The Hot Zone

OBSERVING THE EARTH FROM NEAR AND FAR

EOS satellites monitor climate from space The  Earth Observing System (EOS), launched in 1999, uses a series of polar-orbiting satellites to study clouds, the oceans, atmospheric chemistry, as well as water and ecosystem processes and land masses.  Dr. Steve Running, of the University of Montana wrote about why NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) mission was so important at its inception on December 16, 1999.  He wrote:  “Dec 16, 1999, maybe fittingly at the end of this millennium,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 27, 2009 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL – II

by Erica Rex Earlier this week, The Hot Zone spoke with Dr. Rasmus Benestad of the Norwegian Meterological Institute about the need for precise local measurements of climate phenomena.  We need local measurement, he pointed out, in order to tell what the real impact of climate change is on humans – as well as on other species.  How are weather patterns changing, for instance?  What effect does this have on agriculture and fisheries at the local level? I asked Dr. Anastasia Romanou,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 24, 2009 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL

by Erica Rex Although mathematical modelling of climate trends and weather patterns tells us a great deal about climate change, it has an inherent flaw:  we tend to substitute the map for the territory.  Climate models are good at showing trends on a large scale, the same way a map of North America tell us about large-scale geographical features.  A map depicts mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, plains and estuaries, but it doesn’t tell us anything about rainfall variability in Toledo,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 21, 2009 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

FISH – IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER

by Erica Rex Like it or not, ocean acidification will reverberate through our economy and food supply, in the form of lost habitat, and drastic changes in kinds and densities of certain species. Plankton, which are the the backbone of the marine food chain, have been severely affected.  As the bellweather species of the ocean ecosystem, the fate of plankton – there are thousands upon thousands of varieties – determines the fate of all sea-dwelling life. I stopped eating sushi a few... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 15, 2009 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

CONSEQUENCES FOR MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

by Erica Rex For finfish, direct impacts of ocean acidification may be limited. On the other hand, there are many unknowns: for balance and orientation finfish use calcareous structures in the inner ear (otoliths). How will otolith formation be affected or how will ocean acidification impair, directly or indirectly, the fertilisation success or developmental stages, particularly for indirect developers and broadcast spawners? For instance, salmon yearlings prey mainly on pteropods, which may be among... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 12, 2009 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

THE COMING SEA CHANGE

by Erica Rex A few facts:* • The ocean has absorbed fully half of the fossil carbon released to the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. • Measurements carried out by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NOAA demonstrated that the upper few hundred meters of the South Atlantic have higher carbon concentrations now than in 1993. • Ken Caldeira, an oceanographer at the Carnegie Institution of Washington has done studies suggesting that within... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 9, 2009 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, CLIMATE’S STEP SISTER

—by Erica Rex Until recently, ocean acidification was the quiet step-child lurking in the corner of the climate crisis. Earlier this month, the Expert Panel on Ocean Acidification, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and the UN Foundation, met at UN Headquarters, to bring to light some of the affects of ocean acidification on marine life and ecosystems. But now that it’s out of the shadows, scientists... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on October 1, 2009 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans


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