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Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior

January 19, 2017 - 9:24am
One of Alaska’s most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change. This could impact the ecology of northern lakes, which already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.That’s the main finding of a recent University of Washington study published in Global Change Biology that analyzed reproductive patterns of three-spine stickleback fish over half a century in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. The data show that stickleback breed earlier and more often each season in response to earlier spring ice breakup and longer ice-free summers.

Research shows driving factors behind changes between local and global carbon cycles

January 18, 2017 - 3:24pm
Pioneering new research has provided a fascinating new insight in the quest to determine whether temperature or water availability is the most influential factor in determining the success of global, land-based carbon sinks.The research, carried out by an international team of climate scientists including Professors Pierre Friedlingstein and Stephen Sitch from the University of Exeter, has revealed new clues on how land carbon sinks are regulated on both local and global scales.

Green Sahara's Ancient Rainfall Regime Revealed by Scientists

January 18, 2017 - 2:43pm
Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the 6,000-year "Green Sahara" period have been pinpointed by analyzing marine sediments, according to new research led by a UA geoscientist.What is now the Sahara Desert was the home to hunter-gatherers who made their living off the animals and plants that lived in the region's savannahs and wooded grasslands 5,000 to 11,000 years ago.

Changing atmospheric conditions may contribute to stronger ocean wave activity on the Antarctic Peninsula

January 18, 2017 - 9:15am
Over the past few years, a large fracture has grown across a large floating ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. The world is watching the ice shelf, now poised to break off an iceberg the size of Delaware into the ocean.It’s not a new phenomenon; this “thumb” of Antarctica, which juts out into the stormy Southern Ocean, has lost more than 28,000 square kilometers of floating ice — almost as large as Massachusetts — over the past half-century. This has included the complete disintegration of four ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers.

Birds of a feather flock together to confuse potential predators

January 18, 2017 - 9:03am
Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Groningen, in The Netherlands, have created a computer game style experiment which sheds new light on the reasons why starlings flock in massive swirling groups over wintering grounds.A mumeration can hold many thousands of starlings but the reasons why they put on these amazing displays are not well understood.

Periods of Greater Atlantic Hurricane Activity Linked to Weaker U.S. Landfalls

January 18, 2017 - 8:46am
During periods of greater Atlantic hurricane activity, a protective barrier of vertical wind shear and cooler ocean temperatures forms along the U.S. East Coast, weakening storms as they approach land, according to a new study by NCEI scientist, Jim Kossin. In his paper, “Hurricane Intensification along United States Coast Suppressed during Active Hurricane Periods (link is external),” published in Nature, Kossin identifies this “buffer zone” and describes its relationship with both active and inactive periods of Atlantic hurricane activity.

Climate change to shift global pattern of mild weather

January 18, 2017 - 7:01am
As scientists work to predict how climate change may affect hurricanes, droughts, floods, blizzards and other severe weather, there's one area that's been overlooked: mild weather. But no more.NOAA and Princeton University scientists have produced the first global analysis of how climate change may affect the frequency and location of mild weather - days that are perfect for an outdoor wedding, baseball, fishing, boating, hiking or a picnic. Scientists defined "mild" weather as temperatures between 64 and 86 degrees F, with less than a half inch of rain and dew points below 68 degrees F, indicative of low humidity.

It's freezing inside - that tornado?

January 17, 2017 - 11:45am
With winter upon us in full force, outdoor temperatures are plummeting. But inside an intense tornado, it’s always chilly — no matter the time of year. A new study from Concordia proves why that’s the case.In an article forthcoming in the Journal of Aircraft of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, mechanical engineering professor Georgios Vatistas looks into the case of a violent tornado that touched down in 1955 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Climate policies alone will not save Earth's most diverse tropical forests

January 17, 2017 - 9:39am
Afocus on policies to conserve tropical forests for their carbon storage value may imperil some of the world’s most biologically rich tropical forests.

World's biggest tropical carbon sink found in Congo rainforest

January 16, 2017 - 2:04pm
A 145,000 sq km area of peatland swamp forest has been discovered in the Congo Basin, writes Tim Radford, and it holds a record 30 Gt of carbon, equivalent to 20 years of US fossil fuel emissions. Now the race is on to protect it from damaging development that would emit that carbon over coming decades.

Study tracks memory of soil moisture

January 16, 2017 - 1:31pm
The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth’s landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet’s water — less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and the atmosphere, that tiny amount plays a crucial role in everything from agriculture to weather and climate, and even the spread of disease.The behavior and dynamics of this reservoir of moisture have been very hard to quantify and analyze, however, because measurements have been slow and laborious to make.

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter

January 16, 2017 - 1:23pm
British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

January 16, 2017 - 10:16am
In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports. At the time, the storm's unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces and farmers reducing irrigation or abandoning agricultural land — that created extreme amounts of dust to fuel the storm.

NASA Analyzes Heavy Rainfall Over Southern Thailand

January 13, 2017 - 3:43pm
Widespread flooding has recently caused the deaths of dozens of people in southern Thailand. Frequent and persistent downpours have resulted in record rainfall totals and NASA calculated rainfall over the region from January 5 to January 12, 2017.The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite is part of a constellation of satellites that can measure rainfall from space. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the data is input into NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data product.

NASA Spots Short-Lived Tropical Depression 01W

January 13, 2017 - 3:33pm
In just 24 hours after Tropical Depression 01W formed in the Philippine Sea it was already falling apart. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the depression and saw the large, weakening depression being affected by wind shear.Tropical depression 01W, known in the Philippines as Tropical Depression Auring, formed near Mindanao on Jan. 8, 2017 and triggered warnings. On January 9, TD01W continued to move west through Mindanao toward the South China Sea.

Northeast US temperatures are decades ahead of global average

January 13, 2017 - 3:16pm
AMHERST, Mass. – Results of a new study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

Measuring the 'true social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions

January 13, 2017 - 8:32am
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has proposed a new framework for US agencies to use to estimate the 'social cost of carbon dioxide' emissions. Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, helped compile the report which will strengthen the scientific basis and provide greater transparency for US climate policy. 

'Shrew'-d advice: Study of Arctic shrews, parasites indicates how climate change may affect ecosystems and communities

January 12, 2017 - 4:43pm
MANHATTAN — The shrew and its parasites — even 40-year-old preserved ones — are the new indicators of environmental change, according to a Kansas State University researcher. 

Climate Model Suggests Collapse of Atlantic Circulation Is Possible

January 12, 2017 - 1:39pm
The idea of climate change causing a major ocean circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean to collapse with catastrophic effects has been the subject of doomsday thrillers in the movies, but in climate forecasts, it is mostly regarded as an extreme longshot.Now a new paper based on analysis done at a group of research centers including Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego shows that climate models may be drastically underestimating that possibility. A bias in most climate models exaggerates the stability of the pattern, called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), relative to modern climate observations. When researchers removed the bias, and re-ran simulations, the result prompted them to predict a collapse of the circulation at some point in the future, setting off large-scale cooling in the north Atlantic. The collapse would stop the AMOC, which delivers warm surface water toward Greenland then sinks as it cools and flows back toward the equator closer to the seafloor.

Why It's Impossible to Predict When That Giant Antarctic Ice Sheet Will Split

January 12, 2017 - 11:26am
OVER THE PAST several months, scientists working in Antarctica have been watching—with a mixture of professional fascination and personal horror—a fissure growing in the continent’s fourth-largest ice shelf. Since last November, the crack has lengthened by some 90 miles. It has 13 miles more before it rends completely, and a chunk of ice the size of Delaware goes bobbing into the Weddell Sea. The calving chunk could be a sign that the entire Larsen C ice shelf—nearly twice the size of Massachusetts—is breaking apart.

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