Climate

Prehistoric Greenhouse Data from Ocean Floor Could Predict Earth's Future, Study Finds
October 28, 2011 08:13 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2011) — New research from the University of Missouri indicates that Atlantic Ocean temperatures during the greenhouse climate of the Late Cretaceous Epoch were influenced by circulation in the deep ocean. These changes in circulation patterns 70 million years ago could help scientists understand the consequences of modern increases in greenhouse gases.

Catholic archbishop says climate change action is a waste of time and money
October 28, 2011 08:01 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has questioned the morality and cost benefits of tackling climate change in a controversial speech in London. The Australian cardinal used his speech to liken carbon trading to Medieval indulgences and described green campaigners as not merely zealous but zealots. He said the only long-term benefits of schemes to tackle climate change will be extra government taxes and revenues and the cost of attempts to tackle global warming will be very heavy.

Climate change and population growth making US water problems worse
October 27, 2011 07:14 AM - Kim Palmer, Reuters, ERIE, Pa

Climate change and population growth in the United States will make having enough fresh water more challenging in the coming years, an expert on water shortages said on Wednesday. "In 1985-1986 there were historical (water level) highs and now in less than 25 years we are at historical lows. Those sorts of swings are very scary," said Robert Glennon, speaking at the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference in Erie, Pennsylvania. Glennon, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of "Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It," said that that according to climate experts, shorter, warmer winters mean less ice and greater exposure to the air, leading eventually to more water evaporation. "We think about water like the air -- infinite and inexhaustible but it is very finite and very exhaustible," Glennon said. "When you have a shorter ice season you have great exposure to the air and more evaporation. As temperatures go up it is very troubling," Glennon said. "The cycles are going to become more acute which is very troubling."

Cedar Trees Beneficial Uses
October 26, 2011 04:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Deserts are an unlikely place to find a form of plant life that is so promising as to grown quickly on very little. Still arid climate plants are very hardy. Tel Aviv University researchers are doing their part to reduce humanity's carbon footprint by successfully growing forests in the most unlikely place — deep in Israel's Aravah Desert. With environmental "extras" such as a local plant species, recycled sewage water unsuitable for agriculture, and arid lands unusable for crops, a group of researchers including Profs. Amram Eshel and Aviah Zilberstein of TAU's Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the university's new Renewable Energy Center have discovered a winning combination.

Calcutta leads world city list most at risk from climate change
October 26, 2011 08:37 AM - ClickGreen staff, Click Green

A major new mapping study, analysing climate change vulnerability down to 25km² worldwide, has revealed some of the world's fastest growing populations are increasingly at risk from the impacts of climate related natural hazards and sea level rise. Many of the countries with the fastest population growth are rated as 'extreme risk' in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) released by risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft. These include the strategically important emerging economies of Bangladesh (2nd), Philippines (10th), Viet Nam (23rd), Indonesia (27th) and India (28th).

Water use growing twice as fast as population!
October 26, 2011 07:04 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, Environment Correspondent WASHINGTON

Like oil in the 20th century, water could well be the essential commodity on which the 21st century will turn. Human beings have depended on access to water since the earliest days of civilization, but with 7 billion people on the planet as of October 31, exponentially expanding urbanization and development are driving demand like never before. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, said Kirsty Jenkinson of the World Resources Institute, a Washington think tank. Water use is predicted to increase by 50 percent between 2007 and 2025 in developing countries and 18 percent in developed ones, with much of the increased use in the poorest countries with more and more people moving from rural areas to cities, Jenkinson said in a telephone interview.

Is the danger of global warming really the heat?
October 24, 2011 06:55 AM - Christine Stebbins, Reuters, CHICAGO

Crop scientists in the United States, the world's largest food exporter, are pondering an odd question: could the danger of global warming really be the heat? For years, as scientists have assembled data on climate change and pointed with concern at melting glaciers and other visible changes in the life-giving water cycle, the impact on seasonal rains and irrigation has worried crop watchers most. What would breadbaskets like the Midwest, the Central Asian steppes, the north China Plain or Argentine and Brazilian crop lands be like without normal rains or water tables? Those were seen as longer-term issues of climate change. But scientists now wonder if a more immediate issue is an unusual rise in day-time and, especially, night-time summer temperatures being seen in crop belts around the world. Interviews with crop researchers at American universities paint the same picture: high temperatures have already shrunken output of many crops and vegetables. "We don't grow tomatoes in the deep South in the summer. Pollination fails," said Ken Boote, a crop scientist with the University of Florida.

EPA delays pollution rule for coal plants, but only until December
October 22, 2011 10:10 AM - Roberta Rampton, Reuters, WASHINGTON

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it will postpone its final rule aimed at slashing air pollution from coal plants for a month, but made it clear it plans to move forward on the regulations. The EPA said it needs the extra time to review 960,000 comments it received on its draft rule, but plans to finalize it by Dec 16. A group of 25 states has launched a court case over the rule, seeking a delay of at least a year for what they argue is an expensive measure that will shut down old coal-fired power plants. Analysts have said American Electric Power and Duke Energy could see shutdowns because of the rule, which would require many plants to install scrubbers and other anti-pollution technology. But the EPA, which has also been sued by environmental groups to finalize the rule, said the regulation is needed to prevent illnesses and deaths caused by air pollution. "In a court filing today, EPA made clear its opposition to efforts to delay this historic, court ordered standard by a full year," the agency said in a statement.

Simultaneous Warming of Northern and Southern Hemispheres
October 21, 2011 02:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In true global warming, the whole worlds warms up. A common argument against global warming is that the climate has always varied in any particular place or time. For this argument to be true if it warms up one place, some place it cools down on average. However, Svante Björck, a climate researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has now shown that global warming, i.e. simultaneous warming events in the northern and southern hemispheres, have not occurred in the past 20,000 years, which is as far back as it is possible to analyze with sufficient precision to compare with modern developments. Svante Björck’s study thus goes 14,000 years further back in time than previous studies have done. He eventually claims that the current global warming trend is unique in this time frame.

Future Migrations in an Environmentally Uncertain World
October 21, 2011 01:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

There are several major forces at play in today's world. Two forces involved with the migrations of people include globalization and mass exodus from the countryside to cities. Another major force, climate change, is playing an ever greater role, affecting societies with extreme droughts, floods, and other dangers. How will future migrations be affected by this force? A new report by a team of experts including Prof. David Thomas and Prof. Stefan Dercon of Oxford University believes that the challenges associated with migrations and environmental change are underestimated. The report concludes that many will emigrate from environmentally vulnerable places, but some may be trapped, and others may actually move closer to the danger.

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