Here’s the latest news we’ve rounded up about climate change and its rapidly growing impacts:
United Nations Climate Panel Issues Dire Report
A United Nations climate panel has confirmed — in its strongest language ever — that the impacts of human-caused climate change are severe and widespread, and that while there is still a chance to limit that warming, some impacts will continue to be felt for centuries.
Gulf Stream Could Be Veering Toward Irreversible Collapse
One of the most crucial ocean current systems for regulating the Northern Hemisphere’s climate could be on the verge of total collapse due to climate change, a new study has revealed. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream and is responsible for moderating large parts of the world’s climate, has undergone “an almost complete loss of stability over the last century”, according to a new analysis. The currents work like a conveyor belt to transport warm, salty water northward from the tropics and cold water back south along the seafloor. This giant conveyor belt had already been shown to be at its weakest in more than a thousand years, but now it could be veering toward a total breakdown.
98% of Emperor Penguins Could Be Wiped Out By 2100
Emperor penguins — the largest species of penguin on Earth — are unlikely to survive past the end of the century if current rates of greenhouse gas emissions and melting sea ice continue, according to researchers. A new study by an international team of penguin experts has revealed that 70% of emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica could become extinct by 2050 if the current rate of sea ice loss continues and that 98% of colonies could be wiped out by 2100 under the most extreme scenarios. This would make the species “quasi-extinct,” meaning that, despite having remaining individuals, the species would not recover and would eventually die out.
Earth Has a Serious Deforestation Problem
In January 2021, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a report about the state of the world’s deforestation problem and 24 “deforestation fronts,” or places where large areas of forest are under threat. The study concluded that 106 million acres (43 million hectares) of forest around the world have been stripped away over the last 13 years.
Greenland Experiences “Massive Melting Event”
Greenland’s enormous ice sheet has been struck by a “massive melting event,” with enough ice vanishing in a single day last week to cover the whole of Florida in two inches (5 centimeters) of water, Danish researchers have found. Since July 27, roughly 9.37 billion tons (8.5 billion metric tons) of ice has been lost per day from the surface of the enormous ice sheet — twice its normal average rate of loss during summer, Polar Portal, a Danish site run by Arctic climate researchers, reported.