Climate change earthquake!

Sad news from the Journal of Science, reported by the Guardian:

Alarm as study reveals world’s tropical forests are huge carbon emission source

This drastically changes the climate landscape, as tropical forests can longer be counted as climate sinks.

Forests globally are so degraded that instead of absorbing emissions they now release more carbon annually than all the traffic in the US, say researchers.


Ancient world’s uncovered as Siberian permafrost melts

A fascinating glimpse of thousands of years of climate data and biota is being revealed as the world’s largest mega slump or thermokarst develops in Siberia. The Batagaika Crater is north of Irkutsk, Russia and is exactly what climate scientists have been predicting from the increased warming in the Arctic – and is a classic example of positive feedback.


Climate change causes glacial river in Yukon to change direction

from CBC News…

Glacier retreated so much that its meltwater switched course, in an event not documented in modern times.

Climate change has caused the massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon to retreat so much that its meltwater abruptly switched direction, in the first documented case of “river piracy” in modern times.

Instead of flowing into the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea, the water has changed course and now flows south toward the Kaskawulsh River, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, scientists have found.  Read more…

Climate Change done right

It’s quite astonishing that one of the best climate change information sites comes out of a country well-known for its climate change denyers. NASA’s Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet is excellent. The first menu option is FACTS presenting the evidence, causes, effects and consensus exactly as one would expect from good and proper science. If only my own government could do the same – allow scientists to say what’s really going on. [Aside: For those who don’t know, I don’t live in an oppressive developing nation, but in Canada, where our democratically elected government has been muzzling federal scientists (and here) for years now. Yes, it’s the same Canada of UN peacekeeping fame and the country that once promoted openness, fairness and democracy, but has gone through a difficult time under its current right-wing leadership. Perhaps the Oct 19 election will change that.]

It’s also surprising that a whole government agency (NASA) can be saying something that someone who hopes to be president (Donald Trump) calls a complete hoax

Back to the NASA site: In particular, you will find the Infographics page and the EarthMinute animations helpful, especially in a classroom setting. There are also a number of Interactives to allow some independent exploration of the issue. It’s the kind of site you could spend hours exploring. And if you have contact with Mr. Trump, you may want to suggest he reads this!

Looking into the Greenland Ice sheet

GreenlandIceGreenland holds the second-largest volume of ice in the world. Complete melting would raise sea levels by over 6m! So having a look “under the hood” is valuable for understanding the dynamics of the ice sheet.

NASA has put together a valuable teaching video and article showing and describing how ice-penetrating radar, combined with ice core analysis allows climatologists to see the various layers and ages of Greenland’s ice sheet: Data peers into Greenland’s ice sheet. Pealing back the layers reveals ice as far back as the Eemian interglacial stage, previous to the most recent Ice Age.

For students, there is an additional spin-off from this teaching resource as it can be used to illustrate the variety of jobs linked to Geography and the pursuit of knowledge. After viewing the visualization and discussing the main points, try having students list all the jobs linked not just to the study itself, but to the logistics behind the study, the production of the video, the article and the website: climatologists, database engineers, flight crews, ground crews, animators, web engineers, authors. Geography isn’t just about the data gleaned, but more and more it’s about bringing the data to the people in way everyone can understand. In other words, one can be a “Geographer” involved directly in the study itself, but one can also be a Geographer involved in all the roles that support the study utilizing skills in a variety of other areas.

For more information, check out > Anthroposphere > Issues > Climate Change.