Ecosystems

Iceland: life on global warming's front line
April 6, 2008 03:07 AM - Reuters

If any country can claim to be pitched on the global warming front line, it may be the North Atlantic island nation of Iceland. On a purely physical level, this land of icecaps and volcanoes and home to 300,000 people is undergoing a rapid transformation as its glaciers melt and weather patterns change dramatically.

Drought grows slightly in E. Australian farmlands
April 6, 2008 01:39 AM - Reuters

New South Wales, one of Australia's biggest agricultural states, was hit hardest by the country's worst drought in 100 years before rain began falling early this year.

Airborne Study Of Arctic Atmosphere, Air Pollution Launched
April 4, 2008 09:32 AM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

This month, NASA begins the most extensive field campaign ever to investigate the chemistry of the Arctic's lower atmosphere. The mission is poised to help scientists identify how air pollution contributes to climate changes in the Arctic. The recent decline of sea ice is one indication the Arctic is undergoing significant environmental changes related to climate warming. NASA and its partners plan to investigate the atmosphere's role in this climate-sensitive region with the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) field campaign.

Spanish region may ship water to relieve drought
April 4, 2008 07:14 AM - Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's northeast Catalonia region will need to import water by ship and train from May to ensure domestic supplies if the current drought persists, the regional government said in a report. The report, sent to Reuters on Friday, said rainfall in all but one of Catalonia's 15 river basins was below emergency levels for the year so far.

U.S. droughts endanger Canada's water: study
April 4, 2008 01:33 AM - Reuters

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Increasing droughts in the United States and American unhappiness over NAFTA mean Canada could one day be forced to allow bulk shipments of water to its giant neighbor, a left-leaning think tank said on Thursday. The Polaris Institute demanded that Canada pass a law banning the bulk export of water to the United States. Ottawa says such exports are already blocked under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the two leading U.S. Democratic presidential candidates want to rewrite.

Report: Local Control Saves Forests
April 3, 2008 09:29 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

NEW YORK - There will likely be fewer wildfires and more trees for future generations if loggers abide by a set of international rules on forest management, says a new study by independent environmentalists. In releasing the 18-page study, the New York-based Rainforest Alliance said minimal deforestation and few wildfires occurred in areas managed according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards.

Some Migratory Birds Can't Find Success In Urban Areas
April 3, 2008 09:16 AM - Ohio State University

COLUMBUS, Ohio – New research finds fresh evidence that urbanization in the United States threatens the populations of some species of migratory birds. But the six-year study also refutes one of the most widely accepted explanations of why urban areas are so hostile to some kinds of birds.

Climate change: research suggests it is not a swindle
April 3, 2008 09:09 AM - Institute of Physics

New research has dealt a blow to the skeptics who argue that climate change is all due to cosmic rays rather than to man-made greenhouse gases. The new evidence shows no reliable connection between the cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover. Lauded and criticized for offering a possible way out of the dangers of man made climate change, UK TV Channel 4's programme "The Great Global Warming Swindle", broadcast in 2007, suggested that global warming is due to a decrease in cosmic rays over the last hundred years.

Viruses, oxygen and our green oceans
April 2, 2008 09:13 AM - Society for General Microbiology

Some of the oxygen we breathe today is being produced because of viruses infecting micro-organisms in the world’s oceans, scientists heard today (Wednesday 2 April 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. About half the world’s oxygen is being produced by tiny photosynthesising creatures called phytoplankton in the major oceans. These organisms are also responsible for removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and locking it away in their bodies, which sink to the bottom of the ocean when they die, removing it forever and limiting global warming.

Coral reefs and climate change: Microbes could be the key to coral death
April 2, 2008 09:10 AM - Society for General Microbiology

Coral reefs could be dying out because of changes to the microbes that live in them just as much as from the direct rise in temperature caused by global warming, according to scientists speaking today (Wednesday 2 April 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Tropical ecosystems are currently balanced on a climate change knife edge. Corals in coral reefs, which are made up of animals called polyps that secrete hard external skeletons of calcium carbonate, are living perilously close to their upper temperature limits. This makes them very vulnerable to even small temperature rises of 1-2oC above the normal summer maximum.

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