Greenland is loosing 30 million tonnes of ice per year.

The Greenland ice sheet is melting

The Greenland icesheet is vast, which can bee seen from this image, which had to be taken from space to show the scale.

Greenland is in fact only slightly bigger than Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom together. Looking at it another way, it is the size of the DRC in Africa, or is 71% of the size of India, and 80% of this vast landscape is covered in ice. 

Now we realize the scale of the ice on Greenland, we need to recognize that it is melting. 0.17% of all water on earth is locked up in ice on Greenland. Now, while that does not sound much, remember that the Antarctic ice cap is also melting, though currently far slower, and this consists of 1.56% of global water. If all the ice on Greenland melted, is enough to raise global sea levels by 7 meters, which would be the end of countries like Bangladesh among quite a few more.

So, the Greenland Ice sheet is loosing 30 million tonnes of Ice every hour! How can we put that in perspective? Given that an Olympic swimming pool contains 2500 cubic meters of water, this is the same as 12,000 extra Olympic swimming pools of water in the worlds oceans ever hour or 10 extra swimming pools every 3 seconds. It is not going to run out of water, any time soon, given that it currently has over 2 million cubic kilometres on the island. Never-the-less, this quantity of water hour in, hour out (it is loosing 720 million tonnes of ice per day, or 3/4 of a cubic kilometre every single day.

This is 20% than even researchers had thought, and it is perhaps unsurprising that this vast amount of fresh water being deposited into the ocean every day is having an impact on things like currents – the North atlantic ocean current is the only reason that places like the UK have warmer climates than similar latitudes in Canada.

Greenland has lost 1 trillion tonnes of ice since 1985 since my birth – and this is just from glaciers. 

Global warming is happening, and it is happening now. This is not something that you need to be aware that your children will have to face, it is something that we will all have to face in the next few decades.

This shows us: global warming is not something that we avoid and just leave to our children, this is our problem too.

Mountain goats are rapidly becoming nocturnal due to the heat: impacts?

Just bare in mind, with the video above, if you have problems with heights, the view when you start the video above will not be pleasant.

So, if you are a species who spends its days moving around on cliffs, which most species would spend their lives avoiding often even if the alternative choice is death, clearly it is extreme. 
The fact of the matter, is that heights are not the only threat that animals like mountain goats face when living in the mountains: Bears, wolves, eagles, and wolverines and even animals like snow leopards that live in the mountains, will get the majority of their calories from meat. Animals like mountain goats, along with various deer species, will be the mainstay of these predators in the mountains.

What is, unfortunately a fact, is that mountain goats do not fly. As such they need to be able to see the cliff, so as to be able to step carefully and not loose their footing. 

This means that goats cannot become nocturnal, as without enough light, they will fall to their deaths. As such mountain goats tend to be crepuscular – active in the early morning and late evening

 However, this move has already happened, so all that this move might do, is reduce the length of time that mountain goats can remain active, which is likely to lead to starvation amongst much of the wild population.

Company Green Grazing from Vietnam is aiming to grow and sell red seaweed, as an additive to livestock feed

Why is this important?

red seaweed photo credit Peter Southwood

Around the world there are around 3 billion cattle and sheep. These produce around 231 billion pounds of methane each year, which is around 10 billion metric tonnes of methane into the air. Remember that over the first 20 years (it reduces after this) methane traps roughly 80 times the same amount of carbon dioxide. So this is the equivalent of a huge amount of carbon.

To put this in perspective, if we shrink the worlds carbon emissions to zero, but are left with all this methane, we are likely to have runaway global warming anyway.

So what does this seaweed do? It essentially causes the cows and sheep to create less methane. How much? Well, while around 100 million tonnes of this seaweed would be needed, they could eliminate 98% of the methane emissions from these livestock!

In 2019 around 34.7million tonnes of seaweed was farmed, which is leading some sceptical researchers to suggest that it cannot be done. However, if we look logically, this is already enough seaweed to reduce methane emissions by 1 third – not to be sneezed at.

Another problem, is that currently Greener Grazing is restricted to only growing 1/3 of the year, as the water temperature kills the seaweed the rest of the time. However, this could be fantastic – if cross breeding can give this seaweed the ability to cope with warmer water, they might be able to meet the whole worlds demands.

More work is needed, and other tests have proved less successful in the reduction of methane, but still, this is a field, where we might be able to green peoples behaviour without requiring them to stop eating meat.

Now, of course, if meat grown in a lab could reach price parity, it may deal with this problem overnight, though it would also eliminate many peoples source of income.

Time will tell if this company is going to have a large effect or not. We need to have farmers wanting this additive, thereby creating a valuable market for coastal communities around the world.

Is the COP conferences a waste of time, if climate change deniers are able to lead it?

At the current time, countries in the region in which the COP is held will chose a president. In theory, that is fine, however, in practice if this is going to continue then the middle east should be banned from hosting the conference.

So, what precisely did Sultan Al Jaber say, which was so troubling?

Firstly, he claimed that a ‘phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves'”.

He then claimed that there is ‘no science’ to suggest phasing out fossil fuels is the only way to achieve 1.5C.

After being laughed at, over this utterly insane statment, he suggested that the comment had been misinterpreted. It should be noted, that this was in response to a question from a woman, which he was relatively rude about.

Do you think this woman misunderstood?

He even had the gall to suggest that the misrepresentation was undermining his desire to reduce carbon emissions (perhaps if this is true, it can start with his huge fossil fuel company can show this?). More than 100 countries are already supportive of this.

The worlds uptake of electric cars must accelerate. This is partly underway – last year around 67 million cars were sold, but 14% of these were electric, up from just 9% the previous year. The uptake is accelerating.

It should also be noted that apart from extreme heat in the UAE, continued global warming will also damage the UAE in extreme ways. The UAE economy is 0.5% of the global economy, in the end, places like this may refuse to accept the end of oil, and will have to be bankrupted, as cars move to 100% and many other industries clean up their act.


Blue Whale

Blue whale

The largest species of whale, the largest species of mammal, indeed at almost 30m the largest species ever known to live on earth, they can weigh up to 200 tonnes. There are 4 subspecies with a possible 5 in contention.

Abundant in almost all of the worlds oceans until the 19th century, they were hunted close to extinction. In 1966 hunting of them were banned.

There are places around the world, where these animals can be watched, we hope to link to many of these below.

At their peak, before whaling, it was thought that their was around 350,000 in the world. Now there is between 10,000 and 25,000 around the world.

It is certainly not the time to allow them to be hunted again, far from it.

One recent suggestion, is that whales sink huge quantities of carbon down into the ocean, and that our current problems with global warming might have been tiny if we had not killed the vast majority of most species of Baleen whales.

Below is a small outtake from blue planet, the bbc series from 2001 which features a blue whale in the vastness of the ocean

I have included a second video clip, as this one give you an idea of the size and shape of a blue whale, in a way that little footage does.

Below this is any articles that have been written about blue whales on this website, and below that, we will add any links that might help you see blue whales in the wild.

Polar Bear

Polar bear

  • A relatively new species of bear, the polar bear is the only species adapted for polar life. Still being found all around the Arctic, there are roughly 26,000 in the wild at the current time. Whalers and for traders killed many in the 19th century, and while they have recovered experts predict that global warming is likely to lead to the extinction of the polar bear.

Polar bears are distant cousins of the Grizzly bear, and as the weather warms, polar bears are moving south and Grizzlies north. This has on at least one occasion created a so called “Pizzly”. We only know about this, because a hunter who paid to kill a polar bear accidentally shot the Pizzly. I have made it clear my lack of appreciation for the so called hunter – while I am ready to admit that in places the money is useful for conservation, I hope that with your help and this website, we might make it an irrelevance.

Found throughout the arctic, they can be seen in 

  • Alaska (USA) 4000-7000
  • Canada   16,000
  • Greenland 3500-4000
  • Norwegian islands, particularly Svalbard about 3000
  • Russia:22,000-31,000 (note, this adds up to far to many – indeed Russias population alone is above the world population, also some are shared between countries)

Over time we hope to list many places where you can visit bears and see them in their wild home, these will appear here, and a list of posts we have published on bears will appear below these links

Ozone layer hole early – Antarctic sea ice in danger?

The fear is that, with the Tonga eruption, this larger than normal hole might do extra damage to the vast store of ice on Antactica.

The Antarctic Continent has about 30 million cubic kilometres of ice. If just a small amount melts were in trouble

Why is this concerning?

Well, given the Antarctic and the Greenland icesheet has enough ice to raise sea levels by 65m worldwide. This means a 5% melt in Antarctica would raise sea levels by several meters (even without any melting of Greenland at all).

This quantity of sea level rise, would threaten cities such as Shanghai and London, to large parts of Florida and Bangladesh to total nations that would be wiped out, such as Maldives.

This means that while it may well take a century and increased carbon emissions for all of the ice at the poles to melt, it could threaten human populations long before this occurs.

Around 410 million people on earth live within just 2m of the height of the sea. This is roughly 5% of human population. Currently, there are issues with just 2% immigration into the UK. A sea level rise of 2m would likely trigger an order of magnitude more to move here, Western Europe, USA and other countries. We are all going to be hit hard, but some far harder than others.

We’re all concentrating on saving rainforests: but will they survive?

Rainforests are essential for many different things. At the moment, we (as the human race) are concerned about rainforests for their capacity to store carbon – thereby reducing the amount in the atmosphere and therefore the threat of carbon dioxide causing the greenhouse effect.

Here, you can see what happens to land that is deforested. It is not good for the rainforest that survives either

The problem is, that even without cutting any more rainforests down, we have already changed the weather dramatically. If rainforests are cut down there may then not be enough rain to sustain regrowth. One example is the Amazon, where it is predicted that half its rainfall is caused by the forest itself.

In the Amazon, Congo and even south-east Asia, there are already worrying signs in particularly highly deforested areas, that the rainforest weather is drying, turning the forest into a more savannah like area.

What is clear, is that a fragmented rainforest is deeply threatened. We need large blocks of unbroken rainforest if the planet is to survive in a form that we will continue be good for the human race to continue to thrive within. Of course, this is also essential for the many planet services that the human race requires to keep going.

Of course, this is not a reason to be allowed to cut down the fragments, it is a reason to not create the fragments in the first place. What is important to realize, is that many of the activities that the rainforest is being cut down for, will not work without the rain that the forest creates.

Just food for thought

0.1% chance of hitting our 1.5° according to study. Time to give up and get ready for the horrific world to come?

After a great deal of negotiating, back in 2015 more than 200 countries signed up to targets that aim to restrict world warming to an average of 1.5°. Despite the decades between scientists positing that humans are warming the planet and this point, this is the easy part.

“Get the countries of the world to agree what is happening, and agree that we do not want to allow it to continue, so we had better do something about it”.

After this, we need the countries of the world to not only meet the targets that they set, but to exceed them and be willing to rachet up these targets until the reductions will be enough to keep warming to 1.5°.

Continue reading “0.1% chance of hitting our 1.5° according to study. Time to give up and get ready for the horrific world to come?”
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