Posted on August 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The realm of ice and snow
A huge summer snowcave persists into late August in some years, nurturing the highest headwaters with small trickles that feed wetlands, creeks and ponds. A big shift in the timing of snowmelt or the total amount of annual snowfall will have big impacts on the high alpine Rocky Mountain ecosystems.
Some flowers literally grow straight through the ice.
Support the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger project to learn more about how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — It would be hard to do a climate change journey without visiting the cryosphere, that part of the Earth which is in a frozen state at any given time. The biggest slices, of course, are at the poles, but the rest is in the high mountains of the world, where glaciers linger for now, and snow coats the ground for half the year.
Most of the world’s population lives far removed from the realm of ice and snow, but it’s the part of the planet that’s showing the most wear and tear from global warming. The steep decades-long decline in sea ice extent, the potential collapse of massive Antarctic ice shelves and the continued worldwide glacial meltdown are all clear signs of our planet’s fever. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, climate change, cryosphere, global warming, permafrost | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 4, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Forecasters eye “hyperactive” tropical Pacific Ocean
NOAA’s GOES-West satellite captured this image of a very active Eastern and Central Pacific, hosting three tropical cyclones (from left to right) Genevieve, Iselle and Julio.
Image courtesy NASA/NOAA GOES Project.
The forecast track of Hurricane Iselle shows the potential for impacts to Hawaii.
FRISCO — Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on what they describe as a hyperactive tropical Pacific Ocean, and especially on Hurricane Iselle, which is headed straight toward Hawaii with current sustained winds of 140 mph.
Iselle is expected to weaken before nearing the islands in about three days, but could still be packing a tropical storm-force punch, with winds of 60-60 mph. The Category 4 storm is expected to maintain strength for the next day or so before moving over cooler water and weakening. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather | Tagged: Hawaii, Hurricane Iselle, Hurricane Iselle track, Pacific hurricanes | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More extremes expected in a warming world
A NASA climate maps shows much of the globe was warmer than average during June 2014.
FRISCO — After crunching the latest climate numbers in a supercomputer, researchers with Northeastern University report that temperatures may become more volatile in coming decades, on both the hot and cold end of the spectrum.
Increasing temperature variability means that, while each year’s average hottest and coldest temperatures will likely rise, those averages will also tend to fall within a wider range of potential high and low temperate extremes than are currently being observed. This means that even as overall temperatures rise, there may still be extreme cold snaps. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Some park lands seen as potential safe harbors from global warming
The southeastern and south-central U.S. are particularly vulnerable to ecosystem shifts driven by global warming. Map courtesy National Park Service.
FRISCO — Scientists zooming in on the potential impacts of global warming found that up to 25 percent of the lands managed by the National Park Service in the U.S. are vulnerable to vegetation shifting up slope and northward. The findings, published in the journal Global Change Biology, show that habitat loss from the development of roads and other urbanization, agriculture and deforestation makes ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change.
“We already established that climate change and habitat loss affect national parks, but this scientific study links these negative effects and identifies just how much of the landscape is at risk,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “The good news is that the study also identified areas of biodiversity that are refuges and wellsprings for species.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, national parks, public lands | Tagged: climate change, global warming, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Important crab fisheries to suffer as oceans turn warm and acidiic
Crabs are among the many commercially important species that will struggle as oceans grow warmer and more acidic. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO —Alaska’s economically important crab fishery and other coastal and ocean resources face significant global warming threats, according to a new study led by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The research findings, to be published online in the journal Progress in Oceanography, show that many of Alaska’s nutritionally and economically valuable marine fisheries are located in waters that are already experiencing ocean acidification.
Communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk from ocean acidification because they rely heavily on fisheries that are expected to be most affected by ocean acidification. Some of those Native American communities are also more vulnerable to economic risks because of lower average incomes and fewer employment opportunities, NOAA said in a press release. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Alaska, crab fishing, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Cutting methane could slow global temperature surge.
Action could help avert climate tipping points
FRISCO — Leading scientists say the U.S. must do more to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation and other sectors to try and avoid reaching climate tipping points that could have disastrous implications.
Methane is a much more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide, but it only stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years, which means that big cuts could have a tangible short-term benefit in the race to cap global warming. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, methane | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Fur seals on Half Moon Island, in the South Shetland chain, off the Antarctic Peninsula. bberwyn photo.
Survival of the fittest?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After studying fur seals around Antarctica for decades, researchers with the British Antarctic Survey say they’re seeing distinct genetic changes related to a changing climate and food availability. But despite a shift towards individuals more suited to changing environmental conditions, this fitness is not passing down through generations, leaving the fur seal population on South Georgia Island in decline. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, fur seals, genetic adaptation, global, warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Growth in sea ice may be slower than reported
Scientists are puzzling over the expansion of Antarctic sea ice. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Global warming deniers have long been using the observed expansion of Antarctic sea ice as a way to try and confuse the public about the reality of global warming, but some new research by scientists with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego suggests the rate of expansion is not as dramatic as reported.
The findings, published in The Cryosphere (European Geosciences Union) acknowledge that there has been some expansion recently, but that some of the reported ice gain may be due to inconsistencies in computer models used to measure Antarctic sea ice. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: antarctic sea ice, climate, global warming, IPCC | Leave a comment »