3 May 2017   1 comment

Cartographer John Nelson has created composite maps of the earth at night-time.  He took NASA’s night lights maps of 2012 and 2016 and compared areas where the light had increased and areas where the light had decreased.  He colored the areas of increased lights blue and the areas of decreased lights pink.  The changes are, in some cases, dramatic.  For example, the composite map of the Middle East clearly shows the devastation in Syria as the war has destroyed many of the power plants which supplied electricity for the night lights.  The same is true for Yemen.  But Iraq shows signs of recovering from its war in the south, although Daesh (the Islamic State) continues to wreak havoc in the northern parts of the country.  And clearly Israel is doing quite well.  The maps of India are also quite dramatic.  I recommend the site.

Picture of map


The Arctic Council has released its Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment for 2017.  The report has an urgent tone as recent data suggest that previous understandings of climate change in the Arctic significantly underestimate the rate of change in the region.  The report singles out three key findings:

• The Arctic Ocean could be largely free of sea ice in summer as early as the late 2030s, only two decades from now.

• The recent recognition of additional melt processes affecting Arctic and Antarctic glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets suggests that low-end projections of global sea-level rise made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are underestimated.

• Changes in the Arctic may be affecting weather in mid-latitudes, even influencing the Southeast Asian monsoon.

A summary of the report in Scientific American details how seriously the issue has been underestimated:

“The report increases projections for global sea-level rise, which takes into account all sources of melting including the Arctic. Their new minimum estimates are now almost double those issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 for some emissions scenarios. In fact, the latest calculations suggest that the IPCC’s middle estimates for sea-level rise should now be considered minimum estimates.”

The same issue of Scientific American has an article about how California will be disproportionately affected by sea level increases .



Great Britain and the European Union are tussling over the terms of Britain’s exit.  Since the Union has a common budget and maintains a huge bureaucracy of which Britain was a part, there are sunk costs that the EU would like to recover.  But calculating those costs is incredibly difficult.  Initially, the estimates were that Britain would have to pay about €60 billion, but there are now estimates of about €100 billion.  The escalating costs suggest that the negotiations over Brexit will likely be nasty and difficult.  It is not a good sign for the future of the Union.


Posted May 3, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “3 May 2017

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  1. What bothers me in climate change is that there are people who seem to love this planet less because it’s getting sick. For me, I love our planet so much that I’ve told myself and others that even if it becomes a huge desert, I would love the earth just as much, although I would surely work hard to help find a cure to the problem as well. I believe there is a difference between how I and these other people take this issue, maybe a fundamental one.


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