The Hot Zone

Russian heat wave in 2010 not caused by climate change

Last summer Russia suffered a debilitating heat wave, its hottest since 1880, making Russian officials for the first time into advocates for stemming climate change (Russia doesn’t have a great reputation on the topic). But alas, as much as it would help the climate change cause to link yet another heat wave to global temperature rise, a new study says that Russia experienced a fluke unrelated to the trend last year that made 2010 the hottest on record. Smoke from wildfires over Moscow during... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on April 15, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Study: scientists should stress known facts about climate change to public

Why is it that as the science gets stronger around climate change, public belief gets weaker? It’s not just Americans who are becoming more and more unsure about whether scientists believe climate change is real. In mainland Europe and Britain, people are expressing more uncertainty in polls, according to a paper published in late March in the online journal Nature Climate Change. The public faith in science is still strong, as demonstrated by the way climate skeptics use science-like language... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on April 13, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Under higher CO2 levels, plants take up more toxic materials

Higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere generally increase plant growth and productivity. Plants take up more nutrients from the soil. But according to a new study, they also take up more toxic materials from the soil. Benjamin Duval from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues showed in a paper published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that contaminants in the soil become increasingly mobile in vegetation and that these toxins could be... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 28, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Earlier phytoplankton blooms in Arctic could affect food chain

Tiny phytoplankton are taking to warmer Arctic waters by blooming almost two months earlier in the spring season. A new study published in the April edition of the journal Global Change Biology says that the earlier bloom has consequences for the Arctic food chain and carbon cycling. A phytoplankton bloom larger than the size of Greece in the Barents Sea. Photo: European Space Agency. It may sound like a good thing. Phytoplankton, the nutritive basis for much of ocean life, stimulates the production... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 11, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

A case for curbing near-term pollutants that worsen climate change

Carbon dioxide is usually the greenhouse gas of choice in climate discussions, mainly because it’s long lasting, so the impacts of higher levels unfold over decades, if not centuries. But a new policy paper by the UNEP and World Meteorological Association shines light on the lesser discussed, more immediately potent molecules in the atmosphere: black carbon, and ground-level ozone. The paper states that if reduction measures were introduced on these other molecules (by 2030), future global... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 22, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, The man made climate

Extreme precipitation events pinpointed to global warming

Extreme precipitation events seem to be becoming more common in the Norther Hemisphere. But it’s been very hard for scientists to pinpoint a major weather event to global warming. Still, when a 100-year flood comes and then returns in a matter of a few years, it’s hard not to consider it a sign of a warming world. Several papers published this week in the journal Nature demonstrate that such extreme precipitation events in specific localities is the result of climate change and not an... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 17, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Climate scientist says research data should be freely available

Climate science may lack the knowledge to understand the full scope of climate change. But it certainly doesn’t lack data. From records dating back to the 1600s to modern day satellite images and numerical climate model simulations, there’s a treasure-trove of data out there that are aiding scientists and government officials in addressing the changing climate. The problem, as outlined this week in a perspective piece in the journal Science, is that the data is fragmented and dispersed... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 13, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Spotlight on Queensland: Extreme rains becoming more common

Queensland, in Northeast Australia, has seen a troubling years. A decade-long drought was followed this past November by the start extreme rains that flooded an area the size of France and Germany combined. Extreme rainfall in Queensland may become more frequent under climate change. Photo: SunriseOn7 on Flickr The large lowlands and subtropical climate make it particularly prone to tropical cyclones and a new study shows climate change could make matters worse. Janice Lough, a climate scientist... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 9, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, Spotlight

Zombie-like microbes could impact climate change

Which species may be most adept to climate change? The answer could very well be microbes. The microscopic critters do something that no other living thing is capable of: long term dormancy. As Jay Lennon from Michigan State University explains in his latest paper, “Microbial seed banks: the ecological and evolutionary implications of dormancy” in Nature Reviews: Microbiology, when the going gets rough, microbes can just check out and wait for better times. “There’s this transition... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 2, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Arctic waters warmest in 2,000 years

On the heels of a study showing that Arctic ice is highly susceptible to warm water fluxes from the Atlantic Ocean, comes a new one estimating that Arctic waters are the warmest they’ve been in 2,000 years. The interesting thing about this study, published in the journal Science this week, is that it looked at the history of tiny amoeboid protists called planktic foraminifers to tell the story. The remains of these creatures in sediment cores on the western edge of Svalbard, in Norway, were... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on January 31, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, The Oceans


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