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Climate

The effects of Global warming on fisheries assessed in new study
February 19, 2015 06:35 AM - Oregon State University

A report to be published Thursday in the journal Nature suggests that global warming may increase upwelling in several ocean current systems around the world by the end of this century, especially at high latitudes, and will cause major changes in marine biodiversity.

Since upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich water is a driving force behind marine productivity, one possibility may be enhancement of some of the world’s most important fisheries.

However, solar heating due to greenhouse warming may also increase the persistence of “stratification,” or the horizontal layering of ocean water of different temperatures. The result could be a warm, near-surface layer and a deep, cold layer.

Harsh winter in Eastern US result of warming Arctic and shifting jet stream
February 18, 2015 07:32 AM - Kirk Moore, Rutgers University

Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that’s  taken to meandering all over North America.

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth’s middle latitudes.

A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country.

Climate change may affect tick life cycles, Lyme disease
February 17, 2015 01:51 PM - Oregon State University

A new study suggests that changing climate patterns may be altering the life cycles of blacklegged ticks in the northeastern United States, which could increase transmission among animals – and ultimately humans – of certain pathogens, including the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Other colder regions of the country that have sufficient populations of blacklegged ticks – particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota – may also experience a higher risk of Lyme disease. However, the changing life cycles of the ticks may result in a less-likely probability of transmitting a more deadly pathogen that results in Powassan encephalitis, the researchers say.

New ozone-destroying gases on the rise
February 17, 2015 08:07 AM - University of Leeds

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion. In the new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, the scientists also report the atmospheric abundance of one of these ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) is growing rapidly.

Geoengineering - blessing or curse?
February 15, 2015 10:20 AM - Clive Hamilton, the Ecologist

The geoengineering genie should remain firmly stopped up in its bottle until a robust case is made for letting it out, writes Clive Hamilton - and that's something the NRC's new report signally fails to achieve, providing no rationale for deploying the technology, or even experimenting with it.

An essential mistake of the report is the unwillingness to recognise that field experiments that do not change the physical environment can radically change the social and political environment.

The Future of Droughts in the US Central Plains and Southwest
February 13, 2015 08:51 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

In the recent film Interstellar, a mysterious phenomenon known as "the blight" is wiping out agriculture around the world until only corn—for some reason—survives. Humanity is on the brink of starvation. While the blight may be science fiction, global warming is not, and a new study finds that future warming could decimate the U.S.'s Central Plains and Southwest regions over the next century, topping even the worst drought of the last thousand years. "I was honestly surprised at just how dry the future is likely to be," said co-author Toby Ault at Cornell University. The research, published in the first edition of Science Advances, found that future drought conditions are likely to exceed a megadrought that swept through the western U.S. in the 12th and 13th Centuries. 

Children in cities have increased risk of neurological damage due to air pollution
February 12, 2015 08:47 AM - University of Montana

Pollution in many cities threatens the brain development in children. Findings by University of Montana Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children living in megacities are at increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Calderón-Garcidueñas’ findings are detailed in a paper titled “Air pollution and children: Neural and tight junction antibodies and combustion metals, the role of barrier breakdown and brain immunity in neurodegeneration.” 

Plant turns cow manure to ethanol
February 11, 2015 07:53 AM - Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit

Tulare County, California, recently surpassed nearby Fresno County as the top agriculture-producing county in terms of economic value within the U.S. It’s also the country’s top dairy producing county. The result has been more investment and economic growth in a rapidly booming area already home to 450,000 people.

But there is also a downside to the local dairy industry’s continued surge: The San Joaquin Valley suffers from some of worst air pollution in the U.S., and cow effluent is a threat to the region’s already troubled watersheds.

19,500 square miles of polar ice melts into oceans each year
February 11, 2015 07:43 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last three decades, according to the stark findings of a new NASA study. As a whole, the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year. Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last three decades, according to the stark findings of a new NASA study.

 

New Study Predicts Plant Responses to Drought
February 10, 2015 04:26 PM - USGS Newsroom

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows how plants’ vulnerability to drought varies across the landscape; factors such as plant structure and soil type where the plant is growing can either make them more vulnerable or protect them from declines. Recent elevated temperatures and prolonged droughts in many already water-limited regions throughout the world, including the southwestern U.S., are likely to intensify according to future climate model projections.

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