Climate

Winter storms strongest to hit western Europe since 1948, study shows
March 17, 2016 08:43 AM - University of Plymouth via ScienceDaily

The repeated storms which battered Europe's Atlantic coastline during the winter of 2013/14 were the most energetic in almost seven decades, new research has shown.

And they were part of a growing trend in stormy conditions which scientists say has the potential to dramatically change the equilibrium state of beaches along the western side of the continent, leading to permanent changes in beach gradient, coastal alignment and nearshore bar position.

In a study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, researchers compared modelled and measured data from sites across Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Portugal, Spain and Morocco, and showed the extreme weather conditions were the most energetic since at least 1948.

Climate Change Redistributes Global Water Resources
March 17, 2016 07:21 AM - SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Rising temperatures worldwide are changing not only weather systems, but - just as importantly - the distribution of water around the globe, according to a study published today (March 14, 2016) in the journal, "Scientific Reports."

Analysis of more than 40 years of water samples archived at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in New Hampshire tells a vivid tale of how the sources of precipitation have changed. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase, especially during the winter, of the amount of water that originated far to the north.

Supreme Court and the Obama Administration's Climate Plans
March 16, 2016 08:15 AM - michael b. gerrard, Yale Environment360

Two unexpected and shocking events have left heads swimming about the fate of President Obama’s signature initiative on climate change, the Clean Power Plan, which aims to replace many coal-fired power plants — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States — with cleaner sources of energy.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the Clean Power Plan until the litigation against it is finally resolved, suspending implementation of the plan for the foreseeable future. The vote was 5-4, along the customary ideological lines, and it led to great concern, bordering on quiet despair, among proponents of the plan. who now believed that the Supreme Court would ultimately strike it down. Opponents of the plan, including the coal industry, rejoiced.
 

The court’s order blocking Obama’s Clean Power Plan provides an opportunity for the U.S. to show other nations it has a flexible approach to cutting emissions, David Victor writes.

Time to re-think the diesel
March 11, 2016 08:00 AM - Richard Howard / Policy Exchange, The Ecologist

Low Emissions Zones have their place in cleaning up the UK's worst air pollution hotspots, writes Richard Howard. But we also need to adopt fiscal measures to encourage a shift away from diesel vehicles, at once delivering cleaner air, increased tax revenues, and lower carbon emissions.

If we are to clean up air pollution in London and the rest of the UK, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift away from diesel to alternatives.

There is an air pollution crisis taking place in London and many of the UK's other major cities.

Study suggests impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated
March 8, 2016 07:10 AM - Brown University

Studies of how climate change might affect agriculture generally look only at crop yields — the amount of product harvested from a given unit of land. But climate change may also influence how much land people choose to farm and the number of crops they plant each growing season. A new study takes all of these variables into account, and suggests researchers may be underestimating the total effect of climate change on the world’s food supply.

Warming Arctic being exploited by trawlers
March 6, 2016 01:29 PM - Joe Sandler Clarke / Greenpeace Energydesk, The Ecologist

Ice melt in the Arctic Ocean is opening up previously untouched areas to industrial fishing fleets using ecologically risky bottom trawling methods, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. Ecosystems supporting walruses, polar bears, puffins and other sea birds could be stripped bare.

Bottom trawling is widely considered to be the among most destructive fishing techniques, with vast nets catching fish as they are dragged along the sea bed.

Using official data and ship tracking systems, researchers found that large numbers of fishing vessels owned by major companies have taken advantage of melting sea ice to fish in previously impossible to reach parts of the Norwegian and Russian Arctic.

Greenland's Ice is Getting Darker, Increasing Risk of Melting
March 4, 2016 07:31 AM - The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Greenland's snowy surface has been getting darker over the past two decades, absorbing more heat from the sun and increasing snow melt, a new study of satellite data shows. That trend is likely to continue, with the surface's reflectivity, or albedo, decreasing by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century, the study says.

Preserved moose with DNA of ancestors being studied in Russia
March 1, 2016 09:26 AM - NATIONAL RESEARCH TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert

Scientists of the Tomsk State University have found preserved moose in Western Siberia that have unique features of DNA structure. This discovery of Tomsk scientists will help determine the origin and path of moose movement in the last few tens of thousands of years and gives reason to believe that Siberia is a unique genetic repository. The research has been presented at International Conference "Theriofauna of Russia and adjacent territories" (X Congress of Russian Theriological Society).

Unique moose were found in the southeastern part of Western Siberia. Hunters of the Tomsk Region assisted in this discovery. Along with the license for opening the animals, they got set for the capture of prototypes and a small profile.

New Heat Wave Formula Can Help Public Health Agencies Prepare for Extreme Temperatures
February 26, 2016 07:13 AM - University of Missouri Health

Extreme heat can pose several health risks, such as dehydration, hyperthermia and even death, especially during sustained periods of high temperatures. However, a uniform definition of a heat wave doesn’t exist. As a result, public health agencies may be unsure of when to activate heat alerts, cooling centers and other protective measures. A University of Missouri School of Medicine researcher has developed a uniform definition of a heat wave that may help public health agencies prepare for extreme temperatures.

VW Emissions cheating scandal update
February 25, 2016 07:36 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit

Volkswagen is still struggling to move past the emissions-software scandal that has plagued its reputation for the better part of a year. Ever since the news officially broke that an array of its diesel passenger cars were outfitted with deceptive software, VW’s reputation has been pretty much at bottom ratings.

It’s not like the company hasn’t tried to regain public trust: To disgruntled consumers who bought one of the affected cars, it’s offered a combo of Visa cards and credit at dealerships. To dealers stuck with stock frozen by the publicity, the company offered to buy back used vehicles at full price.  And in response to hundreds of class-action suits coming up on the horizon, the company recently suggested that it may be willing to buy back those vehicles that can’t be fixed. Fixing, VW lawyer Robert Giuffra explained in court in January, requires coming up with new software, and that may still be a long way off — too long for some earlier vehicles caught in the debacle.

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