• Coral Links Ice Sheet Collapse to Ancient 'Mega Flood'

    Coral off Tahiti has linked the collapse of massive ice sheets 14,600 years ago to a dramatic and rapid rise in global sea-levels of around 14 metres. Previous research could not accurately date the sea-level rise but now an Aix-Marseille University-led team, including Oxford University scientists Alex Thomas and Gideon Henderson, has confirmed that the event occurred 14,650-14,310 years ago at the same time as a period of rapid climate change known as the Bølling warming. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ocean Heating over the past hundred years

    In 1872 the HMS Challenger pulled out from Portsmouth, England to begin an unprecedented scientific expedition of the world's oceans. During its over three year journey the HMS Challenger not only collected thousands of new species and sounded unknown ocean depths, but also took hundreds of temperature readings—data which is now proving invaluable to our understanding of climate change. Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by 0.59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so. This implies that oceanic temperatures have been rising for at least a century. >> Read the Full Article
  • Earth Hour biggest ever this year

    Last night, as Earth Hour beganits monumental journey around the globe, hundreds of millions of people united to demonstrate that we urgently need to take action to protect our planet. The largest voluntary action for the environment is reaching further than ever before. Earth Hour was celebrated in a record 150 countries and territories and 6494 towns and cities to send the message that our combined efforts are needed to change our future to one that is sustainable. >> Read the Full Article
  • Planet Under Pressure Conference - State of the Planet Declaration Issued

    Earth has only one decade to pull itself back from various environmental 'tipping points' — points at which the damage becomes irreversible, scientists have said. If it fails to do so, it is likely to witness a series of breakdowns in the systems that sustain people, such as oceans and soil, according to a major meeting on safeguarding the planet's future, the Planet Under Pressure conference (26–29 March). "Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk," said some of the world's leading documenters of global environmental change in the first 'State of the Planet' declaration. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scotland on the High Road to Sustainable Energy

    Scotland is on course to smash its renewable energy targets after official figures revealed record-high levels of green power generation. The Scottish Government's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the publication of the statistics that confirms Scotland will beat the 2011 renewables target. Statistics published today show that the amount of renewable electricity generated in 2011 rose 45 per cent on 2010 to 13,750 Gigawatt hours. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rio+20 zero draft accepts 'planetary boundaries'

    The latest draft of the so-called 'zero draft' document, which will be presented to heads of government at the Rio+20 Summit in June, has been amended to include an acknowledgement that there are scientifically assessed 'planetary boundaries' which, if overstepped, could result in irreversible damage to the Earth's sytems. The draft is being prepared by national delegates to the United Nations, and will ultimately be presented to heads of government at the Summit for their endorsement. >> Read the Full Article
  • Antarctica Ice Shelves

    A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries. An ice shelf is a thick floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface. Ice shelves are only found in Antarctica, Greenland and Canada. A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea. >> Read the Full Article
  • IPCC predicts rise in extreme climate events

    Climate change could mean unusually high temperatures occurring much more often in most parts of the world by the end of the century, according to a special report on extreme weather events from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "A hottest day that occurs once in 20 years is likely to become a one-in-two year event, except in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, where it is likely to be one-in-five years," according to Sonia Seneviratne, a climate expert at ETH Zurich, which is part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Seneviratne was speaking at the Planet Under Pressure conference, which is being held in London this week (26–29 March). She was a member of an IPCC group set up in 2009 to compile the Special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX), which was published today (28 March). Contributors to the report include experts on disaster recovery and risk management, together with members of the physical sciences and climate change mitigation and adaptation disciplines. The report marks the first time that the scientific literature on extreme events has been synthesised by a single team, Seneviratne told the conference. It assesses observations and predicts changes in temperature extremes, heavy rainfall and drought for 26 regions. According to the IPCC, it offers "an unprecedented level of detail regarding observed and expected changes in weather and climate extremes, based on a comprehensive assessment of over 1,000 scientific publications." >> Read the Full Article
  • Sustainable Cities: Meeting the Challenge of Rapid Urbanization the Focus of "Planet Under Pressure 2012"

    Addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with rapid and growing urbanization is bringing some 3,000 experts from around the world together in London this week for the "Planet Under Pressure 2012" conference. With world population forecast to increase from 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050, humanity's urban footprint will take up 1.5 million more square kilometers of land by 2030 at current rates, an area comparable to that of France, Germany and Spain combined. That translates into an average 1 million more city dwellers every week for the next 38 years... >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic Sea Ice Hits Maximum Extent for 2012

    Sea ice extent in the Arctic has reached its maximum extent for the year, and is starting to melt with the onset of spring. At 15.24 million square kilometers (5.88 million square miles), that extent was slightly larger than that of last year's record low maximum, but continues a downward progression in the region's sea ice. The last nine years have seen the lowest maximum extents recorded by satellite. >> Read the Full Article