Posted on July 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Are wolverines in the U.S. doomed by global warming?
Leaked memo suggests USFWS is bowing to political pressure from western states
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal officials apparently won’t let the best available science stop them from making yet another politically motivated endangered species decision.
This time, wolverines are at issue, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to withdraw a proposal to list the rare mammal based on threats posed by global warming. The agency hasn’t officially announced its intention, but a leaked memo shows that USFWS Mountain-Prairie regional director Noreen Walsh wants to override the recommendations of her own scientists and withdraw the listing proposal. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, global warming, Noreen Walsh, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists track impacts to ecoystems as temperatures rise
How will global warming affect wildflowers in Great Sand Dunes National Park?
FRISCO — National Parks across the country are facing an era of change because of global warming, scientists concluded in a new study showing that many parks are already experiencing temperatures that are near the extreme high end of the scale, based on measurements going back to 1910.
The report by National Park Service scientists concludes “that climate change is happening in America’s national parks, and in some cases in rapid and concerning ways,” and that “measurable plant and animal responses to recent climate change have already been documented.”
“This report shows that climate change continues to be the most far-reaching and consequential challenge ever faced by our national parks,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement “Our national parks can serve as places where we can monitor and document ecosystem change without many of the stressors that are found on other public lands.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Environment, global warming, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Emperor penguins in Antarctica. Photo courtesy BAS.
New study projects 50 percent decline by century’s end as sea ice habitat dwindles
FRISCO — Antarctica’s emperor penguins may be colonizing new territory right now, but the long-term outlook for the birds is grim, according to new research showing that changes in sea ice concentration will likely cause most colonies to decline by 50 percent by the end of the century.
Even the most remote reaches of Antarctica won’t be immune to the changes, the study leaders said, describing the results of their findings in a new article in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The study concludes that emperor penguins are fully deserving of an endangered species listing based on global warming threats. The research will help inform federal bio-crats as they ponder a listing under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, emperor penguins, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Emporer penguins and chicks near the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Photo courtesy BAS.
Penguin populations in flux
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just six months after scientists documented breeding emperor penguins moving from sea ice to ice-shelf habitat, a new study reinforces the idea that Antarctica’s iconic birds may be more mobile than thought. It’s too early to say for sure, but that could be good news in terms in terms of global warming, which is likely to change the face of the frozen continent in the decades ahead.
The fundamental questions hinge on how dependent the birds are on their icy habitat. Some studies have shown that emperor penguins may suffer as sea ice shrinks, while other researchers recently doubled their estimate for total population numbers. Overall, penguin populations around Antarctica are in a state of flux. Read all our emperor penguin stories here. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, emperor penguins, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all’
Global warming ramped up in May with a record-high average temperature worldwide.
FRISCO — Inaction on climate change is probably the costliest option for the European Union, which could not only see direct costs of €190 billion, but also a net loss of 1.8 percent of its current GDP. Premature mortality accounts for more than half of the overall welfare losses (€120 billion), followed by impacts on coasts (€42 billion) and agriculture (€18 billion).
“No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all. Why pay for the damages when we can invest in reducing our climate impacts and becoming a competitive low-carbon economy?” said Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action. “Taking action and taking a decision on the 2030 climate and energy framework in October, will bring us just there and make Europe ready for the fight against climate change,” she said. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change impacts, climate costs, Environment, EU, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
How fast will the Greenland Ice Sheet melt?
Credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio.
Detailed chemical analysis shows that southern portion of the ice sheet melted during historic warm phase
FRISCO —A period of global warming about 400,000 years ago may have pushed the Greenland Ice Sheet past a climate tipping point, resulting in widespread melting and raising sea level by more than 15 feet during a time when atmospheric temperatures were similar to current conditions.
The new study is one piece of a massive effort to understand how fast Greenland’s ice will melt as heat-trapping greenhouse gases force global temperatures upward. That melting will have huge implications for millions of people who live near coastlines, as well as for planners and policy makers trying to figure out how to prepare for the coming inundations. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: climate change, global warming, Greenland ice sheet | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Year to-date is fifth-warmest through May
You have to look pretty hard for the tiny cool spots.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The average global temperature soared to a new record in May, more than 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, according to the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Land surface temperatures were well above average in many parts of the world, including Australia and Alaska, but sea surface temperatures were off the charts, driving the global average temperature for the month to an all-time high. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, Environment, global warming, May 2014 global temperatures, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Independent journalism: Climate, penguins and uranium mining
Saving the world, one story at a time!
Independent journalism isn’t free. Support Colorado Environmental Reporting!
FRISCO — I didn’t quite get around to reporting on the discovery of new fish-eating spider species last week, but I did cover a lot of environmental territory.
Along with climate stories in Summit Voice I wrote about the emerald ash borer invasion and hydropower for Boulderganic, and even penned a food- and environmental themed Colorado roadtrip story for the Boulder Weekly.
On a more serious note, I was the first journalist to take a close look at the City of Denver’s as-yet unpublished climate change adaptation plan, showing that life in the Mile High City could be nearly unbearable by 2050 — but also showing that making adjustments for global warming could have huge benefits for Denver by expanding green infrastructure. Read the Colorado Independent story here: The Big Schvitz. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, Denver climate adaptation, environmental journalism, global warming, Hydropower, renewable energy | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
UK researchers say rerouting flight paths could cut warming effect
Flying over Greenland … bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Chemtrail conspiracy theorists aside, researchers at the University of Reading (UK) say that airplanes could reduce their climate impact by choosing flight paths in areas where jet exhaust condensation trails are less likely to form and persist.
The study, published June 19 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, shows that aircraft contribute less to global warming by avoiding the places where the thinly shaped clouds, called contrails, are produced – even if that means flying further and emitting more carbon dioxide. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, cloud formation, contrails, global warming, Travel | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Gradual warmup after ice age was beneficial to many species, but rapid rate of current warming may be too much for the flightless birds
Populations of chinstrap penguins are declining fast as sea ice melts around the Antarctic Peninsula. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
* More Summit Voice stories and photos on penguins here.
FRISCO — A new genetic analysis of historic penguin populations in Antarctica offers a nuanced view of how the flightless birds responded to climate change during the past 30 years. The findings suggests that, between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago, penguin populations expanded as ice retreated and global temperatures warmed.
But warming has accelerated the past few decades; now many species may be declining because ice is retreating too far and too fast, according to the researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, who looked at genetic diversity to recreate past population sizes. A report of the research is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, global warming, penguins | Leave a comment »