Climate

China carbon emissions could peak by 2025-2030
April 29, 2011 06:51 AM - Chris Buckley, Reuters, BEIJING

China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, could peak in emissions by 2030 or earlier, says a study from U.S. researchers who foresee Chinese demand for appliances, buildings and much industry reaching "saturation" around then. The study by energy and emissions experts at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California adds to a growing body of studies that say China could reach its maximum output of carbon dioxide (CO2) within two decades. That matters for more than China. Its emissions path will be crucial to determining whether the world can restrict total greenhouse gas emissions to levels less likely to trigger dangerous climate change, such as more intense droughts, floods and storms that threaten crops and economic growth.

Salt marshes along eastern US shrinking, this may actually be natural
April 28, 2011 07:37 AM - Sid Perkins, Science Daily

The salt marshes that rim the shores of Massachusetts's Plum Island estuary, which provide nesting grounds for numerous waterfowl and extremely productive spawning grounds for striped bass and soft-shell clams, have grown by 300 hectares in the last 300 years. That growth, according to a new study, was fueled by post-colonial deforestation and the erosion it caused in areas upstream. The findings suggests that efforts to maintain or restore salt marshes along the Eastern Seaboard, which have begun to disappear in recent years for a variety of reasons, may be preventing the wetlands from returning to their more natural sizes. In the past century, wetlands in many regions have shrunk dramatically. San Francisco Bay lost about 20,000 hectares of wetlands during that period, and the Mississippi River delta lost 20 times that amount. Scientists have long presumed that the ongoing loss of wetlands in many areas of the world stems from influences such as rising sea levels and human development of coastal real estate. In many regions, dams both large and small also contribute to wetland degradation by interrupting the flow of sediment to the sea, thereby depriving the marshes of material that could accumulate and help counteract local erosion.

Wind Wake
April 27, 2011 05:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What is a wake? It is small island in the Pacific. However, in this case it is the region of recirculating air flow immediately behind a moving solid body, caused by the air flow of surrounding air around the wind turbine. The air turbines not only produce power, they produce wakes -- similar to what forms in bodies of water -- that are invisible ripples and waves and other disturbances in the atmosphere downstream that can damage turbines and decrease efficiency. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers and collaborators will launch a study of those wakes this month, with an eye toward improving the efficiency and potential produced power of the wind farms.

Outsourcing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the Developing World
April 27, 2011 09:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In many developed nations, increased energy efficiency has effectively lowered emissions of carbon dioxide. However, the cuts in advanced economies are merely an illusion, as manufacturing and dirty industries have moved offshore to the developing world such as China and India. These countries produce goods cheaply which Western consumers like. But that cheap price is a reflection of not only lower wages for workers, but also lax pollution controls and environmental standards.

Climate change to hit American West water supply
April 26, 2011 06:14 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, Environment Correspondent WASHINGTON

Climate change could cut water flow in some of the American West's biggest river basins -- including the Rio Grande and the Colorado -- by up to 20 percent this century, the Interior Department reported on Monday. This steep drop in stream flow is projected for parts of the West that have seen marked increases in population and droughts over recent decades, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a telephone briefing. "These changes will directly affect the West's water supplies, which are already stretched in meeting demands for drinking, irrigating crops, generating electricity and filling our lakes and aquifers for activities like fishing, boating and to power our economy," he said. A new Interior Department report outlines increased risks to water resources in the U.S. West for the 21st century.

Sunlight and Clouds
April 25, 2011 04:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A cloud is a visible mass of water droplets or frozen ice crystals suspended in the Earth's atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or other planetary body. On a cloudy day the surface under the clouds appears darker and cooler. Atmospheric scientists trying to pin down how clouds curb the amount of sunlight available to warm the earth have found that it depends on the wavelength of sunlight being measured. This unexpected result will help researchers improve how they portray clouds in climate models. Additionally, the researchers found that sunlight scattered by clouds — the reason why beach goers can get sunburned on overcast days — is an important component of cloud contributions to the earth's energy balance. Capturing such contributions will increase the accuracy of climate models, the team from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reported in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this month.

Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate
April 25, 2011 09:21 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2011) — One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes. When provoked, the spider, commonly known as the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), injects powerful venom that can kill the tissues at the site of the bite. This can lead to a painful deep sore and occasional scarring.

Earth Day 2011 - for individuals, AND for businesses!
April 22, 2011 10:45 AM - Globe Foundation, Justmeans

Throughout its 40 plus year history Earth Day has been a rallying point for millions of personal acts intended to help save the environment. It has sparked rallies and marches, demonstrations and parades, contests and car washes, and with the aid of the Internet and social media tools it has become a global moment in time to signal the importance of living more sustainably. Earth Day street and stream clean ups, recycling drives, letter writing campaigns and similar calls to reduce, reuse, and recycle have shaped the minds of two generations of eco-conscious youth on the importance of protecting our natural environment. And of course, it has sparked endless political speeches with buttons, banners and policy oriented statements. Even businesses have been involved, not only through sponsorships of this annual celebration, but also by cutting wastage, lowering the energy use, and changing the way they operate to become more ecologically balanced. This year's theme for Earth Day 2011 is "A Billion Acts of Green: Personal, organizational and corporate pledges to live and act sustainably". Like its more recent companion Earth Hour, Earth Day has shown that for one brief moment, we can come together in common cause to make a difference, to show that change is indeed possible.

Earth Recovered from Prehistoric Global Warming Faster Than Previously Thought
April 21, 2011 05:11 PM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2011) — Earth may be able to recover from rising carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought, according to evidence from a prehistoric event analyzed by a Purdue University-led team. When faced with high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising temperatures 56 million years ago, Earth increased its ability to pull carbon from the air.

DigitalGlobe Partners with Extreme Ice Survey to Monitor World’s Glaciers
April 21, 2011 04:34 PM - Editor, ENN

A new report released this week by high-resolution satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe in partnership with Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) reveals environmental changes as told by the world’s climate change barometers – glaciers. Using a combination of on-the-ground photography with satellite imagery to monitor the state of the world’s glaciers, the organizations issued the "Worldwide Glacier Monitoring Report," a first in a series of reports that depict satellite images from the last three years to show how three glaciers – Khumbu Glacier at Mt. Everest, the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland and the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland – have changed over time. Glaciers are a clear indicator of the state of the environment and a thermometer of local and regional climate conditions. Since 1995, Ilulissat Glacier, the largest producer of icebergs in Greenland, doubled its flow speed and volume of ice discharged due to warming air and ocean temperatures. The combined effect of ice loss in mountains and ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica will produce at least 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, dislocating at least 150 million people. As the planet becomes warmer, sea levels will continue to rise.

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