State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

News Roundup: Week of 9/25

Climate Change and the Exodus of Species, New York Times, Sept 26

A team of scientists from the University of York examined the movement of 2,000 animal and plant species over the past decade. According to their study, published in Science last month, in their exodus from increasing heat, species have moved, on average, 13.3 yards higher in altitude — twice the predicted rate — and 11 miles higher in latitude — three times faster than expected. These changes have happened most rapidly where the climate has warmed the most.

NASA’s Aquarius Map Helps Detect Climate Change, International Business Times, Sept 27

NASA’s new Aquarius instrument has produced its first global map of the salinity of the ocean surface. Decreases in ocean salinity could be a sign that ice in Antarctica or elsewhere may be melting more rapidly. The Aquarius map shows higher salinity in the subtropics; higher average salinity in the Atlantic Ocean compared to the Pacific and Indian oceans; and lower salinity in rainy belts near the equator, in the northernmost Pacific Ocean and elsewhere, according to NASA.

Food Security and Climate Change: The True Cost of Carbon, The Atlantic, Sept 27

Climate change — warming and altered weather patterns — is contributing to production shortfalls and rising grain prices. In the past year, wheat prices increased 75 percent. Warming is now costing consumers, agricultural companies, and livestock producers some $60 billion a year. This year, prices have also jumped with each extreme weather event. Price hikes and food insecurity are today contributing to political instability.

Tyndall’s climate message, 150 years on, BBC, Sept 28

A special conference this week in Dublin marks the 150-year anniversary that physicist, John Tyndall, published a scientific paper, On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction. What Tyndall had demonstrated for the first time was that gases in the atmosphere absorb heat to very different degrees; he had discovered the molecular basis of the greenhouse effect, designing and constructing an apparatus capable of demonstrating and measuring this effect.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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