Edition for 20 March 2020

Top Stories

New web tool monitors quality of observations (World Meteorological Organization)

  • “With the launch of the WIGOS Data Quality Monitoring System, WMO has made a very important step toward realizing its vision of a global integrated observing system covering weather, climate and related environmental applications, with up to date information about its performance made visible to the individual operators, to the users of the data and indeed to the whole world on 24/7 basis,” said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, WMO Director, Earth Systems, and the project manager for WDQMS.
  • WDQMS monitors the availability and quality of land-based surface and upper-air observations, based on near-real-time monitoring information provided by four participating global numerical weather prediction (NWP) centres: the German national meteorological service (DWD), ECMWF, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
  • This monitoring enables WMO to take early action in case of missing data, and it will thus help ensure the flow of critical observational data needed by all countries for weather prediction and climate monitoring purposes.

CO2 levels falling as coronavirus grinds economies to a halt (Silicon Republic)

  • According to the BBC, researchers in New York have suggested that carbon monoxide levels are down by nearly 50pc this week compared with last year’s levels.
  • It’s estimated that by May – when CO2 emissions are typically at their peak due to the addition of decomposing leaves – levels could be at their lowest since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, said: "The decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy is particularly evident."

US panel approves pipeline, natural gas terminal in Oregon (660 News - Calgary)

  • A U.S. regulatory agency on Thursday approved a controversial natural gas pipeline and marine export terminal project in Oregon, with one member saying the environmental impacts are acceptable considering the public benefits that will be provided by the project.
  • The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has already denied a water quality certification for the project.
  • The dissenting commissioner, Richard Glick, said the decision violates the requirements of the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, fails to consider the impact greenhouse gas emissions will have on climate change and would significantly impact 20 threatened and endangered species.

China announces a new ban on single-use plastics (PRI.org)

  • “There was a certain level of success, but on the other hand, socio-economic development in China and the increasingly affluent society started consuming far more plastic,” said Ma Jun, the director and founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a non-governmental organization in Beijing.
  • It used to be the practice, in those old times in China.” Global collaboration on combating plastic waste is extremely important, Jun said, because plastic waste, like climate change, is a threat to the global, common good.

What Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Bailout Gets Right, and Wrong (Politico)

  • It could fund the Environmental Protection Agency for 120 years, or the Securities and Exchange Commission for 550 years, or 20 end-to-end border walls with Mexico.
  • A group of eight senators has even called for attaching restrictions on the industry’s carbon emissions, which is clearly not a concern of Trump’s.
  • Climate-conscious Democrats are likely to be even less enthusiastic about bailouts for oil and gas interests that have been battered by the virus and an overseas price war.

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