Tea Cup Turbulence

December 27, 2011

Climate change is corrupting Bangladesh tea — the low-lying nation has a great tea growing industry, but the warming temperatures with less rain not only stumps growth, but can alter the flavor.
From Aljazeera English and a tea harvester:

“There is less clouds in the sky than before. Too much sun, which isn’t good for the plants, a lot less rain. How do you expect the plants to grow?”

Hundreds of thousands of people depend on the tea sector, but if climate change is responsible for the hotter weather being experienced now, it is just a matter of time before these plantations perhaps disappear altogether.

(Illustration found here).

Although Bangladesh tea picture is rosy right now — The average price of Bangladeshi tea rose 2.1 percent to 159.28 taka ($1.96) per kg from the previous sale, said an official at the National Brokers Limited, the country’s largest tea broking firm — the future isn’t so bright.

A warming world will make dust of leaves and plants.
Via Climate Progress:

The results of studies that try to quantify the effects of climate change on biodiversity loss — which include damage to the micro scale level of subspecies and genetic variation — are perhaps most shocking.
When, however, you focus on the response to climate change at the macro level, the ecosystem level, you get a better understanding of what is one of the major drivers of that biodiversity loss: forced migrations.
And even here, the numbers may be larger than one would expect, as a new assessment by NASA and Caltech published in the journal Climatic Change shows that by 2100 some 40 percent of “major ecological community types” — that is biomes like forest, grassland, tundra — will have switched to a different such state.
According to the same study most of the land on Earth that is not currently desert or under an icecap will undergo at least a 30 percent change in vegetation cover.
Based on IPCC temperature projections for 2100 [which are probably on the conservative side] of 2-4 degrees Celsius warming scientists of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology ran special computer models to calculate the most probable ecosystem responses across the planet.
This average temperature rise is of similar magnitude to the warming that occurred between the Last Glacial Maximum and the onset of the (milder) Holocene — with the big exception that the current warming is happening about 100 times faster — and for ecology that makes a huge difference, the authors stress.

Acceleration of the process is the key.
And not only has the world kicked the climate change can-of-worms on down the dusty road (via 2020), but has failed to even fund the ‘normal’ disasters, making the planet “dangerously unprepared” for future crises.

Earlier this month, the American Geophysical Union at its annual meeting in San Francisco painted a cruel picture of the can of worms.
The problem is bigger, faster and shitty-er.
Via Climate Science:

Four years ago scientists thought the Arctic would not be ice-free in summer before 2100.
Two years ago, the estimate was 2060.
This year, scientists say the ice could be gone by 2030, possibly even 2020.
As Arctic ice melts and temperatures rise, vast stores of methane frozen under the Arctic Ocean are starting to thaw and vent to the atmosphere.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 20 to 56 times as powerful as carbon dioxide.
Researchers had seen small plumes.
But a recent survey showed, to their shock, large areas of the ocean pocked with continuous, powerful plumes stretching a half-mile or more across.
In the Andes, conventional wisdom held that residents had 20 years to 40 years to find a replacement for the dwindling glaciers serving as key dry-season water reservoirs.
That time is up, reported Michel Baraër, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal.
The era of “peak water” is past, he said, and hundreds of thousands of people living downstream face an immediate future of diminished and more variable flows.

“The planet is going through incredible change,” said Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.
“Through rapid uses of the environment, we are pushing our planet in extreme ways.”

“We are now on a very different planet than anyone has ever seen before,” Foley said.
“All of our predictions are going to be wrong.
We are going to be very, very surprised.”

Of course, not everybody — some can see the future in the tea leaves.

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