Climate

Sea Ice Extent Sinks to Record Lows at Both Poles
March 23, 2017 03:17 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent, according to scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. And on the opposite side of the planet, on March 3 sea ice around Antarctica hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, a surprising turn of events after decades of moderate sea ice expansion.

On Feb. 13, the combined Arctic and Antarctic sea ice numbers were at their lowest point since satellites began to continuously measure sea ice in 1979. Total polar sea ice covered 6.26 million square miles (16.21 million square kilometers), which is 790,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) less than the average global minimum extent for 1981-2010 – the equivalent of having lost a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico.

Sea Ice Extent Sinks to Record Lows at Both Poles
March 23, 2017 03:17 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent, according to scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. And on the opposite side of the planet, on March 3 sea ice around Antarctica hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, a surprising turn of events after decades of moderate sea ice expansion.

On Feb. 13, the combined Arctic and Antarctic sea ice numbers were at their lowest point since satellites began to continuously measure sea ice in 1979. Total polar sea ice covered 6.26 million square miles (16.21 million square kilometers), which is 790,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) less than the average global minimum extent for 1981-2010 – the equivalent of having lost a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico.

Corals Die as Global Warming Collides with Local Weather in the South China Sea
March 23, 2017 02:45 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In the South China Sea, a 2°C rise in the sea surface temperature in June 2015 was amplified to produce a 6°C rise on Dongsha Atoll, a shallow coral reef ecosystem, killing approximately 40 percent of the resident coral community within weeks, according to a study published in Scientific Reports this week.

Wind and waves churn the sea, flushing shallow-water coral reefs with seawater from the open ocean to help them stay cool. But according to new research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), when the weather turns still and these natural cooling mechanisms subside, just a few degrees of ocean warming can prove lethal to the corals that live there.

Corals Die as Global Warming Collides with Local Weather in the South China Sea
March 23, 2017 02:45 PM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In the South China Sea, a 2°C rise in the sea surface temperature in June 2015 was amplified to produce a 6°C rise on Dongsha Atoll, a shallow coral reef ecosystem, killing approximately 40 percent of the resident coral community within weeks, according to a study published in Scientific Reports this week.

Wind and waves churn the sea, flushing shallow-water coral reefs with seawater from the open ocean to help them stay cool. But according to new research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), when the weather turns still and these natural cooling mechanisms subside, just a few degrees of ocean warming can prove lethal to the corals that live there.

Climate Change and an "Overlooked" Nutrient: Silica
March 23, 2017 02:03 PM - Barbara Moran via Boston University

Among ecologists, carbon gets all the glory. Scientists examine its critical role in plant growth and decay, they chart its contributions to greenhouse gases, and they measure its sequestration in earth, sea, and sky.

Often overlooked in all this research is the humble element silicon, or “silica,” as it’s called when found in nature. If ecologists (or biologists or biogeochemists) think of silica at all, they regard it as a bit player, a ho-hum component of rocks and sand.

Climate Change and an "Overlooked" Nutrient: Silica
March 23, 2017 02:03 PM - Barbara Moran via Boston University

Among ecologists, carbon gets all the glory. Scientists examine its critical role in plant growth and decay, they chart its contributions to greenhouse gases, and they measure its sequestration in earth, sea, and sky.

Often overlooked in all this research is the humble element silicon, or “silica,” as it’s called when found in nature. If ecologists (or biologists or biogeochemists) think of silica at all, they regard it as a bit player, a ho-hum component of rocks and sand.

Global CO2 Levels Stay Flat for a Third Year
March 23, 2017 09:00 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

Data shows that global CO2 emissions have remained roughly the same for the third year in a row. Although that’s good news for the fight against climate change, it’s important to put this data in perspective. 

World Meteorological Day celebrates importance of clouds for weather, climate and water
March 23, 2017 08:57 AM - United Nations New Centre

Clouds inspire art and thought, but few natural phenomena are as important to weather, climate or water, the United Nations meteorological agency today said, launching a digital cloud atlas to celebrate World Meteorological Day.

Under the Dead Sea, Warnings of Dire Drought
March 22, 2017 04:39 PM - The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Nearly 1,000 feet below the bed of the Dead Sea, scientists have found evidence that during past warm periods, the Mideast has suffered drought on scales never recorded by humans—a possible warning for current times. Thick layers of crystalline salt show that rainfall plummeted to as little as a fifth of modern levels some 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago. Today, the region is drying again as climate warms, and scientists say it will get worse. The new findings may cause them to rethink how much worse, in this already thirsty and volatile part of the world.

Under the Dead Sea, Warnings of Dire Drought
March 22, 2017 04:39 PM - The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Nearly 1,000 feet below the bed of the Dead Sea, scientists have found evidence that during past warm periods, the Mideast has suffered drought on scales never recorded by humans—a possible warning for current times. Thick layers of crystalline salt show that rainfall plummeted to as little as a fifth of modern levels some 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago. Today, the region is drying again as climate warms, and scientists say it will get worse. The new findings may cause them to rethink how much worse, in this already thirsty and volatile part of the world.

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