Climate: More signs of an irreversible Antarctic meltdown

It's not clear when the waters around Antarctica will no longer be able to support production of phytoplankton.

New research shows signs of a major meltdown in Antarctica. bberwyn photo.

Ocean temperatures increasing steadily near West Antarctica

Staff Report

FRISCO — Warming seawater around parts of Antarctica is speeding the melting and sliding of glaciers, and that there is no indication that this trend will reverse, according to researchers with  the University of East Anglia.

The study, published in the journal Science, tracked ocean temperatures in the shallow shelf seas of West Antarctica for the last 50 years. The findings also suggest the areas of warmer seawater are spreading, and that other Antarctic areas, which have not yet started to melt, could experience melting for the first time, which would increase the pace of global sea level rise. Continue reading

Global CO2 emissions rising unchecked

CO2 graph

Co2 emissions are set to reach a record level this year.

New record level expected in 2013, with U.S. still by far the largest per capita source of greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Just in time for the Warsaw climate talks, climate trackers with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia said global carbon dioxide emissions are set to soar to a new record high of 36 billion tons in 2013 — 61 percent above the 1990 baseline levels set for the Kyoto Protocol.

“Governments meeting in Warsaw this week need to agree on how to reverse this trend. Emissions must fall substantially and rapidly if we are to limit global climate change to below two degrees. Additional emissions every year cause further warming and climate change,” said the Tyndall Centre’s Professor Corinne Le Quére, who led the global carbon budget report.

“Alongside the latest Carbon Budget is the launch of the Carbon Atlas, a new online platform showing the world’s biggest carbon emitters more clearly than ever before,” Le Quére said, explaining that China’s growing economy is driving the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Climate: Study paints nuanced picture of regional and global temperature variability in a warming world

OZ wxmap

Australia experienced a record-breaking summer heatwave this year.

Loss of sea ice will eventually lead to decrease in global temperature variability

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Climate scientists from the UK say their latest study paints a nuanced picture of global temperature variability, outlining recent geographical shifts and projecting an overall long-term decrease in variability as global temperatures rise.

“Fluctuations in annual average temperatures have shown very substantial geographical alteration in recent decades. However, to our surprise, when considered across the globe, total variability has been relatively stable,” said
lead author Dr. Chris Huntingford, with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (a joint program of the University of East Anglia and the University of Exeter).

Yearly temperature variability has increased across large parts of Europe and North America in recent decades, but has decreased or remained stable in other regions, according to the study published July 24 in Nature. Continue reading

Common species will also be lost with global warming


Even common backyard plants and animals will be affected by global warming. Bob Berwyn photo.

New study projects percent of all plant species will lose half their climatic range

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Plenty of relatively rare plants and animals have already been flagged because of threats from global warming, but even common backyard plants and animals are likely to decline this century as their climatic ranges shift.

Plants — being sessile— reptiles and particularly amphibians are expected to be at highest risk. Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia would lose the most species of plants and animals. And a major loss of plant species is projected for North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe, according to new research from the University of East Anglia published May 12 in the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading

Study shows ocean acidification impacts to sea snails

Corrosive waters in Southern Ocean destroying pteropod shells

Pteropods swimming in the Scotia Sea. Photo courtesy British Antarctic Survey.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Numerous lab experiments have already shown that some shell-forming ocean species will likely suffer as the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and becomes increasingly acidic.

Now, a new study based on 2008 research in the Scotia Sea shows that the shells of tiny marine snails called pteropods are already being dissolved by ocean acidification where atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by the sea is exacerbating acidic conditions resulting from upwelling of cold water from deep below the surface.

The tiny animals are a valuable food source for fish and birds and play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle. Pteropods are open-ocean animals, moving about by using water wings that evolved from their snail feet. Continue reading

Report: UN climate talks are too big and unwieldy

Research recommends capping delegate numbers

October 2012 brought above average temperatures to most of the globe. Graphic courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Large delegations from rich countries and a cumbersome decision-making process are hindering progress at the United Nations’ annual climate talks, according to research published last week by University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The report was timed to precede the 18th UN Climate Change Summit, which starts Nov. 26 in Doha, Qatar. The findings suggest that delegations from some countries have increased in size over the years, while others have decreased, limiting poor countries’ negotiating power and making their participation less effective.

“The UN must recognize that these antiquated structures serve to constrain rather than compel co-operation on international climate policy,” said Dr. Helke Schroeder, with the University of East Anglia’s School of International Development. “The time is long overdue for changes to institutions and structures that do not support decision-making and agreements.”

The researchers recommend that countries consider capping delegation numbers at a level that allows broad representation across government departments and sectors of society, while maintaining a manageable overall size. Continue reading

Scientists cleared in ‘climategate’ emails — again

Inspector General report finds no wrong-doing, no reason to doubt NOAA‘s climate data

Earth is getting warmer, and no amount of political tap-dancing is going to change that.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming skeptics may have to find a new axe to grind after the Department of Commerce Inspector General reviewed the so-called Climategate emails and found there was no evidence of improper manipulation of data, failure to adhere to appropriate peer review procedures, or failure to comply with Information Quality Act and Freedom of Information Act guidelines.

The infamous e-mails were stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in Nov. 2009. Ideologically driven critics of global warming science manipulated the content of the e-mails to make it look like climate scientists were trying to hide and manipulate data.

Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who is one of the most vocal climate science skeptics, requested the Inspector General to review the emails. The Inspector General report is available online. Continue reading


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