Warming climate will bring more extreme 'El Nino' events
January 22, 2014 12:05 PM - Tim Radford, Ecologist
Rising global temperatures are likely to double the frequency of the most severe El Niños - the periodic atmospheric disruptions which affect weather across the globe. Tim Radford reports An El Niño is part of a natural cycle: a huge blister of heat in the equatorial Pacific, usually around Christmas-time.
Human response to climate
January 22, 2014 10:22 AM - B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Throughout history, humans have responded to climate. Take, for example, the Mayans, who, throughout the eighth and 10th centuries, were forced to move away from their major ceremonial centers after a series of multi-year droughts, bringing about agricultural expansion in Mesoamerica, and a clearing of forests. Much later, in the late 20th century, frequent droughts caused the people of Burkina Faso in West Africa to migrate from the dry north to the wetter south where they have transformed forests to croplands and cut the nation's area of natural vegetation in half.
Great Lakes evaporation hypothesis up in the air
January 21, 2014 03:24 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
The recent Arctic blast gripping the nation will likely contribute to a rise in Great Lakes water levels in 2014, new research from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University shows. Research conducted by the two schools through the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) shows the correlation between periods of high and low evaporation and its effect on ice cover. Years with high ice cover were usually followed by cooler summer water temperatures and lower evaporation rates, but these same high-ice winters were preceded by high evaporation rates during the autumn and early winter indicating a two-way connection between ice cover and evaporation. While ice cover reduces evaporation from what would otherwise be exposed lake surface water, it also reduces lake temperature generating ice cover.
Beaver, Dam it!
January 20, 2014 09:32 AM - Enn Staff, The Ecologist
As climate change brings more rain, there will be more catastrophic flooding; flooding of crops, homes and businesses, particularly in urban areas where there is simply no place for the water to go. One British writer has identified the beaver as the would-be hero to restore hydrological normalcy. Louise Ramsey writes about the beaver in Britain where reintroductions of the rodent have shown the vital role they once had in reducing flooding and how they could take up that mantle once more.
Scotland's tidal energy potential is greater than a nuclear power plant
January 20, 2014 09:09 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Renewable tidal energy harnessed from a single stretch of water off the northern tip of Scotland could produce enough energy to power half of the nation, engineers say.
Oil production in Greenland? Maybe not.
January 20, 2014 07:22 AM - EurActiv
None of the oil companies that have a license to drill in the seas surrounding Greenland have applied for one in 2014, according to the environment NGO Greenpeace. Oil companies that want to drill in Greenland will have to apply before 1 February, but according to Greenland's Mining Agency, no applications have been received thus far. This will be the 3rd year in a row that no company has expressed interest in oil drilling around the Arctic country.
Coastal erosion concerns in Southern New England
January 19, 2014 10:10 AM - FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff
Southern New England’s coastline — the region's economic engine — is under siege, and this relentless enemy is gaining force. It can't be subdued by 20-foot-high seawalls or controlled by old-school hay bales. It’'s allies include parking lots, beachfront development and climate change. Coastal communities here are increasingly experiencing the impacts of an encroaching ocean. Storm waves are eroding beaches and flooding developed areas. Rising sea levels are taking land. The ocean’s power even when it's seemingly tranquil is unmatched, but when it's angry our continued disrespect proves costly.
Land conflicts complicate effort to spare forests from palm oil in Borneo
January 17, 2014 12:19 PM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
A widely-heralded effort to spare carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands from palm oil development in Indonesian Borneo is facing new criticism after an investigation by rights groups found evidence of unresolved conflicts over community land.
Finding Arctic Cyclones
January 17, 2014 12:18 PM - Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State University
From 2000 to 2010, about 1,900 cyclones churned across the top of the world each year, leaving warm water and air in their wakes — and melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. That's about 40 percent more of these Arctic storms than previously thought, according to a new study of vast troves of weather data that previously were synthesized at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC). A 40 percent difference in the number of cyclones could be important to anyone who lives north of 55 degrees latitude — the area of the study, which includes the northern reaches of Canada, Scandinavia and Russia, along with the state of Alaska.
Carbon Emissions in U.S. Rise 2 Percent Due to Increase in Coal
January 16, 2014 11:26 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Carbon dioxide emissions rose two percent in the U.S. last year, according to preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration. Emissions rose largely due to increased coal consumption, the first such rise in U.S. emissions since 2010. Still, the annual emissions remain well below the peak hit in 2007 when emissions hit 6 billion tons.