Rising sea level to take big bite from Hawaii beaches

Study projects increasing rate of coastal erosion

dfg

The Hawaiian Islands via NASA Earth Observatory.

Staff Report

FRISCO — As sea level rises, Hawaii’s beaches are on track to shrink by 20 to 40 feet during the next few decades, scientists announced in a new study.

“When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise projected under the IPCC’s “business as usual” scenario, we found that increased SLR causes an average 16 – 20 feet of additional shoreline retreat by 2050,” said lead author Tiffany Anderson, a post-doctoral researcher at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. Continue reading

One more time: Beetle-killed forests are NOT more likely to burn, according to new CU-Boulder study

asdf

Beetle-killed lodgepole pines in Colorado. bberwyn photo.

New CU-Boulder study has implications for forest managers and Red Zone communities

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice stories on beetle-kill and forests here.

FRISCO — Communities and resource managers looking to address the threat of wildfires should focus less on tree-killing beetles and more on the underlying forces driving the trend toward larger fires.

Warmer temperatures and increased drought are the key factors, said Colorado-based researchers who took a close look at patterns of beetle-kill and wildfires in recent years.

Their study found that western forests killed by mountain pine beetles are no more at risk to burn than healthy forests. Those findings  fly in the face of both public perception and policy, the scientists acknowledged.

“What we are seeing in this study is that at broad scales, fire does not necessarily follow mountain pine beetles,” said CU-Boulder Research Scientist Tania Schoennagel, of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “It’s well known, however, that fire does follow drought.” Continue reading

Global warming: in the realm of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2

Scientists: ‘Climate change is a threat to life on Earth and we can no longer afford to be spectators’

'oj

A rising tide of CO2 …

Staff Report

FRISCO — When atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations hit 400 parts per million about a year ago, there was widespread media coverage, explaining how the mark wasn’t all that significant in and of itself, but that it represented a psychological threshold to measure human impact on the climate.

Well guess what? CO2 emissions continue unabated, although there are some hopeful signs (global energy production increased in 2014, but CO2 emissions leveled off), and once again this spring, the atmospheric observatory atop Mauna Loa is once again measuring CO2 above the 400 ppm level — 401.77, to be exact, as of March 22, and as high as 403.10 ppm back on March 15. Continue reading

Climate study raises questions about ice age triggers

sdfg

New questions about ice age triggers, based on research from New Zealand.

Ice sheet behavior doesn’t match up in northern, southern hemispheres

Staff Report

FRISCO — A close study of glaciers in New Zealand has given scientists some startling insights into the global cycle of ice ages, suggesting that the path of the Earth’s orbit around the sun may not be the main driver of glacial epochs.

Instead, the new study concluded that glacier movement in the Southern Hemisphere is influenced primarily by sea surface temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide rather than changes in the Earth’s orbit, which are thought to drive the advance and retreat of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere. The findings appear in the journal Geology. Continue reading

Scientists urge greater care of World Heritage sites

fghj

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef seen from a NASA satellite.

‘As a wealthy country, Australia has the capability and responsibility to improve its management of the reef’

FRISCO — Strong local management may be the key to preserving treasured world heritage sites, researchers concluded in a new study after taking a close look at threats facing the Amazon Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and Spain’s Doñana wetlands.

The team of scientists, who published their findings in the journal Science, said protecting such areas from the larger dangers of climate change requires addressing local threats, for example overfishing, fertilizer pollution and land clearing — all of which can exacerbate the effects of climatic extremes, such as heat waves and droughts. Continue reading

Wildfire season starts slow for 2d year in a row

Continued Western drought, warmth set stage for significant wildfires later this summer

;ih

After a dry and warm winter, southern Alaska will have a better than average chance of signficant wildfire activity this spring. Map via NIFC.

By Bob Berwyn

Western wildfires have always been shape-shifting beasts, roaring to life wherever there is hot and dry weather, wind and fuel. But last year’s relatively cool and wet summer brought relief to parts of the region — including Colorado — that had been especially hard the previous few years.

The 2015 wildfire season is starting similarly slow to last year, according to statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center showing that, since January 1, there have been about 6,200 fires that burned across a 100,000 acre footprint, just 30 percent of the average from the past 10 years. Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice extent peaks at record low level

sdfg

The polar ice cap is smaller than ever. bberwyn photo.

Loopy jet stream keeps much of Arctic warm

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal ice researchers say this year’s maximum Arctic sea ice extent, reached Feb. 25, is the lowest on record during the satellite era, about 50,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 2011. While a shift in wind patterns could result in some additional growth, it’s unlikely the sea ice will expand past the extent reached on that date. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,204 other followers