A graph showing this year’s figures for area of global sea ice, in comparison with the same data for the past c. 40 years, was widely shared on Twitter yesterday, resulting in a lot of discussion and consternation. I’m not on Twitter (yet…) and picked this up from Terry McGlynn’s Facebook feed. The graph shows an anomalously low extent of sea ice compared with what we would expect at this time of the year, in fact a drop of about 25%.
As you can see, something looks to be seriously wrong. For more discussion about the graph, see this piece over at The Verge.
I’ve not discussed climate change much on this blog, it’s not my area of specialism and there are plenty of other good bloggers out there who are far more knowledgeable than I. But graphs like this are hugely worrying because they not only suggest that aspects of our climate may be at a tipping point where they change from one state/predictable pattern to another. That’s a concern on a global level, because it’s strong evidence for global warming. However the reduction in sea ice also has huge implications for the biodiversity that depends upon the ice.
If I hear any more news on this I’ll post it, but in the meantime it’s worth pondering whether perhaps the UK’s signing up for the Paris Climate Agreement this week is a bit too late. As my colleague Duncan McCollin put it: “we’ve broken the planet”. I hope he’s wrong.
Following on from what seemed to be a quite popular Virtual Conference on Pollinators, Pollination and Flowers I thought I’d mark this week’s Paris talks on tackling climate change with a second “virtual conference” on the topic of climate change and how it may affect (and be affected by) natural and agricultural ecological systems.
This is a great set of talks* with some very thought-provoking ideas. Hope you enjoy them.
Douglas Sheil (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
Do forests attract rain?
Hans Joosten (University of Griefswald)
For peat’s sake – bogs and climate change
Nicola Di Cosmo (Institute for Advanced Study)
Climate, conflict, and historical method
Ben Beard (NCEZID Centers for Disease Control)
Climate change, ecology, and disease emergence
Jennifer Cartwright and Bill Wolfe (USGS Tennessee Water Science Center)
Climate-sensitive, insular ecosystems of the Southeast U.S.
Nabil Nemer (American University of Beirut)
Are changes in insect patterns in the Lebanese Mountains evidence of climate change?
Lini Wollenberg (University of Vermont)
Climate Change Mitigation on Agriculture-Forest Landscapes
Tim Benton (University of Leeds)
Food and the future: climate and resilience
Feel free to discuss the talks in the comments section and to post links to other talks on the same topic.
*I’m assuming that, as all of these videos are in the public domain, none of the presenters or copyright owners objects to them being presented here. If you do, please get in touch and I’ll remove it.
In an interview with the BBC the Governor of Alaska has claimed that further oil exploration in his state is required in order to pay for the damage being caused by current climate change.
What next for common sense and logic? Convicted burglars claiming that they have to rob more houses in order to pay court fines?