The Hot Zone

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

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

Newly discovered jet stream off Iceland coast regulates climate

It’s not every day that you discover a new ocean current – especially one in the Arctic that could be impacted by climate change. But scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway, in concert with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, have done just that. Deep below the ocean surface off Iceland, Kjetil VÃ¥ge and colleagues came across what they’ve named the North Icelandic Jet, a key contributor to the Atlantic Ocean conveyor belt. This overturning of warm water from the... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 22, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Arctic ice might expand in coming decades

Arctic sea ice is melting at a fast and steady rate. Or is it?  Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have discovered that the polar ice might temporarily expand for as a long as a decade before succumbing to longer term melting trends. In a study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists explain this surprising conclusion. Using computer simulations, they found that the amount of sea ice loss over the 20th century could not be... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 12, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Warming Arctic sparks tundra fires

In the late summer of 2007, lightening struck a remote corner of the Arctic on Alaska’s North Slope and burned for three months. The tundra soil there was dry because the permafrost, which normally encapsulates the carbon-rich soil in an icy sealant, had melted. The fire burned until October snowfalls put it out, but left a char the size of Cape Cod – some 400 square miles- and large enough to see from space. Photo: Michelle Mack Michelle Mack, a biologist from the University of Florida,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 29, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Warming Arctic unleashing toxic chemicals

Photo: NASA A decade after nations banded together to ban some of the most persistent toxic chemicals, they are now leaching back out into the environment as the planet warms. In a study published in the July 24 online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers led by the Air Quality Research Division of Environment Canada examined concentrations of so-called “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs) at two Arctic monitoring stations in Svalbard, Norway and Canada. These long-lasting... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 27, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

Arctic waters warmest in 2,000 years

On the heels of a study showing that Arctic ice is highly susceptible to warm water fluxes from the Atlantic Ocean, comes a new one estimating that Arctic waters are the warmest they’ve been in 2,000 years. The interesting thing about this study, published in the journal Science this week, is that it looked at the history of tiny amoeboid protists called planktic foraminifers to tell the story. The remains of these creatures in sediment cores on the western edge of Svalbard, in Norway, were... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on January 31, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, The Oceans

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