June 2018 Climate Science Round-Up

Our Climate Science Round-Ups are a compilation of recent news about climate science. In this edition, we pull articles from Nature, the BBC, and The Washington Post about weather trends in the US, plastic found in British mussels, and some key steps that individuals can take to reduce their impact on the earth. 

Antarctica’s Ice Is Melting Even Faster, and Scientists Are Deeply Worried
TIME; June 13, 2018

“The melting of Antarctica is accelerating at an alarming rate, with about 3 trillion tons of ice disappearing since 1992, an international team of ice experts said in a new study. In the last quarter century, the southern-most continent’s ice sheet — a key indicator of climate change — melted into enough water to cover Texas to a depth of nearly 13 feet (4 meters), scientists calculated. All that water made global oceans rise about three-tenths of an inch (7.6 millimeters).”

The U.S. just observed its warmest 3-, 4-, and 5-year spans on record
The Washington Post; June 13, 2018

“The nation just witnessed its warmest May on record, but, it turns out, that month was only one small piece of a much longer and historically unprecedented stretch of warmth. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that the past 36-, 48-, and 60-month periods rank warmest on record for the Lower 48, in records that date to 1895.”

Plastic and other waste found in British mussels
BBC News; June 8, 2018

“Researchers have found tiny pieces of plastic in all the samples of mussels they tested in British seawaters and bought from local supermarkets. The scientists, from the University of Hull and Brunel University, said the contamination from microplastics and other human debris, such as cotton and rayon, was significant and widespread.”

Key ‘step forward’ in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air
BBC News; June 7, 2018

“A Canadian company, backed by Bill Gates, says it has reached an important threshold in developing technology that can remove CO2 from the air. Carbon Engineering has published a peer-reviewed study showing that they can capture carbon for under $100 a tonne. This would be a major advance on the current price of around $600 per tonne. The company says their immediate goal is to produce synthetic liquid fuels made from carbon and renewable energy.”

Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
The Guardian; May 31. 2018

“Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.”

Curbing global warming could save US$20 trillion
Nature; May 23, 2018

“An updated estimate of the economic damage of climate change makes a strong financial case for urgent action on greenhouse-gas emissions. Economists and analysts around the world have repeated the exercise many times, most prominently with the British government’s Stern Review in 2006 (N. Stern The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review; Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007). Almost all agree with the original conclusion: it will be much cheaper to spend the money on trying to curb emissions than to pay for the impact of the resulting climate change. But how much cheaper? There’s the rub.”