Legislative & Regulatory Update

Increasing stream shading good for trout

Climate Change News - ENN - May 27, 2015 - 7:46am
As snowpack levels decline with the warming climate, many streams will experience less water flow, especially during summer months, potentially exposing more fish to predation by birds and other animals.A new study has found that providing adequate shade and cover in small streams may reduce predation on trout by as much as 12 percent, from just one species of bird – the kingfisher. The findings, based on a study at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in the Alsea River basin, are being published in the journal Ecology of Freshwater Fish.

Prehistoric climate changes still detectable deep underground

Climate Change News - ENN - May 26, 2015 - 10:36am
It turns out that the steady dripping of water deep underground can reveal a surprising amount of information about the constantly changing cycles of heat and cold, precipitation and drought in the turbulent atmosphere above. As water seeps down through the ground it picks up minerals, most commonly calcium carbonate. When this mineral-rich water drips into caves, it leaves mineral deposits behind that form layers which grow during wet periods and form dusty skins when the water dries up. Today, scientists can date these layers with extreme precision based on the radioactive decay of uranium into its daughter product thorium. Variations in the thickness of the layers is determined by a combination of the amount of water seeping into the cave and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the cave’s atmosphere so, when conditions are right, they can provide a measure of how the amount of precipitation above the cave varies over time. By analyzing the ratios of heavy to light isotopes of oxygen present in the layers, the researchers can track changes in the temperature at which the water originally condensed into droplets in the atmosphere changes and whether the rainfall’s point of origin was local or if traveled a long way before falling to the ground.

Stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting

Climate Change News - ENN - May 24, 2015 - 9:21am
A dramatic shift has taken place in the glaciers of the southern Antarctic peninsula, writes Bert Wouters. Six years ago these previously stable bodies suddenly stated shedding 60 cubic kilometres of ice per year into the ocean. A stark warning of further surprises to come?The fact that so many glaciers in such a large region suddenly started to lose ice came as a surprise. It shows a very fast response of the ice sheet: in just a few years everything changed.

Climate change and human rights

Climate Change News - ENN - May 22, 2015 - 8:15am
Last month, a Peruvian farmer called on German energy company RWE to pay its fair share to protect his home from imminent flooding caused by a glacial lake melted by global warming.  “For a long time, my father and I have thought that those who cause climate change should help solve the problems it causes,” Saul Luciano Lliuya told the Guardian. He holds that RWE, one of Europe’s largest emitters of carbon, has contributed to the greenhouse effect causing glacial melting that endangers his home, along with many others in the city of Huaraz.Lliuya’s story illustrates the tangible human impacts of climate change, which can easily be forgotten amidst high-level debates over carbon emissions reductions. This is a key year for climate action by both governments and companies.

Can Ice Loss Affect Gravity?

Climate Change News - ENN - May 21, 2015 - 5:14pm
A group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol, has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The research is published today in Science.

Coal power in Turkey to double if Turkey's plans go forward

Climate Change News - ENN - May 20, 2015 - 9:26am
Turkey is planning to double its coal power capacity in four years, the third largest investment in the polluting fossil fuel in the world, health campaigners have warned.The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today called on the European Union to promote sustainable development in Turkey and end lending for new coal projects.

Increased Energy Supplies Key to U.S. Manufacturing Growth

Energy - May 19, 2015 - 6:15am
Senate hearing highlights benefits of robust, diverse sources.

Future climate of the Midwest hard to predict

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 4:02pm
Will climate change make the U.S. Midwest drier or wetter during the summer growing season? A new Dartmouth-led study finds that the answer remains uncertain.The findings are important given the Midwest's agricultural output is critical to the U.S. economy and global food security.The study appears in the journal Water Resources Research. The study included researchers from Dartmouth College, Columbia University, National University of Singapore and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

US Exposure to Extreme Heat is on the Rise

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 3:33pm
U.S. residents' exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by mid-century, due to both a warming climate and a population that's growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country, according to new research. The study, by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the City University of New York (CUNY), highlights the importance of considering societal changes when trying to determine future climate impacts.

The Ozone hole is shrinking

New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.

The Ozone hole is shrinking

Climate Change News - ENN - May 18, 2015 - 8:14am
New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.

Lower Ozone levels in Houston linked to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - May 17, 2015 - 8:48am
Researchers at the University of Houston have determined that climate change -- in the form of a stronger sea breeze, the result of warmer soil temperatures -- contributed to the drop in high-ozone days in the Houston area.Robert Talbot, professor of atmospheric chemistry, said that also should be true for coastal regions globally.The researchers describe their findings in a paper published this week in the journal Atmosphere. In addition to Talbot, they include first author Lei Liu, a doctoral student, and post-doctoral fellow Xin Lan.

Bird populations responding to climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - May 16, 2015 - 9:53am
With puzzling variability, vast numbers of birds from Canada’s boreal forests migrate hundreds or thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. These so-called irruptions were first noticed by birdwatchers decades ago, but the driving factors have never been fully explained. Now scientists have pinpointed the climate pattern that likely sets the stage for irruptions – a discovery that could make it possible to predict the events more than a year in advance.The researchers found that persistent shifts in rainfall and temperature drive boom-and-bust cycles in forest seed production, which in turn drive the mass migrations of pine siskins, the most widespread and visible of the irruptive migrants. “It’s a chain reaction from climate to seeds to birds,” says atmospheric scientist Court Strong, an assistant professor at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.

New Research Identifies First Warm-Blooded Fish

New research by NOAA Fisheries has revealed the opah, or moonfish, as the first fully warm-blooded fish that circulates heated blood throughout its body much like mammals and birds, giving it a competitive advantage in the cold ocean depths. The silvery fish, roughly the size of a large automobile tire, is known from oceans around the world and dwells hundreds of feet beneath the surface in chilly, dimly lit waters. It swims by rapidly flapping its large, red pectoral fins like wings through the water.

How Rivers Regulate Global Carbon Cycle

Climate Change News - ENN - May 14, 2015 - 9:57am
Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But Nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world’s river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean.

Would you give up chocolate to save a friend?

We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead. They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.

Antarctic Ice Shelves found to be thinning from the top AND the bottom

A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning from both its surface and beneath. For years scientists have been unable to determine whether it is warming air temperatures or warmer ocean currents that were causing the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves to lose volume and become more vulnerable to collapse. This new study takes an important step forward in assessing Antarctica’s likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

Antarctic Ice Shelves found to be thinning from the top AND the bottom

Climate Change News - ENN - May 13, 2015 - 7:57am
A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning from both its surface and beneath. For years scientists have been unable to determine whether it is warming air temperatures or warmer ocean currents that were causing the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves to lose volume and become more vulnerable to collapse. This new study takes an important step forward in assessing Antarctica’s likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

U.S. Needs New Infrastructure to Get Energy to Manufacturers

Energy - May 13, 2015 - 5:54am
We welcome this week’s hearings examining America’s energy infrastructure needs.

Revised Draft Bill in U.S. House Builds on Momentum to Reform TSCA

Chemical Safety - May 13, 2015 - 5:43am
ACC commends Chairman Shimkus for his leadership and continued commitment to advance legislation to update TSCA.

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