Unusually long La Niña displaced record number of people in 2022

In India, disasters were mostly weather-related and displaced 2.5 million people in 2022, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement

Richard Mahapatra

Down To Earth | May 11, 2023

La Niña also caused the worst drought on record in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, triggering 2.1 million movements. Photo: iStock La Niña also caused the worst drought on record in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, triggering 2.1 million movements. Photo: iStock

The number of people displaced by disasters rose by 40 per cent in 2022 than 2021. The Global Report on Internal Displacement 2023 (GRID-2023), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s flagship annual report published May 11, 2023 said 32.6 million people were displaced due to disasters.

Of the total disaster displacement, 98 per cent were triggered by weather-related events like floods and storms. According to GRID-2023, “6 out of 10 disaster displacements were triggered by floods, suppressing storms for the first time since 2016.”

Read More »

Deaths due to heat in Middle East & North Africa likely to rise 60 times by end of century

Over 80% deaths can be prevented by limiting global warming to 2°C

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | April 11, 2023

The number of heat-related deaths in the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is likely to increase 60 times by the end of this century, warned a new study released April 3, 2023.

In comparison to two deaths (2.1) per 100,000 people estimated currently, about 123 people per 100,000 are expected to die of heat-related causes annually by the end of this century under high-emissions scenarios, the report stated.

High-emissions scenario refers to a scenario called shared socio-economic pathway (SSP)5-8·5, where the current CO2 emissions levels roughly double by 2050. This reflects the SSP representing a fossil fuel intensive world. 

Read More »

Death threats, trolling and sexist abuse: climate scientists report online attacks

Nature | April 06, 2023

Roughly 40% of climate researchers have experienced online harassment or abuse related to their research, according to a survey by international non-governmental organization Global Witness. One-third of the female climate scientists who experienced abuse said they had received attacks specifically relating to their gender. Online attacks could discourage researchers from pursuing climate research or sharing their findings, says Henry Peck, who works for Global Witness. (Nature | 4 min read)

SOURCE: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-01018-9?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=842939c794-briefing-dy-20230412&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-842939c794-45531014


Mechanisms underlying food insecurity in the aftermath of climate-related shocks: a systematic review

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: February 09, 2023 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(23)00003-7


Food insecurity is prevalent, affecting 1·2 billion people globally in 2021. However, the effects of food insecurity are unequally distributed across populations and climate-related shocks threaten to exacerbate food insecurity and associated health consequences. The mechanisms underlying this exacerbation at the household level are largely unknown. We aimed to synthesise the available evidence on the mechanisms connecting extreme climate events to household-level food insecurity and highlight the research gaps that must be addressed to inform better food security and health policy. For this systematic review, a comprehensive literature search was done by a medical librarian in February, 2021 for articles about food security and climate-related shocks. Relevant publications were identified by searching the following databases with a combination of standardised index terms and keywords: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, GreenFILE, Environment Complete, Web of Science Core Collection, and Global Health. Searches were limited to human studies published in English. Included studies measured food security outcomes using indicators developed by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (ie, consumption patterns, livelihood change, malnutrition, and mortality) and explained the mechanism behind the household-level or population-level food insecurity. Purely theoretical, modelling, and review studies were excluded. Quality assessment was conducted using the appropriate Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tool. Data were analysed using thematic analysis of the categories of mechanism (interpreted using internationally accepted frameworks), risk and resilience factors, and author policy recommendations. We found a paucity of data with only 18 studies meeting criteria for inclusion out of 337 studies identified for full-text review. All the studies that were included in our analysis showed worse food security outcomes after climate-related shocks. Food availability was the most common mechanism cited (17 studies), although most studies addressed at least one additional mechanism (15 studies). Studies were of mixed methodologies with nuanced discussions of risk and resilience factors, and of policy recommendations. This systematic review shows that there is an incomplete assessment of food security at the household and community level after climate-related shocks in the literature and finds that food availability is the primary mechanism studied. The low number of studies on this topic limits subgroup analysis and generalisability; however, the good quality of the studies allows for important policy recommendations around improving resilience to climate shocks and suggestions for future research including the need for a more granular understanding of mechanisms and feasible adaptation solutions.

Read More »

‘This shouldn’t be happening’: levels of banned CFCs rising

Researchers have detected increased emissions for five ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons.

Katherine Bourzac

Nature | April 03, 2023

Researchers detected a surprising rise in levels of chlorofluorocarbons between 2010 and 2020 using a monitoring network that includes the Jungfraujoch research station in Switzerland.Credit: Shutterstock

The Montreal Protocol, which banned most uses of ozone-destroying chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and called for their global phase-out by 2010, has been a great success story: Earth’s ozone layer is projected to recover by the 2060s.

So atmospheric chemists were surprised to see a troubling signal in recent data. They found that the levels of five CFCs rose rapidly in the atmosphere from 2010 to 2020. Their results are published today in Nature Geoscience1.

Read More »

The Future Is the Termination Shock: On the Antinomies and Psychopathologies of Geoengineering. Part One

Historical Materialism | 28 December 2022

As capitalist society remains incapable of addressing climate breakdown, one measure is waiting in the wings: solar geoengineering. No other technology can cut global temperatures immediately. It would alleviate the symptoms of the crisis, not its causes. But might it be combined with radical emissions cuts? This essay, the first instalment of two, scrutinises the rationalist-optimist case for geoengineering: the idea that soot planes in the sky can shield the Earth from the worst heat while society rids itself of fossil fuels. A more likely outcome is that they encourage business-as-usual to continue, while negative side-effects from geoengineering itself pile up. The logic of the enterprise points in the direction of a catastrophic termination shock. A subsequent, second instalment will subject geoengineering to a materialist psychoanalysis and argue that it represents a fantasy of repression, setting itself up for a dreadful return of the repressed.

Read More »

Victims of climate change: This year, 135 people may die every day due to drought in Somalia

Consecutive years of failed rains may have caused this longest, most severe drought in the country’s history

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | March 22, 2023

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

At least 43,000 people died due to drought in Somalia in 2022, according to estimates in a new study. This year may be worse, it added. 

The total number of human deaths forecast for January was 18,100 and that for June 34,200, stated the report released March 19, 2023.

This means 135 people may die each day due to drought in Somalia, the study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The drought crisis is far from over and is much more severe than the 2017-2018 drought crisis. 

Read More »

Why rain on snow in the California mountains worries scientists

Rain-on-snow events have resulted in some of the nation’s most destructive and costly floods

Keith Musselman

Down To Earth | March 15, 2023

Another round of powerful atmospheric rivers is hitting California, following storms in January and February 2023 that dumped record amounts of snow. This time, the storms are warmer, and they are triggering flood warnings as they bring rain higher into the mountains – on top of the snowpack.

Professor Keith Musselman, who studies water and climate change at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, explained the complex risks rain on snow creates and how they might change in a warming climate.

What happens when rain falls on snowpack?

For much of the United States, storms with heavy rainfall can coincide with seasonal snow cover. When that happens, the resulting runoff of water can be much greater than what is produced from rain or snowmelt alone. The combination has resulted in some of the nation’s most destructive and costly floods, including the 1996 Midwest floods and the 2017 flood that damaged California’s Oroville Dam.

Contrary to common belief, rainfall itself has limited energy to melt snow. Rather, it is the warm temperatures, strong winds and high humidity, which can transport substantial energy in the form of latent and sensible heatthat predominantly drive snowmelt during rain-on-snow events.

Read More »

Glimpse beneath iconic glacier reveals how it’s adding to sea-level rise

Data-gathering instruments under the melting Thwaites Glacier are helping researchers to figure out how the ice will change in future.

Nicola Jones

Nature | February 15, 2023

Previous studies have shown that the Thwaites Glacier is rapidly retreating.Credit: Cover Images via ZUMA Press

Researchers have dropped a submersible vehicle down a hole in Antarctic ice to get their closest-ever look at the underside of Thwaites Glacier — a massive and increasingly unstable body of ice that has become an icon of climate change — and the first-ever glimpse at the spot where the ice meets the land.

Read More »

Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction: Climate Crisis, Pollution, Depleting Resources Could Extinct 27% Of World Animal Life

 Countercurrents Collective | December 20, 2022

The planet has entered the sixth mass extinction. Pollution, climate change and depleting resources could drive up to 27% of the world’s animal life to extinction, a new paper has claimed. The study used a supercomputer to map out how interdependent food chains could collapse in the coming decades.

Published on Friday and authored by European Commission scientist Giovanni Strona and Professor Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University in Australia, the study (Coextinctions dominate future vertebrate losses from climate and land use change, GIOVANNI STRONA HTTPS://ORCID.ORG/0000-0003-2294-4013 AND COREY J. A. BRADSHAW HTTPS://ORCID.ORG/0000-0002-5328-7741DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abn4345) presented a series of increasingly grim scenarios. The researchers claimed that the magnitude of the coming extinctions will depend largely on how much carbon mankind emits over the coming century.

Read More »