Legislative & Regulatory Update

Less snow and a shorter ski season in the Alps

Climate Change News - ENN - February 16, 2017 - 11:42am
After long-awaited snowfall in January, parts of the Alps are now covered with fresh powder and happy skiers. But the Swiss side of the iconic mountain range had the driest December since record-keeping began over 150 years ago, and 2016 was the third year in a row with scarce snow over the Christmas period. A study published today in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union, shows bare Alpine slopes could be a much more common sight in the future.

Antarctic sea ice extent lowest on record

Climate Change News - ENN - February 16, 2017 - 11:38am
This year the extent of summer sea ice in the Antarctic is the lowest on record. The Antarctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically towards end of February – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at the end of the summer melt season, before expanding again as the winter sets in.

Method to predict surface ozone pollution levels provides 48-hour heads-up

A novel air quality model will help air quality forecasters predict surface ozone levels up to 48-hours in advance and with fewer resources, according to a team of meteorologists.The method, called regression in self-organizing map (REGiS), weighs and combines statistical air quality models by pairing them with predicted weather patterns to create probabilistic ozone forecasts. Unlike current chemical transport models, REGiS can predict ozone levels up to 48 hours in advance without requiring significant computational power.

Snow Science in Support of Our Nation's Water Supply

Climate Change News - ENN - February 16, 2017 - 11:29am
Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists' understanding of Earth's water resources: snow.NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. But there remain significant obstacles to measuring accurately how much water is stored across the planet's snow-covered regions. The amount of water in snow plays a major role in water availability for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower.

Snow Science in Support of Our Nation's Water Supply

Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists' understanding of Earth's water resources: snow.NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. But there remain significant obstacles to measuring accurately how much water is stored across the planet's snow-covered regions. The amount of water in snow plays a major role in water availability for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower.

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions

New findings from the University of Michigan explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict.The study, published in Nature, shows how small spikes in the temperature of the ocean, rather than the air, likely drove the rapid disintegration cycles of the expansive ice sheet that once covered much of North America.

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions

Climate Change News - ENN - February 16, 2017 - 10:26am
New findings from the University of Michigan explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict.The study, published in Nature, shows how small spikes in the temperature of the ocean, rather than the air, likely drove the rapid disintegration cycles of the expansive ice sheet that once covered much of North America.

Crystal Growth, Earth Science and Tech Demo Research Launching to Orbiting Laboratory

The tenth SpaceX cargo resupply launch to the International Space Station, targeted for launch Feb. 18, will deliver investigations that study human health, Earth science and weather patterns. Here are some highlights of the research headed to the orbiting laboratory:Crystal growth investigation could improve drug delivery, manufacturingMonoclonal antibodies are important for fighting off a wide range of human diseases, including cancers. These antibodies work with the natural immune system to bind to certain molecules to detect, purify and block their growth. The Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications (CASIS PCG 5) investigation will crystallize a human monoclonal antibody, developed by Merck Research Labs, that is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of immunological disease.

How much biomass grows in the savannah?

Savannahs form one of the largest habitats in the world, covering around one-fifth of the Earth's land area. They are mainly to be found in sub-Saharan Africa. Savannahs are home not only to unique wildlife, including the 'Big Five' - the African elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, leopard and lion - but also to thousands of endemic plant species such as the baobab, or monkey bread tree.

New Methods Further Discern Extreme Fluctuations in Forage Fish Populations

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 4:34pm
California sardine stocks famously crashed in John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row.” New research, building on the pioneering work of Soutar and Isaacs in the late 1960’s and others, shows in greater detail that such forage fish stocks have undergone boom-bust cycles for centuries, with at least three species off the U.S. West Coast repeatedly experiencing steep population increases followed by declines long before commercial fishing began.Natural population fluctuations in Pacific sardine, northern anchovy and Pacific hake off California have been so common that the species were in collapsed condition 29 to 40 percent of the time over the 500-year period from A.D. 1000 to 1500, according to the study published today in Geophysical Research Letters. Using a long time series of fish scales deposited in low-oxygen offshore sedimentary environments off southern California, the authors from NOAA Fisheries and the University of Michigan described such collapses as “an intrinsic property of some forage fish populations that should be expected, just as droughts are expected in an arid climate.” 

Newly engineered material can cool roofs, structures with zero energy consumption

A team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers has developed a scalable manufactured metamaterial — an engineered material with extraordinary properties not found in nature — to act as a kind of air conditioning system for structures. It has the ability to cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption.When applied to a surface, the metamaterial film cools the object underneath by efficiently reflecting incoming solar energy back into space while simultaneously allowing the surface to shed its own heat in the form of infrared thermal radiation.

How temperature guides where species live and where they'll go

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 2:59pm
For decades, among the most enduring questions for ecologists have been: "Why do species live where they do? And what are the factors that keep them there?" A Princeton University-based study featured on the February cover of the journal Ecology could prove significant in answering that question, particularly for animals in the world's temperate mountain areas.

NASA Study Identifies New Pathway for Greenland Meltwater to Reach Ocean

Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet let one of its aquifers drain to the ocean, new NASA research finds. The aquifers, discovered only recently, are unusual in that they trap large amounts of liquid water within the ice sheet. Until now, scientists did not know what happened to the water stored away in this reservoir -- the discovery will help fine tune computer models of Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise.

NASA Study Identifies New Pathway for Greenland Meltwater to Reach Ocean

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 11:57am
Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet let one of its aquifers drain to the ocean, new NASA research finds. The aquifers, discovered only recently, are unusual in that they trap large amounts of liquid water within the ice sheet. Until now, scientists did not know what happened to the water stored away in this reservoir -- the discovery will help fine tune computer models of Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise.

Researchers Catch Extreme Waves with High-Resolution Modeling

Surfers aren’t the only people trying to catch big waves. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are trying to do so, too, at least in wave climate forecasts.

Researchers Catch Extreme Waves with High-Resolution Modeling

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 10:55am
Surfers aren’t the only people trying to catch big waves. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are trying to do so, too, at least in wave climate forecasts.

Intergalactic unions more devastating than we thought

Scientists from MIPT, the University of Oxford, and the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated the number of stars disrupted by solitary supermassive black holes in galactic centers formed due to mergers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes. The astrophysicists found out whether gravitational effects arising as two black holes draw closer to one another can explain why we observe fewer stars being captured by black holes than basic theoretical models predict. In their study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers looked into the interplay of various dynamic mechanisms affecting the number of stars in a galaxy that are captured per unit time (tidal disruption rate). (Spoiler Alert! An advanced theoretical model yielded results that are even more inconsistent with observations, leading the team to hypothesize that the disruption of stars in galactic nuclei may occur without our knowledge.) 

'The blob' of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 10:42am
An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.

'The blob' of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels

An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.

Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change, UCI study shows

Climate Change News - ENN - February 15, 2017 - 10:09am
Ice loss from Canada’s Arctic glaciers has transformed them into a major contributor to sea level change, new research by University of California, Irvine glaciologists has found.From 2005 to 2015, surface melt off ice caps and glaciers of the Queen Elizabeth Islands grew by an astonishing 900 percent, from an average of three gigatons to 30 gigatons per year, according to results published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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