Climate

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions
February 16, 2017 10:26 AM - Nicole Moore via University of Michigan

New findings from the University of Michigan explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict.

The study, published in Nature, shows how small spikes in the temperature of the ocean, rather than the air, likely drove the rapid disintegration cycles of the expansive ice sheet that once covered much of North America.

New Methods Further Discern Extreme Fluctuations in Forage Fish Populations
February 15, 2017 04:34 PM - NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region

California sardine stocks famously crashed in John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row.” New research, building on the pioneering work of Soutar and Isaacs in the late 1960’s and others, shows in greater detail that such forage fish stocks have undergone boom-bust cycles for centuries, with at least three species off the U.S. West Coast repeatedly experiencing steep population increases followed by declines long before commercial fishing began.

Natural population fluctuations in Pacific sardine, northern anchovy and Pacific hake off California have been so common that the species were in collapsed condition 29 to 40 percent of the time over the 500-year period from A.D. 1000 to 1500, according to the study published today in Geophysical Research Letters. Using a long time series of fish scales deposited in low-oxygen offshore sedimentary environments off southern California, the authors from NOAA Fisheries and the University of Michigan described such collapses as “an intrinsic property of some forage fish populations that should be expected, just as droughts are expected in an arid climate.” 

How temperature guides where species live and where they'll go
February 15, 2017 02:59 PM - Morgan Kell

For decades, among the most enduring questions for ecologists have been: "Why do species live where they do? And what are the factors that keep them there?" A Princeton University-based study featured on the February cover of the journal Ecology could prove significant in answering that question, particularly for animals in the world's temperate mountain areas.

NASA Study Identifies New Pathway for Greenland Meltwater to Reach Ocean
February 15, 2017 11:57 AM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet let one of its aquifers drain to the ocean, new NASA research finds. The aquifers, discovered only recently, are unusual in that they trap large amounts of liquid water within the ice sheet. Until now, scientists did not know what happened to the water stored away in this reservoir -- the discovery will help fine tune computer models of Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise.

Researchers Catch Extreme Waves with High-Resolution Modeling
February 15, 2017 10:55 AM - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Surfers aren’t the only people trying to catch big waves. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are trying to do so, too, at least in wave climate forecasts.

'The blob' of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels
February 15, 2017 10:42 AM - University of Washington

An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.

'The blob' of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels
February 15, 2017 10:42 AM - University of Washington

An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.

Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change, UCI study shows
February 15, 2017 10:09 AM - University of California – Irvine

Ice loss from Canada’s Arctic glaciers has transformed them into a major contributor to sea level change, new research by University of California, Irvine glaciologists has found.

From 2005 to 2015, surface melt off ice caps and glaciers of the Queen Elizabeth Islands grew by an astonishing 900 percent, from an average of three gigatons to 30 gigatons per year, according to results published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

NASA Eyes the Heart of Tropical Cyclone Dineo on Valentine's Day
February 14, 2017 03:57 PM - Rob Gutro

On Feb. 14, 2017 at 2:45 a.m. EST (0745 UTC) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image Dineo that showed strong thunderstorms wrapping into and around the "heart" or center of the storm's low-level circulation. A thick band of powerful thunderstorms from the eastern quadrant wrapped south and west into the center.

 

 

Sunlight or bacteria? Scientists investigate what breaks down permafrost carbon
February 14, 2017 02:01 PM - Kathleen Haughney via Florida State University

A Florida State University researcher is delving into the complexities of exactly how permafrost thawing in the Earth’s most northern regions is cycling back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and further fueling climate change.

Answer: It has a lot to do with tiny little bugs called microbes and little to do with sunlight.

Assistant Professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Robert Spencer and a team of researchers traveled to Siberia from 2012 to 2015 to better understand how thawing permafrost affected the carbon cycle. They specifically investigated how the vast amounts of carbon stored in this permafrost transferred to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

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