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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


13 Years After Losing Both Legs in Afghanistan, Veteran Summits Everest Establishing World Record

credit – Crowdfunder UK – Hari Budha Magar

A Nepali veteran of the British operations in Afghanistan has become the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit the world’s tallest mountain.

Hari Budha Magar, who lives in Canterbury reached the top at 3 PM last Friday, having started the climb on April 17th—13 years to the day since he lost his legs in an IED explosion.

Anyone with knowledge of the history of warfare knows about the almost mythical bravery and exceptionalism of the Ghurkas. Hari is one of these people—Ghurka being a historical term for a Nepali warrior, and a modern legal term for a Nepali foreign fighter that isn’t considered a mercenary under the Geneva Convention.

In the face of that legacy, Hari’s accomplishment is perhaps to be expected, though he certainly didn’t feel like that 13 years ago, battling alcoholism and depression.

“I grew up in Nepal, up to age of 19, and I saw how the disabled people were treated in those remote villages,” he said. “Many people still think that disability is a sin of previous life and you are the burden of the earth. I believed this myself because that is what I saw. That is how I grew up.”

He tried to kill himself a pair of times, but eventually decided to climb Everest instead. However, there was a legal summit to conquer in his native Nepal before he could tackle the Mountain So High No Bird Can Fly Over It.

OTHER EVEREST CONQUERERS: All-Black Climbing Team Makes History Reaching Top of Everest, Inspiring Diverse Adventurers

Disabled people had been banned by the Nepali government from attempting the mountain. Enough people die on the journey every year, and the authorities saw no reason to risk that. But, Hari was able to overcome that roadblock and prepare for the real quest.

PA News was at Everest Base Camp after Budha Magar, supported by his all-Nepalese team, completed their descent from the peak.

Hari Budha Magar (center) reaches Mt. Everest summit – courtesy of Shanta Nepali Productions

“All of my jackets were completely freezing,” he said. “It was all frozen. Even our warm water, we put hot water in the Thermos, and that was also frozen and we were not able to drink.”

MORE AMAZING DISABLED PEOPLE: Disabled Student Can Pursue Her Dreams of Being a Cellist After Teens Build Her a Specialized Prosthetic

He used a variety of interchangeable prosthetics for the climb, which included some equipped with ice spikes, and others with mountaineering boots attached.

Completing the mission, Budha Magar says he wants to return to the spot in Afghanistan where he lost his legs in order to say ‘thank you’ because if he still had his legs, he would never have climbed Everest.

SHARE This Inspiring Man’s Journey From Rock Bottom To The Top Rock… 

The Inconvenient Truth About ‘Climate Refugees’ – A Closer Look At The Data

What is a climate refugee? A climate refugee is a person forced to leave their home or country due to the impact of climate change, such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts, or desertification. These individuals are displaced…

More Than Half of World’s Large Lakes Are Drying Up, Study Finds

LONDON —  More than half of the world’s large lakes and reservoirs have shrunk since the early 1990s, chiefly because of climate change, intensifying concerns about water for agriculture, hydropower and human consumption, a study published Thursday found. An international…

More than half of the world’s lakes have shrunk in past 30 years, study finds

More than half of the world’s large lakes and reservoirs have shrunk since the early 1990s – chiefly because of the climate crisis and human consumption – intensifying concerns about water supply for agriculture, hydropower and human consumption, a study…

Number of internally displaced people hits record due to war, climate change – Reuters

GENEVA, May 11 (Reuters) – The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) reached a record 71.1 million worldwide last year due to conflicts such as the war in Ukraine and climate calamities like the monsoon floods in Pakistan, according to…

Cornish farm launches project to triple UK’s temperate rainforest

Tripling Britain’s temperate rainforest is the goal of a new charity founded by a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who found solace in this unique and biodiverse habitat. The Thousand Year Trust is being launched this week by Merlin…


‘Statistically impossible’ heat extremes are here — we identified the regions most at risk

At-risk regions include Afghanistan, several countries in Central America and far-eastern Russia

In the summer of 2021, Canada’s all-time temperature record was smashed by almost 5℃. Its new record of 49.6℃ is hotter than anything ever recorded in Spain, Turkey or indeed anywhere in Europe.

The record was set in Lytton, a small village a few hours’ drive from Vancouver, in a part of the world that doesn’t really look like it should experience such temperatures.

Wide valley with trees
Hotter than anywhere in Europe or South America, ever: Fraser River near Lytton, in British Columbia, Canada. Harry Beugelink / shutterstock

Lytton was the peak of a heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest of the US and Canada that summer and left many scientists shocked. From a purely statistical point of view, it should have been impossible. 

I’m part of a team of climate scientists who wanted to find out if the Pacific Northwest heatwave was unique, or whether any other regions had experienced such statistically implausible events. And we wanted to assess which regions were most at risk in future. Our results are now published in the journal Nature Communications.

Tracking these outlier heatwaves is important not just because the heatwaves themselves are dangerous, but because countries tend to prepare to around the level of the most extreme event within collective memory. An unprecedented heatwave can therefore provoke policy responses to reduce the impact of future heat.

For instance, a severe heatwave in Europe in 2003 is estimated to have caused 50,000-70,000 excess deaths. Although there have been more intense heatwaves since, none have resulted in such a high death toll, due to management plans implemented in the wake of 2003.

One of the most important questions when studying these extreme heatwaves is “how long do we have to wait until we experience another similarly intense event?”. This is a challenging question but, fortunately, there is a branch of statistics, called extreme value theory, that provides ways in which we can answer that exact question using past events.

But the Pacific Northwest heatwave is one of several recent events that have challenged this method and should not have been possible according to extreme value theory. This “breakdown” of statistics is caused by conventional extreme value theory not taking into account the specific combination of physical mechanisms, which may not exist in the events contained in the historical record.

Implausible heat is everywhere

Looking at historical data from 1959 to 2021, we found that 31% of Earth’s land surface has already experienced such statistically implausible heat (though the Pacific Northwest heatwave is exceptional even among these events). These regions are spread all across the globe with no clear spatial pattern.

Wooden houses by a large bay filled with ice bergs
A heatwave in September 2022 meant Greenland’s ice sheets kept melting for a month longer than usual. muratart / shutterstock

We also drew similar conclusions when we analysed “large ensemble” data produced by climate models, which involve computers simulating the global climate many times over. These simulations are extremely useful for us, since the effective length of this simulated “historical record” is far larger and thus they produce many more examples of rare events.

However, while this analysis of the most exceptional events is interesting, and cautions against using purely statistical approaches for assessing the limits to physical extremes, the most important conclusions of our work come from the other end of the spectrum – regions that have not experienced particularly extreme events before.

Some places have got lucky – so far

We identified a number of regions, again spread across the globe, that have not experienced especially extreme heat over the past six decades (relative to their “expected” climate). As a result, these regions are more likely to see a record-breaking event in the near future. And with no experience of such a huge outlier, and less incentive to prepare for one, they may be particularly harmed by a record heatwave.

Socioeconomic factors, including population size, population growth and level of development will exacerbate these impacts. As a result, we factor in population and economic development projections in our assessment of the regions that are most at risk globally.

Man in colourful market
Central America hasn’t been hit with a truly severe heatwave – yet. streetflash / shutterstock

Our at-risk regions include Afghanistan, several countries in Central America and far eastern Russia among others. These regions may be surprising, since they are not those people typically think of when considering extreme heat impacts of climate change like India or the Persian Gulf. But those countries have recently experienced severe heatwaves and so are already doing what they can to prepare.

Central Europe and several provinces in China, including the area around Beijing, also appear to be vulnerable when considering the extremeness of the record and population size, but as more developed areas they are likely to already have plans to mitigate severe impacts.

Overall, our work raises two important points:

The first is that statistically implausible heatwaves can occur anywhere on the Earth, and we must be very cautious about using the historical record in isolation to estimate the “maximum” heatwave possible. Policymakers across the globe should prepare for exceptional heatwaves that would be deemed implausible based on current records.

The second is that there are a number of regions whose historical record is not exceptional, and therefore is more likely to be broken. These regions have been lucky so far, but as a result, are likely to be less well prepared for an unprecedented heatwave in the near future. It is especially important that these regions prepare for more intense heatwaves than they have already experienced.The Conversation

Nicholas Leach, Postdoctoral Researcher, Climate Science, University of Oxford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Harappa, Rakhigarhi, Dholavira: 200 years of droughts may have erased these Indus megacities, says study

The prolonged droughts forced the civilisation to reorganise their settlements & switch to drought-resilient crops

Climate change has long been associated with the fall of the ancient Indus civilisation, and a new study of evidence from a Himalayan cave established that prolonged droughts during the Bronze Age may have snuffed out the life of the people in the region. 

Droughts that began 4,200 years ago gripped the civilisation spread over present-day Pakistan and India, and went on for over two centuries, the University of Cambridge report published in the journal Nature showed. 

The scientists recovered a stalagmite — vertical mass of mineral deposits rising from the floor of caves and caused by water dripping — from a cave near Pithoragarh district in India’s Uttarakhand. They studied the layers of this stalagmite to assess relative seasonal rainfall over thousands of years. “They also used high-precision Uranium-series dating to get a handle on the age and duration of the droughts,” a University of Cambridge article on the study noted. 

They found indications of three droughts lasting 25-90 years each during the dry 200 years. This period also coincided with the time when the civilisation was building cities, according to the authors of the report. 

The team identified distinct periods of below-average rainfall in both the summer and winter seasons, according to lead author of the research Alena Giesche, a PhD scholar at Cambridge’s earth sciences department. 

Much like what countries across the world are experiencing today due to climate change — the protracted droughts severely affected food systems and habitation patterns, among other things, the researchers found. This forced the people of the Indus Civilisation to make systemic changes to adapt to the changing environment.

They reorganised their large cities and moved towards the east of the region in smaller rural settlements, the report Recurring summer and winter droughts from 4.2-3.97 thousand years ago in north India showed. 

They also had to make changes to their agricultural practices – relying more on drought-resilient crops such as millets, according to the authors. 

The population adopted a more self-reliant lifestyle as a means of climate adaptation, the findings of the study indicated. 

Comparing climatic and archaeological records wasn’t also easy and lacked accuracy but things have improved, according to David Hodell, study co-author from Cambridge’s department of earth sciences. “Palaeoclimate records are becoming progressively better at refining changes in rainfall on a seasonal and annual basis, which directly affects people’s decision making.” 

The team will now attempt to make similar climate reconstructions for the western parts of the Indus River region, “where the winter rainfall system becomes more dominant than the Indian Summer Monsoon”, according to the university article.

“Currently, we have a huge blind spot on our maps extending across Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Indian summer monsoon and the Westerlies interact,” Sebastian Breitenbach, co-author and palaeoclimatologist at Northumbria University, was quoted as saying in the Cambridge story. “Sadly, the political situation is unlikely to allow for this kind of research in the near future.”

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