I’ve long believed that, as a sci fi writer, I have a special responsibility to look forward and see not only the amazing possibilities ahead, but also the dangers we face, and right now climate change is just about at the top of that pile. So we’re going to bring you stories like these that may fire up the sci fi writer in you, but more importantly, serve to raise awareness of what’s already happening around the globe.
July 2019 may have been the single hottest month in recorded history, preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization shows. Global average temperatures from July 1 to July 29, 2019, met and possibly even surpassed the previous record for the hottest month ever, which was set in July 2016, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a news conference.
A staggering 217 billion tons (197 billion metric tons) of meltwater flowed off of Greenland’s ice sheet into the Atlantic Ocean this July. The worst day of melting was July 31, when 11 billion tons (10 billion metric tons) of melted ice poured into the ocean. This massive thaw represents some of the worst melting since 2012, according to The Washington Post. That year, 97% of the Greenland ice sheet experienced melting. This year, so far, 56% of the ice sheet has melted, but temperatures — 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average — have been higher than during the 2012 heat wave.
Researchers recently found more than 200 dead reindeer on the island of Svalbard in Norway; the animals starved to death due to climate change, which is disrupting their access to the plants that they typically eat. Every year, ecologists with the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) survey reindeer populations in Svalbard, an archipelago of glaciers and frozen tundra that lies between Norway and the North Pole.
Antarctica’s western ice sheet is in danger of collapsing, but scientists may have an unusual solution: blasting trillions of tons of artificial snow across glaciers with snow cannons. Spraying this artificial blizzard into the coastal area around Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers could stabilize the failing West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), reducing ice loss that could drive potentially catastrophic sea level rise, new research finds.