Melting fast: Climate change could strip the Alps off all its ice by 2100, potentially playing havoc with fresh water supplies | Image credit: Forbes

Study: Alps will be mostly ice-free by 2100

Latest research has warned that two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of Alps will melt by 2100 as temperatures continue to rise because of climate change. Scientists said global warming will cause half of the ice in the 4,000 glaciers of the Alps to vanish by 2050. After that, even if the world manages to cut CO2 emissions to zero, two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100, which would have a big impact on water availability, especially during droughts.

In a separate study, scientists found glaciers melting 18% faster than they calculated in 2013. Earth’s glaciers are shrinking five times faster now than they were in the 1960s and over half of that loss is taking place in North America, the AP reported.

Planet well into the middle of climate change era, time to get radical, says climate campaigner

Veteran climate change campaigner Bill McKibben has warned that the planet is well into the middle of the climate change era “with its epic reshaping”. Writing in the Guardian, McKibben pointed to two recent studies that showed “frozen portions of Earth in a dramatic flux”. The world should be immensely grateful to climate scientists for understanding and continuously alerting the world of the scale of the problem, said the author adding that it is not the time to get angry over schoolchildren’s climate strikes, or get shocked over Extinction Rebellion’s mass protests, instead people should be grateful to them.

Earth’s species may take millions of years to recover from climate change

Earth will take millions of years to bounce back from the manmade mass extinction of species, says the latest study. Scientists say, according to the speed of the rate of evolution, it will take at least 10 million years for the diverse life of the planet to return to pre-human levels. The new study, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, measured the diversity of the species using the remains of plankton called foraminifera, which are well-preserved throughout the fossil record, reported the Independent.

‘65% chance of weak El Niño’, but India forecaster expects ‘normal’ monsoon

The US state weather forecaster said there is a 60% chance of weaker El Nino conditions continuing through the northern hemisphere summer this year, with above-average sea surface temperatures expected across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño can affect rainfall patterns and trigger droughts and floods. However, in its first long-range forecast for the south-west monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the monsoons will be near-normal this year: 96% rainfall of 89 cm expected in 2019. In short, no bad effect of El Nino is expected. According to Skymet Weather, the monsoon is likely to be “below normal” to the tune of 93%. Journalists pointed out the discrepancy. “17% probability of deficient rains, 32% probability of below normal, 39% probability of near normal. IMD prefers calling it near normal monsoon….”, an HT journalist tweeted.

Seychelles President’s underwater plea to protect oceans

The president of Seychelles, Danny Faure, made an underwater speech from 406 feet below the Indian Ocean calling on the world to protect the seas. One of the small island nations most vulnerable to rising sea levels because of climate change, Seychelles aims to protect 30% of its ocean space by 2020. Last year, Seychelles protected 210,000 sqkm of ocean in exchange for getting some of its national debt paid off, reported the BBC. Oceans are one of the seven main themes of the UN climate meet in Chile in December.

Climate change threatening future of 19mn Bangladeshi children: UNICEF

Recurring environmental disasters linked to climate change will affect the future of over 19 million children in Bangladesh, according to a recent UNICEF report. One of the major threats — families are increasingly pushing their daughters into child marriage, the report said. The report states that frequent disasters, most recently the flooding of the Brahmaputra river in 2017, has led families to migrate to the country’s capital, Dhaka, along with other major cities, where parents struggling to make ends meet are forcing children into manual labour and child marriage.

The report breaks down the demographics of the 19 million children — 12 million of them, it says, live around river systems that frequently burst their banks, 4.5 million live in coastal areas that are hit by cyclones often, while another three million live inland, where farming communities are grappling with drought.

Water crisis hits Arab states, UN calls for urgent action

Arab states need to respond urgently to its bubbling water crisis, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned. It predicted that per capita resources will fall by 50% by 2050, Reuters reported.

FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva said the Middle East and North Africa have been worst hit by desertification and water scarcity, problems that have been compounded by climate change. Therefore, these regions need to upgrade irrigation techniques and come up with better water management strategies immediately, Reuters reported. To compare, the region’s per capita share of water availability is 10% of the global average, FAO said, and agriculture consumes 85% of the available resources.

Climate change is forcing people to migrate

Influential environmental broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has warned that mass migrations of climate refugees from Africa to Europe will increase if governments do not urgently invest in mitigating the impacts of climate change, The Sunday Times reported. Speaking at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington, Attenborough said: “People are coming from Africa because they can’t live where they are. If things go so more parts of the world become uninhabitable, that’s what will happen.”

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