Study says 1980s saw major climate shift

Golden toads were discovered in Coata Rica in 1966. None have been seen since 1989, despite intensive surveys. They are presumed extinct. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.

Golden toads were discovered in Costa Rica in 1966. None have been seen since 1989, despite intensive surveys. They are presumed extinct. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

‘The 1980s regime shift may be the beginning of the acceleration of the warming shown by the IPCC …’

Staff Report

By taking a big-picture look at the Earth’s various systems over time, researchers say they’ve been able to pinpoint a major global climate shift starting in the late 1980s, triggered by anthropogenic warming and the 1982 El Chichón volcanic eruption in Mexico.

The new study, published recently in Global Change Biology, documents a range of associated events caused by the shift, including a 60 percent increase in winter river flow into the Baltic Sea and a 400 percent increase in the average duration of wildfires in the Western United States. Continue reading

Some of 2014’s extreme weather linked to climate change


Extreme weather, coming to you, thanks to global warming

What’s normal?

Staff Report

Climate and weather experts say some of 2014’s extreme weather events can be linked with human activities, including the global warming caused by greenhouse gases.

In a report released this week, researchers specifically identified tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America with human activities.

“For each of the past four years, this report has demonstrated that individual events, like temperature extremes, have often been shown to be linked to additional atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by human activities, while other extremes, such as those that are precipitation related, are less likely to be convincingly linked to human activities,” said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Continue reading

Study suggests California weather will be more extreme

More drought, more flooding …


An intensifying El Niño cycle could affect California weather.

Staff Report

The Pacific Ocean’s El Niño-La Niña cycle may become a dominant factor in West Coast weather by the end of this century and lead to more frequent weather extremes, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Based on the findings, California could see the number of extreme droughts and floods by 2100, the researchers found.

A better understanding of what gives rise to El Nino and La Nina cycles — together known as El Nino-Southern Oscillation — might help California predict and prepare for more frequent droughts and floods in the coming century. Continue reading

Climate: September temps shatter records

Hot, hotter, hottest …



Staff Report

Global temperatures once again soared to record highs in September, across both land and sea surfaces, spiking to 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Continue reading

Study: Ecosystem tipping points likely before 2-degree Celsius global warming threshold is reached


Massive tree-killing beetle outbreaks are a clear sign that some ecosystems could reach tipping points much sooner than expected. @bberwyn photo.

Abrupt changes likely, scientists warn

Staff Report

Many of Earth’s natural systems could be radically changed by global warming, even below the 2 degree Celsius limit eyed as a “safe” threshold by climate experts.

Abrupt shifts in sea ice and ocean patterns, as well as vegetation and marine productivity are identified as some of the most likely climate tipping points in a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research is based on climate model simulations developed for the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The findings suggest that the tipping points could play out in unexpected ways. Continue reading

Study: Horn of Africa droughts linked with global warming


Will global warming drive more drought in the Horn of Africa?

‘The rate of the recent drying in the Horn of Africa is unprecedented in the last 2,000 years …’

Staff Report

The Horn of Africa, encompassing Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia, has been drying in sync with increases in global greenhouse gas emissions and could experience for frequent and intense droughts as global warming continues, scientists said after studying layers of sediments from the Gulf of Aden.

The detailed core samples enabled the scientists to create a highly accurate temperature record going back 2,000 years. The Horn of Africa has suffered deadly droughts every few years in recent decades and the study findings suggest the region will get progressively less rain during the crucial “long rains” season of March, April and May. Continue reading

Feds track record Central Valley groundwater depletion


California’s Central Valley, as seen from the International Space Station. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

‘The Central Valley has many areas where recent groundwater levels are more than 100 feet below previous historical low …’

Staff Report

Farmers in California’s Central Valley pumped more groundwater than ever during the state’s ongoing drought, causing aquifers to drop to new record low levels, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agency recently launched a website to help track Central Valley groundwater depletion and land subsidence. A new paper released about the same time shows geographical nuances in the decline. The biggest changes are in the southern Central Valley, where farmers have shifted from planting annual and seasonal crops to perennial plants. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,956 other followers