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News articles on climate change
Mongabay.com news articles on climate change in blog format. Updated regularly.
(08/21/2006) Increasing numbers of wildfires due to climate change could worsen mercury pollution in North America according to a new study from researchers at Michigan State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Canadian Forest Service. Wildfires are releasing mercury long ago sequesterd in Northern wetlands.
More charity money going to fight global warming
(08/18/2006) Increasing public awareness of the threat posed by climate change has driven environmental charitable giving to record highs according to The Wall Street Journal.
Coal to oil conversion gaining interest in China, U.S.
(08/17/2006) High oil prices are spawning greater interest in technologies that convert coal into liquid fuel, according to an article published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, but the shift could have a significant impact on the environment. Heightened tensions in the Middle East combined with booming demand and political instability in other regions have put a premium on crude oil and forced China and the United States -- the world's largest energy gluttons -- to look towards secure sources of fuel. Both countries are coal-rich but petroleum-poor. The Wall Street Journal says that China and the United States are actively developing coal-to-oil technology.
Climate change, not hunters, killed ancient Australia's giant kangaroos
(08/16/2006) Scientists at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University have found strong evidence for the cause of the extinction of Australia's giant marsupials some 50,000 years ago. Cold, arid climates of the last ice age have been identified as a likely cause, casting doubt on the alternative hypothesis which blames human hunters.
Hurricane intensity linked to global warming
(08/15/2006) A new study says climate change is affecting the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes and that hurricane damage will likely worsen in coming years due to increasing ocean temperatures. Unlike recent studies that have linked higher sea temperatures to an increase in the number of hurricanes, the new research shows a direct relationship between climate change and hurricane intensity.
Most of world's forests could be gone by 2100
(08/15/2006) New research claims that more than half the world's largest forests will be lost if global temperatures rise by an average of 3 degrees or more by the end of the century.The study, published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that a warmer climate also increases the risk of extreme floods, forest fires and droughts.
More carbon dioxide may help some trees weather ice storms
(08/15/2006) The increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere predicted for later this century may reduce the damage that future ice storms will cause to commercially important loblolly pine trees, according to a new study.
Climate change has eroded Alps
(08/15/2006) The Alps, the iconic rugged mountains that cover parts of seven European nations, might have reached their zenith millions of years ago, some scientists believe, and now are a mere shadow of their former selves. New research offers an explanation - climate change.
Report Warns of Coastal Flooding and Rising Sea Levels in California
(08/14/2006) The California Climate Action Team has released a summary report of 17 scientific studies examining the potential impacts of climate change on California. Today, officials discussed the report, the science and what the state is doing to take action on reducing heat-trapping gases that threaten to cause more frequent coastal floods, rising sea levels, beach erosion and disruptions to wetlands. The presentation was held at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
Past climate change caused dramatic shift in humidity, precipitation levels, temperature, and ocean water salinity
(08/11/2006) Scientists have uncovered new evidence of dramatic changes in humidity, precipitation levels, temperature, and ocean water salinity during a past episode of global warming. Analyzing plant fossils collected in the Arctic, a team of researchers led by Mark Pagani, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University, found that water and atmospheric water vapor are a major indicator of the greenhouse changes.
Greenland's ice melting rapidly
(08/10/2006) A new analysis of data from twin satellites has revealed that the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has increased dramatically in the past few years, with much of the loss occurring primarily along one shoreline potentially affecting weather in Western Europe.
Snow in Antarctic not falling to counter sea level rise
(08/10/2006) The most precise record of Antarctic snowfall ever generated shows there has been no real increase in precipitation over the southernmost continent in the past half-century, even though most computer models assessing global climate change call for an increase in Antarctic precipitation as atmospheric temperatures rise.
Global Warming Threatens Pollination Timing
(08/09/2006) In addition to the more obvious effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and increasing storm activity, there is the potential to dramatically alter ecological communities. Dr. David Inouye, director of University of Maryland's graduate program in Sustainable Development and conservation Biology, reports that global warming could disrupt the timing of pollination in alpine environments, with serious negative impacts to both plants and pollinators.
Carbon dioxide-eating enzyme could fight global warming
(08/09/2006) A new technology could help fight climate change by letting carbon-dioxide enzymes do the work. According to Mark Wendman of the UK-based Inquirer a Canadian firm has licensed production rights to an enzyme that scrubs carbon dioxide from smokestacks and other concentrated sources. The byproducts from the CO2 scrubbing process are carbonate and hydrogen gas, which could serve as a fuel source.
Rising seas may be killing Florida palms
(08/08/2006) Palm trees on Florida's west coast appear to be dying more rapidly than in previous years because of sea level rise tied to global warming. University of Florida scientists who began monitoring a large coastal study area in North Florida in 1992 reported widespread deaths of palms and other trees in low-lying coastal areas in the past. But the latest survey of the waterfront area along the Gulf of Mexico reveals new and unsettling numbers: Of 88 large, mature palms that died at the rural Levy County site between 1992 and 2005, 66 percent, or 58, have died since 2000.
Carbon emissions could be buried in deep-sea sediments
(08/08/2006) Deep-sea sediments could provide a virtually unlimited and permanent reservoir for carbon dioxide, the gas that has been a primary driver of global climate change in recent decades, according to a team of scientists that includes a professor from MIT. The researchers estimate that seafloor sediments within U.S. territory are vast enough to store the nation's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for thousands of years to come.
Ancient bison teeth provide window on past Great Plains climate
(08/07/2006) A University of Washington researcher has devised a way to use the fossil teeth of ancient bison as a tool to reconstruct historic climate and vegetation changes in America's breadbasket, the Great Plains.
Climate Change Threatens Pacific Ocean Mangroves
(08/07/2006) Action is needed to conserve mangroves in the Pacific amid concern that rising sea levels, linked with climate change, are set to drown large areas of these precious and economically important ecosystems.
July was second-hottest month in U.S. history
(08/07/2006) July was second-hottest month in U.S. history according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The average temperature for the 48 contiguous states was 77.2 degrees F and more than 2,300 daily temperature records were broken across the country.
Cellulosic ethanol fuels environmental concerns
(08/06/2006) In recent months, high fuel prices and national security concerns have sparked interest in biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol, which can be derived from virtually any plant matter including farm waste, looks particularly promising. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that cellulosic conversion technology could reduce the cost of producing ethanol by as much as 60 cents per gallon by 2015. Green groups see cellulosic ethanol as a carbon neutral energy source that could be used to fight the build up of atmospheric carbon dioxide responsible for global warming.
Shell chairman calls for clean coal technologies to fight global warming
(08/04/2006) In a talk given last week at the prestigious Royal Society in Britain, the outgoing chairman of Shell Oil said that cleaner-burning coal technologies are urgently needed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from the ongoing use of fossil fuels in the coming decades.
Exxon's PR firm using cheap-looking YouTube video to bash Gore
(08/03/2006) A Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil may be responsible for a cartoon video that makes fun of Al Gore according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
World's largest cities sign climate pact
(08/02/2006) While the Bush administration refuses to take legistlative steps to fight climate change, 22 of the world's largest cities joined forces Tuesday in a global warming pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Launched by former President Bill Clinton's foundation, the initiative will provide technical assistance to help cities become more energy efficient and allow them to pool their resources to reduce the cost of energy-saving product purchases.
Primate evolution linked to global warming says new study
(07/31/2006) New research suggests the ancient climate change fueled early primate evolution.
Global Warming to Have Significant Impact on California
(07/31/2006) A new report from the state of California warns that climate change could have a significant impact on the state's economy and the health of its residents. The release of the report comes on the day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a climate pact agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Global warming link to hurricanes challenged
(07/31/2006) Last week a leading meteorologist challenged a proposed link between global warming and hurricane intensity, based on inaccuracies in the historical data used in the studies.
Global Warming Threatens Australia's Tropical Biodiversity
(07/25/2006) Global climate change will pose serious challenges for wildlife populations around the world in the coming decades. The findings of Dr. Stephen Williams (Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University) suggest that endemic wildlife populations in Australia's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area will be particularly vulnerable to the local warming trend.
Arguing climate change to an energy executive
(07/25/2006) Earlier this month I had the opportunity to make a pitch to "Mike," a top executive of a major energy company, about climate change and green energy. Mike said he didn't believe humans are influencing climate or that green energy is a key factor in the future business of his firm, "EnergyCo." I tried to persuade him otherwise, not by focusing on the science of climate change but on economics and market opportunities. It's not that science isn't important--I just didn't want to get caught up in an argument about core beliefs, which is akin to arguing over religion.
Pine plantations may be contributing to global warming
(07/24/2006) The increasing number of pine plantations in the southern United States could contribute to a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, a new study reports. This is important because carbon dioxide is a key greenhouse gas, one that is linked to global warming. Landowners in the South are turning stands of hardwood and natural pine trees into pine plantations because pine is a more lucrative source of lumber. But pine plantations don't retain carbon as well as hardwood or natural pine forests, said Brent Sohngen, a study co-author and an associate professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State University.
Sun, not carbon dioxide, primary driver of ice ages says new theory
(07/24/2006) A new theory says that carbon dioxide is only a secondary driver of ice ages. In a paper published online in the journal Climate of the Past, William Ruddiman, an environmental scientist with the University of Virginia, argues that "carbon dioxide is a driver of ice sheets only at the relatively small 23,000-year cycle, but not at the much larger ice-volume cycles at 41,000 years and approximately 100,000 years" according to a news release from the university.
Bees and flowers disappearing together
(07/23/2006) The diversity of bees and of the flowers they pollinate, has declined significantly in Britain and the Netherlands over the last 25 years according to research led by the University of Leeds and published in Science this Friday (21 July 2006). The paper is the first evidence of a widespread decline in bee diversity.
Bicycle riders worse for the environment than car drivers?
(07/22/2006) A new paper argues that bicycling may be more damaging to the environment than driving a car, but not for the reason you might think. Karl T. Ulrich, a professor at the Wharton School of the Business at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that there are environmental costs associated with increased longevity of those who engage in physical activity. Ulrich reasons that because cyclers live longer they will produce more carbon emissions over the course of their extended life.
NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth
(07/22/2006) The New York Times reports that NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth according to its mission statement. The Times found that the American space agency modified its mission statement in early February 2006, deleting the phrase 'to understand and protect our home planet'.
Texas utility racing to build polluting coal-fired power plants
(07/21/2006) The Wall Street Journal today reported that TXU, a Dallas-based utility, is building 11 power plants that use pulverized coal. The paper notes that pulverized coal 'releases substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, the most worrisome of several heat-trapping gases widely blamed for global warming.' The 11 new plants would more than double the company's carbon-dioxide emissions, from 55 million tons in 2004 to more 133 million tons in 2011.
Economists ignoring threat of climate change says Royal Society
(07/20/2006) Economists need to play "a bigger and more constructive role in dealing with the threat of climate change" said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, the academy of sciences of the United Kingdom.
Ocean floor gas may fuel global warming
(07/19/2006) Gas escaping from the ocean floor may provide some answers to understanding historical global warming cycles and provide information on current climate changes, according to a team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The findings are reported in the July 20 on-line version of the scientific journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
American cars heavier, less fuel efficient in 2006 than 1986 finds EPA
(07/18/2006) $3 gasoline no impact on American car sales finds EPA but agency takes a noteworthy stance on both climate change and energy security. Despite record nominal gas prices, American consumers continue to cars that are less fuel efficient than 20 years ago according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Greenlanders looking forward to global warming
(07/18/2006) Some people in Greenland are looking forward to climate change according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Steet Journal. In 'For Icy Greenland, Global Warming Has a Bright Side', journalist Lauren Etter finds examples of global warming-induced changes that could benefit Greenlanders. She notes that the 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit rise in temperatures over the past 30 years has extended the growing season by two weeks while melting glaciers have exposed land for grazing and warmer seas enable fishermen to catch warm-water cod.
Map projects regional population growth for 2025
(07/18/2006) The number of people living within 60 miles (100 km) of a coastline is "expected to increase by 35 percent over 1995 population levels, exposing 2.75 billion people worldwide to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming," according to a new map showing projected population change for the year 2025. The map, developed by researchers at the Center for Climate Systems Research, a part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, shows "that the greatest increases in population density through 2025 are likely to occur in areas of developing countries that are already quite densely populated," according to a release from The Earth Institute.
War of words over new climate change report, 'hockey stick' model
(07/16/2006) Paleoclimatologist Michael Mann criticized a report challenging the familiar 'hockey stick' temperature record of the past thousand years. The report, commissioned by Texas Representative Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy Committee, and championed in an op-ed piece appearing in last Friday's issue of The Wall Street Journal said that there is no evidence that the 1990s were the warmest decade in a millennium or that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.
Formation of clouds linked to air pollution
(07/13/2006) NASA scientists have determined that the formation of clouds is affected by the lightness or darkness of air pollution particles. This also impacts Earth's climate. In a breakthrough study published today in the online edition of Science, scientists explain why aerosols -- tiny particles suspended in air pollution and smoke -- sometimes stop clouds from forming and in other cases increase cloud cover. Clouds not only deliver water around the globe, they also help regulate how much of the sun's warmth the planet holds. The capacity of air pollution to absorb energy from the sun is the key.
Alps could lose 80% of glacier cover by 2100
(07/10/2006) The European Alps could lose 80 percent of their glacier cover by the year 2100, if summer air temperatures increase by three degrees Celsius according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The research, based on modeling experiments by Swiss scientists, found that should in summer temperature rise more than three degree Celsius, only the largest glaciers and those on the highest mountain peaks could survive into next century.
Climate change fuels more forest fires in the United States
(07/06/2006) New research says the frequency of large forest fires has increased in the western United States since the mid-1980s as spring temperatures climbed, mountain snows melted earlier and summers got hotter. The new findings, published in the July 6 issue of Science Express, suggest that climate change, not fire suppression policies and forest accumulation, is the primary driver of recent increases in large forest fires.
Frog extinction crisis requires unprecedented conservation response
(07/06/2006) The world's leading amphibian experts are calling for dramatic steps, including the formation of an Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), to prevent the massive extinction of amphibians worldwide. Scientists say amphibians -- cold-blooded animals that include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians -- are under grave threat due to climate change, pollution, and the emergence of a deadly and infectious fungal disease, which has been linked to global warming. According to the Global Amphibian Assessment, a comprehensive status assessment of the world's amphibian species, one-third of the world's 5,918 known amphibian species are classified as threatened with extinction. Further, at least 9, and perhaps 122, have gone extinct since 1980.
Some corals can adapt to ocean acidification
(07/06/2006) While scientists warn that increasing ocean acidity will doom marine animals that build skeletons and structural elements out of calcium carbonate, new research has found that corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them. However, the research provides further evidence that corals are extremely sensitive to rapid environmental change and will be negatively affected by increased carbon dioxide levels in the short-term.
Increasingly acidic oceans damaging to marine life
(07/05/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions are altering ocean chemistry and putting sea life at risk according to a new report released today. The report, "Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers," summarizes known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on marine organisms that produce calcium carbonate skeletal structures, such as corals. Oceans worldwide absorbed approximately 118 billion metric tons of carbon between 1800 and 1994 according to the report, resulting in increased ocean acidity, which reduces the availability of carbonate ions needed for the production of calcium carbonate structures.
Sea creatures may have role in global warming
(07/04/2006) Small sea creatures known as salps may have a role in global warming by locking up carbon in surface seas and sending it to the depths of the ocean. By prevening carbon from re-entering the atmosphere, these animals may have a small role in countering climate change resulting from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
1250 bird species may be extinct by 2100
(07/04/2006) Two new studies paint a mixed future for the world's bird populations, one suggesting that 12 percent of existing species could be extinct by 2100 and the other finding shifts in migration patterns among birds that migrate long distances. Researchers at Stanford University, Duke University and the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis examined the extinction record for birds and found that scientists have likely underestimated the number of extinctions.
Great flood disrupted ocean currents, cooled climate, finds new research
(06/29/2006) Ocean circulation changes caused at the end of the past glacial period were more extensive than previously thought, according to new research scientists at the University of East Anglia and Cardiff University. The findings, published in the June 30 issue of the journal Science, indicate that the catastrophic freshwater release from glacial lakes in North America slowed ocean circulation and cooled the climate some 8200 years ago.
Future crop yields lower than expected under higher carbon dioxide levels
(06/29/2006) Open-air field trials involving five major food crops grown under carbon-dioxide levels projected for the future are yielding signifcantly less than those raised in earlier enclosed test conditions. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign warn that global food supplies could be at risk without changes in production strategies.
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