Can a lawsuit save Glacier National Park’s stonefly?

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Western glacier stonefly. Photo courtesy USGS.

Conservation advocates seek to draw attention to the plight of alpine ecosystems

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Rocky Mountains are heating up at about twice the rate of the global average, threatening entire ecosystems dependent on melting snow and glacial runoff.

Some species are already on the brink of extinction, including a tiny aquatic stonefly found only in Glacier National Park, which could vanish within the next few decades at the park’s glaciers disappear under the relentless rise of temperatures. Continue reading

Antarctica meltdown likely to speed up soon

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Ice sheets of the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo

Natural variability still the key driver for East Antarctica temps

Staff Report

FRISCO — A lack of widespread data from Antarctica means it’s still challenging to differentiate human-driven global warming from natural temperature variations in the region, German scientists said in a new study.

Climate researchers need to understand temperature trends in Antarctica to better predict how fast the ice will melt and raise global sea level. But the study concluded that the uncertainties in the temperature trends over Antarctica are larger than previously estimated. Continue reading

After dropping for a few years, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions creep up again in latest EPA tally

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Carbon dioxide … and more.

Can the EPA’s clean power plan help tame the global warming dragon?

Staff Report

FRISCO — U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9 percent in the last 10 years, the EPA said this week, releasing its 20th annual national greenhouse gas inventory.

The latest tally is current through 2013, which shows a 2 percent increase from the previous year, due to increased energy consumption across all economic sectors and increased use of coal for electricity generation. Continue reading

March 2015 global temps the warmest on record

First three months of the year also record-warm

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More global warming in March 2015. Map courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — More than 90 percent of the Earth’s land surface experienced warmer than average temperatures last month, which ended up being the warmest March on record for the planet as a whole.

The combined land- and ocean surface temperature was 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, breaking the previous 2010 record by 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the latest global State of the Climate update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Continue reading

Carbon release from melting permafrost may gradual

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The average temperature of permafrost has increased by 11 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 years.

New study takes detailed look at dynamics of permafrost meltdown

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — One of the big uncertainties in the pace of global warming is how fast greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost, which stores huge amounts of carbon.

A sudden meltdown and discharge could result in a spike in the concentration of heat-trapping gases and big surge in global temperatures, but a new study suggests that release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions will be more gradual and prolonged. Continue reading

Study says global warming will bring drought to western U.S. sooner rather than later

Historical water data not a good basis for planning; strategic planning and prompt action needed

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Many parts of the world could experience serious drought by mid-century.

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The western U.S. may already be in a new drought regime driven by global warming.

Staff Report

FRISCO —The western U.S. will likely be one of the first places to experience unprecedented drought driven by climate change, according to new research by scientists with the Vienna-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Continue reading

Greater sage-grouse face serious global warming threat

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Greater sage-grouse may lose ground to global warming. Photo courtesy USGS.

Climate change to cut key nesting habitat in Wyoming

Staff Report

FRISCO — As if greater sage-grouse didn’t already have enough to worry about, a new study suggests that global warming may reduce nesting habitat for the dwindling birds by 12 percent in southwestern Wyoming by 2050.

“Historic disturbances of fire, development and invasive species have altered the sagebrush landscape, but climate change may represent the habitat’s greatest future risk,” said Collin Homer, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist who led the research.

“Warming temperatures, combined with less snow and rain, will favor species other than sagebrush, as well as increase sagebrush habitat’s vulnerability to fire, insects, disease and invasive species,” Homer said, explaining that the research helped show how vulnerable sagebrush landscapes are to climate change. Continue reading

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