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Where and how climate change is altering species

September 21, 2016 - 6:20pm
New research published Monday (Sept. 19) in the journal Nature Climate Change by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Wisconsin-Madison illuminates where and why novel species combinations are likely to emerge due to recent changes in temperature and precipitation. The study includes global maps of novelty that offer testable predictions and carry important implications for conservation and land management planning.

Soil management may help stabilize maize yield in the face of climate change

September 20, 2016 - 5:42pm
How will we feed our growing population in the face of an increasingly extreme climate? Many experts suggest the answer lies in breeding novel crop varieties that can withstand the increases in drought, heat, and extreme rainfall events predicted in the not-too-distant future. But breeding is only part of the equation, according to new research from the University of Illinois and several collaborating institutions across the Midwestern U.S."It might not be necessary to put all the stress of climate adaptation and mitigation on new varieties. Instead, if we can manage agroecosystems more appropriately, we can buffer some of the effects of climate instability," says U of I and USDA Agricultural Research Service ecologist Adam Davis.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent in 2016 Ties as Second Lowest in The Satellite Record

September 20, 2016 - 9:56am
Arctic sea ice extent shrank to 1.6 million square miles earlier this month — tying 2016 with 2007 as the second lowest sea ice minimum since satellite records began. The lowest year remains 2012. The new measurements follow a decades-long trend of declining sea ice extent in the Arctic as global temperatures rise. 

Heatwaves in the ocean: Risk to ecosystems?

September 19, 2016 - 5:12pm
Marine ecosystems are responsible for about half of global annual primary production and more than one billion people rely on fish as their primary protein source. Latest studies show that enormous warm water bubbles in the ocean are having a noticeable impact on ecosystems. How should we interpret these changes?

World deforestation: we're losing a forest the size of NYC every 2 days!

September 19, 2016 - 11:26am
This is an issue of global concern. Climate change, urbanization, and resource depletion (more mouths to feed, burn wood in stoves for, graze more cattle for) is still happening at a fast an alarming clip, influencing our planet’s ability to store CO2 emissions, and protect diversity. 

Virgin Atlantic: Emissions from Steel Mills Could Fuel Airplanes

September 16, 2016 - 2:32pm
After five years of research and development, Virgin Atlantic and one of its clean-technology partners, Illinois-based LanzaTech, developed a source of jet fuel made of waste gases from steel mills. According to the companies, this new source of jet fuel passed extensive tests that both delivered on performance and promise to result in carbon emissions savings of 65 percent compared to conventional jet fuel.This discovery comes at a time when airlines, seeking to mitigate what is a carbon-intensive business, have long dabbled with jet fuel blended with algae and other biofuels. The Dutch carrier KLM experimented with algae fuel blends, has flown transatlantic flights using blends of kerosene and cooking oil, and is still apparently committed to sourcing these fuels when available. Alaska Airlines also considered using recycled cooking oil to reduce its carbon emissions. Earlier this year, United kicked off flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles using a biofuel-conventional blend. Aviation fuel using feedstock from Brazilian sugarcane is also touted as an option.

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels

September 16, 2016 - 12:00pm
A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel.The cheapest way of generating energy today is to use renewable fuels - and the authors of a new analysis predict that renewables are set to enjoy even more of an advantage within a few years.The study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative says renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than those of fossil fuels.

Arctic sea ice heading towards second lowest on record

September 15, 2016 - 2:07pm
This year the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic is heading towards being the second lowest on record. The Arctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically in mid-September – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at the end of the summer melt season. British Antarctic Survey sea-ice scientist, Dr Jeremy Wilkinson, provides a scientific perspective on the trend of rapidly decreasing Arctic sea ice.

Greenhouse gas-monitoring aircraft keep tabs on the Amazon's rising methane levels

September 15, 2016 - 11:25am
Research led by the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Leicester is going to new heights in the atmosphere to get a better handle on methane emitted from wetlands in the Amazon.Using small aircraft flying in an upward spiral and collecting samples of the air, the team has measured the levels of methane in the atmosphere over the Amazon basin in unprecedented detail.In the process they've shown the value of satellite measurements of methane for the region, paving the way for research that will keep better tabs on the greenhouse gas. 

All polar bears across the Arctic face shorter sea ice season

September 14, 2016 - 6:15pm
A new University of Washington study, with funding and satellite data from NASA and other agencies, finds a trend toward earlier sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across all 19 polar bear populations, which can negatively impact the feeding and breeding capabilities of the bears. The paper, to appear Sept. 14 in The Cryosphere, is the first to quantify the sea ice changes in each polar bear subpopulation across the entire Arctic region using metrics that are specifically relevant to polar bear biology.

Green city in UAE desert has much to teach the world

September 14, 2016 - 3:19pm
A new desert city in the United Arab Emirates without light switches or water taps has much to teach people around the world about saving energy and precious resources.With its low-rise and energy efficient buildings, smart metering, excellent public transport - a personal transportation pod is pictured below - and extensive use of renewable energy, the 2,000 citizens of Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi, are living in a place which is a ‘green’ example to city planners around the globe.

Experts anticipate significant continued reductions in wind energy costs

September 13, 2016 - 2:37pm
Technology advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy, according to a survey of the world's foremost wind power experts led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Experts anticipate cost reductions of 24%-30% by 2030 and 35%-41% by 2050, under a median or 'best guess' scenario, driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements.

Free-swimming Ocean Gliders Help Scientists Understand Storm Intensity

September 13, 2016 - 11:52am
A regional team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Rutgers University, the University of Maine, the University of Maryland, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute mobilized Friday in advance of post-Tropical Storm Hermine’s arrival in the Northeast to gather data from new ocean instruments that will help better predict the intensity and evolution of future tropical storms along the US East Coast.  The team, part of the TEMPESTS program organized through the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region, is funded by the NOAA office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

Air Pollution: The Billion Dollar Industry

September 13, 2016 - 8:21am
The World Bank has released a new report highlighting the fact that air pollution costs world governments billions upon billions every year and ranks among the leading causes of death worldwide.The estimates — drawn from a number of sources, including the World Health Organization’s most recently completed data sets compiled in 2013 — can for the first time begin to examine the overall welfare cost of air pollution.

Calculating the role of lakes in global warming

September 9, 2016 - 6:01pm
As global temperatures rise, how will lake ecosystems respond? As they warm, will lakes -- which make up only 3 percent of the landscape, but bury more carbon than the world's oceans combined -- release more of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane? And might that create a feedback loop that leads to further warming?To predict the effects of rising air temperatures on the carbon cycle of lakes, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers will link computer models of changing weather, water temperature, and emissions of carbon dioxide and methane for 2,000 lakes across the United States, including Lake George, through 2105. The project is supported with a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, and led by Kevin Rose, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Rensselaer and the Frederic R. Kolleck '52 Career Development Chair in Freshwater Ecology.

Increased ocean acidification is due to human activities, say scientists

September 8, 2016 - 6:24pm
Oceanographers from MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution report that the northeast Pacific Ocean has absorbed an increasing amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide over the last decade, at a rate that mirrors the increase of carbon dioxide emissions pumped into the atmosphere.The scientists, led by graduate student Sophie Chu, in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, found that most of the anthropogenic carbon (carbon arising from human activity) in the northeast Pacific has lingered in the upper layers, changing the chemistry of the ocean as a result. In the past 10 years, the region's average pH has dropped by 0.002 pH units per year, leading to more acidic waters. The increased uptake in carbon dioxide has also decreased the availability of aragonite -- an essential mineral for many marine species' shells.

Future fisheries can expect $10 billion revenue loss due to climate change

September 7, 2016 - 12:20pm
Global fisheries stand to lose approximately $10 billion of their annual revenue by 2050 if climate change continues unchecked, and countries that are most dependent on fisheries for food will be the hardest hit, finds new UBC research.Climate change impacts such as rising temperatures and changes in ocean salinity, acidity and oxygen levels are expected to result in decreased catches, as previous research from UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries has found. In this study, the authors examined the financial impact of these projected losses for all fishing countries in 2050, compared to 2000.

New simulations of wind power generation

September 6, 2016 - 3:28pm
There has been a massive boom in wind power capacity both in Europe and worldwide. In 2015 global installed capacity was around 350 gigawatt (GW), with 135 GW installed in Europe, distributed across some 87,000 wind turbines. Wind power now provides a bigger share (13 percent) of electricity than nuclear power stations. In countries such as Spain, Denmark and Germany, the amount of wind power already installed is in theory enough to cover nationwide demand for electricity under ideal conditions, i.e. maximum wind power output and low consumer demand.

Detecting forest fragility with satellites

September 6, 2016 - 9:48am
Over the past decades’ forests in different parts of the world have suffered sudden massive tree mortality. Now an international team of scientists led by researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands has found a way to spot from satellite images which forests may be most likely to fall prey to such die-off events.

Climate change could make coffee extinct by 2080

September 5, 2016 - 10:56am
The sun may be setting on a popular morning brew. According to a new report issued by the Climate Institute, global warming will underpin an estimated 50 percent drop in coffee production by 2050. Bad news for coffee lovers, but catastrophic for the 120 million people in dozens of mostly developing nations who depend on the coffee trade to make ends meet.

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