Climate

Without insulating ice, Arctic waters warm 5 C
December 13, 2007 01:34 PM - Sandra Hines, University of Washington

Seattle, Washington - Record-breaking amounts of ice-free water have deprived the Arctic of more of its natural "sunscreen" than ever in recent summers. The effect is so pronounced that sea surface temperatures rose to 5 C above average in one place this year, a high never before observed, says the oceanographer who has compiled the first-ever look at average sea surface temperatures for the region.

Asian desert dust found over western United States
December 13, 2007 01:14 PM - Vince Stricherz, University of Washington Newswire

Seattle, Washington - It has been a decade since University of Washington scientists first pinpointed specific instances of air pollution, including Gobi Desert dust, traversing the Pacific Ocean and adding to the mix of atmospheric pollution already present along the West Coast of North America.

Now a UW researcher is finding that dust from the Gobi and Taklimakan deserts in China and Mongolia is routinely present in the air over the western United States during spring months. "We are interested in Asian dust that comes across the Pacific because particles can have an impact on health, as well as on visibility," said Emily Fischer, a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences.

All 11 hottest years were in last 13: UK Met Office
December 13, 2007 12:55 PM - Reuters

The top eight hottest years since global records began are all this century, except the hottest of all, 1998, when the mean global temperature was 0.52 degrees Celsius above the long-term average for 1961-1990.

Fund targets emissions cuts in peatlands conservation
December 13, 2007 12:54 PM - Catherine Hornby, Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch company BioX Group and environment body Wetlands International launched a fund at a U.N climate meeting in Bali this week that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by investing in restoration of peatlands.

Namibia's poor 'will be hit hard' by climate change
December 13, 2007 12:50 PM - Carol Campbell, SciDevNet

Namibia, Africa - Climate change is expected to dramatically alter the lifestyles of poor people in Namibia, say the authors of a study. Their findings were published by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) this month (December).

Namibia is economically dependent on natural resources. Up to 30 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be reliant on the environment. Climate change could increase temperatures by 2–6 degrees Celsius by 2100, and rainfall is expected to be lower and more variable.

2007 among top 7 warmest years: WMO
December 13, 2007 10:17 AM - Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - This year will be among the seven warmest on record, with extreme events including a precipitous thaw of Arctic sea ice, U.N. data showed on Thursday on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference.

Al Gore lays blame for Bali stalemate on U.S.
December 13, 2007 09:50 AM - Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore drew cheers at 190-nation talks by saying the United States was the main block to launching negotiations in Bali on a new global climate treaty.

Efforts to start two-year negotiations on a pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol flagged on Thursday, the penultimate day of the December 3-14 talks, after the European Union accused the United States of lacking ambition.

Indigenous people fear double climate hit
December 13, 2007 09:12 AM - Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indigenous people already struggling to cope with a warming world risk losing their homes under rich-world schemes to tackle climate change by using forests as carbon sinks, activists said on Thursday.

Groups that have been custodians of forests for generations fear projects will undermine their ownership of traditional areas, enforce land-grabs by corrupt regimes, encourage more theft, undermine biodiversity and exclude them from management.

Climate change poses dangerous health risks
December 13, 2007 06:38 AM - Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Millions more people will be at risk from illnesses such as malaria and diarrhea in a warming world beset by heatwaves and water shortages, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Climate experts say rising temperatures and heatwaves will increase the number of heat-related deaths, while higher ozone levels from pollution will mean more people suffering from cardio-respiratory disease.

EU threatens boycott of U.S. climate talks
December 13, 2007 05:42 AM - Reuters

"It's true that if we would have a failure in Bali it would be meaningless to have a major economies' meeting" in the United States, Humberto Rosa, Portugal's Secretary of State for Environment, told a news conference on the penultimate day of the two-week talks.

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