Climate

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.

Brazil Forest Law changes threaten to send climate achievements up in smoke
August 31, 2011 08:40 AM - Editor, World Wildlife Fund

Brasilia, Brazil: Proposed changes to Brazil's forest laws that will cut back protection and offer wide ranging amnesties for illegal deforestation threaten to undo the country's impressive performances in cutting back emissions and protecting biodiversity.

Cloud Formation
August 26, 2011 11:35 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Clouds are amazing to watch and intricate in their formation and interactions with the atmosphere. Research from CERN involving University of Leeds scientists provides news insights into cloud formation in the atmosphere. In a paper published in the journal Nature today, the CLOUD experiment - designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols under controlled laboratory conditions - reports its first results. Aerosols are tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere which are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets. Understanding the process of aerosol formation is therefore important for understanding the climate.

Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts
August 25, 2011 03:22 PM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2011) — USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

Irene!
August 25, 2011 03:07 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Hurricane Irene strengthened on its path toward the continental United States in late August 2011. This is a relatively rare hurricane that threatens all of the US east coast. Residents of the U.S. East Coast braced for the first hurricane to seriously threaten the country in three years. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image at 2:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC) on August 24. Storm clouds hide the Turks and Caicos Islands, and extend westward over The Bahamas. Clouds also linger over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Irene was a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles (195 kilometers) per hour.

Hybrid Midsize Sedan?
August 25, 2011 12:43 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributing Editor, ENN

There seem to be a lot of people looking for a quality, affordable, and safe midsize sedan, but a hybrid midsize sedan? Mingling with everyone at the Toyota 2012 Camry event at Paramount Studios Hollywood yesterday I’d have to say, the mainstream car world just isn’t that concerned about how green their drive is at this point. The economy isn't helping, nor is the way most people are experiencing the modern electronic world as a bad case of button overload; and general interest in iconic brands like a Prius Hybrid or a Chevy Volt is limited. In the last two years my automotive interest has been focused on hybrids and electric vehicles. Yesterday in Hollywood I drove both the hybrid 2012 Camry and the non-hybrid 2012 Camry and I got to look more closely at the interface between the car most people are looking for and the dream of a greener driving world. The comparison was great fun. I admit I'm still more excited about the Plug-in Prius, which is now looking like it will be available starting around spring 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability is planned to open up to all other states in 2013. Much of the innovation in the development of the Prius appears to be showing up in the 2012 Camry Hybrid

Drought and CO2
August 24, 2011 02:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The large scale project CLIMAITE, led by Risø DTU, has published its first synthesis paper in the journal Global Change Biology, and the conclusion is perhaps a little surprising that the predicted increase in plant growth, due to more CO2 in the atmosphere is noticeably limited when combined with higher temperatures -- and especially summer droughts. "When you've previously seen a significantly higher plant growth at elevated CO2 concentrations, it is typically because it has been controlled studies, where only the CO2 concentration was changed. We fundamentally had the theory that you have to look at the combination of the different climate variables, since the plants in the future will be exposed to multiple changes simultaneously," explains Klaus Steenberg Larsen, who is a researcher in the Biosystems Division at Risø DTU and lead author on the scientific paper.

Summer Drought Limits the Positive Effects of CO2 and Heat On Plant Growth in Future Climate
August 24, 2011 07:35 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2011) — Although the rain this summer has been pouring down over Denmark, most scientists agree that global temperature increases will intensify periods with summer drought already in 2075. The large scale project CLIMAITE, led by Risø DTU, has published its first synthesis paper in the journal Global Change Biology, and the conclusion is perhaps a little surprising that the predicted increase in plant growth, due to more CO2 in the atmosphere is noticeably limited when combined with higher temperatures -- and especially summer droughts.

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