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What happens with all the organic carbon released from melting glaciers?

Climate Change News - ENN - January 20, 2015 - 8:45am
As the Earth warms and glaciers all over the world begin to melt, researchers and public policy experts have focused largely on how all of that extra water will contribute to sea level rise. But another impact lurking in that inevitable scenario is carbon. More specifically, what happens to all of the organic carbon found in those glaciers when they melt? That's the focus of a new paper by a research team that includes Florida State University assistant professor Robert Spencer. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, is the first global estimate by scientists at what happens when major ice sheets break down.

Rutgers study shows sea level rising faster than thought

Climate Change News - ENN - January 20, 2015 - 8:23am
Researchers at Rutgers and Harvard universities found that between 1901 and 1990 sea-level rose at a rate of about 1.2 millimeters per year, compared to about 1.5 millimeters as calculated in earlier estimates. The scientists say that sea levels are now rising at a rate of 3 millimeters every year.The new research, “Probabilistic Reanalysis of 20th-century Sea-level Rise,” takes a new look at global tide gauge data. Using a combination of computer modeling and statistical analysis, the researchers sought to close data gaps in accounting for the sources of sea-level rise.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the international group charting the Earth’s climate trends – has come up short in fully explaining the source of new water flows to the oceans in past decades.

Global wheat yields threatened by warming with serious consequences

Climate Change News - ENN - January 19, 2015 - 8:23am
Just one degree of global warming could cut wheat yields by 42 million tonnes worldwide, around 6% of the crop, writes Paul Brown - causing devastating shortages of this staple food.Market shortages would cause price rises. Many developing countries, and the hungry poor within them, would not be able to afford wheat or bread.

How do atmospheric rivers and aerosols impact California rainfall?

Climate Change News - ENN - January 17, 2015 - 8:48am
In the midst of the California rainy season, scientists are embarking on a field campaign designed to improve the understanding of the natural and human-caused phenomena that determine when and how the state gets its precipitation. They will do so by studying atmospheric rivers, meteorological events that include the famous rainmaker known as the Pineapple Express.CalWater 2015 is an interagency, interdisciplinary field campaign starting January 14, 2015. CalWater 2015 will entail four research aircraft flying through major storms while a ship outfitted with additional instruments cruises below. The research team includes scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NOAA, and NASA and uses resources from the DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility—a national scientific user facility.

European study shows biofuel production can increase with low impacts

Climate Change News - ENN - January 16, 2015 - 7:07am
EU countries could increase their production of biofuels with a minimum impact on the environment, Utrecht University scientists concluded in a study published on Tuesday (13 January). Biofuels are the main green alternative to fossil fuels used in transport, but they compete with feed crops that share the same agricultural land.As a consequence, forests are being turned into farmland to increase the terrestrial surface for planting more food crops, a phenomenon known as indirect land use change (ILUC). 

New data suggests sea levels are rising faster than previously thought

Climate Change News - ENN - January 15, 2015 - 8:47am
The acceleration in global sea level from the 20th century to the last two decades has been significantly larger than scientists previously thought, according to a new Harvard study. The study, co-authored by Carling Hay, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), and Eric Morrow, a recent PhD graduate of EPS, shows that previous estimates of global sea-level rise from 1900-1990 had been over-estimated by as much as 30 percent. 

Are the US drinking water standards outdated?

Climate Change News - ENN - January 14, 2015 - 9:15am
Changes in drinking water quality in the 21st Century are coming from a myriad of circumstances, and not all are for the best. Top contenders for why water-drinking quality might become suspect to the average consumer include California's drought conditions, the technology of fracking, and the nationwide aging infrastructure of rusty, degrading pipes.Citing these and other relatively recent scenarios, Andrea Dietrich, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her colleague Gary A. Burlingame of the Philadelphia Water Department, are calling for a critical review and rethinking of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) secondary standards for maintaining consumers' confidence in tap water as well as in its sensory quality.

Britain brings back the battery-powered train

The first battery-powered train to run on Britain’s rail network in more than half a century is to enter passenger service this week. The pioneering engine marks an important milestone in the project to demonstrate the viability of an eco-friendly battery-powered train for the twenty-first century.

Melting Greenland ice sheet is biggest contributor to sea level rise

Climate Change News - ENN - January 13, 2015 - 8:01am
As the largest single chunk of melting snow and ice in the world, the massive ice sheet that covers about 80 percent of Greenland is recognized as the biggest potential contributor to rising sea levels due to glacial meltwater.Until now, however, scientists’ attention has mostly focused on the ice sheet’s aquamarine lakes — bodies of meltwater that tend to abruptly drain — and on monster chunks of ice that slide into the ocean to become icebergs.

Greatest concentrations of world's soil carbon pinpointed in peat bogs

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2015 - 1:05pm
The greatest concentrations of the world's soil carbon have been pinpointed by researchers - and much of it is a dangerously flammable addition to climate change concerns. An international scientific survey of peat bogs has calculated that they contain more carbon than all the world's forests, heaths and grasslands together - and perhaps as much as the planet's atmosphere. Since peat can smoulder underground for years, it is another potential factor in global warming calculations.

ACC Urges House Passage of Regulatory Accountability Act

Environmental Regulations - January 12, 2015 - 12:36pm
We applaud Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Peterson for their renewed efforts to modernize federal rulemaking.

Corals Threatened by Changing Ocean Conditions

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2015 - 9:20am
The lowering of the ocean’s pH is making it harder for corals to grow their skeletons and easier for bioeroding organisms to tear them down. Erosion rates increase tenfold in areas where corals are also exposed to high levels of nutrients, according to a study published January 2015 in the journal Geology. As sea level rises, these reefs may have a harder time growing toward the ocean surface, where they get sunlight they need to survive.

Is meaningful action to address climate change possible given our economic systems?

Climate Change News - ENN - January 12, 2015 - 6:19am
It’s increasingly obvious that the global economic system, and particularly the current brand of U.S. capitalism, are not really compatible with the actions needed to combat climate change.Naomi Klein makes this point clear in “This Changes Everything,” which is both a passionate and controversial polemic and a reasoned discussion of the issues and forces stalling, and indeed preventing, a comprehensive response to climate change.The problem is not the political and ideological divisions or scientific “debate,” which are hard enough to deal with — it’s mainly about money, according to Klein. The book’s subtitle is compelling: Capitalism vs. The Climate. Simply put: “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.”

Why is the water found on comet Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko so different from Earth water?

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans.The measurements were made in the month following the spacecraft’s arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August. It is one of the most anticipated early results of the mission, because the origin of Earth’s water is still an open question.One of the leading hypotheses on Earth’s formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off. But, today, two thirds of the surface is covered in water, so where did it come from?

Seychelles fossils illuminate temperature/ocean level relationships

The balmy islands of Seychelles couldn't feel farther from Antarctica, but their fossil corals could reveal much about the fate of polar ice sheets.About 125,000 years ago, the average global temperature was only slightly warmer, but sea levels rose high enough to submerge the locations of many of today's coastal cities. Understanding what caused seas to rise then could shed light on how to protect those cities today.

Seychelles fossils illuminate temperature/ocean level relationships

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2015 - 5:39pm
The balmy islands of Seychelles couldn't feel farther from Antarctica, but their fossil corals could reveal much about the fate of polar ice sheets.About 125,000 years ago, the average global temperature was only slightly warmer, but sea levels rose high enough to submerge the locations of many of today's coastal cities. Understanding what caused seas to rise then could shed light on how to protect those cities today.

Global Warming "hiatus" connected to volcanic eruptions

The “warming hiatus” that has occurred over the last 15 years has been caused in part by small volcanic eruptions. Scientists have long known that volcanoes cool the atmosphere because of the sulfur dioxide that is expelled during eruptions. Droplets of sulfuric acid that form when the gas combines with oxygen in the upper atmosphere can persist for many months, reflecting sunlight away from Earth and lowering temperatures at the surface and in the lower atmosphere. Previous research suggested that early 21st-century eruptions might explain up to a third of the recent warming hiatus.

Global Warming "hiatus" connected to volcanic eruptions

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2015 - 2:36pm
The “warming hiatus” that has occurred over the last 15 years has been caused in part by small volcanic eruptions. Scientists have long known that volcanoes cool the atmosphere because of the sulfur dioxide that is expelled during eruptions. Droplets of sulfuric acid that form when the gas combines with oxygen in the upper atmosphere can persist for many months, reflecting sunlight away from Earth and lowering temperatures at the surface and in the lower atmosphere. Previous research suggested that early 21st-century eruptions might explain up to a third of the recent warming hiatus.

ACC Urges Prompt Action on Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

Energy - January 9, 2015 - 10:26am
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today urged swift passage of H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which was re-introduced this week by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS).

Carbon capture and the UN Economic Commission for Europe

Climate Change News - ENN - January 9, 2015 - 7:32am
The only way to limit global warming to less than two degrees is to combine renewable energy and energy efficiency with a large expansion in the use of carbon capture and storage, writes Christian Friis Bach.  Christian Friis Bach is executive secretary and under-secretary-general of UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).I will admit that just a few years back I was very sceptical. Today I am convinced that we must do it. We must capture the carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels.Oil prices tumble. Coal resources are vast. Large new gas reserves have been found. Fossil fuels will be with us for many decades and will continue to underpin social and economic development around the world. We need to invest heavily in energy efficiency and in renewable energy sources, but the only way we can hope to limit global warming to less than two degrees is to combine it with a significant expansion of the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

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