The oceans are becoming more acidic, Everest has more oxygen and this year we saw an unusual hurricane season. No matter how often we break a global temperature record … it never fails to be shocking.
Nineteen of the 20 hottest years on record have occurred in this century , which is only 20 years old. The last six years have been the hottest in the last 140 years . This year it will extend that race to seven and may even top the list, according to a recent analysis by CarbonBrief.org.
The extra trapped heat makes its way through ocean and terrestrial ecosystems, setting records almost everywhere. Arctic sea ice fell to its second smallest area in late northern summer. The 14 smallest extensions of sea ice have occurred in the last 14 years.
August, September, and October saw California’s largest wildfires in modern times; they were the hottest months in the state’s recorded history . The number of fall days with extreme fires has doubled since the early 1980s.
On the wet side, this year’s hurricane season saw 30 unprecedentedly named Atlantic storms , and as many as 12 made landfall in the United States, the highest number in history. A historical analysis found that hurricanes do not slow down as much as they used to when making landfall.
Super Typhoon Goni hit the Philippines in late October with a one-minute sustained wind speed of 315 km / h, making it the strongest cyclone known to hit land . Climate change doesn’t cause hurricanes, but warmer water and more humid air are giving them more fuel.
Scientists have long recognized ocean acidification, a change in the chemistry of the sea that can threaten important marine ecosystems , as the evil twin of global warming. Turns out there is a triplet! The loss of biodiversity is both a symptom and a cause not only of climate change, but also of pandemics.
Animal populations have fallen 68 percent since 1970 , and a comprehensive assessment this fall added further evidence to conclude that ” the underlying causes of pandemics are the same global environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss and change. climate”.
Finance has a huge and untapped role in solving these problems. Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s think tank and two research partners produced a 250-page report outlining the global funding gap to protect biodiversity, plus nine financial tools and policies to close it.
Not all restored ecosystems have the same healing power. A high-resolution study of the entire planet shows that focusing on ecosystems that are most productive for biodiversity could make restoration efforts 13 times more profitable.