Legislative & Regulatory Update

NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone 05B Form

Climate Change News - ENN - December 8, 2016 - 10:01am
An area of tropical low pressure designated System 99B has consolidated and developed into Tropical Cyclone 05B. On Dec. 7 the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone 05B over the Anadaman and Nicobar Islands. The VIIRS image showed bands of thunderstorms wrapping around the center from the northern to the eastern quadrants over the Anadaman Islands.

East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change for the last 7.5 million years

Climate Change News - ENN - December 8, 2016 - 9:42am
Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.The research reconstructs ice sheet erosion dynamics in that region during the past 7.5 million years and has potential implications for how much the ice sheet will respond to future interglacial warming.The team, made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Vermont, Boston College and Imperial College London, analyzed sediments eroded from the continent and deposited in the ocean off the coast, which are like a time capsule preserving records of glacial processes. The research appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the journal, Nature.

Sea ice hit record lows in November

Climate Change News - ENN - December 7, 2016 - 11:41am
Unusually high air temperatures and a warm ocean have led to a record low Arctic sea ice extent for November, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice extent also hit a record low for the month, caused by moderately warm temperatures and a rapid shift in circumpolar winds.“It looks like a triple whammy—a warm ocean, a warm atmosphere, and a wind pattern all working against the ice in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.

Snow Data from Satellites Improves Temperature Predictions, UT Researchers Show

Climate Change News - ENN - December 7, 2016 - 11:11am
Researchers with The University of Texas at Austin have found that incorporating snow data collected from space into computer climate models can significantly improve seasonal temperature predictions.The findings, published in November in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, could help farmers, water providers, power companies and others that use seasonal climate predictions – forecasts of conditions months in the future – to make decisions. Snow influences the amount of heat that is absorbed by the ground and the amount of water available for evaporation into the atmosphere, which plays an important role in influencing regional climate.

Scientists Improve Predictions of How Temperature Affects the Survival of Fish Embryos

Climate Change News - ENN - December 6, 2016 - 5:21pm
Scientists closely tracking the survival of endangered Sacramento River salmon faced a puzzle: the same high temperatures that salmon eggs survived in the laboratory appeared to kill many of the eggs in the river.Now the scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the University of California at Santa Cruz have resolved the puzzle, realizing new insights into how egg size and water flow affect the survival of egg-laying fish. The larger the eggs, they found, the greater the water flow they need to supply them with oxygen and carry away waste.

Sandia Labs, Singapore join forces to develop energy storage

Sandia National Laboratories has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the government of Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) that will tap into the labs’ expertise in energy storage.EMA is the statutory body in Singapore responsible for ensuring a reliable and secure energy supply, promoting competition in the energy market and developing a dynamic energy sector. Last year, EMA invited Sandia to organize a workshop on the latest developments in storage technologies. The two-day event in the Southeast Asian island city-state led to a CRADA under which Sandia will help set up Singapore’s first grid energy storage test-bed.“Sandia will collaboratively develop an energy storage test-bed to better understand the feasibility of deploying energy storage systems [ESS] in Singapore,” said Dan Borneo, Sandia team lead on the project. 

When Permafrost Melts, What Happens to All That Stored Carbon?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 6, 2016 - 8:55am
The Arctic’s frozen ground contains large stores of organic carbon that have been locked in the permafrost for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise, that permafrost is starting to melt, raising concerns about the impact on the climate as organic carbon becomes exposed. A new study is shedding light on what that could mean for the future by providing the first direct physical evidence of a massive release of carbon from permafrost during a warming spike at the end of the last ice age.The study, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, documents how Siberian soil once locked in permafrost was carried into the Arctic Ocean during that period at a rate about seven times higher than today.

Game Changer for Organic Solar Cells

With a new technique for manufacturing single-layer organic polymer solar cells, scientists at UC Santa Barbara and three other universities might very well move organic photovoltaics into a whole new generation of wearable devices and enable small-scale distributed power generation.The simple doping solution-based process involves briefly immersing organic semiconductor films in a solution at room temperature. This technique, which could replace a more complex approach that requires vacuum processing, has the potential to affect many device platforms, including organic printed electronics, sensors, photodetectors and light-emitting diodes. The researchers’ findings appear in the journal Nature Materials.

Cement made from steel production by-product can lead to a huge CO2 reduction

Steel production generates some hundred million tons of steel slag worldwide each year. This giant mountain of leftovers is largely dumped. TU/e professor of building materials, Jos Brouwers, will be working with industrial partners to investigate whether he can make cement out of it. If he succeeds, more CO2 emissions can be cut than is produced yearly by all the traffic in the Netherlands.Steel slag is produced by the conversion of raw iron into steel – around 125 million tons of it per year. Much of that is dumped and only a small portion used, in embankments. That’s a shame, professor Jos Brouwers says, because the mineralogical composition very closely resembles that of cement. It contains the same components, but in different ratios. And it is public knowledge that the cement industry emits a very high amount of CO2: five percent of the global total. A cement substitute with no extra CO2 emissions would, therefore, be most welcome.

Extreme downpours could increase fivefold across parts of the U.S.

Climate Change News - ENN - December 5, 2016 - 11:26am
At century's end, the number of summertime storms that produce extreme downpours could increase by more than 400 percent across parts of the United States — including sections of the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and the Southwest — according to a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, also finds that the intensity of individual extreme rainfall events could increase by as much as 70 percent in some areas. That would mean that a storm that drops about 2 inches of rainfall today would be likely to drop nearly 3.5 inches in the future.

The Paris Climate Deal Is Now in Force. What Comes Next?

Regulatory news - ENN - December 4, 2016 - 9:07pm
The Paris Agreement was hailed as a turning point for world governments tackling climate change, and it has now come into effect. What does this mean for the world — and where do we go from here?On Friday, November 4, the Paris Agreement went into effect, meaning that the agreement made last year by nearly 200 international delegates must now be honored. To recognize the consensus coming into force, the United Nations stated that it is a moment to celebrate – and to take concerted action.“We remain in a race against time,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized. ”Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all.”

The Paris Climate Deal Is Now in Force. What Comes Next?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 4, 2016 - 9:07pm
The Paris Agreement was hailed as a turning point for world governments tackling climate change, and it has now come into effect. What does this mean for the world — and where do we go from here?On Friday, November 4, the Paris Agreement went into effect, meaning that the agreement made last year by nearly 200 international delegates must now be honored. To recognize the consensus coming into force, the United Nations stated that it is a moment to celebrate – and to take concerted action.“We remain in a race against time,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized. ”Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all.”

CharIoT on course to deliver healthier homes and lower energy bills

Successful trials of CharIoT, a unique new system that simultaneously records temperature, humidity and energy use in the home, have opened the way for low-income households to save money while reducing risks to their health.Harnessing Internet of Things technology, the system generates easy-to-use data that can help local authorities, housing associations, energy suppliers, health authorities and others to target and tailor the energy advice they give to vulnerable people.As well as revealing under- or over-heated parts of a home, CharIoT enables energy advisors to pinpoint where and why damp or mould may pose a problem. They can then suggest, for example, ways of using heaters more efficiently and cost-effectively, blocking draughts and eliminating dampness through better ventilation.

Climate Change Will Drive Stronger, Smaller Storms in U.S.

Climate Change News - ENN - December 2, 2016 - 11:22am
The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior developed at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today’s levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future.The new approach, published today in Journal of Climate, uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations. When applied to one simulation of the future effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, the framework helped clarify a common discrepancy in model forecasts of precipitation changes.

Exploring the fate of the Earth's storehouse of carbon

A new study predicts that warming temperatures will contribute to the release into the atmosphere of carbon that has long been locked up securely in the coldest reaches of our planet.Soil and climate expert Katherine Todd-Brown, a scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is an author of the paper, published in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature, which draws upon data collected through 49 separate field experiments around the world.The research was led by Thomas Crowther, formerly of Yale and now at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, and colleague Mark Bradford at Yale. Scientists from more than 30 institutions across the globe, including PNNL, collaborated on the study.

Exploring the fate of the Earth's storehouse of carbon

Climate Change News - ENN - December 1, 2016 - 4:41pm
A new study predicts that warming temperatures will contribute to the release into the atmosphere of carbon that has long been locked up securely in the coldest reaches of our planet.Soil and climate expert Katherine Todd-Brown, a scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is an author of the paper, published in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature, which draws upon data collected through 49 separate field experiments around the world.The research was led by Thomas Crowther, formerly of Yale and now at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, and colleague Mark Bradford at Yale. Scientists from more than 30 institutions across the globe, including PNNL, collaborated on the study.

Increasing tornado outbreaks — Is climate change responsible?

Climate Change News - ENN - December 1, 2016 - 2:51pm
Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. Last spring a research team led by Michael Tippett, associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics at Columbia Engineering, published a study showing that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions—has risen since 1954. But they were not sure why.In a new paper, published December 1 in Science via First Release, the researchers looked at increasing trends in the severity of tornado outbreaks where they measured severity by the number of tornadoes per outbreak. They found that these trends are increasing fastest for the most extreme outbreaks. While they saw changes in meteorological quantities that are consistent with these upward trends, the meteorological trends were not the ones expected under climate change.

Corals much older than previously thought

Climate Change News - ENN - November 30, 2016 - 4:21pm
Coral genotypes can survive for thousands of years, possibly making them the longest-lived animals in the world, according to researchers at Penn State, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Dial Cordy & Associates.The team recently determined the ages of elkhorn corals  — Acropora palmata — in Florida and the Caribbean and estimated the oldest genotypes to be over 5,000 years old. The results are useful for understanding how corals will respond to current and future environmental change.

Climate models may be overestimating the cooling effect of wildfire aerosols

Climate Change News - ENN - November 29, 2016 - 4:32pm
Whether intentionally set to consume agricultural waste or naturally ignited in forests or peatlands, open-burning fires impact the global climate system in two ways which, to some extent, cancel each other out. On one hand, they generate a significant fraction of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, which drive up the average global surface temperature. On the other hand, they produce atmospheric aerosols, organic carbon, black carbon, and sulfate-bearing particulates that can lower that temperature either directly, by reflecting sunlight skyward, or indirectly, by increasing the reflectivity of clouds. Because wildfire aerosols play a key role in determining the future of the planet’s temperature and precipitation patterns, it’s crucial that today’s climate models — upon which energy and climate policymaking depend — accurately represent their impact on the climate system.

With Climate Change, Not All Wildlife Population Shifts Are Predictable

Climate Change News - ENN - November 29, 2016 - 9:06am
Wildlife ecologists who study the effects of climate change assume, with support from several studies, that warming temperatures caused by climate change are forcing animals to move either northward or upslope on mountainsides to stay within their natural climate conditions.But a new study of lowland and higher-mountain bird species by wildlife ecologists Bill DeLuca and David King at the University of Massachusetts Amherst now reports an unexpected and “unprecedented” inconsistency in such shifts. The majority of the mountain bird community responded against expectation and shifted downslope despite warming trends in the mountains. They say the result “highlights the need for caution when applying conventional expectations to species’ responses to climate change.”

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