NASA maps CO2 emissions over the entire planet
December 25, 2014 11:39 AM - BRIAN KAHN, CLIMATE CENTRAL, via DiscoveryNews
It’s been a busy five months for NASA’s newest carbon dioxide-monitoring satellite, snapping up to 1 million measurements a day of how carbon dioxide moves across the planet. Now NASA scientists have shared the first global maps created using that data, showing one of the most detailed views of CO2 ever created.
The satellite — known as OCO-2 — has been in orbit since July. While it’s returned some preliminary data, NASA showed off its global reach for the first time on Thursday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting.
Temperature rise in Finland outpaces global average
December 24, 2014 09:13 AM - University of Eastern Finland via ScienceDaily
Over the past 166 years, the average temperature in Finland has risen by more than two degrees. During the observation period, the average increase was 0.14 degrees per decade, which is nearly twice as much as the global average.
According to a recent University of Eastern Finland and Finnish Meteorological Institute study, the rise in the temperature has been especially fast over the past 40 years, with the temperature rising by more than 0.2 degrees per decade. "The biggest temperature rise has coincided with November, December and January. Temperatures have also risen faster than the annual average in the spring months, i.e., March, April and May. In the summer months, however, the temperature rise has not been as significant," says Professor Ari Laaksonen of the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. As a result of the temperature rising, lakes in Finland get their ice cover later than before, and the ice cover also melts away earlier in the spring. Although the temperature rise in the actual growth season has been moderate, observations of Finnish trees beginning to blossom earlier than before have been made.
Southern Glaciers in China are Melting
December 23, 2014 09:14 AM - Christina Larson, Science/AAAS
Glaciers in China that are a critical source of water for drinking and irrigation in India are receding fast, according to a new comprehensive inventory. In the short term, retreating glaciers may release greater meltwater, “but it will be exhausted when glaciers disappear under a continuous warming,” says Liu Shiyin, who led the survey for the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute in Lanzhou.
Fish Distribution Influenced by Fishing and Climate
December 22, 2014 01:31 PM - NOAA Newsroom
Scientists studying the distribution of four commercial and recreational fish stocks in Northeast U.S. waters have found that climate change can have major impacts on the distribution of fish, but the effects of fishing can be just as important and occur on a more immediate time scale. The four species studied– black sea bass, scup, summer flounder, and southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Bight winter flounder – have varied in abundance and have experienced heavy fishing pressure at times over the past 40 years.
Some fish adapt to climate change by following their prey
December 20, 2014 06:46 AM - NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region via EurekAlert
Not all species may suffer from climate change. A new analysis shows that Dolly Varden, a species of char common in southeast Alaska, adjust their migrations so they can keep feasting on a key food source - salmon eggs - even as shifts in climate altered the timing of salmon spawning.
The resiliency of species to climate change may depend on how well they adapt to climate-driven changes in their food and habitat, such as altered growth of plants they feed on. A mismatch in timing between predators and the availability of prey could cause some species to lose access to food. But others such as Dolly Varden that successfully adjust to shifts in climate and prey offer a climate change story with a happy ending, according to the study published in Freshwater Biology.
Is Australia on the wrong track on climate change?
December 19, 2014 01:17 PM - Kieran Cooke & Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist
Despite record heat and drought Australia's emissions and coal exports are soaring, says a new report, and both are increasing as a matter of government policy. But a homegrown climate action movement is putting a spanner in the works - and just stopped its first coal train.
Australia's response to climate change is headed completely backwards. If we can stop this new coal mine we set a precedent for the rest of Australia to stand up.
The role of taxes (and EV's) in reducing CO2 emissions from cars in Europe analyzed
December 19, 2014 08:43 AM - EurActiv
The Netherlands had the lowest CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union last year, thanks to its tax regime favouring fuel economy and low-carbon vehicles.
Germany and Poland are among the countries with the highest C02 emissions from new cars and the weakest national tax policies, a report by NGO Transport & Environment has found.
Cars are responsible for 15% of Europe’s total CO2 emissions and are the single largest source of emissions in the transport sector.
Greenland may lose ice more rapidly than previously thought
December 17, 2014 08:54 AM - University of Buffalo
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second-largest body of ice on Earth. It covers an area about five times the size of New York State and Kansas combined, and if it melts completely, oceans could rise by 20 feet. Coastal communities from Florida to Bangladesh would suffer extensive damage. Now, a new study is revealing just how little we understand this northern behemoth.
Something new to blame climate change on: Beavers.
December 17, 2014 08:38 AM - Springer Science+Business Media, via Science Daily.
There are consequences of the successful efforts worldwide to save beavers from extinction. Along with the strong increase in their population over the past 100 years, these furry aquatic rodents have built many more ponds, establishing vital aquatic habitat. In doing so, however, they have created conditions for climate changing methane gas to be generated in this shallow standing water, and the gas is subsequently released into the atmosphere. In fact, 200 times more of this greenhouse gas is released from beaver ponds today than was the case around the year 1900, estimates Colin J. Whitfield of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He led a study in Springer's journal AMBIO about the effect that the growth in beaver numbers in Eurasia and the Americas could be having on methane emissions.
The fur trade of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries nearly led to the extinction of beaver populations worldwide. After trapping was limited and conservation efforts led to the re-introduction of these animals into their natural ranges, the number of North American (Castor canadensis) and Eurasian (Castor fiber)beavers grew. The North American beaver has also been introduced to Eurasia and South America (specifically the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego); establishment of these populations has, in effect, created an anthropogenic greenhouse gas source in these landscapes.
Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum had similarities to current warming
December 16, 2014 07:55 AM - University of Utah
The rate at which carbon emissions warmed Earth’s climate almost 56 million years ago resembles modern, human-caused global warming much more than previously believed, but involved two pulses of carbon to the atmosphere, University of Utah researchers and their colleagues found.
The findings mean the so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, can provide clues to the future of modern climate change. The good news: Earth and most species survived. The bad news: It took millennia to recover from the episode, when temperatures rose by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (9 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit).