Climate

Why the sun impacts climate more during cooler periods
February 27, 2015 04:08 PM - Aarhus University via EurekAlert!

The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler. There has been much discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the Sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past, but more and more research results clearly indicate that solar activity - i.e. the amount of radiation coming from the Sun - has an impact on how the climate varies over time.

Is Greenland Melting?
February 26, 2015 04:09 PM - University of Copenhagen

A team of scientists lead by Danish geologist Nicolaj Krog Larsen have managed to quantify how the Greenland Ice Sheet reacted to a warm period 8,000-5,000 years ago. Back then temperatures were 2-4 degrees C warmer than present. Their results have just been published in the scientific journal Geology, and are important as we are rapidly closing in on similar temperatures.

ENN Releases App for Android Users
February 23, 2015 09:14 AM - ENN Editor

Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.

ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.

We also encourage you to join the conversation by checking out our Community Blog and by connecting with us on Facebook.

Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.

Android users can download the app at Google Play.

Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.

Understanding the Forces of Abrupt Climate Change
February 23, 2015 08:30 AM - Northern Arizona University.

By studying African lake sediments from the past 20,000 years, scientists are learning more about abrupt climate shifts, advancing their understanding of changing weather patterns. In a recent paper published in Nature Geoscience, co-author on an NAU assistant professor Nicholas McKay analyzes core samples from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana. The isolated lake was formed by a meteor and sits like a bowl on the landscape giving scientists a clear view of environmental changes.

The effects of Global warming on fisheries assessed in new study
February 19, 2015 06:35 AM - Oregon State University

A report to be published Thursday in the journal Nature suggests that global warming may increase upwelling in several ocean current systems around the world by the end of this century, especially at high latitudes, and will cause major changes in marine biodiversity.

Since upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich water is a driving force behind marine productivity, one possibility may be enhancement of some of the world’s most important fisheries.

However, solar heating due to greenhouse warming may also increase the persistence of “stratification,” or the horizontal layering of ocean water of different temperatures. The result could be a warm, near-surface layer and a deep, cold layer.

Harsh winter in Eastern US result of warming Arctic and shifting jet stream
February 18, 2015 07:32 AM - Kirk Moore, Rutgers University

Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that’s  taken to meandering all over North America.

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth’s middle latitudes.

A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country.

Climate change may affect tick life cycles, Lyme disease
February 17, 2015 01:51 PM - Oregon State University

A new study suggests that changing climate patterns may be altering the life cycles of blacklegged ticks in the northeastern United States, which could increase transmission among animals – and ultimately humans – of certain pathogens, including the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Other colder regions of the country that have sufficient populations of blacklegged ticks – particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota – may also experience a higher risk of Lyme disease. However, the changing life cycles of the ticks may result in a less-likely probability of transmitting a more deadly pathogen that results in Powassan encephalitis, the researchers say.

New ozone-destroying gases on the rise
February 17, 2015 08:07 AM - University of Leeds

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion. In the new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, the scientists also report the atmospheric abundance of one of these ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) is growing rapidly.

Geoengineering - blessing or curse?
February 15, 2015 10:20 AM - Clive Hamilton, the Ecologist

The geoengineering genie should remain firmly stopped up in its bottle until a robust case is made for letting it out, writes Clive Hamilton - and that's something the NRC's new report signally fails to achieve, providing no rationale for deploying the technology, or even experimenting with it.

An essential mistake of the report is the unwillingness to recognise that field experiments that do not change the physical environment can radically change the social and political environment.

The Future of Droughts in the US Central Plains and Southwest
February 13, 2015 08:51 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

In the recent film Interstellar, a mysterious phenomenon known as "the blight" is wiping out agriculture around the world until only corn—for some reason—survives. Humanity is on the brink of starvation. While the blight may be science fiction, global warming is not, and a new study finds that future warming could decimate the U.S.'s Central Plains and Southwest regions over the next century, topping even the worst drought of the last thousand years. "I was honestly surprised at just how dry the future is likely to be," said co-author Toby Ault at Cornell University. The research, published in the first edition of Science Advances, found that future drought conditions are likely to exceed a megadrought that swept through the western U.S. in the 12th and 13th Centuries. 

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