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Water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across United States

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by American Geophysical Union | News | Comments

The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new study.

Backward-moving glacier helps scientists explain glacial earthquakes

June 26, 2015 7:21 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | Videos | Comments

The relentless flow of a glacier may seem unstoppable, but a team of researchers has shown that...

Analyzing ocean mixing reveals insight on climate

June 25, 2015 1:30 pm | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a computer model that clarifies the...

Study: Weather patterns that bring heatwaves happening more

June 24, 2015 2:06 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Daily weather patterns have changed in recent decades, making eastern North America, Europe and...

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Climate change won’t reduce winter deaths

June 19, 2015 9:12 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

In a study that contradicts the received wisdom on health impacts of climate change, scientists say that we shouldn’t expect substantial reduction in winter deaths as a result of global warming. This new research is published in Environmental Research Letters.

A computer simulation reveals how Langrangian coherent structures can serve as temporary "tracer patterns" for the growth of atmospheric rivers. Courtesy of Vicente Perez-Munuzuri/U. Santiago de Compostela

How atmospheric rivers form

June 12, 2015 3:05 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

If you want to assign blame on an overcast day, then cast your eyes on the tropics. Water vapor originating is transported to midlatitudes on long filaments of flowing air that intermittently travel across the world’s oceans. When these airy tendrils make landfall, they can cause severe floods. Yet despite the importance of these “atmospheric rivers” for global water and heat cycles, the mechanism behind their formation is a mystery.

Variations in atmospheric oxygen levels shaped Earth’s climate

June 11, 2015 4:37 pm | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Variations in the amount of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere significantly altered global climate throughout the planet's history. Efforts to reconstruct past climates must include this previously overlooked factor, a new Univ. of Michigan-led study concludes. Oxygen currently comprises about 21% of Earth's atmosphere by volume but has varied between 10% and 35% over the past 541 million years.

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Ocean helps unravel mysteries of cloud formation

June 10, 2015 8:17 am | by Libby Dowdall, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

In a recently published study, a research team peels back the mysteries of the structures of tiny aerosol particles at the surface of the ocean. The work shows how the particles' chemical composition influences their abilities to take in moisture from the air, which indicates whether the particle will help to form a cloud, a key to many basic problems in climate prediction.

Warmer, lower-oxygen oceans will shift marine habitats

June 5, 2015 10:20 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Modern mountain climbers typically carry tanks of oxygen to help them reach the summit. It’s the combination of physical exertion and lack of oxygen at high altitudes that creates one of the biggest challenges for mountaineers. Univ. of Washington researchers and collaborators have found that the same principle will apply to marine species under global warming.

U.N. says China to make pledge for climate treaty this month

June 5, 2015 12:03 am | by Cara Anna, Associated Press | News | Comments

China is expected this month to formally submit its pledge for a global climate treaty that countries are seeking to finalize by December, the United Nations' top adviser on climate change said Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter to Ban Ki-moon last week about the issue, U.N. assistant secretary-general Janos Pasztor told The Associated Press. Pasztor did not give details.

A check on runaway lake drainage

June 4, 2015 7:34 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Each summer, Greenland’s ice sheet begins to melt. Pockets of melting ice form hundreds of large, “supraglacial” lakes on the surface of the ice. Many of these lakes drain through cracks and crevasses in the ice sheet, creating a liquid layer over which massive chunks of ice can slide. This natural conveyor belt can speed ice toward the coast, where it eventually falls off into the sea.

Paleo study shows how elevation may affect evolution

June 3, 2015 7:56 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Paleontologists have documented how dramatic shifts in climate have led to dramatic shifts in evolution. One such event, the Grande Coupure, was a wipeout of many European mammal species 33.9 million years ago when global temperatures and precipitation declined sharply. What has been puzzling is that during the same transition between the Eocene and Oligocene periods, North American mammals fared much better.

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Greenhouse gas-caused warming felt in just months

June 2, 2015 12:38 pm | by Carnegie Institution | News | Comments

The heat generated by burning a fossil fuel is surpassed within a few months by the warming caused by the release of its carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to new work. The release of CO2 into the atmosphere contributes to the trapping of heat that would otherwise be emitted into outer space.

Ancient algae found deep in tropical glacier

June 1, 2015 11:04 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

The remains of tiny creatures found deep inside a mountaintop glacier in Peru are clues to the local landscape more than a millennium ago, according to a new study. The unexpected discovery of diatoms, a type of algae, in ice cores pulled from the Quelccaya Summit Dome Glacier demonstrate that freshwater lakes or wetlands that currently exist at high elevations on or near the mountain were also there in earlier times.

Study shows influence on climate of fresh water during last Ice Age

May 29, 2015 8:26 am | by Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study shows how huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age had an unexpected effect—they increased the production of methane in the tropical wetlands. Usually increases in methane levels are linked to warming in the Northern Hemisphere, but scientists have identified rapid increases in methane during particularly cold intervals.

New technique to understand cloud behavior

May 28, 2015 7:53 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 km apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists are collecting 3-D data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before. The photos allow the team to measure how fast the clouds rise, which in turn can shed light on a wide range of areas, ranging from lightning rates to extreme precipitation to the ozone hole.

Study: Europeans to suffer more ragweed with global warming

May 25, 2015 12:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global warming will bring much more sneezing and wheezing to Europe by mid-century, a new study says. Ragweed pollen levels are likely to quadruple for much of Europe because warmer temperatures will allow the plants to take root more, and carbon dioxide will make them grow more. Other factors not related to man-made climate change will also contribute.

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Natural gas versus diesel

May 20, 2015 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Some major trucking companies are turning to natural gas to fuel their fleets, and to earn “green” credit among customers. But celebrating lower emissions could be premature. Researchers have found that converting heavy-duty trucks to run on natural gas could lead to negative climate impacts if steps are not taken to improve engine efficiency and reduce methane emissions from the fuel’s supply chain.

Study backs seaweed’s carbon capture potential

May 19, 2015 8:30 am | by Univ. of Technology, Sydney | News | Comments

There are great hopes for the potential of coastal plants and seaweeds to store carbon and help counter the effects of climate change and a new study is backing that potential. Scientists have carried out the first investigation of how a diverse range of coastal plants and seaweed can contribute to "blue carbon" stocks, the carbon in leaves, sediments and roots that's naturally captured, or sequestered, by plants in coastal habitats.

Future for warming U.S.: Not just the heat but the humanity

May 18, 2015 12:11 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The combination of global warming and shifting population means that by mid-century, there will be a huge increase in the number of Americans sweating through days that are extremely hot, a new study says. People are migrating into areas—especially in the South—where the heat is likely to increase more, said the authors of a study published Monday by Nature Climate Change.

How rivers regulate global carbon cycle

May 14, 2015 10:01 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world's river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean.

Climate scientists confirm elusive tropospheric hot spot

May 14, 2015 9:48 am | by Univ. of New South Wales | News | Comments

Researchers have published results in Environmental Research Letters confirming strong warming in the upper troposphere, known colloquially as the tropospheric hot spot. The hot has been long expected as part of global warming theory and appears in many global climate models.

Climate signal in global distribution of copper deposits

May 11, 2015 11:47 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Climate helps drive the erosion process that exposes economically valuable copper deposits and shapes the pattern of their global distribution, according to a new study. Nearly three-quarters of the world's copper production comes from large deposits that form about 2 km beneath the Earth's surface, known as porphyry copper deposits.

Measuring “internal waves” that help regulate climate

May 7, 2015 8:42 am | by Mark Floyd, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Once a day, a wave as tall as the Empire State Building and as much as a hundred miles wide forms in the waters between Taiwan and the Philippines and rolls across the South China Sea. But on the surface, it is hardly noticed. These daily monstrosities are called “internal waves” because they are beneath the ocean surface and though scientists have known about them for years, they weren’t really sure how significant they were.

UN climate chief says technology has changed carbon politics

May 7, 2015 4:04 am | by Rod Mcguirk, Associated Press | News | Comments

Technological advances that have reduced prices and improved efficiency of renewable energy have helped transform the politics around climate change since 2009 when an attempt to forge a global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions crashed in Copenhagen, the United Nations climate chief said Thursday.

New climate projections paint bleak future for tropical coral reefs

May 5, 2015 8:50 am | by Vasyl Kacapyr, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

As greater atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts sea temperatures, tropical corals face a bleak future. New climate model projections show that conditions are likely to increase the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks, reports a team of researchers led by Cornell Univ. scientists.

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

May 1, 2015 9:09 am | by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton Univ. researchers who came to one overall conclusion: The southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.

Study: Global warming to push 1 in 13 species to extinction

April 30, 2015 2:04 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global warming will eventually push 1 out of every 13 species on Earth into extinction, a new study projects. It won't quite be as bad in North America, where only 1 in 20 species will be killed off because of climate change or Europe where the extinction rate is nearly as small. But in South America, that forecasted heat-caused extinction rate soars to 23%, the worst for any continent.

Factors Impact Fate of Sinking Carbon

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

The researchers found that sinking particles of stressed and dying phytoplankton release chemicals that have a jolting, steroid-like effect on marine bacteria feeding on the particles. The chemicals juice up the bacteria’s metabolism causing them to more rapidly convert organic carbon in the particles back into CO2 before they can sink to the deep ocean.

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