TAP Climate Shorts & Facts

An examination of global climate issues.

The words of oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle are simple, self-evident and applicable to the entire planet; "No blue, no green. No water, no life."

"The Arctic is the epicentre of global warming:" Markus Rex, atmospheric scientists and leader of the 17-nation, $134 million one-year expedition, Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC). Arctic sea ice reflects at least two-thirds of light back into the atmosphere; open ocean absorbs almost all of the sun's heat. Summertime sea ice is about 3 million square miles smaller than in 1980, which means Arctic ice could disappear in a couple of decades. Record-breaking heat last summer created 800,000 square miles more of open ocean water in September than is typical.

Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, reprinted in Tampa Bay Times, January 26, 2020.

On February 7, 2020, Antarctica recorded the warmest temperature ever recorded on the South Pole, reaching 65 degrees F. This highest measured temperature in history was recorded at Esperanza Base along Antarctica's Trinity Peninsula. This follows the warmest recorded January on Earth.

Reported in Tampa Bay Times, February 8, 2020

Across the U.S east coast, sea rise has left behind swaths of skeletal ghost forests, pushing tracts of (live) trees inland as oceans steal the land . . . . A June study published in the journal Nature Climate found the (Florida) Gulf coast has lost about 57 square miles of forest over the past 120 years. With just over three feet of sea rise, the report found between 4,600 and 19,000 square miles of dry land up and down the U.S. coast will become tidal zones filled with wetlands.

After Hurricane Wilma . . . trees that survived the wind died long after the storm passed. That's because a hurricane . . . pushes storm surge across (an) island and contaminates the freshwater pools and groundwater.

Jenny Staletovich, WRLN, reprinted in Tampa Bay Times January 20, 2020; story produced in partnership with the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a multi-newsroom initiative founded by the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, WRLN Public Media and Tampa Bay Times.

UN warns world could have 40 percent water shortfall by 2030.

The world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday.

Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change. As the world's population grows to an expected 9 billion by 2050, more groundwater will be needed for farming, industry, and personal consumption. The report predicts global water demand will increase 55 percent by 2050, while reserves dwindle. If current usage trends don't change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030, it said.

In agriculture-intense India, where studies show some aquifers are being depleted at the world's fastest rates, the shortfall has been forecast at 50 percent or even higher. Climate change is expected to make the situation worse, as higher temperatures and more erratic weather patterns could disrupt rainfall.

Currently, about 748 million people worldwide have poor access to clean drinking water, the report said, cautioning that economic growth alone is not the solution - and could make the situation worse unless reforms ensure more efficiency and less pollution.

KATY DAIGLE March 20, 2015 7:12 AM