Global warming forecasts: disasters, diseases

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  • #3374
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    Time for a thread on

    Forecasts re impacts of global warming

    New forecast just released re Asia Pacific, including:

    Quote:
    Millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region could be forced from their homes and suffer increasing disease, cyclones and floods caused by global warming, scientists warned today. Climate change will seriously threaten regional human security and national economies this century, according to a report by Australia’s national research agency, the CSIRO. "Chronic food and water insecurity and epidemic disease may impede economic development in some nations," the report says. "Degraded landscapes and inundation of populated areas by rising seas may ultimately displace millions of individuals, forcing intra- and inter-state migration."

    The report, commissioned by a coalition of environmental, aid, church and development groups, analyses predictions of temperature increases of up to 2°C by 2030 and up to 7°C by 2070. …

    Temperatures are likely to rise more quickly in the arid areas of northern Pakistan and India and western China, according to the report. But the region will also be affected by a rise in the global sea level of up to 16 cm by 2030 and by up to 50 cm in 2070, along with regional variables. Preston said two studies contained in the report estimate that a sea-level rise of a metre would displace between 75 million and 150 million people in the Asia-Pacific region. Most at risk are the low-lying river deltas of Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and China, as well as the small Pacific island states.

    Global warming disaster looms for Asia-Pacific

    #4339
    imported_Martin
    Participant
    Quote:
    By Ben Blanchard
    BEIJING, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The world is not doing enough to combat global warming which, left unchecked, could trigger a mass movement of people and have serious consequences for security, the United Nation’s environment chief said on Thursday.
    “For those of us who look at the science and look at the indicators, it’s not enough yet, but it is more than we would have hoped for maybe a few years ago,” Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programme, said.
    In an interview with Reuters, he raised the possibility of climate refugees and the huge disruption this could cause.
    Experts have said that millions of people in densely populated, low-lying, developing countries such as Bangladesh and parts of China, Indonesia and Vietnam might be forced to move by rising sea levels.
    In the South Pacific, this has already begun to occur in some low-lying islands.
    “If global warming trends continue at the moment, and the models suggest that they are and maybe doing so more rapidly, they will have significant impact on where people can live, grow food and whether people will have to leave,” he added.
    “We will have disease spreading and it will have implications in terms of global trade, perhaps,” Steiner said in an interview on the sidelines of a maritime protection forum in Beijing.

    INTERVIEW-Refugees, disease big risk from global warming -U.N.

    #4340

    Article in today’s Independent on same topic

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1904957.ece

    Climate change ‘will cause refugee crisis’

    By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
    Published: 20 October 2006

    Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests.

    The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate – from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise.

    The study, “Feeling the Heat”, says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands.

    Tearfund says that without urgent action, world governments will lose the fight to tackle the world water crisis and the growing threat of climate-change refugees in catastrophic numbers.

    The report calls for governments at the UN Climate Change conference, beginning in Nairobi in a fortnight, to move towards a global framework for cutting climate-changing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that goes beyond the existing climate treaty, the Kyoto protocol, and to commit billions more to help poor countries adapt to the coming changes.

    “There will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high-risk areas of the world by the end of the century,” the report says. “It makes sense politically, economically and morally, for governments to act with urgency now.”

    Andy Atkins, advocacy director of Tearfund, said one of the most devastating impacts of climate change was on water supply. “In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people,” he said.

    This process will be steadily exacerbated, the report says, by the differing yet equally serious changes predicted to be part of a warming world. While some parts of the globe may experience much less rainfall and thus drought, others regions will have much more intense rain likely to bring about flooding. Sea-level rise , which a recent report suggested could be up to 50cm by 2050, would at that rate breach 100,000 kms (62,000 miles) of coastline around the world.

    The report says: “As floods, drought and storms increase climate change will have a potentially catastrophic impact on water supply, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Poor people – like the 80 per cent of Malawi’s population who farm small plots – are reliant on rain for their harvests, and are least able to adapt to climate change. By exacerbating existing water stresses, climate change impacts many other areas of human development such as health and even industry.”

    It goes on: “Already, there are an estimated 25 million environmental refugees – more than half the number of political refugees. Experts such as the ecologist Norman Myers suggest this figure could soar to 200 million in less than 50 years. Unseen and uncounted, millions are already on the move in search of greater water security. In some countries, the exodus began years ago.”

    In the report’s foreword, Sir John Houghton, former chairman of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says politicians’ strong words on climate change must now be matched by sufficient investment and strong action to cut global emissions, and help for the poorest nations adapt to climate change on their doorstep. A key to this will be helping poorer nations manage existing water supplies more efficiently.

    “If your house is on fire, do you urgently try to save it, or throw your hands up in despair and walk away?” Sir John saysd. “Well, the house is on fire and it requires much more determined efforts to bring it under control and put it out. The UN climate change conference in Nairobi is an opportunity for failings to be addressed. Time is running out on us and world governments need to act much more responsibly, effectively and quickly.”

    The devastating impact

    The report cites examples of where water problems are already causing a mass exodus or movement of people. They include:

    * Poor crop yields are forcing more and more Mexicans to risk death by illegally fleeing to the US.

    * One in five Brazilians born in the arid north-east of the country are moving to avoid drought.

    * The spread of the Gobi desert, at a rate of 4,000 square miles a year, is forcing the populations of three provinces in China to abandon their homes.

    * In Nigeria, 1,350 sq miles of land is turning to desert each year. Farmers and herdsmen are being forced to move to the cities.

    * The population of Tuvalu, a group of eight Pacific islands north-east of Australia, is already being evacuated; nearly 3,000 Tuvalans have left so far.

    Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests.

    The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate – from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise.

    The study, “Feeling the Heat”, says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands.

    Tearfund says that without urgent action, world governments will lose the fight to tackle the world water crisis and the growing threat of climate-change refugees in catastrophic numbers.

    The report calls for governments at the UN Climate Change conference, beginning in Nairobi in a fortnight, to move towards a global framework for cutting climate-changing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that goes beyond the existing climate treaty, the Kyoto protocol, and to commit billions more to help poor countries adapt to the coming changes.

    “There will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high-risk areas of the world by the end of the century,” the report says. “It makes sense politically, economically and morally, for governments to act with urgency now.”

    Andy Atkins, advocacy director of Tearfund, said one of the most devastating impacts of climate change was on water supply. “In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people,” he said.

    This process will be steadily exacerbated, the report says, by the differing yet equally serious changes predicted to be part of a warming world. While some parts of the globe may experience much less rainfall and thus drought, others regions will have much more intense rain likely to bring about flooding. Sea-level rise , which a recent report suggested could be up to 50cm by 2050, would at that rate breach 100,000 kms (62,000 miles) of coastline around the world.

    The report says: “As floods, drought and storms increase climate change will have a potentially catastrophic impact on water supply, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Poor people – like the 80 per cent of Malawi’s population who farm small plots – are reliant on rain for their harvests, and are least able to adapt to climate change. By exacerbating existing water stresses, climate change impacts many other areas of human development such as health and even industry.”
    It goes on: “Already, there are an estimated 25 million environmental refugees – more than half the number of political refugees. Experts such as the ecologist Norman Myers suggest this figure could soar to 200 million in less than 50 years. Unseen and uncounted, millions are already on the move in search of greater water security. In some countries, the exodus began years ago.”

    In the report’s foreword, Sir John Houghton, former chairman of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says politicians’ strong words on climate change must now be matched by sufficient investment and strong action to cut global emissions, and help for the poorest nations adapt to climate change on their doorstep. A key to this will be helping poorer nations manage existing water supplies more efficiently.

    “If your house is on fire, do you urgently try to save it, or throw your hands up in despair and walk away?” Sir John saysd. “Well, the house is on fire and it requires much more determined efforts to bring it under control and put it out. The UN climate change conference in Nairobi is an opportunity for failings to be addressed. Time is running out on us and world governments need to act much more responsibly, effectively and quickly.”

    The devastating impact

    The report cites examples of where water problems are already causing a mass exodus or movement of people. They include:

    * Poor crop yields are forcing more and more Mexicans to risk death by illegally fleeing to the US.

    * One in five Brazilians born in the arid north-east of the country are moving to avoid drought.

    * The spread of the Gobi desert, at a rate of 4,000 square miles a year, is forcing the populations of three provinces in China to abandon their homes.

    * In Nigeria, 1,350 sq miles of land is turning to desert each year. Farmers and herdsmen are being forced to move to the cities.

    * The population of Tuvalu, a group of eight Pacific islands north-east of Australia, is already being evacuated; nearly 3,000 Tuvalans have left so far.

    **************************

    Jo

    Post edited by: jodd, at: 2006/10/20 16:37

    #4341
    imported_Martin
    Participant
    Quote:
    The world – especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil – will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.
    But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season.
    In a preview of a major international multiyear report on climate change that comes out next year, a study out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research details what nine of the world’s top computer models predict for the lurching of climate at its most extreme.
    “It’s going to be a wild ride, especially for specific regions,” said study lead author Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the federally funded academic research center.
    Tebaldi pointed to the Western U.S., Mediterranean nations and Brazil as “hot spots” that will get extremes at their worst, according to the computer models.
    And some places, such as the Pacific Northwest, are predicted to get a strange double whammy of longer dry spells punctuated by heavier rainfall.

    “Extreme events are the kinds of things that have the biggest impacts, not only on humans, but on mammals and ecosystems,” Meehl said. The study, to be published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change, “gives us stronger and more compelling evidence that these changes in extremes are more likely.”
    The researchers took 10 international agreed-upon indices that measure climate extremes – five that deal with temperature and five with precipitation – and ran computer models for the world through the year 2099. What Tebaldi called the scariest results had to do with heat waves and warm nights. Everything about heat waves – their intensity, length and occurrence – worsens.
    “The changes are very significant there,” Tebaldi said. “It’s enough to say we’re in for a bad future.”

    Latest global warming study predicts ’wild ride’ of droughts, heavy rain

    Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/10/21 09:53

    #4342
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    A report for UK govt, by Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist for the World Bank, tells of massive, extremely expensive potential impacts from global warming – on a par with impacts of world wars or Great Depression. Possible to avert the worst impacts, but only if we take major action (yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen!).

    Potential effects include melting glaciers, rising sea levels – a major cause of displacing millions of people, major extinctions, and severe economic impacts. To avert these, wise to spend on counter-measures, even if around 1% of global GDP.
    Summary – and links to more info – on BBC site at:
    At-a-glance: The Stern Review
    The world has to act now on climate change or face devastating economic consequences, according to a report compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern for the UK government.

    #4343
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    New research suggests insects could increase with warmer weather, leading to increases in threats such as disease transmission, and crop pests.
    Global Warming Could Trigger Insect Population Boom

    #4344
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    a BBC news item includes:

    Quote:
    By Jonathan Amos
    Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco
    The Arctic may be close to a tipping point that sees all-year-round ice disappear very rapidly in the next few decades, US scientists have warned.

    The latest data presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting suggests the ice is no longer showing a robust recovery from the summer melt.

    Dr Serreze’s concern was underlined by new computer modelling which concludes that the Arctic may be free of all summer ice by as early as 2040.

    The new study, by a team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University of Washington, and McGill University, found that the ice system could be being weakened to such a degree by global warming that it soon accelerates its own decline.

    “As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice,” explained Dr Marika Holland.

    “This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region.”…

    Arctic sea ice ‘faces rapid melt’

    #4345
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    As yet another hot year for the planet has just ended, article in Independent suggests 2007 could set new high for hottest year on record worldwide:

    Quote:
    A combination of global warming and the El Niño weather system is set to make 2007 the warmest year on record with far-reaching consequences for the planet, one of Britain’s leading climate experts has warned.

    …the forecast for the next 12 months is of extreme global weather patterns which could bring drought to Indonesia and leave California under a deluge.

    The warning, from Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was one of four sobering predictions from senior scientists and forecasters that 2007 will be a crucial year for determining the response to global warming and its effect on humanity.

    Professor Jones said the long-term trend of global warming – already blamed for bringing drought to the Horn of Africa and melting the Arctic ice shelf – is set to be exacerbated by the arrival of El Niño, the phenomenon caused by above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific.

    The warning of the escalating impact of global warming was echoed by Jim Hansen, the American scientist who, in 1988, was one of the first to warn of climate change.

    In an interview with The Independent, Dr Hansen predicted that global warming would run out of control and change the planet for ever unless rapid action is taken to reverse the rise in carbon emissions.

    World faces hottest year ever, as El Niño combines with global warming

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/01 20:21

    #4346
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    Also from the Independent:

    Quote:
    One of the world’s leading experts on climate change has warned that the Earth is being turned into a “different planet” because of the continuing increase in man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

    In an interview with The Independent, Jim Hansen, who was one of the first scientists to warn of climate change in scientific testimony to the US Congress in 1988, claimed that we have less than 10 years to begin to curb carbon dioxide emissions before global warming runs out of control and changes the landscape forever.

    “If we follow business as usual, and we don’t get off this course where year by year we’re getting larger and larger emissions of CO2, then we’ll have large sea-level rises this century and I think that will become more apparent over the next decade or two,” Dr Hansen said.

    “The last time it was 3C warmer, sea levels were 25 metres higher, plus or minus 10 metres. You’d not get that in one century, but you could get several metres in one century,” he said.

    ‘If we fail to act, we will end up with a different planet’

    #4347
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    Financial Times, on report to be released next week by European Commission:

    Quote:
    A dire set of predictions of the consequences of global warming in Europe is contained in a report for the European Commission. It forecasts that by 2071 climate change will cause droughts and floods that will kill 90,000 people a year while damage from rising sea levels will cost tens of billions of euros.

    Crop yields would rise by up to 70 per cent in northern Europe but fall by up to a fifth in the south, depending on the temperature increase.

    The sea level could rise by up to a metre.

    The ocean would acidify, hitting fish stocks. Fish would also migrate northwards. Droughts and floods would be more severe.

    The report has a hopeful conclusion. A Belgian government study last year found that cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the EU by between 15 and 30 per cent between 1990 and 2020 would have no overall effect on jobs, as new ones would be created in high-technology sectors such as renewable energy. “Reducing global emissions in 2050 to a level that is 25 per cent below that of 1990 is both technically and economically achievable,” the study concludes.

    EU’s grim climate change warning

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/06 21:33

    #4348
    imported_Martin
    Participant
    Quote:
    Rising sea levels because of global warming stand to inundate around 2,000 islands in Indonesia by 2030, the country’s environment minister said Monday. The assessment by Rachmat Witoelar was the government’s bleakest yet of the effects of global warming on the Southeast Asian nation that is made up of some 18,000 islands, most of them unpopulated. … The environment minister also said rice shortages are forecast for next year because of wild weather blamed on climate change.

    Global warming may affect Indonesia isles

    #4349
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    from the Independent:

    Quote:
    Global warming over the past quarter century has led to a fall in the yield of some of the most important food crops in the world, according to one of the first scientific studies of how climate change has affected cereal crops.

    Rising temperatures between 1981 and 2002 caused aloss in production of wheat, corn and barley that amounted in effect to some 40 million tons a year – equivalent to annual losses of some £2.6bn.

    Although these numbers are not large compared to the world-wide production of cereal crops, scientists warned that the findings demonstrated how climate change was already having an impact on the global production of staple foods. “Most people tend to think of climate change as something that will impact the future, but this study shows that warming over the past two decades has already had real effects on global food supply,” said Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, California.

    World’s most important crops hit by global warming effects

    for abstract of paper, and link to full paper (for which need subscription):
    Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming
    Changes in the global production of major crops are important drivers of food prices, food security and land use decisions.

    #4350
    imported_Martin
    Participant

    Even as idiots argue that global warming’s a swindle and a scam, the science gets scarier.

    Quote:
    A new global warming study predicts that many current climate zones will vanish entirely by the year 2100, replaced by climates unknown in today’s world.

    Global climate models for the next century forecast the complete disappearance of several existing climates currently found in tropical highlands and regions near the poles, while large swaths of the tropics and subtropics may develop new climates unlike anything seen today. Driven by worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, the climate modeling study uses average summer and winter temperatures and precipitation levels to map the differences between climate zones today and in the year 2100 and anticipates large climate changes worldwide.
    ,,,
    The most severely affected parts of the world span both heavily populated regions, including the southeastern United States, southeastern Asia and parts of Africa, and known hotspots of biodiversity, such as the Amazonian rainforest and African and South American mountain ranges. The changes predicted by the new study anticipate dramatic ecological shifts, with unknown but probably extensive effects on large segments of the Earth’s population.

    “All policy and management strategies are based on current conditions,” Williams says, adding that regions with the largest changes are where these strategies and models are most likely to fail. “How do you make predictions for these areas of the unknown?”

    The underlying effect is clear, Williams says, noting, “More carbon dioxide in the air means more risk of entirely new climates or climates disappearing.”

    In general, the models show that existing climate zones will shift toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, squeezing out the climates at the extremes — tropical mountaintops and the poles — and leaving room for unfamiliar climes around the equator.

    Global warming forecasts creation, loss of climate zones

    #4351
    imported_Martin
    Participant
    Quote:
    At least 1 billion people will be forced from their homes between now and 2050 as the effects of climate change deepen an already burgeoning global migration crisis, predicts a new report by Christian Aid.

    These future migrants will swell the ranks of the 155 million people already displaced by conflict, disaster and large-scale development projects. The vast majority will be from the world’s poorest countries. Urgent action by the world community is needed if the worst effects of this crisis are to be averted, says Human tide: the real migration crisis.

    ‘We believe that forced migration is now the most urgent threat facing poor people in the developing world,’ says John Davison, the report’s lead author.

    Published to mark Christian Aid Week 2007, the report warns that the world is now facing its largest ever movement of people forced from their homes. The predicted numbers of displaced people could dwarf even those left as refugees following the Second World War.

    The impact of climate change is the great, frightening unknown in this equation. Only now is serious academic attention being devoted to calculating the scale of this new human tide. Even existing estimates, more than a decade old, predict that hundreds of millions of people will be forced from their homes by floods, drought and famine sparked by climate change.

    Security experts fear that this new migration will fuel existing conflicts and generate new ones in the areas of the world – the poorest – where resources are most scarce. A world of many more Darfurs is the increasingly likely nightmare scenario.

    World facing worst migration crisis – you can download the report here

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/05/16 14:37

    #4352
    imported_Martin
    Participant
    Quote:
    Globally, sea levels are projected to possibly rise three feet by the end of the 21st century as a result of global warming, with three of the five coastal areas in the world projected to be most at risk of flooding are in Africa. In addition, as temperatures rise and enlarge already arid regions, resources were likely to decrease — and human conflict could increase.

    Global warming isn’t just a matter of melting icebergs and polar bears chasing after them. It’s also Lake Chad drying up, the glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro disappearing, increasing extreme weather, conflict and hungry people throughout Africa.

    According to a landmark effort to assess the risks of global warming, Africa — by far the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world — is projected to be among the regions hardest hit by environmental change.

    “We never used to have malaria in the highlands where I’m from, now we do,” said Kenyan lawmaker Mwancha Okioma, at a briefing on climate change at the Pan African Parliament Monday.

    The new environmental committee, headed by Okioma, raised concerns about the severity of climate change on Africa and called for those responsible to help reduce its effects.

    “Planes used to take people through Kilimanjaro to see the snows, now it’s only at the very top. We are asking the ones in North America and Europe who are producing the pollution to help us,” Okioma said.

    By reviewing four years of research on projected climate change in Africa, scientists with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change got a nuanced view of possible scenarios and assessed how these scenarios could play themselves out in a continent already stressed — water and food insecurity, infectious diseases, conflict, poverty.

    “There’s a whole suite of indicators which with climate change would undoubtedly make Africa one of the most stressed regions,” said Coleen Vogel, an environmental expert at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand and lead author of a chapter on Africa being released this month by the Intergovernmental Panel.

    An orbiting satellite over Africa in 2050 might see, according to the scientists’ models, a drier north-northwest and south-southwest and wetter eastern and central regions.

    Panel Says Climate Change Will Hurt Africa

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