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The Morning Briefing: Dwindling reserves in a warmer world

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"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading the latest publications on climate change.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading the latest publications on climate change.

1.) The worst climate change threat facing the UK is flooding. Scientists and climate change experts led by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) have identified over 700 potential impacts of climate change in the UK.
These include deforestation, dwindling water and food reserves, possible refugee arrivals, and a worsening water quality. The researchers assessed 100 threats considered the 'most urgent' and rated them according to their impact and how soon they make take effect.

2.) Arctic temperatures continue to rise. NASA has recently released data that shows temperatures in the Arctic rose last year beyond previous recordings, setting a new high for 2011. Last year's average temperature has risen above that in 2010 -- when the temperature was 2.11oC above levels recorded from 1951 - 1980. The region has continually become warmer since the late 1970s.

3.) New USDA map reflects warming trends. A new 'plant hardiness' map released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, located on their website, gives gardeners the opportunity to view northward warming trends, in conjunction with several cold, mountainous regions. The map uses 30 years of weather data (gathered from 1976 to 2005), and is a long-awaited update to the less accurate 1990s version.

4.) U.N. summit avoids the issue of climate change. The U.N. conference in June, to take place in Rio, will be where representatives from around the world will discuss sustainable development goals. The summit has been specifically designed in order to allow representatives to skirt around the subject of climate change in an attempt to avoid confrontation.

5.) How not to go hungry in a warm world. An interesting analysis of how climate change may affect food reserves in the future, and how the rising human population -- currently estimated at 7 billion -- has been able to expand due to high proficiency in food production. However, how has large-scale farming affected the environment, and what may we expect from future food production processes?

6.) Scientists link climate change to the fate of Mesoamerican civilizations.
An international team of researchers believe that a discovery from Mexico links changing rainfall levels and drought may have contributed to the fate of the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan.

Photo courtesy Orange County Archives/Flickr

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure