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Earth’s brief polarity reversal linked to other extreme events

October 16, 2012 12:45 pm | News | Comments

For the first time, three separately found extreme Earth events have been compared by researchers who now believe they may be linked. About 41,000 years ago, a complete and rapid reversal of the geomagnetic field occurred, lasting for just a few hundred years. Around the same time, a super volcano erupted and major climate changes occurred.

Earth sunblock only needed if planet warms easily

October 11, 2012 6:00 pm | by Mary Beckman, PNNL | News | Comments

To combat the effects of climate change, some scientists have proposed temporarily reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth. These various geoengineering schemes have typically thought as a standalone fix, but a new computer analysis of future climate change considers emissions reductions together with sunlight reduction. The model shows that such drastic steps to cool the earth would only be necessary in certain scenarios.

Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice

October 10, 2012 5:59 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

While the North Pole has been losing sea ice over the years, the water nearest the South Pole has been gaining it. Antarctic sea ice hit a record 7.51 million square miles in September, just days after reports of the biggest loss of Arctic sea ice on record. Climate change skeptics have seized on this example, but scientists say the skeptics are misinterpreting what's happening and why.

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Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies

October 2, 2012 9:03 am | News | Comments

Applying a global energy-economy computer simulation that fully captures the competition between alternative power supply technologies, a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Dayton, Ohio, analyzed trade-offs between nuclear and climate policies. They found that incremental costs due to policy options restricting the use of nuclear power do not significantly increase the cost of even stringent greenhouse-gas emissions reductions.

Sea-level study shows signs of things to come

October 2, 2012 3:34 am | News | Comments

Our greenhouse gas emissions up to now have triggered an irreversible warming of the Earth that will cause sea levels to rise for thousands of years to come, new research has show. The results come from a study which sought to model sea-level changes over millennial timescales, taking into account all of the Earth's land ice and the warming of the oceans.

Yearlong climate study launches

October 1, 2012 9:50 am | News | Comments

A Horizon Lines container ship outfitted with meteorological and atmospheric instruments installed by scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory will begin taking data for a yearlong mission aimed at improving the representation of clouds in climate models.

The colors of fall: Are autumn reds and golds passing us by?

September 26, 2012 6:11 am | News | Comments

According to research done at the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site in Masschusetts, autumn colors were different there a century, or even a half-century, ago. And they will likely continue to change as alterations to the landscape occur through changing climate, tree disease, and harvesting practices.

Computer model identifies candidate refrigerants to combat global warming

September 19, 2012 5:26 am | News | Comments

Researchers at NIST have developed a new computational method for identifying candidate refrigerant fluids with low global warming potential—the tendency to trap heat in the atmosphere for many decades—as well as other desirable performance and safety features. The NIST effort is the most extensive systematic search for a new class of refrigerants that meet the latest concerns about climate change.

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Climate scientists put predictions to the test

September 18, 2012 6:30 am | News | Comments

A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale, but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.

Study estimates increasing rate of extreme rainfall with global warming

September 17, 2012 10:03 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Global warming is expected to intensify extreme precipitation, but the rate at which it does so in the tropics has remained unclear. Now, a new study has given an estimate based on model simulations and observations: With every 1 C rise in temperature, the study finds, tropical regions will see 10% heavier rainfall extremes, with possible impacts for flooding in populous regions.

Climate change likely to increase Lake Erie algae blooms and 'dead zones'

September 12, 2012 7:45 am | News | Comments

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of intense spring rain storms in the Great Lakes region throughout this century and will likely add to the number of harmful algal blooms and "dead zones" in Lake Erie, unless additional conservation actions are taken, according to a University of Michigan aquatic ecologist.

Study: Tradeoffs needed in battling urban heat island effects

September 11, 2012 4:15 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers from Arizona State University have found that warming resulting from megapolitan expansion is seasonally dependent, with greatest warming occurring during summer and least during winter. Painting the roofs of buildings white can combat this effect, but not without consequences for the region’s hydroclimate.

Study: More carbon dioxide leads to less clouds

September 5, 2012 4:36 am | News | Comments

It is common knowledge that the warmer the air, the more water can evaporate. Researchers in Europe have now established that this is not always the case: Although an increase in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide makes the climate warmer, it also allows less water to evaporate. This finding has informed a set of new calculations for climate modeling.

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Research reveals contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth

September 4, 2012 5:45 am | News | Comments

A new study, by scientists from the Universities of York, Glasgow, and Leeds, involving analysis of fossil and geological records going back 540 million years, suggests that biodiversity on Earth generally increases as the planet warms. But the research says that the increase in biodiversity depends on the evolution of new species over millions of years, and is normally accompanied by extinctions of existing species.

Atmospheric heating by black carbon aerosol re-evaluated

August 31, 2012 6:40 am | News | Comments

Viewed as a potential target in the global effort to reduce climate change, atmospheric black carbon particles absorb significantly less sunlight than scientists have predicted. In the first field study of it kind, researchers found that soot particles absorb significantly less sunlight than predicted by models, raising new questions about the impact of black carbon on atmospheric warming.

Warm Arctic sets record for summer sea ice melt

August 28, 2012 4:50 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007. Data center scientist Ted Scambos said the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Experiment would test cloud geoengineering as way to slow warming

August 20, 2012 10:59 am | News | Comments

Even though it sounds like science fiction, researchers are taking a second look at a controversial idea that uses futuristic ships to shoot salt water high into the sky over the oceans, creating clouds that reflect sunlight and thus counter global warming. The point of the paper is to encourage more scientists to consider the idea of marine cloud brightening and even poke holes in it.

Researchers improve soil carbon cycling models

August 17, 2012 3:35 am | News | Comments

A new carbon cycling model developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory better accounts for the carbon dioxide-releasing activity of microbes in the ground, improving scientists' understanding of the role soil will play in future climate change.

Mobile climate observatory prepares for campaign aboard ship

August 16, 2012 9:38 am | News | Comments

Following a six-month land-based campaign in the Maldives to study tropical convective clouds, the U.S. Department of Energy's second Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) mobile facility, called AMF2, is being readied for its first marine-based research campaign aboard a cargo container ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Modeling reveals climatic impacts of megapolitan expansion

August 13, 2012 9:12 am | News | Comments

In the first study to attempt to quantify the impact of rapidly expanding megapolitan areas on regional climate, a team of researchers from Arizona State University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research has established that local maximum summertime warming resulting from projected expansion of the urban Sun Corridor could approach 4 C.

Discovered: New atmospheric compound tied to climate change

August 9, 2012 3:39 am | News | Comments

An international research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Helsinki has discovered a surprising new chemical compound in Earth's atmosphere that reacts with sulfur dioxide to form sulfuric acid, which is known to have significant impacts on climate and health.

The economic cost of increased temperatures

August 7, 2012 7:09 am | by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Even temporary rises in local temperatures significantly damage long-term economic growth in the world's developing nations, according to a new study co-authored by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist.

New study links current events to climate change

August 6, 2012 6:59 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new analysis from NASA’s James Hansen. In a departure from most climate research, which is based on modeling, the new study relies on statistics.

Simulated: Worldwide increase of air pollution

August 3, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Europe have recently completed a study of global pollution levels by simulating the atmosphere using the chemical atmospheric model EMAC. The research is the first include all five major air pollutants known to negatively impact human health: nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter smaller than 2.5-?m. China, India, and the Middle East are shown to be especially at risk.

When the world burned less

August 2, 2012 10:08 am | News | Comments

In the years after Columbus’ voyage, burning of New World forests and fields diminished significantly, and some have claimed the decimation of native populations by European diseases are to blame. But a new study suggests global cooling resulted in fewer fires because both preceded Columbus in many regions worldwide. In effect, the researchers report, they have found a link between climate and fire.

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