• Russia poised to breach mysterious Antarctic lake

    For 15 million years, an icebound lake has remained sealed deep beneath Antarctica's frozen crust, possibly hiding prehistoric or unknown life. Now Russian scientists are on the brink of piercing through to its secrets. "There's only a bit left to go," Alexei Turkeyev, chief of the Russian polar Vostok Station, told Reuters by satellite phone. His team has drilled for weeks in a race to reach the lake, 3,750 meters (12,000 ft) beneath the polar ice cap, before the end of the brief Antarctic summer. It was here that the coldest temperature ever found on Earth -- minus 89.2 Celsius (minus 128.6 Fahrenheit) -- was recorded. With the rapid onset of winter, scientists will be forced to leave on the last flight out for this season, on Feb 6. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Alarming Amazon Droughts of 2005 and 2010

    When thinking of the wettest place on land, most people think about rainforests such as the Amazon, which can get up to 78 inches of rain per year. All this precipitation supports the Amazon's rich plant life which helps moderate carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. It is then quite alarming to learn that the Amazon has suffered two devastating droughts in the last five years. Researchers fear a continuation of this disturbing trend. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ice Cores Yield Rich History of Climate Change

    On Friday, Jan. 28 in Antarctica, a research team investigating the last 100,000 years of Earth's climate history reached an important milestone completing the main ice core to a depth of 3,331 meters (10,928 feet) at West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS). The project will be completed over the next two years with some additional coring and borehole logging to obtain additional information and samples of the ice for the study of the climate record contained in the core. >> Read the Full Article
  • Eurasian Arctic Rivers

    Changes in the amount and timing of the discharge of major Eurasian Arctic rivers have been well documented, but whether or not these changes can be attributed to climatic factors or to the construction of man made reservoirs remains unclear. A new research report helps to identify the key processes (snow cover and air temperature) that have regulated seasonal stream flow fluctuations in the Eurasian Arctic over the last half-century (1958–1999) and to understand the regional coherence of timing trends, using a set of Eurasian Arctic rivers selected specifically because they are free of known effects of dams. A shift toward the earlier onset of spring runoff as measured by a modest change in the spring pulse onset (26 of 45 stations) and a strong change in the timing (39 of 45 stations). Winter stream flows increased over the period of record in most rivers, suggesting that trends observed by others in larger regulated Eurasian Arctic rivers may not be entirely attributable to reservoir construction. >> Read the Full Article
  • Australian Cyclone Yasi

    Down under they are called cyclones. In the Atlantic they are called hurricanes. Queensland in northeast Australia has recently been hit with devastating floods. Now Yasi, a very large cyclone, is bearing down. Yasi has reached maximum sustained winds near 90 knots (103 mph), equivalent to a Category Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale early on January 31). Since then the winds have increased to a category 3 storm. It was centered about 875 miles east of Cairns, Australia, moving west at about 19 knots per hour (22 mph). Cyclone-force winds extend out to 30 miles from the center. Yasi is forecast to move west, then southwestward, into an area of low vertical wind shear (strong wind shear can weaken a storm). Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Yasi to continue to strengthen over the next 36 hours. The Center forecasts a landfall just south of Cairns as a large 100-plus knot-per-hour (115 mph) system by around midnight local time on February 2. >> Read the Full Article
  • Brazil beats US in climate change awareness

    [RIO DE JANEIRO] Almost 80 per cent of Brazilians think global warming is caused by human activities, a survey has found, compared with less than half of Americans and around 70 per cent of Britons according to similar recent surveys. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Complex Business of Measuring Climate Change

    Have you ever wondered exactly how scientists track climate change and the warming of the world at a global level? Estimating the overall surface temperature of the Earth isn't easy when you have to account for seasonal variations across six continents and four oceans. It requires compiling data from satellites positioned high up in the atmosphere and from hundreds of meteorological stations scattered across the globe. However being able to compare average global temperatures from year to year is incredibly important, and allows scientists to track the progress of climate change. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warm summers shown to slow down glaciers

    Hotter summers may not be such a disaster for the Greenland ice sheet after all, if the latest research is anything to go by. Scientists have found that Greenland glaciers flow slower in warmer summers than they do during cooler ones. Although this seems counter-intuitive, the researchers explain that during cooler summers, a small amount of melted water from glaciers' surfaces seeps down to their bases, lubricating them so they move more easily. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic current warmest in 2,000 years

    A North Atlantic current flowing into the Arctic Ocean is warmer than for at least 2,000 years in a sign that global warming is likely to bring ice-free seas around the North Pole in summers, a study showed. Scientists said that waters at the northern end of the Gulf Stream, between Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, averaged 6 degrees Celsius (42.80F) in recent summers, warmer than at natural peaks during Roman or Medieval times. "The temperature is unprecedented in the past 2,000 years," lead author Robert Spielhagen of the Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Literature in Mainz, Germany, told Reuters of the study in Friday's edition of the journal Science. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plants Go Down and Not Up

    When it gets warmer vegetation and animal life adapt and change. Different populations move in from warmer climes to former colder climes. One widely held assumption is that it gets colder as the elevation gets higher so that as the climate gets warmer life that has adapted to a warmer environment will go higher pushing the colder based life forms out. In a paper published January 20th in the journal Science, a University of California researcher and his co-authors challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures. Between 1930 and 2000, instead of colonizing higher elevations to maintain a constant temperature, many California plant species instead moved downhill an average of 260 feet. >> Read the Full Article