Long term ocean cooling ended with global warming
August 18, 2015 07:18 AM - University of Maryland via EurekAlert

Prior to the advent of human-caused global warming in the 19th century, the surface layer of Earth's oceans had undergone 1,800 years of a steady cooling trend, according to a new study. During the latter half of this cooling period, the trend was most likely driven by large and frequent volcanic eruptions.

An international team of researchers reported these findings in the August 17, 2015 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. The study also indicates that the coolest temperatures occurred during the Little Ice Age--a period that spanned the 16th through 18th centuries and was known for cooler average temperatures over land.

Neighborhood electric vehicles
August 17, 2015 07:23 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum

While much of the focus of late has been upon mainstream electric vehicles it seems as though the popularity of Neighborhood electric vehicles continues to grow. These vehicles have a history which is far more successful than there larger electric vehicle counterparts but receive very little in the way publicity or promotion. The Global Electric Motor (GEM) brand is by far and away the best known brand in this particular sector having changed hands on numerous occasions in the past.

So, why is it that NEVs continue to sneak under the radar yet gain in popularity?

Commentary on the US plan to reduce carbon emissions
August 16, 2015 07:45 AM - Tim Kruger, The Ecologist

President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions may look like a climate victory, writes Tim Kruger - but it's no such thing. It's feeble because the US can meet its targets by reducing emissions to 2030 more slowly than it has since 2000. And it's fragile as any future President can scrap it at will.

Climate change-denying Republicans hate this plan (of course), therefore all good climate realists see it as a triumph. But it is a tiny, tiny step in the right direction and climatically immaterial.

No doubt, you heard the good news. Barack Obama has announced the US is pushing through plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Rejoice! Rejoice! We've got this climate problem licked - hurrah!

US EPA proposes regulations to reduce methane emissions from landfills
August 15, 2015 07:53 AM - US Environmental Protection Agency

As part of the Administration's Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Under today’s proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly a third lower than current requirements. 

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Climate change threatens the health and welfare of current and future generations. Children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change. In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride. 

Greenland ice sheet's winds driving tundra soil erosion
August 13, 2015 08:52 AM - Dartmouth College

Strong winds blowing off the Greenland Ice Sheet are eroding soil and vegetation in the surrounding tundra, making it less productive for caribou and other grazing animals, carbon storage and nutrient cycling, a Dartmouth College study finds.

Reducing evaporation from LA reservoirs
August 12, 2015 07:12 AM - LAURA WAGNER, NPR

On Monday afternoon, the 20,000 black plastic balls tumbled down the slopes of Los Angeles Reservoir, joining 95,980,000 of their brethren already covering the surface of the water.

The final deployment of these shade balls was the last step in a $34.5 million water quality protection project aimed at preventing evaporation and algae growth in the reservoir.

How the loss of Indonesian mangrove forests is linked to climate change
August 10, 2015 07:29 AM - Prodita Sabarini, The Ecologist

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win.

Mangroves are important because of their high rates of tree and plant growth, coupled with anaerobic, water-logged soils that slow decomposition, resulting in large, long-term carbon storage. Mangroves store three to five times more carbon than rainforest

Preventing the loss of Indonesian mangroves would help in the global fight against climate change, new research shows.

Sunspot variation not causing climate change
August 8, 2015 06:22 AM - INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION via EurekAlert

The Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when sunspots were scarce and the winters harsh, strongly suggests a link between solar activity and climate change. Until now there was a general consensus that solar activity has been trending upwards over the past 300 years (since the end of the Maunder Minimum), peaking in the late 20th century -- called the Modern Grand Maximum by some [1].

This trend has led some to conclude that the Sun has played a significant role in modern climate change. However, a discrepancy between two parallel series of sunspot number counts has been a contentious issue among scientists for some time.

Fish go deep to beat the heat
August 7, 2015 02:21 PM - James Cook University

A James Cook University study shows fish retreat to deeper water to escape the heat, a finding that throws light on what to expect if predictions of ocean warming come to pass. 

Study shows some permafrost carbon transported by river to the ocean
August 6, 2015 07:15 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

As temperatures rise, some of the organic carbon stored in Arctic permafrost meets an unexpected fate—burial at sea. As many as 2.2 million metric tons of organic carbon per year are swept along by a single river system into Arctic Ocean sediment, according to a new study an international team of researchers published today in Nature. This process locks away carbon dioxide (CO2) - a greenhouse gas - and helps stabilize the earth’s CO2 levels over time, and it may help scientists better predict how the natural carbon cycle will interplay with the surge of CO2 emissions due to human activities.

“The erosion of permafrost carbon is very significant,” says Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Associate Scientist Valier Galy, a co-author of the study. “Over thousands of years, this process is locking CO2away from the atmosphere in a way that amounts to fairly large carbon stocks. If we can understand how this process works, we can predict how it will respond as the climate changes.”

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