Posted on April 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Researchers surprised by findings from Mojave desert
FRISCO — The world’s arid regions may be able to take up more carbon than previously thought, according to a new study based on detailed soil and carbon measurements from the Mojave Desert.
The research, led by a Washington State University biologist, will help develop a more accurate global carbon budget — how much carbon remains in the atmosphere as CO2, contributing to global warming, and how much gets stored in the land or ocean in other carbon-containing forms. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon cycle, climate, deserts, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can we slow our greenhouse gas emissions? A global carbon tax could help.
Ending subsidies for fossil fuel companies also high on the list
FRISCO — A modest carbon tax of just $0.15 per kilo could lead the world down the path of meaningful action on global warming, says a Swedish researcher who was one of the coordinating lead authors of a new report that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will present next week.
“What we need to avoid dangerous climate change is the application of strong policy instruments,” said Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon tax, climate change, Environment, global warming, IPCC | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Daffaodils are blooming earlier, forcing flower festival organizers to move up the dates of their events.
Flower festival dates moved up by nearly a month since the late 1960s
FRISCO — A popular flower festival in the UK is now being help 26 days earlier than when it started back in 1946 because the daffodils are blooming earlier than ever, thanks to global warming.
Coventry University Professor Tim Sparks, an environmental science expert, focused on the changes made to the timing of the popular Thriplow Daffodil Weekend in Cambridgeshire since it started in 1969. The early flowering phenomenon is caused by the UK’s increasingly mild springs, specifically a mean rise in March and April temperatures of 1.8 degrees Celsius since 1969, according to his study, soon to be published in the journal Climate Research. Continue reading
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Posted on April 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Drought is expected to expand the southwestern U.S. and other regions.
Evaporation seen as huge factor in climate calculations
FRISCO — Increasing global temperatures will drive drought expansion regardless of precipitation in some cases, as more moisture evaporates from soils.
An increase in evaporative drying means that even regions expected to get more rain, including important wheat, corn and rice belts in the western United States and southeastern China, will be at risk of drought. The study excludes Antarctica.
The new study models the effects of both changing rainfall and evaporation rates on future drought, estimating that 12 percent of land will be subject to drought by 2100 through rainfall changes alone; but the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates from the added energy and humidity in the atmosphere is considered.
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Posted on April 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Melt pond on Arctic sea ice. Photo courtesy Polarstern.
Polar ice cap losing ground to global warming
FRISCO — While the Earth still sports an impressive mid-winter polar ice cap, more and more research suggests that global warming is eating away at the ice from the edges and from beneath, as warmer ocean temperatures delay the onset of sea ice formation.
On a geological scale, the pace is astounding. The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation. In some areas that heat is enough to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness, according to a new study by National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA researchers.
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming, polar ice cap albedo | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are spiking higher and earlier each year, according to NOAA.
Up, up and away …
FRISCO — Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are spiking earlier each year, scientists said last week, announcing that concentrations reached the 400 parts per million “milestone” two months earlier than last year.
CO2 levels peak each year in the spring as the Earth breathes in a great seasonal cycle. This year’s early 400 ppm reading is another clear sign that the heat-trapping gas is building up at an ever-increasing rate, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
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Posted on March 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New study assesses freshwater methane on a global scale
Microorganisms in freshwater ecosystems generate significant amounts of methane.
FRISCO — After recalculating Earth’s greenhouse gas budget, Princeton scientists say that methane emissions will start increasing at a faster pace than carbon dioxide, primarily due to the release of methane from microscopic freshwater organisms.
Methane is about 30 times more effective than CO2 at trapping the sun’s heat, and for every degree of warming, methane emissions will increase several times over, according to the research published in Nature.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, methane | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘There is no standstill in global warming … The laws of physics are non-negotiable’
Will this year bring the next spike in global temperatures?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Some of the weather extremes in 2013 were consistent with the effects of human-caused global warming, according to the annual climate statement from the World Meteorological Organization.
The report confirmed that 2013 tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest on record, continuing the long-term global warming trend. Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, and each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one, culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record.
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Posted on March 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A potential for abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts
February 2014 marked the 29th consecutive year with global temperatures running above the 20th century average. Map courtesy NASA.
FRISCO — Making informed choices about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions will help reduce risks for present and future generations and help communities adapt to climate change, scientists said last week, announcing a new initiative to inform the public about climate change. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change impacts, Environment, global warming, science | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study says greening tundra won’t offset permafrost meltdown
Study says new plant growth won’t compensate for carbon emissions from melting tundra in the Arctic. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Permafrost could dwindle by 30 to 70 percent by the end of the century, and more vegetation in the Arctic won’t be enough to offset the carbon emissions from thawing organic soils.
Scientists with the Woods Hole Research Center reached their conclusions after a series of field tests designed to measure net gains or losses in carbon emissions. The study is published in the journal Ecology.
“Our results show that while permafrost degradation increased carbon uptake during the growing season, in line with decadal trends of ‘greening’ tundra, warming and permafrost thaw also enhanced winter respiration, which doubled annual carbon losses,” said WHRC assistant scientist Sue Natali. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, permafrost | Leave a comment »