The Hot Zone

Speed of Change

By Alison Hawkes There’s been a lot of speculation about how fast climate change can happen. Are we talking a Day After Tomorrow scenario or something that slowly builds over time? Can you predict the warning signs of a tipping point? A couple of papers caught my interest recently from leading science journals that show just how dramatically change can occur – and within a human lifetime – surprising since many natural processes seem to pass at, well, geologic time. One study... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 26, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, Climates of the Past

Fuel to the Fire

By Alison Hawkes What’s adding fuel to the fire of climate change? Well, fire. Some stunning images recently taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite show one of the Earth’s latest firestorms – this one at the Dundes Nature Reserve in Western Australia. Nearly 200,000 acres have gone up in flames as of February 18. That’s a lot of carbon added to the atmosphere. The red outlines are the active fires, and the smoky clouds are – of course – smoke. Dundes comes... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 24, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

A Bad Habit

By Alison Hawkes Sigh. I read with dismay an article about IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri being slammed once again, this time for his personal habit of using a car and driver to get one mile from his Delhi home to his office. Reminds me of Al Gore’s fiasco concerning the energy use in his Nashville mansion. No doubt these attacks are part of a strategy to kill the climate change message by killing the messengers. But it’s not entirely without merit to scrutinize the central figures in the... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 22, 2010 No Comments »
Category : The man made climate

Good for Business

By Alison Hawkes The U.N. climate change head Yvo de Boer quit his post today, seemingly stung by the abysmal political outcome of the Copenhagen conference in December. He’s now going to work for a business consulting firm, where he says he has a chance to make happen “new partnerships with the business sector.” The switch from high profile political negotiator to back room business consultant will be quite a change for de Boer, but seems to mirror a trend in the climate change... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 18, 2010 No Comments »
Category : The Politics of Climate Change

Winter Weather Blues

By Alison Hawkes The sci-fi author Robert Heinlein summed it up nicely: Climate is what you expect and weather is what you get. Which is why images like this one from NASA’s Terra satellite on Feb. 7 actually shouldn’t be all that confusing to anyone who knows the science behind climate change. It looks like the East Coast is buried in glaciers – another Ice Age? Climate change nay-sayers may use the storm as Exhibit A in the debate over climate change. But Vancouver provides... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 17, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Fury of the Earth

By Alison Hawkes When the 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped apart Haiti, I was reminded of how vulnerable we are to the Earth’s natural systems. Despite our ability to drastically change the climate, in the end we are subject to the forces of nature, whether they have been unleashed as a result of human actions or not. The images below were taken by the EO-1 spacecraft managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. They show the fault line south of Port-au-Prince that slipped and the resulting... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 15, 2010 1 Comment »
Category : Earth Systems

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