Impact Risk Hiked for 400-Meter-Wide Asteroid
MOSCOW – NASA has upgraded the impact risk for a massive asteroid recently discovered by Ukrainian observers that will pass close to the Earth in 2032, although a collision remains unlikely.
According to an update on NASA’s Near Earth Object Program site, the impact risk is now 1 in 9,090; up from 1 in 63,000 at the time the asteroid, identified as 2013 TV135, was discovered.
However, the updated figures still mean that the chance of the asteroid completing a safe flyby is 99.989 percent, slightly down from 99.992 percent in the original estimate. The 400-meter-wide asteroid, discovered by an observatory in Ukraine’s Crimea earlier this month, is one of two asteroids to currently rank above zero on the 10-degree Torino Scale, which estimates asteroid impact hazards. More
Al Gore weighs into debate over links between bushfires and climate change
Former US vice-president and environmentalist Al Gore says there is a proven link between climate change and bushfires.
This week, a United Nations official said the devastating fires in New South Wales proved the world is "already paying the price of carbon".
Prime Minister Tony Abbott dismissed the comment on Wednesday, accusing the official of "talking through her hat". He argued that "fire is a part of the Australian experience" and not linked to climate change.
"Climate change is real, as I've often said, and we should take strong action against it, but these fires are certainly not a function of climate change - they're just a function of life in Australia."
But Mr Gore, a Nobel laureate for his work to fight climate change, has told the ABC's 7.30 that climate change will bring about more extreme weather. More
Pacific Ocean cools, flattening global warming
The flattening over the past 15 years of a rise in the world's average surface temperature springs from a natural cooling pattern in the eastern Pacific Ocean, climate scientists reported Wednesday.
That leveling off fed part of the skepticism toward global warming predictions in recent years, but researchers behind the new report see this "hiatus" as a pause in an inevitable climb.
"Our results strongly confirm the role that (man-made) emissions are having on the climate," says climate scientist Shang-Ping Xie, senior author on the Nature journal study. "At one point over the long term, the effect we are seeing in the Pacific will stop. I'm confident the bigger increases in warming will resume."
For now, the "hiatus" in global warming has left average surface temperatures lodged about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the past century. The top 10 warmest years on record have all come since 1998 as a result, but none looks markedly warmer than another. More
Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought
As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. More
Bluefin tuna caught off California contains radiation from Japan's Fukushima plant
It is the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.
"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The levels of radioactive caesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that's still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the US and Japanese governments.
Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. More
South America in massive deep freeze
“Unprecedented Cold For South America This Week.” “Cold is coming. A lot!”
Second pulse of cold air reaches Uruguay.
Very cold in coming days in Rio Grande do Sul, especially at the beginning of next week, warned Luiz Fernando Nachtigall on July 18. Intensive polar air will invade the Southern Cone.
Cold is coming. A lot! Temperature lower than normal at the beginning of next week. This is shown above the map generated from the data of the meteorological model operating in the United States (NOAA / NCEP). The center of South America will see the greatest anomaly.
Notice that the polar jet stream reaches the province of Buenos Aires. The temperature at the Ezeiza airport is at 9am only 5 ° C with rain and windy. In Montevideo, Carrasco Airport, was 16 º C. An automatic weather station particular near the Prado, in the Uruguayan capital, indicated temperature even lower with gusts of 65 km / h. The polar wave led to sharp and strong cooling. More
Global Warming Sparks Fistfights and War, Researchers Say
Climate change will probably trigger more human conflict, according to an article in the journal Science.
An examination of 60 separate studies, including one stretching back to 10,000 B.C., found that individuals, groups and nations are “substantially” more likely to become involved in physical conflict in hot weather and heavy rain.
Climate change is expected to drive up temperatures in many regions, which will “systematically increase the risk of many types of conflict” ranging from barroom brawls and rape to civil wars and international disputes, according to the article.
“The strongest evidence is that high temperatures really matter,” said Solomon Hsiang, one of the study’s authors. “A few degrees warmer is always worse.” Higher temperatures affect people through a combination of geographical, sociological and physiological factors, he said. More
Mysterious hum driving people crazy around the world
It creeps in slowly in the dark of night, and once inside, it almost never goes away.
It's known as the Hum, a steady, droning sound that's heard in places as disparate as Taos, N.M.; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland.
But what causes the Hum, and why it only affects a small percentage of the population in certain areas, remain a mystery, despite a number of scientific investigations. Reports started trickling in during the 1950s from people who had never heard anything unusual before; suddenly, they were bedeviled by an annoying, low-frequency humming, throbbing or rumbling sound. More
China outsources carbon emissions to poorer areas
China is outsourcing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions within its own borders, a study has found.
This is much like the way in which rich countries in the West have long turned to China to produce cheap goods, thereby outsourcing dirty emissions.
Poorer areas such as Inner Mongolia produced 80% of CO2-related emissions for goods used in richer coastal areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.
The scientists, writing in PNAS, are concerned this trend will spread. That is, if China continues to adopt Western consumer habits, they could look to further outsource their carbon emissions to developing countries. The researchers examined CO2 emissions flowing between different regions of China and abroad. More
Young Frankenfish: Meet the Terrifying Offspring of GMO Salmon and Wild Trout
It doesn’t happen often in nature, but now and then, a wild Atlantic salmon (yes, there are still a few left) mates with a brown trout and has hybrid offspring.
This ability to reproduce between species had some Canadian scientists curious: If a genetically modified Atlantic salmon were to come in contact with a brown trout, would it too be able to have little transgenes babies? The answer is yes, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. And it turns out that those offspring carry the genetically inserted trait that allows them to grow faster than their Mother-Nature-made cousins. Much faster. In fact, the hybrid offspring outgrew their genetically tweaked parents as well. More
Barack Obama to cut emissions in vow to save planet
In sweeping proposals released after four years of frustrated efforts, Mr Obama ordered new curbs on carbon emissions from power plants and called for America to ready its defences against an already-changing climate.
The president also surprised environmentalists by signalling he would reject a controversial oil pipeline if it was found to “significantly exacerbate” the problem of carbon pollution.
“I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that is beyond fixing,” Mr Obama told students at Georgetown University. “As a president, as a father and as an American I’m here to say we need to act.”
Mr Obama first promised a new push on climate change during his inagural address on a freezing morning in January, warning that failing to cut emissions “would betray our children”. More
World's cities to expand by more than twice the size of Texas by 2030
Cities worldwide are on track to expand by nearly 580,000 square miles – more than twice the size of Texas – in less than 20 years, according to experts at a major international science conference.
Yale University professor Karen Seto said the North American suburb had “gone global, and car-dependent urban developments are more and more the norm.”
The world’s population is expected to grow from the current 7 billion to about 9 billion by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Experts meeting at the Planet Under Pressure 2012 conference in London said in a statement released by the organizers Tuesday that unless changes were made, “humanity’s urban footprint” would increase in size by 1.5 million square kilometers (nearly 580,000 square miles) by 2030. More
French Ski Resort To Open For Skiing in June For The First Time In History
It’s been a cold 2013 so far in Central and Western Europe. Last weekend snow fell in Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
Europeans are wondering whatever happened to global warming. Climate institutes, who just years ago predicted warm, snow-less winters, have turned 180° and are now insisting that the Little Ice Age-like conditions that have gripped Europe over the last 5 years are actually signs of global warming after all! Fortunately, very few people believe them.
Not only has snow become more frequent in the winter, but now ski slopes in the French Pyrenees are reporting that they will be open for (snow) skiing in June – the first time in history the French Local here reports. More
Hungarians unite as 'worst-ever' floods threaten Budapest
Hungarians are setting aside their differences in a race against time to defend their historic capital Budapest and other areas from what the prime minister predicted will be the "worst floods of all time".
As water levels broke records in the west ahead of an expected peak on Monday, thousands of volunteers joined soldiers and emergency workers -- often crossing traditional social boundaries to make some unlikely alliances -- to roll up their sleeves and don rubber boots.
Students, boy scouts and sports clubs helped to make up and install more than two million sandbags stacked at 16 high-risk locations along the 760 kilometres (475 miles) of the raging Danube River rushing out of Germany and Austria on its way to the Black Sea. More
Melting Ice Opens Fight Over Sea Routes for Arctic Debate
When 16th and 17th century European explorers sailed west in pursuit of a trade route to Asia, their search for a Northwest Passage was foiled by Arctic ice.
Five hundred years later, melting icecaps have set off a global race to control new shipping lanes over the North Pole. Just as the discoveries of Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco de Gama gave seafaring Portugal routes around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, the opening of the Arctic, with its shortcut from the Atlantic to northeast Asia and its untapped oil reserves, can redraw the geopolitical map and create new power brokers.
When the U.S., Russia and six other major stakeholders of the Arctic Council meet May 15 in the northernmost Swedish city of Kiruna, they’ll be joined by nations with observer status, including China and the European Union, that are angling for an elevated status in the diplomatic club and a greater say in the region’s future. More
Klamath Basin water wars heat up as drought threatens
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- For decades, this rural basin has battled over the Klamath River's most precious resource: water that sustains fish, irrigates farms and powers the hydroelectric dams that block one of the largest salmon runs on the West Coast.
Now, one of the nation's fiercest water wars is on the verge of erupting again. New water rights have given a group of Oregon Indian tribes an upper hand just as the region plunges into a severe drought.
Farmers and wildlife refuges could be soon cut off by the Klamath Tribes, which in March were granted the Upper Klamath Basin's oldest water rights to the lake and tributaries that feed the mighty river flowing from arid southern Oregon to the foggy redwoods of the Northern California coast.
Within weeks, the 3,700 members of the tribes are poised to make use of their new rights to maintain water levels for endangered Lost River and Shortnose suckers, fish they traditionally harvested for food. Under the "first in time, first in right" water doctrine that governs the West, the Klamath Tribes can cut off other water users when the river runs low. More
Pacific to suffer worst climate change impacts
The World Bank is urging the international community to heed the plight of Pacific island countries and take action on climate change.
The bank's vice president for Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte, says Pacific nations will suffer higher sea level rise than other parts of the world.
She says the impact of climate change will threaten the very existence of some countries in the Pacific.
Ms Kyte also warns Australia will see some of the most extreme droughts, with summer temperatures of over 40 degrees becoming commonplace.
She has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat a lack of action on climate change is undermining efforts by the World Bank to address global poverty. "Imagine we've laid the table, ready for the economic and social solutions to ending poverty and building prosperity," she said. More
Cut world population and redistribute resources, expert urges
The world's most renowned population analyst has called for a massive reduction in the number of humans and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor.
Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University in California and author of the best-selling Population Bomb book in 1968, goes much further than the Royal Society in London which this morning said that physical numbers were as important as the amount of natural resources consumed.
The optimum population of Earth – enough to guarantee the minimal physical ingredients of a decent life to everyone – was 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than the 7 billion who are alive today or the 9 billion expected in 2050, said Ehrlich in an interview with the Guardian.
"How many you support depends on lifestyles. We came up with 1.5 to 2 billion because you can have big active cities and wilderness. If you want a battery chicken world where everyone has minimum space and food and everyone is kept just about alive you might be able to support in the long term about 4 or 5 billion people. But you already have 7 billion. So we have to humanely and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage." More
UK's coldest spring since 1963 claims 5,000
Freezing Britain's unusually harsh winter could have cost thousands of pensioners their lives.
This month is on track to be the coldest March for 50 years – and as the bitter Arctic conditions caused blackouts and traffic chaos yesterday, experts warned of an 'horrendous' death toll among the elderly. About 2,000 extra deaths were registered in just the first two weeks of March compared with the average for the same period over the past five years.
And for February, 3,057 extra deaths were registered in England and Wales compared with the five-year average for the month.
“Earthworms play an essential part in determining the greenhouse-gas balance of soils worldwide, and their influence is expected to grow over the next decades,’ reads the abstract. “They are thought to stimulate carbon sequestration in soil aggregates, but also to increase emissions of the main greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.” More
As Earthworms Are Blamed For “Global Warming”, Ecologists Suggest Killing Polar Bears
The world of global warming alarmists is increasingly resembling a madhouse, with conservationists falling over each other trying to salvage the last shreds of credibility. Very funny. What makes the situation hilarious, is the fact many eco-zealots inadvertently put out increasingly panicking publications that look more like satires than studies.
As the Daily Caller reported on in February of this year, a new foe has been appointed to “accelerate” global warming: earthworms.Yes, you’ve heard it right. Earthworms. Besides the fact that there is no global warming, and therefore the very premise is faulty, earthworms are now joining the growing list of evildoers who get the blame for global warming. The report states:
“Earthworms play an essential part in determining the greenhouse-gas balance of soils worldwide, and their influence is expected to grow over the next decades,’ reads the abstract. “They are thought to stimulate carbon sequestration in soil aggregates, but also to increase emissions of the main greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.” More
'Rapid' heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years
A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike.
Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century.
Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn't natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.
The decade of 1900 to 1910 was one of the coolest in the past 11,300 years — cooler than 95 per cent of the other years, the marine fossil data suggest. Yet 100 years later, the decade of 2000 to 2010 was one of the warmest, said study lead author Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University. Global thermometer records only go back to 1880, and those show the last decade was the hottest for this more recent time period. More
After studying Russian meteor blast, experts get set for the next asteroid
The meteor that blew up over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk 11 days ago has provided a new focus for the effort to establish an international asteroid warning system, one of NASA's top experts on the issue says.
Lindley Johnson, the executive for the Near Earth Object Observation Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said that the Feb. 15 impact is certain to become "by far the best-documented meteor and meteorite in history" — but at the time, he and his colleagues could hardly believe it was happening.
"Our first reaction was, 'This can't be. ... This must be some test of a missile that's gone awry,'" Johnson told NBC News. More
High-flying bacteria spark interest in possible climate effects
Ravaged by arid winds and ultraviolet rays, some bacteria not only survive in the upper atmosphere but might affect weather and climate, according to a study published on 28 January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In one of the first attempts to explore atmospheric microbiology at high altitude, researchers analysed air samples from a six-week hurricane-research mission by NASA in 2010. A total of 314 different types of bacteria were collected in air masses around 10 kilometres above the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the continental United States. Although the scientists trapped only a small amount of material, bacteria accounted for around 20% of all particles — biological and non-biological — a higher proportion than in the near-Earth atmosphere.
“I’m really, really surprised at the high bacterial density at these high altitudes,” says Ulrich Karlson, an environmental microbiologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, who was not involved in the study. “This is clearly a harsh environment.” More
Bucket Falls Midair From Military Aircraft, Damages Vehicles
A five-gallon bucket fell from a military aircraft Wednesday night and damaged vehicles in a Miramar auto repair shop, San Diego Fire Department officials said. The bucket crashed through the roof of Renegade Performance in the 6300 block of Marindustry Drive sometime between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday.
An RV and several vehicles were impacted by the pieces of the ceiling and bucket that shattered when the bucket fell through. The RV sustained the bulk of the damage.
The bucket accidentally fell from an MCAS-based MV2 Osprey at about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Tyler Balzer with MCAS Miramar. Balzer said the bucket was strapped down, but at some point it came loose and fell through the auto repair shop.
The bucket broke apart upon impact, spilling the cleaning solution. The bucket contained "non-toxic environmentally friendly" material, said San Diego Fire Department Battalion Chief Glen Holder. A HazMat team was called to the scene Thursday afternoon as a protocol measure. They have not yet determined if the material is toxic or not. More
Wall of sand hits Western Australia coast
An enormous wall of dust has hit part of Australia as residents brace themselves for a tropical cyclone.
The stunning images of the wild dust storm were captured by tugboat works and aeroplane passengers near the town of Onslow in north-western Australia.
Local reports say the huge swathes of red sand and dust had been picked up by strong winds in the Indian Ocean before being dropped near the town.
The tsunami-like wave of sand could be seen travelling for miles and dwarfed ships out at sea.
Alto Biobio, a community about 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Copahue, is under the heightened alert. The governor and emergency officials in Biobio province met Sunday afternoon to discuss possible scenarios, including establishing a plan in case a mass evacuation is deemed necessary. More
Red alert issued for volcano on Chile-Argentina border
Chilean authorities on Sunday issued a red alert -- the most severe in their warning system -- that the Copahue Volcano, high in the Andes mountains on the border with Argentina, might be poised for a significant eruption.
In a statement, Chile's Geological and Mining Service stressed that no mandatory evacuations have been ordered around the remote volcano, which lies about 280 kilometers southeast (175 miles) of Concepcion, though the closest roads to it are in Argentina. Even though the seismic activity suggests a minor eruption, the agency decided to raise the alert level because it could not rule out a major eruption. The service warned specifically about potentially dangerous mudslides within a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) radius of the crater.
Alto Biobio, a community about 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Copahue, is under the heightened alert. The governor and emergency officials in Biobio province met Sunday afternoon to discuss possible scenarios, including establishing a plan in case a mass evacuation is deemed necessary. More
Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?
The scrubby desert outside Port Augusta, three hours from Adelaide, is not the kind of countryside you see in Australian tourist brochures. The backdrop to an area of coal-fired power stations, lead smelting and mining, the coastal landscape is spiked with saltbush that can live on a trickle of brackish seawater seeping up through the arid soil. Poisonous king brown snakes, redback spiders, the odd kangaroo and emu are seen occasionally, flies constantly. When the local landowners who graze a few sheep here get a chance to sell some of this crummy real estate they jump at it, even for bottom dollar, because the only real natural resource in these parts is sunshine.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that a group of young brains from Europe, Asia and north America, led by a 33-year-old German former Goldman Sachs banker but inspired by a London theatre lighting engineer of 62, have bought a sizeable lump of this unpromising outback territory and built on it an experimental greenhouse which holds the seemingly realistic promise of solving the world's food problems. More
Canadian government 'knew of plans to dump iron into the Pacific'
As controversy mounts over the Guardian's revelations that an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it.
The news combined, with Canadian obstructionism in negotiations over geoengineering at a United Nations biodiversity meeting in Hyderabad, India, has angered international civil society groups, who have announced they are singling out Canada for a recognition of shame at the summit – the Dodo award for actions that harm biodiversity.
They are criticising Canada for being one of "four horsemen of geoengineering", joining Britain, Australia and New Zealand in opposing southern countries' efforts to beef up the existing moratorium on technological fixes for global warming. More
Fukushima Reactor 2 radiation too high for access
Radiation inside the reactor 2 containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has reached a lethal 73 sieverts per hour and any attempt to send robots in to accurately gauge the situation will require them to have greater resistance than currently available, experts said Wednesday.
Exposure to 73 sieverts for a minute would cause nausea and seven minutes would cause death within a month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
The experts said the high radiation level is due to the shallow level of coolant water — 60 cm — in the containment vessel, which Tepco said in January was believed to be 4 meters deep. Tepco has only peeked inside the reactor 2 containment vessel. It has few clues as to the status of reactors 1 and 3, which also suffered meltdowns, because there is no access to their insides.
The utility said the radiation level in the reactor 2 containment vessel is too high for robots, endoscopes and other devices to function properly. Spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said it will be necessary to develop devices resistant to high radiation. More
2008 Sees Fifth Largest Ozone Hole
The ozone hole over Antarctica, which fluctuates in response to temperature and sunlight, grew to the size of North America in a one-day maximum in September that was the fifth largest on record, since NOAA satellite records began in 1979.
The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual maximum on Sept. 12, 2008, stretching over 27 million kilometers, or 10.5 square miles. The area of the ozone hole is calculated as an average of the daily areas for Sept. 21-30 from observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite.
NOAA scientists, who have monitored the ozone layer since 1962, have determined that this year’s ozone hole has passed its seasonal peak for 2008. Data is available at online. More
The world has never seen such freezing heat
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.
This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years. More
Mexico City's 'water monster' nears extinction
MEXICO CITY - Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster - and a Muppet - with its slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile.
The axolotl, also known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish," was a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Against all odds, it survived until now amid Mexico City's urban sprawl in the polluted canals of Lake Xochimilco, now a Venice-style destination for revelers poled along by Mexican gondoliers, or trajineros, in brightly painted party boats.
But scientists are racing to save the footlong salamander from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat and deteriorating water quality. In what may be the final blow, nonnative fish introduced into the canals are eating its lunch - and its babies. More
Potent Greenhouse Gas More Common in Atmosphere Than Estimated
A powerful greenhouse gas is at least four times more prevalent in the atmosphere than previously estimated, according to a team of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
Using new analytical techniques, a team led by Scripps geochemistry professor Ray Weiss made the first atmospheric measurements of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is thousands of times more effective at warming the atmosphere than an equal mass of carbon dioxide.
The amount of the gas in the atmosphere, which could not be detected using previous techniques, had been estimated at less than 1,200 metric tons in 2006. The new research shows the actual amount was 4,200 metric tons. In 2008, about 5,400 metric tons of the gas was in the atmosphere, a quantity that is increasing at about 11 percent per year. More
Melting Swiss glacier yields Neolithic trove
BERN: Some 5,000 years ago a prehistoric person trod high up in what is now the Swiss Alps, wearing goat leather pants, leather shoes and armed with a bow and arrows.
The unremarkable journey through the Schnidejoch pass, a lofty trail 9,000 feet above sea level, has been a boon to scientists but it would never have emerged if climate change were not melting the nearby glacier.
So far, 300 objects dating as far back as the Neolithic or New Stone Age – about 4,000 BC in Europe – to the later Bronze and Iron Ages and the Medieval era have been found in the site’s former icefields.
“We know now that the discoveries on Schnidejoch are the oldest of this kind ever made in the Alps,” said Albert Hafner, an expert with the archaeology service in Bern canton. More
Undetected - Fire in the Nuke Hole
DENVER - A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said yesterday.
The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.
Arellano said the Air Force didn't know a fire had occurred until May 28, when a repair crew went to the launch site - about 40 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo., and 100 miles northeast of Denver - because a trouble signal indicated a wiring problem.
She said the flames never entered the launch tube where the missile stood and there was no danger of a radiation release. More
Race for the Arctic Seabed Arrives in Greenland
It's hardly a town known for high-level, international diplomacy. Indeed, among those who are aware of its existence, the tiny town of Ilulissat, located halfway up the west coast of Greenland, is notable more for its proximity to one of the world's fastest moving glaciers than for playing host to world decision makers.
On Tuesday, though, representatives from five countries bordering on the Arctic Ocean are gathering in the town for three days of discussions on the future of the Arctic. Geologists estimate that, beneath the ice that still covers much of the Arctic Ocean, up to a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves can be found. And recently, the race to claim those reserves has been heating up.
The talks, hosted by Denmark and attended by Norway, Russia, Canada and the United States, are aimed at beginning a process to settle overlapping and competing claims to bits of seabed. Geologists estimate that melting ice will make oil drilling in the Arctic more possible within decades. Finding out who will be profiting from that drilling has become a priority. Participants are also hoping to agree on ways to factor environmental and social concerns into the rush for resources. More
Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century
The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.
The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots -- is an influencing factor for climate on earth.
According to data from Mount Wilson Observatory, UCLA, more than an entire month has passed without a spot. The last time such an event occurred was June of 1913. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749. More
Old Farmers Almanac: Global cooling may be underway
DUBLIN, N.H. — The Old Farmer's Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming.
Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.
"We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes," writes meteorologist and climatologist Joseph D'Aleo. "Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future."
"We say that if human beings were not contributing to global warming, it would become real cold in the next 50 years," Hale said. More
Arctic seabed afire with lava-spewing volcanoes
The Arctic seabed is as explosive geologically as it is politically judging by the "fountains" of gas and molten lava that have been blasting out of underwater volcanoes near the North Pole.
"Explosive volatile discharge has clearly been a widespread, and ongoing, process," according to an international team that sent unmanned probes to the strange fiery world beneath the Arctic ice.
They returned with images and data showing that red-hot magma has been rising from deep inside the earth and blown the tops off dozens of submarine volcanoes, four kilometres below the ice. "Jets or fountains of material were probably blasted one, maybe even two, kilometres up into the water," says geophysicist Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who led the expedition. More
Climate hysterics v heretics in an age of unreason
It has been a tough year for the high priests of global warming in the US. First, NASA had to correct its earlier claim that the hottest year on record in the contiguous US had been 1998, which seemed to prove that global warming was on the march. It was actually 1934. Then it turned out the world's oceans have been growing steadily cooler, not hotter, since 2003. Meanwhile, the winter of 2007 was the coldest in the US in decades, after Al Gore warned us that we were about to see the end of winter as we know it.
In a May issue of Nature, evidence about falling global temperatures forced German climatologists to conclude that the transformation of our planet into a permanent sauna is taking a decade-long hiatus, at least. Then this month came former greenhouse gas alarmist David Evans's article in The Australian, stating that since 1999 evidence has been accumulating that man-made carbon emissions can't be the cause of global warming. By now that evidence, Evans said, has become pretty conclusive.
Yet believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle. More
Giant chunks break off Canadian ice shelf
OTTAWA -- Giant sheets of ice totaling almost 20 square km broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said Tuesday.
Temperatures in large parts of the Arctic have risen far faster than the global average in recent decades, a development that experts say is linked to global warming.
The ice broke away from the shelf on Ward Hunt Island, an small island just off giant Ellesmere Island in one of the northernmost parts of Canada. It was the largest fracture of its kind since the nearby Ayles ice shelf - which measured 25 square miles - broke away in 2005. More
Hurricane Dolly may have shrunk Gulf 'dead zone'
NEW ORLEANS - The oxygen-starved "dead zone" that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico is a bit smaller than predicted this year because Hurricane Dolly stirred up the water, a scientist reported Monday.
There is too little oxygen to support sea life for about 8,000 square miles - just under the record of 8,006 square miles recorded in 2001, said Nancy Rabalais, head of the head of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
"If it were not for Hurricane Dolly, the size of the Dead Zone would have been substantially larger," she said in a news release sent from the consortium's research vessel, the Pelican, as she returned from her annual mapping cruise. Rabalais measures the area during the same period each year. More
Weather Modification: Sometimes it rains cement
MOSCOW - Russian air force planes dropped a 25-kg (55-lb) sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home last week while seeding clouds to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday, according to Russian media.
"A pack of cement used in creating ... good weather in the capital region ... failed to pulverize completely at high altitude and fell on the roof of a house, making a hole about 80-100 cm (2.5-3 ft)," police in Naro-Fominsk told agency RIA-Novosti.
Ahead of major public holidays the Russian Air Force often dispatches up to 12 cargo planes carrying loads of silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and cement powder to seed clouds above Moscow and empty the skies of moisture.
A spokesman for the Russian Air Force refused to comment. More
Painting by numbers: NASA's peculiar thermometer
The story is that the world is heating up - fast. Prominent people at NASA warn us that unless we change our carbon producing ways, civilisation as we know it will come to an end. At the same time, there are new scientific studies showing that the earth is in a 20 year long cooling period. Which view is correct? Temperature data should be simple enough to record and analyze. We all know how to read a thermometer - it is not rocket science.
NASA's published data is largely based on data from the US Historical Climatology Network, which derives its data from thermometer readings across the country. According to USHCN literature, the raw temperature data is adjusted to compensate for geographical movements in the weather stations, changes in the 24-hour start/end times when the readings are taken, and other factors. USHCN is directly affiliated with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories' Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, an organisation which exists primarily to promote the idea of a link between CO2 and climate. More
Soaring energy costs are about to change everything
Back in the 1990s, when Osama bin Laden was still giving interviews to journalists and didn't have a $50-million bounty on his head, one of his biggest grievances with the West was over the price of oil. At around US$30 a barrel, it was far too cheap, he reasoned. The Western world was ruthlessly bleeding the Middle East by not paying fair market value for oil. It had to be stopped. A more appropriate price? At least US$100 a barrel, he once said, maybe even US$200.
Mission accomplished. Suddenly a world in which oil costs well over US$100 a barrel isn't just the dream of a terrorist bent on destroying the United States and its allies. It is reality. Oil recently hit US$135 a barrel, more than double where it was a year ago. And the once unimaginable prospect of oil at US$200 a barrel is gaining currency among the world's most respected oil watchers. More
Solar Storms Are About to Get Ugly
Every 11 years or so, the sun gets a little pissy. It breaks out in a rash of planet-sized sunspots that spew superhot gas, hurling clouds of electrons, protons, and heavier ions toward Earth at nearly the speed of light. These solar windstorms have been known to knock out power grids and TV broadcasts, and our growing reliance on space-based technology makes us more vulnerable than ever to their effects. On January 3, scientists discovered a reverse-polarity sunspot, signaling the start of a new cycle — and some are predicting that at its peak (in about four years) things are gonna get nasty. Here's a forecast for 2012.
Detours Clumps of ions in the atmosphere could interfere with GPS. Satellite signals are slowed by bumping into particles, meaning your trusty navigator may lose its way. Remember those colorful paper things called maps?
Falling Satellites Increased solar energy heats Earth's atmosphere, causing it to expand. That's a drag on low-flying satellites and can even knock them out of orbit. A solar storm in 1979 deposited Skylab on Australia. More
'Black hole' machine could destroy planet
An American and a Spaniard have launched a lawsuit to stop scientists from firing up a machine they fear could destroy not just life on Earth but the planet itself.
International scientists, including dozens from Canada, are about to launch the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27-kilometre long particle accelerator built near Geneva, Switzerland. It will shoot beams of protons at each other in an effort to recreate conditions that resemble what the universe might have been like in the milliseconds after the Big Bang.
In the process, scientists may end up creating miniature black holes -- areas of space that have gravitational pulls so strong that not even light can escape.
The more matter a black hole pulls in, the stronger it becomes. And that's what worries Walter Wagner, the American who is suing to temporarily stop the project. He says the creation of these black holes here on Earth, no matter how small, may unleash a chain reaction that could destroy the planet.
"Eventually, all of Earth would fall into such growing micro-black-holes, converting Earth into a medium-sized black hole, around which would continue to orbit the moon, satellites, and the (International Space Station)," according to court papers Wagner, along with a citizen of Spain, filed in Honolulu. More
NOAA: Coolest Winter Since 2001 for U.S., Globe
The average temperature across both the contiguous U.S. and the globe during climatological winter (December 2007-February 2008) was the coolest since 2001, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In terms of winter precipitation, Pacific storms, bringing heavy precipitation to large parts of the West, produced high snowpack that will provide welcome runoff this spring.
In the contiguous United States, the average winter temperature was 33.2°F (0.6°C), which was 0.2°F (0.1°C) above the 20th century average – yet still ranks as the coolest since 2001. It was the 54th coolest winter since national records began in 1895.
With higher-than-average temperatures in the Northeast and South, the contiguous U.S. winter temperature-related energy demand was approximately 1.7 percent lower than average, based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index. More
Gore unveils $300m climate ads
Al Gore, elevated to almost prophetic status for his campaign against global warming, on Sunday night unveiled a new $300m advertising blitz intended to force a debate on climate change during the presidential elections.
The Nobel laureate, who appeared with his wife, Tipper, on the CBS programme 60 Minutes to roll out the effort, is to donate a share of his personal fortune to the campaign.
The couple told 60 Minutes that they would donate his Nobel prize money as well as a matching sum in addition to their profits from the book and the movie of An Inconvenient Truth. The movie brought the issue of global warming home to millions of Americans, as well as winning Gore an Oscar.
In this latest campaign, Gore said he hopes to persuade Americans that protecting the planet transcends the usual political divisions.
"We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this," he told CBS. "Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can't believe that that's our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival." More
World Bank accused of climate change "hijack"
BANGKOK - Developing countries and environmental groups accused the World Bank on Friday of trying to seize control of the billions of dollars of aid that will be used to tackle climate change in the next four decades.
"The World Bank's foray into climate change has gone down like a lead balloon," Friends of the Earth campaigner Tom Picken said at the end of a major climate change conference in the Thai capital.
"Many countries and civil society have expressed outrage at the World Bank's attempted hijacking of real efforts to fund climate change efforts," he said.
Before they agree to any sort of restrictions on emissions of the greenhouse gases fuelling global warming, poor countries want firm commitments of billions of dollars in aid from their rich counterparts. More
The Mystery of Global Warming's Missing Heat
Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years.
That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them. This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.
In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans. More
Real Death Star Could Strike Earth
A beautiful pinwheel in space might one day blast Earth with death rays, scientists now report.
Unlike the moon-sized Death Star from Star Wars, which has to get close to a planet to blast it, this blazing spiral has the potential to burn worlds from thousands of light-years away.
"I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel," said researcher Peter Tuthill, an astronomer at the University of Sydney.
The fiery pinwheel in space in question has at its heart a pair of hot, luminous stars locked in orbit with each other. As they circle one another, plumes of streaming gas driven from the surfaces of the stars collide in the intervening space, eventually becoming entangled and twisted into a whirling spiral by the orbits of the stars. More
Is Human Tampering Causing Extreme Weather?
Humans tampering with the atmosphere may be causing extreme weather patterns, experts believe.
They believe that the debate on climate change has ignored the role of environmental manipulation projects.
Artificial manipulation of the climate is nothing new. During the Vietnam war, the US military used cloud seeding techniques to cause torrential rain and disrupt enemy supply lines.
Last month, Chinese media reported that the Communist party was preparing 'rain-prevention techniques' to be used on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics this year.
But some experts believe that new technology can enable governments to manipulate climate patterns globally for military use. More
Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on. No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure.
But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously. More
PA community consumed by underground mine fire
Centralia, PA — If you were driving north on route 61 in the heart of the Anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania, you may have come across a detour of 61 at the top of a hill in a community called Ashland. Thinking nothing of it you would have followed the detour signs that took you around some possible road construction or a bridge being worked on. You're then reconnected with Rt. 61 again.
Many have followed this path in recent years with little knowledge of the on going story of this little detour and the town that no longer is really a town. If you had disregarded the detour signs and make the right that 61 north takes through Ashland your first clue that something isn't right would be the abrupt end to route 61 as it once was. More
Global Warming Hype Sparks ‘Eco-Anxiety’ Syndrome
NORTH CAROLINA — Former Vice President Al Gore isn’t the only one concerned about the environment, as more and more people are starting to become aware of global warming and experiencing ‘eco-anxiety.’
“People are afraid of the future, they’re afraid of what’s going to happen,” said licensed therapist Melissa Pickett, saying of one patient, “She brought up during the course of our session that she had just read an article about the polar bears and the loss of habitat and she started crying … she said ‘I just don’t understand this.’”
Pickett said fears about the environment are sending some people into a panic. The mental health disorder has grown enough to gain the ‘eco-anxiety’ name.
“It’s causing them to feel anxiety, it’s causing them to feel depression, it’s causing them to have insomnia,” said general practitioner Cynthia Knudsen of patients. More
Disabled Spy Satellite Threatens Earth
A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or early March, government officials said Saturday.
The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lost power, or under what circumstances.
"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, when asked about the situation after it was disclosed by other officials. "Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause." More
Ice returns as Greenland temps plummet
While the rest of Europe is debating the prospects of global warming during an unseasonably mild winter, a brutal cold snap is raging across the semi-autonomous nation of Greenland.
On Disko Bay in western Greenland, where a number of prominent world leaders have visited in recent years to get a first-hand impression of climate change, temperatures have dropped so drastically that the water has frozen over for the first time in a decade.
'The ice is up to 50cm thick,' said Henrik Matthiesen, an employee at Denmark's Meteorological Institute who has also sailed the Greenlandic coastline for the Royal Arctic Line. 'We've had loads of northerly winds since Christmas which has made the area miserably cold.' Matthiesen suggested the cold weather marked a return to the frigid temperatures common a decade ago. More
Al Gore's next act: Planet-saving
It's lunchtime on Sand Hill Road, and Al Gore wants answers. "How does the efficiency decline with latitude?" he asks. "What size community could be served by one plant? If a manufacturer like GE wanted to make smaller turbines, would the technology support a smaller scale?"
After loading his plate with Chinese food from a buffet, Gore is firing detailed questions at the management team of Ausra, a Kleiner-backed company in Palo Alto whose technology uses mirrors the width of a flatbed truck that focus the sun's energy to generate electricity.
Once Gore is satisfied -- sunlight lags north of South Dakota, an Ausra plant can serve 120,000 homes, and yes, smaller turbines will work fine -- he shifts from inquisitor to fixer. He was chatting with California Senator Barbara Boxer "on the way over," he reports, and he isn't optimistic that Congress will extend the tax credits Ausra has been relying on. On the upside, he offers on the spot to organize a summit highlighting the company's solar thermal technology to educate lawmakers and other policymakers on its potential. He also thinks a powwow at General Electric (Charts, Fortune 500) would be beneficial, even though Ausra is a tiny customer. More
San Diego , Calif. - There is much talk regarding how eco friendly that Prius Hybrid cars are and how the owners are all of the environmentally sensitive folks out to save all mankind.
On Sunday around 2:20 p.m., a correspondant witnessed one of those "environmentally sensitive" folk dump her Christmas tree on Fiesta Island.
Ironically, if she would have taken the time to look up tree collection sites she would have found a designated collection point about 1/8 mile from where she dumped it on Fiesta Island.
The charcoal gray Prius was seen leaving the scene shortly thereafter, but not before being photographed..
End of the world is business as usual for some
People forecasting the imminent end of the world used to walk through city streets wearing sandwich boards; today's doomsayers are more likely to be wearing lab coats and talking about climate change. Apocalyptic themes, which used to be the preserve of religious groups, now inform our secular culture.
Film-maker Ben Anthony was afforded entry to the Strong City commune in New Mexico where Michael Travesser, a 66-year-old former sailor previously known as Wayne Bent, modestly calls himself the Son of God. He has spent the past 20 years preparing his 56 devoted disciples for doomsday.
When Travesser announced that the world would end at midnight on October 31, 2007, his followers were exhilarated. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the wee problem with this prophecy. The messianic charlatan got it spectacularly wrong.
This prediction game has been going on for aeons. About two centuries after Christ, some zealots in Jerusalem were convinced the apocalyptic day was dawning. They climbed to the top of Masada - a place where Jewish martyrs had once committed suicide rather than submit to the enemy - and awaited the end. Well, it came. They all died of sunstroke. More
A Look at Ancient Earth
It is useful to look at what fell down the memory hole and see what is in there. Sometimes you find things you are not supposed to know.
This is from a series in 2004:
"The planet during the Cretaceous was very different than it is today," says Adina Paytan, an assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences at Stanford and the first author of the paper.
"Not only were dinosaurs present, but the climate was extremely warm and global sea levels were significantly higher than they are today. Understanding how the atmosphere, land and ocean system interacted while in this global greenhouse mode is very relevant if we want to understand the fate of our future climate."
"This was a time when there were no glaciers in either the Arctic or Antarctic," says Miriam Kastner, a professor of earth sciences at UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a co-principal investigator of the study. More
The Climate Engineers
Beyond the security checkpoint at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, a small group gathered in November for a conference on the innocuous topic of “managing solar radiation.” The real subject was much bigger: how to save the planet from the effects of global warming. There was little talk among the two dozen scientists and other specialists about carbon taxes, alternative energy sources, or the other usual remedies. Many of the scientists were impatient with such schemes. Some were simply contemptuous of calls for international cooperation and the policies and lifestyle changes needed to curb greenhouse-gas emissions; others had concluded that the world’s politicians and bureaucrats are not up to the job of agreeing on such reforms or that global warming will come more rapidly, and with more catastrophic consequences, than many models predict. Now, they believe, it is time to consider radical measures: a technological quick fix for global warming.
“Mitigation is not happening and is not going to happen,” physicist Lowell Wood declared at the NASA conference.
Wood advanced several ideas to “fix” the earth’s climate, including building up Arctic sea ice to make it function like a planetary air conditioner to “suck heat in from the midlatitude heat bath.” A “surprisingly practical” way of achieving this, he said, would be to use large artillery pieces to shoot as much as a million tons of highly reflective sulfate aerosols or specially engineered nanoparticles into the Arctic stratosphere to deflect the sun’s rays. More
Weather Channel Founder Calls Global Warming A 'Scam'
When John Coleman founded The Weather Channel in the early 1980's, he probably never could have guessed that TWC would be promoting the theory of global warming in the 2000's.
That's because Coleman doesn't believe in global warming, or so-called climate change. In a November 7 blog entry on icecap.us, Coleman makes it clear that he does not oppose environmentalism, but he says that global warming is a "non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam."
"I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct," Coleman wrote.
"The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril." More
SoCal fires blamed on global warming
Get used to it.
That's what many climate experts are saying about catastrophic wildfires, including the dozen that have turned San Diego County into a disaster zone for the past week.
They believe such blazes will become a regular part of life in Southern California because global warming is intensifying nature's cycles by lengthening fire seasons and prolonging droughts in parts of the West. The consequences would be more deaths, more houses consumed by flames and more budgets busted by firefighting costs.
“The fires we just experienced are some of the first effects we are feeling from climate change,” said Walter Oechel, a biology professor at San Diego State University who had to evacuate his home in Jamul last week. More
Global Warming Causing African Floods
Twenty-two African countries are experiencing their worst wet seasons in decades, and climate experts say that global warming is to blame.
Devastating rains and flash floods have affected 1.5 million people across the continent, killing at least 300 since early summer.
West Africa has seen its most severe floods in years, as torrents swamped the Democratic Republic of the Congo's capital of Kinshasa last week, killing 30 people in less than 24 hours.
In northern Ghana, over 300,000 people have been uprooted by devastating downpours. More
Greenland ice yields hope on climate
An international team of scientists, drilling deep into the ice layers of Greenland, has found DNA from ancient spiders and trees, evidence that suggests the frozen shield covering the immense island survived the earth's last period of global warming.
The findings, published today in the journal Science, indicate Greenland's ice may be less susceptible to the massive meltdown predicted by computer models of climate change, the article's main author said in an interview.
"If our data is correct, and I believe it is, then this means the southern Greenland ice cap is more stable than previously thought," said Eske Willerslev, research leader and professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Copenhagen. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming. They may withstand rising temperatures."
A painstaking analysis of surviving genetic fragments locked in the ice of southern Greenland shows that somewhere between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago, the world's largest island had a climate much like that of Northern New England, the researchers said. Butterflies fluttered over lush meadows interspersed with stands of pine, spruce, and alder. More
Polar Bear-Grizzly Hybrid Discovered
DNA analysis has confirmed that a bear shot in the Canadian Arctic last month is a half-polar bear, half-grizzly hybrid. While the two bear species have interbred in zoos, this is the first evidence of a wild polar bear-grizzly offspring.
Jim Martell (pictured at left), a 65-year-old hunter from Idaho, shot the bear April 16 on the southern tip of Banks Island (see Northwest Territories map), the CanWest News Service reports.
Wildlife officials seized the bear after noticing its white fur was interspersed with brown patches. It also had long claws, a concave facial profile, and a humped back, which are characteristic of a grizzly.
Now the genetic tests have confirmed that the hybrid's father was a grizzly and its mother was a polar bear. More
Shot may be inadvertently boosting superbugs
CHICAGO, IL - A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children is having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections.
On Monday, doctors reported discovering the first such germ that is resistant to all drugs approved to treat childhood ear infections. Nine toddlers in Rochester, N.Y., have had the germ and researchers say it may be turning up elsewhere, too.
It is a strain of strep bacteria not included in pneumococcal vaccine, Wyeth's Prevnar, which came on the market in 2000. It is recommended for children under age 2. More
Two-thirds of the world's polar bears dead by 2050
WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 — and the entire population gone from Alaska — because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday.
Only in northern Canada and northwestern Greenland are polar bears expected to survive through the end of the century, said the U.S. Geological Survey.
USGS projects that polar bears during the next half-century will lose 42 percent of the Arctic range they need to live in during summer in the Polar Basin when they hunt and breed. A polar bear's life usually lasts about 30 years.
Polar bears depend on sea ice as a platform for hunting seals, which is their primary food. They rarely catch seals on land or in open water. But the sea ice is decreasing due to climate change — and the latest forecasts of how much they are shrinking are, if anything, an underestimate, scientists said. More
Cosmic blast may have killed off megafauna
Wooly mammoths, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats, and dozens of other species of megafauna may have become extinct when a disintegrating comet or asteroid exploded over North America with the force of millions of hydrogen bombs, according to research by an international team of scientists.
The blast, which the researchers believe occurred 12,900 years ago, may have also doomed a mysterious early human culture, known as Clovis people, while triggering a planetwide cool-down that wiped out the plant species that sustained many outsize Ice Age beasts, according to research published online yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists have long speculated that an impact from a comet or asteroid may have wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But the notion of an extraterrestrial object wreaking such havoc during human times is a bit unnerving even to researchers. More
Global warming leaves Russians cold
More than 50% of Russians asked about global warming say they haven't heard much about it, according to a BBC World Service poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.
The Russian media focus on what seem to be more pressing problems.
There are burning social issues, there's uncertainty about the security, there's a falling-out with the West, and, crucially, it is a very cold country.
A meteorologist in Arkhangelsk, in the north of Russia, once told me: "I know global warming is a problem, but I would welcome a bit of warmth up here. Then I could grow my own tomatoes." More
Climate change may help rainforests
Climate change may lead to lush growth rather than catastrophic tree loss in the Amazonian forests, researchers from the US and Brazil have found. A study, in the journal Science, found that reduced rainfall had led to greener forests, possibly because sunlight levels are higher when there are fewer rainclouds.
But scientists cautioned that while the finding raises hopes for the survival of the forests, there are still serious threats.
Climate models have suggested that the forests will suffer as the region becomes drier and will release huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. More
Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt
Ilulissat, Greenland – The July 27-29 2007 U.S. Senate trip to Greenland to investigate fears of a glacier meltdown revealed an Arctic land where current climatic conditions are neither alarming nor linked to a rise in man-made carbon dioxide emissions, according to many of the latest peer-reviewed scientific findings. Recent research has found that Greenland has been warming since the 1880's, but since 1955, temperature averages at Greenland stations have been colder than the period between 1881-1955.
A recent study concluded Greenland was as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's and the rate of warming from 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than the warming from 1995-2005. One 2005 study found Greenland gaining ice in the interior higher elevations and thinning ice at the lower elevations. In addition, the often media promoted fears of Greenland's ice completely melting and a subsequent catastrophic sea level rise are directly at odds with the latest scientific studies. These studies suggest that the biggest perceived threat to Greenland's glaciers may be contained in unproven computer models predicting a future catastrophic melt. More
Biologist searches for clues to missing bees
In the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, many miles from the nearest town, lie several small, multicolored plastic bowls full of water and dish soap.
They’re science. Big science. Bob Minckley, adjunct professor of biology, is trying to get a handle on a problem that threatens the multibillion-dollar a year American agricultural system: Why are the honeybees disappearing?
“It’s crazy,” says Minckley. “Here’s this incredibly important linchpin to agriculture, and we have no good data on how its population changes from year to year or place to place. Honeybees are dying and we don’t even know what the scope of the problem is. We don’t know if the problem has occurred in the past. We can’t go back to look at records because we didn’t take any. And the honeybee is the best-studied bee. There are 20,000 other species we barely know exist.” More
Vatican trades Carbon Credit Indulgences
Leave it to the Vatican to place itself on the wrong side of yet another great moral divide.
In 1517 Pope Leo X offered indulgences in exchange for donations to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica.
This July, the Holy See announced it would become the first fully green sovereign state by accepting a donation of "carbon credits" from a subsidiary of Planktos, a Foster City firm hoping to profit from the global market in CO2 offsets — the scheme whereby companies, individuals, and now nations can buy forgiveness for their global warming sins.
So just like Leo X's absolution peddling scheme a half-millennium ago, the pontiff has set his church up to look morally ridiculous. More
Summer Cancelled in Norway
As Southern Norway woke up to yet another day of heavy, leaden skies and showers, a state meteorologist threw even more cold water on hopes the sun will finally come out and stay for a while.
"If we're to get any better summer weather, something dramatic will have to happen," Pål Evensen of the state Meteorologic Institute told newspaper Aften on Monday, adding that he can see "no sign" of any warmer or drier weather in the weeks ahead.
Evensen noted that he can only predict a week in advance, but he's also working with long-term forecasts and he has no reason to think that August weather will be any better than June or July, both of which been virtual washouts. The wettest summer on record thus looks likely to continue. More
Global warming blamed for vanishing lake
SANTIAGO, Chile - Experts from Chile’s National Forestry Service (CONAF) and the Valdivia Center for Scientific Studies (Cecs) this week linked the May disappearance of a glacial lake in far southern Chile to global warming. The team made these claims after a series of visits to the site of the lost lake starting Thursday, and noted there is a possibility that the lake could reform.
Equipped with state-of-the-art laser scanners, personnel from both organizations measured the depth of neighboring lakes in order to digitally reconstruct the region’s topography. The study group wanted to take detailed photographs of lake site itself, speculating that this data would be crucial in determining the cause of the disappearance and whether or not the lake could refill. More
Driver fined for using biofuel
Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He bought soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, spending about 30 percent more than diesel would cost.
His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes. He has been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.
To legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond.
Teixeira is one of a growing number of fuel-it-yourselfers -- backyard brewers who recycle restaurant grease or make moonshine for their car tanks. They do it to save money, reduce pollution or thumb their noses at oil sheiks. More
"Eco Friendly" Bulbs are Toxic
While large-scale marketing efforts tout cost savings of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), few are explaining the real cost -- to the environment and to individuals -- of broken or discarded CFLs.
One consumer has learned that accidentally breaking a CFL could cost her more than $2,000. According to the newspaper Ellsworth American, Brandy Bridges of Prospect, Maine, has been given a conservative quote of $2,000 for toxic cleanup of one CFL broken in her home.
Bridges broke the CFL as she was installing it in her daughter's bedroom. Because Bridges knew that CFLs contain hazardous materials, she called Home Depot for advice on how to clean up the broken bulb. The store directed her to a Poison Control hotline, which advised her to call the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). More
Global Warming beer available in Greenland
From rising sea levels to stifling heat waves, the effects of global warming are shaping up to be a worldwide buzz kill.
But brewers in Greenland seem to be going with the flow, having found a new use for one of their homeland's fastest growing—but least celebrated—natural resources: melted Arctic ice.
A team of canny entrepreneurs has unveiled Greenland Beer, an ale brewed with water melted from Greenland's ice cap, at a public tasting in Copenhagen, Denmark.
And if reaction from tipplers at the tasting was any indication, the brewers may be on to something. Electrician Flemming Larsen described the ale to the Associated Press as "smooth, soft, but not bitter … different from most other beer."
"Maybe that is because it's ice-cap water," he said. More
Paying to absolve the sin of emissions
When Cal Broomhead drove to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone last summer on vacation, he felt pretty bad about the carbon dioxide emissions from his Volvo station wagon.
So he paid $100 to a company that then subsidized a wind energy project that generates electricity without producing greenhouses gases. Broomhead was told his contribution made up for a year of driving about 12,000 miles as well as his household's annual use of electricity and natural gas.
In the new vernacular, Broomhead and his family were "carbon neutral."
"It makes me feel good. It means I'm walking my talk," he said. More
John Travolta's Carbon Footprint
His serious aviation habit means he is hardly the best person to lecture others on the environment. But John Travolta went ahead and did it anyway.
The 53-year-old actor, a passionate pilot, encouraged his fans to "do their bit" to tackle global warming.
But although he readily admitted: "I fly jets", he failed to mention he actually owns five, along with his own private runway.
Clocking up at least 30,000 flying miles in the past 12 months means he has produced an estimated 800 tons of carbon emissions – nearly 100 times the average Briton's tally.
Travolta made his comments this week at the British premiere of his movie, Wild Hogs.
He spoke of the importance of helping the environment by using "alternative methods of fuel" – after driving down the red carpet on a Harley Davidson. More
GLOBAL WARMING - Not the End of the World
How bad is climate change really? Are catastrophic floods and terrible droughts headed our way? Despite widespread fears of a greenhouse hell, the latest computer simulations are delivering far less dramatic predictions about tomorrow's climate.
Svante Arrhenius, the father of the greenhouse effect, would be called a heretic today. Far from issuing the sort of dire predictions about climate change which are common nowadays, the Swedish physicist dared to predict a paradise on earth for humans when he announced, in April 1896, that temperatures were rising -- and that it would be a blessing for all.
Arrhenius, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, calculated that the release of carbon dioxide -- or carbonic acid as it was then known -- through burning coal, oil and natural gas would lead to a significant rise in temperatures worldwide. But, he argued, "by the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates," potentially making poor harvests and famine a thing of the past. More
Climate change fruitful for fungi
Fungus enthusiast Edward Gange amassed 52,000 sightings of mushroom and toadstools during walks around Salisbury over a 50-year period.
Analysis by his son Alan, published in the journal Science, shows some fungi have started to fruit twice a year.
It is among the first studies to show a biological impact of warming in autumn.
One of the changes Professor Gange turned up was that the autumnal fruiting period has expanded. Some mushrooms and toadstools are emerging earlier each year, others later, which he thinks are responses to warmer temperatures and higher rainfall.
More spectacularly, he found that more than one third of the species recorded have started to fruit twice per year. There was no record of this before 1976; but since then, 120 species have shown an additional fruiting in spring. More
Polar Explorers Turned Back by Cold
A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite. The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.
"Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey," said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.The ritual in 2005 was led by Daniel Petru Corogeanu, 31, the priest at the Holy Trinity convent in Tanacu village.
Bancroft, 51, became the first woman to cross the North Pole on a 1986 expedition. She and Arnesen, 53, of Oslo, Norway, were the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001.
It was quite a bit colder, Atwood said, then Bancroft and Arnesen had expected. One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times, Atwood said. More
"Tens of billions" needed to combat global warming
UNITED NATIONS — An international panel of scientists presented the United Nations with a sweeping, detailed plan on Tuesday to combat climate change — a challenge, it said, "to which civilization must rise."
Failure would produce a turbulent 21st century of weather extremes, spreading drought and disease, expanding oceans and displaced coastal populations, it said.
"The increasing numbers of environmental refugees as sea levels rise and storm surges increase will be in the tens of millions," panel co-chair Rosina Bierbaum, a University of Michigan ecologist, told reporters here.. More
Mars Data Suggests Global Warming on That Planet
Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human-induced—cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory.
Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.. More
Allegre's second thoughts on Global Warming
Claude Allegre, one of France's leading socialists and among her most celebrated scientists, was among the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of global warming.
"By burning fossil fuels, man increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which, for example, has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Dr. Allegre, a renowned geochemist, wrote 20 years ago in Cles pour la geologie.." Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity," a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming's "potential risks are very great" and demanding a new caring ethic that recognizes the globe's fragility in order to stave off "spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse." More
The Great Global Warming Swindle
Are you green? How many flights have you taken in the last year? Feeling guilty about all those unnecessary car journeys? Well, maybe there's no need to feel bad.
According to a group of scientists brought together by documentary-maker Martin Durkin, if the planet is heating up, it isn't your fault and there's nothing you can do about it.
We've almost begun to take it for granted that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. But just as the environmental lobby think they've got our attention, a group of naysayers have emerged to slay the whole premise of global warming. More
Russian Academic: CO2 not to blame for global warming
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases emitted through human activities, believed by scientists to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, are an effect rather than the cause of global warming, a prominent Russian scientist said Monday.
Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory, said global warming stems from an increase in the sun's activity. His view contradicts the international scientific consensus that climate change is attributable to the emission of greenhouse gases generated by industrial activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
"Global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy - almost throughout the last century - growth in its intensity," Abdusamatov told RIA Novosti in an interview. More
Global Warming boost to Glaciers
Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century.
They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.
The findings are significant, because temperature and rain and snow trends in the area impact on water availability for more than 50 million Pakistanis. More
Scientists say Arctic once was tropical
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Scientists have found what might have been the ideal ancient vacation hotspot with a 74-degree Fahrenheit average temperature, alligator ancestors and palm trees. It's smack in the middle of the Arctic.
First-of-its-kind core samples dug up from deep beneath the Arctic Ocean floor show that 55 million years ago an area near the North Pole was practically a subtropical paradise, three new studies show.
"It probably was (a tropical paradise) but the mosquitoes were probably the size of your head," said Yale geology professor Mark Pagani, a study co-author. More
New Model Predicts More Intense Solar Storms Ahead
A new computer model which accurately simulates the Sun’s past few solar cycles predicts that the next cycle will be up to 50 percent stronger than its predecessor and begin a year later than expected, scientists announced Monday.
The model offers a possible solution to the 150-year-old mystery of what’s behind the Sun’s approximately 11-year cycle of activity. It could also lead to better planning for space weather, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can disrupt navigation and power systems and threaten astronauts in space. More
Gloom! Doom! Europe to experience Ice Age
The ocean current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate is stuttering, raising fears that it might fail entirely and plunge the continent into a mini ice age.
The dramatic finding comes from a study of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which found a 30% reduction in the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream.
The changes are too big to be explained by chance, co-author Stuart Cunningham told New Scientist from a research ship off the Canary Islands, where he is collecting more data. "We think the findings are robust." More
Or global warming will melt all the glaciers
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, December 2, 2005 (ENS) - Climate change tops the list of environmental challenges facing Europe, according to a State of the Environment report issued Tuesday by the European Environment Agency. Policy makers, businesses and individuals must act now or pay a heavy price later, the report warns.
"Without effective action over several decades, global warming will see ice sheets melting in the north and the spread of deserts from the south. The continent's population could effectively become concentrated in the center." says Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA. More
See also Here
A spokesman for a Martian environmentalist group blamed the global warming of that planet on human activity.
"This ongoing assault of the planet with human manufactured rovers,
orbiters and probes is beginning to take its toll", said Edgar Barsoom,
spokesman for the environmental activist group Redpeace. "Mars, being
so much smaller than Earth, each rover is like a huge fleet of SUVs
turned loose on Martian soil."