn back because the water was too deep for them to advance.

See further details at:

https://news.yahoo.com/arctic-could-face-another-scorching-annus-horribilis-062144315.html;_ylt=AwrXnCJi1wldRlcAEhDQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTEyYmQzYmV0BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjc2MDlfMQRzZWMDc3I-?guccounter=1



 


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Five new islands discovered as the Arctic ice melts

A Russian naval expedition has discovered five Arctic islands as climate change melts glaciers and reveals landforms previously hidden under ice.

Ranging in size from 900 to 54,500 square metres, the five tiny islands are located in the cove of Vize off the northeastern shore of Novaya Zemlya, which divides the Barents and Kara seas in the Arctic ocean, a defence ministry statement said.

A student Marina Migunova first spotted the islands in 2016 while analysing satellite imagery for her final coursework at a naval university. But new geographic points are added to maps and other navigational documents only after specialists visit them and perform a topographic survey, the defence ministry said.
The islands were previously concealed under the Nansen glacier, also known as the Vylka, which is part of Europe’s largest ice cap covering much of Novaya Zemlya’s northern island.

Arctic islands

The retreat of Arctic ice amid rising air and ocean temperatures has been unveiling unknown landforms. In 2015-18, the hydrographic service observed more than 30 islands, capes and bays near Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land for the first time through satellite monitoring. More are expected to be found.

A US study last year concluded that the ice loss by glaciers on Franz Josef Land had doubled between 2011 and 2015.

Melting ice has increasingly stranded polar bears on land, contributing to incidents like the “polar bear invasion” of a military town on Novaya Zemlya this year.

Coastal erosion is also speeding up as permafrost soil thaws and summertime wave action increases.

President Vladimir Putin said at an Arctic conference in April that Russian data showed the region was warming not two but four times faster than the rest of the world.

In response, his country has been expanding its presence in the Arctic, opening military bases and building nuclear icebreakers to promote shipping along the northern sea route.



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Glaciers in the Alps, Himalayas and Andes are set to disappear by 2050

An article in today’s Guardian reports that glaciologists at ETH Zurich have been studying glaciers in the European Alps and they predict that to thirds of the ice in these glaciers will have melted by 2100, as climate change forces up temperatures.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/two-thirds-of-glacier-ice-in-the-alps-will-melt-by-2100/ar-BBVLhlO?ocid=spartandhp

The researchers said the loss of the glaciers would have a big impact on water availability for farming and hydroelectricity, especially during droughts, and affect nature and tourism.

Another study on the ice fields in the Himalayas found that these also will melt, with serious consequences for almost 2 billion people in the valleys below.  In addition, to the glacier concern, Nepal is sending a group of expert climbers to remeasure the height of Mount Everest amid concerns that the devastating 2015 earthquake in the country caused the peak to shrink. It is the first time the country has sent its own government-appointed team to conduct a survey of the world’s highest mountain. Officially, Everest stands at 29,029ft – but this figure was calculated by an Indian team back in 1954. Since then its actual height has been widely debated.

Another study reported in 2009, showed that Switzerland’s glaciers had reduced by 12% of their volume in the previous 10 years. Switzerland’s glaciers equate to about two thirds of the volume of Lake Geneva. Similar reports come from researchers studying glaciers in the Andes.

Swiss glacier

A Swiss glacier

See:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622064813.htm

The Himalayan glaciers may have an even more important function, as they are reducing at a similar rate to those in the European Alps, despite being higher and therefore colder. More than 700 million people in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan get their water from rivers that come from the Himalayan glaciers. India has been ranked the most vulnerable country to climate change by risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft. 113 million people in the country are vulnerable to dangerous levels of flooding. More than 300 million are vulnerable to drought and more than 700 million to extreme local storms.  The melting glaciers just compound all these issues.

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/why-the-indian-himalayan-glaciers-may-be-the-most/

Glaciers are unique because they are reservoirs of fresh water, have sheer mass and their ability to move, as they flow like very slow rivers.



20.6.19

Financial Times report states that glaciers have been melting twice as fast as they were during 1975-2000.  This was taken from a report on 19th June 2019 in Science Advances:

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/6/eaav7266

entitled “Acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years” by J.M. Maurer, J.M. Schaefer, S. Rupper and A. Corley.  The abstract for the article states:

“Himalayan glaciers supply meltwater to densely populated catchments in South Asia, and regional observations of glacier change over multiple decades are needed to understand climate drivers and assess resulting impacts on glacier-fed rivers. Here, we quantify changes in ice thickness during the intervals 1975–2000 and 2000–2016 across the Himalayas, using a set of digital elevation models derived from cold war–era spy satellite film and modern stereo satellite imagery. We observe consistent ice loss along the entire 2000-km transect for both intervals and find a doubling of the average loss rate during 2000–2016 [−0.43 ± 0.14 m w.e. year−1 (meters of water equivalent per year)] compared to 1975–2000 (−0.22 ± 0.13 m w.e. year−1). The similar magnitude and acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas suggests a regionally coherent climate forcing, consistent with atmospheric warming and associated energy fluxes as the dominant drivers of glacier change.”

glacierHimlayas

Imja Tso, a glacial lake in the Mt. Everest region, did not exist on trekking maps 30 years ago. Today it is 2 kilometers long and the region continues to warm. Credit: Kunda Dixit/Nepali Times



14.8.19

A Guardian report from Iceland about the loss of a glacier there, written by Andri Snaer Magnason, about how they are mourning the loss of the OK glacier.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/14/glaciers-iceland-country-loss-plaque-climate-crisis?CMP=share_btn_link

A plaque has been developed to remember the OK glacier, which has now lost its status as a glacier:

Iceland plaque

According to current trends, all glaciers in Iceland will disappear in the next 200 years. So the plaque for Ok could be the first of 400 in Iceland alone. The glacier Snæfellsjökull, where Jules Verne began his Journey to the Centre of the Earth, is likely to be gone in the next 30 years and that will be a significant loss. This glacier is for Iceland what Fuji is for Japan.



 


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Arctic is now locked into destructive climate change: new UN Report

According to a new commissioned UN Report, there is no chance now of saving the arctic from devastating destruction:

http://www.grida.no/publications/431

The report describes scenarios where arctic winter temperatures increase by 3-5 degrees by 2050, compared to 1986-2005 levels, and by 5-9 degrees by 2080.  It is expected to happen regardless of the success of measures introduced since the Paris climate change Agreement in 2015.

According to the report, even if global emissions were to stop overnight, winter temperatures in the Arctic would continue to rise by up to 5 C by 2100 compared to average temperatures in the late 20th century. The temperature rise is described by the report as “locked in” because of greenhouse gases already emitted and heat stored in the ocean. This is because carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions have a delayed effect; the emissions being produced today (and which continue to be produced) will have effects for decades. The momentum of climate change is very strong in the Arctic.

According to the report, this would devastate the region and cause sea level rises across the world.

jan-dusik

Jan Dusic, author of the report

A massive melting of ice and a thawing of the permafrost is to be expected, threatening biodiversity and changing the living conditions of Arctic communities.

It appears that the thawing trend is now irreversible.

For further details, see:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/arctic-warming-locked-in-1.5056548?cmp=rss



And now, another report about changing Arctic temperatures from the Washington Post on 14th May 2019:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/it-was-84-degrees-near-the-arctic-ocean-this-weekend-as-carbon-dioxide-hit-its-highest-level-in-human-history/ar-AABlBAQ?fbclid=IwAR2zQVt-AncQSZMfLRquEWKScHGttqeTsqJMTzfboKoz0a8-zoguLE1sREk

“Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius). Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.”

CarbonData

The recordings were taken in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is around 54ºF this time of year. The city of 350,000 people sits next to the White Sea, which feeds into the Arctic Ocean’s Barents Sea.

The abnormally warm conditions in this region stemmed from a bulging zone of high pressure centred over western Russia. This particular heat wave, while a manifestation of the arrangement of weather systems and fluctuations in the jet stream, fits into what has been an unusually warm year across the Arctic and most of the mid-latitudes.

These changes all have occurred against the backdrop of unremitting increases in carbon dioxide, which has now crossed another symbolic threshold.

Saturday 11th May’s carbon dioxide measurement of 415 parts per million at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory is the highest in at least 800,000 years and probably over 3 million years. Carbon dioxide levels have risen by nearly 50 percent since the Industrial Revolution.



 


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224 UK academics support school climate strike

224 academics have written a letter to The Guardian in support of the children’s proposed non-attendance at school on Friday 15th February 2015.  This is in response to a growing movement across the world by teenagers and children to draw attention of their governments to the need for emergency actions against climate change.  Greta Thunberg from Sweden was the first to take such action (see an earlier blog).

Here is the letter in its entirety (of which I am one of the signatories):

“School climate strike children’s brave stand has our support

We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and other striking students, are making their voices heard, say 224 academics.

We, the undersigned academics, stand in solidarity with the children going on school climate strike on 15 February, and with all those taking a stand for the future of the planet.

Nelson Mandela once said: “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.” Human planetary abuse is, in a very real sense, child neglect.

As many of us and other fellow academics have indicated previously in this newspaper (Letters, 27 October 2018), the scientific evidence of climate change is clear. For example, the summer of 2018 has been confirmed by the Meteorological Office as the hottest on record for England. The heatwave adversely affected crops across Europe, with wheat and potato harvests reduced by one quarter, which in turn impacted upon food prices. Australia is similarly experiencing “hottest on record” weather events. As citizens across the globe will know and testify, many comparably disturbing examples could be given. We cannot nurture our children without Nature.

It is with these tragic and desperate events in mind that we offer our full support to the students – some of whom may well aspire to be the academics of the future – who bravely plan to strike on 15 February to demand that the UK government takes climate action. They have every right to be angry about the future that we shall bequeath to them, if proportionate and urgent action is not taken. We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and many other striking students all around the world, are making their voices heard.

Alison Green
, PhD (Psychology), National Director (UK) ScientistsWarning.org
Sir Tim Smit Co-Founder, Eden Project & Exec Chair Eden Project International

Professor Kevin Anderson, Joint chair of Energy and Climate Change at Manchester and Uppsala Universities
Professor Tony Watts OBE
Molly Scott Cato MEP, Professor of Green Economics, University of Roehampton
Chris Rapley CBE, Professor of Climate Science, UCL
Professor T. R. Birkhead, FRS Department of Animal & Plant Sciences,
University of Sheffield
Professor Joy Carter Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester
Professor Danny Dorling, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford (UK)
Professor Diane Reay, University of Cambridge
Professor Guy Claxton, King’s College London
Professor Rosalind Gill, UK
Professor Jem Bendell, PhD, University of Cumbria
Professor Marilyn Strathern, DBE Cambridge University
Dr Anne Alexander, University of Cambridge
Dr Miklós Antal, Research Fellow, University of Leeds
Francisco Ascui (PhD, MBA, MSc), Centre for Business and Climate Change, University of Edinburgh
Dr Hugues Azérad, Fellow and College Lecturer,Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge
Dr Keith Baker, co-founder, Energy Poverty Research initiative, Scotland
Stephen J. Ball, distinguished service Professor of Sociology of Education, University College London
Dr Meg-John Barker, Psychology in Social Sciences, The Open University
Rocio Perez Barrales, School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth
Emeritus Professor Michael Bassey
Professor Margaret Bates
, University of Northampton
Manu Bazzano, Lecturer, University of Roehampton
Professor David Beerling, Dept. Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield
Peter Belton, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of East Anglia
Dr Teresa Belton visiting fellow, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia
Dr Nicholas Beuret, University of Essex
Dr Simon Boxley, Centre for Climate Change Education & Communication, University of Winchester
Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion
Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent
Delny Britton Ph.D. (env. Sci.), Stroud, Gloucestershire
Dr Onel Brooks, Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy, Counselling and Counselling Psychology
Annemarieke de Bruin, Researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York
Erik Buitenhuis Ph.D., Ocean Biogeochemist
Dr Catherine Burke, Reader in History of Education and Childhood, University of Cambridge
Professor Erica Burman, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester
Dr Jonathan Busch, Research & Teaching Fellow, Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds
Dr Rose Capdevila, School of Psychology, The Open University
Dr Stuart Capstick, Research Fellow, Cardiff University
Professor Andrew Challinor, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds
Professor Alec Charles, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, UoW
Paul Chatterton, Professor of Urban Futures,School of Geography, University of Leeds
Christopher Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Southampton
Isabel Clarke, consultant Clinical Psychologist, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Professor Linda Clarke, Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), Westminster Business School, University of Westminster
Richard Clarke, Visiting Scholar, University of Westminster
Dr Christopher D. Coath, University of Bristol
Frank Coffield, Emeritus Professor of Education, UCL Institute of Education, London University
Dr Philip Connell, University of Cambridge
Andrew Cooper, Professor of Social Work, Tavistock Centre and UEL
Dr Mick Cooper, Counselling Psychologist
Dr Alice Courvoisier, Ph.D.(Mathematics), lecturer, York University
Nick Cowern, Emeritus Professor, Newcastle University
Ed Craig, Executive Director Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, University of Edinburgh
Gareth Dale, Politics/History, Brunel University
Professor Colin Davis University of Bristol
Dr Lucy Delap, Reader in Modern British and Gender History, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge
Dr Peter Dwyer, UCU Branch Executive, Ruskin College, Oxford
Dr Alison Dyke, Stockholm Environment Institute, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York
Richard Eke Ph.D., Associate Lecturer in Education
Professor Barbara Evans CEng MCIWEM, Co-Director, Centre for Global Development, University of Leeds
Dr Nick Evans, Junior Research Fellow, Clare College, University of Cambridge
Dr Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures, University of Bristol
Dr Andrew L. Fanning, Marie Curie Research Fellow, Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds
Suman Fernando, Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, London Metropolitan University; retired Consultant Psychiatrist
Michael Fielding Emeritus Professor of Education, UCL Institute of Education, London
Dr Keith Flett, London Socialist Historians Group, University of London
Alistair Ford, Research Associate (Cities and Climate Change), Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Dr Katy Fox-Hodess, University of Sheffield
Professor Lynn Froggett FAcSS
Dr Christophe Gagne, Senior Language Teaching Officer in French, MML, University of Cambridge
Charlie J. Gardner, PhD Lecturer, Conservation Biology
Dr Simon Gibbs university Reader in Educational Psychology
Ian Gibson Professor and former MP and chair, Select Committee on Science and Technology
Simona Giordano, University of Manchester
Dr Sara González, Associate Professor, School of Geography, University of Leeds
Harvey Goldstein, Professor of Social Statistics, University of Bristol
Professor Dave Goulson FRES,, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex
Dr Dina Glouberman Skyros Institute
Dr Mia Gray, Dept of Geography, University of Cambridge
Sarah Greenfield Clark, MSc (Sustainability), Partnerships Co-ordinator for Extinction
Rebellion
Stephen Hall, University Academic Fellow, Sustainable Cities
Dr Catherine Happer, Lecturer in Sociology
Lukas Hardt, Postgraduate Research Student, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds
Prof. Julie Harris, School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews
Rachael Harris PhD, University of Cambridge
Stephan Harrison, Climate Scientist, Exeter University UK
Dr Stephen Harwood, University of Edinburgh Business School
Dr Karsten Haustein, Postdoctoral Researcher, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
Peter Hawkins Ph.D. Professor of Leadership Henley Business School, University of Reading
Dr Clare Heaviside, NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr Jason Hickel, Goldsmiths, University of London
Chris Hines MBE, Hon.D.Sc
Dr Stuart Hodkinson
, Associate Professor, School of Geography, University of Leeds
Dr Dan Hodson, Research Scientist, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, UK
Paul Hoggett, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, UWE
Owen Holland, Department of English, UCL
Dr Wendy Hollway, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Open University
Dr Reza Hossain, MBBS, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP, General Practitioner & Population Matters
Richard House, PhD (Env sci) Chartered psychologist, Stroud
Michael Hrebeniak, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
David Humphreys, Professor of Environmental Policy, Open University
Peter Humphreys Chair, Centre for Personalised Education, visiting lecturer, School of Education, Birmingham City University
Dr Victoria Hurth Faculty of Business, University of Plymouth
Professor Lisa Isherwood, FRSA, Director of the Institute for Theological Partnerships, Professor of Feminist Liberation Theologies, University of Winchester
Chris Jarrold, Professor of Cognitive Development, School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol
Simon Jobson, Professor of Sport & Exercise Physiology, University of Winchester
Professor Aled Jones, PhD MA BA FHEA HonFIA Director of Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University
Steven Jones, PhD (Education), Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester
Professor Stephen Joseph, University of Nottingham
Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Presidential Fellow in Ethnicity and Inequalities, The University of Manchester
Dr Alexandre Kabla, Reader, Engineering Department, University of Cambridge
Dr. J. Kasmire, University of Manchester
Philomena Keane, Educational Psychologist, Keane Minds
Dr Ben Kenward, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Oxford Brookes University
Dr Eleanor Kirk, Research Associate, University of Glasgow
Professor Peter Kornicki FBA, University of Cambridge
Dr Tonya Lander, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
Mary Laven, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Cambridge
Jane Liddell-King, Cambridge
Peter Lipman, Fellow, Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Del Loewenthal, Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapy and Counselling, University of Roehampton
Gerhard Lohmann-Bond, Chair/Coordinator East Midlands Green Party
Ed Lord RMN, Ph.D. fellow, Swansea University
Rachel Lunnon Ph.D. (mathematical logic), computer programmer, Bristol
Robert Macfarlane, Reader at Cambridge University
Professor Neil Marriott Deputy Vice Chancellor
Professor Pru Marriott, Dean of Business, Law and Sport, Director of the Winchester Business School
Andrew Marsham, DPhil, Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge
Dr John Marsham, PhD (Meteorology)
John Mateer, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Production, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York
Giulio Mattioli, (PhD) Visiting Research Fellow, Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds
Dr Emma Mawdsley, Geography Department, Cambridge University
Dr Debbie Maxwell Lecturer in Interactive Media, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York
Susannah Mayhew, Professor of Health Policy, Systems and Reproductive Health
Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Dr Duncan McCollin, Senior Lecturer in Ecology, University of Northampton
Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards, University College London
Ciarán McInerney, PhD., Research Fellow, University of Leeds
Professor Alastair McIntosh University of Glasgow & Centre for Human Ecology
James Mckay, project leader: ‘The Art of a Sustainable Future’, University of Leeds
Dr Jean McKendree, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York
Laura McMahon, University of Cambridge
Dr Kate McMillan Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries, King’s College London
Dr Alessandra Mezzadri Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, London
Dr Lucie Middlemiss, Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds
Professor Martin Milton, Regents University London
Dr Iris Möller, 
Lecturer in Coastal Processes, Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) / Biogeography & Biogeomorphology Research Group, University of Cambridge
Dr Gerry Mooney, Open University in Scotland
Professor Sian Moore Director, Work and Employment Research Unit (WERU) and Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), Greenwich Business School, London
Emeritus Professor Peter Moss, UCL Institute of Education
Richard Murphy, Professor of Practice in International Political Economy, City, University of London
Dr David Nally, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Calum Neill, Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis & Cultural Theory, Edinburgh Napier University
Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations, Department of International Relations, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
Dr Robbie Nicol, Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Environmental Education, University of Edinburgh
Dany Nobus, Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology, Brunel University London
Eva Novotny, PhD
Jeff Ollerton
, Professor of Biodiversity, University of Northampton
Dr Susie Orbach, The Balint Consultancy
Professor Jayne Osgood, Middlesex University, mother, feminist, activist
Stephanie Palmer, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge
Douglas Parker, Professor of Meteorology, University of Leeds
Ian Parker, Emeritus Professor of Management, University of Leicester
Carole Parkes, Professor of Sustainable Business, University of Winchester
Christine Parkinson Ph.D. (Behavioural Science), retired biologist and author (climate change), Birmingham
Dr Volker Patent, CPsychol, Open University
Dr Ian Patterson, Life Fellow, Queens’ College, Cambridge
David Peters Professor Emeritus, Westminster Centre for Resilience, College of Liberal Arts and Science, University of Westminster
Dr Mary Phillips reader in organisation studies, University of Bristol
Professor Ann Phoenix
Professor Jenny Pickerill,
 University of Sheffield
Adela Pickles, Communications Director for Rainforest Trust UK
Professor Jonatan Pinkse, University of Manchester
Professor Wouter Poortinga, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University
Dr Gillian Proctor, Programme Leader in MA Psychotherapy and Counselling, University of Leeds
Professor Sarah A. Radcliffe, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Joe Ravetz, Co-Director, CURE, University of Manchester
Dr Rupert Read, Reader in Philosophy, University of East Anglia, UK
Dr Peter Reason, Emeritus Professor, University of Bath
Dr Helen Richardson, Professor of Gender and Organisation, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University
Annette Rimmer, University of Manchester
Rosemary Rizq, Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, University of Roehampton, London
Pip Roddis, School of Geography, University of Leeds
Paul Routledge, Professor of Contentious Politics and Social Change, School of Geography, University of Leeds
Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex; Former Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy
Kate Sapin, Manchester Institute of Education, The University of Manchester
Simon Schaffer, Professor of History of Science, University of Cambridge
Dr Jason Scott-Warren, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge
Lynne Segal, Anniversary Professor of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Farzana Shain, Keele University
Dr Jo Shuttleworth, Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, University of Manchester
Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting and Finance, University of Sheffield
Andrew Simms, Research Associate, University of Sussex & Coordinator, the Rapid Transition Alliance
David Sims, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour, City, University of London
Helen Spandler, Professor of Mental Health Studies, University of Central Lancashire
Nick Srnicek, Lecturer in Digital Economy, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Lauren Stabler, PhD (Sustainability) Researcher at Global Sustainability Institute
Dr Guy Standing, FAcSS Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London
Professor Julia K. Steinberger, University of Leeds
Arran Stibbe, Professor of Ecological Linguistics, University of Gloucestershire
Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy, The Robert Gordon University
Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge, and a fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge
Harriet Thew, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds
Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of East Anglia
Professor Fred Toates, UK
Steve Tombs, Prof of Criminology, The Open University
Dr Corrado Topi, Ecological Economist, Stockholm Environment Institute, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York
Martin Upchurch, Professor of International Employment Relations, Middlesex University Business School, Hendon
Simon van der Borgh, Senior Lecturer in film & television production & screenwriter, University of York
Andreas Vossler, Phd (Psychology)
Lianne Waterston, B.Ed, 2041 Climateforce Ambassador, Climate Reality Leader
Professor Andrew Watterson, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling
Dr David Whitebread retired senior member, Homerton College, Cambridge
Ian Willis, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Dr Rebecca Willis, Independent Researcher
Dr Ruth Wood, Senior Lecturer in Environment and Climate Change, University of Manchester
Michael J Wright, Emeritus Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, Brunel University, London
Mike Yule, Associate Lecturer, Department of Education, University of Chichester
Dr Andrew Zurcher, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge”

GretaThunberg2

Greta Thunberg speaking at COP24



 


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Magnetic North Pole shifting and Greenland’s ice melting 4 X quicker than thought

I am putting together here, two recent pieces of information, which may or may not be related to one another.  First the North Pole:

A report from Washington, in Time magazine, states that Earth’s north pole is moving, shifting about 34 miles per year. The magnetic north pole has been drifting so fast in the last few decades that scientists are saying that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation.  It crossed the international date line in 2017, and is now leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia. Since 1831, when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic, it has moved about 1,400 miles towards Siberia. Its speed has increased from about 9 mpy to 34 mpy since 2000.

The reason given is turbulence in Earth’s liquid outer core. There is a hot liquid ocean of iron and nickel in the planet’s core where the motion generates an electric field. In general Earth’s magnetic field is getting weaker, leading scientists to say that it will eventually flip, so that the north and south poles change polarity. This has happened numerous times in Earth’s past, but not in the last 780,000 years.

Greenland ice



Second, Greenland:

A study cited by National Geographic has found that Greenland’s ice is melting four times faster than expected. And the ice loss is from the land-fast ice sheet itself, not from Greenland’s glaciers.

Greenland is the world’s biggest island and it appears to have hit a tipping point in 2002, when ice loss rapidly accelerated, with a sustained ice loss in the SW region of the island, an area without large glaciers. By 2012 the annual ice loss was “unprecedented” at nearly four times the rate measured in 2003.

The study was was originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on January 21st 2019. Data from NASA’s GRACE satellites and GPS stations scattered around Greenland’s coast showed that between 2002 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 280 billion tons of ice per year.

The Greenland ice sheet is 10,000 feet thick in places and contains enough ice to raise sea levels 23 feet (7 meters).  However, the situation in Antarctica is more worrying, as the Antarctic ice sheet, if fully melted, could raise sea level 57 meters if fully melted. Alarmingly, the Antarctic is also undergoing an accelerated melt down, losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago. Its ice loss averaged 252 billion tons a year over the past decade.



 


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Ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic

News out today from Greenpeace states that the majority of the krill fishing industry has agreed to voluntarily stop fishing in sensitive Antarctic waters and back the campaign for ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic.

This is not just a welcome relief for penguins and other Antarctic wildlife that feed on krill. It also means that, when the Antarctic Ocean Commission meet in October to decide on a massive Sanctuary, the influential krill industry won’t be standing in the way.

The industry body represents nearly every krill company working in the Antarctic – including Aker Biomarine – the main supplier of krill oil to the UK.

Greenpeace started campaigning on the krill industry in April and a number of actions  helped to drive progress towards this unprecedented commitment. The campaign included:

  • over 45,000 emails sent to Holland & Barrett calling on them to ditch krill oil products fished from areas that needed protection.
  • over 11,000 tweets and Facebook messages sent to Boots, calling on them to stop sourcing krill oil products from sensitive Antarctic waters.
  • Stickered krill products with a Greenpeace message on Holland & Barrett and Boots shelves nationwide, raising the profile of the issue with UK customers.
  • Visited over 30 Boots shops across the UK, with ‘krill-o-meters’ that asked people to choose between an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary and industrial krill fishing.

Other stores that stock dodgy krill oil products were also contacted. Amazingly, Superdrug, Morrisons, Nature’s Best, and many more listened to the demands.

This is a major step forward on the road to protecting the Antarctic. With many krill fishing companies now joining the 1.7 million people across the globe already calling for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, we are looking ahead with hope to the Antarctic Ocean Commission’s meeting in October.



6th November 2018

An update from Greenpeace today shared the fact that the initiative for an ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic was not successful. The full text from their email follows:

Over the last two weeks, a group of governments tried to negotiate a new Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

I’m sorry to say they failed, leaving the incredible wildlife of the Antarctic exposed to growing pressures from industrial overfishing, pollution and climate change.

Although 22 governments supported an ambitious sanctuary, Norwegian, Chinese and Russian negotiators were able to stop it from going ahead. [1]

But this isn’t over. Together, we’re going to come back stronger than ever to protect the Antarctic – and ocean life everywhere. Are you in? Add a comment on this Facebook post to let us know.

Not on Facebook? No problem – just hit reply to share your comment by email.

People are sharing their personal reaction to the decision too. There’s lots of frustration and disappointment of course, but there’s also determination – to keep standing up for our oceans until we win. Check out the comments and add your own here.

It’s too soon to know exactly what the next steps look like, but here’s the big picture:

First, we’ll keep working to win this Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. But that alone isn’t enough.

To truly start healing our blue planet, we need to think bigger. That means changing how the system works – so it’s easier to protect large areas of our global oceans. 

Soon we’ll have a chance to do exactly that. There’s a new global ocean treaty on the table at the UN. If it’s approved it’ll open the door to create huge new protected areas covering at least a THIRD of the world’s oceans. If you’re ready to help make it happen, let us know.

Not on Facebook? No problem – just hit reply to share your comment by email.

Today is a sad day for everyone who cares about our blue planet. But this isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning. Together with 2.7 million others, you’re part of an amazing global movement to protect the oceans – and I can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together.

Thanks for all you’ve done so far – and all the great things to come.

NOTES

1. Governments have failed to protect the Antarctic – but this isn’t over – Greenpeace UK
 


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How long will Donald Trump’s ice-carved face last in the Arctic melt?

According to a report in the Independent, a Finnish environmental group, Melting Ice, plan to carve Donald Trump’s face into an iceberg in the arctic region.  They are raising money in order to do this.

The Project Trumpmore sculpture will be 115 ft high.  On their website (http://projecttrumpmore.com/#s1), the group ask the question, “Will it melt or last a thousand years?” They are building it to demonstrate that climate change is real. A statement from the chairman of the group is quoted as saying, “Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes.”

It is well known that Mr Trump often questions whether climate change exists, or has blamed the Chinese for inventing it “in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

The following statement is on the group’s website:

What are we trying to achieve?                                                                                                         Global warming is a huge, abstract concept. It’s been a topic of discussion among environmental specialists for a long time, and you see it mentioned in the news every day. Many wonderful organisations do great work in acting against it as do politicians and people all over the world. We think that in its intangibility, global warming lacks a concrete symbol. One that would prove it exists, or not. That’s what we are setting out to do: a scientific art project. We understand that our plan is ambitious, but the fact that you are reading this means that we have already succeeded, even if just a bit.

People don’t follow politicians, politicians follow people. We hope that the more conversation takes place around our monument and global warming, the better possibilities politicians have to make concrete fact based decisions.

A Crowdfunding enterprise is aiming to raise 400k Euros and the plan is to build the sculpture to match the size of the presidents on Mount Rushmore.  The sculpture will be carried out by a world-leading team of Finnish and Mongolian ice sculptors. Estimated building will take four weeks and the process will be documented and broadcast via a live feed.  The team are currently searching for a location for the project. The monument will be carved on the melting Arctic glacier, where the effect of global warming is said to be its most concrete.

project-trumpmore (2)

The Independent provided an image of what the sculpture may look like.


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Disappearing arctic polar ice cap – can this affect the Gulf Stream and the Jet Stream?

In Chapter 1 of my book, I provide evidence that the arctic ice is shrinking.  This is shown graphically in Figure 14 (page 34), which I reproduced, with acknowledgements to Andy Lee Haveland.  Because the size of the arctic ice varies throughout the year, and summer to winter, it is important to take measurements throughout the seasons of the year.

The figure below, published in my book with permission, gives an idea of what has been happening between 1979 and 2016.  arctic-death-spiral

Each colour represents a different month of the year and the difference in the size of the ice throughout the year shows how much it has shrunk during the period 1979-2016.  The stark difference between 1979 and 2016 can be seen best at the top of the graph.

Now, NASA has produced a time-lapse video showing the movement of the ice as it pulses through the seasons.  The video is posted on YouTube with this description, “Arctic sea ice has not only been shrinking in surface area in recent years, it’s becoming younger and thinner as well.”  The video can also be seen on the following website:

NASA releases time-lapse of the disappearing Arctic polar ice cap

This last winter (2017-18) has been very much colder in the UK and other parts of Europe and this has led to some people denying that global warming is happening.  The crazy thing is that, whilst Britain was in the grip of a lengthy period of freezing weather and large falls of snow, at the north pole it was warmer than usual, reaching melting point in some places, with temperatures up to 20 degrees higher than normal.  Similar temperature anomalies were also reported for some of the US and Canada.

The reality is that this phenomenon is all part of the unstable weather patterns that are being caused by climate change.

Now, in the latest issue of New Scientist (No. 3169, 17th March 2018), Colin Barras describes new research, which might suggest that changes in the North Atlantic current (the northern part of the Gulf Stream), could result in a shut-down, leading to even greater sea-level rise on Atlantic coasts and more intense droughts in Africa.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731693-200-polar-melt-may-shut-down-the-atlantic-current-that-warms-europe/

Marilena Oltmanns and her colleagues have studied the salinity of sea water and its temperature in the area just south of Greenland (Irminger Sea) between 2002 and 2014.  They found that, in summer, the sea had much warmer temperatures and lower salinity.  This would suggest that fresh water (melt from Greenland and the Arctic) is flooding into this area and affecting the currents and convection process.  This was more likely to happen after particularly mild winters.  In 2010-11, conditions were mild, resulting in an accumulation of fresh water in the sea, 40% of it still there even after the end of winter.  These findings are reported in Nature Climate Change, doi.org/cmbw.

Oltmanns believes that, if several warm years occur in succession, there would be a build up of fresh water, impeding the process of convection.  This might result in a shut-down of the North Atlantic current.  This might bring about the end of the North Atlantic’s relatively mild climate and the ameliorating effects of the Gulf Stream.

Other writers and researchers are proposing other impacts too, as far reaching as Africa and South America, though at this time much of it is still speculation.

Further information about the North Atlantic current can be found in Wikipedia, from which the following diagram has been taken.

2000px-North_Atlantic_currents.svg

 

Could this mean that the prolonged freezing period experienced in the UK and Europe last winter could become the norm?

Since writing the above, I have come across a review of scientific articles about the state of the Arctic ice cap, written by Vanessa Spedding.  It can be found on the Scientists for Global Responsibility website, as follows:

http://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/state-arctic-heightens-focus-climate-policy

The main conclusion of this review is that the presence of a summer ice-free Arctic can be an indicator of how well the world is sticking to the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement target for global warming.  There is a very low chance of an ice-free Arctic at 1.5 degrees but at 2 degrees, the chance rises to 39%.  At 3 degrees, 73%.  Full details of this work can be seen in an article by Screen and Williamson at:

11. Screen JA, Williamson D (2017). Ice-free Arctic at 1.5 °C? Nature Climate Change, vol.7, pp.230–231. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3248.  https://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n4/full/nclimate3248.html

Another 15 articles are cited in Spedding’s review. One of them, from Prof. Jennifer Francis of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in the USA, suggests that there is a link between a warming Arctic and a disrupted jet stream, with effects on Northern hemisphere weather patterns.

Now, in August 2018, a report in The Guardian suggests that the oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up for the first time ever, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen the year round – an area that is often called “the last ice area”.  It is believed that this has occurred because of the abnormal heatwave in northern Europe in the summer of 2018. In the past, the ice in this region has packed together and is over 4 metres thick, with ridges up to 20 metres.

Full details about this and other concerns of climate scientists can be seen at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/21/arctics-strongest-sea-ice-breaks-up-for-first-time-on-record?CMP=twt_a-science_b-gdnscience

ANTARCTICA

As regards Antarctica, the situation is just as grim, though different from the Arctic. A British-led study, using satellite tracking, showed that a region of ice the size of Greater London vanished from the edge of Antarctica between 2010 and 2016.

The 1,463 square kilometres of underwater ice at the base of the Antarctic ice sheet melted under the influence of warm ocean water currents. Scientists demonstrated how the massive ice sheet is retreating as its edges, fed by a multitude of glaciers, are eroded.

See: https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2018/04/02/antarctic-ice-area-the-size-of-london-lost-in-six-years/?ncid=webmail

The lead researcher, Dr Hannes Konrad, from the University of Leeds, said: “Our study provides clear evidence that retreat is happening across the ice sheet due to ocean melting at its base, and not just at the few spots that have been mapped before now. This retreat has had a huge impact on inland glaciers, because releasing them from the sea bed removes friction, causing them to speed up and contribute to global sea level rise.”

The biggest changes were seen in West Antarctica, where more than a fifth of the ice sheet had retreated across the sea floor faster than the general pace of deglaciation.

The findings have been published on 2nd April 2018 in the journal Nature Geoscience. See: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0082-z

Previous studies had indicated an expansion of sea ice in the antarctic region but this latest study used grounding lines as indicators of ice-sheet instability.

 

Further posts will be added here as they emerge.