Global warming: 400 million tonnes CO2 pumped to atmosphere a year from this source the world is blind to

Gas flared at and gas facilities is greater than EU’s total import from Russia and a key source of methane emission

Down To Earth | May 06, 2022

Something that has not changed over 160 years of oil production is the deliberate burning of gas associated with it, called gas flaring. It is turning out to be a major source of methane emission, a greenhouse gas (GHG) “over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a warming gas on a 20-year timeframe”.

The World Bank’s latest 2022 Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report underscored that the efforts to curb this global warming causing activity have “stalled” in the last one decade.

Read More »

Global warming to hit India the worst in Asia by 2070

Over 9 billion across the world likely to be exposed to annual average temperatures experienced only in the hottest deserts

Pulaha Roy

Down To Earth | November 23, 2021

Global warming to hit India the worst in Asia by 2070. Photo: iStock

For over 6,000 years, humans restricted their settlements to a climate niche or set of temperatures between 11 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius mean annual temperature. But global warming could trigger the next wave of migration — and at least 3 billion people would be affected by it by 2070. India would be among the worst-hit in Asia. 

A study by a group of researchers — called Future of the Human Climate Niche — projected that over 3 billion people, currently living in 0.8 per cent of the Earth’s surface that experiences average annual temperature of more than 29°C, would have to move to migrate to more places with suitable conditions.

Read More »

Warming Africa: Continent experienced fourth-warmest April this year

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | May 19, 2021

A camel caravan in the Sahara. Photo: Wikipedia

A camel caravan in the Sahara. Photo: Wikipedia A camel caravan in the Sahara. Photo: Wikipedia
Africa experienced its fourth-warmest April since 1910 in 2021, with a temperature anomaly of 1.48 degrees Centigrade, according to latest figures by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A temperature anomaly is the departure from the average temperature, positive or negative, over a certain period.

Temperatures were much above the average in parts of northern and southern Africa, the NOAA noted on its website.Read More »


Antarctic Iceberg, Once Earth’s Biggest, Suffers Major Split

Down To Earth | January 29, 2021

Once the biggest iceberg in the world, A86a suffered another major split. Photo: COPERNICUS/SENTINEL-1

Photo: Copernicus/Sentinel-1 Photo: Copernicus/Sentinel-1
A major crack appeared in the Antarctic ice giant, A68a, once the world’s biggest iceberg, as captured in satellite images since January 25, 2021.

The iceberg had detached from the Larcen C ice shelf in 2017 and was travelling up towards the island of South Georgia in the British Overseas Territory, when turbulent sea currents diverted it towards to the South Atlantic Ocean.

The recent satellite footage captured a smaller slab, now called A68g, distinctly separated from the original iceberg but floating along it about 135 km off the south-eastern coast of South Georgia.Read More »


The World is Heading for 3 Degrees of Warming this Century, Warns UN Report

Countercurrents | December 11, 2020

The United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) emissions gap report – Emissions Gap Report 2020 – released on December 9 warns: 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.

The report published at the end of every year measures national commitments to reduce emissions to limit global warming.Read More »


Carbon Dioxide Removal Sucks. There are Better Ways to Tackle Global Warming

People and Nature | November 13, 2020

Biological carbon removal: a forest in Turkey. Photo: Fagus/ wikimedia

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) systems, touted as techno-fixes for global warming, usually put more greenhouse gases into the air than they take out, a study published last month has confirmed.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), which grabs carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by coal- or gas-fired power stations, and then uses it for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), emits between 1.4 and 4.7 tonnes of the gas for each tonne removed, the article shows.

Direct air capture (DAC), which sucks CO2 from the atmosphere, emits 1.4-3.5 tonnes for each tonne it recovers, mostly from fossil fuels used to power the handful of existing projects.

Read More »


Protect the Antarctic Peninsula — Before It’s Too Late

Carolyn J. Hogg, Mary-Anne Lea, Marga Gual Soler, Váleri N. Vasquez, Ana Payo-Payo, Marissa L. Parrott, M. Mercedes Santos, Justine Shaw & Cassandra M. Brooks

Nature | October 18, 2020

Tourists walk past a small building surrounded by penguins and gulls with a ship anchored off shore of the Antarctic Peninsula
Humans, marine mammals, penguins and other seabirds coexist on the Antarctic Peninsula alongside ships and buildings. Credit: Sharpshooters/VW Pics/UIG/Getty

Among the windswept glaciers and icebergs of the western Antarctic Peninsula is an oasis of life. Threatened humpback and minke whales patrol the waters. Fish, squid and seals swim alongside noisy colonies of chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins on the shore. It’s a complex web of life. All these species feed on small, shrimp-like crustaceans called Antarctic krill. And many are themselves prey for leopard seals, killer whales and predatory seabirds such as skuas and giant petrels.

This delicate and iconic ecosystem is in peril. The western Antarctic Peninsula (the northernmost part of the continent) is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. In February, temperatures there reached a record 20.75 °C, with an average daily temperature that was 2 °C higher than the means for the preceding 70 years1. Most of the region’s glaciers are receding. And sea ice is dwindling — spring 2016 saw it retreat to the smallest extent since satellite records began in the 1970s. If carbon emissions keep climbing, in 50 years’ time, the area covered by sea ice will have halved and the volume of ice shelves will have shrunk by one-quarter2.Read More »


Increased Sea Surface Temperature Affecting Indian Monsoon: Study

India Science Wire | October 07, 2020

The climate across the world is changing in many ways, triggered by different global warming phenomena that have resulted in a change in the monsoon onset time and pattern. The process is affecting the agricultural yield. Any excess or little rainfall is, therefore, detrimental to these crops.

A new study on variability in the Mascarene High (MH) during global warming hiatus (GWH) revealed that the region experienced significantly increased sea surface temperature (SST) during this period (1998-2016).

The Mascarene High (MH) is a semi-permanent subtropical high-pressure zone in the South Indian Ocean. Apart from its large influence on African and Australian weather patterns, it also helps in driving the inter-hemispheric circulation between the Indian Ocean in the south and subcontinental landmass in the north.Read More »

UK can see more 40°C days by 2100: study

Down To Earth | July 01, 2020

The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The United Kingdom can see temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius (°C) every third or fourth year by the end of the century if emissions are not curbed, the country’s weather department said.

The highest temperature recorded in the UK was 38.7°C at Cambridge in July 2019, something that raised the question of whether exceeding the 40°C threshold was within the possibilities for UK’s climate.

A recent UK Met office study — published in journal Nature Communications June 30, 2020 — suggested that if emissions were reduced in line with the Paris climate agreement, future probabilities were lower.Read More »

Boiling Siberia shows temperature swings may be increasing: Experts

by Akshit Sangomla

Down To Earth | June 23, 2020

Verkhoyansk in Siberia, shown here by the red dot, is usually known as one of the coldest towns in the world. Photo: Google Earth
Verkhoyansk in Siberia, shown here by the red dot, is usually known as one of the coldest towns in the world. Photo: Google Earth

Verkhoyansk, a town in Siberia, has recorded the highest temperature in the Arctic circle in the last 140 years at 38 degree celsius. This is around 18°C higher than the normal temperature for this time of the year for the place.

Even though the town is in the Guinness book of world records for the largest temperature range it experiences — from some -67 °C to some 37°C, this new record has an imprint of global warming and the impact of such warming can be witnessed even here in India.

“The new high shows temperature swings may be increasing,” Raghu Murtugudde, a climate scientist at the University of Maryland, said.Read More »