The Hot Zone

Lakes important source of carbon emissions

How carbon is accounted around the globe for can be a tricky matter. Carbon moves from the land and sea into the atmosphere and back again. Too much in the atmosphere and we’ve got climate change. But figuring out where it’s all coming from is no small matter. Scientists at the University of Helsinki this week published a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, highlighting a source of emissions previously undetected. Lakes, it turns out, can be a big contributor to atmospheric... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 19, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

Can the planet sustain 7 billion people?

The world’s human population is expected to hit 7 billion people by the end of October. Almost no one is taking that number in as cause for celebration. In fact, 7 billion comes with quite a bit of angst, since 8 billion is projected in a mere 15 years and 9 billion by 2050, says the U.N. The U.N.’s assumption is that the world can absorb all these new people. But does the demographic forecast doesn’t square with the environmental one? Humanity long ago overshot its sustainability.... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 14, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

Groundwater depletion adding to sea level rise

The melting of the polar ice caps gets a lot of attention for global sea level rise. But another contributing factor to higher tides is groundwater depletion. More than 6 percent of the sea level rise in the last century is from the movement of land-locked water to the oceans. That’s according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the most recent edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Groundwater depletion for human consumption and agricultural and industrial... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 30, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Is it better to plant trees or not?

A long time ago in Northern Europe, dense forest was converted to farmland and has remained so ever since. Now there’s a movement to reforest some of those lands in an effort to counteract climate change. But the picture is complicated. Farmland may not absorb much carbon, but it accumulates snow in the winter which reflects light back into space creating a cooling effect in the atmosphere. Dark-colored forests, on the other hand, absorb a lot of heat, but the vegetation also locks down carbon.... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 5, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, The man made climate

California premium wines a victim of climate change

The cost of averting climate change is often argued as a reason to do nothing. But climate change also has severe economic consequences. Among them: a nice, cool glass of premium California chardonnay. A new Stanford University study reports that by 2040 the amount of land suitable for growing high value wines in Northern California could shrink by half as a result of higher temperatures. That would take a severe blow to the country’s wine industry. California produces 90 percent of the nation’s... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 1, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

If routine weather ravages U.S. economy, what about climate change?

Most people well know the effects of weather. During a thunderstorm, you curl up in bed rather than shop. Flights get cancelled when a snowstorm hits. A long dry spell ruins a summer’s cucumber crop. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) estimates that routine weather events cost the U.S. economy $485 billion a year, as much as 3.5 percent of the country’s GDP.  In a study that will be published in this month’s issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 28, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

Atlantic waters rising at fastest rate in 2,000 years

Photo: Milan Boers on Flickr. The sea level rise off the U.S. Atlantic shoreline is rising faster than any time in the past 2,000 years, according to a new study published this week. Since the 19th century, sea level has shot up more than 2 millimeters per year on average, far faster than other periods of global temperature change. Yale University-led scientists came to that conclusion by reconstructing the first continuous sea-level rise rates for the past two millennia and then comparing it to... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 20, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Can species adapt to climate change within decades?

Do organisms have the ability to adapt to climate change on a timescale of decades? A study published in the recent online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B set out to test that question with the little West Coast tidepool copepod, Tigriopus californicus, which normally shows an ability to tolerate wide ranges in temperatures. Photo: Ron Burton University of California at Davis lead author Morgan Kelly brought the little critters into a lab, selecting eight populations native within a range... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 14, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Summer heat hitting new “normal” under climate change

Climate change may  take some of the joy out of summertime. Imagine sunbathing, picnic-ing, or camping in an extreme heat wave. Such temperatures may become the new “normal” in the coming decades, particularly in the tropics and the Northern Hemisphere. That’s according to research out of Stanford University, which analyzed more than 50 climate model simulations of 21st century temperatures under elevated greenhouse gas levels. “According to our projections, large areas... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 8, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

Western weed offers glimpse into climate change

Invasive species are fending very well under higher temperatures and carbon dioxide conditions. And the yellow starthistle in the American West offers a glimpse of why. A native to the Mediterranean, this thorny yellow-blossomed plant has become a bane to ranchers in the West as it outcompetes native grasses and degrades pasture quality. Cattle don’t want to eat it and it’s toxic to horses. Photo: Patrick Berry A Purdue University study found that yellow star thistle has some of the greatest... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 2, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

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