Climate

New Ozone Standards could contribute to warming
January 31, 2010 09:40 AM - Richard Harris, NPR, Environmental Health News

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to tighten the ozone standard for smog will have an unfortunate side effect: Because of a quirk of atmospheric chemistry, those measures will hasten global warming. There's no question that smog is a hazard that deserves attention. Lydia Wegman of the EPA says the new ozone limits would have significant health benefits. Less smog means fewer asthma attacks, fewer kids in the hospital, fewer days of lost school, "and we also believe that we can reduce the risk of early death in people with heart and lung disease," she says. Here's the tough part: The way many states and localities will reduce smog is by cracking down on the chemicals that produce ozone. And those include nitrogen oxides, or NOx.

Save our Planet!
January 29, 2010 01:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Climate change is hard to imagine since it is dealing with small changes over a long period of time. A new NASA Web site can help younger children understand how and why their planet is changing and what they can do to help keep it habitable. This website is called "Climate Kids". It is geared toward students in grades 4 through 6 and has a multimedia rich website with games and humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.

Global Warming Slowed by Decline in Atmospheric Water Vapor
January 29, 2010 07:03 AM - Sid Perkins, Science News

A sudden and unexplained drop in the amount of water vapor present high in the atmosphere almost a decade ago has substantially slowed the rate of warming at Earth’s surface in recent years, scientists say. In late 2000 and early 2001, concentrations of water vapor in a narrow slice of the lower stratosphere dropped by 0.5 parts per million, or about 10 percent, and have remained relatively stable since then. Because the decline was noted by several types of instruments, including some on satellites and others lofted on balloons, the sharp decrease is presumed to be real, says Karen Rosenlof, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

Concern About Global Warming Continues to Drop in the U.S
January 28, 2010 06:26 AM - Yale Environment 360

Concern about global warming among U.S. adults has dropped significantly, a new poll says, with fewer than 50 percent of Americans saying they are "somewhat" or "very worried" — a 13 percent decrease from a poll taken in October 2008. The percentage of Americans who believe global warming is occurring fell 14 percent to 57 percent, and the percentage who think global warming is caused primarily by human activities fell 10 percent to 47 percent, according to the poll funded by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Fire and Smoke Can Be Good and Bad
January 27, 2010 02:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Recent ecological research has shown that forest fire is an integral component to the function and biodiversity of many ecological communities, and that the organisms within those communities have adapted to withstand and even exploit it. A fire may destroy one ecological community but allow greater long term diversity. It is not just the fire but the smoke too. Smoke plays an intriguing role in promoting the germination of seeds of many species following a fire. Even the carbon dioxide from a fire has an impact on the overall ecosystem.

Methane's Key Role in Global Warming
January 27, 2010 07:24 AM - Richard Harris, NPR

Carbon dioxide is the gas we most associate with global warming, but methane gas also plays an important role. For reasons that are not well understood, methane gas stopped increasing in the atmosphere in the 1990s. But now it appears to be once again on the rise. Scientists are trying to understand why — and what to do about it.

Jobs from Climate Control is the new mantra
January 27, 2010 06:50 AM - Richard Cowan, Reuters

The four-letter word that will dominate President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Wednesday -- jobs -- could be the savior for faltering climate control legislation, or at least that's environmentalists' latest hope. Supporters of a global warming bill have failed to captivate the country with warnings of drought, disappearing polar ice caps, refugees fleeing floods and worsening disease. So, they are ramping up a more positive-sounding argument.

Asteroids and Their Impact
January 26, 2010 02:01 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

NASA's Wide field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has spotted its first never before seen near Earth asteroid, the first of hundreds it is expected to find during its mission to map the whole sky in infrared light. There is no danger of this newly discovered asteroid hitting the Earth. Since it formed over 4.5 billion years ago, Earth has been hit many times by asteroids and comets whose orbits bring them into the inner solar system. Some of these sites are well known such as Meteor Crater in Arizona as well as the theory that the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a such a collision. These objects, collectively known as Near Earth Objects, still pose a danger to Earth today.

The Ozone hole is filling in, oh no!
January 26, 2010 07:30 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The US EPA recently proposed new Ozone standards to protect health and environmental values. These standards will apply to the lower atmosphere, to the air we breathe. In the upper atmosphere, Ozone is good. The "hole" in the Ozone layer over Antarctica has worried scientists for years since Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. According to research at the University of Leeds, the hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing. This is a concern, since its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, the scientists at Leeds conclude.

Carbon traders quit emissions market amid drop in demand
January 26, 2010 06:42 AM - Tim Webb, The Ecologist

Banks are pulling out of the carbon-offsetting market after Copenhagen failed to reach agreement on emissions targets Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012. Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand.

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