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

Study pinpoints mysterious CO2 spike over Capitol

GOP Anti-science speeches found to contribute to overall greenhouse gas crisis

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Although CO2 is generally described as colorless and odorless, emissions of the gas at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. are so high they sometimes become visible to the naked eye. A recent climate study shows that most of the CO2 is being emitted during anti-science speeches by GOP lawmakers in Congress, @bberwyn photo.

By Robby Nerbwin

FRISCO — A new climate study released Wednesday, April 1 shows that cutting anti-science rhetoric by GOP politicians could go a long way toward helping the U.S. meet its stated intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a global deal to avoid catastrophic global warming impacts. 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

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’

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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: Are you ready for a greenhouse world?

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We are creating a greenhouse world.

More research confirms climate sensitivity to CO2

Staff Report

FRISCO — It’s seems more certain than ever that the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is pushing the planet’s toward an entirely different state, according scientists in the UK.

Releasing a new study that took another detailed look at atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the warm Pliocene era, 2 to 3 million years ago, the researchers said it’s very likely that we are headed toward a much warmer future. Continue reading

Study suggests link between seafloor vulcanism and climate

Underwater volcanoes erupt in regular cycles, respond to changes in sea level

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Mid-ocean volcanic ridges are like seams on a baseball.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Volcanic activity on the ocean floors may have a significant effect on global climate, according to scientists who were recently able to measure that vulcanism with a set of sophisticated new instruments.

Combining the data with findings from previous research, Columbia University geophysicist Maya Tolstoy shows that ocean-floor vulcanism flares up on regular cycles that can linked with changes in the Earth’s orbit and other gravitational influences, including Earth’s distance from the sun, and that those cycles may trigger periodic climate swings.

Notably, Tolstoy found that most undersea volcanoes erupt during the first half of the year, from January through June, she reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“People have ignored seafloor volcanoes on the idea that their influence is small, but that’s because they are assumed to be in a steady state, which they’re not,” said Tolstoy, a researcher at Columbia’s  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “They respond to both very large forces, and to very small ones, and that tells us that we need to look at them much more closely.” Continue reading

Study: Tropical forests still gulping huge amounts of carbon, but for how long?

The word's rainforests, shown in green, are going to suffer huge biodiversity losses as global temperatures rise.

The word’s tropical rainforests, shown in green, are more important carbon sinks than previously thought.

Carbon uptake in northern forests slows

Staff Report

FRISCO — Tropical forests are even more important carbon sinks than previously believed, according to a new study led by NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The study estimates that tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. Continue reading

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