Ecosystems

World warming despite cool Pacific and Baghdad snow
January 11, 2008 06:51 AM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - Climate change is still nudging up temperatures in the long term even though the warmest year was back in 1998 and 2008 has begun with unusual weather such as a cool Pacific and Baghdad's first snow in memory, experts said. "Global warming has not stopped," said Amir Delju, senior scientific coordinator of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) climate program.

Glaciers grew even when alligators lived in Arctic
January 10, 2008 03:01 PM - Reuters

Giant glaciers formed about 90 million years ago when alligators thrived in the Arctic, overturning the belief that all ice melts in a "super greenhouse" climate, researchers said on Thursday. The study, based on organic molecules in ocean sediments and chemicals in ancient fossil shells, indicated there were ice sheets in Antarctica during parts of the Turonian period, one of the warmest times in history when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

Sub-Saharan Africa: The Population Emergency

The report of a demographic study, coordinated by the Centre Population et Développement (CEPED), commissioned by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), was published recently. The work was performed by a joint team involving scientists from the IRD and specialist academics from Belgium, Cameroon, France and the Ivory Coast (2). They examined the recent and projected future population trends in Sub-Saharan Africa and the relationships between these tendencies and the development of the region. This review effectively demolished some generally accepted ideas, in particular the one that Sub-Saharan Africa is underpopulated.

Italy's "trash tsar" takes charge
January 9, 2008 09:27 AM - Reuters

NAPLES (Reuters) - A government-appointed "trash tsar" took charge of a waste crisis in Naples on Wednesday after residents sealed off a suburb with barricades to stop it becoming a dumping ground for mountains of garbage. Images of the historic port city wallowing in its own filth have shocked Italians and embarrassed the ruling centre left coalition of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, which also holds office at the local and regional level in Naples.

Drought-hit Cyprus considers importing water
January 9, 2008 03:27 AM - Reuters

Drought-stricken Cyprus may import water to beat a crippling shortage that is threatening to tap the island's reservoir reserves dry, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday. The decision to bring water in sea tankers from Greece would depend on weather over the next two months, but the outlook for rain was not promising, Photis Photiou said.

Japan feels the heat: global warming pushing temps higher
January 8, 2008 10:33 PM - Reuters

The average temperature in Japan could rise by up to 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) this century unless steps are taken to combat global warming, the Environment Ministry said on Wednesday. Japan, the world's second-biggest economy, could face a rise in the average temperature of 1.3-4.7 C (2.3-8.5 F) in the 2070-2099 period from levels registered in 1961-1990, the ministry said in a report.

Switchgrass fuel yields bountiful energy: study
January 8, 2008 05:45 PM - Reuters

Switchgrass, a crop touted by venture capitalists and environmentalists alike as a next-generation ethanol feedstock, yields about five times more energy than it takes to grow it, making the plant a far more efficient fuel source than corn, a new study said. In addition, the life cycle of the switchgrass ethanol -- which includes growing the crop, making the fuel, and burning it in vehicles -- emits about 94 percent less of planet-warming carbon dioxide than the life cycle of gasoline, said the study, published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Humans have caused profound changes in Caribbean coral reefs
January 8, 2008 04:03 PM - Census of Marine Life

Coral reefs in the Caribbean have suffered significant changes due to the proximal effects of a growing human population, reports a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B. “It is well acknowledged that coral reefs are declining worldwide but the driving forces remain hotly debated,” said author Camilo Mora at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. “In the Caribbean alone, these losses are endangering a large number of species, from corals to sharks, and jeopardizing over 4 billion dollars in services worth from fisheries, tourism and coastal protection,” he added.

New approach needed to save coral reefs
January 8, 2008 02:07 PM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - A growing human population is pushing coral reefs in the Caribbean to breaking point and saving them will require a new, larger-scale approach, researchers said on Tuesday. Coral reefs have long been under threat but pinpointing whether overfishing, climate change or development is the main culprit has proved both contentious and difficult, said Camilo Mora, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Canada.

Powerful storms, tornadoes hit Midwest
January 8, 2008 01:32 PM - Reuters

The U.S. Midwest was battered by rain, thunderstorms, and tornadoes late on Monday and early on Tuesday, while the central Plains was spared much of the harsh weather, which was a relief for cattle already stressed by previous storms. The National Weather Service on Tuesday had a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of southwest Arkansas and flood warnings for much of northern Illinois and northern Indiana.

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