Climate Expert: What The Media Won’t Tell You About Hurricanes, 2023 Edition
[June 1] is the official start of the 2023 hurricane season in the North Atlantic. Over the past few decades, the media has increasingly celebrated every hurricane as an indicator of climate change — whether juiced, intensified, linked, or fueled…
B.C. Climate News: Germany warns of increased health threats from climate change | Environmental groups seek to delay $10 billion LNG project in B.C.| Nova Scotia blaze is largest wildfire in provincial history
Breadcrumb Trail Links News National Local News Here’s your weekly roundup of climate change news for the week of May 29 to June 4, 2023. Smoke rises from a wildfire, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 28, 2023 in this…
The world’s biggest lakes and reservoirs are shrinking. Here’s why
Satellites were used to track how lakes around the world, from the Caspian Sea to the Great Salt Lake, have changed over the last three decades. More than half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs are drying up, a…
Drying trends recorded in more than 30 Indian lakes: Study
In about 100 large lakes, climate change and human water consumption were identified as the main drivers of water losses and a decline in lake volume
More than 30 large lakes in India have recorded a drying trend from 1992 to 2020, a new analysis published in journal Science revealed.
Of them,16 are the major lakes of southern India. Some of these include Mettur, Krishnarajasagar, Nagarjuna Sagar and Idamalayar. Recent droughts may have contributed to reservoir storage declines in southern India, noted the research published on May 18, 2023.
“Except for few lakes, most of the peninsular India lakes are declining in lake levels and storage,” Balaji Rajagopalan, professor of engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of the study, told Down To Earth.
Lakes, which cover three per cent of the global land area, play a key role in regulating climate through carbon cycling.
“While rivers get all the attention rightfully, lakes have and continue to provide more of the water supply and sustain societies, across the world and, are often not well managed,” Rajagopalan added.
Satellite observations have recorded a loss of 90,000 square kilometres (km2) of permanent water area across the world. However, the factors driving such losses are not clear.
Red dots indicate lakes that are drying. Source: Yao et al / Science.
Rajagopalan and his colleagues used satellite observation from 1992-2020 to create a global database of lake water storage. They covered 2,000 of the world’s biggest lakes and reservoirs that contribute to 95 per cent of the total lake water storage on Earth.
They then used models to quantify and attribute trends in lake storage globally to natural changes, climate change and human consumption.
Overall, 53 per cent of the world’s largest lakes have been losing water and 24 per cent have seen an increase. Nearly 33 per cent of the global population resides in a basin with a large, drying lake.
“The analysis also reveals a declining trend in reservoir water storage in both arid and humid regions,” Sarah W Cooley from the University of Oregon wrote in a related article. She was not involved in the study.
Also read: Earth has lost one-fifth of its wetlands since 1700 — but most could still be saved
The drying trend in Arctic lakes is also more pronounced than previously thought, the researchers highlighted. Climate change has some role to play in driving these changes, they said. “The contributions from temperature, precipitation and runoff indirectly indicate the potential role of climate change,” the author explained.
In about 100 large lakes, climate change and human water consumption were identified as the main drivers of water losses and a decline in lake volume.
The climate is linked to factors contributing to the decline of lakes, such as temperature and potential evapotranspiration (combined loss of water through the plant’s process of transpiration and evaporation of water from the Earth’s surface), precipitation and runoff, and human consumption.
The researchers hope to further understand the role of climate in these factors. They also plan to model the variability of paleo-lakes [old lakes] over the Indian subcontinent and how they potentially impact human migration.
Rajagopalan said it is important to understand the approaches to managing lakes in an integrated manner. “This will elevate the status of lakes to their rightful place,” he said.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Warming, drying climate puts many of the world’s biggest lakes in peril
Water storage in many of the world’s biggest lakes has declined sharply in the past 30 years, according to a new study, with a cumulative drop equal to the annual water consumption of the United States. The loss of about…
Warming and Drying Climate Puts Many of the World’s Biggest Lakes in Peril – Inside Climate News
Water storage in many of the world’s biggest lakes has declined sharply in the last 30 years, according to a new study, with a cumulative drop of about 21.5 gigatons per year, an amount equal to the annual water consumption…
The Upper Atmosphere Is Cooling, Prompting New Climate Concerns
There is a paradox at the heart of our changing climate. While the blanket of air close to the Earth’s surface is warming, most of the atmosphere above is becoming dramatically colder. The same gases that are warming the bottom…
The IPCC’s Political Conundrum: Scientific Analysis Or Eco-Advocacy?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established as a scientific assessment process more than 35 years ago. Scientific assessments are of critical importance in many areas to help policymakers and the public identify what is known, what is…
Saturn’s rings much younger than Saturn itself
How old are Saturn’s rings? Are they as old as the planet itself or younger? Scientists have debated those questions for many decades. Now, a new study from an international group of researchers, announced on May 12, 2023, shows that the rings are young, much younger than Saturn itself. This idea fits with previous studies also suggesting a young age for the rings.
Physicist Sascha Kempf at the University of Colorado Boulder led the new study. The researchers published their new peer-reviewed findings in Science Advances on May 12, 2023.
Saturn’s rings are only 400 million years old
Saturn itself is about as old as the rest of the solar system, at 4.5 billion years. But the new results from Kempf and colleagues, show the planet’s rings as far younger, only about 400 million years at most. (The paper notes a possible range from 100 million to 400 million years). As Kempf noted:
In a way, we’ve gotten closure on a question that started with James Clerk Maxwell.
Is it an answer to the decades-old question regarding the age of the rings? Time will tell, as other scientists weigh in on the study.
Dust provides clues
How did these researchers make a determination for the age of Saturn’s rings? They looked at something that is common everywhere in the solar system: dust (referred to as micrometeoroids in the paper). Even the icy particles that make up the rings – ranging from microscopic to large boulders – have a coating of dust on them. Kempf and his team had the idea of figuring out how old Saturn’s rings are by seeing how long it takes for dust to build up on them. Kempf said:
Think about the rings like the carpet in your house. If you have a clean carpet laid out, you just have to wait. Dust will settle on your carpet. The same is true for the rings.
Cassini analyzes ring particles
It wasn’t going to be an easy task, but it was possible. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft used an instrument called the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) to study dust particles around Saturn. From 2004 to 2017, it collected 163 dust grains. That’s not a lot, but it was enough – these scientists said – to calculate how long dust has been accumulating on the rings.
The answer, it turned out, was a few hundred million years, but no more than 400 million years. That sounds like a long time, and it is. But Saturn itself is thought to be 4.5 billion years old.
If these scientists are correct, the rate of dust accumulation is slow, much less than a gram of dust added to each square foot of the rings every year. But over millions of years (as over the days or weeks in your house), the dust adds up. Other than the dust, the ring particles are almost pure water ice – 98% by volume – and “squeaky clean.” Kempf said:
It’s almost impossible to end up with something so clean.
How did Saturn’s rings form?
The results contribute to the mystery of how old Saturn’s rings are. But we still don’t know how Saturn’s rings first formed. Kempf commented:
We know approximately how old the rings are. But it doesn’t solve any of our other problems. We still don’t know how these rings formed in the first place.
In another study last year, scientists reported new evidence that Saturn’s rings formed after a former large moon, Chrysalis, broke apart after getting too close to Saturn. According to that study, a small part of the debris later became the rings. And, in that scenario, the rings formed about 160 million years ago, a number that agrees well with Kempf’s study.
The vanishing rings
What’s more, earlier research had suggested that the ring particles are very slowly falling back onto Saturn itself, as ring rain. In other words, according to the study, Saturn’s rings are gradually disappearing. They might completely vanish in another 100 million years or so. As Kempf noted:
If the rings are short-lived and dynamical, why are we seeing them now. It’s too much luck.
And indeed it might be luck for us. Consider that the oldest hominins are thought to have appeared as early as 7 million B.C.E. The earliest species of the Homo genus appeared around 2 million to 1.5 million B.C.E. If humans had evolved on Earth a billion years earlier, we might have peered through our telescopes to see a ringless Saturn. If the rings are truly much younger than Saturn, then we’re lucky to see them at all, from our human vantage point in space and time.
Bottom line: How old are Saturn’s rings? A new study suggests they’re only about 400 million years old at most, much younger than Saturn itself. Dust provided new clues.
Source: Micrometeoroid infall onto Saturn’s rings constrains their age to no more than a few hundred million years
Via University of Colorado Boulder
Major False Claim On Tropical Cyclones Found In Latest IPCC Report
Everyone makes mistakes. They can even creep into high-level assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Scientific integrity is not about being perfect, but self-correction. Can the IPCC recognize and correct mistakes? We shall see because mistakes have…