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Huge Forest Fires in Portugal Kill at Least 60

Many died in their cars as they fled from huge blaze amid severe heatwave on Iberian peninsula 

         

Flames engulf a highway in Pedrógão - Photograph: Paulo Cunha/EPA

theguardian.com - by Sam Jones - June 18, 2017

At least 60 people have been killed in huge forest fires in central Portugal, many dying in their cars as they tried to flee the flames . . .

 . . . Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on Saturday to tackle the fire, which broke out in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande before spreading fast . . . 

 . . . The Iberian peninsular is sweltering under a severe heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) in some regions.

About 60 forest fires took hold across Portugal on Saturday night, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

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CLICK HERE - Portugal Fires Kill More Than 60, Including Drivers Trapped in Cars

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The Arctic is Now Expected to be Ice-Free by 2040

           

The Arctic Council foresees increased shipping once the sea-ice has disappeared. Image: REUTERS/NASA

CLICK HERE - Final Report - Arctic Resilience Report

weforum.org - by Keith Breene - May 17, 2017

The last piece of summer sea-ice in the Arctic is expected to melt away in just 23 years, three decades earlier than previously expected.

Scientists now believe that the summer of 2040 will see the end of the frozen north pole after a rapid shrinking of the ice coverage in recent years, according to a report from the Arctic Council.

The scientific policy group of the eight countries with territory in the Arctic Circle says that over the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half while its volume has fallen by three-quarters. This change has profound implications, beyond those countries that have a direct stake in the region.

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CLICK HERE - About - Arctic Resilience Report

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Scientists Just Documented a Massive Recent Melt Event on the Surface of Antarctica

           

An iceberg lies in the Ross Sea with Mount Erebus in the background near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in November 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Communications - January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - June 15, 2017

Scientists have documented a recent, massive melt event on the surface of highly vulnerable West Antarctica that, they fear, could be a harbinger of future events as the planet continues to warm.

In the Antarctic summer of 2016, the surface of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest floating ice platform on Earth, developed a sheet of meltwater that lasted for as long as 15 days in some places. The total area affected by melt was 300,000 square miles, or larger than the state of Texas, the scientists report.

That’s bad news because surface meltin g could work hand in hand with an already documented trend of ocean-driven melting to compromise West Antarctica, which contains over 10 feet of potential sea level rise.

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Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic

Temperature changes around the globe are pushing human pathogens of all kinds into unexpected new areas, raising many new risks for people.

           

Bathers on the Baltic have recently been confronted with a new threat: dangerous disease that is normally only found in warm water.  PHOTOGRAPH BY PRIIT VESILIND, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

news.nationalgeographic.com - by Craig Welch - June 14, 2017

 . . . It's no secret that climate change can spread illnesses such as West Nile virus, Zika, and malaria, as rising temperatures push disease-carrying mosquitoes into new places, from the highlands of Ethiopia to the United States. But warm temperatures and shifting weather patterns work in subtle ways, too. Changes in precipitation, wind, or heat are shifting the threat posed by other human illnesses, from cholera to a rare freshwater brain-eating amoeba to rodent-driven infections like hantavirus. And the importance of all these changes are only growing more significant.

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How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science

           

A coal-fired power station in Mount Storm, W.Va., in January. The coal industry played an instrumental role in efforts to unwind the Obama administration’s climate policies. Credit Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

nytimes.com - by Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton - June 3, 2017

The Republican Party’s fast journey from debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist is a story of big political money, Democratic hubris in the Obama years and a partisan chasm that grew over nine years like a crack in the Antarctic shelf, favoring extreme positions and uncompromising rhetoric over cooperation and conciliation . . .

<In 2008 Senator John McCain, who had just secured the Republican nomination for President, sounded the alarm on global warming.>

 . . . Since Mr. McCain ran for president on climate credentials that were stronger than his opponent Barack Obama’s, the scientific evidence linking greenhouse gases from fossil fuels to the dangerous warming of the planet has grown stronger.

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Map Shows How Paris Reversal Isolates U.S. From World

           

           

1Nicaragua refused to join the Paris Agreement because the country believes that the accord’s voluntary goals are insufficient.

2A brutal civil war and international sanctions made it difficult for Syria to attend the Paris negotiations and deliver an emissions-reduction goal.

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Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

           

nytimes.com - by Michael D. Shear - June 1, 2017

President Trump announced Thursday that he will withdraw the United States from participation in the Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy.

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

Still, Mr. Trump’s decision is a remarkable rebuke to fellow heads-of-state, climate activists, corporate executives and members of the president’s own staff, all of whom failed this week to change Mr. Trump’s mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.

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What Happens to Earth if the US Exits the Climate Deal?

           

Credit:  AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

washingtonpost.com - Associated Press - May 27, 2017

 . . . In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem, and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

 . . . “The U.S. matters a great deal . . . That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it” . . . 

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

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Scientists Say the Pace of Sea Level Rise Has Nearly Tripled Since 1990

           

An iceberg is pictured in the western Antarctic peninsula in March 2016. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Reassessment of 20th century global mean sea level rise

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - May 22, 2017

A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

Image:  The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

theguardian.com - May 19th 2017 - Damian Carrington

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. 

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