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Climate: Giant space-based mirrors? Probably not

Study finds reducing emissions is the best way to slow global warming

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Ever warmer …

Staff Report

FRISCO — In case anyone was thinking that humanity can engineer its way out of the global warming crisis, a new study by scientists with UCLA and other universities has found that the only thing that will really work is a significant reduction greenhouse gas emissions.

Positioning giant mirrors in space to reduce the amount of sunlight being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere or seeding clouds to reduce the amount of light entering earth’s atmosphere are not likely to be effective or practical in slowing global warming. Continue reading

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Global warming to transform more than 80 percent of the world’s ice-free ecosystems by 2100

‘Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it … ‘

This image shows simulated ecosystem change by 2100, depending on the degree of global temperature increase: 2 degrees Celsius (upper image) or five degrees Celsius (lower image) above preindustrial levels. The parameter Γ (Gamma) measures how far apart a future ecosystem under climate change would be from the present state. Blue colours (lower Γ) depict areas of moderate change, yellow to red areas (higher Γ) show major change. The maps show the median value of the Γ parameter across all climate models, meaning at least half of the models agree on major change in the yellow to red areas, and at least half of the models are below the threshold for major change in the blue areas.

This image shows simulated ecosystem change by 2100, depending on the degree of global temperature increase: 2 degrees Celsius (upper image) or five degrees Celsius (lower image) above preindustrial levels. The parameter Γ (Gamma) measures how far apart a future ecosystem under climate change would be from the present state. Blue colors (lower Γ) depict areas of moderate change, yellow to red areas (higher Γ) show major change. The maps show the median value of the Γ parameter across all climate models, meaning at least half of the models agree on major change in the yellow to red areas, and at least half of the models are below the threshold for major change in the blue areas. Credit: Ostberg et al., 2013.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Global warming is likely to radically transform more than 80 percent of the Earth’s ice-free landscapes by the end of the century. boreal forests will be transformed into temperate savannas, trees will grow in the Arctic tundra and some of the world’s rainforests will disappear, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it,” said PIK scientist Sebastian Ostberg, describing the findings of a study  published their results in Earth System Dynamics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union.

The researchers said “nearly no area of the world is free” from the risk of climate change transforming landscapes substantially, unless mitigation limits warming to around 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

The profound transformations of land ecosystems have the potential to affect food and water security, and hence impact human well-being just like sea level rise and direct damage from extreme weather events. Continue reading

Climate: NASA study reinforces grim wildfire projections

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Continuing drought in Colorado allowed the Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park to flare up in late November. Photo courtesy NPS/Dennis Geving.

Frequency of high wildfires expected to double by mid-century

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — This past summer’s drought and destructive wildfires in Colorado showed how just a short period of hot, dry weather intensifies fire conditions, and there’s more and more research suggesting that global warming will make things worse in the next few decades.

In one of the most recent studies, NASA scientists reported this week that wildfire activity is likely to increase significantly by the middle of the century, putting natural resources and human developments at even greater risk.

“Climate models project an increase in fire risk across the U.S. by 2050, based on a trend toward drier conditions that favor fire activity and an increase in the frequency of extreme events,” said Doug Morton, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Continue reading

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