Climate

California's Isla Rasa being abandoned by seabirds
June 27, 2015 09:11 AM - ScienceDaily

Isla Rasa, in the Gulf of California, is renowned for its massive aggregations of nesting seabirds. Over 95 percent of the world populations of Elegant Terns and Heerman's Gulls concentrate unfailingly every year on this tiny island to nest. Ever since the phenomenon was described by L. W. Walker in 1953 the island has been a magnet for tourists, naturalists, filmmakers, and seabird researchers.

During some years in the last two decades, however, the seabirds have arrived to the island in April, as they usually do, but leave soon after without nesting. The first event was the 1998 "El Niño," when oceanic productivity collapsed all along the eastern Pacific coast from Chile to California. But then colony desertion happened again in 2003, and since then it has recurred with increasing frequency in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2015. Researchers and conservationists were asking themselves where are the birds going when they leave their ancestral nesting ground, and what is causing the abandonment of their historic nesting site.

Beijing growing explosively, impacting weather and climate
June 26, 2015 05:12 AM - JPL NASA

A new study by scientists using data from NASA's QuikScat satellite has demonstrated a novel technique to quantify urban growth based on observed changes in physical infrastructure. The researchers used the technique to study the rapid urban growth in Beijing, China, finding that its physical area quadrupled between 2000 and 2009. 

A team led by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, used data from QuikScat to measure the extent of infrastructure changes, such as new buildings and roads, in China's capital. They then quantified how urban growth has changed Beijing's wind patterns and pollution, using a computer model of climate and air quality developed by Jacobson. 

Nepal deals with climate change
June 25, 2015 02:33 PM - SciDevNet., SciDevNet

On 25 April, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. But as well as quakes, the country is also vulnerable to climate change, a combination that makes it harder to build resilience and risk preparedness.
 
As mean temperatures rise in South Asia, the monsoon season has changed, leading to more-erratic rainfall and increasing the risk of floods and landslides that can claim lives and wreck food production.
 

Measuring Climate Change Action
June 23, 2015 07:29 AM - MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions could have big benefits in the U.S., according to a report released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including thousands of avoided deaths from extreme heat, billions of dollars in saved infrastructure expenses, and prevented destruction of natural resources and ecosystems.

A look at N2O: Nitrous oxide emissions may be higher than previously thought
June 22, 2015 05:01 PM - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

In addition to carbon dioxide there are plenty of other greenhouse gases. Nitrous oxide is one of them. However, a global assessment of emissions from the oceans is difficult because the measurement methods used so far have only allowed rough estimates. Using a new technology for continuous measurements, researchers of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel have now discovered that nitrous oxide emissions from the Southeast Pacific are much higher than previously thought. They publish their data in the international journal Nature Gesoscience.

Kansas City goes All-In for EV's
June 6, 2015 08:05 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum, Electric Forum

Even though there is a long way to go before electric vehicles are accepted by all motorists, there is no doubt that the Kansas City Power and Light company is putting Kansas City on the map. The company announced very interesting and very ambitious plans to install 1001 electric vehicle charging stations across the area which it serves. This is certainly a very interesting development at a time when advances in electric vehicle battery technology are hitting the headlines but consumers are still concerned about range anxiety.

Will this move make a difference?

As one executive put it “if you install the charging stations they will come” which just about sums it up. The $20 million “clean charging network” will consist of 1001 charging stations which will be able to charge two cars at the time. Not only will this encourage more electric vehicles in the region but it will also greatly help with charging at busy times of the day. The simple fact is that until somebody actually took the plunge and decided to install electric vehicle charging stations we would always be at the beck and call of electric vehicle battery technology.

Can Ice Loss Affect Gravity?
May 21, 2015 04:14 PM - University of Bristol

A group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol, has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The research is published today in Science.

US Exposure to Extreme Heat is on the Rise
May 18, 2015 02:33 PM - UCAR AtmosNews

U.S. residents' exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by mid-century, due to both a warming climate and a population that's growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country, according to new research. The study, by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the City University of New York (CUNY), highlights the importance of considering societal changes when trying to determine future climate impacts.

Lower Ozone levels in Houston linked to climate change
May 17, 2015 07:48 AM - Universtiy of Houston via ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Houston have determined that climate change -- in the form of a stronger sea breeze, the result of warmer soil temperatures -- contributed to the drop in high-ozone days in the Houston area.

Robert Talbot, professor of atmospheric chemistry, said that also should be true for coastal regions globally.

The researchers describe their findings in a paper published this week in the journal Atmosphere. In addition to Talbot, they include first author Lei Liu, a doctoral student, and post-doctoral fellow Xin Lan.

Bird populations responding to climate change
May 16, 2015 08:53 AM - University of Utah

With puzzling variability, vast numbers of birds from Canada’s boreal forests migrate hundreds or thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. These so-called irruptions were first noticed by birdwatchers decades ago, but the driving factors have never been fully explained. Now scientists have pinpointed the climate pattern that likely sets the stage for irruptions – a discovery that could make it possible to predict the events more than a year in advance.

The researchers found that persistent shifts in rainfall and temperature drive boom-and-bust cycles in forest seed production, which in turn drive the mass migrations of pine siskins, the most widespread and visible of the irruptive migrants. “It’s a chain reaction from climate to seeds to birds,” says atmospheric scientist Court Strong, an assistant professor at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.

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