2013 began with record heat waves in Australia, and the year ended there with more record heat waves. Australia is the bellwether of abrupt climate change: what happens there will happen soon to the rest of the world. So it’s no surprise that this year’s graphs have a lot of data on Australia and global warming generally.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory, 1958-2013. This is also known as the 'Keeling Curve'. Concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere crossed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history on 10 May 2013. Graphic: keelingcurve.ucsd.edu

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory, 1958-2013

That doesn’t mean the rest of the world was spared; warming hit both hemispheres ferociously, most spectacularly in the Arctic, where Siberia and Alaska experienced record-breaking bikini weather, and in the Philippines, where two giant typhoons leveled towns and displaced 6 million people. When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November, it was the most powerful tropical storm to make landfall in recorded history.

Elsewhere, humans continued to dismantle the biosphere in numerous ways: razing forests, strip-mining the oceans of biomass, and dumping hundreds of millions of tons of fertilizing elements like phosphorus and nitrogen into the environment. In spite of many well-meaning efforts and a swelling flood of environmental data, nothing seems to deflect these trends.

Check out Desdemona’s doomiest posts of previous years:

  • 2012 doomiest graphs, images, and stories
  • 2011 doomiest graphs, images, and stories
  • 2010 doomiest graphs, images, and stories

    Total area occupied by Monarch butterfly colonies at overwintering sites in Mexico, 1994-2013

    Total Area Occupied by Monarch Colonies at Overwintering Sites in Mexico, 1994-2013. Graphic: MonarchWatch.org

    14 March 2013 (Monarch Watch) – The World Wildlife Fund-Mexico / Telcel Alliance, in collaboration with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), held a press conference late on the 13th of March 2013 to announce the results of the status of the monarch populations that overwinter in the oyamel forests of Mexico. Measures of the areas occupied by each of the nine monarch colonies in the states of Michoacan and Mexico totaled 1.19 hectares. This number represents a decline of almost 59% from the area occupied the previous winter. Further, this population is the smallest recorded since the monarch colonies came to the attention of scientists in 1975. A visual inspection of Figure 1 reveals a clear downward trend in the population.

    Graph of the Day: Total area occupied by Monarch butterfly colonies at overwintering sites in Mexico, 1994-2013

    Grassland butterfly decline in Europe and the EU, 1990-2011

    The European Grassland Butterfly Indicator, and the indicator for the Member States of the EU alone. The indicator is based on supranational species trends. Both indicators showed a marked decline between 1990 and 2011. Compared to 1990, the European populations of the 17 indicator species have declined by, on average, almost 50 percent. Graphic: EEA

    22 July 2013 (EEA) – Figure 4.1 shows the European Grassland Butterfly Indicator, as well as the indicator for the Member States of the EU alone. The indicator is based on the supranational species trends as presented in Chapter 3. As in previous versions, both indicators showed a marked decline between 1990 and 2011. Compared to 1990, the European populations of the 17 indicator species have declined by, on average, almost 50%. The decline seems to have slowed a little in the last few years. The negative trend in the EU Member States alone is a little less than in Europe as a whole, with a decline of almost 30% over the period.

    When interpreting these graphs it should be remembered that a large decline of butterflies in north‑western Europe (countries all already in the EU for a long time) happened before 1990.

    Graph of the Day: Decline of butterfly populations in Europe and EU, 1990-2011

    UK Farmland Bird Indicator, 1970-2011

    The UK Farmland Bird Indicator, 1970-2011, showing differing trends for specialist and generalist species. Data are from the RSPB, BTO, JNCC, and Defra. The numbers in brackets refer to the number of species in each group. Specialist species have decline by over 60% in 40 years. Graphic: RSPB

    22 May 2013 (RSPB) – Trends in farmland birds, together  with those of widespread bats and butterflies, are used as indicators of the state of biodiversity. Farmland bird populations declined rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s, and by 2000 their numbers were just half what they were in 1970. There has been no subsequent recovery, and some species, such as the turtle dove, have continued to decline rapidly. The only bat monitored over the same period was the pipistrelle, which showed an even steeper decline.

    Data are from the RSPB, BTO, JNCC, and Defra. The numbers in brackets refer to the number of species in each group. Specialist species have decline by over 60% in 40 years.

    Graph of the Day: UK Farmland Bird Indicator, 1970-2011

    Decline of U.K. wildlife, 1968-2010

    Watchlist Indicator showing the average population trend for 77 moths, 19 butterflies, 8 mammals and 51 birds listed as UK BAP priorities, 1968-2010. Species are weighted equally. The indicator starts at 100;  a rise to 200 would show that, on average, the populations of indicator species have doubled, whereas if it dropped to 50 they would have halved. Dotted lines show the 95% confidence limits. Graphic: RSPB

    22 May 2013 (RSPB) – The Watchlist Indicator shows the average population trend for 77 moths, 19 butterflies, 8 mammals and 51 birds listed as UK BAP priorities, 1968-2010. Species are weighted equally. The indicator starts at 100;  a rise to 200 would show that, on average, the populations of indicator species have doubled, whereas if it dropped to 50 they would have halved. Dotted lines show the 95% confidence limits.

    Since 1970, the indicator has dropped by 77%, representing  a massive decline in the abundance of priority species.  There was a steep decline in the early years of the indicator, but this is to be expected because it was these declines that led many species to be included in priority lists in the first place. What is important is whether the decline has stopped in response to conservation action: worryingly, it has not. The indicator declined by 18% between 2000 and 2010, suggesting ongoing declines in priority species. It may  now be stabilising, but more years of data are needed to confirm this.

    Graph of the Day: Decline of U.K. wildlife, 1968-2010

    Biomass decline of nine whale species, 1800-2008

    IWC time series of biomass of the nine great whale species with greatest abundance under the management of IWC. Line denotes establishment of IWC (1946). Data: from L. Christensen, unpublished data, University of British Columbia, 2008. Graphic: Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

    (UBC) – IWC time series of biomass of the nine great whale species with greatest abundance under the management of IWC. Line denotes establishment of IWC (1946). Data: from L. Christensen, unpublished data, University of British Columbia, 2008.

    Graph of the Day: Biomass decline of nine whale species, 1800-2008

    Atlantic salmon biomass decline, 1960s-2009

    Atlantic salmon under NASCO management. a-c) Time series of the biomass of the three stocks of Atlantic salmon; line denotes establishment of NASCO (1983). d) Current state of the North American Atlantic salmon stocks. Data from ICES (2009) and NASCO (2008). Graphic: Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

    (UBC) – Atlantic salmon under NASCO management. a-c) Time series of the biomass of the three stocks of Atlantic salmon; line denotes establishment of NASCO (1983). d) Current state of the North American Atlantic salmon stocks. Data from ICES (2009) and NASCO (2008). Graphic: Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

    Graph of the Day: Atlantic salmon biomass decline, 1960s-2009

    Biomass of tuna species under management of ICCAT

    ICCAT time series of the biomass of tuna species under management of ICCAT. Line denotes establishment of ICCAT (1969). Species assessed comprise the “major tuna” that ICCAT manages. Data: a) from ICCAT (2008a), b) ICCAT (2008b), c-e) ICCAT (2008c), f) ICCAT (2008d), g-h) ICCAT (2008e). Graphic: Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

    ICCAT time series of the biomass of tuna species under management of ICCAT. Line denotes establishment of ICCAT (1969). Species assessed comprise the “major tuna” that ICCAT manages. Data: a) from ICCAT (2008a), b) ICCAT (2008b), c-e) ICCAT (2008c), f) ICCAT (2008d), g-h) ICCAT (2008e).

    Graph of the Day: Biomass decline of tuna species, 1960s-2008

    Global shark landings, 1950-2010

    Global landings trends. (A) Reported landings of wild-caught bony fish and Chondrichthyes, as derived from FAO landings data. (B) Reported FAO landings of sharks versus other Chondrichthyes (rays, skates and chimaeras). (C) Reported landings of Chondrichthyes by region. (D) Trade in shark fin imports and (E) exports as reported by FAO. (F) Trade data for shark fin imports to Hong Kong as reported by the Government of Hong Kong Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries. Graphic: Worm, et al., 2013

    July 2013 (Marine Policy) – The global catch and mortality of sharks from reported and unreported landings, discards, and shark finning are being estimated at 1.44 million metric tons for the year 2000, and at only slightly less in 2010 (1.41 million tons). Based on an analysis of average shark weights, this translates into a total annual mortality estimate of about 100 million sharks in 2000, and about 97 million sharks in 2010, with a total range of possible values between 63 and 273 million sharks per year.

    Estimates of the average exploitation rate range between 6.4% and 7.9% of sharks killed per year. This exceeds the average rebound rate for many shark populations, estimated from the life history information on 62 shark species (rebound rates averaged 4.9% per year), and explains the ongoing declines in most populations for which data exist.

    Graph of the Day: Global shark landing trends, 1950-2010

    Global per capita capture fish production, 2000-2010

    Global per capita capture fish production, 2000-2010. Graphic: FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department

    (FAO) – In 2010, capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with 148 million tonnes of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Of this, 128 million tonnes was used as human food, providing an estimated per capita food supply of about 19 kg (live weight equivalent). Globally, fish provides about 17 percent of the population’s average per capita intake of animal protein.

    Most of the fish landed and not used for direct human consumption is processed into fishmeal and oil for use as animal feed, mainly for carnivorous aquatic species (such as shrimp, salmon, trout, eels, sea bass and sea bream), but also for pigs, chickens, household pets, cattle, etc.

    Worldwide, capture fisheries and aquaculture provide a source of income and livelihood for 55 million people through direct employment; overall there are more than 220 million jobs in the global fish industry.

    Graph of the Day: Global per capita capture fish production, 2000-2010 

    Legal and illegal logging in the Brazilian state of Pará, 2010-2012

    Legal and illegal logging in the Brazilian state of Pará, 2010-2012. Graphic: Imazon / mongabay.com

    23 October 2013 (mongabay.com) – Illegal logging remains pervasive in the Brazilian state of Pará, finds an assessment released by Imazon.

    Analyzing satellite data and records from Pará's environmental agency Sema, the Brazil-based NGO found that 78 percent of logging documented via satellite between August 2011 and July 2012 was illegal. Some 122,337 hectares of rainforest was logged during the period, a 151 percent rise over a year earlier, when 48,802 ha were illegally harvested.

    Illegal logging far outpaced legal logging in the state: the area illegally cut was three-and-a-half times larger than the 34,902 ha where sanctioned logging took place.

    Illegal logging remains rampant in Brazil

    Ecuador's Yasuní National Park and land leased for oil development

    Ecuador's Yasuní National Park. A) Location of Yasuní National Park at the crossroads of the Amazon, Andes, and the Equator. B) Oil blocks and oil access roads within and surrounding the park. ITT = Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil fields, NWC = Napo Wildlife Center, TBS = Tiputini Biodiversity Station, YRS = Yasuní Research Station. The image background is the Blue Marble mosaic of MODIS satellite images. Graphic: Bass, et al., 2010

    3 October 2013 (mongabay.com) – Over 100 scientists have issued a statement to the Ecuadorian Congress warning that proposed oil development and accompanying roads in Yasuní National Park will degrade its "extraordinary biodiversity." The statement by a group dubbed the Scientists Concerned for Yasuní outlines in detail how the park is not only likely the most biodiverse ecosystems in the western hemisphere, but in the entire world. Despite this, the Ecuadorian government has recently given the go-ahead to plans to drill for oil in Yasuni's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) blocs, one of most remote areas in the Amazon rainforest.

    More than 100 scientists warn Ecuador Congress against oil development in Yasuní National Park – ‘They are not nibbling around the edges of the park anymore, but going deep into the core’

    Trends in forest canopy green cover over the eastern United States, 2000-2010

    Trends in forest canopy green cover over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010 derived from NASA MODIS satellite sensor data. Green shades indicate a positive trend of increasing growing season green cover, whereas brown shades indicate a negative trend of decreasing growing season green cover. Four forest sub-regions of interest are outlined in red, north to south as: Great Lakes, Southern Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. Photo: NASA

    25 February 2013 (NASA) – NASA scientists report that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation locally and regionally have altered the growth of large forest areas in the eastern United States over the past 10 years. Using NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists examined the relationship between natural plant growth trends, as monitored by NASA satellite images, and variations in climate over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010.

    Monthly satellite images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) showed declining density of the green forest cover during summer in four sub-regions, the Upper Great Lakes, southern Appalachian, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. More than 20 percent of the non-agricultural area in the four sub-regions that showed decline during the growing season, were covered by forests. Nearly 40 percent of the forested area within the mid-Atlantic sub-region alone showed a significant decline in forest canopy cover.

    Graph of the Day: Trends in forest canopy green cover over the eastern United States, 2000-2010

    Forest fires near Yakutsk, Russia, 2000-2012

    Forest fires near Yakutsk, Russia, 2000-2012. Graphic: Hansen, et al., 2013

    14 November 2013 (Washington Post) – From a new study in the journal Science: the first effort to quantify in detail how forests are changing and disappearing over the past decade. The research team, led by the University of Maryland, used Landsat satellite images and Google's Earth Engine to assemble detailed new maps.

    Graph of the Day: Forest fires near Yakutsk, Russia, 2000-2012

    Alaska temperature anomaly with respect to a normal forecast for 21 June 2013

    Alaska temperature anomaly with respect to a normal forecast for Friday, 21 June 2013 by GFS model. Graphic: WeatherBell.com

    19 June 2013 (wunderground.com) – Alaska is a land of extremes, but the weather of the past month has been truly exceptional. An intense ridge of high pressure, part of an extreme jet stream pattern that has become "stuck" in place for many days, is creating the state's hottest heat wave in 44 years this week.

    Numerous cities in Alaska have recorded their all-time hottest temperatures on record, and according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the unofficial 98° measured at Bentalit Lodge on Monday, June 17, ties the record for the hottest reliably measured temperature in state history.

    Alaska continues to fry, as wildfires flare up

    November 2013 global land and ocean temperature anomalies

    November 2013 global land and ocean temperature anomalies. According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was the highest for November since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive November and 345th consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average November global temperature was November 1976 and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985. Graphic: NOAA

    17 December 2013 (NCDC) – According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was the highest for November since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive November and 345th consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average November global temperature was November 1976 and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985.

    Graph of the Day: November 2013 global land and ocean temperature anomalies

    The Angry Summer: In 90 days, 123 weather records were broken throughout Australia

    The Angry Summer: In 90 days, 123 weather records were broken throughout Australia. Climate change was a major driving force behind a string of extreme weather events that alternately scorched and soaked large sections of Australia 2012/2013, according to a report issued by the government's Climate Commission on 4 March 2013. Graphic: Climate Commission

    SYDNEY, Australia, 4 March 2013 (The New York Times) – Climate change was a major driving force behind a string of extreme weather events that alternately scorched and soaked large sections of Australia in recent months, according to a report [pdf] issued Monday by the government’s Climate Commission.

    A four-month heat wave during the Australian summer culminated in January in bush fires that tore through the eastern and southeastern coasts of the country, where most Australians live. Those record-setting temperatures were followed by torrential rains and flooding in the more densely populated states of New South Wales and Queensland that left at least six people dead and caused roughly $2.43 billion in damage along the eastern seaboard.

    The Angry Summer: Government report blames climate change for weather extremes in Australia

    Australia Bureau of Meteorology forecast for 14 January 2013

    Australia Bureau of Meteorology forecast for 17:00 AEDT on Monday, 14 January 2013. The Bureau of Meteorology's interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees C. Graphic: BOM

    9 January 2013 (Sydney Morning Herald) – Australia's "dome of heat" has become so intense that the temperatures are rising off the charts – literally.

    The Bureau of Meteorology's interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees.

    Temperatures off the charts in Australia – Bureau of Meteorology adds new colors to represent record temperatures above 50°C (122°F)

    Record rainfall deficiencies over South Australia, April 2012 - January 2013

    Rainfall deficiencies for the 10-month (April 2012 to January 2013) period have expanded over South Australia; an area of lowest on record stretches across much of the pastoral districts and into eastern Western Australia. Areas of severe deficiency have also expanded into western and central New South Wales and Victoria, including the Riverland. Graphic: Bureau of Meteorology

    5 February 2013 (National Climate Centre) – Severe rainfall deficiencies for the 6 month (August 2012 to January 2013) period have expanded in central Australia and in large parts of the inland southeast of Australia following below average January rainfall. Severe deficiencies now cover most of South Australia (where August to January rainfall was the lowest on record), large areas of western New South Wales and Victoria, and the southwest corner of the Northern Territory.

    Graph of the Day: Australia rainfall deficiencies, 1 April 2012 – 31 January 2013

    Hourly temperature in Sydney, Australia, 18 January 2013

    Hourly temperature in Sydney, Australia, 18 January 2013. The mercury topped 45.8 at Sydney's Observatory Hill at 2.55pm, breaking the previous record set in 1939 by half a degree. Graphic: Fairfax Media / Bureau of Meteorology

    19 January 2013 (SMH) – Sydney endured its hottest ever day on Friday, with records smashed across the city and thousands of people suffering from the heat.

    The mercury topped 45.8 at Sydney's Observatory Hill at 2.55pm, breaking the previous record set in 1939 by half a degree. The city's highest temperature was a scorching 46.5 degrees, recorded in Penrith at 2.15pm, while Camden, Richmond and Sydney Airport all reached 46.4 degrees.

    Sydney endures hottest day ever recorded – Emergency services council warns government of worse to come

    Highest-recorded temperatures in Mainland China, July 2013

    Mainland China: Highest-recorded temperatures in July 2013. Graphic: CNN / China Meteorological Administration

    Hong Kong, 1 August 2013 (CNN) – Record-breaking temperatures have been searing large swaths of China, resulting in dozens of heat-related deaths and prompting authorities to issue a national alert.

    People are packing into swimming pools or taking refuge in caves in their attempts to escape the fierce temperatures. Local governments are resorting to cloud-seeding technology to try to bring rain to millions of acres of parched farmland.

    The worst of the smoldering heat wave has been concentrated in the south and east of the country, with the commercial metropolis of Shanghai experiencing its hottest July in at least 140 years, according to state media.

    Heat wave kills people, crops, fish, and hopes in China

    Summertime maximum and minimum temperatures in each of California's six climate regions, 1950-2010

    Summertime (June-August) maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperatures have increased between 1950 and 2010 for each of California's six climate regions. Graphic: CalEPA / OEHHA

    8 August 2013 (CalEPA) – Summertime (June-August) maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperatures have increased between 1950 and 2010 for each of the six climate regions.  The map of California climate regions is based on a space-time analysis of temperature extremes (see Richman and Lamb, 1985; Comrie and Glenn, 1998; Guirguis and Avissar, 2008 for methodology).  Tmax reflects the hottest daytime temperatures, while Tmin reflects the coolest nighttime temperatures.  

    Graph of the Day: Maximum and minimum temperatures in California, by region, 1950-2010

    Temperature reconstruction of global temperatures throughout the Holocene epoch

    This graphic of the temperature reconstruction shows the rise and fall global temperatures throughout the Holocene epoch. An earlier reconstruction of the past 2,000 years is shown for comparison. Graphic: Marcott, et al., 2013 / Science / AAAS

    WASHINGTON, 8 March 2013 (AP) – A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike.

    Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century.

    Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn't natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.

    Recent global heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years – ‘We’ve never seen something this rapid. Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly.’

    Global average temperature since the last ice age (20,000 BC) to the not-too distant future (2100) under a middle-of-the-road CO2 emission scenario

    Global average temperature since the last ice age (20,000 BC) up to the not-too distant future (2100) under a middle-of-the-road emission scenario comprising the temperature reconstruction of Shakun, et al. (green – shifted manually by 0.25 degrees), of Marcott, et al. (blue), combined with the instrumental period data from HadCRUT4 (red) and the model average of IPCC projections for the A1B scenario up to 2100 (orange). Graphic: Jos Hagelaars

    19 March 2013 (Our Changing Climate) – The big picture (or as some call it: the Wheelchair): Global average temperature since the last ice age (20,000 BC) up to the not-too distant future (2100) under a middle-of-the-road emission scenario.

    Earlier this month an article was published in Science about a temperature reconstruction regarding the past 11,000 years. The lead author is Shaun Marcott from Oregon State University and the second author Jeremy Shakun, who may be familiar from the interesting study that was published last year on the relationship between CO2 and temperature during the last deglaciation. The temperature reconstruction of Marcott is the first one that covers the entire period of the Holocene. Naturally this reconstruction is not  perfect, and some details will probably change in the future. A normal part of the scientific process.

    Graph of the Day: Global average surface temperature, 20,000 BC-present, with projection to 2100

    Climate departure years for cities around the world

    Climate departure years for cities around the world. A city hits 'climate departure' when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. Earth, overall, passes climate departure in 2047. The study also projects the year of climate departure in dozens of specific cities. The cities marked by dark red dots are projected to hit climate departure really, really soon. Bad news: Many of these are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Graphic: Leonard Bernstein and Gene Thorp / The Washington Post

    9 October 2013 (Washington Post) – Climate scientists sometimes talk about something called "climate departure" as a way of measuring when climate change has really changed things. It's the moment when average temperatures, either in a specific location or worldwide, become so impacted by climate change that the old climate is left behind. It's a sort of tipping point. And a lot of cities are scheduled to hit one very soon.

    A city hits "climate departure" when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. For example, let's say the climate departure point for D.C. is 2047 (which it is). After 2047, even D.C.'s coldest year will still be hotter than any year from before 2005. Put another way, every single year after 2047 will be hotter than D.C.'s hottest year on record from 1860 to 2005. It's the moment when the old "normal" is really gone.

    Map: These are the cities that climate change will hit first – ‘The boundary of passing from the climate of the past to the climate of the future happens surprisingly soon’

    Projected global average surface temperatures over the lifetime of a person born in 1965 and beyond, to the year 2200

    Graph showing projected global average surface temperatures over the lifetime of a person born in 1965 and beyond, to the year 2200. Data provided by the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, and Department of Physics, University of Oxford. Modelling by Richard Millar. Interactive by Duncan Clark. Graphic: The Guardian

    27 September 2013 (theguardian.com) – The UN is to publish the most exhaustive examination of climate change science to date, predicting dangerous temperature rises. How hot will it get in your lifetime? Find out with our interactive guide, which shows projections based on the report.

    Climate change: How hot will it get in my lifetime?

    Global surface temperature, 1979-2012, corrected for missing Arctic data

    Global surface temperature, 1979-2012, corrected for missing Arctic data. The corrected data (bold lines) are shown in the graph compared to the uncorrected ones (thin lines). The temperatures of the last three years have become a little warmer, the year 1998 a little cooler. Graphic: Cowtan and Way, 2013

    13 November 2013 (RealClimate) – A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared.

    Global warming since 1997 underestimated by half

    September Arctic sea ice extent based on 89 ensemble members from 36 CMIP5 models under the RCP8.5 (high) emissions scenario

    September Arctic sea ice extent based on 89 ensemble members from 36 CMIP5 models under the RCP8.5 (high) emissions scenario. Each thin colored line represents one ensemble member from the model. The thick yellow line is the arithmetic mean of all ensemble members and the blue line is their median value. The thick black line represents observations based on adjusted HadleyISST_ice analysis for the period 1953-1978, and NSIDC from 1979-2012. Observation data were provided by Meier, NSIDC. The horizontal black dashed line marks the 1.0 M km2 value, which indicates nearly sea ice free summer Arctic. Graphic: Overland and Wang, 2012

    21 May 2013 (GRL) – The observed rapid loss of thick, multi-year sea ice over the last seven years and September 2012 Arctic sea ice extent reduction of 49% relative to the 1979-2000 climatology are inconsistent with projections of a nearly sea ice free summer Arctic from model estimates of 2070 and beyond made just a few years ago.

    Graph of the Day: Observed and modeled September Arctic sea ice extent, 1900-2100

    Antarctic ice melt relative to 600-year mean 

    Red represents areas where temperatures have increased the most during the last 50 years, particularly in West Antarctica, while dark blue represents areas with a lesser degree of warming. Temperature changes are measured in degrees Celsius. Photo: NASA / GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

    CANBERRA, 15 April 2013 (Reuters) – The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves.

    Researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey found data taken from an ice core also shows the summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago.

    Scientists find Antarctic ice is melting faster – Summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago

    Computer simulations showing open-water vessels crossing the Northwest Passage and North Sea Route in the summer by 2050 without icebreakers

    A study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, led by UCLA geographer Laurence Smith, looks at how the Arctic will change under even modest levels of global warming. Through computer simulations, the researchers found that open-water vessels will be able to, in theory, cross the Northwest Passage and North Sea Route regularly in the summer by 2050 without icebreakers. And icebreaker ships may be able to ram right through the North Pole. Graphic: Smith and Stephenson, 2013

    OSLO, 12 March 2013 (Reuters) – A Chinese shipping firm is planning the country's first commercial voyage through a shortcut across the Arctic Ocean to the United States and Europe in 2013, a leading Chinese scientist said on Tuesday.

    China plans first commercial trip through Arctic shortcut in 2013

    Observed areas of methane hotspots from submarine permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

    Observed areas of methane hotspots from submarine permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Graphic: Shakhova, et al., 2013

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska, 29 November 2013 (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner) – Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it’s leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Their article, which appeared Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, states that the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane at a rate more than twice what scientific models had previously anticipated.

    Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov at the university’s International Arctic Research Center have spent more than a decade researching the Arctic’s greenhouse-gas emissions, along with scientists from Russia, Europe and the Lower 48.

    Shakhova, the lead author of the most recent report, said the methane release rate likely is even greater than their paper describes.

    “We decided to be as conservative as possible,” Shakhova said. “We’re actually talking the top of the iceberg.”

    Arctic Ocean leaking methane at alarming rate –‘What we’re observing right now is much faster than what we anticipated and much faster than what was modeled’

    Sacramento River runoff, 1906-2011

    Sacramento River runoff, 1906-2011. Since 1906, the fraction of annual unimpaired runoff into the Sacramento River that occurs from April through July (represented as a percentage of total water year runoff) from the accumulated winter precipitation in the Sierra Nevada, has decreased by about 9 percent. Graphic: CalEPA / OEHHA

    8 August 2013 (CalEPA) – Since 1906, the fraction of annual unimpaired runoff into the Sacramento River that occurs from April through July (represented as a percentage of total water year runoff) from the accumulated winter precipitation in the Sierra Nevada, has decreased by about 9 percent.

    Graph of the Day: Sacramento River runoff, 1906-2011

    Decrease in water levels of the High Plains Aquifer, from predevelopment to 2011

    Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment - before substantial groundwater irrigation began - to 2011. Graphic: USGS / The New York Times

    19 May 2013 (The New York Times) – Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment — before substantial groundwater irrigation began — to 2011.

    Graph of the Day: Decrease in High Plains Aquifer water levels, predevelopment to 2011

    Map of the United States (excluding Alaska) showing cumulative groundwater depletion in 40 assessed aquifer systems or subareas, 1900-2008

    Map of the United States (excluding Alaska) showing cumulative groundwater depletion, 1900 through 2008, in 40 assessed aquifer systems or subareas. Colors are hatched in the Dakota aquifer (area 39) where the aquifer overlaps with other aquifers having different values of depletion. Graphic: USGS

    (USGS) – Estimated groundwater depletion in the United States during 1900–2008 totals approximately 1,000 cubic kilometers (km3). Furthermore, the rate of groundwater depletion has increased markedly since about 1950, with maximum rates occurring during the most recent period (2000–2008) when the depletion rate averaged almost 25 km3 per year (compared to 9.2 km3 per year averaged over the 1900–2008 timeframe).

    Graph of the Day: Cumulative U.S. groundwater depletion, 1900-2008

     Slow recovery of Amazon rainforest from 2005 megadrought

    At left, the extent of the 2005 megadrought in the western Amazon rainforests during the summer months of June, July and August as measured by NASA satellites. The most impacted areas are shown in shades of red and yellow. The circled area in the right panel shows the extent of the forests that experienced slow recovery from the 2005 drought, with areas in red and yellow shades experiencing the slowest recovery. Graphic: NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSFC

    17 January 2013 (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

    In the image above, at left, the extent of the 2005 megadrought in the western Amazon rainforests during the summer months of June, July, and August as measured by NASA satellites. The most impacted areas are shown in shades of red and yellow. The circled area in the right panel shows the extent of the forests that experienced slow recovery from the 2005 drought, with areas in red and yellow shades experiencing the slowest recovery. Graphic: NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSFC

    Study finds megadrought jeopardizing Amazon rainforest

    Global sea surface pH change, historical and projected to the year 2100

    Global sea surface pH change, historical and projected to the year 2100. Graphic: Bopp et al., 2013 / IGBP

    13 November 2013 (BBC News) – The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an "unprecedented rate" and may be souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years.

    In their strongest statement yet on this issue, scientists say acidification could increase by 170% by 2100.

    They say that some 30% of ocean species are unlikely to survive in these conditions.

    World’s oceans acidifying more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years

    Zooplankton abundance in the Gulf of Maine, 1977-2013

    Zooplankton abundance in the Gulf of Maine, 1977-2013. In 2013, scientists observed the lowest-ever spring plankton bloom in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. Data from NOAA. Graphic: Dhyana Sansoucie / Cape Code Times

    WOODS HOLE, Massachusetts, 25 November 2013 (Cape Cod Times) – A marine ecosystem expert is warning that the effect of changes in water temperature and plankton blooms may have ripple effects up the food chain.

    "We believe that the changes in the timing of warming events have affected plant and animal reproduction," wrote oceanographer Kevin Friedland of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole in an ecosystem advisory released last week.

    Scientists observe lowest-ever spring plankton bloom in Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem

    Atmospheric CO2 concentration, from 800,000 years ago to present

    CO2 levels are far higher now than they have been for anytime during the past 800,000 years. Graphic: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

    3 May 2013 (Climate Central) – The last time there was this much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere, modern humans didn't exist. Megatoothed sharks prowled the oceans, the world's seas were up to 100 feet higher than they are today, and the global average surface temperature was up to 11°F warmer than it is now.

    The last time CO2 was this high, humans didn’t exist – ‘There is the possibility that we’ve already breached the threshold of truly dangerous human influence on our climate and planet’

    Global mineral fertilizer consumption for nitrogen and phosphorus and projected possible futures, 1960-2050

    Trends in global mineral fertilizer consumption for nitrogen and phosphorus and projected possible futures,1960-2050. The amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in 2050 will depend on present-day decisions (expressed as N and P2O5). Graphic: Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) in 'Our Nutrient World'

    18 February 2013 (The Independent) – The world is facing a fertiliser crisis, with far too little in some places, and far too much in others, a new report from the United Nations says today.

    The mass application of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients needed for plant growth has had huge benefits for world food and energy production, but it has also caused a web of water and air pollution that is damaging human health, causing toxic algal blooms, killing fish, threatening sensitive ecosystems, and contributing to climate change, says the report, Our Nutrient World [pdf].

    UN says fertiliser crisis is damaging the biosphere – Mass application of nutrients causes pollution in some areas while under-use hampers food production in others

    Environmental stressors to Great Lakes

    This map merges data for all major categories of environmental stressors to the Great Lakes, ranging from climate change to pollution to invasive species. greatlakesmapping.org

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, 20 December 2012 (SPX) – A comprehensive map three years in the making is telling the story of humans' impact on the Great Lakes, identifying how "environmental stressors" stretching from Minnesota to Ontario are shaping the future of an ecosystem that contains 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

    This map merges data for all major categories of environmental stressors to the Great Lakes, ranging from climate change to pollution to invasive species.

    Environmental threat map highlights Great Lakes restoration challenges – ‘The Great Lakes continue to be degraded by numerous environmental stressors’

    Biological condition in rivers and streams across the nine U.S. ecoregions

    Biological condition in rivers and streams based on the Macroinvertebrate Multimetric Index across the nine U.S. ecoregions. Percents may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Graphic: EPA / NRSA

    28 February 2013 (EPA) – The proportion of rivers and streams in poor biological condition, based on the Macroinvertebrate MMI, ranges from 26% in the Western Mountains ecoregion to 71% in the Coastal Plains ecoregion.

    The three most widespread stressors to rivers and streams — phosphorus, nitrogen, and riparian vegetative cover are depicted by ecoregion.

    A clear pattern is evident: the easternmost ecoregions (generally east of the Mississippi River) have a higher proportion of rivers and streams scoring in poor biological condition than those in the western U.S. In the east, the percent of river and stream miles in poor biological condition ranges from 55% to 71%. In the western ecoregions, the percent in poor biological condition ranges from 26% to 43%.

    Graph of the Day: Biological condition in rivers and streams across nine U.S. ecoregions

    Map of the U.S. Plains showing the percentage of grasslands that were converted into corn or soybean fields between 2006 and 2011

    Map of the U.S. Plains showing the percentage of grasslands that were converted into corn or soybean fields between 2006 and 2011. Spurred on by the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s Dust Bowl. Graphic: Wright and Wimberly, 2013

    20 February 2013 (Washington Post) – America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.

    A new study by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of South Dakota State University finds that U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, driven by high crop prices and biofuel mandates. In states like Iowa and South Dakota, some 5 percent of pasture is turning into cropland each year.

    Biofuel rush wiping out America’s grasslands at fastest pace since the 1930s Dust Bowl – Rates of grassland loss are ‘comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia’

    Philippines disaster-induced displacement, 2009-2013

    Philippines disaster-induced displacement, 2009-2013. In 2013, the Philippines had its highest level of disaster-induced displacement in five years. Some 6 million people were displaced. The quadratic curve fit is shown in red. Graphic: Desdemona Despair / data from IDMC

    28 December 2013 (Desdemona Despair) – Desdemona updated the IDMC graph from here with the number of Filipinos displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013: 4 million people. Between Typhoons Bopha and Haiyan, 6 million Filipinos were displaced in 2013.

    Des also added a parabolic curve (red) with a pretty good fit (R2 = 0.89).

    Graph of the Day: Philippines disaster-induced displacement, 2009-2013 

    Rainfall totals for Boulder, Colorado, 10-12 September 2013

    Enough rain fell between 10-12 September to turn 2013 from one of Boulder's driest years into a year that, so far, is rivaling its wettest on record. Graphic: Dennis Adams-Smith / Climate Central

    13 September 2013 (Climate Central) – The Boulder, Colo. area is reeling after being inundated by record rainfall, with more than half a year’s worth of rain falling over the past three days. During those three days, 24-hour rainfall totals of between 8 and 10 inches across much of the Boulder area were enough to qualify this storm as a 1 in 1,000 year event, meaning that it has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.

    Colorado’s ‘Biblical’ flood in line with climate trends – Over 1200 people missing – ‘This is clearly going to be a historic event. The true magnitude is really just becoming obvious now.’

    Large floods in Europe, with severity 2 and magnitude ≥ 5, 1985-2009

    Large floods in Europe, with severity 2 and magnitude ≥ 5, 1985-2009. This is evidence that the number of large floods in Europe has increased. Graphic: Norwegian Meteorological Institute / Kundzewicz et al., 2013.

    27 October 2013 (Norwegian Meteorological Institute) – Globally, over the past 50 years, heavy precipitation events have been on the rise for most extra-tropical regions, corresponding to a warmer Earth surface and lower troposphere. This includes widespread increases in the contribution to total annual precipitation from very wet days, days on which precipitation amounts exceed the 95th percentile value, in many land regions.

    A similar trend is seen in Europe; according to observations, heavy precipitation has been on the rise in a warming climate over much of the region. However, intense precipitation in Europe exhibits complex variability and a lack of a robust spatial pattern. The principal seasonal effect is the increase in extreme precipitation in winter with heavy precipitation events becoming more frequent, even in regions with decreasing total precipitation amounts.

    Graph of the Day: Large floods in Europe, 1985-2009

    West and central Africa flood displacement, June-October 2012

    West and central Africa flood displacement, June-October 2012. Graphic: IDMC

    13 May 2013 (IDMC) – Unusually heavy and prolonged rainfall from June to November 2012 resulted in widespread flooding across 18 countries. Displacement was reported in 13: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and South Sudan (see Figure 3.2). Over 7.6 million people were displaced from their homes. The IFRC and national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in a number of these countries highlighted the importance of having a regional overview when planning international interventions in states with inter-linked flood disasters.

    Graph of the Day: West and Central Africa flood displacement, June-October 2012

    Hours per year of flooding in Norfolk, Virginia’s Hague neighborhood, 1929-2012

    Virginia's Rising Seas: Hours per year of flooding in Norfolk's Hague neighborhood, 1929-2012. This graph is based on measurements at the NOAA Sewells Point tide gauge, courtesy of Dr. Larry Atkinson, CCSLRI, Old Dominion University. Graphic: Virginia Institute of Marine Science

    WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia, 16 September 2013 (The Daily Climate) – Weary of debating the causes of climate change, mayors and other elected officials from Virginia's battered coastal regions gathered here last week and agreed that local impacts have become serious enough to present a case for state action.

    Virginia mayors: Time to respond to climate change – ‘There are more 100-year storms in the last 15 years than we’ve ever seen’

    Total foundation funding distribution to U.S. climate change countermovement organizations, 2003-2010

    Total foundation funding distribution to U.S. climate change countermovement organizations, 2003-2010. Graphic: Brulle, 2013

    20 December 2013 (PhysOrg) – A new study conducted by Drexel University's environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle, PhD, exposes the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the powerful climate change countermovement. This study marks the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted of the sources of funding that maintain the denial effort.

    An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.

    Graph of the Day: Total foundation funding distribution to U.S. climate change countermovement organizations, 2003-2010

    World energy consumption by source, 1820-2010

    World Energy Consumption by Source, 1820-2010. Graphic: The Oil Drum, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from 'Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, and Prospects' and BP Statistical Data on 1965 and subsequent

    11 January 2013 (The Oil Drum) –  World energy consumption by source, 1820-2010, based on Vaclav Smil’s estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, and Prospects and BP Statistical Data on 1965 and subsequent.

    Graph of the Day: World Energy Consumption by Source, 1820-2010 

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  • Environment Canada research scientist Jane Kirk collects snow samples near Fort McMurray, Alberta. The snow may look pristine but it can contain toxic mercury from Alberta oilsands mining operations. Photo: Rodney McInnis / Environment Canada / Postmedia News

    By Margaret Munro
    29 December 2013

    (Postmedia News) – Mercury wafting out of oilsands operations is impacting an area – or “bull’s-eye” — that extends for about 19,000 square kilometres in northeast Alberta, according to federal scientists.

    Levels of the potent neurotoxin found near the massive industrial operation have been found to be up to 16 times higher than “background” levels for the region, says Environment Canada researcher Jane Kirk, who recently reported the findings at an international toxicology conference.

    Mercury can bioaccumulate in living creatures and chronic exposure can cause brain damage. It is such a concern that Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq signed an international treaty in October pledging Canada to further reduce releases to the environment.

    The federal scientists stress the mercury loadings around the oilsands are low compared to the contamination seen in many parts of North America including southern Ontario and southern Quebec.

    But they say the mercury is “the number one concern” when it comes to the metal toxins generated by oilsands operations. It is also a major worry for aboriginal and environmental groups concerned about the oilsands’ impact on fishing, hunting and important wildlife staging areas downstream of the oilsands.

    Environment Canada scientists are sampling everything from snow to lichens to bird eggs as part of the federal-provincial joint oilsands monitoring program.

    Kirk, who will publish the findings in a scientific study in 2014, told the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in Nashville in November that about 19,000 square kilometres are “currently impacted by airborne Hg (mercury) emissions originating from oilsands developments.”

    The levels decrease with distance from the oilsands. “It’s a gradual thing like a bulls’-eye,” says co-investigator Derek Muir, head of Environment Canada’s ecosystem contaminants dynamics section.

    The highest mercury loadings were found in the “middle of the bull’s-eye,” he says, and cover “probably 10 per cent” of the 19,000 square kilometres found to be impacted.

    Both Muir and Kirk stressed in an interview with Postmedia News that much higher levels of mercury pollution are seen in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, which are on the receiving end of toxins created by incinerators, combustion and coal-burning power plants.

    The scientists say much research remains to be done on the mercury around the oilsands, but there are indications the toxin is building up in some of the region’s wildlife.

    Environment Canada wildlife scientist Craig Hebert has been comparing  eggs from waterbirds from northern and southern Alberta. He told the toxicology conference that mercury levels have been increasing in eggs of several bird species downstream of the oilsands.  And in 2012 the mercury levels in the majority of Caspian Tern eggs “exceeded the lower toxicity threshold,” he reported, noting more work is needed to evaluate the sources and impact of  mercury in the fish-eating birds. [more]

    Mercury levels rising in expanse around Alberta oilsands

    The Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, declares a state of emergency in the city of Buenos Aires as a result of power outages, on 29 December 2013. He called on the nation to form a committee to 'monitor the crisis' and work to solve the problems. Photo: M24 Digital

    29 December 2013 (M24 Digital) – The Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri, declared on Saturday a state of “emergency” in the city of Buenos Aires as a result of power outages and called the nation to form a committee to “monitor the crisis” and work to solve the problems.

    In a press conference, Macri announced that there will be day off for the Buenos Aires public administration on Monday, which could be extended to 2 and 3 January if the high temperatures and lack of electricity continue. They had also convened the first meeting of the committee for this Sunday at 10:00 in the Single Center for Coordination and Control (CUCC) .

    There will be present the deputy chief of the City Government, María Eugenia Vidal, and Cabinet Chief Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, but especially Macri asked officials of the national government to assist such as Security Minister Maria Cecilia Rodriguez, to “join forces and find solutions for the people.”

    “Given the continued problems and the heat wave that will continue until Tuesday, Macri declared the emergency in the City and said: “We expect the national government to attend this Committee and its protocols to solve the problem in the coming days.”

    Accompanied by many of his Cabinet, the mayor of Buenos Aires asked the national government and the concessionaires “for transparency in the information” about the cuts and remarked that “people feel abandoned and unprotected.”

    Macri declared an “state of emergency” in the City of Buenos Aires


    28 December 2013 (Buenos Aires Herald) – Planning Minister Julio De Vido renewed his criticism of Edenor and Edesur companies urging their board members to resolve the power outages affecting hundreds of families in Argentina as a heat wave currently hitting the country is expected to give no break at least till Wednesday 31 with temperatures topping an average temperature of 36°C.

    De Vido made the statements after visiting the Atucha II nuclear energy plant along with Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich.

    “With extraordinary temperatures over the past days, a heat wave beyond comparison, companies have not been up to (Argentina's) industrial development and growth,” the Planning and Public Services Minister told reporters and warned sanctions will “aggravate” "minute by minute" if electrical suppliers don’t restore the service in the areas that have experienced power cuts over the past two weeks, such us the neighborhoods of Caballito, Villa Crespo, Recoleta and Mataderos in Buenso Aires City.

    “They have to face people. Sanctions will aggravate minute by minute if they don’t do what they have to do and that is to assume their role,” De Vido insisted and urged Edenor and Edesur leadership to have “social responsibility.”

    With a record-breaking heat wave stifling the South American country over the past two weeks, the minister pointed out the government will be deciding on companies’ sanctions next week when cooler temperatures are expected to give some relief to Argentineans.

    Minister De Vido warns of sanctions snowball if power is not restored


    23 December 2013 (Latino Daily News) – In the midst of a heat wave, thousands of Argentines living in the capital’s metropolitan area on Sunday are still without power, while demand for electricity keeps growing and reaching peak levels, the Federal Planning Ministry said.

    The Argentine power grid set a new record for electricity demand on a Saturday when the consumption level reached 20.605 megawatts, the ministry said in a statement.

    The new record exceeds the old one set last week, when power demand peaked at 20.287 MW.

    The electricity consumption level is directly related to the high temperatures that have been registered all over the country for more than 10 days and the high level of economic activity, the ministry said.

    Despite everything, however, “the system is operating normally and has an additional reserve of 4 megawatts,” the ministry said.

    Complaints, protests and street blockades staged because of the power shortages, however, continued in some capital neighborhoods and in the surrounding metropolitan area.

    The high temperatures which have been punishing central and northern Argentina for a week - often exceeding 35 C (95 F) - are raising electricity consumption in most homes as people try to beat the heat, a situation that has resulted in significant blackouts, many of which still have not been resolved. [more]

    Argentine Heat Wave Leaves Thousands Without Power


    By John Wills
    18 December 2013

    (bnamerica.com) – High temperatures across Argentina coupled with greater industrial development and improved living standards continued to break power demand records and cause power outages.

    After breaking national grid records on Saturday and Sunday, power demand reached 23,334MW on Monday (Dec 16) at 3:00pm, beating the previous workday record of 22,552MW set on July 22, 2013, according to a statement by the federal planning ministry.

    On Tuesday power demand broke the previous day's record reaching 23,433MW at 2:40pm.

    The ministry reiterated the grid was operating normally on Tuesday and that there was at least 2,500MW of spare generation capacity, however, press reported outages in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area as a result of increased demand for air conditioning and ventilation.

    In a separate press conference, planning minister Julio De Vido denied claims the outages were due to lack of investment and planning and instead attributed them to irresponsible power distributors.

    Given a request by Argentine grid operator Cammesa amid the heat wave, Uruguayan grid operator ADME said that power stations Batlle, Bonete, Punta del Tigre, Palmar were run at full capacity while Salto Grande, a 1.89GW binational hydro plant on the Argentina-Uruguay border, was used to meet the remaining demand.

    Power from Uruguay's Punta del Tigre, APR A, B, C, and CTR plants was exported to Argentina on Monday and Tuesday, according to ADME. [more]

    Heat wave breaks power records in Argentina, outages reported

    Canadian and U.S. scientists use the Canadian Coast Guard vessel, the CCGS Henry Larsen, in August 2012, to retrieve instruments assessing ice and currents in the region. Photo: Canadian Coast Guard

    By Mike De Souza
    27 December 2013

    OTTAWA (Postmedia News) – More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada’s water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons.

    According to internal federal briefing notes obtained by Postmedia News, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is eliminating about 500 jobs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans related to Coast Guard services, patrols to stop illegal fishing activities as well as scientific research to promote conservation, protect endangered species, and prevent industrial water pollution.

    The cuts, part of the federal government’s efforts to eliminate its deficit, cover 26 different areas of the department which has a workforce of about 10,000 employees. The downsizing also includes the shutdown of federal libraries and millions of dollars in reductions to climate change adaptation programs. In total, the department estimates it will cut about $80 million per year from its budget by 2014-15, and over $100 million per year in the following fiscal year.

    But the cuts coincide with internal advice from top bureaucrats that the government should instead be increasing its spending in the department to protect both economic and environmental interests, particularly for Coast Guard services which are facing cuts equivalent to about $20 million by 2014-15 and 300 full-time jobs.

    “Rising marine traffic, technological changes, climate change impacts (such as fluctuating water levels), and extended shipping seasons are among the factors expected to continue to place increased demands on Coast Guard services,” said briefing notes prepared for the department’s deputy minister Matthew King in December 2012. “For example, there are demands for increasing icebreaking services on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Great Lakes, for extending Marine Communications and Traffic Services, aids to navigation and ice breaking services in the Quebec North and Arctic for additional environmental response as well as search and rescue capacities in selected areas.”

    The department is in the process of eliminating the equivalent of about 96 full-time positions and slashing spending by about $6 million in its Marine Communications and Traffic Centres which provide “distress and safety call monitoring” and other services to ensure safe and efficient movement of marine vessels.

    The department’s restructuring also follows a shift in its mandate from the Harper government’s 2012 budget, which introduced what it described as “responsible resource development” by eliminating a series of environmental laws and replacing them with new ones that significantly reduced federal oversight on industrial development.

    Those changes revamped a longstanding water pollution prevention law, the Fisheries Act, that required the protection of all fish habitat, replacing it with a new law that only requires the protection of water when humans are nearby. [more]

    Harper government cutting more than $100 million related to protection of water

     

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