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May the 4th be with you: Climate change on Tatooine

May the 4th be with you: Climate change on Tatooine

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

Editor’s note: May 4th is known as Star Wars day around the world. What started as a pun based on the franchise’s catchphrase “May the Force be with you” quickly became a global phenomenon in which Star Wars fans celebrate their favourite movies.

To celebrate Star Wars day we dug out David Ng‘s gem from 2014, a climate change assessment report from Tatooine’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (TIPCC) that explores the desert planet’s climate future.

Tatooine, known as the home planet of Luke Skywalker and Jabba the Hut, is a desert planet situated in the Outer Rim territories of the Star Wars galaxy. David Ng, professor at the University of British Columbia, initially used the fictional planet to explain the concept of radiative forcing to his students, one of the key concepts of global warming which describes how increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases heat the Earth.

Based on the actual IPCC’s reports, David Ng soon found himself expanding on his own idea and creating an assessment report for Tatooine. The “Summary for Tatooine Policymakers” contains graphs describing Tatooine’s observed warming and even includes climate projections out to 100 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin, the fateful battle at the end of the first Star Wars movie “A New Hope”).

Observed surface temperature change on Tatooine 100BBY-10ABY. Source: David Ng/TIPCC

 

The report even looks at the planet’s biodiversity. Anyone remember the Sarlacc in “Return of the Jedi”? Tatooine’s warming climate doesn’t bode well for the arthropod with roots.

Maximum speeds at which species can move across landscapes (based on observations and models; vertical axis on left), compared with speeds at which temperatures are projected to move across landscapes (climate velocities for temperature; vertical axis on right). Source: David Ng/TIPCC

 

Writing in The Science Creative Quarterly, David Ng explains why he created the document:

And why all the effort? Well, firstly, this stands as an admittedly elaborate teaching prop; but secondly, I hope this document entices folks to learn more about the real IPCC report. I get the sense that very few people have even heard of the IPCC, and maybe this even includes yourself. Which is a shame because it’s kind of important. In brief, it’s a document, organized by the United Nations, and prepared by a massive group of academics to try and objectively summarize all available research on climate change and its possible downstream effects. In other words, it’s the summation of decades of work by tens of thousands of very smart people, who are essentially telling you: (1) what the scientific evidence currently looks like; (2) what you might expect to happen in the Earth’s near future; and (3) what should people in influence (i.e. governments) consider doing in order to mitigate or adapt to these projections. Put another way, it’s definitely worth a few moments of your time, even if it is a bit of a sobering read.

Read the TIPCC’s Summary for Tatooine Policymakers below:

Tatooine IPCC by ClimateCentral on Scribd


Cover photo by Darryl Moran/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Acclimatise complies with new data protection law

Acclimatise complies with new data protection law

We need you to take action and confirm you are happy receiving updates from Acclimatise!

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018, regulates data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. As a European business, we at Acclimatise also have to comply with the new regulation.

One important step we have to take is collect consent from all our newsletter subscribers to confirm they want to continue receiving content from us. If you subscribe to our newsletter, please do check your inbox and other potential folders for our alert, which should reach you today, and update your details.

If you are not subscribed yet, please visit our subscription page – now GDPR compliant! – and sign up for weekly climate adaptation and resilience updates: http://eepurl.com/dnGRuH.

We have also updated our website’s privacy policy, which can be accessed here: http://www.acclimatise.uk.com/terms-of-use/.


Cover photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Hurricane forecasters warn of an above-average 2018 hurricane season

Hurricane forecasters warn of an above-average 2018 hurricane season

By Georgina Wade

With 2017’s record-breaking hurricane season bringing about a series of remarkable firsts, it looks like 2018 might be just as lively, if not more so.

Two hurricane forecasts released last week say that the Atlantic Coast – particularly the state of Connecticut – could have a damaging storm season.

Colorado State University meteorologists find that the United States can expect an above-average Atlantic hurricane season with the U.S. Gulf and East coasts facing nearly equal chances of being struck by major hurricane packing winds over 178 km per hour. Falling into the wind range of at least a Category 3 storm, which would lead to devastating damage.

“We anticipate that the 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly above average activity,” researchers said in the report, noting that western tropical Atlantic is abnormally warm right now.

Additionally, researchers at Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project predict with 52 percent probability that a major hurricane will move into the Caribbean Sea during the 2018 season. Its long-range forecast expects between 12 to 15 tropical storms. Of those storms, 6 to 8 are forecast to become hurricanes and 3 to 5 are forecast to become major hurricanes.

Last year, 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes were reported in the United States, ranking it alongside 1936 as the fifth most-active season since records began in 1851. 2017 was also the first known year that two Category 4 storms made landfall in the continental US: Irma and Harvey.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center is expected to issue its outlook for 2018 in late May.


Cover photo by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik: Hurricane Irma approaches Florida on Sept. 9, 2017 in this view from the International Space Station.
March on the Acclimatise Network: Urban climate change resilience – Coping with urban climate impacts in the 21st century

March on the Acclimatise Network: Urban climate change resilience – Coping with urban climate impacts in the 21st century

Inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in Edmonton, CA, next week, we are dedicating the month of March to urban climate change resilience.

In addition to discussing the most pressing issues cities are facing due to climate change and how they can prepare for those impacts, we will also be presenting insights from recent project work.

Stay tuned for our cities content! In the meantime we leave you with this video by the Asian Development Bank about entry points for urban climate resilience action in Asia:


Cover photo by Farzaan Kassam on Unsplash
Worryingly high temperatures in the Arctic while Europe shivers in the cold

Worryingly high temperatures in the Arctic while Europe shivers in the cold

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

February should be one of the coldest months in the Arctic, however, it seems the North Pole is running a fever this year. With average temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius above normal, the current weather is being described as an extreme event by experts.

Zack Labe, a PhD candidate at the University of California, has been sharing data from his research online and it shows worrying signs and trends. While Arctic temperatures have reached record highs for this time of year, Arctic sea ice has reached record lows.

While warm weather intrusions have happened in the past, they used to be a rarity. Speaking to the Washington Post, Robert Graham from the Norwegian Polar Institute said “It happened in four years between 1980-2010, but has now occurred in four out of the last five winters.” A study released last July confirms that since 1980 these warming events have become more frequent and last longer than they used to.

The warm temperatures are intrinsically linked to the rapid loss of sea ice. In mid-February this year, global sea ice extent fell to its lowest level ever measured. This decline has long been described as one the Earth’s most important tipping points: As the reflective white ice melts due to rising temperatures, it exposes the darker ocean surface which more easily absorbs heat warming up ocean waters and melting even more ice.

As a result of retreating sea ice, Cape Morris Jesup, at the very northern tip of Greenland, has had over 60 hours of above freezing temperatures since the beginning of 2018.

Meanwhile, Europe is experiencing particularly cold weather. This, odd as it may sound, is also linked to the warm Arctic temperatures. As pressure builds up over Scandinavia, winds that flow clockwise around such high-pressure systems drag cold Siberian air over Europe. Northern and Eastern Europe are set to feel the brunt of this cold spell, with conditions lasting 10 days or longer.


Cover photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0).
New Horizon 2020 research sheds light on the successes and failures of the climate services market

New Horizon 2020 research sheds light on the successes and failures of the climate services market

By Richard Bater

In partnership with LGi, Acclimatise has led a multi-national consortium of research partners undertaking deep-dive studies of various economic sectors’ demands for climate services. Whilst previous studies have largely sought to develop prototypes or explored the potential use of climate (data) services by means of individual use cases, the Horizon 2020 research project MARCO (MArket Research for a Climate services Observatory) takes a 360° view of the market as a whole. Rather than honing in on the technical requirements of specific users, the project widens its focus to understand the vulnerabilities and needs of different market segments and the conditions that could enable the market to flourish into the future.

Sectors analysed in the MARCO project span the Copenhagen real estate to Austrian alpine winter tourism sectors. The project also includes the world’s first analysis of the implications of climate change for legal services and that sector’s potential demand for climate services.

The outcomes of the MARCO project, available soon, will provide unprecedented detail as to the nature and scope of the climate services market, and provide foresight on how demand could evolve in the coming years and decades. Recommendations will not only inform proposals for a Climate Services Observatory but provide recommendations – for the supply and demand sides – as to how individual sectors and regions can support uptake of climate services and build climate resilience.

With the EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, the European Pensions Directive IORP II, and the Finance Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures rapidly bringing about change in the regulatory environment, management of climate-related risks and appreciation of related opportunities has never been so high on the agenda of directors and boards.

MARCO results, however, show that users seldom, if ever, request ‘climate services’. There is low awareness of what climate services are across all sectors. Such generalised lack of understanding undermines early-stage analyses of the market and, more importantly, identification of proposals to promote climate services take-up. Use of unfamiliar terminology (e.g. climate services) can itself be a barrier to users’ desire to learn about services even when the service may itself be desired.

The climate services supplier market has been historically thought of as comprising a small number of mainly public sector meteorological organisations. This is somewhat true in so far as MARCO research finds more public than private climate service suppliers in 8 of 9 studied sectors. Water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, urban planning, education, and forestry sectors are all well served by (predominantly public) climate services suppliers. However, this characterisation is partly an effect of ‘common-sense’ understandings of climate services that associates them with the work of such organisations. This both limits (potential) users’ expectations of what climate services could be and embeds the notion that climate services are, in their entirety, public goods. Such engrained assumptions act as a brake on sector growth that contributes to a false appraisal of the nature and scope of the climate services sector, leaving tangible needs unaddressed, suppliers in the dark about what services need to be improved and where money needs to be invested, and policy makers unclear about how the sector could best be nurtured.

It is clear that climate services suppliers must become more geared toward the specific needs of individual sectors and their activities. A demand-centred view of climate services focuses attention on user needs and applications of climate-related knowledge that more, often than not, fall beyond the scope of traditional, non-commercial meteorological services providers. The possible applications are manifold – as plural as they are necessary to ensure build the resilience of individuals, societies, and economies. However, these applications are poorly understood and even poorly served by policy makers and climate services suppliers.  Analysing the broader spectrum of actual and potential climate services activities and climate service suppliers redefines and enriches definitions of the climate services market, and highlights end users’ own perceptions about what climate services are and could be.

Following the insights of the MARCO research, to be successful, climate services must:

  • bridge the ‘translation gap’ between climate science and applied use to be pertinent to specific users in different sectors and regions;
  • demonstrate value: what are the cost-benefits of climate services; what opportunities does using certain climate services open-up? (e.g. enhancing reputational value);
  • build visibility and credibility through establishing an easy-to-use ‘shop window’ for non-experts and quality assurance regime

Full reports and project results will be available for download soon.


For more information, please see the MARCO: www.marco-h2020.eu. You can also find MARCO on Twitter: @marco_h2020

If you would like to know more about the MARCO project or would like to receive regular updates on its progress, please contact: Eric Hoa, Climate-KIC: eric.hoa@climate-kic.org  and Chloé Chavardes, LGI: chloe.chavardes@lgi-consulting.com

MARCO Coordinator: Thanh-Tam Le, Climate-KIC thanh-tam.le@climate-kic.org

Partners: Climate-KIC (France), Acclimatise Ltd. (UK), Technical University of DenmarkFinnish Meteorological InstituteHelmholtz-Zentrum Geestacht HZG (Germany), INRA(France), Joanneum Research (Austria), kMatrix (UK), LGI Consulting (France), Smith Innovation (Denmark), UnternehmerTUM GmbH (Germany).

Duration: November 2016-November 2018. EU contribution: EUR 1,520,303.75

Cover photo by Sandro Katalina on Unsplash.
New open-source data platform for climate resilience launches today

New open-source data platform for climate resilience launches today

By Will Bugler

A new data visualisation platform for climate resilience and adaptation practitioners launches today. The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP), co-led by World Resources Institute and Future Earth, has developed a map-based platform, PREPdata, to provides easy access to the information that adaptation decision-makers need to assess vulnerability and build resilience to climate change. The PREPdata website is now live at www.prepdata.org.

Acclimatise is a proud partner of the PREP initiative, which makes climate data more usable for people that need to consider climate change in their project, planning or investment decision-making.  On PREPdata, users can explore climate, physical and socioeconomic datasets and map them to visualize a the vulnerability of a specific region; track indicators most relevant to their work on customizable dashboards, and share their stories with adaptation professionals around the world.

PREPdata uses data from credible sources including NASA, NOAA, USGS and ESA allowing users to access and visualize spatial data reflecting past and future climate, as well as the physical and socioeconomic landscape for climate adaptation and resilience planning. The platform will continually evolve through the input of PREP partners and PREPdata users. PREPdata’s features include:

  1. A visual platform that is user-friendly and customisable to different contexts and skill levels;
  2. Active curation of datasets focused on climate resilience, streamlining the process of accessing and navigating to relevant data;
  3. Global coverage, with an emphasis on increasing access to datasets for the Global South, and support for applications across different scales and geographies; and
  4. A user-needs based strategy for platform development, using the knowledge and network of the partners and platform users to enable continuous improvement.

Widely applicable

The PREPdata platform has been developed with input from partners at city, state, and national scales, and from government, NGO and private sectors. For example, Sonoma County, California, has applied PREPdata to support its climate resilience planning, with a focus on changes that could affect the wine-growing and tourism-dependent region. In India, Acclimatise is involved in work using PREPdata to support climate adaptation plans in two Indian states – Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh – through the development of state-level dashboards to track indicators of climate hazard, vulnerability and adaptation. And, in Africa, PREP partners are exploring the use of PREPdata as a platform for regional-scale analysis of vulnerability to climate change.

Access the PREPdata portal here: https://www.prepdata.org/

Read and share the PREPdata briefing note.

Learn more by signing up for PREP’s webinar.

Guyana gets ready to access the Green Climate Fund

Guyana gets ready to access the Green Climate Fund

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

Last week, the Office of Climate Change (OCC), which is part of Guyana’s Ministry of the Presidency (MotP), hosted its final workshop to collect feedback from relevant stakeholders on the proposed Country Work Programme. The finalised and approved programme will be submitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as the country portfolio or pipeline of projects and programmes for GCF funding. Acclimatise was commissioned to support Guyana in the development of the Country Work Programme and with the in-country capacity building efforts for engagement with the GCF.

The workshop was facilitated by Acclimatise’s Maribel Hernández. The gathered feedback will be implemented into the finalised Country Work Programme which then will be submitted for approval to Minister of State Joseph Harmon. With his approval, the programme will then be sent to the GCF in order to access funding.

Janelle Christian, Head of the OCC, highlighted that Guyana is making a great effort and progressing significantly to build the country’s climate action.

“Many times, we are hard on ourselves with respect to the pace at which we go to address the challenges that we face as a nation, but we are proud to say that for the [Caribbean Community] CARICOM countries, Guyana was the first to have been approved by the GCF for readiness preparation and support of the [National Designated Authority] NDA,” she said.

Accessing GCF funding will greatly improve the country’s ability to climate-proof its development.

Maribel Hernández listening to stakeholder feedback at last week’s workshops.

Cover photo by MotP: Janelle Christian adresses the stakeholders at last week’s workshop.
Water scarcity threat to India and South Africa

Water scarcity threat to India and South Africa

By Alex Kirby

Water scarcity is now a real threat in two developing countries at the forefront of efforts to reduce climate change, India and South Africa. This is not the tragically familiar story of extreme weather, stunted crops and foreshortened lives. It is a different sort of threat: to urban life, to industrial development, and to attempts to end poverty.

More than 80% of India’s electricity comes from thermal power stations, burning coal, oil, gas and nuclear fuel. Now researchers from the US-based World Resources Institute, after analysing all of India’s 400+ thermal power plants, report that its power supply is increasingly in jeopardy from water shortages.

The researchers found that 90% of these thermal power plants are cooled by freshwater, and nearly 40% of them experience high water stress. The plants are increasingly vulnerable, while India remains committed to providing electricity to every household by 2019.

Between 2015 and 2050 the Indian power sector’s share of national water consumption is projected to grow from 1.4 to nine per cent, and by 2030, 70% of the country’s thermal power plants are likely to experience increased competition for water from agriculture, industry and municipalities.

Power sector choking

“Water shortages shut down power plants across India every year,” said O P Agarwal of WRI India. “When power plants rely on water sourced from scarce regions, they put electricity generation at risk and leave less water for cities, farms and families. Without urgent action, water will become a chokepoint for India’s power sector.”

Between 2013 and 2016 14 of India’s 20 largest thermal utility companies experienced one or more shutdowns because of water shortages. WRI calculates that shutdowns cost these companies over INR 91 billion ($1.4 billion) in potential revenue from the sale of power.

It says water shortages cancelled out more than 20% of the country’s growth in electricity generation in 2015 and 2016.

The report offers solutions, including notably a move towards solar and wind energy. India already has a target for 40% of its power to come from renewables by 2030, under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Renewable energy is a viable solution to India’s water-energy crisis,” said Deepak Krishnan, co-author of the report. “Solar PV and wind power can thrive in the same water-stressed areas where thermal plants struggle…”

A policy brief produced by WRI and the International Renewable Energy Agency details ways for India’s power sector to reduce water usage and carbon emissions by 2030.

“The challenge exceeds anything a major city has had to face anywhere in the world since the Second World War or 9/ll”

In Africa the dangers of water scarcity for one of the continent’s best-known cities, Cape Town, are imminent and, some believe, almost apocalyptic.

The city faces the prospect within three months of becoming the world’s first major city to run out of water, al-Jazeera reports.

It says the city’s water supplies are now so low that in late April it will declare “Day Zero”, the day when its reservoirs fall below a combined capacity of 13.5%.

This will mean Cape Town turning off the taps, except in the poorest neighbourhoods, and installing around 200 water collection sites across the city.

Water usage in the Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town,  is now limited to a daily ration of 87 litres per person. If Day Zero dawns, that will drop to about 25 litres. The World Health Organisation says about 20 litres should be enough “to take care of basic hygiene needs and basic food hygiene”.

Rains start later

The province has had three years of drought. Kevin Winter, a senior lecturer in environmental science at the University of Cape Town, told al-Jazeera that as a winter rainfall region, people would normally expect rainfall to start somewhere around April.

“But that’s no longer the case, it comes a whole lot later at the end of June, or in early July, if we are lucky,” he said. “We are experiencing a rapid change in our weather patterns, which is increasingly evident of a climate change…”

Bridgetti Lim Bandi, who has lived in the city all her life, said Cape Town’s rainfall pattern had changed dramatically within the last two decades. “We don’t have a traditional Cape Town winter any more,” she told al-Jazeera.

Helen Zille is premier of the Western Cape province. She wrote on 22 January in the Daily Maverick: “The question that dominates my waking hours now is: When Day Zero arrives‚ how do we make water accessible and prevent anarchy?

“And if there is any chance of still preventing it‚ what is it we can do? …the challenge exceeds anything a major city has had to face anywhere in the world since the Second World War or 9/ll.”


This article originally appeared on Climate News Network and is shared under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

Cover photo by Marcelo Novais on Unsplash.
Global Risk Report 2018 puts climate change front and centre

Global Risk Report 2018 puts climate change front and centre

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its 2018 Global Risk Report and, once again, climate change has gained a prominent position in the risk ranking. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are the first two top rated risk in terms of likelihood, and second and third in terms of impact. Failure to adapt to and mitigate climate change are in fifth place for likelihood and fourth place for impact. Water crises are the fifth ranked risk in terms of impact. That means that climate-related risks make up the majority of the top rated risks in the report.

Risk evolution table 2018. WEF.

The report links the failure to adapt to and mitigate climate change to other risks such as extreme weather events, large-scale involuntary migration, water crises, food crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, and failure of regional or global governance. It is thus indirectly linked to profound social instability, as can be seen below. What becomes clear once more is that climate change is a risk multiplier and can have significant ripple effects across a number of global issues.

The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2018

At the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos, prominent speakers took to the stage to emphasise how important it is to consider climate risks, physical and transitional. Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, a $19 billion conglomerate, told the WEF “climate change is the next century’s biggest financial and business opportunity.” He spoke about how every measures the group has taken to reduce their greenhouse emissions has resulted in a positive return.

Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock, highlighted the importance of the private sector when he said “People are beginning to realise this problem is too big for governments alone to deal with…. Essentially corporations have to become part of this solution.”

Read the full report on the WEF website: WEForum.org


Cover photo by WEF: Which global risks are most connected to the trend ‘changing climate’? (click for original).