EarthTalk: Climate Change and Hawaii’s Coral Reefs
May 16, 2013 09:04 AM - EarthTalk, Global Warming is Real
Despite sweeping protections put in place near the end of George W. Bush's presidency for large swaths of marine ecosystems around the Hawaiian Islands, things are not looking good for Hawaii’s coral reefs. Poisonous run-off, rising ocean levels, increasingly acidic waters and overfishing are taking their toll on the reefs and the marine life they support. Biologists are trying to remain optimistic that there is still time to turn things around, but new threats to Hawaii's corals are only aggravating the situation...
Study Shows Scientists Agree on Anthropogenic Climate Change
May 16, 2013 06:02 AM - ScienceDaily
A comprehensive analysis of peer-reviewed articles on the topic of global warming and climate change has revealed an overwhelming consensus among scientists that recent warming is human-caused. The study is the most comprehensive yet and identified 4000 summaries, otherwise known as abstracts, from papers published in the past 21 years that stated a position on the cause of recent global warming -- 97 per cent of these endorsed the consensus that we are seeing human-made, or anthropogenic, global warming (AGW) Led by John Cook at the University of Queensland, the study has been published 16 May, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters.
Should We Change the Climate If We Could?
May 15, 2013 09:25 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of reducing global warming. Who should do it and when? Anything done has the possibility of affecting everybody so who should be consulted? Who decides such world spanning concepts? A new study investigated these concerns. The findings are the result of the first UK public engagement study to explore the ethics and acceptability of so-called solar radiation management (SRM) technology, and a proposed field trial for a possible deployment mechanism.
What Do You Think About Geo-engineering?
May 15, 2013 07:16 AM - Harriet Jarlett, Planet Earth Online
Few members of the UK public are comfortable with the idea of injecting aerosols high into the atmosphere to help slow down climate change, a study has found. People voiced concerns that this type of approach fails to address the basic problem of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. They are also nervous about any unintended consequences of such an action. But most significantly, they say that injecting aerosols into the Earth's atmosphere raises problems of international governance and control: who would ultimately be responsible?
Rocky Mountain Snow Packs
May 14, 2013 04:14 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Snow pack forms from layers of snow that accumulate in geographic regions and high altitudes where the climate includes cold weather for extended periods during the year. Snow packs are an important water resource that feed streams and rivers as they melt. Warmer spring temperatures since 1980 are causing an estimated 20 percent loss of snow cover across the Rocky Mountains of western North America, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study builds upon a previous USGS snow pack investigation which showed that, until the 1980s, the northern Rocky Mountains experienced large snow packs when the central and southern Rockies experienced meager ones, and vice versa. Yet, since the 1980s, there have been simultaneous snow pack declines along the entire length of the Rocky Mountains, and unusually severe declines in the north.
Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent and the snow-line has shifted 180 meters (590 feet) higher during the past 50 years, according to a study that will be presented this week at a conference organized by the American Geophysical Union.
Web tool tracks insecticide-resistant malaria mosquitoes
May 13, 2013 05:06 PM - Calvin Otieno, SciDevNet
An online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes around the world has been launched. The free interactive website identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in bed nets and indoor sprays. IR Mapper was launched last month (25 April) by Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss firm that makes disease-control products, and the KEMRI/CDC research and public health collaboration based in Kenya.
CO2 Levels Top 400 ppm at Hawaii Monitoring Station
May 11, 2013 07:38 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
CO2 levels have been increasing relatively steadily for more than 50 years. On May 9, the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. Independent measurements made by both NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been approaching this level during the past week. It marks an important milestone because Mauna Loa, as the oldest continuous carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement station in the world, is the primary global benchmark site for monitoring the increase of this potent heat-trapping gas. Carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and other human activities is the most significant greenhouse gas (GHG) contributing to climate change. Its concentration has increased every year since scientists started making measurements on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano. The rate of increase has accelerated since the measurements started, from about 0.7 ppm per year in the late 1950s to 2.1 ppm per year during the last 10 years.
Anthropogenic Origins of Cirrus Clouds
May 10, 2013 03:57 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
"Cirrus" is Latin for a curling lock of hair so it is fitting that thin, wispy clouds that we often see in the atmosphere are called cirrus clouds. These clouds form when water vapor undergoes deposition at high altitudes and therefore are found at higher elevations and appear more delicate compared to the other types of clouds. Cirrus clouds cover as much as one-third of the Earth and play an important role in global climate. Depending on altitude and the number and size of ice crystals, cirrus clouds can cool the planet by reflecting incoming solar radiation — or warm it by trapping outgoing heat.
Light-Scattering Properties are Risk Factor for Coral Reef Survival
May 9, 2013 12:58 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Coral reefs have been gaining a lot of attention by conservation groups as environmental and human stresses are causing irreparable damage to these reefs. Stresses such as warming oceans and climate change are going to serve as future obstacles for these coral populations. However, the study of dying corals is complex, and researchers have found that some corals die while others do not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions. In order to figure out this conundrum, a research team from Northwestern University and The Field Museum of Natural History found that corals themselves play a role in their susceptibility to deadly coral bleaching due to the light-scattering properties of their skeletons.