October 2022 Headlines
World Warming on Course to Trigger Multiple Climate Tipping Points, Study Warns (Science, The Guardian, NPR)
Climate tipping points, or events that cannot be undone once their thresholds have been passed, are triggered once global warming crosses a certain increase.
Based on current policies, we are on track to warm the Earth by 2-3 degrees Celsius and have already reached 1 degree Celsius.
At only 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, tipping points such as the Greenland ice sheet collapse, West Antarctic ice sheet collapse, Tropical coral reef die-off and abrupt permafrost thaw. Check the links above for a full list of climate tipping points.
Glaciers Continue to Melt at Record Pace Worldwide (USA Today, Washington Post, Associated Press, Nature Geoscience, ClimateSignals)
The Swiss Alps’ glaciers lost 6% of their total volume this year, more than double any other year’s ice loss in over a century.
Elsewhere, the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to melt at a rapid pace as it lost more ice last month than any other September on record. This comes after a Summer in which Greenland lost more ice in one weekend than ever before.
On top of these events, new research has shown that the Thwaites Glacier, an Antarctic glacier that holds enough water to single handedly raise ocean levels by multiple feet, is even less stable than previously expected.
Glaciers, and specifically the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are important climate indicators. Their increased melting is caused by warming air and water temperatures.
The Economic Cost of Carbon Pollution is much Larger than Current Estimates (Nature, Associated Press, The Hill, Grist)
Further study on the social cost of carbon pollution has found that each ton of Carbon Dioxide polluted results in $185 of damage.
This is more than three times the amount used by the US government, which means we are drastically underestimating the economic impact on carbon pollution.
The results imply that if pollution policies were created with the updated cost of carbon, the economic benefits of such policies would increase leading to more climate action possibilities.
Extreme Heat Breaks Records, while Drought Threatens Water Supply in the West (Axios, SF Chronicle, PNAS, Washington Post)
Early last month, heatwaves along the entire West Coast broke records and threatened both human health and the electric grid.
Extreme heat is the deadliest form of climate related severe weather, especially as nighttime temperatures rise and the body cannot properly cool itself down during sleep.
Meanwhile, snowpack in areas where wildfires have been pushed further up in the mountains due to drought and heat is melting faster than before the fires.
The slow melting snow from the Rockies is critical for large amounts of the arid West’s water supply throughout the year.
Biden Administration Announces Goal of 15 GW of Offshore Floating Wind by 2035 (The Verge, Reuters, Associated Press, The Oregonian)
President Biden announced a goal to bring enough floating offshore wind (FOW) power to power 5 million homes in the United States.
This 15 GW is in addition to the 30 GW goal of traditional offshore wind by 2030.
Floating offshore wind would allow promising wind power areas to be reached that are too deep for traditional wind farms. The administration’s work will focus on research and development to lower the cost of floating offshore wind.