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Climate: October ends up as warmest on record

2014 on track to be warmest year ever

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Widespread warmth prevailed globally in October 2014.

Staff Report

FRISCO — October 2014 will go into the record books as the warmest on record for Earth, and it’s very likely that the year as a whole will end up record warm, according to climate experts with the National Climatic Data Center releasing their monthly state of the climate analysis.

For October, the average global temperature (land and sea surface combined) was 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit above average, and for the year to-date, the average global temperature is 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit above average, also a record for the 10-month January to October span. Continue reading

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Climate: Closing the emissions gap

Carbon neutral by 2050?

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Can the globe be carbon-neutral by 2050?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius will require reaching carbon neutrality by mid-century, UN officials said this week as they released a new emissions gap report that clearly outlines the global carbon budget.

“Don’t believe it if you hear politicians saying it can’t be done. It can,” said Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environmental Program. Steiner and other top officials said increased energy efficiency and smart growth are the keys to reaching global climate targets.

“If this was prohibitively costly we’d have to make some calculations, but it’s not,” Steiner said, explaining that switching to a low carbon economy offers opportunity for expanded economic development and a path toward minimizing future climate change impacts. Continue reading

Climate: New book details global glacier losses

Most of the world’s ice rivers are shrinking into oblivion

The Dachstein Glacier in Austria has visibly and dramatically decreased in size in just a couple of decades. bberwyn photo.

The Dachstein Glacier in Austria has visibly and dramatically decreased in size in just a couple of decades. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — For mountain dwellers around the world, shrinking glaciers are one of the most vivid symptoms of Earth’s rising fever. Those gleaming mantles of ice have already disappeared from iconic landscapes like Glacier National Park.

Globally, millions of people rely on glacier-regulated stream flows for water supplies, so communities need to prepare for disruptions in the hydrological cycle because it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the meltdown is not going to stop. Continue reading

Do small volcanoes have a big climate impact?

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New research may help explain the overall effect of volcanoes on global climate. Photo courtesy USGS.

New research tracks aerosols from volcanic eruptions

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sunlight-reflecting particles from relatively small volcanic eruptions may add up to have a significant effect on global temperatures, according to a new climate study that tries to quantify the cumulative impact of aerosols from volcanoes.

According to the research, based on a combination of measurements taken on the ground, in the air and from satellites, small volcanic eruptions that occurred between 2000 and 2013 deflected almost double the amount of solar radiation previously estimated.

That’s enough to lower global temperatures by about  0.05 to 0.12 degrees Celsius, the scientists concluded in their study, which appears in Geophysical Research Letters. Continue reading

Psst! Wanna see some carbon dioxide?

New NASA visual helps trace path of greenhouse gases

Staff Report

FRISCO — In a way, addressing global warming is like fighting a ghost. How do you tackle odorless and colorless heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane?

NASA, the government agency that literally has the best global perspective on climate change, has just released a new computer generated animation that help show the source of greenhouse gases and how they disperse around the planet. Continue reading

Climate: Texas school board tries to include anti-science message in new textbooks

New books include misleading passages about climate science

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Warmer than average temps prevailed around most of the globe in October 2014, according to NASA’s evaluation of the latest satellite data.

Staff Report

FRISCO —New textbooks under consideration for Texas schools may mislead students when it comes to climate science, the American Meteorological Society said in a Nov. 3 letter to the state’s board of education. The group says that several social studies textbooks being considered for classroom use include factual errors. Continue reading

Environment: South Dakota Native Americans describe House vote on Keystone XL pipeline as an ‘act of war’

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War over the Keystone XL pipeline?

‘We are a sovereign nation and we are not being treated as such … We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Conservation groups and climate activists aren’t the only ones hopping mad about the Congressional rush to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Native Americans in South Dakota say they consider last week’s House vote to approve the pipeline “an act of war.”

The proposed project, aimed at pumping tar sands crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries, would completely cross South Dakota. Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because it represents continued reliance on fossil fuels. Most, if not all, of the oil would be exported to other countries, so the argument that it would somehow lower fuel prices rings hollow and false. Continue reading

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