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News articles on climate change
Mongabay.com news articles on climate change in blog format. Updated regularly.
(03/06/2008) Research from ancient sediment cores indicates that a warming climate could make the world's arctic tundra far more susceptible to fires than previously thought. The findings are important given the potential for tundra fires to release organic carbon -- which could add significantly to the amount of greenhouse gases already blamed for global warming.
Half the Amazon rainforest will be lost within 20 years
(02/27/2008) More than half the Amazon rainforest will be damaged or destroyed within 20 years if deforestation, forest fires, and climate trends continue apace, warns a study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Reviewing recent trends in economic, ecological and climatic processes in Amazonia, Daniel Nepstad and colleagues forecast that 55 percent of Amazon forests will be "cleared, logged, damaged by drought, or burned" in the next 20 years. The damage will release 15-26 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, adding to a feedback cycle that will worsen both warming and forest degradation in the region. While the projections are bleak, the authors are hopeful that emerging trends could reduce the likelihood of a near-term die-back. These include the growing concern in commodity markets on the environmental performance of ranchers and farmers; greater investment in fire control mechanisms among owners of fire-sensitive investments; emergence of a carbon market for forest-based offsets; and the establishment of protected areas in regions where development is fast-expanding.
Small fires a big threat to Amazon rainforest biodiversity
(02/27/2008) Small fires have a big impact in the Amazon rainforest, report researchers writing in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The findings suggest a dire future for Earth's largest rainforest.
Greenhouse gas emissions have already caused the Amazon to dry
(02/27/2008) Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have already caused the Amazon to dry, finds a new study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Amazon rainfall linked to Atlantic Ocean temperature
(02/25/2008) Climate models increasingly forecast a dire future for the Amazon rainforest. These projections are partly based on recent research that has linked drought in the Amazon to sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic. As the tropical Atlantic warms, the southern Amazon -- the agricultural heartland of Brazil -- may see higher temperatures and less rainfall.
Deforestation a greater threat to the Amazon than global warming
(02/25/2008) If past conditions are any indication of future conditions, the Amazon rainforest may survive considerable drying and warming caused by global warming, argue researchers in a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Large-scale Amazon deforestation or drying would have dire global consequences
(02/21/2008) A new study shows that large-scale degradation of the Amazon, either through drying or continued deforestation, would have global consequence, including worsening climate change, causing regional vegetation shifts, and increasing dust in the atmosphere.
Melting of permafrost could trigger rapid global warming warns UN
(02/21/2008) Melting of the Arctic permafrost is a "wild card" that could dramatically worsen global warming by releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases, warned the U.N. on Wednesday at a meeting in Monaco.
Why are oceans at risk from global warming?
(02/17/2008) Climate change is putting the world's oceans at risk by increasing the temperature and acidity of seawater, and altering atmospheric and oceanic circulation, warned a panel of scientists this week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston.
How will global warming affect marine food chains?
(02/17/2008) Rising temperatures and acidity of the world's oceans due to human emissions of carbon dioxide is putting marine food webs at risk warned a researcher speaking at a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.
Past greenhouse warming events offer clues on future climate change
(02/16/2008) If carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels continue on a "business-as-usual" trajectory, humans will have added about 5 trillion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere by the year 2400. A similarly massive release of carbon accompanied an extreme period of global warming 55 million years ago known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).
Prince Charles says protecting forests vital against climate change 'doomsday clock'
(02/15/2008) Long-time environmental activist, Prince Charles delivered an impassioned speech yesterday to the European Parliament on global warming and the importance of rainforest conservation in mitigating the crises.
Stabilizing climate requires cutting emissions to zero
(02/14/2008) Even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to zero tomorrow, global temperatures would remain high for at least 500 years, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. The findings suggest that stablizing emissions at current levels will not be enough to curtail the effects of climate change.
Lake Mead could be dry up by 2021
(02/12/2008) There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern U.S., will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, a new study finds.
Global warming puts penguins at risk of extinction
(02/11/2008) Climate change could put the long-term survival of sub-Antarctic King Penguins at risk by reducing the availability of prey, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Climate system approaching 9 critical tipping points
(02/04/2008) Earth is approaching and may pass nine important climate tipping points this century, according to research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Globl warming worsening U.S. water crisis
(01/31/2008) Human-induced climate change is accelerating a water crisis in the American West, reports a study published this week in the journal Science.
Global warming to hurt agriculture in world's poorest regions
(01/31/2008) Global warming wil cause severe crop losses in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Asia by 2030, reports a study published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
Scientists suggest new geological epoch: ours
(01/30/2008) It would be called the Anthropocene. The word was coined by chemist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen at a conference in 2000. It denotes a new geological epoch, beginning about 200 years ago at the time of the Industrial Revolution, when our planet's systems were increasingly affected by our species. While the term Anthropocene has been used informally for years, a recent peer-reviewed British paper argues that it is now time to officially accept Anthropocene as a distinct era and to leave the Holocene to the pre-Industrial past.
Largest body of geologists issues warning on global warming
(01/24/2008) A statement newly released by the world's largest scientific society of Earth and space scientists--the American Geophysical Union, or AGU--updates the organization's position on climate change: the evidence for it, potential consequences from it, and how to respond to it.
2007 ties 1998 as second warmest year in past century
(01/17/2008) 2007 tied 1998 as the second warmest year in a century say climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
Global warming will diminish fish catch in the Bering sea
(01/16/2008) One half of the fish caught in the U.S. annually--and almost a third worldwide--come from the Bering Sea. Yet, this vast resource is increasingly threatened by climate change. A recent study, published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, showed that global warming will greatly affect the Bering Sea's phytoplankton, the cornerstone of the sea's rich ecosystem.
Despite Arctic crocodiles, glaciers existed during extreme global warming 90M years ago
(01/10/2008) Massive glaciers extended across 50-60 percent of Antarctica some 91.2 million years even as crocodiles roamed the Arctic and surface temperatures of the western tropical Atlantic Ocean climbed to 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), reports a study published in the journal Science.
Scientists: cut emissions now to avoid climate tipping point
(12/14/2007) Countries need to act soon to cut carbon dioxide emissions if the worst impacts of global warming are to be avoided, warned a panel of scientists speaking Thursday at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Global warming accelerates destruction of the Amazon
(12/06/2007) Deforestation and climate change could damage or destroy as much as 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest by 2030, according to a new report from environmental group WWF. The report, The Amazon's Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse, shows that degradation in the Amazon could release 55-97 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030. Forest loss could also dramatically impact water cycles in the region, affecting rainfall that is critical for river flows and agriculture.
Melting of Greenland ice sheet could alter warming trend
(12/06/2007) A massive release from freshwater from the glacial Lake Agassiz 8,200 years ago triggered dramatic cooling in the North Atlantic region, report researchers writing in Science. The sudden and intense cooling, which ended the stable climate that had characterized the Holocene warm period, could have future implications for the melting of Greenland's ice sheet.
Tropics are expanding
(12/03/2007) Climate change has caused a widening of Earth's tropical belt, according to a new study published in a new scientific journal, Nature Geoscience. "Remarkably, the tropics appear to have already expanded -- during only the last few decades of the 20th century -- by at least the same margin as models predict for this century," said the scientists who conducted the research.
Global warming to boost severe thunderstorms in NYC, Atlanta
(12/03/2007) Global warming could lead to weather conditions that spawn severe thunderstorms in the United States, according to research appearing in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Climate risks to global agriculture are underestimated
(12/03/2007) Vulnerability of global agricultural to climate change may be underestimated by experts, warns a trio of papers published in week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research says that "progressive changes predicted to stem from 1- to 5-degree C temperature rises in coming decades fail to account for seasonal extremes of heat, drought or rain, multiplier effects of spreading diseases or weeds, and other ecological upsets," according to a statement from Columbia University's Earth Institute.
Food prices to rise due to energy demand, economic trends
(12/03/2007) Income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization, and urbanization are converging to drive food prices higher, threatening livelihoods and nutrition of poor people in developing countries, says a new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Forest carbon may not fully offset fossil carbon, says expert
(12/03/2007) As policymakers meet in Bali, Indonesia to discuss various mechanisms for mitigating greenhouse emissions, a tropical ecologist from Sri Lanka warns that one ton of forest carbon is not equal to one ton of fossil carbon when it comes to using offsets to fight global warming. The implications: considerably larger forest areas (preferably old growth since it has higher carbon values than plantations) would need to be protected and reforested than are presently anticipated by most policymakers.
Largest-ever climate meeting begins in Bali
(12/02/2007) In Bali, Indonesia, more than 10,000 delegates, scientists, journalists, and activists from around the world kicked off the largest-ever climate change conference Monday. Organizers hope that the meeting lays the groundwork for a new international pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.
Could the carbon market save the Amazon rainforest?
(11/29/2007) The global carbon market could play a key role in saving the Amazon from the effects of climate change and economic development, which could otherwise trigger dramatic ecological changes, reports a new paper published in Science. The authors argue that a well-articulated plan, financed by carbon markets, could prevent the worst outcomes for the Amazon forest while generating economic benefits for the region's inhabitants.
Hope in Bali: the December Meetings on Climate Change
(11/28/2007) The fourth, and final, report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted the most irrefutable and sobering picture yet of global warming. Two thousand scientists from over one hundred countries agreed to the statement that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level". The report also stated that it was more than 90% certain that global warming is due to human activity. This report, released last week, will hopefully set the tone for the two week meeting in Bali, Indonesia on climate change and create the rapid and strong responses that are required.
Greenhouse gas levels rise to new record in 2006
(11/23/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in 2006 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.N. weather agency.
Past climate change triggered wars, population decline
(11/21/2007) Long-term climate change may lead to wars and population decline according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research looked at the cool period known as the Little Ice Age and found that the number of wars increased, famine occurred and the population declined.
Asian countries sign symbolic global warming pact
(11/21/2007) Leaders of 16 Asian countries have signed a "vague" pact on climate change according to Reuters.
Hurricane Katrina released large amounts of carbon by destroying 320m trees
(11/15/2007) The destruction of 320 million large trees by Hurricane Katrina reduced the capacity of forests in the Southern United States to soak up carbon, reports a new study published in the journal Science. The research shows that hurricanes and other natural disturbances "can affect a landscape's potential as a 'carbon sink' because the dead vegetation then decays, returning carbon to the atmosphere, and because the old vegetation is replaced by smaller, younger plants."
New system tracks CO2 emissions of 50,000 power plants worldwide
(11/14/2007) A new online database allows users to track carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 50,000 power plants worldwide. The system, called CARMA—Carbon Monitoring for Action, was developed by the Center for Global Development (CGD), an policy and research group.
NASA: Arctic Ocean circulation reversal not due to global warming
(11/13/2007) A study published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that weakening of the Arctic Oscillation results from a cyclical process rather than climate change. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.
Weathering technology could mitigate global warming
(11/08/2007) Researchers at Harvard University and Pennsylvania State University have invented a technology, inspired by nature, to reduce the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by human emissions.
Subtle threats could ruin the Amazon rainforest
(11/07/2007) While the mention of Amazon destruction usually conjures up images of vast stretches of felled and burned rainforest trees, cattle ranches, and vast soybean farms, some of the biggest threats to the Amazon rainforest are barely perceptible from above. Selective logging -- which opens up the forest canopy and allows winds and sunlight to dry leaf litter on the forest floor -- and 6-inch high "surface" fires are turning parts of the Amazon into a tinderbox, putting the world's largest rainforest at risk of ever-more severe forest fires. At the same time, market-driven hunting is impoverishing some areas of seed dispersers and predators, making it more difficult for forests to recover. Climate change -- an its forecast impacts on the Amazon basin -- further looms large over the horizon.
Carbon-negative bioenergy to cut global warming could drive deforestation
(11/06/2007) A proposed mechanism for generating carbon-negative bioenergy -- an energy source that reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide levels -- could drive large-scale deforestation in the tropics and undermine efforts to conserve forests for carbon offsets says a biofuel expert.
Climate sensitivity to rising CO2 levels still uncertain
(10/25/2007) Climate sensitivity to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases is still largely uncertain and researchers will likely not be able to further refine their estimates on future climate scenarios, say two University of Washington scientists writing in this week's issue of the journal Science.
Kyoto Protocol is fatally flawed; replacement needed
(10/25/2007) The Kyoto Protocol is fatally flawed and show be replaced by a more effective framework, argue researchers writing in this week's issue of Nature.
Mass extinctions happen when temperatures are the warmest
(10/24/2007) Warming temperatures could trigger a mass extinction event, warn scientists writing in the latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Comparing ancient records of marine and terrestrial diversity with historical temperature estimates, researchers from the Universities of York and Leeds found a close correlation between Earth climate and extinctions over the past 520 million years: higher extinction rates occur at higher temperatures.
North Atlantic carbon sinks absorbing less CO2
(10/23/2007) The capacity of the North Atlantic ocean to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has declined significantly since in the mid 1990s, report researchers from the University of East Anglia. The findings raise concerns that oceans may be slowing their uptake of CO2, potentially worsening the climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon sinks failing to keep up with emissions
(10/22/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) growth has increased 35 percent faster than expected since 2000, report scientists writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Worryingly, more than half the increase came from a decreased efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The reminder came from a slowing in the efficiency of use of fossil fuels.
Climate change will impact U.S. economy
(10/16/2007) Climate change will have a significant economic impact on the United States, reports a new study published by researchers from the University of Maryland. The report, The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction, aggregates and analyzes previous economic research in order to develop a better estimate of the costs of climate change.
Al Gore shares Nobel Peace Prize with climate body
(10/12/2007) Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to build awareness about human-induced climate change. Gore and the IPCC, a body of climate scientists, will each receive about $1.5 million.
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