Posted on May 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Reading the history of Antarctica’s ice sheets is helping climate scientists project the future.
Transition from glacial periods punctuated by sudden surges of ice melt and sea level rise
FRISCO — Even without the addition of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion, the Antarctica ice sheets may be vulnerable to sudden collapse and melting. One such episode, about 14,600 years ago, is thought to have caused sea level to rise by more than 12 feet in just 100 years.
Scientists are racing to understand the dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheets because of the potentially significant consequences of rapid changes, and in one of the newest studies, they’ve traced some of the big iceberg calving events between about 19,000 and 9,000 years ago by analyzing deep sea sediment cores extracted from the region between the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: Antarctic meltdown, Antarctica, climate change, global warming, sea level rise | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A computer-generated split-screen image a split-image simulates the average 20 percent best (left) and 20 percent worst 20 percent (right) visibility at the Long’s Peak vista based on an average of monitored data for years 2000-2004.
Very likely without cuts in pollutants, study says
FRISCO — By 2050, many Americans will see their chances of experiencing unhealthy summertime ozone levels increase by 70 percent, according to scientists with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Warmer temperatures will make the toxic brew of air pollutants even more volatile unless emissions of specific pollutants that are associated with the formation of ozone are sharply cut, the researchers said in a new study published this week.
Almost all of the continental United States will experience at least a few days with unhealthy air during the summers, the research shows. Heavily polluted locations in parts of the East, Midwest, and West Coast where ozone already frequently exceeds recommended levels could face unhealthy air during most of the summer. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate change impacts, global warming, greenhouse gases, ozone pollution, smog | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New study shows need for better monitoring
FRISCO — Wetlands have been pinpointed as one of the largest sources of global methane emissions and new research shows that much more of the potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas will be pumped into the atmosphere as northern wetlands thaw and tropical ones warm, according to a new international study led by a University of Guelph researcher.
The study, published in Global Change Biology, is based on one of the largest-ever analyses of global methane emissions, with more than 20,000 field data measurements collected from 70 sites across arctic, temperate and tropical regions.
The results show the need for improved monitoring of wetlands and human changes to those ecosystems – a timely topic as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to examine land use impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Prof. Merritt Turetsky, lead author of the new study. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, methane, wetlands | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coal losing ground, but is still the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The gradual shift to natural gas power plants may not be a panacea for reducing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but the switch has helped slow the pace emissions.
“Since more and more of our electricity is coming from these cleaner power plants, emissions from the power sector are lower by 20, 30 even 40 percent for some gases since 1997,” said NOAA atmospheric scientists Joost de Gouw. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate, coal, global warming, greenhouse gases, Natural gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Global CO2 emissions continue to increase.
More action needed to meet emissions targets
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With global greenhouse gas emissions headed for a new record high this year, it’s clear that more needs to be done to avert a catastrophic temperature increase.
Leadership from the Obama administration helps set the tone for concerted action at all levels, beginning with individual choices and stepping up through communities, states and regions. In Colorado, many communities have already made great progress in reducing heat-trapping pollutants, but additional measures are needed to meet short- and long term goals.
Next month’s Colorado Climate Network conference (Dec. 12) will focus on local emissions reductions and includes sessions on the results of state and local emissions inventories, as well as spotlighting some successful local programs that could serve as models for other communities. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate change impacts, Colorado, Colorado Climate Network, global warming, greenhouse gases, reducing greenhouse gases | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Research shows direct impact on sea urchin larvae
Ocean acidification is affecting a wide range of marine organisms, from sea snails and oysters to clownfish and sea urchins. PHOTO COURTESY NICK HOBGOOD, VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice coverage of ocean acidification is online here.
FRISCO — Sea urchins may be a canary in the coalmine for the impacts of ocean acidification, according to new research, which shows that the digestive function of the marine animals is impaired by acidified water.
About 25 percent of all the CO2 released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans and converted to carbonic acid, making the water more acidic. Previous studies have showed that marine species and ecosystems can suffer in an acidified environment.
In one research project, scientists with the British Antarctic Survey showed how acidic water in the Southern Ocean is eating away at the shells of sea snails, and other research shows that the Arctic Ocean may be ground zero of acidification. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: global warming, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New study says IPCC projections are too conservative
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In a classic case of climate disruption, research shows that the dry season in southern Amazonia has lengthened by about one week per decade since 1979. Parts of the region may not be able to support rainforest vegetation much longer. A big forest die-back could trigger the release of large volumes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a team of scientists warned this week.
The changes could disrupt plant and animal communities in one of the regions of highest biodiversity in the world, said University of Texas professor Rong Fu, who led the team of scientists. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: Amazon Rainforest, Climate disruption, global warming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists say they need more consistent and widespread measurements
Will thawing tundra become a big source of greenhouse gases?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Danish researchers with Aarhus University say they’ve come a bit closer to calculating the carbon budget in the Arctic tundra, where vast quantities of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are stored in frozen organic soils.
To try and determine whether the tundra is a source of carbon, or a carbon sink, the research team has been measuring the amount of carbon released in the form of CO2 as living organisms respire, and the amount of carbon being stored in plants in the process of photosynthesis.
Once those two figures have been established, it is possible to calculate the carbon balance, said Aarhus University researcher Magnus Lund. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: Arctic global warming impacts, climate change, CO2, global warming, greenhouse gases, tundra | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Future looks grim without drastic greenhouse gas cuts
Warmer and wetter times ahead.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The news is out and it’s not good. In fact, the latest update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is full of dire warning signs that the continued buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, if left unchecked, will lead to a climate catastrophe with dire consequences for humanity and the rest of the planet’s species.
The full assessment is being released piecemeal, with this week’s Summary for Policy Makers drawing global attention, as every word and phrase is scrutinized and parsed for meaning. And it’s actually not that hard to figure out what it all means — you don’t even have to be a scientist. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Tagged: global warming, Greenhouse gas, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea level rise | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Nowhere on Earth have we documented such large scale, rapid ocean acidification’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The steady decline of Arctic sea is speeding ocean acidification, researchers reported this week in PLoS One, describing their findings after extensive water sampling in the region.
“A remarkable 20 percent of the Canadian Basin has become more corrosive to carbonate minerals in an unprecedented short period of time. Nowhere on Earth have we documented such large scale, rapid ocean acidification,” said lead researcher and ocean acidification project chief, U.S. Geological Survey oceanographer Lisa Robbins.
The research showed that the rapid pace of sea ice decline may be contributing directly to increasing acidification by exposing more of the ocean to atmospheric carbon dioxide. The impacts are intensified further by the diluting effect of melting ice. The freshwater further lowers pH levels and reducing the concentrations of calcium and carbonate, which may impact the growth of organisms that many species rely on for food. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: carbon dioxide, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »