Climate

A View of Earth: PBS Offers Operators Manual
September 22, 2011 11:20 AM - Debbie Van Der Hyde, Sierra Club Green Home

What if there was a mobile app to help us understand our planet? A guide to tell us how to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and increase our use of renewable energy? PBS has answered this need with Earth: The Operators’ Manual—a visually stimulating and informative one-hour program on how science can help us respond to climate change and move toward clean, green energy solutions.

WWF celebrates World Rhino Day
September 22, 2011 11:19 AM - WWF

On the occasion of the second annual World Rhino Day, WWF joins the residents of rhinoceros range countries in calling for an end to rhino poaching, which threatens the survival of rhino species. Officials in South Africa, home to most of the world's rhinos, have responded to the recent poaching crisis by increasing protection for rhinos, conducting more rigorous prosecutions, and imposing stricter sentences on wildlife criminals. This action must be met with a corresponding commitment by countries in Asia where consumer demand for rhino horn is inciting poachers. South Africa has lost at least 284 rhinos in 2011, including 16 or more critically endangered black rhinos. A majority of the poaching incidents have occurred in the world famous Kruger National Park, but privately owned rhinos have also been targeted. Law enforcement officials have made over 165 arrests so far during the year, and some convicted poachers have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

CO2 Up in the World
September 21, 2011 12:30 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tons in 2010. Increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contribution of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for power and transport, which is strongest in developing countries. This increase took place despite emission reductions in industrialized countries during the same period. Even though different countries show widely variable emission trends, industrialized countries are likely to meet the collective Kyoto target of a 5.2 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 as a group, partly thanks to large emission reductions from economies in transition in the early nineties and more recent reductions due to the 2008-2009 recession. These figures were published today in the report "Long-term trend in global CO2 emissions", prepared by the European Commission's Joint Research Center and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Radar could detect tsunamis more accurately
September 20, 2011 01:06 PM - Kafil Yamin, SciDevNet

A tsunami has been observed with radar for the first time, promising a cheap and more accurate early warning method, according to a study. Researchers have found that the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March could had been spotted up to 45 minutes before it reached tide gauges, using high-frequency radars installed along the shorelines in California and Japan.

World Atlas ice loss claim exaggerated
September 20, 2011 07:05 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters, LONDON

The Times Atlas of the World exaggerated the rate of Greenland's ice loss in its thirteenth edition last week, scientists said on Monday. The atlas, published by HarperCollins, showed that Greenland lost 15 percent of its ice cover over the past 12 years, based on information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado in the United States. The Greenland ice sheet is the second biggest in the world and significant shrinking could lead to a global rise in sea levels. "While global warming has played a role in this reduction, it is also as a result of the much more accurate data and in-depth research that is now available," HarperCollins said on its website on Monday. However, a number of scientists disputed the claim. "We believe that the figure of a 15 percent decrease in permanent ice cover since the publication of the previous atlas 12 years (ago) is both incorrect and misleading," said Poul Christoffersen, glaciologist at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) at the University of Cambridge. "We concluded that a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered." Other scientists agreed.

Converting rainforest to cropland in Africa reduces rainfall
September 19, 2011 05:30 PM - Mongabay, MONGABAY.COM

Converting West African rainforests into cropland reduces rainforest in adjacent forest areas, reports research published in Geophysical Research Letters. The study, based on a computer model used to simulate rainfall under different land-use conditions, found that cutting down tropical forests in West Africa reduces precipitation over neighboring forest areas by about 50 percent due to increased temperatures over cropland areas. Higher temperatures affect the formation of rain clouds.

Understanding Methane's Seabed Escape
September 19, 2011 05:22 PM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 19, 2011) — A shipboard expedition off Norway, to determine how methane escapes from beneath the Arctic seabed, has discovered widespread pockets of the gas and numerous channels that allow it to reach the seafloor.

Ancient Fossil Aquifers and NASA
September 19, 2011 07:54 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

A NASA-led team has used radar sounding technology developed to explore the subsurface of Mars to create high-resolution maps of freshwater aquifers buried deep beneath an Earth desert, in the first use of airborne sounding radar for aquifer mapping. The research may help scientists better locate and map Earth's desert aquifers, understand current and past hydrological conditions in Earth's deserts and assess how climate change is impacting them. Deserts cover roughly 20 percent of Earth's land surface, including highly populated regions in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa (Sahara), west and central Asia (Takla Makan) and the southwestern United States (Sonora).

Climate Warming: Who Thinks What
September 16, 2011 03:32 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Yale University has created a new poll based report, Politics & Global Warming, which describes how Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and members of the Tea Party respond to the issue of global warming. The results come from a nationally representative survey of 1,010 American adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 23 through May 12, 2011. The samples were weighted to correspond with US Census Bureau parameters for the United States. The study shows majorities of Democrats (78%), Independents (71%) and Republicans (53%) believe that global warming is happening. By contrast, only 34 percent of Tea Party members believe global warming is happening, while 53 percent say it is not happening. While 62 percent of Democrats say that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, most Tea Party members say it is either naturally caused (50%) or isn’t happening at all (21%).

More Americans believe world is warming
September 16, 2011 07:10 AM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters, WASHINGTON

More Americans than last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely influenced by the Republican presidential debates, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Thursday. The percentage of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75 percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12. Republican presidential candidates, aside from Jon Huntsman, have mostly blasted the idea that emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human actions are warming the planet. The current front-runner, Texas Governor Rick Perry, has accused scientists of manipulating climate data while Michele Bachmann has said climate change is a hoax. As Americans watch Republicans debate the issue, they are forced to mull over what they think about global warming, said Jon Krosnick, a political science professor at Stanford University.

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