Climate

Study: Switching from coal to natural gas would not significantly help climate!
September 10, 2011 07:42 AM - Deborah Zabarenko,Reuters Environment Correspondent WASHINGTON

Relying more on natural gas than on coal would not significantly slow down the effects of climate change, even though direct carbon dioxide emissions would be less, a new study has found. Burning coal emits far more climate-warming carbon dioxide than natural gas does, but it also releases lots of sulfates and other particles that block incoming sunlight and help cool the Earth, according to a study to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Change Letters in October. Using more natural gas for fuel could also produce leaks of methane, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, study author Tom Wigley said in a statement. "Relying more on natural gas would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, but it would do little to help solve the climate problem," said Wigley, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Adelaide in Australia. "It would be many decades before it would slow down global warming at all, and even then it would just be making a difference around the edges," he said.

800,000 Years of Abrupt Climate Variability: Earth's Climate Is Capable of Very Rapid Transitions
September 9, 2011 08:16 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 8, 2011) — An international team of scientists, led by Dr Stephen Barker of Cardiff University, has produced a prediction of what climate records from Greenland might look like over the last 800,000 years.

Coal or Natural Gas, Climate Effects
September 8, 2011 12:26 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores the complex and sometimes conflicting ways in which fossil fuel burning affects Earth’s climate. While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight. As always the final picture of climate effect is very complicated to put together.

Clouds Don't Cause Climate Change, Study Shows
September 7, 2011 08:54 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 6, 2011) — Clouds only amplify climate change, says a Texas A&M University professor in a study that rebuts recent claims that clouds are actually the root cause of climate change.

How Salty the Ocean
September 6, 2011 12:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approximately 35 grams of dissolved salts (predominantly sodium chloride. The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml. Seawater is denser than both fresh water and pure water because the dissolved salts add mass without contributing significantly to the volume. The freezing point of seawater decreases as salt concentration increases. NASA's Aquarius satellite has successfully completed its commissioning phase and is now tasting the saltiness of Earth's ocean surface, making measurements from its perch in near-polar orbit. Aquarius will make NASA's first space observations of the salinity, or concentration of salt, at the ocean surface, a key variable in satellite studies of Earth. Variations in salinity influence the ocean's deep circulation, outline the path freshwater takes around our planet and help drive Earth's climate.

Hotel Chains Standardize Carbon Accounting
September 6, 2011 08:57 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Everybody travels and everybody stays at hotels one time or another but travelling comes with a steep carbon as well as water footprint. For example, every day you stay at a hotel, you might burn enough fossil fuels to release more than 33 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The good news is that many hotels and holiday resorts have become aware of the issue and are introducing plans that makes your stay more eco-friendly.

Climate in the Past Million Years Determined Greatly by Dust in the Southern Ocean
September 2, 2011 08:32 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2011) — A group of scientists led by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) has quantified dust and iron fluxes deposited in the Antarctic Ocean during the past 4 million years. The research study published in Nature evidences the close relation between the maximum contributions of dust to this ocean and climate changes occurring in the most intense glaciation periods of the Pleistocene period, some 1.25 million years ago. Data confirms the role of iron in the increase in phytoplankton levels during glacial periods, intensifying the function of this ocean as a CO2 sink.

Peterson Glacier Breakup Continues
September 1, 2011 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In August 2010, part of the Petermann Glacier about four times the size of Manhattan island broke off. This is a huge island which would take years to melt and move south. Researcher Alun Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth University, U.K.has indicated that another section of the glacier, about twice the size of Manhattan, appeared close to breaking off. Alun Hubbard: "Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless." ... "What the breakup means in terms of inland ice acceleration and draw-down of the ice sheet remains to be seen, but will be revealed by the GPS data recovered, which we are now processing at Aberystwyth."

Volkswagen Investing One Billion Euros in Wind Energy
September 1, 2011 09:27 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

In an attempt to hedge against future rising energy prices, Volkswagen announced last week that it will invest up to one billion Euros (US$1.45 billion) in renewable energy. The announcement follows the company’s decisions earlier this year to invest in other clean energy projects as well as to launch new electric vehicles.

Irene Rainfall
August 31, 2011 05:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Hurricane Irene left a trail of devastation and heavy rainfall in its wake from the Caribbean to the U.S. east coast and is now a depression dumping heavy rains in eastern Canada before it heads into the Atlantic. Satellite imagery from NASA and NOAA continue to show the progression of Irene’s remnants today and her massive size and the TRMM satellite gave insight into her weakening condition. Many media outlets across the USA billed Irene as The Storm Of A Lifetime. In reality, however, the storm proved to be more like a ‘washout’ with over 15 inches of rain recorded in some locations along the eastern seaboard. Vermont recorded some of its worst flooding in more than a century but New York City, which saw over 360,000 of its residents evacuated before the storm hit, was not impacted as severely as predicted.

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