Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Record Breaking Temperatures Across our Planet

Climate Change, Global Warming

Climate Change Affects Everyone!

“The average temperature of our planet is heating up!”

By Linn Smith

I can attest, being a resident of the western United States, that the summer of 2019 was HOT! In the west records were broken in most states along with the number of days over 90 degrees. In the Northern Hemisphere, June and July of 2019 were the hottest ever recorded, tied with the records of 2016. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), July was 1.71 degrees hotter than the average.

Africa just recorded its hottest months ever and countries in Europe also experienced record highs. The Earth’s oceans recorded highs this summer, about 1.5 degrees F above normal for July. Denver, Colorado had the hottest September on record, with a record breaking 100 degrees, which had never happened before in September.

Sustainable living

It’s our responsibility to change.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrative Data

The following information is data taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrative( NOAA) website which has the correct data on the record highs this summer (2019):

August 2019: The average global temperature in August was 1.66 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 60.1 degrees, tying it with 2015 and 2017 as the second-hottest August in the 140-year record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The hottest August on record was August 2016, and the five hottest Augusts on record have all occurred since 2014.

The global sea surface temperature last month was 1.51°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.4°F, making it the highest global ocean temperature for August on record.

Climate Change

Temperatures are steadily rising on our planet.

Meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere

June through August 2019 was the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest meteorological summer on record, tied with 2016. The period of June through August, which also marks the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, was the planet’s second hottest in the 140-year record at 1.67 degrees F above the 20th-century average, behind June-August of 2016. The last five June-August periods are the five hottest on record.

The period from January through August produced a global temperature that was 1.69 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.3 degrees (for both hemispheres, one being in winter), making it the third hottest January-August period on record after 2016 and 2017.

Fossil Fuels

Coal and Oil Formation

More notable stats and facts

*Sea ice retreats: The August Arctic sea ice coverage was 30.1 percent below average, right behind August 2012’s record-lowest extent. Antarctic sea ice extent was the fifth smallest August extent on record.

*Regional record heat: Europe, Africa and the Hawaiian region had August temperatures that ranked among their three hottest Augusts on record.

*Scorching season for some: Africa had its warmest June–August since records began. South America and Europe had a June–August temperature that ranked among the three-warmest such periods on record.

Is it warming up where you are? The answer is yes. Even though you still have cold days and seasonal changes, the climate average of our planet is heating up!

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/?Set-Language=ar

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Climate Change

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The Greenhouse Effect: Dangers of Methane

The Methane Molecule

The methane molecule binds heat because of its make up.

“Keeping methane emissions in check is essential to prevent global warming.”

By Linn Smith

As we battle the effects of climate change we must also educate ourselves about the changes taking place in our atmosphere. The two main components humans are dumping into our atmosphere that are contributing to the greenhouse effect are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane(CH4).

CO2 vs Methane

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the emission we think of as creating the greatest impact on global warming. The least talked about until recently is methane. The increase in fracking for natural gas has resulted in an increase of methane in our atmosphere.

A 2015 study published in ScienceMagazine.org revealed that emissions of methane in our atmosphere was approximately 60% greater than has been estimated by the EPA, as the EPA did not include the emissions from fracking and drilling sites not currently active.

Methane leaks by oil rigs

Methane leaking in the U.S.

Satellite Detection of Methane

As stated in my previous article, https://planetearth5.com/2014/10/30/the-hottest-spot-of-methane-in-the-u-s/, data from satellites have detected the largest gas leaks from major sources. Newer and more efficient satellites, MethaneSAT, are due to be launched in 2021. These satellites are so advanced they will be able to pinpoint individual producers of greenhouse gases from oil rigs.

Methane

The make up of the methane molecule.

Methane and the Greenhouse Effect

What then makes methane so deadly to our plMethaneanet? When we hear the term greenhouse effect, it isn’t all negative. Some of it is a natural process of keeping the earth warm so we can inhabit it. The sun’s rays make their way to Earth, trapping some of the energy in our atmosphere where the natural greenhouse gases are interconnected with the energy of the sun making our planet livable.

The Scientific Explanation of Greenhouse Gases

The greenhouse gases are molecules made up of 3 or more atoms bound together loosely so they can vibrate when they absorb heat. This keeps heat near the Earth’s surface. Most of the gas in our atmosphere is made up of oxygen and nitrogen which are made up of 2 atoms bound together more tightly than the greenhouse gas molecules, which are three or more atoms. Two atoms bound together can’t vibrate as three or more atoms do, so they can’t absorb the sun’s heat as it travels back from earth into space. The vibrating and absorption of heat by the molecules made up of 3 or more atoms causes the greenhouse effect.

Methane is made up of 5 atoms and carbon dioxide of 3, so methane is able to absorb far more heat than CO2 even though there is less methane in our atmosphere. The more methane and CO2 flood our atmosphere, the greater the greenhouse effect because of their 3 and 5 atom makeup. The methane molecule can stay 10 or more years in the earth’s atmosphere, not as long as carbon dioxide but binding more unwanted heat in its molecules. For more information see: UCAR Center for Science Education (scied.ucar.edu).

Methane a greenhouse gas

84 times more potent than co2.

Global Warming Potential of Methane

According to National Geographic.com, “The 20 year global warming potential of methane is 84. That is, over a 20 year period it traps 84 times more heat per mass unit than CO2 and 32 times the effect when accounting for aerosol interactions. Global methane concentrations rose from 722 parts per billion (ppb) in pre-industrial times to 1866 ppb in 2019.” Methane has risen more than 150% ppm since the 1700s. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has warned that keeping methane emissions in check is essential to prevent global warming.

In 2016 during the Obama administration, steps were put in place to regulate the fracking and drilling industries’ emission of methane, cutting the total emissions in half by 2025. Last month the Trump administration announced they had plans to loosen these regulations.

Emissions of methane

Methane is a greenhouse gas.

As these more dangerous gases are released into our atmosphere by gas vehicles, industry, drilling and heating our homes, our planet continues to move towards an unbalanced system. This will continue in the future to cause our earth to warm, weather to be more extreme, ice to melt in the arctic and many species to become extinct…..possibly even humans. So sense of urgency? Yes, because our focus on wealth by and for continuous development in the private sector, industry and government seems to be speaking louder than our suffering planet.

Methane: A greenhouse gas

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Heat Waves and Global Warming Combine to Produce Record High Temperatures

Sustainable living

It’s our responsibility to change.

“New record high temperatures will be set for the planet”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

Defining Heat Waves

At the time of this writing the northern hemisphere is experiencing widespread heat waves. When it seems unusually warm someplace there is a tendency to describe it as a heat wave. The reason is simple. Normal high temperatures vary greatly from place to place. So what would be defined as a heat wave in one location would not be appropriate for another location, perhaps one not even too far away. Perhaps an adequate definition might be, “A heat wave is an unusually warm or hot period lasting for days or perhaps weeks.” We associate them with summer but by this definition they can actually occur at any season.

At least one country makes a clear definition of a heat wave and that is Pakistan. India defines heat waves and uses different temperatures in different parts of the country to establish what constitutes a heat wave. In the plains regions temperatures above 40degrees C (104degrees F) constitute a heat wave. They also define a severe heatwave for this region as experiencing temperatures over 46degreesC (114.8degrees F).

Drought in India

Indian drought causes famine.

Indian Heat Wave of 2016: Prolonged and Widespread Extreme High Temperatures

India experienced unusually high temperatures this year. Temperatures were above normal most of the spring. Normally, the hottest months of the year are April, May, and June, before the summer monsoon rains begin. In May a severe heat wave alert was issued for several states. A severe heat wave is one in which temperatures of at least 117°F (47.2°C) occur. In the city of Philodi, in western India, unofficial temperatures reached 124°F (51°C). This is the highest temperature on record in India. Temperatures averaged above 104degrees F (40°C) over large areas. Some urban high temperatures were:

New Delhi 47 °C (117 ºF)
Churu 50 °C (122 ºF)
Philodi 51.°C (124 ºF)

The impact on the country was immense. More than 300 million people were adversely affected. Crops failed or were below average in 13 states in the last growing season. Thousands of farmers abandoned their farms. In places, the asphalt on the streets partially melted. At Bikaner, the streets were being sprinkled with water to reduce the heat. Some 17,000 villages had, or were facing water shortages. Several Indian states shut down schools to reduce risk to students. Heatstroke was a widespread problem and many deaths were reported across the region .Fortunately, the government responded in a variety of ways to reduce the suffering and mortality.

Indian drought

Global warming raises temperatures around the world.

Asian heat waves of 2015

This year a May heat wave in India claimed at least 2,500 lives. Heat waves are fairly frequent in India, but this was the greatest loss of life from a heat wave in over 30 years. Extremely high temperatures were reached in cities scattered over the country. Power outages were wide spread as a result of high demand for air conditioning. The city of Khammam recorded the highest temperature ever recorded there at 48o C (118.4 degrees F). Other high temperatures that were recorded were:

Allahabad 47.8 degrees C (118.0 degrees F)
Delhi 45.5 degrees C (113.9 degrees F)
Hyderabad 46 degrees C (115 degrees F)
Jharsuguda 45.4 degrees C (113.7 degrees F)

In June the deadliest heat wave known to have occurred in Pakistan took place in the southern part of the country near Karachi. The death toll is unknown for certain but may have reached more than 1000. It followed by several weeks the severe heat wave that struck India. The heat wave struck during the month of Ramadan which made the impact of the event more severe than it might have been. Unfortunately, city services were not in condition to cope with the heat.

Fossil Fuels

Coal and Oil Formation

2003–A deadly heat wave in Europe

Perhaps the most deadly heat wave of the 21st Century was that which occurred in Europe in August of 2003. Temperatures in France reached as much as 40°C (104oF) and remained exceptionally high for two weeks resulting in nearly 15,000 deaths in that country alone. The death toll over Europe reached 35,000 at least and may have been as high as 50,000. A large contributing factor in the high death toll was warmer nighttime temperatures. Nighttime temperatures were much warmer than normal. As a result people without air conditioning could not cool down during the night. The heat stress accumulated over time. Extreme heat waves also can devastate agriculture. In Europe in the heat wave of 2003 temperatures averaged 5.5°C (10°F) above normal. In Italy corn yields dropped 36% below average. In France fruit yields fell 25% and wine production 10%. Heat also affects the rate of plant pollination.

As the planet warms it can be expected that: (1) there will be more severe heat waves. and (2) they will become hotter, more frequent, last longer, and occur in more varied places. New record high temperatures will be set for the planet. As cities grow larger in area and population they will experience increasing heat waves.

Heat Waves