-From American Scientific, By Walter Immerzeel
The nights are long inside a tent 5,300 meters above sea level at the snout of Nepal’s Yala Glacier. At 8:00 P.M., after a meal of Nepali dal bhat (lentils and rice), the 10 members of our expedition take refuge against the cold in sleeping bags inside the small tents that make up our temporary camp. Falling asleep is tough because the low oxygen concentration fools our bodies into increasing their heart rates. As a consequence, I spend many overnight hours listening to distant sounds of thundering avalanches and cracking ice, contemplating whether to leave the sleeping bag to pee outside and what not to forget the next day. As soon as the sun rises, the camp is bustling, and we are on our way up the steep glacier to install special instruments at 5,600 meters.
Our team, which includes colleagues from the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal, has been conducting field expeditions biannually in this place, called the Langtang catchment, since 2012. We have erected automated weather stations at the base camp and at higher elevations that measure precipitation, snow depth, radiation, temperature, relative humidity and wind, making Langtang one of the best-monitored high-altitude catchments in Asia. We need to visit the stations every six months to maintain the instruments and to download their data; there is no cellular network to transmit readings automatically, and the mountains tend to block satellite signals. On the current ascent we will mount new sensors on a metal frame three meters high that we will drill into the ice. The sensors will measure sublimation—the phase transition of ice directly to water vapor—by sampling temperature and vapor 10 times a second.
(CNN)Deep in northeast Australia's outback, underneath grassy eucalypt woodlands and vast grazing lands scattered with cattle stations, lies one of the world's largest known untapped coal reserves.
Queensland's Galilee Basin, an area roughly the size of Britain, is set to produce its first coal in 2021, to be moved by rail 300 kilometers to the coast, where it will be loaded onto cargo ships that will sail through the Great Barrier Reef to ship it to Asia.
The controversial Carmichael mine has become a symbol of the environmental split that has emerged in 21st century Australia.
READ FULL ARTICLE
The world continued to pay a very high price for extreme weather in 2020, according to a report from the charity Christian Aid.
Against a backdrop of climate change, its study lists 10 events that saw thousands of lives lost and major insurance costs.
Six of the events took place in Asia, with floods in China and India causing damages of more than $40bn.
In the US, record hurricanes and wildfires caused some $60bn in losses.
While the world has been struggling to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have also had to cope with the impacts of extreme weather events.
Christian Aid's list of ten storms, floods and fires all cost at least $1.5bn - with nine of the 10 costing at least $5bn.
An unusually rainy monsoon season was associated with some of the most damaging storms in Asia, where some of the biggest losses were. Over a period of months, heavy flooding in India saw more than 2,000 deaths with millions of people displaced from their homes.
The value of the insured losses is estimated at $10bn.
China suffered even greater financial damage from flooding, running to around $32bn between June and October this year. The loss of life from these events was much smaller than in India.
While these were slow-moving disasters, some events did enormous damage in a short period of time.
Cyclone Amphan struck the Bay of Bengal in May and caused losses estimated at $13bn in just a few days.
"We saw record temperatures in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, straddling between 30C-33C," said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.
READ FULL ARTICLE
The World Is Headed for 3 Degrees of Warming This Century, U.N. Report Warns—But a Green Pandemic Recovery Could Offer Hope
From Time Magazine by Aryn Baker:
Dense U.N. reports may not make onto anyone’s must read list for the holidays, so think of the United Nations Environment Program’s 2020 Emissions Gap survey as a warning letter from Santa, on behalf of the planet.
The report, released today, is published at the end of every year and measures national commitments to reduce emissions against what science says is needed to limit global warming to an increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the goal set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. This year, we are still firmly on the naughty list, as we have been for the past five years: Despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise of 3.2 °C this century.
From National Geographic, By Debra Adams Simmons, HISTORY Executive Editor
My 82-year-old aunt recently packed her granddaughter’s car trunk full of food—including bags of rice, pasta, and powdered milk—just in case the essential health care worker with two jobs didn’t know where her next meal would be coming from.
My wise aunt knows what we all should know: Hunger is a silent sickness. People with jobs as well as those without don’t have enough food. Workers providing essential services are hungry. College students are hungry. Children are very hungry. The nonprofit group Feeding America estimates more than 50 million people will experience hunger in 2020 including 17 million children. Even before COVID-19, more than 35 million Americans were considered food insecure. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Now, one is six people in the U.S. are projected to be hungry this year.
READ FULL ARTICLE
How Youth Climate Activists Are Empowering Campaigners From Countries Suffering Most From Global Warming
Gladys Habu knows first-hand the devastation climate change is already visiting on the world. The 25-year-old has vivid memories of Kale Island, a tiny islet in the Solomon Islands archipelago where she used to swim and barbecue on the white sand beaches. It’s also where her grandparents used to live, decades back.
READ FULL ARTICLE
Climate change is making people sick and leading to premature death, according to a pair of influential reports on the connections between global warming and health.
Scientists from the World Meteorological Organization released a preliminary report on the global climate which shows that the last decade was the warmest on record and that millions of people were affected by wildfires, floods and extreme heat this year on top of the global pandemic.
West Coast residents struggle with psychological burden of repeated evacuations as wildfire seasons worsen
Research has shown that natural disasters can bring on a host of psychological distresses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
Read in NBC News
"California's Watershed" is coming to a PBS station near you!
KAKM - Anchorage, AK
KEET - Eureka, CA
KOCE - Huntington Beach, CA
KPBS - San Diego, CA
KTOO - Juneau, AK
KTSC - Pueblo, CO
KVIE - Sacramento, CA
KYUK - Bethel, AK
RMPB - Denver, CO