Environment: Ozone may strengthen potency of allergens

Layers ... captured with iPhone HDR imaging.

Got pollen?

Study links climate change and pollution with growing allergy epidemic

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global warming has already been implicated in the rising tide of allergies, simply because a warmer climate extends the growing season for many plants, or causes them to produce more pollen.

But there’s more to it, according to scientists, who say that a pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. Continue reading

Climate: Melting Arctic ice is likely slowing key ocean current

Influx of cold, fresher water could tip climate scale

sdfg

How will melting Arctic ice affect ocean circulation? Map courtesy PIK.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Earth scientists have long speculated that a massive infusion of cold and relatively fresh water into the North Atlantic could disrupt a key climate-regulating ocean current, with huge consequences for adjacent land areas.

New measurements of ocean temperatures in the region, along with other climate data, now suggest that the Atlantic Overturning Current has already slowed quite a bit in the past 100 years, and especially since 1970. The current, which is related to the Gulf Stream, helps moderate temperatures in northwestern Europe and northeastern North America.

Further weakening of the current could impact marine ecosystems and sea level as well as weather systems in the US and Europe, scientists say in a new study to be published in Nature Climate Change. Continue reading

Rising sea level to take big bite from Hawaii beaches

Study projects increasing rate of coastal erosion

dfg

The Hawaiian Islands via NASA Earth Observatory.

Staff Report

FRISCO — As sea level rises, Hawaii’s beaches are on track to shrink by 20 to 40 feet during the next few decades, scientists announced in a new study.

“When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise projected under the IPCC’s “business as usual” scenario, we found that increased SLR causes an average 16 – 20 feet of additional shoreline retreat by 2050,” said lead author Tiffany Anderson, a post-doctoral researcher at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. Continue reading

One more time: Beetle-killed forests are NOT more likely to burn, according to new CU-Boulder study

asdf

Beetle-killed lodgepole pines in Colorado. bberwyn photo.

New CU-Boulder study has implications for forest managers and Red Zone communities

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice stories on beetle-kill and forests here.

FRISCO — Communities and resource managers looking to address the threat of wildfires should focus less on tree-killing beetles and more on the underlying forces driving the trend toward larger fires.

Warmer temperatures and increased drought are the key factors, said Colorado-based researchers who took a close look at patterns of beetle-kill and wildfires in recent years.

Their study found that western forests killed by mountain pine beetles are no more at risk to burn than healthy forests. Those findings  fly in the face of both public perception and policy, the scientists acknowledged.

“What we are seeing in this study is that at broad scales, fire does not necessarily follow mountain pine beetles,” said CU-Boulder Research Scientist Tania Schoennagel, of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “It’s well known, however, that fire does follow drought.” Continue reading

Climate Voices project connects scientists with communities looking to learn more about global warming

bbb

Real science, from real scientists.

Expert speakers available in all 50 states

Staff Report

FRISCO — Debates about global warming can quickly descend into murky territory, especially if they take place in a political context. But communities looking for straightforward and nonpartisan scientific information can find from a science speakers network that includes climate experts from all 50 states.

The Climate Voices Initiative was launched last year by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the United Nations Foundation, aiming to bring  together scientists with members of local communities to discuss climate science and regional effects of climate change. Continue reading

Global warming: in the realm of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2

Scientists: ‘Climate change is a threat to life on Earth and we can no longer afford to be spectators’

'oj

A rising tide of CO2 …

Staff Report

FRISCO — When atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations hit 400 parts per million about a year ago, there was widespread media coverage, explaining how the mark wasn’t all that significant in and of itself, but that it represented a psychological threshold to measure human impact on the climate.

Well guess what? CO2 emissions continue unabated, although there are some hopeful signs (global energy production increased in 2014, but CO2 emissions leveled off), and once again this spring, the atmospheric observatory atop Mauna Loa is once again measuring CO2 above the 400 ppm level — 401.77, to be exact, as of March 22, and as high as 403.10 ppm back on March 15. Continue reading

Climate: Another geoengineering scheme bites the dust

;ih

What to do about a warming planet?

Ocean heat-exchange pipes would drive more warming in the long run

Staff Report

FRISCO — Trying to mitigate global warming by piping cool water from the depths of the ocean to the surface is probably not the best idea in the long run, a group of Carnegie Institution scientists said this week. In the long run, such a geoengineering scheme would actually lead to more, not less, global warming.

The researchers studied the issue because there have been a variety of proposals that involve using vertical ocean pipes to move seawater to the surface from the depths in order to reap different potential climate benefits. Along with directly mitigating climate change, engineers and scientists have also eyed thermal conversion — using the temperature difference between deeper and shallower water to power a heat engine and produce clean electricity. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,213 other followers