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Effects of Global Warming in Quebec, Canada

47.7N 77.6W

June 21st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 21st, 2013

Record floods, melting permafrost, shoreline erosion, intense winds and higher than normal temperatures have caused problems in Quebec, Canada. The higher temperatures add to the credibility of climate models that have predicted the march of global warming will accelerate the more greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, scientists say.

According to Environment Canada, spring temperatures in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region, which includes Montreal and Quebec City, were 54 per cent higher than normal. This is the highest percentage deviation from the norm recorded since 1948.

The warmer winters are already endangering coastlines, the northern communities that are built on permafrost and forests, which probably will not be able to adapt fast enough to a warmer climate. Warmer temperatures in all seasons indicate Quebec is well on its way to meeting the climate-model predictions that we are fast closing in on the 2C mark many scientists claim is the tipping point that will plunge the globe into catastrophic climate change.

The models indicate mean temperatures in the southern half of Quebec will be 2C to 3C higher than normal by 2020. In northern Quebec, the warming will be even higher. And at the present rate of warming as tracked since 1948, we are on track to be well over 4C by 2050 and as high as 7C to 9C by 2080 (click here for more information).

Climate Change in Northern Europe

67.2N 27.6E

June 2nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index

Northern Europe – June 1st, 2013

Higher than average temperatures have been observed across Europe as well as decreasing precipitation in southern regions and increasing precipitation in northern Europe. Extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods and droughts have caused rising damage costs across Europe in recent years.

While precipitation is decreasing in southern regions, it is increasing in northern Europe, and these trends are projected to continue. Climate change is projected to increase river flooding, particularly in northern Europe, as higher temperatures intensify the water cycle.

Many studies have measured widespread changes in plant and animal characteristics. For example, plants are flowering earlier in the year. Here, the vegetation index is stronger (dark green) to the south, and weaker (yellow) near the northern coastline, although it is mostly good throughout the image.

In freshwater, phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms are also appearing earlier. Other animals and plants are moving northward or uphill as their habitats warm. Since the migration rate of many species is insufficient to keep pace with the speed of climate change, they could be pushed towards extinction in the future.

Vegetation Shifts Around the Great Lakes – May 24th, 2013

46.9N 88.1W

May 24th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Vegetation Index

USA – May 24th, 2013

Water-level change is integral to the structure and function of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, and many studies document predictable relationships between vegetation and water level. However, anthropogenic stressors, such as invasive species, land-use change, and water-level stabilization, interact to shift the historical cycle toward dominance by invasive species.

Scientists have determined that habitat dominated by Typha species has expanded to eliminate wet meadow habitat. In 2000, meadow area was below that predicted by the historical pattern due to the landward advance of marsh habitat during a year of decreasing water levels. In the same period, land use in the wetland watersheds converted from agriculture to urban. Studying vegetation shifts is an essential step in the process of preserving and restoring ecological integrity (click here for more information).

Climate Change and Deforestation in the Philippines – May 22nd, 2013

9.7N 122.3E

May 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Vegetation Index

Philippines – May 22nd, 2013

The Philippines is considered as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. With impacts ranging from extreme weather events and periodic inundation to droughts and food scarcity, climate change has been a constant reality that many Filipinos have had to face.

Most affected are those living in coastal communities and the lower rung urban communities that lack awareness on proper disaster preparedness measures to take. As it is, climate change impacts have not only intensified from an imbalanced natural eco-system, but every onslaught has become unpredictable (click here for more information).

Another issue affecting the Philippines is deforestation. Over the course of the 20th century the forest cover of the Philippines dropped from 70% down to 20%. Only 3.2percent of total rainforest is left. Based on an analysis of land use pattern maps and a road map, an estimated 9.8 million ha of forests were lost in the Philippines from 1934 to 1988. Despite this problem, the islands show a mostly good vegetation index, as evidenced by the predominantly green coloring here.

Climate Change and Deforestation in Borneo – May 3rd, 2013

1.0N 114.2E

May 3rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deforestation, Image of the day, Vegetation Index

Indonesia – May 3rd, 2013

This image focuses on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, showing its vegetation index. The rainforests of Southeast Asia support much of the region’s biodiversity. They play a crucial role in providing important ecosystem services such as soil stabilisation and carbon storage, and are an important source of income locally and nationally.

However, these lowland forests are under serious threat from direct and indirect human activities. Deforestation is occurring at a huge rate, due to logging for timber, conversion to huge agricultural plantations, and slash-and-burn farming methods. This has a serious impact on biodiversity and general functioning of the ecosystem and, as a result, affects the livelihoods of the many people who depend on the forests for income, shelter, water and food.

Perhaps the biggest and most long-term threat facing the rainforests, however, is posed by climate change, in particular increasingly severe and frequent droughts associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events – the dry phase of a global cycle driving our climate. The wet La Niña phase of the ENSO cycle is also becoming more intense, leading to increasing frequency and size of large rainstorms. These wash away huge amounts of soil (and with it, valuable nutrients), which then ends up in the rivers causing sedimentation and flooding downstream.

The most important group of tree species in the rainforests of Borneo are the dipterocarps, which includes some of the largest forest species that grow in the tropics. In fact, Borneo hosts the greatest diversity and abundance of dipterocarps in the world – but they are suffering severely from the threats outlined above. The reduced recruitment of new seedlings and regeneration of older trees could have potentially disastrous implications. The future of the dipterocarps is at risk beyond the current generation unless restorative intervention is carried out (click here for more information).

Indonesia’s government has put plans for climate change management into effect, stressing the importance of conservation and utilization of the natural environment to support sustainable economic growth and the increased welfare of the people. Main programs include working on pollution and emission controls, reducing deforestation, peat lands management improvements and environmental rehabilitation. Indonesia and Australia are also working together to protect the forests of Kalimantan, the part of Borneo that belongs to Indonesia.