Top Stories

How Climate Change will Affect Air Travel

Global air travel contributes around 3.5 percent of the greenhouse forcing driving anthropogenic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But what impact does a warming planet have on air travel and how might that, in turn, affect the rate of warming itself? A new study by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and University of Wisconsin Madison found a connection between climate and airline flight times, suggesting a feedback loop could exist between the carbon emissions of airplanes and our changing climate. The study was published today in Nature Climate Change.

>> Read the Full Article

Wildfires ravage Canada and Alaska causing mass evacuations

"Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America. The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado.

>> Read the Full Article

Another reason the West Antarctic ice sheet is melting

The amount of heat flowing toward the base of the West Antarctic ice sheet from geothermal sources deep within Earth is surprisingly high, according to a new study led by UC Santa Cruz researchers. The results, published July 10 in Science Advances, provide important data for researchers trying to predict the fate of the ice sheet, which has experienced rapid melting over the past decade.

Lead author Andrew Fisher, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, emphasized that the geothermal heating reported in this study does not explain the alarming loss of ice from West Antarctica that has been documented by other researchers. "The ice sheet developed and evolved with the geothermal heat flux coming up from below--it's part of the system. But this could help explain why the ice sheet is so unstable. When you add the effects of global warming, things can start to change quickly," he said.

>> Read the Full Article

How microbes are cleaning up the BP oil spill

Microbes, primarily bacteria and fungi, get a bad rap in today’s society. However they’ve long played an incredible role within the Earth’s ecosystem. And one of the most important places microbes are transforming the earth is in the Gulf of Mexico, where a number of strains are busy munching up the oil still left over from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which took place just over five years ago caused a massive ecological disaster in and around the Gulf of Mexico. This is partially because the spill took so long to quell, with oil companies scrambling (and often failing) to stem the flow of oil from the seabed.

>> Read the Full Article

California towns getting water by truck as drought continues and wells run dry

Rural Tulare County, Calif., is now being called the epicenter of this drought.

That's because at least 1,300 residential wells have run dry, affecting at least 7,000 people. When your taps start spitting out air here, Paul Boyer and his team are who you call.

Under a punishing midafternoon sun, Boyer helps muscle down five of these hefty 400-pound water tanks from a semi-truck flatbed. He helps run a local nonprofit that's in charge of distributing these 2,500-gallon water tanks to drought victims.

>> Read the Full Article

Bumblebees trapped in "Climate Vice"

As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction.

The humble bumblebee is feeling the squeeze from climate change.

>> Read the Full Article

Seabird Populations on the Decline

UBC research shows world’s monitored seabird populations have dropped 70 per cent since the 1950s, a stark indication that marine ecosystems are not doing well. Michelle Paleczny, a UBC master’s student and researcher with the Sea Around Us project, and co-authors compiled information on more than 500 seabird populations from around the world, representing 19 per cent of the global seabird population. They found overall populations had declined by 69.6 per cent, equivalent to a loss of about 230 million birds in 60 years.

>> Read the Full Article

BP to pay billions in oil spill settlement

BP has finally agreed to pay for the incredible damage it caused after the headline-grabbing oil disaster in 2010. The company made overtures at responsibility in the past, but this is the farthest BP has gone toward remedying the mess it made during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Care2 has been vocal in demanding accountability for the company. A petition garnering over 150,000 signatures was delivered to BP’s offices, but the BP refused to accept the petition.

It seems BP has run out of options and will now be paying billions of dollars in a pending settlement.

>> Read the Full Article

Slight global warming causes six meter sea level rise

A new review analyzing three decades of research on the historic effects of melting polar ice sheets found that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years. What is most concerning, scientists say, is that amount of melting was caused by an increase of only 1-2 degrees (Celsius) in global mean temperatures.

>> Read the Full Article

Green Aviation Climbs to New Heights

This turns out to be quite a week for green aviation. First, an incredible milestone in the historic journey of the Solar Impulse as the fuel-free aircraft successfully completed a five-day crossing of the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii, the longest solo manned flight in history. While the realization of commercial solar-powered flight is likely still decades away, this inspirational journey sets a high bar against which all other efforts must ultimately be measured.

>> Read the Full Article