CO2 could take huge toll on ocean fish by mid-century

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Can the world’s oceans survive the global warming era?

Not much time left to cut greenhouse gas pollution

Staff Report

Building levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans could have a widespread and devastating effect on many fish by 2050, Australian researchers warned in a new study.

“Our results were staggering and have massive implications for global fisheries and marine ecosystems across the planet,” said Dr. Ben McNeil, a researcher at the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre. “High concentrations of carbon dioxide cause fish to become intoxicated … a phenomenon known as hypercapnia. Essentially, the fish become lost at sea. The carbon dioxide affects their brains and they lose their sense of direction and ability to find their way home. They don’t even know where their predators are,” McNeil said. Continue reading

Study says human-caused global warming has interrupted Earth’s ice age cycles

The Dachstein Glacier in Austria has visibly and dramatically decreased in size in just a couple of decades. bberwyn photo.

The Dachstein Glacier in Austria has visibly and dramatically decreased in size in just a couple of decades. bberwyn photo.

Humans have triggered an era of ‘de-glaciation’

Staff Report

The build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could delay onset of Earth’s next ice age by 100,000 years, scientists estimate in a new study published this week in Nature.

The researchers reached their findings after “cracking the code of glacial inception,” according to a statement from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who said the relationship between incoming solar radiation and CO2 levels are the key factors that explain the last eight glacial cycles in Earth history. Continue reading

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

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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: Warming lakes will release more CO2

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Lakes in high latitudes are likely to become even more significant sources of CO2 in a warming world. @bberwyn photo.

Land use around lakes seen as critical factor in greenhouse gas equation

Staff Report

The world’s lakes already emit carbon dioxide equivalent to about 25 percent of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion, and that amount could grow significantly in a warming world.

Researchers came to that conclusion after studying a huge amount of data from more than 5,000 lakes in Sweden, and tracking the origins of CO2 releases. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that the amount of CO2 produced in the lakes by micro-organisms, and from the influx of CO2 from surrounding lands, both increase in warmer and nutrient-rich climate zones. Continue reading

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

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