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Causes of California drought linked to climate change, Stanford scientists say

Climate Change News - ENN - September 29, 2014 - 4:34pm
The atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought currently afflicting California are "very likely" linked to human-caused climate change, Stanford scientists write in a new research paper. In a new study, a team led by Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure hovering over the Pacific Ocean that diverted storms away from California was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations.

Connecting Productivity of Office Workers and Climate Change

Climate Change News - ENN - September 29, 2014 - 10:57am
Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, a new report shows that green building design makes employees happier and more productive. There would seem to be no connection between the productivity of office workers and the great challenge of climate change. But a report published by the World Green Building Council suggests otherwise.

Climate change more of a risk to the Greenland Ice Sheet than thought

Climate Change News - ENN - September 29, 2014 - 8:56am
A new model developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge has shown that despite its apparent stability, the massive ice sheet covering most of Greenland is more sensitive to climate change than earlier estimates have suggested, which would accelerate the rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities worldwide. In addition to assessing the impact of the increasing levels of meltwater created and spilled into the ocean each year as the climate continues to warm, the new model also takes into account the role that the soft, spongy ground beneath the ice sheet plays in its changing dynamics. Details are published today (29 September) in the journal Nature Communications.

Reducing global trade would cut carbon emissions

Climate Change News - ENN - September 27, 2014 - 12:12pm
If the world's leaders really cared about climate change, there's one easy way to reduce emissions, writes John Weeks - drop the obsession with increasing trade, and all the pollution that goes with it. A world based on local production, consumption and finance will be a better one for people and the environment. Let us join Keynes to imagine if we can a world in which goods are 'homespun' and finance is 'primarily national'. If we cannot imagine such a world, there is little hope for the planet. The Obama administration has proposed several ad hoc multi-country economic agreements, and in doing so has abandoned de facto the World Trade Organization (WTO) as insufficiently malleable to its interests.

Study calculates that water on Earth is actually older than our Sun!

Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work from a team including Carnegie's Conel Alexander found that much of our Solar System's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. Their work is published in Science. Water is found throughout our Solar System. Not just on Earth, but on icy comets and moons, and in the shadowed basins of Mercury. Water has been found included in mineral samples from meteorites, the Moon, and Mars.

'Transponders' from Japan was ashore along US West Coast

Northwest anglers venturing out into the Pacific Ocean in pursuit of salmon and other fish this fall may scoop up something unusual into their nets – instruments released from Japan called "transponders." These floating instruments are about the size of a 2-liter soda bottle and were set in the ocean from different ports off Japan in 2011-12 after the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project.

'Transponders' from Japan was ashore along US West Coast

Climate Change News - ENN - September 26, 2014 - 7:37am
Northwest anglers venturing out into the Pacific Ocean in pursuit of salmon and other fish this fall may scoop up something unusual into their nets – instruments released from Japan called "transponders." These floating instruments are about the size of a 2-liter soda bottle and were set in the ocean from different ports off Japan in 2011-12 after the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project.

A concrete idea: MIT develops better, greener, concrete

Climate Change News - ENN - September 25, 2014 - 2:06pm
Concrete is the world's most-used construction material, and a leading contributor to global warming, producing as much as one-tenth of industry-generated greenhouse-gas emissions. Now a new study suggests a way in which those emissions could be reduced by more than half - and the result would be a stronger, more durable material. The findings come from the most detailed molecular analysis yet of the complex structure of concrete, which is a mixture of sand, gravel, water, and cement. Cement is made by cooking calcium-rich material, usually limestone, with silica-rich material - typically clay - at temperatures of 1,500 degrees Celsius, yielding a hard mass called "clinker." This is then ground up into a powder. The decarbonation of limestone, and the heating of cement, are responsible for most of the material's greenhouse-gas output.

Amazing maps of what Antarctica looks like under all that ice

Climate Change News - ENN - September 25, 2014 - 9:01am
New maps of the sub-ice features in Antarctica and the Arctic, featured in the new edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World published on 25 September 2014, reveal an unseen world of canyons, lakes, trenches and mountains. The 14th edition of the Atlas also includes a new double page map of the Arctic Ocean, which highlights the dramatic long-term decline of Arctic sea ice cover. The sub-ice maps draw on bedrock data, provided by the British Antarctic Survey, to show physical features which are obscured by ice cover. In the Antarctic, one of the most striking features is the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, which are as large as the Alps but are currently completely covered by ice.

Amazing maps of what Antarctica looks like under all that ice

New maps of the sub-ice features in Antarctica and the Arctic, featured in the new edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World published on 25 September 2014, reveal an unseen world of canyons, lakes, trenches and mountains. The 14th edition of the Atlas also includes a new double page map of the Arctic Ocean, which highlights the dramatic long-term decline of Arctic sea ice cover. The sub-ice maps draw on bedrock data, provided by the British Antarctic Survey, to show physical features which are obscured by ice cover. In the Antarctic, one of the most striking features is the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, which are as large as the Alps but are currently completely covered by ice.

Encouraging planting trees will sequester carbon and conserve habitat

Climate Change News - ENN - September 23, 2014 - 5:00pm
Rewarding landowners for converting farmland into forest will be key to sequestering carbon and providing wildlife habitat, according to a new study by Oregon State University and collaborators. Current land-use trends in the United States will significantly increase urban land development by mid-century, along with a greater than 10 percent reduction in habitat of nearly 50 at-risk species, including amphibians, large predators and birds, said David Lewis, co-author of the study and an environmental economist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Can fossils reveal how to reverse biodiversity loss?

Climate Change News - ENN - September 23, 2014 - 8:32am
Many native species have vanished from tropical islands because of human impact, but University of Florida scientists have discovered how fossils can be used to restore lost biodiversity. The key lies in organic materials found in fossil bones, which contain evidence for how ancient ecosystems functioned, according to a new study published in the September issue of the Journal of Herpetology.

Carbon Capture Technology and Climate Action

Climate Change News - ENN - September 22, 2014 - 12:39pm
Some scientists and analysts are touting carbon capture and storage as a necessary tool for avoiding catastrophic climate change. But critics of the technology regard it as simply another way of perpetuating a reliance on fossil fuels. For more than 40 years, companies have been drilling for carbon dioxide in southwestern Colorado. Time and geology had conspired to trap an enormous bubble of CO2 that drillers tapped, and a pipeline was built to carry the greenhouse gas all the way to the oil fields of west Texas. When scoured with the CO2, these aged wells gush forth more oil, and much of the CO2 stays permanently trapped in its new home underneath Texas.

Action to limit CO2 emissions IS needed now!

Climate Change News - ENN - September 22, 2014 - 8:47am
Carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, eroding the chances to keep global warming below 2°C, and placing increased pressure on world leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit on the 23rd September. Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production grew 2.3 per cent to a record high of 36.1 billion tonnes CO2 in 2013. In 2014 emissions are set to increase a further 2.5%, 65 per cent above the level of 1990.

Study looks at adapting to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - September 21, 2014 - 8:48am
Rapid climate change and an increasing range of climate impacts are already being felt along the U.S. coast, and new research suggests that Northeast coastal waters may be more vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification than previously thought. A team of scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) recently received a $1 million grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to develop science-based climate-change adaptation solutions for coastal communities and to partner with organizations to help these communities anticipate change and prepare to adapt.

Egyptian art sheds light on changing ecosystem

Climate Change News - ENN - September 19, 2014 - 8:47am
Depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artefacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that local extinctions of mammal species led to a steady decline in the stability of the animal communities in the Nile Valley.

The Future of Vertical Farming

From big company agricultural farming, to communal farming or even personal agronomy, the business of growing crops for an expanding global population will be crucial in the near future. The two most important resources needed to run these farms are one, water, and two, land. But these resources often come at a premium, especially with growing populations and increased food demand. Farmers and researchers have already started leaning towards genetic engineering and industrial processing to help with their crop yields, but a new solution in agribusiness is emerging. Vertical farming.

ACC Applauds House Passage of Energy Bills

Energy - September 18, 2014 - 3:39pm
New supplies, infrastructure will support U.s. manufacturing growth.

Fall foliage may be delayed, but will last longer

Climate Change News - ENN - September 18, 2014 - 2:55pm
The fall foliage season that prompts millions of Americans to undertake jaunts into the countryside each year could come much later and possibly last a little longer within a century, according to new research. Climate change could postpone fall leaf peeping in some areas of the United States as summer temperatures linger later into the year, Princeton University researchers report in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography.

ACC Welcomes House Bill to Improve Process for Setting EPA Ozone Standards

Environmental Regulations - September 18, 2014 - 12:22pm
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today urged House passage of H.R. 5505, The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act, introduced by Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Bob Latta (R-OH). The bill would update the Clean Air Act to require U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess feasibility and economic costs when issuing major regulations, including National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

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