Challenge 2: Sustainability.
I quite often blog about the impact climate change. A necessary outcome of the Coronavirus has been an increase in home working and reduction in frivolous retail consumption and unnecessary travel. This has resulted in a significant reduction in our carbon footprint. The media is doing a pretty good job at keeping everyone better informed about the effects of global warming, sustainability and the transition to renewables and most governments are committing to ongoing reductions in carbon footprints. .
There is plenty of statistical evidence of climate change in the public domain. However, with the current level of international effort on sustainability, we are still inflict irreversible damage on the World’s eco-system. All we’re achieving is a reduction at the speed at which we killing our planet.
Most people in the UK will have noticed that the seasons seem to be changing. We are aware that Spring is starting much earlier now and it has become almost ‘normal’ to experience the effects or extreme weather at various times in the year. We are routinely breaking records for highest rainfall and hottest days and we have been subject to an unusually high incidents of flooding and massive fires around the world.
Global warming will mean less ice and snow. The mass of ice in the Greenland ice-sheet is visibly in decline, with the summer melt exceeding the winter accumulations each year. I’ve been reading about a huge ice burg, twice the size of Luxembourg, which is adrift in the Antarctic. It is called A-65a and has as a surface area of 5,800 km². It began it’s journey almost three years ago when it broke away from the main ice cap.A-65a is currently bearing down on South Georgia. presenting a major risk to marine life in the area. Satellite images taken last week showed a number of fissures across the surface, indicating it is fracturing into several smaller parts as it moves into the shallower waters off the continental shelf.
British Antarctic Survey, a world leading centre for polar science and operations, is preparing to set sail for South Georgia to on the RRS James Cook survey ship. The ship is owned by the National Oceanography Centre, and on it, BAS will be taking a couple of autonomous submarines that will glide around the iceburg for several months to observe it’s impact on the local environment. I plan to follow the progress of this mission during 2021.
To put it into context, A-65A is the fourth largest ice burg we have observed. B-15 was the largest ice burg recorded with a surface area of 11,00 km² (bigger than Jamaica). B-15 also became detached from the Antarctic sheet quite recently, in March 2000. B-15 fragmented in 2005 into many smaller parts, sone of which was still being observed in 2018 between the Falklands and South Georgia.
I’ve noticed that has been hardly any ground frost this winter. On checking the Met office stats, it turns out that last year (2019) was the sixth consecutive year with fewer ground frosts than each previous year. The Met Office website regularly published statistics that confirm we are moving through a period of accelerated climate change. On the NASA Climate Change website they’ve published statistical evidence that nineteen of the twenty hottest years ever on record have all occurred since 2000 (i.e. in the last 20 years)!