Climate

Ocean Acidity
January 26, 2012 07:49 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. This is part of the natural recycling of carbon. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity (lower pH), which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks, resulting in the potential loss of ecosystems. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally as well as due to man made sources from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.

Met Office says decline in solar output unlikely to offset global warming
January 24, 2012 08:31 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

New research has found that solar output is likely to reduce over the next 90 years but that will not substantially delay expected increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. Carried out by the Met Office and the University of Reading, the study establishes the most likely changes in the Sun's activity and looks at how this could affect near-surface temperatures on Earth.

Permafrost
January 24, 2012 07:18 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water (0 °C or 32 °F) for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of the ground material. A pioneering airborne electromagnetic survey in the Yukon Flats near Fort Yukon, Alaska, by the U.S. Geological Survey has yielded unprecedented images of the presence and absence of permafrost to depths of roughly 328 feet. The airborne survey captured images of permafrost over a substantially larger area, and with greater data density, than has been previously achieved using sparse boreholes and ground-based geophysics.

U.S. CO2 emissions to stay below 2005 levels
January 24, 2012 07:18 AM - Reuters

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions will be 7 percent lower than their 2005 level of nearly 6 billion metric tons in 2020 as coal's share of electricity production continues a steady descent over the next two decades, according to new government data. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released an early version of its annual energy outlook on Monday, which predicted a slowdown in growth of energy use over the next two decades amid economic recovery and improved energy efficiency. The report highlights the fact that carbon-intensive coal generation will see a major decline in the power sector in the coming decades, which will ensure energy-related CO2 emissions will not exceed 2005 levels at any point before 2035. The report also showed that emissions per capita would fall an average of 1 percent per year from 2005 to 2035 as the new federal standards, state renewable energy mandates and higher energy prices would temper the growth of demand for transportation fuels.

New Study Predicts Declining Rangeland in California
January 23, 2012 09:45 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Duke University researchers have predicted that climate change in California will result in a declining percentage of rangeland. Such a change will have widespread impact on the state's large cattle industry of California's Central Valley. No matter if climate change will cause wetter or drier weather, available pasture will decline. Forage areas, known as one of nature's free services, may no longer be so free. The grasses will either wither as arid conditions creep north, or be pushed out as inedible shrubs and brush take over.

Huge pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean is expanding
January 23, 2012 07:08 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters, LONDON

A huge pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean is expanding and could lower the temperature of Europe by causing an ocean current to slow down, British scientists said Sunday. Using satellites to measure sea surface height from 1995 to 2010, scientists from University College London and Britain's National Oceanography Center found that the western Arctic's sea surface has risen by about 15 cms since 2002. The volume of fresh water has increased by at least 8,000 cubic km, or about 10 percent of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water comes from melting ice and river run-off. The rise could be due to strong Arctic winds increasing an ocean current called the Beaufort Gyre, making the sea surface bulge upwards. The Beaufort Gyre is one of the least understood bodies of water on the planet. It is a slowly swirling body of ice and water north of Alaska, about 10 times bigger than Lake Michigan in the United States. Some scientists believe the natural rhythms of the gyre could be affected by global warming which could have serious implications for the ocean's circulation and rising sea levels.

Acid Rain Change
January 20, 2012 02:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH). It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. Measurable improvements in air quality and visibility, human health, and water quality in many acid-sensitive lakes and streams, have been achieved through emissions reductions from electric generating power plants and resulting decreases in acid rain. These are some of the key findings in a report to Congress by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, a cooperative federal program

NASA Sees Repeating La Niña Hitting Its Peak
January 20, 2012 08:53 AM - Editor, Science Daily

La Niña, "the diva of drought," is peaking, increasing the odds that the Pacific Northwest will have more stormy weather this winter and spring, while the southwestern and southern United States will be dry. Sea surface height data from NASA's Jason-1 and -2 satellites show that the milder repeat of last year's strong La Niña has recently intensified, as seen in the latest Jason-2 image of the Pacific Ocean.

Globally, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record occurred since 2000
January 20, 2012 06:43 AM - Reuters

The global average temperature last year was the ninth-warmest in the modern meteorological record, continuing a trend linked to greenhouse gases that saw nine of the 10 hottest years occurring since the year 2000, NASA scientists said on Thursday. A separate report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average temperature for the United States in 2011 as the 23rd warmest year on record. The global average surface temperature for 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 degrees C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline temperature, researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said in a statement. The institute's temperature record began in 1880. The first 11 years of the new century were notably hotter than the middle and late 20th century, according to institute director James Hansen. The only year from the 20th century that was among the top 10 warmest years was 1998.

China Sets Historic Limits on GHG Emissions from Select Regions
January 18, 2012 10:04 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

China is starting to get on board with the international push to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Last week, China's authoritarian government ordered five cities and two provinces to institute limits on GHG emissions. These areas will now have to submit proposals to the national government's National Development and Reform Commission on how they plan to achieve it.

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