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How carbon is stored in the Southern Ocean

July 30, 2012 10:04 am | by Huw Morgan | News | Comments

The Southern Ocean is an important carbon sink. Around 40% of the annual global carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by the world’s oceans enter through this region. A team of British and Australian scientists has recently discovered how this carbon is drawn down from the surface of the Southern Ocean to the deep waters beneath.

NASA: Strange and sudden massive melt in Greenland

July 24, 2012 3:36 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, and Maria-José Viñas, NASA Earth Science News Team | News | Comments

Not long after news of a major iceberg break near the massive Petermann Glacier broke, scientists with NASA say there's been a freak event in Greenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting. The melting area went from 40% of the ice sheet to 97%. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past 30 years was about 55%.

GPS can now measure ice melt

July 24, 2012 8:07 am | News | Comments

Researchers have found a way to use GPS to measure short-term changes in the rate of ice loss on Greenland—and reveal a surprising link between the ice and the atmosphere above it. The study hints at the potential for GPS to detect many consequences of climate change, including ice loss, the uplift of bedrock, changes in air pressure—and perhaps even sea level rise.


New carbon accounting method to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use

July 18, 2012 7:27 pm | News | Comments

In 2011, corn was planted on more than 92 million acres in the U.S. Because corn is a nitrogen-loving plant, farmers must use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to their fields every year to achieve their crop target. However, nitrogen is hard to contain and can negatively affect the environment. Researchers have come up with a solution, however, and it’s tied to the relationship between nitrates and nitrous oxide emissions.

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

July 17, 2012 6:08 am | News | Comments

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

Nuclear weapons' surprising contribution to climate science

July 13, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

Nuclear weapons testing may at first glance appear to have little connection with climate change research. But key Cold War research laboratories and the science used to track radioactivity and model nuclear bomb blasts have today been repurposed by climate scientists.

Study: Natural gas “much-needed tool” in climate battle

July 10, 2012 2:54 pm | News | Comments

The conclusion of a new study by Cornell University Professor Lawrence M. Cathles shows that, no matter the timeframe considered, substituting natural gas energy for all coal and some oil production provides about 40% of the global warming benefit that a complete switch to low-carbon sources would deliver. And, it would be a far quicker option than going to sources like nuclear or solar.

U.S. scientist: Ocean acidity major threat to reefs

July 10, 2012 3:52 am | by Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press | News | Comments

On Monday, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that oceans' rising acid levels have emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs. Acid acts as the "osteoporosis of the sea,” he said, and threatens everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods.


Study: Computing advances vital to sustainability efforts

June 29, 2012 8:17 am | News | Comments

Innovation in computing will be essential to finding real-world solutions to sustainability challenges. The immense scale, numerous interconnected effects of actions over time, and diverse scope of these challenges require the ability to collect, structure, and analyze vast amounts of data.

Remote Siberian lake holds clues to high latitude climate change

June 25, 2012 9:31 am | News | Comments

After analyzing the longest sediment cores ever retrieved on land, obtained from beneath remote, ice-covered Lake El'gygytgyn ("Lake E") in the northeastern Russian Arctic, researchers say the polar regions are much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. The cores reveal intense warm climate intervals in the Arctic’s recent past.

Mercury rising

June 22, 2012 10:58 am | News | Comments

A groundbreaking new study led by University of California, Los Angeles climate expert Alex Hall shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4 to 5 F by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.

Study: Humans are primary cause of global ocean warming

June 11, 2012 3:59 am | News | Comments

New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century.

Scientists: Earth faces impending tipping point

June 7, 2012 5:42 am | by Robert Sanders | News | Comments

A recently published review paper by 22 internationally known scientists contains data that suggests that within just a few human generations there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life. Part of their research gauges how plants and animals respond to major shifts in the atmosphere, oceans, and climate.


Latin American, Asian cities lead way in planning for global warming

June 6, 2012 9:37 am | by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey shows that 95% of major cities in Latin America are planning for climate change, compared to only 59% of such cities in the United States.

Seagrasses can store as much carbon as forests

May 22, 2012 12:45 pm | News | Comments

The first global analysis of carbon stored in seagrasses has revealed a surprising figure. While a typical terrestrial forest stores about 30,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, most of which is in the form of wood, coastal seagrasses can account for 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer. Their global impact is significant as well.

Could paint particles cool the planet?

May 15, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

A former U.K. government advisor and chemical engineer recently published an article that discussed how dispersing sub-micrometer light-scattering particles into the upper atmosphere could help to combat climate change. Author Peter Davidson says the effect would replicate the cooling that occurred after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

Climate scientists discover new weak point of the Antarctic ice sheet

May 15, 2012 6:37 am | News | Comments

According to predictions made by climate researchers with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf fringing the Weddell Sea in Antarctica may start to melt rapidly in this century and no longer act as a barrier for ice streams draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet. They claim this finding refutes previous assumptions that climate change would not affect the Weddell Sea.

Support for climate change action drops

May 9, 2012 10:22 am | by Rob Jordan, Stanford University | News | Comments

Americans' support for government action on global warming remains high but has dropped during the past two years, according to a new survey by Stanford University researchers in collaboration with Ipsos Public Affairs. Political rhetoric and cooler-than-average weather appear to have influenced the shift, but economics doesn't appear to have played a role.

New research brings satellite measurements, global climate models closer

May 8, 2012 4:23 am | News | Comments

One popular climate record that shows a slower atmospheric warming trend than other studies contains a data calibration problem, and when the problem is corrected the results fall in line with other records and climate models, according to a new University of Washington study.

Researchers use stalagmites to study past climate change

May 3, 2012 11:23 am | News | Comments

Existing historical climate records are typically biased to the high latitudes, where polar ice and ocean sediments lock in the atmosphere’s past. Yet a main driver of climate variability today is El Niño, which is a completely tropical phenomenon. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology believe they have found the ice core of the tropics, however.

Data shows spring advancing faster than experiments suggest

May 3, 2012 9:13 am | News | Comments

To help predict the rate at which plants respond to changing climate conditions, researchers use experiments that manipulate the temperature surrounding small plots of plants to gauge how specific plants will react to higher temperatures. But wild plants are leafing out and flowering sooner each year than predicted by results from these experiments, according to data from a major new archive of historical observations.

Scientists launch nationwide study of thunderstorm effects on upper atmosphere

May 2, 2012 9:33 am | News | Comments

While past field projects have focused on thunderstorm details with only some chemistry information, or on chemistry with limited data on storms, the Deep Convective Clouds & Chemistry (DC3) Experiment, which begins later this month, will be the first to take a comprehensive look at both chemistry and thunderstorm details, including air movement, cloud physics, and electrical activity.

Scientists find night-warming effect over Texas wind farms

April 30, 2012 9:32 am | News | Comments

According to recent research into how wind turbines affect local weather, large wind farms in certain areas in the United States appear to affect local land surface temperatures, especially at night. The warming trend was spatially matched to the locations of wind farms, and caused warming by nearly three-quarters of a degree Celsius.

Geophysicists find sea-level fingerprints, identify sources sea level rise

April 25, 2012 8:33 am | News | Comments

Seeking out statistical techniques that had not previously been applied to finding the current rate of sea level rise and the rates of ice sheet melting, scientists in Canada have developed a new method to distinguish sea-level fingerprints. The technique relies on the fact that the historical pattern for each ice sheet is unique and is preserved.

Climate change may create price volatility in the corn market

April 23, 2012 12:21 pm | by Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment | News | Comments

In a study from Stanford University and Purdue University, researchers have shown for the first time that climate change may force the U.S. corn belt to move north in the next 10 years, escaping devastating heat waves. In turn, this will bring substantial price swings to the corn market, adversely affecting industries like food and biofuels.

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