Climate

Pope Urges, Save The Planet Before It's Too Late
September 2, 2007 02:29 PM - Philip Pullella, Reuters

LORETO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, leading the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally, on Sunday told up to half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late". "A decisive 'yes' is needed in decisions to safeguard creation as well as a strong commitment to reverse tendencies that risk leading to irreversible situations of degradation," the 80-year-old Pope said. Wearing green vestments, he spoke to a crowd of mostly young people sprawled over a hillside near the Adriatic city of Loreto on the day Italy's Catholic Church marks it annual Save Creation Day.

Tropical Storm Henriette Kills 6 In Mexico Resort
September 1, 2007 06:35 PM - Gerardo Torres, Reuters

ACAPULCO, Mexico - Tropical Storm Henriette swept by Mexico's Pacific coast on Saturday, killing six people in the resort of Acapulco before moving out to sea, where it could become a hurricane. A man and his two children were killed in a poor area of Acapulco overnight when heavy rain dislodged a boulder from a hill and sent it crashing down on their house.

Looking for Life in and Under Antarctic Ice
September 1, 2007 11:55 AM - LSU

If confirmed, "immortal cells" could prove potential for life on Mars and Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons; Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Prior to approximately 10 years ago, no one thought that life could exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, which can be more than two miles thick in places, because conditions were believed to be too extreme. However, Brent Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, has spent a great deal of time in one of the world’s most hostile environments conducting research that proves otherwise.

Climate change and N. America farms to be studied
September 1, 2007 08:37 AM - Reuters

Iowa State University researchers will join a study of climate change to produce mid-century projections by late next year of the likely regional effects on North American farms from global warming. "There is no question now that the climate is changing on a global scale," said Gene Takle, an Iowa State University professor of geological and atmospheric sciences who will lead a study to project North American climate from 2040 to 2070. Iowa and Illinois are the epicenter of the U.S. Midwest farm belt, which produces the world's largest exportable surpluses of corn, soybeans and wheat and vast amounts of meat, dairy products, poultry and vegetables.

Hurricane Felix Seen Becoming Top-Ranked Storm
September 1, 2007 07:18 AM - Irasi Jimenez, Reuters

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao - Hurricane Felix intensified at an alarming rate on Sunday while passing north of Aruba and was expected to become an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm as it brushed Central America and neared Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, U.S. forecasters said. On a similar though more southerly track toward the Yucatan as last month's powerful Hurricane Dean, which killed 27 people, Felix's top sustained winds had increased to 140 mph (220 km per hour) by 5 p.m. EDT, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

“The Largest Man-Made Environmental Catastrophe”
August 31, 2007 06:54 PM - Mary King, Environmental Graffiti

The annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society was rocked yesterday by the announcement by an international team of scientists that arsenic contamination in drinking water is "the largest identified man-made environmental catastrophe". A presentation by Cambridge University researchers revealed that 60 countries over 5 continents have been affected by arsenic contamination, with South East Asia, particularly Bangladesh, as the worst off. The health of 140 million people is threatened by the presence of arsenic, mostly in developing countries.

NASA Study: Stronger But Fewer Storms
August 31, 2007 06:36 PM - NASA

WASHINGTON - NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms. Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including "severe thunderstorms" that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground.

Industrial Nations Agree To Look At Tough New Climate Rules
August 31, 2007 06:20 PM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

VIENNA - Industrial nations agreed on Friday to consider stiff 2020 goals for cutting greenhouse gases in a small step towards a new long-term pact to fight climate change. About 1,000 delegates at the Aug 27-31 U.N. talks set greenhouse gas emissions cuts of between 25 and 40 percent below 1990 levels as a non-binding starting point for rich nations' work on a new pact to extend the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

Hotter Earth Implicated In Tropical Rainfall Rise
August 31, 2007 05:06 PM - Katherine Nightingale, Reuters

Washington DC - Rising global temperatures could be changing rainfall levels in the tropics, according to researchers. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States analysed the global rainfall record from 1979 to the present, logged by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. They found that while there has been no overall global change, rainfall over oceans in tropical latitudes increased by five per cent over the period and decreased by one per cent over land — a total increase of four per cent for the entire tropics. The year 2005 saw the highest amount of rainfall on record over both tropical land and ocean. Two-thirds of all rain globally falls in the tropics. The study was published in the August edition of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

National Hurricane Center: Tropical Depression 6 Has Formed In Atlantic
August 31, 2007 02:28 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK - A well-organized tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean about 250 miles east of the Windward Islands has formed into a tropical depression, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said late today. The NHC sent an Air Force hurricane hunter airplane to investigate the system early this afternoon to confirm if a depression had formed. It would be the sixth tropical depression of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

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