The Hot Zone

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

Hydropower can emit more carbon than coal plants

Hydroelectricity is often posed as a carbon-free energy source. But get this. Some hydroelectric dams – particularly in the tropics – are even worse than fossil fuel power plants. A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research examined greenhouse gas emissions coming from a large hydroelectic plant in Brazil: the Balbina Dam along the Uatumã River in the central Amazon basin. This dam flooded out more than 900 square miles of lush, tropical rainforest when it was built in... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 4, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists

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

An emissions filter

Peat bogs are an amazing carbon store. Up to a third of all the terrestrial carbon on Earth is captured by this kind of acidic wetland, a depository of dead plant material in northern ecosystems that are very biodiverse. As the planet warms, a lot of that carbon is being released back into the atmosphere as methane, one of the more potent forms of greenhouse gases. The source: the anaerobic degradation of a kind of moss called Sphagnum. Sphagnum decays in peat bogs. But a new study published in... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 1, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists


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