Posted on February 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
We are creating a greenhouse world.
More research confirms climate sensitivity to CO2
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
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Climate sensitivity, CO2, global warming, Pliocene era | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Underwater volcanoes erupt in regular cycles, respond to changes in sea level
Mid-ocean volcanic ridges are like seams on a baseball.
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
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, CO2, Milankovitch cycles, ocean floor volcanoes | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The word’s tropical rainforests, shown in green, are more important carbon sinks than previously thought.
Carbon uptake in northern forests slows
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
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, forests, global warming | Tagged: carbon cycle, climate change, CO2, tropical forests | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
During the northern hemisphere winter, the Bering Sea, dividing Alaska and Siberia, becomes the most acidic region on earth (in purple) as shown in this February 2005 acidity map in pH scale. Temperate oceans are less acidic. The equatorial Pacific is left blank due to its high variability around El Niño and La Niña events. Map courtesy Taro Takahashi.
New benchmark data will help track future changes
FRISCO — The world’s oceans are acidifying at a rate of about 5 percent each decade, a trend that could cost the global economy $3 trillion a year in lost revenue from fishing, tourism and other intangible lost ecosystem services.
At that pace, warm-water corals by the end of the century could be living in waters 25 percent more acidic than they are today, raising questions about the long-term survival of coral reef ecosystems.
To paint a more detailed picture of potential impacts, scientists have created an ocean acidification map, showing how how acidity levels vary across the world’s oceans. The data should help provide a benchmark for the future, as enormous amounts CO2 from fossil fuels ends up in the sea. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: climate change, CO2, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A new study projects a big spike in pollen production as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase.
‘The implications of increasing CO2 for human health are clear’
FRISCO — Those sniffly, sneezy summer days are about to get a lot worse for allergy sufferers. Some types of grass pollen and exposure to allergens could increase by more than 200 percent in the next 100 years, due to predicted rises in carbon dioxide and ozone, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst scientists, who project a significant, worldwide impact on human health.
In their study of Timothy grass, environmental health researchers tried to determinedthe interactive effects of CO2 and ozone at projected higher levels on pollen production and concentrations of a Timothy grass pollen protein that is a major human allergen. The findings are reported in the current issue of PLOS ONE. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: allergies, carbon dioxide, climate change, CO2, pollen | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coral growth is slowing dramatically along parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Will the world’s coral reefs simply dissolve as oceans become more acidic?
FRISCO — Scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef said they’ve tracked a “perilous” 40 percent slowdown in coral growth rates since the 1970s.
The trend may be linked with increasing ocean acidification, according to the new study led by researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science.
The researchers compared current measurements of the growth rate of a section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with similar measurements taken more than 30 years ago. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, CO2, coral reefs, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study finds that online movie viewing is more energy efficient
FRISCO —All those trips to the video store and Red Box, and all the fossil fuel used to manufacture and transport DVDs and CDs added up to more than 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions that could have been avoided (in 2011) if all media were simply streamed online, scientists concluded after taking a close look at the carbon budget of the entertainment business.
The study, published May 29 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, says more energy efficient electronic devices have tipped the balance toward online consumption of movies and music. A significant proportion of the energy consumption and carbon emissions for streaming comes from the transmission of data, which increases drastically when more complex, high-definition content is streamed. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, clmate change, CO2, Environment | Leave a comment »