The Hot Zone

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

Tropics most sensitive to warming trends

High latitude regions of the planet like the Arctic are experiencing the greatest warming.  But tropical areas, which see a much smaller temperature range during the year, are showing the most significant signs of warming. The warming signal in the tropics will likely exceed past temperature ranges in the next two decades. A global temperate increase of 1 degree Celsius is lower than all economically plausible emissions scenarios. But that one degree makes a huge difference in the tropics, and... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 16, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Scientists simulate climate’s worst case scenario

What happens if the human population continues to grow and nothing much changes in the way we curb fossil fuel use? Climate models these days have largely focused on scenarios that assume some level of restraint on greenhouse emissions, with particular emphasis on the political goal of keeping global temperatures no higher than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.  But scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 15, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Behind the scenes, businesses take climate action

It may seem that global politics will never align to respond seriously about climate change. But businesses see the bottom line and are acting accordingly. A new survey by the UK-based Carbon Disclosure Project finds that for the first time a majority of the world’s largest corporations have climate actions embedded as part of their business strategies. Companies in the Global 500 such as Philips Electronics, BMW, Bank of America and Sony, among others, comprise the 68 percent of respondents... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 14, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Politics of Climate Change

Research jets return with wealth of data on greenhouse gases

Black carbon particles in the Western Pacific are at levels comparable to megacities like Houston and Los Angeles because they are floating widely throughout the atmosphere. These dark colored particles, which form from incomplete combustion, are one of the major contributors to climate change by absorbing solar radiation and by causing snow and ice to melt faster. The discovery is just one of a number that’s expected to come out of the far-reaching expedition called HIPPO (HAIPER Pole-to-Pole... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 9, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Arctic’s carbon reserves in danger

About 50 percent of the world’s organic carbon stored in the soil is locked down in the frigid northern reaches of the Arctic, below an icy permafrost cap and in rich peat lands. If all that carbon were released, atmospheric CO2 concentrations could go up a whopping 660-870 parts per million. Global warming is gradually unlocking these Arctic carbon reserves. In a paper published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, University of Alaska, Fairbanks geophysicist Guido Grosse and colleagues... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 8, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

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

Too warm or too cold? Scientists find clear warming trend

The past two years have been marked by extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s been either too warm and too cold. “Snowmaggedon” in the Northeast turned into this summer’s record-breaking sweat fest. The two extremes don’t cancel each other out, however. On the whole, the warm weather has beaten out the cold in frequency and magnitude, say Scripps Institute of Oceanography scientists. Moreover, they say that the cold weather can be explained by a natural climate... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 2, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

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