Study: Doubling of CO2 may warm Earth by 3 degrees Celsius


New data shows climate may be more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought.

New chemical analysis sends climate warming signal

Staff Report

A study of ancient carbonate crystals in Colorado suggests that the Earth’s climate is more sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide than believed.

Based on the chemical analysis of rocks from the Green River formation, scientists think that a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times could raise the global temperature by a whopping 3 degrees Celsius. Continue reading

Climate: Antarctic sea ice extent drops off from record levels reached in recent years

Early October peak was lowest extent since 2008


This year’s maximum Antarctic sea ice extent may have been affected by El Niño. @bberwyn photo.

This year’s El Niño may have been a factor limiting Antarctic sea ice, which peaked on October 6 at the lowest extent since 2008, according to an update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The seasonal maximum extent rached about 7.27 million square miles, falling roughly in the middle of the record of Antarctic maximum extents compiled during the satellite record — in contrast to the past three years, which all set records. Continue reading

September 2015 the second-warmest on record

Nine states report record warmth


Nine states were record-warm in September.

Staff Report

September 2015 delivered above average temperatures across most of the contiguous 48 states, with nine states — including Colorado — reporting record warmth for the month, according to the latest State of the Climate update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

After tallying up the numbers, the federal climate experts said it was the second-warmest September on record, lagging behind only 1998. The average temperature across the lower 48 states was 68.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which 3.7 degrees above the 20th century average. Continue reading

Climate: Industrial CO2 emissions need to be targeted as part of greenhouse gas reduction efforts

asdf  Gavin Houtheusen/Department for International Development

Industrial facilities like cement plants must be considered in global plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Photo courtesy  Gavin Houtheusen/Department for International Development, via Wikipdia and the Creative Commons.

Carbon capture and storage may be a critical part of the equation

Staff Report

While energy production is the main focus of greenhouse reduction efforts, heavy industry also needs to be considered, according to new research showing that mitigation strategies are needed to address CO2 emissions from heavy industry, including oil refining and the production of cement and steel.

Meeting climate targets requires an urgent effort to “demonstrate and implement carbon capture and storage, CCS, and other carbon dioxide mitigation technologies,” according to Chalmers University of Technology researcher Johan Rootzén. “While this will involve major investments in primary production, our results suggest that there will only be marginal impacts on costs and prices in the end-use sectors.” Continue reading

Study links dengue fever outbreaks with El Niño

New study can help tropical countries prepare


El Niño cycles can have public health impacts.

Staff Report

This year’s El Niño could bring a widespread dengue fever outbreak across Southeast Asia, scientists said after tracking a link between the disease and warmer temperatures.

The warning came after a team of international scientists found that an increase in dengue incidence swept through eight countries of Southeast Asia in 1997 and 1998 during a historically intense El Niño weather event.

“Dengue infects large numbers of people across the tropics each year, but incidence can vary dramatically from year to year in any setting,” said University of Florida biology professor Derek Cummings, senior author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading

Environment: Study quantifies volcano pollution


Plumes of smoke and flames rise from an eruption at Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland, in 2014. The amount of sulphur dioxide emitted in the six-month eruption was treble that given off by all of Europe’s industry. Credit Dr. John Stevenson

12,000 tons of sulphur dioxide per day …

Staff Report

Researchers in the UK have helped show how volcanoes can affect air quality by quantifying emissions from last year’s eruption of Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano.

“The eruption discharged lava at a rate of more than 200 cubic metres per second, which is equivalent to filling five Olympic-sized swimming pools in a minute,” said Dr Anja Schmidt from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, who led the study. Continue reading

Plankton debris helps create icy clouds


A storm-tossed wave in the Southern Ocean. @bberwyn photo.

It’s all connected …

Staff Report

FRISCO — The connection between the world’s oceans and atmosphere have become even more clear thanks to a new study showing for the first time that plankton in remote regions contribute to airborne particles that trigger ice formation in clouds.

Organic waste from life in the oceans, which is ejected into the atmosphere along with sea spray from breaking waves, stimulates cloud droplets to freeze into ice particles. This affects how clouds behave. The scientists, who published their findings in the journal Nature, say the research could help refine climate change projections. Continue reading


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