Can global warming cause massive ocean dead zones?


Almost the entire Pacific Ocean was much warmer than average in October 2015.

Research links past warming spikes with low-oxygen conditions in North Pacific

Staff Report

Ecosystem changes in the North Pacific that are currently being observed by scientists may be linked with large-scale climate shifts, according to a new study that found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic, conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

“This works tackles a long-standing debate about what causes expansion of Oxygen Minimum Zones, also known as dead zones, in the oceans,” said Candace Major, a program director in National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “The results demonstrate a link between warming surface temperatures and dead zones at great depths. The findings also show that the response time between warming and dead zone expansion is quite fast,” Major said. Continue reading

Climate: Airlines targeted for big emissions cuts


Airlines could cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly simply by adopting the best available technologies. @bberwyn photo.

Existing technology enough to achieve big reductions, new report says

Staff Report

A new report shows that the world’s airlines could use existing technology to cut heat-trapping greenhouse emissions by 50 percent in the next few decades.

The report came as high-level officials prepare to meet in Paris to finalize a global climate deal aimed at trying to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius. Continue reading

Climate: Can the transportation sector achieve big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions?

Evening train, platform 7.

A big shift away from automobiles to public transportation could help cap greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector. @bberwyn photo.

New studies sees potential for reductions with fundamental shifts in transportation policies

Staff Report

The heat-trapping pollution spewing from trucks, cars, busses, ships and airplanes adds up to a hefty 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — and they are projected to double by 2050.

But with a concerted effort, the transportation sector could cut that amount by half within the next 35 years. Needed is more fuel efficiency and more public transit in cities, along with a large-scale shift to electric cars, according to a new study that took a close look at emissions from transportation. Continue reading

U.S. Forest Service moves toward permitting more coal mining in Colorado’s North Fork Valley

Roadless rule exemption at issue in federal permitting process


A U.S. Forest Service proposal to permit more coal mining in Colorado would unleash huge amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution.

Staff Report

The U.S. Forest Service wants to update a public lands rule that would re-open the door for new coal mining on about 20,000 acres in south-central Colorado’s North Fork Valley, near Paonia. The agency this week posted a federal register notice seeking comment on a proposal to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule.

The proposal comes about a year after a federal court set aside the exemption after finding that the Forest Service failed to disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential mine operations and the combustion of coal from the area. Find the federal register notice and information on commenting here. Continue reading

Climate: Study links deadly 2010-2011 Australia floods with long-term ocean warming


A NASA Earth Observatory satellite image shows swollen rivers in northwestern Australia during record-setting floods in 2010-2011. Visit this NASA page for more info.

‘Take action to forestall global warming …’

Staff Report

Deadly floods that swept across Australia in 2010 and 2011 were at least partly fueled by long-term warming in the Indian and Pacific oceans, according to a new study that highlights some of threats posed by human-caused climate change.

The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that ocean warming can have profound effects on atmospheric circulation, delivering huge amounts of moisture to land areas under certain conditions. Continue reading

NOAA reports record global warmth for October 2015



Sea ice extent below average at both poles; northern hemisphere snow cover well above average

Staff Report

For the sixth month in a row, the global average temperature broke all historical records in October, soaring to 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the monthly average.

According the monthly climate report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, it was by far the warmest October on record, breaking the record set just last year by 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also the largest the monthly departure from average from any month on record.

Both land- and sea-surface temperatures set records during the month, a sure sign that El Niño is fueling the spike in global temps and all but ensuring that this year will go down in the books as the warmest on record. Continue reading

Twitter chat to explore global warming wildlife impacts

Colorado moose

A moose cow and calves grazing near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.

Biologists take to social media for a Q&A

Staff Report

All over the world, global warming is affecting different types of animals, as well as entire ecosystems.

Scientists don’t yet understand exactly what will happen to all plants and animals, but after decades of warming temperatures, they have a pretty good idea of how some species will be affected.

Moose, for example, appear to be moving northward in response to warming temperatures as they seek to avoid infestations of bothersome and disease-carrying ticks. And salmon, which need cold and clear water, have also been affected by parasites in the Yukon River. Continue reading


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