Climate

Himalaya glaciers shrinking, some may disappear
August 2, 2011 07:00 AM - Tan Ee Lyn, Reuters, HONG KONG

Three Himalaya glaciers have been shrinking over the last 40 years due to global warming and two of them, located in humid regions and on lower altitudes in central and east Nepal, may disappear in time to come, researchers in Japan said on Tuesday. Using global positioning system and simulation models, they found that the shrinkage of two of the glaciers -- Yala in central and AX010 in eastern Nepal -- had accelerated in the past 10 years compared with the 1970s and 1980s. Yala's mass shrank by 0.8 (2.6 feet) and AX010 by 0.81 meters respectively per year in the 2000s, up from 0.68 and 0.72 meters per year between 1970 and 1990, said Koji Fujita at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies in Nagoya University in Japan.

Still baking in the Midwest and South
August 1, 2011 06:31 AM - Jim Forsyth, Reuters, SAN ANTONIO

Sticky heat was expected to smother much of the country's midsection in the coming days as hotter-than-usual temperatures continued to roast parts of the Midwest and South, forecasters said on Sunday. Areas of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma were under excessive heat warnings with heat advisories issued for a large swath of the central United States, according to the National Weather Service. The unrelenting heat in central and eastern states has led to a slew of "Heat Superlatives" in 2011, according to weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce. More than a dozen U.S. cities from Tallahassee to Minneapolis have seen all-time highs exceeding any temperature on record for any month, Dolce reported Sunday. High heat put Reading, Pennsylvania, on the map for 106 degrees Fahrenheit -- its hottest day since at least 1869 -- and Childress in thirsty Texas hit the highest mark at 117, a temperature not seen since 1893.

Scientists Report Dramatic Carbon Loss from Massive Arctic Wildfire
July 29, 2011 08:49 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2011) — In a study published in this week's issue of Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Gauis Shaver and his colleagues, including lead author Michelle Mack of the University of Florida, describe the dramatic impacts of a massive Arctic wildfire on carbon releases to the atmosphere. The 2007 blaze on the North Slope of the Alaska's Brooks Mountain Range released 20 times more carbon to the atmosphere than what is annually lost from undisturbed tundra.

1993 US Northwest Forest Plan Turns Public Forests into Carbon Sink
July 28, 2011 07:42 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

Enacted in 1993, before climate change was so prominent in the public media eye, the US Northwest Forest Plan's primary goal was the conservation of old growth forests on public land, and thereby also protecting threatened and endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl. Forest harvests in those public forests dropped precipitously, by 82%, the next year. Nearly two decades later, it turns out that the Plan has yielded unintended, though no less favorable results in terms of mitigating the effect of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Fungi could protect rice against climate change
July 27, 2011 10:48 AM - Ma. Theresa V. Ilano, SciDevNet

[CEBU, PHILIPPINES] Inoculating rice seeds with fungi makes the plants more tolerant of salt, drought and cold — all of which may become more common as the climate changes, according to researchers.

Northeast Bakes Under Blistering Heat
July 22, 2011 02:02 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

The ungodly weather that scorched the Midwest of the USA has travelled east, giving the large population centers along the Atlantic coast a chance to experience the skin-frying joy. Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (38 C) have lingered for several days. When factoring in humidity and other conditions, the outdoors can feel like a sultry 115 degrees F (46 C). The inhuman heat wave is expected to break by the end of the weekend, with temperatures dipping to a relatively cool 90 degrees F. The end of July is known to be the hottest time of the year, but today's heat goes far above the average. With current trends in the climate, is it possible that this extreme weather may one day become the norm?

Drought continues to worsen in southern Plains
July 22, 2011 06:55 AM - Julie Ingwersen, Reuters, CHICAGO

A historic drought in the southern Plains intensified in the last week and contributed to dry conditions emerging in the heart of the Midwest crop belt, a weekly climatologists' report said Thursday. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, produced by a consortium of national climate experts, showed abnormally dry conditions affecting a significant area of the Midwest -- about 10 percent -- for the first time this summer. The areas included parts of Iowa and Illinois, the top two corn- and soy-growing states that annually produce about one-third of the U.S. corn crop. Also affected were southern Wisconsin, northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Texas remained the epicenter of the crisis, with "exceptional drought," the most severe drought category, gripping 75 percent of the state. Texas climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said it was the state's third-worst drought since 1895.

Why Grass Fed Beef Isn't Just Healthier
July 21, 2011 08:45 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

Organic produce and pasture based meat and dairy have less of an environmental impact than their conventionally produced counterparts, a recently released report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found. Titled A Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health, the report includes lifecycle assessments of 20 popular types of meat, dairy and vegetable proteins. The cradle-to-grave carbon footprint of each food item based on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated before and after the food leaves the farm is included in the assessments.

How will climate change impact food production?
July 20, 2011 07:02 AM - Christine Stebbins, Reuters, KANSAS CITY, Missouri

Climate and food production is a subject that needs more study in coming years but for now even the U.S. Agriculture Department finds it almost impossible to estimate the effects of one on the other. "They are very elaborate models," said USDA's chief economist Joseph Glauber, referring to climate-crop forecasting in an interview on Tuesday on the sidelines of a farm lending conference at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. "Take into account all the fundamentals on crops and yields. You also have to build in all this climate variability and predictions about climate variability. The range of potential outcomes is pretty large," Glauber said. "We just don't consider that in our 10-year baseline. We assume some trend growth, we really don't even look at variabilities. That's probably proper for a 10-year forecast horizon." The USDA's crop reports, such as the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and its 10-year baseline crop outlooks, are key benchmarks for the world food and farming industries, given the vast domestic and world data gathering the agency employs.

Persuading Climate Change Doubters with "Cool It" Documentary
July 20, 2011 06:58 AM - Jonathan Mariano, Triple Pundit

A new documentary, Cool It, may be able to help some of us in our quest to settle arguments about climate change. Most readers of this publication probably accept that climate change is a real phenomenon. But there are still people out there, usually politically charged, who think climate change is nonsense.

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