Climate

Last year's El Nino waves battered California shore to unprecedented degree
February 24, 2017 05:16 PM - National Science Foundation

Last winter’s El Niño may have felt weak to residents of Southern California, but it was one of the most powerful weather events of the last 145 years, scientists say.

If severe El Niño events become more common in the future, as some studies suggest, the California coast -- home to more than 25 million people -- may become increasingly vulnerable to coastal hazards, independently of projected sea level rise.

NASA Eyes Pineapple Express Soaking California
February 24, 2017 11:08 AM - NASA

NASA has estimated rainfall from the Pineapple Express over the coastal regions southwestern Oregon and northern California from the series of storms in February, 2017.

The West Coast is once again feeling the effects of the "Pineapple Express." Back in early January one of these "atmospheric river" events, which taps into tropical moisture from as far away as the Hawaiian Islands, brought heavy rains from Washington state and Oregon all the way down to southern California. This second time around, many of those same areas were hit again. The current rains are a result of three separate surges of moisture impacting the West Coast. The first such surge in this current event began impacting the Pacific coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California on February 15. 

Melting Sea Ice May Be Speeding Nature's Clock in the Arctic
February 24, 2017 10:46 AM - University of California - Davis

Spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters. The changes are associated with diminishing sea ice cover, according to a study published in the journalBiology Letters and led by the University of California, Davis.

The timing of seasonal events, such as first spring growth, flower bud formation and blooming, make up a plant’s phenology — the window of time it has to grow, produce offspring and express its life history. Think of it as “nature’s clock.”

Manhattan-Sized Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica
February 24, 2017 10:41 AM - Julia Travers, Care2

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier lost another large chunk of ice at the end of January. The section of ice that broke off the glacier on the western coast of Antarctica was roughly the size of Manhattan. It was 10 times smaller than the piece the same glacier sloughed in July 2015.

Manhattan-Sized Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica
February 24, 2017 10:41 AM - Julia Travers, Care2

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier lost another large chunk of ice at the end of January. The section of ice that broke off the glacier on the western coast of Antarctica was roughly the size of Manhattan. It was 10 times smaller than the piece the same glacier sloughed in July 2015.

Scientists: Warming temperatures could trigger starvation, extinctions in deep oceans by 2100
February 24, 2017 08:25 AM - Oregon State University

Researchers from 20 of the world’s leading oceanographic research centers today warned that the world’s largest habitat – the deep ocean floor – may face starvation and sweeping ecological change by the year 2100.

Scientists: Warming temperatures could trigger starvation, extinctions in deep oceans by 2100
February 24, 2017 08:25 AM - Oregon State University

Researchers from 20 of the world’s leading oceanographic research centers today warned that the world’s largest habitat – the deep ocean floor – may face starvation and sweeping ecological change by the year 2100.

Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers
February 23, 2017 04:25 PM - Steve Byrns

Climate change from political and ecological standpoints is a constant in the media and with good reason, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, but proof of its impact is sometimes found in unlikely places.

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th century sea ice loss
February 23, 2017 04:06 PM - AGU - American Geophysical Union

WASHINGTON, DC — Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century. The new results challenge the perception that Arctic sea ice extent was unperturbed by human-caused climate change until the 1970s.

Low snowpacks of 2014, 2015 may become increasingly common with warmer conditions
February 23, 2017 10:10 AM - Oregon State University

Oregon experienced very low snowpack levels in 2014 and historically low snowpack levels in 2015; now a new study suggests that these occurrences may not be anomalous in the future and could become much more common if average temperatures warm just two degrees (Celsius).

The low snowpack levels were linked to warmer temperatures and not a lack of precipitation, the researchers say. Based on simulations of previous and predicted snowpack, the study suggests that by mid-century, years like 2015 may happen about once a decade, while snowpack levels similar to 2014 will take place every 4-5 years.

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