Legislative & Regulatory Update

OCEANIC 'HEAT SINK'

Climate Change News - ENN - November 23, 2016 - 3:50pm
A new multi-institutional study of the so-called global warming “hiatus” phenomenon — the possible temporary slowdown of the global mean surface temperature (GMST) trend said to have occurred from 1998 to 2013 — concludes the hiatus simply represents a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, which includes the land, atmosphere and the ocean.In a paper published today in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, lead author Xiao-Hai Yan of the University of Delaware, along with leading scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and University of Washington, discuss new understandings of the global warming “hiatus” phenomenon.

Thanksgiving Dinner's Carbon Footprint: A State-by-State Comparison

Climate Change News - ENN - November 23, 2016 - 7:29am
The environmental impact of your Thanksgiving dinner depends on where the meal is prepared.Carnegie Mellon University researchers calculated the carbon footprint of a typical Thanksgiving feast – roasted turkey stuffed with sausage and apples, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie – for each state. The team based their calculations on the way the meal is cooked (gas versus electric range), the specific state’s predominant power source and how the food is produced in each area.They found that dinners cooked in Maine and Vermont, states that rely mostly on renewable energy, emit the lowest amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is tied to climate change. States that use coal power, such as Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky, have the highest carbon dioxide emissions.

U.S. record high temps could outpace record lows by 15 to 1 before century's end

Climate Change News - ENN - November 21, 2016 - 4:14pm
If society continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, Americans later this century will have to endure, on average, about 15 daily maximum temperature records for every time that the mercury notches a record low, new research indicates.That ratio of record highs to record lows could also turn out to be much higher if the pace of emissions increases and produces even more warming, according to the study led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Ammonia-rich bird poop cools the atmosphere

Climate Change News - ENN - November 21, 2016 - 7:12am
It turns out bird poop helps cool the Arctic.That’s according to new research from Colorado State University atmospheric scientists, who are working to better understand key components of Arctic climate systems.

UNIST Researchers Turn Waste Gas into Road-Ready Diesel Fuel

Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. With the effectuation of the Paris Agreement, there has been a rising interest on carbon capture and utilization (CCU).A new study, led by Professor Jae Sung Lee of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST uncovers new ways to make biofuel from carbon dioxide (CO2), the most troublesome greenhouse gas. In their paper published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, the team presented direct CO2 conversion to liquid transportation fuels by reacting with renewable hydrogen (H2) generated by solar water splitting. 

Corals Survived Caribbean Climate Change

Half of all coral species in the Caribbean went extinct between 1 and 2 million years ago, probably due to drastic environmental changes. Which ones survived? Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) think one group of survivors, corals in the genus Orbicella, will continue to adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity.“Having a lot of genetic variants is like buying a lot of lottery tickets,” said Carlos Prada, lead author of the study and Earl S. Tupper Post-doctoral Fellow at STRI. “We discovered that even small numbers of individuals in three different species of the reef-building coral genus Orbicella have quite a bit of genetic variation, and therefore, are likely to adapt to big changes in their environment.”

Corals Survived Caribbean Climate Change

Climate Change News - ENN - November 18, 2016 - 8:46am
Half of all coral species in the Caribbean went extinct between 1 and 2 million years ago, probably due to drastic environmental changes. Which ones survived? Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) think one group of survivors, corals in the genus Orbicella, will continue to adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity.“Having a lot of genetic variants is like buying a lot of lottery tickets,” said Carlos Prada, lead author of the study and Earl S. Tupper Post-doctoral Fellow at STRI. “We discovered that even small numbers of individuals in three different species of the reef-building coral genus Orbicella have quite a bit of genetic variation, and therefore, are likely to adapt to big changes in their environment.”

Canadian and European boreal forests differ but neither is immune to climate change, says U of T researcher

Climate Change News - ENN - November 16, 2016 - 9:09am
Rudy Boonstra has been doing field research in Canada’s north for more than 40 years.Working mostly out of the Arctic Institute’s Kluane Lake Research Station in Yukon, the U of T Scarborough biology professor has become intimately familiar with Canada’s vast and unique boreal forest ecosystem.But it was during a trip to Finland in the mid-1990s to help a colleague with field research that he began to think long and hard about why the boreal forest there differed so dramatically from its Canadian cousin. This difference was crystallized by follow-up trips to Norway.

A New Way to Image Solar Cells in 3-D

Next-generation solar cells made of super-thin films of semiconducting material hold promise because they’re relatively inexpensive and flexible enough to be applied just about anywhere.Researchers are working to dramatically increase the efficiency at which thin-film solar cells convert sunlight to electricity. But it’s a tough challenge, partly because a solar cell’s subsurface realm—where much of the energy-conversion action happens—is inaccessible to real-time, nondestructive imaging. It’s difficult to improve processes you can’t see.Now, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to use optical microscopy to map thin-film solar cells in 3-D as they absorb photons.

2016 Temperatures Measure 1.2 Degrees C Above Pre-Industrial Levels

Climate Change News - ENN - November 14, 2016 - 1:44pm
This year is on track to become the hottest year on record, with global temperatures measuring 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 F) above pre-industrial levels, according to the World Meteorological Organization(WMO). 

Study reveals 82% of the core ecological processes that underpin ecosystems and provide services to people are now affected by climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - November 14, 2016 - 10:20am
Most studies of global climate change attempt to predict what might happen to the Earth as temperatures rise in future.  A new study representing an international collaboration by ecologists and conservation biologists shows that global changes in climate have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth, from genes to entire ecosystems. It was published in the prestigious journal Science on November 10, 2016. The research team, led by the University of Florida and with participation from the University of Hong Kong, showed that of a total of 94 ecological processes evaluated globally, 82% of them showed evidence of impact from climate change.  Land, freshwater and marine ecosystems and species have all been all affected, and consequential impacts on people could range from increased pests and disease outbreaks, to unpredictable changes in fisheries and decreasing agriculture yields. 

Experts call on international climate change panel to better reflect ocean variability in their projections

Climate Change News - ENN - November 14, 2016 - 9:48am
A commentary on what should be included in the next IPCC special interdisciplinary report on oceans and the cryosphere has been released today in Nature by Daniela Schmidt, Professor of Palaeobiology from the University of Bristol and Philip Boyd, a professor of marine biogeochemistry from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.The IPCC is an international body which was set up in 1988 to assess the science related to climate change.Currently on its sixth assessment cycle, the goal of the IPCC is to inform policymakers of the science on climate change, the impacts, future risks and potential options for adaption and mitigation.The latest IPCC report had for the first time chapters dedicated to the Oceans. This year, the IPCC are going one step further with a special interdisciplinary report on the ocean and the cryosphere which will be published in 2019.

30% of Global Electricity Already Prepping For Rapid Decarbonization

A full 30 percent of the world’s electricity generation comes under the umbrella of just nine energy companies, and they have just joined forces to ramp up technology investments aimed at decarbonization. The global, collaborative effort was announced earlier this week by the companies’ nonprofit organization, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership.To be clear, the decarbonization announcement leaves plenty of wiggle room for “clean” coal and natural gas, at least in the near future. However, a look at the group’s sole U.S. member, American Electric Power, demonstrates that a Republican administration cannot stop the global transition to low and zero-carbon electricity.

30% of Global Electricity Already Prepping For Rapid Decarbonization

Climate Change News - ENN - November 14, 2016 - 9:04am
A full 30 percent of the world’s electricity generation comes under the umbrella of just nine energy companies, and they have just joined forces to ramp up technology investments aimed at decarbonization. The global, collaborative effort was announced earlier this week by the companies’ nonprofit organization, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership.To be clear, the decarbonization announcement leaves plenty of wiggle room for “clean” coal and natural gas, at least in the near future. However, a look at the group’s sole U.S. member, American Electric Power, demonstrates that a Republican administration cannot stop the global transition to low and zero-carbon electricity.

Just 1 Degree C of Warming Has Altered Nearly Every Aspect of Life on Earth

Climate Change News - ENN - November 11, 2016 - 3:19pm
Climate change has already impacted nearly every aspect of life on earth, according to a new study in the journal Science. Warming global temperatures have altered everything from entire ecosystems down to the individual genes of species. 

New maps reveal safe locations for wastewater injection

Stanford geophysicists have compiled the most detailed maps yet of the geologic forces controlling the locations, types and magnitudes of earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma.These new “stress maps,” published in the journals Geophysical Research Letters and Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, provide insight into the nature of the faults associated with recent temblors, many of which appear to have been triggered by the injection of wastewater deep underground.“These maps help explain why injection-induced earthquakes have occurred in some areas, and provide a basis for making quantitative predictions about the potential for seismic activity resulting from fluid injection,” said study co-author Mark Zoback, the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Thawing ice makes the Alps grow

Climate Change News - ENN - November 11, 2016 - 9:22am
The Alps are steadily “growing” by about one to two millimeters per year. Likewise, the formerly glaciated subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia are also undergoing constant upward movement. This is due to the fact that at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) about 18,000 years ago the glaciers melted and with this the former heavy pressure on the Earth’s surface diminished. The ice reacted rapidly to climate change at that time whereas the Earth’s crust is still responding today to this relatively sudden melting of ice. 

Climate, human influence conspired in Lake Urmia's decline

Climate Change News - ENN - November 10, 2016 - 10:01am
The dramatic decline of Iran’s Lake Urmia—once the second-largest hypersaline lake in the world—has both direct human and climatic causes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.   The study was the first to compare the relative impact of climate and water management on the water flowing into the lake.

Solar Cells Get Boost with Integration of Water-Splitting Catalyst onto Semiconductor

Scientists have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.Led by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the project is described in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Materials.

A Major Ocean Current is Widening as Climate Warms

Climate Change News - ENN - November 10, 2016 - 9:37am
A new study by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the Indian Ocean’s Agulhas Current is getting wider rather than strengthening. The findings, which have important implications for global climate change, suggest that intensifying winds in the region may be increasing the turbulence of the current, rather than increasing its flow rate.

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