Impact of Ancient Indonesian Volcanic Eruption
March 8, 2010 04:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Toba super eruption occurred between 69,000 and 77,000 years ago at Lake Toba (present day Indonesia), and it is recognized as one of Earth's largest known eruptions. The related catastrophe theory holds that this super volcanic event plunged the planet into a 6 to 10 year volcanic winter, which resulted in the world's human population being reduced to 10,000 or even a mere 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a bottleneck in human evolution. Some researchers argue that the Toba eruption produced not only a catastrophic volcanic winter but also an additional 1,000 year cooling episode. Newly discovered archaeological sites in southern and northern India have revealed how people lived before and after the colossal Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago.

EU climate funding melting?
March 5, 2010 06:26 AM - Pete Harrison, Reuters

The European Union's development chief may be forced to name and shame France, Germany and Italy for not living up to their aid commitments, contributing to a roughly $17 billion funding gap this year. Andris Piebalgs warned in January he would clearly identify EU countries that failed to meet their aid commitments. "In 2010, the EU aid disbursements are likely to further grow to approximately 54-55 billion euros ($74-75 billion)," a leaked EU document seen by Reuters shows. "Many member states will most probably not reach their... aid targets. A gap of 12-13 billion euros remains."

How Hot or Cold the Ocean
March 4, 2010 03:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Covering about 70 percent of our planet's surface, the ocean acts as a global thermostat, storing energy from the sun, keeping Earth's temperature changes moderate and keeping climate change gradual. In fact, the ocean can store as much heat in its top 10 feet as the entire atmosphere does. What happens in the atmosphere has usually the most effect on where humanity lives but the ocean really controls the world's climate more.

EPA to Phase in CO2 emissions permits/BACT for mid-sized sources
March 4, 2010 06:02 AM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

The Obama administration will give small businesses a break on coming carbon dioxide emissions rules but big emitters like coal-fired power plants will face a crack-down, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama has pushed the EPA to begin regulating gases blamed for warming the planet, in part to force polluters to support the climate change bill. The legislation is his preferred method of climate control, but it is stalled in the Senate.

Martian Glaciers
March 3, 2010 02:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Mars is a lot like Earth in many ways. The signs of water are obvious in the deep valleys. Many have speculated about once vast oceans often centered over the northern part of Mars. Where did the water go? Extensive radar mapping of the middle latitude region of northern Mars shows that thick masses of buried ice are quite common beneath protective coverings of rubble. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has charted the locations of these hidden glaciers and ice filled valleys which were first confirmed by radar two years ago.

Alaskan Glacier Ice Loss Overestimated?
March 3, 2010 08:48 AM - Science Daily, Adapted from materials provided by Northern Arizona University.

The melting of glaciers is well documented, but when looking at the rate at which they have been retreating, a team of international researchers steps back and says not so fast. Previous studies have largely overestimated mass loss from Alaskan glaciers over the past 40-plus years, according to Erik Schiefer, a Northern Arizona University geographer who coauthored a paper in the February issue of Nature Geoscience that recalculates glacier melt in Alaska.

Cap-and-trade plan dead says Senator Graham
March 3, 2010 08:34 AM - Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

The idea of imposing a broad cap-and-trade system to cut America's greenhouse gas emissions is dead and will be replaced with a new approach, an influential Republican senator said on Tuesday. Lindsey Graham, one of three senators working against daunting odds to produce a compromise climate bill, has recently turned against imposing the kind of cap-and-trade system used in Europe, which involves companies buying and selling pollution permits.

Pliocene Hurricaines
March 2, 2010 05:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Pliocene epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5 million to 2 million years before present. Although scientists know that the early Pliocene had carbon dioxide concentrations similar to those of today, it has remained a mystery what caused the high levels of greenhouse gas and how the Pliocene’s warm conditions, including an extensive warm pool in the Pacific Ocean and temperatures that were roughly 4 degrees C higher than today’s, were maintained. In a paper published February 25 in Nature, Kerry Emanuel and two colleagues from Yale University’s Department of Geology and Geophysics suggest that a positive feedback between tropical cyclones — commonly called hurricanes and typhoons — and the circulation in the Pacific could have been the mechanism that enabled the Pliocene’s warm climate.

British Antarctic Survey census of biodiversity sheds light on changing climate
March 2, 2010 07:35 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) presents the results of its ongoing census of marine life in the Antarctic at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The BAS census has been documenting the diversity of marine life in Antarctic waters and the way it is changing in response to climate change.

Mekong River at record low flow
March 2, 2010 06:30 AM - Agence France-Presse, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Water levels in the northern Mekong River are at record-low levels, posing a threat to water supply, navigation and irrigation along a stretch of water that is home to millions, a regional official said. Northern Thailand, northern Laos and southern China have all been affected, Jeremy Bird, chief executive officer of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) secretariat, told AFP. "The flows are much lower than we've got records on in the last 20 years," said Bird, whose inter-governmental body deals with all Mekong River-related activities including fisheries, agriculture and flood management.

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