The Hot Zone

Stronger winds, bigger waves could be result of warmer ocean

Surfers, kiteboarders, and other ocean joy-riders might be pleased with this latest bit of news. Wind speeds and wave heights have been increasing over the past quarter century, a result possibly linked to warmer waters caused by climate change. A study published last week in the journal Science states that wind speeds over the majority of the world’s oceans have increased by at least 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent per year, a cumulative increase of 5 to 10 percent over the last 20 years. That’s... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 29, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

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

Rapid increases in greenhouse gases part of Earth’s history

Rapid increases in greenhouse gases have happened more frequently in the Earth’s history than previously realized, according to a Scripps Institution of Oceanography-led study published last week in the journal Nature. Scientists have studied extensively the the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 56 million years ago, a period of rapid global warming that’s associated with a temperature spike on par with expectations for today’s global warming scenarios. But according... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 23, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

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

Polar ice sheet melt largest source of sea level rise

Melting ice sheets from Greenland and Antarctica has long been tied to rising sea levels. But these two sources are outpacing all others — including mountain glaciers and ice caps — t0 become the dominant feature in raising the seas, according to a new study slated for publication this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Part of the reason for the significance of these polar ice sheets is that the rate of melt is accelerating. Researchers at the University of California,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 9, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Earth Systems, The man made climate

Antarctic ice sheet may be more durable than thought

The stability of Antarctic ice has long concerned climate scientists. If the west Antarctic ice sheet’s base were to collapse, global sea levels could shoot up by five meters. But new research shows the ice could be a bit more tough than scientists thought. In a study published online last month in the geo-science journal Palaeogeograpy, Palaeoclimtology, Palaeoecology, University of Exeter-led geographer Christopher Fogwill and colleagues found that blue-ice moraines in West Antarctica fluctuated... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 7, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

Sixth extinction almost here, but not quite

Scientists define a mass extinction as when the Earth loses more than 75 percent of its species in short geological time, within 2 million years. This hasn’t happened very often — only five times in the last 540 million years. Is it happening now again? The “sixth extinction” has been discussed by biologists for decades. In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, University of California at Berkeley-led biologists take stock on the status of the the Earth’s... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 3, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past, The man made climate


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