Climate

Eating healthier food could reduce greenhouse gas emissions
March 16, 2017 06:59 AM - Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara

You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and while good dietary choices boost your own health, they also could improve the health care system and even benefit the planet. Healthier people mean not only less disease but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions from health care. As it turns out, some relatively small diet tweaks could add up to significant inroads in addressing climate change.

Study: Cold Climates and Ocean Carbon Sequestration
March 15, 2017 03:12 PM - California Institute of Technology

We know a lot about how carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can drive climate change, but how about the way that climate change can cause fluctuations in CO2 levels? New research from an international team of scientists reveals one of the mechanisms by which a colder climate was accompanied by depleted atmospheric CO2 during past ice ages.

The overall goal of the work is to better understand how and why the earth goes through periodic climate change, which could shed light on how man-made factors could affect the global climate.

NASA Spots Sub-Tropical Storm 11S Still Swirling
March 15, 2017 02:57 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Once a tropical storm, now a sub-tropical storm, the remnants of the tropical low pressure area formerly known as 11S was spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite, still spinning in the Southern Indian Ocean.

On March 14 at 2230 UTC (6:30 p.m. EST) the remnants of Tropical Cyclone 11S were located near 29.8 degrees south latitude and 52.4 degrees east longitude, about 530 nautical miles south-southwest of La Reunion Island.

When the sea ice melts, juvenile polar cod may go hungry
March 15, 2017 02:39 PM - Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Polar cod fulfil a key role in the Arctic food web, as they are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds alike. But the polar cod themselves might soon be the hungry ones. Under the ice of the central Arctic, the juvenile fish are indirectly but heavily dependent on ice algae. As a result, retreating sea ice could have far-reaching impacts on the food web. Though researchers have long since suspected this relation existed, an international team of researchers led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, have now successfully confirmed it.

Louisiana wetlands struggling with sea-level rise four times the global average
March 14, 2017 05:05 PM - Barri Bronston via Tulane University

Without major efforts to rebuild Louisiana’s wetlands, particularly in the westernmost part of the state, there is little chance that the coast will be able to withstand the accelerating rate of sea-level rise, a new Tulane University study concludes.

The study by researchers in Tulane’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and published in the open-access journal Nature Communications shows that the rate of sea-level rise in the region over the past six to 10 years amounts to half an inch per year on average.

Increase in Extreme Sea Levels Could Endanger European Coastal Communities
March 14, 2017 04:01 PM - American Geophysical Union

Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study.

New projections considering changes in sea level rise, tides, waves and storm surge over the 21st century find global warming could cause extreme sea levels to increase significantly along Europe’s coasts by 2100. Extreme sea levels are the maximum levels of the sea that occur during a major storm and produce massive flooding.

Early Earth Had a Hazy, Methane-filled Atmosphere
March 14, 2017 03:21 PM - University of Maryland

More than 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was inhospitable, filled with toxic gases that drove wildly fluctuating surface temperatures. Understanding how today’s world of mild climates and breathable air took shape is a fundamental question in Earth science.

New research from the University of Maryland, the University of St. Andrews, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Leeds and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science suggests that long ago, Earth’s atmosphere spent about a million years filled with a methane-rich haze. This haze drove a large amount of hydrogen out of the atmosphere, clearing the way for massive amounts of oxygen to fill the air. This transformation resulted in an atmosphere much like the one that sustains life on Earth today.

CO2 Levels Continue to Increase at Record Rate
March 14, 2017 02:02 PM - Yale Environment 360

For the second year in a row, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased at a record rate, jumping 3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CO2 concentrations rose 3.03 ppm in 2015, making the last two years the first time that the greenhouse gas has risen more than 3 ppm in NOAA’s 59 years of monitoring, Climate Central reported.

Did humans create the Sahara Desert?
March 14, 2017 11:23 AM - Frontiers via EurekAlert!

New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification. 

The desertification of the Sahara has long been a target for scientists trying to understand climate and ecological tipping points. A new paper published in Frontiers in Earth Science by archeologist Dr. David Wright, from Seoul National University, challenges the conclusions of most studies done to date that point to changes in the Earth's orbit or natural changes in vegetation as the major driving forces.

Shell Begins Divestment From Canadian Oil Sands
March 14, 2017 08:51 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

Last week Royal Dutch Shell agreed to sell most of its Athabasca oil sands investment to a Canadian exploration company for $8.5 billion. To many, this was anything but a surprise. In 2015, the world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company put the brakes on its Pierre River development, suggesting it wasn’t the right time for Shell to enter what was at the time the largest oil sands development in Canada.

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