Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘The natural carbon cycle can change a lot faster than we thought’
How will Earth’s climate respond to the current rise in CO2?
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
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, ice age, Ice core | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coral growth is slowing dramatically along parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Will the world’s coral reefs simply dissolve as oceans become more acidic?
FRISCO — Scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef said they’ve tracked a “perilous” 40 percent slowdown in coral growth rates since the 1970s.
The trend may be linked with increasing ocean acidification, according to the new study led by researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science.
The researchers compared current measurements of the growth rate of a section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with similar measurements taken more than 30 years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, CO2, coral reefs, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study finds that online movie viewing is more energy efficient
FRISCO —All those trips to the video store and Red Box, and all the fossil fuel used to manufacture and transport DVDs and CDs added up to more than 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions that could have been avoided (in 2011) if all media were simply streamed online, scientists concluded after taking a close look at the carbon budget of the entertainment business.
The study, published May 29 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, says more energy efficient electronic devices have tipped the balance toward online consumption of movies and music. A significant proportion of the energy consumption and carbon emissions for streaming comes from the transmission of data, which increases drastically when more complex, high-definition content is streamed. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, clmate change, CO2, Environment | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New study assesses freshwater methane on a global scale
Microorganisms in freshwater ecosystems generate significant amounts of methane.
FRISCO — After recalculating Earth’s greenhouse gas budget, Princeton scientists say that methane emissions will start increasing at a faster pace than carbon dioxide, primarily due to the release of methane from microscopic freshwater organisms.
Methane is about 30 times more effective than CO2 at trapping the sun’s heat, and for every degree of warming, methane emissions will increase several times over, according to the research published in Nature.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, methane | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study says greening tundra won’t offset permafrost meltdown
Study says new plant growth won’t compensate for carbon emissions from melting tundra in the Arctic. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Permafrost could dwindle by 30 to 70 percent by the end of the century, and more vegetation in the Arctic won’t be enough to offset the carbon emissions from thawing organic soils.
Scientists with the Woods Hole Research Center reached their conclusions after a series of field tests designed to measure net gains or losses in carbon emissions. The study is published in the journal Ecology.
“Our results show that while permafrost degradation increased carbon uptake during the growing season, in line with decadal trends of ‘greening’ tundra, warming and permafrost thaw also enhanced winter respiration, which doubled annual carbon losses,” said WHRC assistant scientist Sue Natali. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, permafrost | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Yet another study shows how fungi may play a key role in regulating carbon.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — While most current climate research focuses on increasing levels of carbon dioxide, scientists in the UK recently studied long-past eras when CO2 levels were much lower, and discovered a biological mechanism that could explain how the Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate were stabilized over the past 24 million years.
When CO2 levels became too low for plants to grow properly, forests appear to have kept the climate in check by slowing down the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The report has been published in Biogeosciences, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union.
“As CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere fall, the Earth loses its greenhouse effect, which can lead to glacial conditions,” said lead-author Joe Quirk, with the University of Sheffield. “Over the last 24 million years, the geologic conditions were such that atmospheric CO2 could have fallen to very low levels … but it did not drop below a minimum concentration of about 180 to 200 parts per million. Why?” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate, fungi, global warming, greenhouse gases | Leave a comment »