Climate

Russia's fires cause "brown cloud," may hit Arctic
August 11, 2010 07:09 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters

Smoke from forest fires smothering Moscow adds to health problems of "brown clouds" from Asia to the Amazon and Russian soot may stoke global warming by hastening a thaw of Arctic ice, environmental experts say. "Health effects of such clouds are huge," said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, chair of a U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) study of "brown clouds" blamed for dimming sunlight in cities such as Beijing or New Delhi and hitting crop growth in Asia. The clouds -- a haze of pollution from cars or coal-fired power plants, forest fires and wood and other materials burned for cooking and heating -- are near-permanent and blamed for causing chronic respiratory and heart diseases.

Biochar
August 10, 2010 04:58 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Biochar is charcoal type created by the pyrolysis of biomass, and differs from ordinary charcoal only in the sense that its primary use is not for fuel, but for biosequestration or atmospheric carbon capture and storage. As much as 12 percent of the world’s human caused greenhouse gas emissions could be sustainably offset by producing biochar. That’s more than what could be offset if the same plants and materials were burned to generate energy, concludes a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications. Biochar could sequester carbon in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years.

Rising temperatures threaten rice yield growth
August 10, 2010 06:20 AM - David Fogarty, Reuters

Rising temperatures could slow the growth of rice production unless farmers adapt by changing management practices and switch to more heat-tolerant varieties, scientists say. Rice is among the world's most important crops and a staple for people in Asia and Africa, with Asia producing and consuming more than 90 percent of the world's output. A drop in production could lead to higher prices, fears over food security and more hunger in a world with a rising human population. A team of researchers led by Jarrod Welch of the University of California, San Diego, found that rice yields drop as night time temperatures rise over time, although the exact reasons why are not perfectly understood.

Accusations of Flawed Climate Science are Rejected by the EPA
August 9, 2010 12:43 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Since the Obama Administration came to power in Washington, the EPA has taken upon itself the mission of addressing global climate change. They have been very proactive in getting information out confirming that climate change exists and that it is caused, at least in part, by human activities. Ten petitions were sent to the agency to challenge the EPA's position on climate change. Upon review, the EPA has decided to fully reject the claims made in the petitions, determining that they are without merit.

Huge ice island calves off Greenland glacier
August 7, 2010 08:05 AM - Reuters

An ice island four times the size of Manhattan broke off from one of Greenland's two main glaciers, scientists said on Friday, in the biggest such event in the Arctic in nearly 50 years. The new ice island, which broke off on Thursday, will enter a remote place called the Nares Strait, about 620 miles south of the North Pole between Greenland and Canada. The ice island has an area of 100 square miles (260 square km) and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building, said Andreas Muenchow, professor of ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware. Muenchow said he had expected an ice chunk to break off from the Petermann Glacier, one of the two largest remaining ones in Greenland, because it had been growing in size for seven or eight years. But he did not expect it to be so large.

2010: The Year of Compressed Air Energy Storage?
August 6, 2010 08:36 AM - David Link, Matter Network

There are signs that 2010 could be the coming out party for Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). With the onslaught of large wind and solar deployments that will be added to the grid to meet state renewable portfolio standards requirements, there is a lot of buzz about the need for energy storage systems, particularly bulk energy storage. Bulk systems can store megawatt-scale amounts of energy produced during off peak times. They then discharge that energy during peak times, when prices are higher, and over many hours.

The Views of Mars
August 5, 2010 04:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Of all the planets in our solar system Mars has always been the one most dreamers think of. Many science fiction myths have been based on Mars such as Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and its many canals as well as the Ray Bradbury Martian Chronicles. All dreamed of a friendlier Mars than has been found. Now all can see detailed images of Mars. The latest set of new images from the telescopic High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter offers detailed views of diverse Martian landscapes.

Climate Models and Warming
August 4, 2010 03:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Climate models use various methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. All climate models take account of incoming energy as short wave electromagnetic radiation, chiefly visible and short wave infrared, as well as outgoing energy as long wave infrared electromagnetic radiation from the earth. Any imbalance results in a change in temperature. The most talked about models of recent years have been those relating temperature to emissions of carbon dioxide. These models project an upward trend in the surface temperature record, as well as a more rapid increase in temperature at higher altitudes. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg have developed a new model that specifies the maximum volumes of carbon dioxide that humans may emit to remain below the increased climate warming of two degrees Celsius. To do this, the scientists incorporated into their calculations data relating to the carbon cycle, namely the volume of carbon dioxide absorbed and released by the oceans and forests.

Third Round of Climate Talks Begin in Bonn
August 4, 2010 09:09 AM - GlobalWarmingisReal, Global Warming is Real

The third round of UN climate change negotiations this year kicked off on Monday with representatives from 178 governments meeting in Bonn, Germany. The Bonn UN Climate Change Conference (2 to 6 August) is designed to prepare the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún in November and December.

Solar Futures
August 3, 2010 02:33 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Solar power is the generation of electricity from sunlight. This can be direct as with photovoltaics, or indirect as with concentrating the sun's rays to boil water which is then used to provide power. Solar energy can be obtained in a variety of different ways. Passive solar occurs when you build your house in a manner that takes advantage of the low angle winter sun and/or when the mass of your house is used to absorb the sun’s heat in winter. In addition, passive solar also refers to keeping your house cooler in the winter months by making adjustments that include placing trees and awnings along the south side of a house.

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