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Study: Global warming likely to help invasive species gain the upper hand in wetlands

Colorado wetlands

 Meadow Creek wetlands, Frisco, Colorado.

‘Death by a thousand cuts’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Invasive wetlands species are likely to get a boost from climate change, resulting in long-term threats to key native ecosystems, according to new research from Duke University.

“Changing surface-water temperatures, rainfall patterns and river flows will likely give Japanese knotweed, hydrilla, honeysuckle, privet and other noxious invasive species an edge over less adaptable native species,” said Neal E. Flanagan, visiting assistant professor at the Duke Wetland Center, who led the research. Continue reading

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Mixed reviews for Lima climate agreement

Climate activists concerned about global equity

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Can the world find a path toward big greenhouse gas cuts?

Staff Report

FRISCO — The results of the COP 20 climate talks in Lima are getting mixed reviews, with some agreement that the session represents a small step forward toward a binding global agreement to try and limit global warming by making big cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

But there’s much more work to be done before finalizing a treaty in Paris next year, according to the Climate Action Network, which said the Lima talks don’t reflect the “growing public support for the ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies nor the urgency to accelerate this transition.”

The text of the “Lima Call for Climate Action is online here.

Continue reading

Grumbling over climate equity as COP 20 closes

Place-holder deal doesn’t satisfy climate activists

Staff Report

FRISCO — Delegates to the Peru climate talks may be working late, but the deal they’re trying to seal may not be enough to help poorer countries adapt and prepare for global warming impacts. Continue reading

Research eyes global warming-extreme weather links

Attribution studies still somewhat sketchy

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Does global warming cause extreme weather?

Staff Report

FRISCO — A Stanford University climate researcher says that better modeling, advanced statistical analyses and a more robust set of observational climate data will help scientists under stand whether global warming is leading to more extreme weather events like floods, droughts and heat waves.

Such events appear to happening more frequently around the world, but  because high-quality weather records go back only about 100 years, most scientists have been reluctant to say if global warming affected particular extreme events. Continue reading

Can some Caribbean corals survive global warming?

Coral and other marine resources in the Florida Keys are at risk from an approaching oil plume.

Some corals are less sensitive to ocean acidification than others, according to a new study. Photo via NOAA.

Study say soft Gorgonian coral species can still calcify under elevated CO2 levels

Staff Report

FRISCO — Not all corals are equal when it comes to withstanding the ravages of global warming.

Some Caribbean soft corals, known as gorgonians, may be able to calcify and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Those corals may be more resilient to the ocean acidification levels projected by the end of the 21st century than previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Coral Reef. Continue reading

More methane woes – study tracks abandoned well emissions

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Concentrations of heat-trapping methane are increasing steadily in the Earth’s atmosphere.

‘What surprised me was that every well we measured had some methane coming out …’

FRISCO — Fixing leaky pipes and other equipment at operational oil and gas wells would go a long way toward cutting emissions of heat-trapping methane pollution, but wells that were abandoned decades ago could be another big source of the potent greenhouse gas.

Princeton University researchers recently tested several abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, finding that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane. By some estimates, there are as many as 3 million abandoned wells across the U.S. Continue reading

Study IDs Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska as hotspots for global warming impacts to fish populations

Northward shift of species projected, as Humboldt squid have already invaded West Coast waters

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

FRISCO — The Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea — both important commercial fishing areas — may be climate change hotspots that will see a significant shift in fish stocks in coming decades.

Cold-water species such as salmon and capelin have narrower temperature preferences than warmer water species, making them more sensitive to ocean warming and likely to respond more quickly, a new study concluded this week, finding that global warming will push West Coast marine species, including sharks and salmon, northward an average of 30 kilometers per decade. The findings are published in the journal Progress in Oceanography. Continue reading

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