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Drastic energy overhaul needed to stop climate change

‘Our emissions are not being held constant or even slowing; they’re growing faster than ever.’

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Alaska and a portion of Canada were the only significant land areas reporting below-average temperatures in the autumn of 2012.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Piecemeal changes to energy policy, like switching from coal to natural gas, are not nearly enough to stop the buildup of greenhouse gases that’s driving global warming.

What’s needed is “a fundamental and disruptive overhaul of the global energy system” to eradicate harmful carbon dioxide emissions, not just stabilize them, according to new findings by UC Irvine and other scientists.

In a paper to be published Jan. 9 in Environmental Research Letters, UC Irvine Earth system scientist Steve Davis and others say a fundamental overhaul of energy policy is needed to develop carbon-free power. Continue reading

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Global warming: Sea level rising much faster than forecast

Observational data is piling up and showing that sea level rise is exceeding the rate predicted by the IPCC

Glaciers and ice caps are melting, and sea level is rising even faster than forecast by the IPCC. Photos courtesy NASA. (Click the image for more information.)

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sea levels during the past two decades are rising 60 percent faster than the general estimates made by the IPCC, according to new research published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The scientists with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Tempo Analytics and Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales said that, while temperature rises appear to be consistent with the projections made in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report , satellite measurements show that sea-levels are rising at a rate of 3.2 mm a year compared to the best estimate of 2 mm a year in the report.

“This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has under-estimated the problem of climate change,” said lead author Stefan Rahmstorf. “That applies not just for sea-level rise, but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea-ice loss.” Continue reading

Wolverines face dire global warming threat

Study suggests wolverine habitat could melt away by mid-century

A new climate change study casts doubt on the ability of wolverines to survive in the face of climate change. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A targeted climate-change study by scientists with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder suggests that rising temperatures may completely eliminate existing habitat for wolverines in the contiguous United States.

“The researchers combined regional-scale climate projections with knowledge of a single species and its unique habitat to examine its vulnerability to a changing climate,” says Sarah Ruth, program director in National Science Foundations Directorate for Geosciences, which funds NCAR. “This study is an example of how targeted climate predictions can produce new insights that could help us reduce the impact of future climate change on delicate ecosystems,” she said.

Climate change is likely to imperil the wolverine in two ways: Reducing or eliminating the springtime snow cover that wolverines rely on for raising their young, and increasing August temperatures well beyond what the species may be able to tolerate. Continue reading

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