Climate

Are EV's really better for climate-changing emissions?
September 18, 2012 06:56 AM - EurActive

Electric cars are an axiom of clean transport planning - they produce no tailpipe emissions, little localised air pollution and, potentially, no greenhouse gas output. But as their critics point out, they are only as green as the electricity that they use. A power supply dependent on fossil fuels will produce greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles that are less than - but still comparable to - those from automobiles fitted with internal combustion engines (ICE)

NCDC: August 2012 Was a Warm One
September 17, 2012 01:10 PM - Scott Sincoff, ENN

The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's National Climatic Data Center states that August 2012 was one of the warmest months on record.

US electric car industry poised to overtake Europe
September 17, 2012 08:03 AM - Euractiv

A new US fuel efficiency standard finalised by the Obama administration last month will jolt America’s nascent electric car industry to life, but could leave European auto manufacturers racing to catch up, analysts and industry sources say. From 2025, American cars and light trucks will have to achieve a standard of at least 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) under the new regulation, higher than can be achieved by any existing fuel-powered cars, according to the US Department of Energy. The only cars on the US market which exceed the 54.5 mpg target (measured as mpg equivalent) are at least partly powered by plug-in electricity, the US Environmental Protection Agency says.

Ice Sheets Apparently Can Grow Quickly in Cold Periods
September 15, 2012 08:25 AM - Kieran Mulvaney, Discovery News

How fast can glaciers and ice sheets expand and shrink in response to rapidly changing climatic conditions? It's a question that scientists have been pondering with particular interest of late, with Greenland's Peterman Glacier calving large amounts of ice two years in succession, and much of the island's surface ice melting earlier this summer. Because abrupt climate changes have occurred, across various spatial and temporal scales, at several previous points in the planet's history, scientists can look for prehistorical clues, to see what happened then and thus infer what might happen in a warming 21st century. A team of geologists has done just that, although it has looked for evidence not during previous warm spells, but by looking at two major cooling events in Earth's past.

Death Valley Wins!
September 14, 2012 10:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

How hot can it get on Earth? It is a sort of dubious honor to be the hottest place, but some place has to be the record holder. A World Meteorological Organization panel has concluded that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature. The announcement follows a danger-fraught investigation during the 2011 Libyan revolution. Death Valley National Park in California, USA, now officially holds the title of the world's hottest place - as symbolic for meteorologists as Mt. Everest is for geographers.

UPS Earns Top Score Among U.S. Firms On Carbon Disclosure
September 14, 2012 07:04 AM - 3BL Media, Justmeans

For the second consecutive year, UPS (NYSE: UPS) has received the highest score in the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project's "Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index" of S&P companies, receiving a 99 out of 100. UPS is one of only two U.S. companies to achieve the high score, reflecting the company’s commitment to transparency and leadership with regards to carbon reporting and performance in mitigating environmental impact. UPS is the only company from the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P) Industrials sector to receive the highest score. Only four companies in the world received scores of 99 or higher. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), companies are scored on their climate change disclosure and high scores indicate good internal data management and understanding of climate change related issues affecting the company. Results from the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project indicate that S&P 500 companies are making significant strides with regards to transparency and progress on carbon goals, narrowing the gap with Global 500 companies. The average performance score of the S&P 500 increased by 44% with assurance of emissions data nearly doubling, signaling a greater commitment to transparency and accuracy.

Climate models will need to evolve to account for climate change, report finds
September 13, 2012 10:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Climate trends and predictions are used to make decisions in more fields than one would expect. From farmers and fishermen, to insurance companies, to mayors and decision-makers concerned about emergency preparedness planning, to the general public, knowing about floods, droughts, heat waves and extreme storms help us prepare our businesses and daily activities. Because of climate change, we can no longer rely on historic norms and climate patterns that models use to predict future events. Despite recent progress in developing reliable climate models, there are still efficiencies to be gained across the large and diverse U.S. climate modeling community.

A Wet Surprise: Drier Soils May Spur Rain
September 13, 2012 09:03 AM - Charles Q. Choi, OurAmazingPlanet

Drier soils are more likely to trigger storms than nearby wetter soils, a surprising new study finds. These findings suggest global weather and climate models — which assume that dry soils mean dry weather — might currently be simulating an excessive number of droughts, the scientists behind the study said.

Mysterious Rise in Ocean Salinity
September 13, 2012 06:13 AM - RICHARD MATTHEWS, Global Warming is Real

Scientists have observed unexpected changes in the seawater salinity and they are increasingly concerned about the potential impact on ocean currents. The salinity of seawater can accelerate the water cycle which can cause extreme weather events like floods and drought. To investigate the issue of ocean salinity scientists have boarded the research vessel Knorr, which set sail on September 6, 2012. NASA’s Aquarius instrument is part of a separate research project that has been measuring seawater salinity from space since August 2011. In addition to ocean salinity, researchers are exploring the water cycle which involves the ways that water circulates between the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land. This process involves precipitation and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.

Carbon Dioxide Snow
September 12, 2012 10:36 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

It is cold on Mars. It has a thin atmosphere that is mostly carbon dioxide (95%). NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data have given scientists the clearest evidence yet of carbon-dioxide snowfalls on Mars. This reveals the only known example of carbon-dioxide snow falling anywhere in our solar system. Quite literally the very air of Mars is falling as snow! Frozen carbon dioxide, better known as dry ice, requires temperatures of about minus 193 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 125 Celsius), which is much colder than needed for freezing water. Carbon-dioxide snow reminds scientists that although some parts of Mars may look quite Earth-like, the Red Planet is very different. The report is being published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

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