Ecosystems

NASA Study: Stronger But Fewer Storms
August 31, 2007 06:36 PM - NASA

WASHINGTON - NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms. Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including "severe thunderstorms" that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground.

Hotter Earth Implicated In Tropical Rainfall Rise
August 31, 2007 05:06 PM - Katherine Nightingale, Reuters

Washington DC - Rising global temperatures could be changing rainfall levels in the tropics, according to researchers. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States analysed the global rainfall record from 1979 to the present, logged by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. They found that while there has been no overall global change, rainfall over oceans in tropical latitudes increased by five per cent over the period and decreased by one per cent over land — a total increase of four per cent for the entire tropics. The year 2005 saw the highest amount of rainfall on record over both tropical land and ocean. Two-thirds of all rain globally falls in the tropics. The study was published in the August edition of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

National Hurricane Center: Tropical Depression 6 Has Formed In Atlantic
August 31, 2007 02:28 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK - A well-organized tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean about 250 miles east of the Windward Islands has formed into a tropical depression, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said late today. The NHC sent an Air Force hurricane hunter airplane to investigate the system early this afternoon to confirm if a depression had formed. It would be the sixth tropical depression of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

LSU professor looks for life in and under antarctic ice
August 31, 2007 02:01 PM - Louisiana State University

Antarctica is home to the largest body of ice on Earth. Prior to approximately 10 years ago, no one thought that life could exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, which can be more than two miles thick in places, because conditions were believed to be too extreme. However, Brent Christner, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, has spent a great deal of time in one of the world’s most hostile environments conducting research that proves otherwise. Christner’s discoveries of viable microbes in ancient ice cores and subglacial environments coupled with the realization that large quantities of liquid water exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheet have changed the way biologists view life in Antarctica.

Colombia joins Countdown 2010
August 31, 2007 01:59 PM - IUCN

Colombia has become the third country in South America to join Countdown 2010, an initiative to slow the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 Colombia, which has the highest Biodiversity National Indicator in South America and the most biodiverse region of the world, has joined the Countdown 2010 initiative.

Canada Wind Industry Grows Amid Opposition Storms
August 31, 2007 01:02 PM - Jonathan Spicer, Reuters

TORONTO - Canada's fledgling wind power industry, late off the global starting blocks, has stumbled on growing local resistance to the idea of massive turbines dotting the country's relatively unmarked landscape. Although polls show widespread support for the renewable energy source, a growing number of companies say that support quickly fades among those who must live alongside wind farms, leading to project delays and extra costs.

Spreading deserts threaten world food supply
August 31, 2007 12:53 PM - Robert Evans -Reuters

Spreading deserts and degradation of farm land due to climate change will pose a serious threat to food supplies for the world's surging population in coming years, a senior United Nations scientist warned on Friday. M.V.K. Sivakumar of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the crunch could come in just over a decade as all continents see more weather-related disasters like heat waves, floods, landslides and wildfires.

China says 278 cities have no sewage treatment
August 31, 2007 08:47 AM - Reuters

More than half China's 1.3 billion population, including 278 cities, live without any form of sewage treatment, state media said on Friday, quoting city planning officials. And eight of those cities have populations of more than 500,000, Zhao Baojiang, chairman of the China association of city planning, was quoted as saying. In its rapid development into the world's fourth-largest economy, China has been struggling to curb horrific water and air pollution.

New National Park Created In Colombia's Amazon
August 31, 2007 08:17 AM - WWF

The Colombian government has announced the creation of a new national park, adding to further protection of the Amazon. The SerranĂ­a de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park, covering 97,180ha, is part of a corridor stretching from the lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the slopes of the Andean Mountains.

Cold Weather Cuts Kenya Flowers
August 30, 2007 05:13 PM - Reuters

Cold weather has caused a 20 percent drop in Kenya's production of fresh flowers, the country's second biggest foreign exchange earner after tourism, a leading flower producer said on Thursday.

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