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Can Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming?

November 21, 2014 - 2:34pm
Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.

Farms as sites for renewable energy

November 21, 2014 - 7:00am
UK farms could be a major player in a shift towards a resilient, low-carbon energy system, according to a landmark report launched today by the Farm Power coalition. The coalition, which is made up of a growing number of farming bodies, businesses and NGOs, are now calling on policymakers and other key stakeholders, including supermarkets, to support the renewable energy vision.The research carried out by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, which leads the coalition, and Nottingham Trent University, found there was at least 10GW of untapped resource across UK farms – equivalent to more than three times the installed capacity of the proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.

Not so fast: Planting trees might cause warming?

November 20, 2014 - 3:29pm
Afforestation (planting trees) to mitigate climate change could cause warming rather than cooling globally due to non-carbon effects of land use change, according to new research from the University of Bristol.Global land use change and its interaction with the climate system is recognised as an important component of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s future climate scenarios.

Abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age may be because of permafrost

November 20, 2014 - 12:30pm
One of the most abrupt rises in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age took place about 14,600 years ago. Ice core data show that the CO2 concentration at that time increased by more than 10 ppm (parts per million, unit of measure for the composition of gases) within 200 years. This CO2 increase, i.e. approx. 0.05 ppm per year, was significantly less than the current rise in atmospheric CO2 of 2-3 ppm in the last decade caused by fossil fuels. 

EU Court Rules Against UK For Failure to Tackle Air Pollution

November 19, 2014 - 11:57am
A landmark judgment by the European Court of Justice compels the UK Government to act as soon as possible to reduce air pollution in British cities, writes Keith Taylor - and a good thing too for our health, safety and wellbeing. But it's not just the UK that benefits: every EU country must also comply with the ruling.

Climate history of western US is more complex than previously thought

November 19, 2014 - 10:54am
The climate 150 million years ago of a large swath of the western United States was more complex than previously known, according to new research from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. It’s been held that the climate during the Jurassic was fairly dry in New Mexico, then gradually transitioned to a wetter climate northward to Montana. But based on new evidence, the theory of a gradual transition from a dry climate to a wetter one during the Jurassic doesn’t tell the whole story, says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, lead author on the study.

Researchers use social media to track air pollution

November 18, 2014 - 11:13am
University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science researchers have developed a method for using social media posts to estimate air pollution levels with significant accuracy.

A 600,000 year long continental archive revealed in Near East study

November 18, 2014 - 10:25am
If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. An international consortium of researchers under the auspices of the University of Bonn has drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past. Furthermore, there have been numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The results of the drilling project also provide a basis for assessing the risk of how dangerous natural hazards are for today's population. In a special edition of the highly regarded publication Quaternary Science Reviews, the scientists have now published their findings in a number of journal articles. In the sediments of Lake Van, the lighter-colored, lime-containing summer layers are clearly distinguishable from the darker, clay-rich winter layers — also called varves. In 2010, from a floating platform an international consortium of researchers drilled a 220 m deep sediment profile from the lake floor at a water depth of 360 m and analyzed the varves. The samples they recovered are a unique scientific treasure because the climate conditions, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of the past 600,000 years can be read in outstanding quality from the cores. 

Study Tracks Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bear Population Decline

November 17, 2014 - 12:30pm
In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from the United States and Canada found that during the first decade of the 21st century, the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea experienced a sharp decline of approximately 40 percent. The scientists, led by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, found that survival of adult bears and cubs was especially low from 2004 to 2006, when most of the decline occurred. 

Obama Announces $3 Billion Pledge to U.N. Climate Fund

November 17, 2014 - 8:00am
Right on the heels of his historic climate agreement with China, President Barack Obama announced a pledge of $3 billion to the United Nations’ thus far underfunded Green Climate Fund. The fund was formally established in 2010 at the U.N. Climate Change conference in Cancun. The purpose of the fund was to redistribute resources between the developed world and the developing world in order to assist developing countries in their effort to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Electric vehicles WILL go mass market. Here's why.

November 16, 2014 - 8:09am
Over the last 100 years there have been a number of attempts from electric vehicle enthusiasts to push them into the mass market. Unfortunately the vast majority of these attempts have failed for a variety of reasons, often out of the control of the market itself, but today we stand in a very different place and electric vehicles will eventually go mass-market. We hereby list five reasons why electric vehicles are here to stay in the longer term: –TechnologyThere have been enormous leaps in electric vehicle technology over the last 10 years which not only offer greater efficiency but also give the driving public greater confidence. This technology continues to advance at breathtaking speed not only in the area of electric vehicles themselves but also battery technology. In many ways the development of new technologies is putting gasoline vehicles in the shadows and grabbing the headlines.

ENERGY STAR's first multifamily properties announced today

November 13, 2014 - 8:31am
Roughly one-third of the U.S. population lives in the country’s 500,000 multifamily buildings, and they spend $22 billion on energy every year. Until this year, apartment and condo managers lacked the tools to measure how much energy they were wasting and compare their performance nationwide. Meanwhile, energy costs for renters have risen by 20 percent over the past decade. Today, a new era of savings will be ushered in when the U.S EPA announces the first set of multifamily properties to earn the ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR first became available to the sector this September, after a three-year partnership with Fannie Mae to develop the scoring system for multifamily properties.

Groundwater affected by Climate Change

November 12, 2014 - 7:54am
Global warming stops at nothing – not even the groundwater, as a new study by researchers from ETH Zurich and KIT reveals: the groundwater’s temperature profiles echo those of the atmosphere, albeit damped and delayed.

Farmers vs. scientists on the debate over climate change

November 11, 2014 - 1:48pm
Crop producers and scientists hold deeply different views on climate change and its possible causes, a study by Purdue and Iowa State universities shows. Associate professor of natural resource social science Linda Prokopy and fellow researchers surveyed 6,795 people in the agricultural sector in 2011-2012 to determine their beliefs about climate change and whether variation in the climate is triggered by human activities, natural causes or an equal combination of both.

Study examines the role of the deep ocean in carbon dioxide storage

November 11, 2014 - 4:15am
The Southern Ocean plays an important role in the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean. One aspect of this is the growth of phytoplankton, which acts as a natural sponge for carbon dioxide, drawing the troublesome greenhouse gas from the atmosphere into the sea. When these plankton die they can sink to the bottom of the ocean and store some of the carbon dioxide they have absorbed, a process scientists call the "biological carbon pump."Although many areas of the Southern Ocean are rich in nutrients, they often lack iron, which limits phytoplankton growth. An important idea in oceanography is that adding iron to the Southern Ocean could stimulate phytoplankton growth and the biological carbon pump. Some scientists believe that this process can partly explain cycles in atmospheric carbon dioxide over Earth's recent history and it has also been widely debated as a mitigation strategy for climate change.

MIT finds the missing piece of the climate modeling puzzle

November 10, 2014 - 2:58pm
In classrooms and everyday conversation, explanations of global warming hinge on the greenhouse gas effect. In short, climate depends on the balance between two different kinds of radiation: The Earth absorbs incoming visible light from the sun, called “shortwave radiation,” and emits infrared light, or “longwave radiation,” into space.Upsetting that energy balance are rising levels of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), that increasingly absorb some of the outgoing longwave radiation and trap it in the atmosphere. Energy accumulates in the climate system, and warming occurs. But in a paper out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, MIT researchers show that this canonical view of global warming is only half the story.

How would you feel if electric vehicles were the only ones allowed in center cities?

November 9, 2014 - 4:42am
The subject of making electric vehicles compulsory in city centres in the UK, and indeed many other areas of the world, is one which keeps popping up time and time again. The Liberal Democrat party in the UK has been pushing for greater adoption of electric vehicles within city centres and, don’t shout this, a ban on diesel and petrol vehicles. This is now something of a hot topic and one which will continue to appear in the political domain as we approach general and local elections.How would you feel about making city centres a no-go area for petrol and diesel vehicles? Is electric vehicle technology of sufficient reliability to support such a dramatic and controversial move?

Is the world moving backwards on protected areas?

November 7, 2014 - 8:04am
Protected areas are undoubtedly the world's most important conservation success story, and recent research shows that protected areas are effective—housing more biodiversity and greater abundances of species inside rather than out. But, despite this, progress on protected areas is stalling and in some cases even falling behind. According to a sobering new paper today in Nature, only 20-50 percent of the world's land and marine protected areas are meeting their goals, while the rest are hampered by lack of funding, poor management, and government ambivalence. The paper arrives just a few days before the opening of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, a global event that happens once a decade. "Protected areas offer us solutions to some of today's most pressing challenges, but by continuing with 'business as usual,' we are setting them up for failure," said lead author James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland. "A step-change in the way we value, fund, govern and manage those areas is neither impossible nor unrealistic and would only represent a fraction of what the world spends annually on defense." 

New Mechanism Behind Arctic Warming Revealed

November 6, 2014 - 8:06am
We all know that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming, but new research identifies a new mechanism that could turn out to be a major contributor to melting sea ice, specifically in the Arctic region. Scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have studied a long-wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum called far infrared. Far infrared is a region in the infrared spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. While it is invisible to our eyes, it accounts for about half the energy emitted by the Earth’s surface. 

Can ocean acidification have a positive effect on corals?

November 5, 2014 - 3:10pm
A majority of recent reports highlights the negative effects of warmer water temperatures on corals. Because of increasing numbers of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae, corals become stressed and can starve to death if the condition is prolonged. However, researchers from Northeastern University's Marine Science Center and the University of Chapel Hill have found some slightly positive effects that moderate ocean acidification and warming can have on coral.

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