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Climate Change

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Climate change projections in Denmark

When I first started delving into predictions about the climate change in Denmark I thought that there might be more positives for Denmark than negatives from it namely because of the higher temperatures. My simple logic was: Higher temperatures => Less rain => Super awesome summer. However it seems that this would not be the case (it never is). Here are some of the projections for the next 87 years.

Higher sea levels

A general rise in sea level of 0.15–0.75 m is anticipated on the west coast and in Danish coastal waters. In extreme storm surge situations an increase in the maximum water level is expected of between 0.45–1.05 m on the west coast under the A2 scenario.  In the Nordic countries, there will be marked regional differences in the effects of the rising sea level. The main reason for this is that the land is rising in some places, but is stable or sinking in others. The effects of the rising sea level will also depend on topography. Where the land is flat, an increase in sea level will affect a greater area than where the land rises steeply from the sea. More frequent flood tides and increased coastal erosion are other possible effects of climate change.

A rise in sea level will also lead to an increase in coastal erosion. Climate change could also change ocean currents so that new areas will become more vulnerable to erosion. Coastal erosion is a natural process in which land masses are worn down by waves and wind. How vulnerable a coastal area is to erosion depends on its topographical and geomorphological characteristics. A relatively steep coastline consisting of hard rock cliffs will be at little risk compared to a low lying area of loose sediment. One of the vulnerable areas is the coast of Denmark, which consists of sand and loose material. On the west coast of Jutland, the medieval Mårup Church had to be taken down in 2008 to save it from being carried out to sea. The church was then only nine metres from the cliff down to the sea, while in 1793 it had been about 500 metres away from the coastline. Measurements indicate that the speed of erosion is increasing, although the reasons for this are not fully understood.

 

More extreme weather

Calculations with climate models show that increased greenhouse effects result in changes in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather conditions. DMI’s calculations show, for example, more and longer-lasting heat waves and increased wind strength during the strongest storms. It is noteworthy that all three scenarios result in about the same extreme downpours, which are expected to be about 20% stronger than today.

With respect to new construction or renovation of dikes, coastal protection or harbour installations, it is important to consider how many years’ climate change should be included in the basic design, since these installations have a lifetime of 50 –100 years, and the climate is expected to change dramatically in that period. It is also important to consider whether it is possible to accept the reduced safety of dikes and other high water protection resulting from climate changes or indeed whether to give up dikes or coastal protection altogether and return to a more natural coastline with more frequent flooding and natural erosion. No matter which solution is chosen, any emergency or storm surge measures should be adapted to existing conditions. It is important that the chosen lifetime of the installation be announced and the rationale for it. Aside from beach nourishment and channel dredging, other adaptation measures will require socio-economic analysis of the degree to which the coastal area must be adapted to future climate change and how such adaptation can be effected.

What do you think about this information? Which solution do you think is better – dikes and high water protection or more natural coastline? Or may be a third option?

Global Atlas for solar and wind + Water Risk Atlas

This week I came across two really useful online tools. The one is about getting information for the renewable energies potential on worldwide scale. The second one presents an overall picture of water risk around the world.

 

The open access ‘Global Atlas for Solar and Wind’ is launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organisation based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The project aims to help users identify areas of interest for future investment by enabling them to visualise data on wind and solar resources, and then overlay additional information on such things as roads and protected areas. This software tool will allow users to calculate the amount of power that can be generated from a renewable energy resource and so its economic potential.

 

The second free online tool is called Aqueduct, which layers a zoomable map with 12 different indicators that could contribute to water risk, including flood occurrence, drought severity, threatened wildlife and media attention.This tool could be useful for researches in this sphere, companies looking to reduce water risk in their supply chains and for half of the world’s population that would be living under conditions of ‘water stress’ by 2030.

Communicating Climate Change in Fayoum

Written by Amena Adel – International Youth Climate Ambassador

On January the 3rd 2013, 18 media enthusiasts from all over Egypt came together in Zad Al Musafer in Tunis- Fayoum to explore possibilities of communicating climate knowledge. From Sinai in the east to Alexandria in the west, and from governorates all over Egypt, they had each experienced the indirect and in some cases the direct impacts of climate change. With the help of Frank Thor Straten, Danish media and communication consultant, Mostafa Hussein, trainer in the field of Environmental professions, the Egyptian DEMENA team and 350.org volunteers, they went through a 3-day workshop to sculpt their skills and utilize them to encourage citizen journalism on Climate Change.
The global climatic crisis is the most demanding issue facing humanity in this era of environmental oblivion, and that’s why there’s a need for strong Media products communicating the issue, the ramifications, the consequences and the solutions.

Egypt is one of the countries most vulnerable to Climate Change, even though the river Nile passes through Egypt, in a lot of places water is an extremely scarce resource. Egypt’s share of the river Nile water has been 55 million cubic meters since 1995, which wasn’t enough for the entire population then, and it sure is not enough now that the population tripled. Add to that rising water levels of salty sea water submerging parts of the Nile Delta, and salinating massive parts of agricultural land and submerging parts of the coastal cities. Other than water issues, Egypt faces a lot of health challenges as a result of deteriorating air and water quality and escalating energy insufficiency issues.

The current political and economic scene in Egypt is very turbulent, which gives very little space for climate change and environmental issues in the public arena. But if we fail to draw the connection between environmental issues and economic issues then we fail to solve either problem, Egypt has recently changed from a gas exporting to a gas importing company, which will take an incredible toll on the national economy and clearly shows that our dependency on conventional energy resources no longer works.

There’s a grave need for localized climate solutions in Egypt including spreading environmental awareness, which pushed for having a Media workshop, and Fayoum was the best place to do it. Fayoum is an Agricultural governorate overlooking Qaroun Lake, a salt water lake. An extremely peaceful Tunis city in Fayoum was definitely an inspirational and resourceful place to hold a workshop to spread the word about environmental problems in Egypt. Participants went through a 3-day training and brainstorming to come up with the best topics to tackle and the methods to tackle them with, and here’s what they came up with!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXyKx0QiGOLSUYGVDvvu1E0qZYGMkzFCj

The enormity of the problem makes it surprising how simple the solutions are. Mobilizing local communities towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways of living would soon enough change national tactics. And what is the world but a community?

DEMENA evaluation videos: Climate Ambassadors (Egypt)

Interviews with two of the Egyptian Climate Ambassadors about being part of the project:

DEMENA evaluation video: Climate Ambassador (Jordan)

Interviews with one of the Egyptian Climate Ambassadors about the project:

The first DEMENA evaluation videos, Innovation Cup winners (Jordan)

Interviews with two of the Jordanian Innovation Cup winners about their projects:

Adaptation to a changing climate in the Arab countries

Countries in the Middle East and north Africa will be among those hardest hit by global warming, unless the upward trend for greenhouse gas emissions can be checked, the World Bank warned last month at the Doha climate change conference.

There will be lower rainfall, higher temperatures and continuing desertification, said Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice-president for sustainable development, during her presentation of the report on Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries.According to the report extreme weather events are the new norm for the region. The consequences of the global phenomenon of climate change are especially acute in the Arab world.  While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed with which the climate is now changing has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

According to the forecasts, average temperatures could rise by 3C between now and 2050. But night temperatures in city centres could increase by double that figure. The report notes that over the last three decades 50 million people have been affected by climate disasters. Severe flooding is now a recurrent event. But the increasing scarcity of water resources is the biggest challenge for countries in the region, which already have some of the lowest per capita reserves in the world.Fortunately, Arab countries can take steps to reduce the impacts of climate change. The report outlines measures that not only potentially reduce the region’s vulnerability, but can also contribute to more sustainable long-term development.

The report offers a model, an ‘Adaptation Pyramid Framework,’ to strengthen public sector management in a changing climate, and to assist stakeholders in integrating climate risks and opportunities into all development activities. The main messages suggest that countries and households will need to diversify their production and income generation, integrate adaptation into all policy making and activities, and ensure a sustained national commitment to address the social, economic and environmental consequences. With these coordinated efforts the Arab world will be able to rise to the challenge once again and, as it has for centuries, successfully adapt to a changing climate.

What is your opinion about this information? You can share your opinion in the comments section.

“Chasing Ice” movie reveals the largest iceberg break-up ever filmed

It’s like watching ‘Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes’, says filmmaker James Balog.

James Balog is one of the authors of the documentary Chasing Ice. He has recorded the largest glacier break-up ever seen by man.

After weeks of waiting in the cold, he manages to capture with a camera how a glacier in Greenland with a size of 7.4 cubic kilometers of ice breaks and slides into the ocean. “Huge blocks of ice leap from the water, towering 180 meters and fall back with a bang, says Balog. This continues for 75 minutes.

The film, which last year was nominated for an Oscar, arrived now in Europe. The idea for it was born when frustrated by the distrust of Americans on the topic of global warming Balog, decided to show them what is happening to the glaciers around the world. Greenland is one of the best places for that – scientists estimate that the island is losing annually 142 billion tons of ice.

In October 2005. Balog visited a glacier in Iceland and did not believe what he saw only six months earlier. “Solheym” had moved back by much so that the photographer and his associates began to compare previous image to be sure that they are not on the wrong place.

Thus the idea for the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) was born – with a help from the National Geographic Society of the USA 25 cameras were installed at remote locations in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Canada, where they will do one photo every hour of daylight hours over 3 years. The equipment will be periodically reviewed and recharged and the collected footage will be assembled in the video to see how the landscape is changing. But things don’t work out well – the equipment does not work because of the tough environment. At least 10 of the cameras did not start shooting at all, the rest stopped rather quickly.

When in 2007 the enthusiastic 22-year-old student from Stanford Jeff Orlowski joins in, the project was transformed into a documentary. Five years later Chasing Ice won the best documentary film on  Sundance film festival.

Besides being an experienced wildlife photographer, the 60 years old Balog is a Master in Geomorphology of mountain environments and has traveled throughout the Himalayas, the Andes and the Alps. At one point he realized that the images of nature are much more compelling when the human or the consequences of his activities are included.

Today EIS project is growing – 34 cameras are positioned in 16 places around the world (at one point they were even 48). “The idea was to end up the project after three years, but I do not think we can stop it now. We now possess this extraordinary historical document and the longer we record, the stronger it gets.”

 

GioTTo

 

FREE ONLINE COURSE – Introduction to Sustainability

Hi all! I want to spread the message about a great FREE ONLINE course that you can follow on the platform Coursera. The course is an Introduction to Sustainability from the University of Illinois.

  “This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.”

  The structure of the course is not difficult to follow. There are 5-7 video lectures each week and 2 tests with a deadline – the end of the week. If you are a passionate young environmentalist but you lack some theoretical foundation for your passion – this is the course for you!

Ooops, I forgot to mention something… All the study materials are free. Here you can download the book for this course.All you need for this course is a laptop, internet, 7-8 hours of your time each week and a lot of motivation.

Oh, and one more thing – if you perform well, you can even get a Statement of Accomplishment for this course. Don’t hesitate! Sign up!

 

GioTTo

A new study shows that Greenland and Antarctica ‘have lost four trillion tonnes of ice’ in 20 years

More than four trillion tonnes of ice from Greenland and Antarctica has melted in the past 20 years and flowed into the oceans, pushing up the sea levels, according to a study that provides the best measure to date of the effect climate change is having on the Earth’s biggest ice sheets.

The latest study combines past measurements to arrive at what the Associated Press called a new “scientific consensus” that Greenland is melting at a faster pace and that “as a whole the Antartic ice sheet is melting”. The following graph from Associated Press shows how melting polar ice sheets are increasingly contributing to rising sea levels, threatening coastal communities:

Prof Richard Alley, of Penn State University, US, who was not involved in the study, said: “This project is a spectacular achievement. The data will support essential testing of predictive models, and will lead to a better understanding of how sea level change may depend on the human decisions that influence global temperatures.” Rising sea level is one of the greatest long-term threats posed by climate change, threatening low-lying cities and increasing the damage wrought by hurricanes and typhoons.

Here is the Fox Business response to the hard evidence of global warming.

Unfortunately the scientific article is not publicly available at the moment of writing this post. You need to be subscribed to AAAS Science Magazine in order to read the full text, but if maybe you want to purchase the article here is the link.

 

GioTTo

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