Here's what you need to know about ?the warming planet, ho??w it's affecting us, and what's at stake. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. High-tech harvesting and wasteful management have brought world fish stocks to dangerous lows. Engineer your own turbine and find out for yourself whether or not the answer to our clean energy problem is blowin' in the wind.
For their part, the former military leaders issued an update to their landmark 2007 report, which had branded global climate change “a threat multiplier,” aggravating stressors that breed terrorist activity and other forms of violence.
Much of the update, titled National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, focuses on the military group’s mounting concerns about the impacts of climate disruption on the nexus of water, food and energy security and the implications for social and political stability. They link recent political upheavals and potential new terrorist threats in areas such as Mali, northern Africa, and Syria variously to drought, desertification, rising food prices and food insecurity.  While by no means the sole factors, these climate-related stresses may be catalyzing conflicts.
On May 15, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released its assessment that this year’s wheat harvest in Syria – impacted by an “exceptionally dry” January and February – will be some 52 percent below the annual average for 2001-2011. The former military leaders note that more than 97 percent of climate scientists agree that the world is warming and that human actions are the primary cause.  They call for the United States to lead global efforts to develop a more sustainable and efficient energy system to slow the pace of destructive climate impacts.
In their foreword to the report, published by the nonprofit, Virginia-based CNA Corporation, Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security in the George W. That President Obama is forced to use executive administrative orders, in this case through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to get meaningful action on climate change is due to Congress abdicating its role, argues Harvard Law Professor Jody Freeman in a New York Times opinion piece. Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues.  She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin. A well written article…too bad the fox news watching crowd has been posting their climate denial propaganda in the comments. The Pope should focus his attention on freeing USMC SGT Andrew Tahmoressi from his Mexican captors and return him to the US immediately. Of course neither the Pope nor this group of military leaders has come out specifically endorsing the EPA’s draft plan announced yesterday, nor does my article say that they do.
Bob, I must turn this right back to you and suggest you read the peer-reviewed science on climate change. Water CurrentsThe goal of Water Currents is to bring together diverse voices to discuss pressing issues in freshwater.
Help Save the Colorado RiverBy promising to conserve water you can help restore freshwater ecosystems. Some 170,000 have already cut their water footprint, and, with conservation partners, Change the Course has restored more than 4 billion gallons to the Colorado River Basin. Perspective: What Will Happen When the Aquifers Run Dry?If you think the water crisis can't get worse, wait until the aquifers are drained. The might Colorado, the life and soul of the West, is one of the most tapped rivers in the world. Flooded fields surround an Oakville, Iowa, farmstead in the wake of heavy rains that saturated the Midwest in the summer of 2008.
A forlorn tree stands sentinel in the parched fields of a devastated, drought-stricken farm in the Australian outback.A decade-long drought in the region dried up waterways, decimated crops, and left livestock with nowhere to feed—prompting many graziers to destock their ranches. Huge columns of ice calve off Chile’s San Rafael glacier and crash into the sea.Thousands of tourists visit the 30,000-year-old glacier each year, to see its impressive sprawl from the slopes of the Andes to the sea.
Commuters struggled to reach their offices by boat as floodwaters filled the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in August 2002.But other Asians faced far worse. This Honduran “desert” was pasture and farmland before Hurricane Mitch arrived in November 1998.
Seen from the International Space Station, Grey Glacier, part of Chile and Argentina’s massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, looks immovable even as it spills down from the Andes and splashes into Grey Lake in three distinct lobes.The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the biggest collection of glacial ice anywhere except Antarctica and Greenland. Soon after this image was taken, Australia’s Lake Boga went dry for the first time in a century because of a crippling drought in New South Wales.When the water disappeared in 2008, fish died by the thousands and swamped the resort community with a strong stench.
A cliff wall “bathtub ring” shows the shifting water levels of Lake Powell, in Arizona and Utah.
China’s Hunan Province is a major rice-producing region, but recent hot, dry weather has left villagers with little to do but ponder their parched paddies and struggle to sustain themselves in continuing drought.In the summer of 2009, Chinese authorities warned that as many as one million people were running short of critical drinking water as drought expanded in the region.

For eons the Colorado River’s journey from the Rocky Mountains ended in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Sandra is a leading authority on international freshwater issues and is spearheading our global freshwater efforts. For more than 15 years, Osvel Hinojosa Huerta has been resurrecting Mexico's Colorado River Delta wetlands.
The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability.
The November 2015 issue of National Geographic magazineNational GeographicClimates change ? that's a fact of nature. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Glaciers are retreating, ice shelves are fracturing, sea level is rising, permafrost is melting. Drought, desertification, water scarcity and population dislocation are among the climate-related threats that pose risks to global stability and national security, according to a new assessment by former U. Not to mention how we can get to the Second Coming if we actually had the power to destroy Gods creation.
We are particularly interested in water consumption, locally and globally, and restoration and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. For every pledge, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons back to the Colorado River. The water the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago is the same water that falls as rain today.
Rivers topped their banks and broke through levees, flooding farms and cities alike—some 100 blocks of Cedar Rapids were submerged and millions of acres of wheat and corn crops were ruined.Some climate scientists believe that more extreme rain and flooding events are likely as Earth’s climate changes. The arrival of rains in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Olga finally began to bring relief to New South Wales in February 2010. Visitors are treated to a spectacular show, but also sobering evidence of San Rafael’s mortality. Torrential monsoon rains in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal killed hundreds and displaced tens of millions from their homes.Bangladesh is especially susceptible to flooding. Torrential rains unleashed the full fury of a flooded Choluteca River, which washed away entire villages, threw trees like matchsticks, and transported enough sand from the mountains to create an artificial desert.The deadly storm killed thousands of people and destroyed so much of Honduras’s agricultural and transportation infrastructure that President Carlos Flores Facusse said the disaster had destroyed 50 years of progress in his country. In 1996 the Grey Glacier alone measured 104 square miles (270 square kilometers) in area and stretched for 17 miles (28 kilometers). Tourists were replaced by swarms of midges breeding in the lakebed mud.The lake’s future now seems brighter, however. This unfortunate animal died of starvation in a remote Ethiopian encampment called Mabaalea village, another victim of starvation spurred by drought.Rains have been scarce in the country’s Afar region and have failed to nourish the pasture land on which both animals and people depend. Now the river routinely peters out well short of the shore, leaving its delta dry.Shifting precipitation patterns are partly responsible, as are dams and the staggering water requirements of the Americans along its banks.
When individuals pledge to use less water in their own lives, our partners carry out restoration work in the Colorado River Basin. However, the Earth's climate is changing so dramatically that it is affecting all forms of life on land and sea. More snow and freezing rain (a result of warmer temperatures adding moisture to dry, Arctic air) will crust over lichen, caribou's winter diet, making it hard to access. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.We call the result global warming, but it is causing a set of changes to the Earth's climate, or long-term weather patterns, that varies from place to place. The 286-square-mile (741-square-kilometer) glacier is receding by some 328 linear feet (100 meters) each year.
The low-lying nation fills with the floodwaters of four major rivers fueled by Himalayan snowmelt and monsoon rains.
But like many glaciers worldwide scientists say it has been shrinking markedly in recent decades. Like other poor nations it’s also economically ill equipped to deal with such disasters in a changing world. It’s slated to be refilled when rains return, and retained as a reservoir in a large local irrigation network.

In 2009 the nonprofit aid organization Oxfam estimated that some 23 million East Africans were critically short of food and water, as a cycle of drought continues.
As the Earth spins each day, the new heat swirls with it, picking up moisture over the oceans, rising here, settling there.
It's changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely upon.What will we do to slow this warming?
It takes some 1,800 gallons (6,800 liters) of water a day to support an average American’s lifestyle.
A change in climate can mean shifting breeding and migration seasons, altered food availability and new disease patterns. While we struggle to figure it all out, the face of the Earth as we know it—coasts, forests, farms and snow-capped mountains—hangs in the balance.Greenhouse effectThe "greenhouse effect" is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth's atmosphere trap heat. Each change leads to a host of others.In National Geographic's November issue, dedicated to the subject of climate change, Jennifer Holland investigates how a warming planet will affect various species. These gases let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse.First, sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. Change can be good for some – a longer spring with more food, a comfortable niche to call home and a stressful migration avoided. In the atmosphere, “greenhouse” gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824, when Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. IBTimes UK presents an excerpt from this article, with photos by Joel Sartore.Which species adapt well to rapid change?
Generalists that tolerate a range of climates, those with diverse genes and speedy reproduction (which lets helpful traits enter the gene pool fast), those that can travel to a suitable new habitat – and that have somewhere to go, and competitive, often invasive species. In 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
He kicked off 100 years of climate research that has given us a sophisticated understanding of global warming.Levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have gone up and down over the Earth's history, but they have been fairly constant for the past few thousand years. A World Wildlife Fund-led study reports that a predicted 11-inch (28cm) rise above year 2000 sea levels would destroy most tiger habitats in the mangrove-dominated Sundarbans of Bangladesh. Global average temperatures have stayed fairly constant over that time as well, until recently. Better news in Bhutan: As forests move uphill, tigers will likely shift with them, heading deep into northern parklands along major river valleys.
Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG emissions, humans are enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming Earth.Scientists often use the term "climate change" instead of global warming. This is because as the Earth's average temperature climbs, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling. As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas.Aren't temperature changes natural?The average global temperature and concentrations of carbon dioxide (one of the major greenhouse gases) have fluctuated on a cycle of hundreds of thousands of years as the Earth's position relative to the sun has varied.
Other cycles, such as El Nino, also work on fairly short and predictable cycles.Now, humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the industrial revolution.
Changes this large have historically taken thousands of years, but are now happening over the course of decades.Why is this a concern?The rapid rise in greenhouse gases is a problem because it is changing the climate faster than some living things may be able to adapt. Also, a new and more unpredictable climate poses unique challenges to all life.Historically, Earth's climate has regularly shifted back and forth between temperatures like those we see today and temperatures cold enough that large sheets of ice covered much of North America and Europe. The difference between average global temperatures today and during those ice ages is only about 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), and these swings happen slowly, over hundreds of thousands of years.Now, with concentrations of greenhouse gases rising, Earth's remaining ice sheets (such as Greenland and Antarctica) are starting to melt too. The extra water could potentially raise sea levels significantly.As the mercury rises, the climate can change in unexpected ways. This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts (a challenge for growing crops), changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.Scientists are already seeing some of these changes occurring more quickly than they had expected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eleven of the twelve hottest years since thermometer readings became available occurred between 1995 and 2006.

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