Sandia National Laboratories improves modeling of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets
February 11, 2016 07:59 AM - Sandia National Laboratories
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will make a dominant contribution to 21st century sea-level rise if current climate trends continue. However, predicting the expected loss of ice sheet mass is difficult due to the complexity of modeling ice sheet behavior.
To better understand this loss, a team of Sandia National Laboratories researchers has been improving the reliability and efficiency of computational models that describe ice sheet behavior and dynamics. The team includes researchers Irina Demeshko, Mike Eldred, John Jakeman, Mauro Perego, Andy Salinger, Irina Tezaur and Ray Tuminaro.
Will you take part in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count?
February 11, 2016 07:11 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
This weekend bird enthusiasts from around the world will become citizen scientists for a few days during the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening this year February 12-15.
During this four-day event, which is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, people will be headed outdoors to count their local birds in the name of science.
Obama Administration's "Clean Power Plan" dealt a setback by the Supreme Court
February 10, 2016 07:03 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan suffered a setback on Tuesday when the Supreme Court granted a stay to the program. In a 5-4 decision, the court sided in favor of petitioning states, utilities and coal companies that claimed that the federal government was overreaching its powers when it attempted to establish a national plan to move away from fossil-fuel based power. Requests for the Supreme Court to impose the stay were submitted in January after an appeals court ruled that the plan could proceed while legal challenges were being heard.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is an about-face to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and it comes at a critical time for the Obama administration’s clean energy program, especially in light of the upcoming elections in November. While the administration can appeal the Supreme Court’s order, arguments would not be considered until June and, pending acceptance by the higher court, likely wouldn’t be scheduled until October or later this year. That leaves the fate of the Clean Power Plan in the hands of the upcoming presidency.
Warmer climate contributes to spread of the Zika virus
February 10, 2016 09:51 AM - Nadia Pontes, The Ecologist
The Aedes mosquitos that carry the Zika virus and dengue fever are not just perfectly adapted to life in cities, writes Nadia Pontes. They are also being helped along by warming climates which increase their range. It's time to get serious about the health implications of a hotter planet.
Global warming affects the abundance and distribution of disease vectors. As regions that used to be drier and colder start to register higher temperatures and more rain, mosquitoes expand their breeding areas, which increases the number of populations at
The explosion in the number of Latin American cases of microcephaly - a congenital condition associated with maldevelopment of the brain - has become an international emergency due its "strongly suspected"link with the rapidly spreading Zika virus, according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).
Climate change will delay transatlantic flights
February 10, 2016 07:21 AM - Pete Castle, Reading University.
Planes flying between Europe and North America will be spending more time in the air due to the effects of climate change, a new study has shown.
By accelerating the jet stream – a high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic – climate change will speed up eastbound flights but slow down westbound flights, the study found. The findings could have implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.
Are we impacting the future of our planet for thousands of years?
February 9, 2016 09:12 AM - Oregon State University/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Earth may suffer irreversible damage that could last tens of thousands of years because of the rate humans are emitting carbon into the atmosphere.
In a new study in Nature Climate Change, researchers at Oregon State University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and collaborating institutions found that the longer-term impacts of climate change go well past the 21st century.
“Much of the carbon we are putting in the air from burning fossil fuels will stay there for thousands of years — and some of it will be there for more than 100,000 years,” said Peter Clark, an Oregon State University paleoclimatologist and lead author on the article. “People need to understand that the effects of climate change on the planet won’t go away, at least not for thousands of generations.”
LLNL’s Benjamin Santer said the focus on climate change at the end of the 21st century needs to be shifted toward a much longer-term perspective.
Over 50 Percent of the World Breathes in Toxic Air
February 9, 2016 07:13 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
Everyone needs clean air to survive, yet somehow it is not an internationally recognized human right. That probably has something to do with the fact that over half of the world’s population live in areas where they breathe in toxic air. Altogether, that means there are more than 3.5 billion people inhaling dangerous air into their lungs on a daily basis.
What does the Wolf say?
February 8, 2016 11:06 AM - UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE via EurekAlert
The largest ever study of howling in the 'canid' family of species -- which includes wolves, jackals and domestic dogs -- has shown that the various species and subspecies have distinguishing repertoires of howling, or "vocal fingerprints": different types of howls are used with varying regularity depending on the canid species.
Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyse howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types based on pitch and fluctuation, and then matching up patterns of howling.
They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used -- from flat to highly modulated -- corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, as well as to the subspecies of wolf.
Disease may wipe out the world's bananas
February 8, 2016 07:11 AM - Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University, The Ecologist
Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals.
The uneven impacts of climate change
February 7, 2016 09:14 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society via ScienceDaily
A new study by University of Queensland and WCS shows a dramatic global mismatch between nations producing the most greenhouse gases and the ones most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The study shows that the highest emitting countries are ironically the least vulnerable to climate change effects such as increased frequency of natural disasters, changing habitats, human health impacts, and industry stress.
Those countries emitting the least amount of greenhouse gases are most vulnerable.