Climate: Conservation group tries new path to limiting CO2 emissions

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Increasingly corrosive ocean waters pose a serious threat to shell-building species and other marine life.

‘Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t do everything we could to save the world’s oceans …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Citing the growing threat to the world’s oceans, environmental advocates want the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The regulations have been used to limit emissions of other harmful chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, PCBs and asbestos.

“Time’s running out to avoid a mass extinction of wildlife in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It may not look like a toxic chemical, but when there’s too much CO2 in the ocean, it turns seawater corrosive and dissolves the protective shells that marine animals need to survive,” Sakashita said. Continue reading

Global CO2 level hit 400 ppm milestone in March

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Dubious milestone.

Irrevocable climate change ahead for Planet Earth

Staff Report

FRISCO — For the first time since people started keeping track of such things, the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was above 400 parts per million for an entire month.

Climate scientists say the readings from March 2015 are another significant milestone along the path to a dangerously overheated world, as carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution continue drive global warming. Continue reading

Climate: Study says fjords are key carbon sinks

Fjords like this one in Iceland may play an important role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide. @bberwyn photo.

Fjords like this one in Iceland may play an important role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide. @bberwyn photo.

Deep, cold and oxygen-starved, fjords may keep organic carbon from entering the atmosphere for many centuries

Staff Report

FRISCO — The majestic fjords of the far north may have played a key role in buffering the atmosphere against variations in carbon dioxide levels associated with rapid climate change at the beginning and end of past ice ages.

A study by New Zealand scientists estimates that fjords capture and store about 18 million tons of organic carbon each year. That’s equal to about 11 percent of annual marine carbon capture globally, said Dr. Candida Savage of New Zealand’s University of Otago, after publishing her findings in the  journal Nature Geoscience. Continue reading

After dropping for a few years, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions creep up again in latest EPA tally

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Carbon dioxide … and more.

Can the EPA’s clean power plan help tame the global warming dragon?

Staff Report

FRISCO — U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9 percent in the last 10 years, the EPA said this week, releasing its 20th annual national greenhouse gas inventory.

The latest tally is current through 2013, which shows a 2 percent increase from the previous year, due to increased energy consumption across all economic sectors and increased use of coal for electricity generation. Continue reading

Report shows growing impacts of ocean acidification

CU-Boulder scientists study document decline of calcification rates in marine organisms around Antarctica

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The Southern Ocean may lose its ability to function as a carbon sink. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice stories on ocean acidification

FRISCO — The steady increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide is already causing large-scale shifts in the ocean carbon cycle, according to University of Colorado, Boulder scientists, who calculated the calcification rate of marine organisms in the Southern Ocean.

According to the scientists there has been a 24 percent decline in the amount of calcium carbonate produced in large areas of the Southern Ocean over the past 17 years. Continue reading

Climate: Rising greenhouse gases will drive surge of pollen production, allergen exposure

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A new study projects a big spike in pollen production as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase.

‘The implications of increasing CO2 for human health are clear’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Those sniffly, sneezy summer days are about to get a lot worse for allergy sufferers. Some types of grass pollen and exposure to allergens could increase by more than 200 percent in the next 100 years, due to predicted rises in carbon dioxide and ozone, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists, who project a significant, worldwide impact on human health.

In their study of Timothy grass, environmental health researchers tried to determinedthe interactive effects of CO2 and ozone at projected higher levels on pollen production and concentrations of a Timothy grass pollen protein that is a major human allergen. The findings are reported in the current issue of PLOS ONE. Continue reading

Climate: New ice core record shows three distinct CO2 pulses about 10,000 years ago, as ice age ended

‘The natural carbon cycle can change a lot faster than we thought’

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How will Earth’s climate respond to the current rise in CO2?

Staff Report

FRISCO — One of the most detailed ice cores samples ever taken from Antarctica shows three sharp spikes of atmospheric carbon dioxide ushering in the end of the ice age about 10,000 years ago.

Based on the findings, the researchers said that the increase in atmospheric CO2 from the peak of the last ice age to complete deglaciation was about 80 parts per million, taking place over 10,000 years, with about half that increase occurring in just a few centuries.

They’re not sure what caused the sudden surges, but suspect it was a combination of factors, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns, and terrestrial processes. But understanding the mechanisms that caused the changes would help determine what take the Earth in and out of ice age regimes. Continue reading

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