This week: Extreme weather
It’s clearly silly weather season. Just look at what’s happening on the East coast of the US right now. The blizzards and snowstorms ripping across New York state and beyond are so shocking even us Brits, out of sympathy, have momentarily stopped complaining about the blowy conditions currently turning our brollies inside out.
But in the context of our warming planet caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions, the changing weather patterns are no joke. Here’s just a few stories that caught the eye this week highlighting the ongoing challenge of our time.
1. Five of the 10 deadliest Philippine typhoons have hit since 2006
That’s the claim made by The Climate Reality Project Find which is keen to shine a light on the fact that over the past decade, tropical storms striking the Philippines are more often and more severe because of climate change. In fact, the Global Climate Risk Index 2015 listed the Philippines as the number one most affected country by climate change.
2. Record dry weather causing havoc for Aussie farmers
Incredibly dry weather in the usually wet farming pockets of Victoria, Australia has seen farmers queuing up to grab water from community bore holes. Southern Australia Meat Research Council is urging the development of better infrastructure to future-proof farming regions in the face of climate change. “If there's a mild winter and another failed spring this year, there will be hell to pay,” the Council’s Tim Leeming told the Guardian.
3. The weather forecast that can boost crop yield by 80%
Check out Ignitia, Liisa Petrykowska’s weather forecasting business which has solved the big problem of being able to give accurate forecasts in the Tropics. She’s been working with farming communities in West Africa and has boosted their productivity by 80% by sending text messages to farmers telling them how much rain or sun to expect in the next 48 hours. I’ve just written a piece about Liisa and her work for virgin.com.
4. The US winter storm-climate change connection
Trump-loving climate deniers of America will not want to hear this – or read Discovery’s latest report on the subject – but the massive snowstorms that have hit the East Coast are a sign of climate change. According to a 2014 federal report, since 1950 there’s evidence of an increase in both frequency and intensity of winter storms, even as overall annual snowfall has decreased over much of the nation. And that’s been backed up by the NOAA’s Climate.gov website, which says rising surface temperatures are causing increased evaporation, which in turn puts more water in the atmosphere.
5. Climate change? Bring it on, say lizards
Apparently, lizard species used to various weather conditions can handle the effects of climate change better than most. Researchers have been using the Climatic Variability Hypothesis (CVH) which suggests that species living in areas with high environmentally variability can – as an acquired outcome – tolerate more environmental changes.