Starting this April, Japan will implement a new life cycle greenhouse gas emission standard for biomass power plants supported by its feed-in tariff subsidy for renewable energy. Designed to ensure that forest biomass usage actually reduces carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels, Japan’s new standard is similar to those already implemented by fellow forest biomass users like the United Kingdom and European Union.
Forests are critically important for slowing climate change. They remove huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – 30% of all fossil fuel emissions annually – and store carbon in trees and soils. Old and mature forests are especially important: They handle droughts, storms and wildfires better than young trees, and they store more carbon.
In a 2022 executive order, President Joe Biden called for conserving mature and old-growth forests on federal lands. Recently Biden protected nearly half of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska from road-building and logging.
Read more on The Conversation.
A new effort to understand how land management across the Vineyard can help fight climate change is hoped to serve as a model for other communities looking for ways to battle global warming.
The Woodwell Climate Research Center in Woods Hole has embarked on a study with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Sheriff’s Meadow to figure out how much carbon the Island’s natural landscape can hold. In doing so, the groups hope to uncover opportunities to store more carbon through nature and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere — a strategy that could be translated to mainland towns looking to do their bit.
Read more on The Vineyard Gazette.
When most people think about the jet stream, if they think about it at all, it’s usually in the context of the high-altitude, fast moving wind currents of the northern hemisphere that enable speedy west-to-east long-haul flights. But the polar jet stream also plays a major role in our daily lives: the weaker it gets, the wackier our weather is, from the Texan deep freeze of 2021 to the snow bombs that have pummelled the West Coast over the past two weeks, and the winter storms now heading for the East Coast and Europe. It’s not just cold weather—an unstable jet stream can also lead to severe heat waves, droughts, or excessive amounts of rain. And the polar jet stream appears to be weakening, according to scientists, as a result of Arctic warming caused by climate change.
The longest thunderstorm in the history of Arctic observation was recorded in July 2022—marking an increase in extreme weather activity in a region that is generally devoid of such events.
This storm was reported by scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute at the Russian hydrometeorological observatory on the Severnaya Zemlya peninsula, just north of Siberia. Thunderstorms are usually concentrated in the warmer parts of the planet so it is surprising to see one of this duration so near the North Pole.
The research, published in Nature Climate Change, assesses the potential changes in the distribution of wet and dry regions in tropical ecosystems by 2100 – under two different emissions scenarios – and the subsequent carbon loss that may occur due to these shifts.
The study projects a decrease in the extent of humid regions of tropical ecosystems and an expansion of areas with intense dry periods over the next several decades.
Last year in Homer, a warm, dry spring gave way to a very damp, gray summer. For Paul Castellani of Will Grow Farm, handling whatever the weather brings is business as usual. He and his wife Jen have been growing vegetables at their property near Anchor Point for two decades.
“It wasn’t an extraordinary summer,” Castellani said, “except for the way that the two types of conditions were so separated.”
The early dry spell meant the Castellanis had to pay close attention to irrigating their carrot beds to make sure the seeds stayed moist, although cool, clear nights offered their crops some much-needed morning dew. But by the end of the season, getting their storage onions to cure with the cloudy, rainy conditions was a challenge.
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Even as the world smashes through one all-time heat record after another and speeds towards critical warming thresholds, brutal waves of deadly cold can still arrive in bomb cyclones that bring icy weather and deep snow – and add fuel for those who deny the climate crisis is real or significant.
But some scientists say that climate change – and more specifically rapid warming in the Arctic – may actually be increasing the likelihood that frigid, polar air can dive south.