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Climate: New study helps illustrate how CO2 affects Arctic

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A new study suggests the Earth’s climate system is more sensitive to CO2 changes than assumed by the IPCC’s 2007 global climate report.

Researchers establish longest regional climate record using sediment cores from an Arctic Lake that’s been undisturbed for 3.6 million years

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Sediment cores from a crater lake in Siberia are helping scientists understand how varying concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect the Arctic climate.

The sediment cores help establish the longest continuous climate record from the region, showing that the Arctic was a very warm place during a period about 3.5 to 2 million years ago, when CO2 levels were similar to today’s.

The research leads to the conclusion that even small fluctuations in CO2 can result in big changes in the Arctic, according to Julie Brigham-Grette, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The study indicates Arctic may have been much warmer during that era than other climate studies suggest, and that the planet’s climate system is probably more sensitive to CO2 levels than assumed in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Continue reading

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Climate: Winters gettting warmer, wetter in Northeast

‘We’re losing the snow season’

Less snow, more rain predicted for northeastern U.S. Bob Berwyn photo.

Less snow, more rain predicted for northeastern U.S. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — On the heels of a major study showing potential global warming impacts to the ski industry, another team of climate scientists is offering additional research signalling bad news for skiers in the Northeast.

The high-resolution climate study suggests temperatures are going to be significantly warmer in all seasons in the next 30 years, especially in winter. Also, they project that winters will be wetter, with more rain likely than snow.

Overall, the University of Massachusetts Amherst climate researchers said the region is projected to warm about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius by mid century, with local changes approaching 3.5 degrees Celsius in winter. Precipitation will increase, particularly in winter, but not uniformly across the Northeast. Confidence in the precipitation change projections for spring, summer and autumn is lower, given smaller changes relative to natural weather variability. Continue reading

Cheatgrass implicated in Great Basin fire regime

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Satellite images help pinpoint land-cover and fire patterns

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with global warming, new research suggests that invasive cheatgrass is a significant factor in the proliferation of more intense fires in the intermountain West, and specifically in the Great Basin.

“Although this result has been suspected by managers for decades, this study is the first to document recent cheatgrass-driven fire regimes at a regional scale, the scientists wrote, describing the study that relied partly on satellite images captured between 2000 and 2009 to create a detailed land-cover map of the Great Basin. Continue reading

Global warming: Permafrost melt suspected as cause of extreme global warming episodes some 55 million years ago

This is thawing permafrost on the North Slope along the Sagavanirktok River near Deadhorse, Alaska. PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN SCHAEFER/NSIDC.

Researchers pinpoint links between Earth’s orbit, carbon cycle and temperatures

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Instead of massive releases of carbon from ocean sources, melting tundra may have been the fuel for a series of extreme global warming events about 55 million years ago, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst climate researcher Rob DeConto.

Reporting his tean’s findings in Nature, DeConto said his modeling shows a simple new mechanism to explain the rapid warming during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, and a sequence of similar, smaller warming events afterward. Continue reading

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