Ecosystems

Climate modelers see modern echo in '30s Dust Bowl
May 1, 2008 09:24 AM - The Earth Institute at Columbia University

NEW YORK April 30, 2008 – Climate scientists using computer models to simulate the 1930s Dust Bowl on the U.S Great Plains have found that dust raised by farmers probably amplified and spread a natural drop in rainfall, turning an ordinary drying cycle into an agricultural collapse. The researcher say the study raises concern that current pressures on farmland from population growth and climate change could worsen current food crises by leading to similar events in other regions.

Arctic sea ice forecast: another record low in 2008
May 1, 2008 08:37 AM - Reuters

Arctic sea ice, sometimes billed as Earth's air conditioner for its moderating effects on world climate, will probably shrink to a record low level this year, scientists predicted on Wednesday. In releasing the forecast, climate researcher Sheldon Drobot of the University of Colorado at Boulder called the changes in Arctic sea ice "one of the more compelling and obvious signs of climate change."

Woody and aquatic plants pose greatest invasive threat to China
May 1, 2008 08:29 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences

Although China currently has fewer invasive woody plants than the United States, China’s potential for invasion by nonnative trees and shrubs is high, according to an article in the May 2008 issue of BioScience. Authors Ewald Weber, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and Bo Li, of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, examined the factors associated with alien plant species invasions and compared the history of alien plant species introductions in the United States and China, countries of similar size and latitudinal span.

World's largest lake warming rapidly: scientists
April 30, 2008 07:39 PM - Reuters

Siberia's Lake Baikal has warmed faster than global air temperatures over the past 60 years, which could put animals unique to the world's largest lake in jeopardy, U.S. and Russian scientists said. The lake has warmed 1.21 degrees Celsius (2.18 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1946 due to climate change, almost three times faster than global air temperatures, according to a paper by the scientists to be published next month in the journal "Global Change Biology."

President Uses High Gas Prices to Bushwhack Arctic Refuge
April 30, 2008 09:52 AM - , Big Green Purse

Gas prices are sending everyone into a state of hysteria. But the fact that the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing should come as no surprise to anyone: the planet has a limited amount of petroleum, and people have been using it up as fast as it gets sucked out of the ground, processed in a refinery, and trucked to the nearest pump.

Climate change hitting Arctic faster, harder
April 30, 2008 09:50 AM - WWF

Climate change is having a greater and faster impact on the Arctic than previously thought, according to a new study by the global conservation organization WWF. The new report, called Arctic Climate Impact Science – An Update Since ACIA, represents the most wide-ranging reviews of arctic climate impact science since the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) was published in 2005. The new study found that change was occurring in all arctic systems, impacting on the atmosphere and oceans, sea ice and ice sheets, snow and permafrost, as well as species and populations, food webs, ecosystems and human societies.

Asian vultures disappearing faster than dodo
April 30, 2008 08:28 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Wild Asian vultures could become extinct in 10 years unless officials stop the use of a livestock drug that has caused the birds to decline faster than the dodo, British and Indian scientists said on Wednesday. A new study shows the population of oriental white-backed vultures has plunged 99.9 percent since 1992 while the numbers of two species, the long-billed and slender-billed vultures, together have fallen by nearly 97 percent.

Desalination Raises Environmental, Cost Concerns
April 29, 2008 09:42 AM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute

As global freshwater reserves dry up, desalination plants are receiving greater attention as an option for providing both drinking water supplies and agricultural irrigation. But a new study released on Thursday raises several concerns about the environmental impact and cost effectiveness of the widely touted technology to convert seawater to fresh water. Desalination plants pose a risk to marine species when the water is collected from ocean areas, as well as when the salty discharge is deposited into coastal estuaries, according to the report, which was released by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC).

Making a Killing from the Food Crisis
April 29, 2008 09:33 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The world food crisis is hurting a lot of people, but global agribusiness firms, traders and speculators are raking in huge profits. Much of the news coverage of the world food crisis has focussed on riots in low-income countries, where workers and others cannot cope with skyrocketing costs of staple foods. But there is another side to the story: the big profits that are being made by huge food corporations and investors.

Poor children main victims of climate change: U.N.
April 29, 2008 08:01 AM - Reuters

Millions of the world's poorest children are among the most vulnerable and unwitting victims of climate change caused by the rich developed world, a United Nations report said on Tuesday, calling for urgent action. The UNICEF report "Our Climate, Our Children, Our Responsibility" measured action on targets set in the Millennium Development Goals to halve child poverty by 2015. It found failure on counts from health to survival, education and sex equality.

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