Top Stories

How Air Pollution Affects River-Flow
October 6, 2014 10:13 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere, according to the results of a new study. The paper shows how pollution, known as aerosols, can have an impact on the natural environment and highlights the importance of considering these factors in assessments of future climate change.

Lawrence Livermore finds ocean warming underestimated by past analyses
October 6, 2014 07:32 AM - Anne M Stark, LLNL

Using satellite observations and a large suite of climate models, Lawrence Livermore scientists have found that long-term ocean warming in the upper 700 meters of Southern Hemisphere oceans has likely been underestimated. "This underestimation is a result of poor sampling prior to the last decade and limitations of the analysis methods that conservatively estimated temperature changes in data-€sparse regions," said LLNL oceanographer Paul Durack, lead author of a paper appearing in the October 5 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

What's best for creating drought resistant plants? Traditional breeding or GM?
October 5, 2014 08:29 AM - Lawrence Woodward, The Ecologist

Reports show that traditional breeding techniques are years ahead of GM technologies in developing crops to withstand drought and poor soils, writes Lawrence Woodward. Yet GM advocates are sticking rigidly to their script even as the evidence mounds against them. Since its launch in 2010, the Improved Maize for African Soils Project (IMAS) has developed 21 conventionally bred varieties which have increased yield by up to 1 tonne per hectare.

Rusty-Patched bumble bee "re-discovered" in Virginia state park
October 4, 2014 08:45 AM - Smithsonian Science

The rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), which has not been seen in the eastern United States in five years, has been found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Va. This formerly common bee has disappeared from 87 percent of its range in the Upper Midwest and Eastern Seaboard and is feared headed for extinction. The research team, led by Bill McShea and Tom Akre of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and T'ai Roulston from the University of Virginia, surveyed bee populations at 17 Virginia sites from May through August to study the influence of land management on bee diversity. Only one individual of this now rare species was found among nearly 35,000 bees belonging to 126 species collected and examined by the study.

US Pledges climate change planning assistance to developing countries
October 3, 2014 04:29 PM - Editor, SciDevNet

The United States will commit to significantly improving developing countries' access to data, tools and training to help them adapt to climate change, the US president told the Climate Summit in New York last week (23 September). Barack Obama pledged to immediately release higher resolution topographical data for Africa, to scale up a training programme to boost meteorologists’ ability to monitor and predict climate change, and to create a public-private partnership to put climate-relevant information and tools in the hands of developing world policymakers.

Sediment from melting Greenland glaciers visible in satellite images
October 3, 2014 08:52 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The glaciers on Greenland are melting, and this is releasing visible plumes of sediments to surrounding waters. NASA has released some new images showing these plumes. Toward the end of the 21st century, melting from the Greenland Ice Sheet could result in global sea level rise of 4-21 centimeters (2-8 inches), according to the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Toward refining that estimate, some scientists are taking a close look at the colorful plumes that pepper the ocean around Greenland's perimeter. About half of the mass lost from the Greenland Ice Sheet is from icebergs calving from glaciers; the other half is lost via meltwater runoff either from the top of the ice or from below (subglacial). According to Vena Chu of University of California, Los Angeles, one of the biggest science questions relating to the ice sheet is: what is the contribution to sea level rise from meltwater?

California Becomes 1st State to Ban Plastic Bags
October 2, 2014 04:14 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

It's official: California is now the first state in the country to institute a statewide plastic bag ban! Though it took years for state legislators to pass this bill plus an additional month that felt like an eternity for the governor to sign the bill into law, environmentalists can finally rejoice in the knowledge that grocery store plastic bags will soon be a thing of the past. Analysts expect the legislation will eliminate at least 13 billion plastic bags per year. Don't expect to see a change immediately, however: the ban won't go into effect until next July. Liquor and convenience stores will have until July of 2016 to switch to paper or reusable bags.

No longer able to find sea ice, walruses turn to land
October 2, 2014 09:24 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach — a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming. Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus)—iconic arctic mammals that are only distantly related to seals—traditionally use sea ice to rest, breed, and give birth, and as a vantage from which to spot mollusks and other food sources. However, as their habitat warms and sea ice melts, walruses are forced to come to land more often and in greater numbers.

While the Arctic is melting, the Gulf Stream remains
October 2, 2014 08:32 AM - The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

A new study published Sunday in Nature Geoscience documents that the source of fresher Nordic Seas since 1950 is rooted in the saline Atlantic as opposed to Arctic freshwater that is the common inference. This is an important finding as it shows that the Gulf Stream is not about to short circuit. A halting Gulf Stream has been a concern with ongoing climate change; its collapse was taken to the extreme in the Hollywood blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow", says Tor Eldevik, professor in oceanography at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre.

How do we know an extreme weather event might be caused by climate change?
October 2, 2014 06:49 AM - CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, NPR

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't. The principles start with the premise that, as almost all climate scientists expect, there will be more "extreme" weather events if the planet warms up much more: heat waves, droughts, huge storms.

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