Study: Aquifers beneath deserts may be huge CO2 sinks

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Great Sand Dunes National Park. @bberwyn photo.

Research tracks path of carbon dioxide via agriculture to underground storage

Staff Report

FRISCO — Vast aquifers beneath the world’s deserts may be significant carbon sinks, scientists with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research said.

In a new study, the UCAR researchers estimated that those aquifers may store more carbon than all the plants on land.

About 40 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by people stays in the atmosphere and heats the planet. About 30 percent is taken up by oceans, where it is rapidly acidifying the water to the detriment of shellfish and other marine species.

The other 30 percent is partially absorbed by land plants, but when scientists ran CO2 models, it didn’t add up, so they started searching for additional carbon sinks. Continue reading

Climate: 20 feet of sea level rise is inevitable

‘The ominous aspect to this is that CO2 levels are continuing to rise, so we are entering uncharted territory …’

This graph shows cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of long-term tide gauge measurements and recent satellite measurements. Graph courtesy EPA.

This graph shows cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of tide gauge measurements and satellite measurements. Graph courtesy EPA.

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The Florida coastline is being swallowed by rising sea level despite efforts to bolster beaches. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — It doesn’t take much global warming to raise sea level by 20 feet or more, climate researchers said in a new review study finding that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years.

An increase of just 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in global mean temperatures is enough trigger a big meltdown of Greenland and Antarctic ice, which means that the world’s coastal areas are going to be swamped in the global warming era — it’s just a question of whether it will take a few hundred, or a few thousand years.

“Studies have shown that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributed significantly to this sea level rise above modern levels,” said Anders Carlson, an Oregon State University glacial geologist and paleoclimatologist, who co-authored the new study appearing in Science. Continue reading

Climate: Conservation group tries new path to limiting CO2 emissions

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Increasingly corrosive ocean waters pose a serious threat to shell-building species and other marine life.

‘Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t do everything we could to save the world’s oceans …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Citing the growing threat to the world’s oceans, environmental advocates want the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The regulations have been used to limit emissions of other harmful chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, PCBs and asbestos.

“Time’s running out to avoid a mass extinction of wildlife in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It may not look like a toxic chemical, but when there’s too much CO2 in the ocean, it turns seawater corrosive and dissolves the protective shells that marine animals need to survive,” Sakashita said. Continue reading

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

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