The Hot Zone

Climate change could signal prolonged droughts in American Southwest

Think the 1930s “Dust Bowl” was bad in the American West? Scientists have found evidence of “mega-drought” events that lasted centuries to millennia in the same region during warm, interglacial periods in the Pleistocene era (370,000-550,000 years ago). The evidence heightens concern over how the region will react to the modern day global temperature spikes. A dust storm in Oklahoma, 1936. Photo: Arthur Rothstein The American Southwest is already predicted to get pretty dry... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 25, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climates of the Past

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


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