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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Satellites show effect of 2010 drought on Amazon forests

Satellites show effect of 2010 drought on Amazon forests

Russia's Arctic Opening - By Charles Emmerson

Russia's Arctic Opening - By Charles Emmerson

As Moscow prepares to open the icy waters of the Arctic to offshore drilling, dangers abound. But it's also a moment of opportunity to get things right.

Study Predicts Large Regional Changes In Farmland Area

Study Predicts Large Regional Changes In Farmland Area

University of Illinois professor Ximing Cai and graduate student Xiao Zhang predict that the effects of climate change and population growth on agricultural land areas will vary from region to region. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer
by Staff Writers Champaign IL (SPX) Mar 29, 2011 The effects of climate change and population growth on agricultural land area vary from region to region, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers. Regions with relative high latitudes - China, Russia and the U.S. - could see a significant increase in arable land in coming years, but Africa, Europe and India and South America could lose land area.
Civil and environmental engineering professor Ximing Cai and graduate student Xiao Zhang published their findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
While most other studies of climate change and agriculture have focused on projected crop yields, the Illinois researchers assessed global and regional land availability.
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Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content

Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content

Differences in the mean salinity of the Arctic Ocean above the 34 isohaline between 2006 to 2008 and 1992 to 1999. Negative values are shown in yellow, green, and blue and stand for an increase of freshwater. Image: Benjamin Rabe, Alfred Wegener Institute.

Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Mar 29, 2011 The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s. This corresponds to a rise of approx. 8,400 cubic kilometres and has the same magnitude as the volume of freshwater annually exported on average from this marine region in liquid or frozen form. This result is published by researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal Deep-Sea Research. The freshwater content in the layer of the Arctic Ocean near the surface controls whether heat from the ocean is emitted into the atmosphere or to ice. In addition, it has an impact on global ocean circulation.
Around ten percent of the global mainland runoff flows into the Arctic via the enormous Siberian and North American rivers in addition to relatively low-salt water from the Pacific. This freshwater lies as a light layer on top of the deeper salty and warm ocean layers and thus extensively cuts off heat flow to the ice and atmosphere. Changes in this layer are therefore major control parameters for the sensitive heat balance of the Arctic.
We can expect that the additional amount of freshwater in the near-surface layer of the Arctic Ocean will flow out into the North Atlantic in the coming years. The amount of freshwater flowing out of the Arctic influences the formation of deep water in the Greenland Sea and Labrador Sea and thus has impacts on global ocean circulation.
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Climate Modelling And The Rain

Climate Modelling And The Rain

File image courtesy AFP.

Ottawa, Canada (SPX) Mar 31, 2011 Extreme precipitation events seem to be becoming more common in the Northern Hemisphere. But it's been very hard for scientists to pinpoint a major weather event to global warming. Still, when a 100-year flood comes and then returns in a matter of a few years, it's hard not to consider it a sign of a warming world. Several papers published in the journal Nature demonstrate that such extreme precipitation events in specific localities is the result of climate change and not an overactive imagination. The scientists studied the actual, observable precipitation patterns in the 20th century and then compared them to climate model simulations and a splash of probability to discover a close, predictive match up.
They claim that their results provide "first formal identification of a human contribution to the observed intensification of extreme precipitation." The scientists, led by Seung-Ki Min at the Climate Research Division from Environment Canada in Toronto, say that the global climate models may, in fact, be underestimating the amount of extreme weather events, "which implies that extreme precipitation events may strengthen more quickly in the future than projected and that they may have more severe impacts than estimated."
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Communicating Uncertain Climate Risks

Communicating Uncertain Climate Risks

The authors of a recent Perspectives piece in the journal Nature Climate Science say it is not enough to intuit the success of climate communications. They contend the evaluation of climate communication should be met with the same rigor as climate science itself. Here, someone uses the 220 megapixel HiPerWall display at the University of California, San Diego to discuss 10 time varying Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change simulation runs. Credit: Falko Kuester, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), University of California, San Diego

Washington DC (SPX) Apr 01, 2011 Despite much research that demonstrates potential dangers from climate change, public concern has not been increasing. One theory is that this is because the public is not intimately familiar with the nature of the climate uncertainties being discussed.
"A major challenge facing climate scientists is explaining to non-specialists the risks and uncertainties surrounding potential" climate change, says a new Perspectives piece published in the science journal Nature Climate Change.
The article attempts to identify communications strategies needed to improve layman understanding of climate science.
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Warm Water Causes Extra-Cold Winters In Northeastern North America And Northeastern Asia

Warm Water Causes Extra-Cold Winters In Northeastern North America And Northeastern Asia
Pasadena CA (SPX) Apr 01, 2011 - If you're sitting on a bench in New York City's Central Park in winter, you're probably freezing. After all, the average temperature in January is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you were just across the pond in Porto, Portugal, which shares New York's latitude, you'd be much warmer-the average temperature is a balmy 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout northern Europe, average winter temperatu ... more
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Local, Diversified Food Production Needed To Curb Food Price Crisis

Local, Diversified Food Production Needed To Curb Food Price Crisis
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 31, 2011 - Food prices have soared to record highs and are projected to increase further in the coming decade, pushing millions of people into hunger and fueling political unrest around the world. The Worldwatch Institute's recently released report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, shows that diversifying food production to include local and indigenous vegetables can help ... more

Climate Talks: Storm Clouds Ahead

Climate Talks: Storm Clouds Ahead
New York NY (SPX) Mar 31, 2011 - When thousands of ministers, scientists and activists descended on the Mexican resort town of Cancun for another gruelling round of talks on climate change last December, there was little of the debate about the science of global warming that marked the chaotic 2009 meeting. The weather had seen to that. From scorching heat and wildfires in Russia to droughts in Australia, floods in Pakist ... more

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Earth Movements From Japan Earthquake Seen From Space

Earth Movements From Japan Earthquake Seen From Space
Paris, France (ESA) Mar 31, 2011 - Satellite images have been essential for helping relief efforts in Japan following the massive quake that struck on 11 March. Now scientists are using ESA's space radars to improve our understanding of tectonic events. Scientists are calling on data from the advanced radar on ESA's Envisat satellite to map surface deformations caused by the magnitude-9 earthquake. Studying data acquired o ... more

Deep-Sea Volcanoes Explode

Deep-Sea Volcanoes Explode
Monterey Bay CA (SPX) Mar 31, 2011 -
Between 75 and 80 per cent of all volcanic activity on Earth takes place at deep-sea, mid-ocean ridges. Most of these volcanoes produce effusive lava flows rather than explosive eruptions, both because the levels of magmatic gas (which fuel the explosions and are made up of a variety of components, including, most importantly CO2) tend to be low, and because the volcanoes are under a lot of pres ... more

Climate Modelling And The Rain

Extreme precipitation events seem to be becoming more common in the Northern Hemisphere. But it's been very hard for scientists to pinpoint a major weather event to global warming. Still, when a 100-year flood comes and then returns in a matter of a few years, it's hard not to consider it a sign of a warming world.

Study Sheds Light On How Heat Is Transported To Greenland Glaciers

Study Sheds Light On How Heat Is Transported To Greenland Glaciers
Woods Hole MA (SPX) Mar 30, 2011 - Warmer air is only part of the story when it comes to Greenland's rapidly melting ice sheet. New research by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) highlights the role ocean circulation plays in transporting heat to glaciers. Greenland's ice sheet has lost mass at an accelerated rate over the last decade, dumping more ice and fresh water into the ocean. Between 2001 and ... more

Antarctic Icebergs Play A Previously Unknown Role In Global Carbon Cycle, Climate

Antarctic Icebergs Play A Previously Unknown Role In Global Carbon Cycle, Climate
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 30, 2011 - In a finding that has global implications for climate research, scientists have discovered that when icebergs cool and dilute the seas through which they pass for days, they also raise chlorophyll levels in the water that may in turn increase carbon dioxide absorption in the Southern Ocean. An interdisciplinary research team supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) highlighted th ... more

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No long-distance risks from mega-quakes: study

No long-distance risks from mega-quakes: study
 

Paris (AFP) March 27, 2011 - Monster earthquakes like the 9.0-magnitude event that occurred off Japan on March 11 are unlikely to trigger a large quake in distant regions of the world, according to a study published on Sunday. The research - coincidentally published in the wake of the tsunami-generating killer - counters a novel theory that an exceptional quake in one continent can unleash a temblor in another. To ... more
 
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Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study

Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study
 

Washington (AFP) March 28, 2011 - More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday. The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world's fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the Nationa ... more
 
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Russian Boreal Forests Undergoing Vegetation Change

Russian Boreal Forests Undergoing Vegetation Change
 

Charlottesville VA (SPX) Mar 29, 2011 - Russia's boreal forest - the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world, found in the country's cold northern regions - is undergoing an accelerating large-scale shift in vegetation types as a result of globally and regionally warming climate. That in turn is creating an even warmer climate in the region, according to a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology and hi ... more
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Study Predicts Large Regional Changes In Farmland Area

Study Predicts Large Regional Changes In Farmland Area
 

Champaign IL (SPX) Mar 29, 2011 - The effects of climate change and population growth on agricultural land area vary from region to region, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers. Regions with relative high latitudes - China, Russia and the U.S. - could see a significant increase in arable land in coming years, but Africa, Europe and India and South America could lose land area. Civil and envi ... more
 
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Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content

Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content
 

Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Mar 29, 2011 - The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s. This corresponds to a rise of approx. 8,400 cubic kilometres and has the same magnitude as the volume of freshwater annually exported on average from this marine region in liquid or frozen form. This result is published by researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal Deep-Sea R ... more
 
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