39 Global Warming News Articles
for June of 2016
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
6-30-16 Warming alters mountain plant’s sex ratios
Warming alters mountain plant’s sex ratios
Mid-elevation male-female balance now shifted to higher altitudes, study finds. Male valerian plants have moved up in elevation in response to hotter, drier climate conditions. As a result, male-female plant ratios have changed since the late 1970s, researchers have found. In Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, male and female valerian plants have responded differently to hotter, drier conditions, a new study shows. Rapidly changing ratios of the sexes could be a quick sign of climate change, the researchers say. Valerian plants range from hot, scrubby lowlands to cold alpine slopes. In each patch of plants, some are male and some are female. The exact proportion of each sex varies with elevation. High on the mountain, females are much more common than males; they can make up 80 percent of some populations. Four decades ago, in patches of valerian growing in the middle of the plant’s elevation range, 33.4 percent of the plants were males. Those patches grew in the Rockies at elevations around 3,000 meters. Today, you would have to hike considerably higher to find the same proportion of male plants. Males, now 5.5 percent more common on average, are reaching higher elevations than in the past, researchers report in the July 1 Science.
6-30-16 Despite volcanic setback, Antarctic ozone hole healing
Despite volcanic setback, Antarctic ozone hole healing
New 3-D simulation filters out natural variation in long-term trend. The Antarctic ozone hole is finally healing, scientists say, even though that recovery has been somewhat obscured by recent volcanic activity that temporarily boosted the hole to record size last October. A gaping wound in Earth's atmosphere is definitively healing. Since 2000, the average size of the Antarctic ozone hole in September has shrunk by about 4.5 million square kilometers, an area larger than India, researchers report online June 30 in Science. While the hole won’t close completely until at least midcentury, the researchers say the results are a testament to the success of the Montreal Protocol. That international treaty, implemented in 1989, banned ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons worldwide. Ozone helps shield life on Earth from hazardous ultraviolet radiation. Tracking the ozone layer’s recovery process is tricky because natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and weather variations can alter the size of the ozone hole. While some earlier studies suggested that the ozone had already begun healing (SN: 6/4/11, p. 15), many scientists questioned whether the work had been detailed enough to separate out the effects of natural variability.
6-30-16 'Healing' detected in Antarctic ozone hole
'Healing' detected in Antarctic ozone hole
Researchers say they have found the first clear evidence that the thinning in the ozone layer above Antarctica is starting to heal. The scientists said that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million sq km smaller than it was in the year 2000 - an area roughly the size of India. The gains have been credited to the long term phasing out of ozone-destroying chemicals. The study also sheds new light on the role of volcanoes in making the problem worse.
6-30-16 Climate change: UK backs world-leading climate target
Climate change: UK backs world-leading climate target
The UK government has set a world-leading climate change target up to the early 2030s. The Fifth Carbon Budget will cut carbon emissions by 57% by 2032 - that's based on 1990 levels. The announcement will help reassure investors needed to overhaul the UK's ageing energy system. But the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned the targets will be missed unless policies are improved.
6-29-16 World will struggle to keep warming to 2 degrees by 2100
World will struggle to keep warming to 2 degrees by 2100
Projected temperatures well above targets agreed to at last year’s historic Paris climate talks. The world’s current game plan to combat climate change will miss the mark. Crunching the numbers on 187 nations’ climate action proposals announced in advance of the December 2015 Paris Agreement, researchers estimate that the efforts will limit global warming to 2.6 to 3.1 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. That’s far above the goal agreed upon in Paris of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees by 2100. The 2-degree goal is not out of reach yet, though. More ambitious climate action — such as greater emissions reductions and removing carbon from the atmosphere – could keep warming in check, the researchers report June 29 in Nature.
6-29-16 Amazon fires: Humans make rainforest more flammable
Amazon fires: Humans make rainforest more flammable
Human disturbances are making the Amazon rainforest more flammable, according to researchers. This is one of the conclusions of a two-year study of the Brazilian Amazon, which revealed that even protected forest is degraded by human activity. This activity includes selective logging and forest fragmentation, which increase the likelihood of wildfires.
6-29-16 Cameron urged to ratify climate deal before quitting as PM
Cameron urged to ratify climate deal before quitting as PM
Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to ratify the Paris climate agreement before leaving office. Labour’s former climate change secretary Ed Miliband said "climate sceptics" might try to derail the deal if they gained positions of power following the EU referendum. Government sources told BBC News that the Brexit vote would not alter ministers' plans on the agreement. But the sources did not offer any firm timetable for its ratification either. A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C was agreed in Paris at the end of last year after two weeks of intense negotiations. About 175 countries have signed up to the deal to cut carbon emissions. But each of those nations has to go a step further by formally "joining" or ratifying the deal in the form of a communication to the UN.
6-25-16 How California produces oil so dirty it has to be shipped to Asia for sale
How California produces oil so dirty it has to be shipped to Asia for sale
California has passed more laws, invested more venture capital, and committed more brainpower to mitigate the impacts of fossil fuels than arguably any other state. And despite the massive environmental damage — not to mention the public relations headache — caused by the Porter Ranch natural gas leak, California remains a world leader in the fight against climate change. Yet there's one glaring hole in the Golden State's pioneering efforts against global warming: California has for too long turned a blind eye to squarely managing its own oil, choosing instead to target other states' and countries' fossil fuels. The large carbon footprints from energy sources such as coal or oil sands certainly demand — and are getting — serious attention. But what about the oil underneath California itself, much of which has been in production for over a century?
6-24-16 Greenhouse gas surge
Greenhouse gas surge
Climate change crossed a grim threshold this year, as concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere rose to 400 parts per million (ppm)—and researchers say levels won’t drop within the next century. This was the fastest annual CO2 increase since climate scientists began measuring carbon dioxide levels from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958, and the first time concentrations of the gas exceeded 400 ppm for an entire year. Driving the surge was a powerful El Niño event that dried tropical lands, slowed the growth of carbon dioxide–absorbing trees, and triggered wildfires that pumped the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. These effects were exacerbated by human-induced emissions, which have increased by 25 percent over the past two decades (in spite of everything we supposedly have done). Carbon dioxide concentrations have risen steadily from a pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, but haven’t regularly exceeded 400 ppm since 3 million to 5 million years ago, when water levels were up to 80 feet higher than they are today. Breaking the 400 barrier isn’t going to trigger an immediate climate catastrophe, but researchers say it should be a wake-up call. As study author Richard Betts tells The Washington Post, “It’s a reminder of the long-term effects we’re having on the system.”
6-24-16 The heat continues
The heat continues
Last month was the hottest May in recorded history—the 13th straight month of record-breaking heat, federal scientists say. May’s global average of 60.17 degrees Fahrenheit was 1.57 degrees above the 20th-century average.
6-23-16 IKEA of energy delivers clean, green solar power-plant in a box
IKEA of energy delivers clean, green solar power-plant in a box
A start-up offering flat-packed solar generators is hoping to give a boost to poor villages off the grid. A German start-up has figured out how to cram an entire solar power plant into a shipping container. It has sent its first kits to off-grid villages in Africa, where they provide a new source of clean, affordable electricity after just 2 hours of assembly. More than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, a situation that can keep people in poverty. And population growth means this number is rising. Those with access tend to rely on inefficient diesel generators, chugging along with crippling financial and environmental costs.
6-23-16 Coral bleaching event is longest on record
Coral bleaching event is longest on record
Heat-related damage to corals expected to continue into 2017. Coral reefs won’t be out of hot water anytime soon. A global bleaching event that began in June 2014 is the longest on record and now covers a larger area than ever before. What’s worse, it shows no signs of ending. Global warming exacerbated by the latest El Niño is to blame, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists reported Monday at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu. Since 1979, periodic mass bleachings covering hundreds of kilometers have only lasted for “a year or so,” said NOAA Coral Reef Watch Coordinator Mark Eakin. But this one has dragged on for two years, threatening more than 40 percent of reefs globally, and more than 70 percent in the United States. (Webmaster's comment: We're destroying the entire world around us and we don't have a clue that it's even happening.)
6-22-16 Warmer winters play important role in EU emissions drop
Warmer winters play important role in EU emissions drop
Significantly warmer winters have played an important role in the ongoing decline in EU greenhouse gas emissions. According to a new report, the use of CO2 and other gases across the bloc dropped by almost a quarter between 1990 and 2014. A switch from coal to natural gas, the recession and the rise of renewable energy all contributed to the fall. The latest figures, from 2014, show that a milder winter was the major factor in the reduction that year. Overall from 1990 to 2014 emissions across the member states of the European Union fell by 24.4%, easily beating the 2020 target of 20% put forward as part of the first international agreement on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol. Importantly, the EU managed to reduce emissions in this period while economic output rose by 47%. The keys to cutting warming emissions over the period have been a big switch from coal to gas for electricity production, the rise of renewable energy, better home insulation and the economic recession of 2008.
6-21-16 New crop varieties 'can't keep up with global warming'
New crop varieties 'can't keep up with global warming'
Crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. A study says temperatures are rising faster than the development of crop varieties that can cope with a warmer world. In Africa, researchers found that it can take 10-30 years before farmers can grow a new breed of maize. By the time these new crops are planted, they face a warmer environment than they were developed in. They found that in a warmer world durations will be shorter meaning these varieties will have less time to accumulate biomass and yields could be affected.
6-20-16 Dangerous heat across USA
Dangerous heat across USA
Triple digit Fahrenheit figures have been recorded across southern California, Arizona and Nevada prompting heat warnings to be issued. Peter Gibbs has an update on the dangerously high temperatures.
6-19-16 President Obama in Yosemite: 'Climate change is a reality'
President Obama in Yosemite: 'Climate change is a reality'
This year marks the 100th anniversary of America's National Parks - sites across the US where nature is protected and preserved. While visiting Yosemite National Park in California with his family, President Barack Obama drew attention to the dangers of climate change.
6-17-16 Melt ponds suggest no Arctic sea-ice record this year
Melt ponds suggest no Arctic sea-ice record this year
Arctic sea-ice extent is unlikely to see a new record this summer, claim polar experts at Reading University, UK. The floes have experienced much reduced winter coverage and go into the warmest months tracking below the all time satellite minimum year of 2012. But the Reading team says current ice extent is actually a poor guide to the scale of the eventual September low point. A better correlation is with the fraction of the floes in May topped with melt ponds - and that metric suggests 2016 will not be a record year. Ponding water accelerates melting by changing the reflectivity, or albedo, of white ice. The darker liquid absorbs more energy from the sun, promoting further melting and a larger fraction of standing water… and so on.
For the first time since 1979, America’s cars, trucks, and airplanes emit more carbon dioxide than its power plants do. That’s largely because plants are using much less coal, and more natural gas, to generate electricity.
6-17-16 Dead Sea drying: A new low-point for Earth
Dead Sea drying: A new low-point for Earth
The Dead Sea, the salty lake located at the lowest point on Earth, is gradually shrinking under the heat of the Middle Eastern sun. For those who live on its shores it's a slow-motion crisis - but finding extra water to sustain the sea will be a huge challenge.
6-16-16 Race to save hidden treasures under threat from climate change
Race to save hidden treasures under threat from climate change
As global warming melts Earth's ice, unique relics from the past are being revealed - only to be exposed to the elements and rot away. Thousands of ancient treasures that have been unearthed by climate change could soon be lost to humankind forever, as they are eroded by weathering and eaten by pests. The crisis is so extreme that some archaeologists are urging colleagues to abandon their current field sites and focus instead on these newly exposed relics before they vanish. Rising seas, raging storms, melting ice and forest fires are revealing artefacts that have much to tell us about our history on Earth – from sunken shipwrecks in Svalbard to the ancient waste dumps filled with bones, shoes and carvings emerging all over the Arctic and further south, including in Scotland.
6-14-16 Was Kyoto climate deal a success? Figures reveal mixed results
Was Kyoto climate deal a success? Figures reveal mixed results
On paper, countries met their commitments under the 1997 Kyoto protocol. But a deeper look at the final numbers gives little cause for optimism. Under the treaty, 38 developed countries signed up to reduce their mean annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2012 by an average of 5 per cent relative to 1990 levels. In practice, this meant their collective emissions had to be lower by 1 gigatonne (Gt) of carbon dioxide per year than 1990 levels. Although overall global emissions rose, the 38 countries collectively reduced their output by 2 GtCO2 per year from 2008 to 2012 compared with 1990 levels. That makes the treaty sound like a success. The US and Canada, however, signed the deal but did not stick with it. If they are excluded, the remaining 36 apparently met their target of a reduction of 0.5 GtCO2 per year, even if the 2.2 Gt cited above are excluded.
6-14-16 Drowned rat first mammal wiped out by human-made climate change
Drowned rat first mammal wiped out by human-made climate change
A rare rodent unique to a Great Barrier Reef island hasn’t been seen since 2009, and has probably been driven to extinction by rising sea levels. Few people have heard of the Bramble Cay melomys, but its name could go down in history as the first mammal species to be wiped out through human-induced climate change. “Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change,” said Luke Leung of the University of Queensland’s school of agriculture, and a member of the team whose survey report was published this week. Leung and his colleagues believe the rodent was the victim of rising sea levels that inundated the island on multiple occasions and probably drowned many of the animals.
6-13-16 El Niño likely to boost CO2 in 2016
El Niño likely to boost CO2 in 2016
A big spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels means the greenhouse gas is about to pass a symbolic threshold. Twenty-sixteen will very likely mark the first time the concentration of CO2, as measured atop Hawaii's famous Mauna Loa volcano, has been above 400 parts per million for the entire year. It says carbon dioxide levels have seen a surge in recent months as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon, which has warmed and dried the tropics. These conditions not only limit the ability of forests to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere but also trigger huge fires around the globe that inject extra carbon into the air. This means the instruments at Mauna Loa, which maintain the benchmark record of CO2, are unlikely to see any month in 2016 where the concentration dips below 400ppm (that is, 400 molecules of CO2 for every one million molecules in the atmosphere). The value has no particular significance for the physics of the climate system; it is just a number. But it has resonance because the last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago - before modern humans existed.
6-10-16 Energy: OPEC agrees to keep on pumping
Energy: OPEC agrees to keep on pumping
“OPEC isn’t going to stop flooding the market with oil anytime soon,” said Matt Egan in CNN.com. At the conclusion of a summit in Vienna last week, the oil cartel decided once again that members won’t limit their output to shore up weak energy prices. With oil prices creeping back toward $50 per barrel, the decision “reflects increased confidence that the cartel’s strategy is working.” OPEC has persisted in its efforts to maintain normal output levels despite rock-bottom oil prices, hoping to defend its market share against producers in the U.S. and elsewhere.
6-10-16 Why do they love electric cars in the Arctic Circle?
Why do they love electric cars in the Arctic Circle?
Tromso, a Norwegian city known as the "Gateway to the Arctic", receives no sunlight for two months of the year. Yet this remote, beautiful, snowy city is the unlikely focus of the global electric car industry, attracting the attention of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla. His company has recently opened a showroom there - its most northerly outpost. Why? Because Norway, it seems, is simply nuts about electric cars. The country is the world leader in electric cars per capita and has just become the fourth country in the world to have 100,000 of them on the roads. Some of its politicians want to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025. "It is such a good feeling to drive a clean car. It means I have a clean conscience and it works out cheaper in the long run."
6-9-16 The ‘super’ El Niño is over, but La Niña looms
The ‘super’ El Niño is over, but La Niña looms
The 2015–2016 El Niño, one of the three strongest on record, is officially dead in the water. More than a year after the weather-disrupting El Niño’s conception, the unusually warm seawater in the eastern Pacific Ocean has dissipated, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center reported June 9. During its reign, this El Niño boosted rainfall California, hastened coral bleaching and helped make 2015 the hottest year on record. And that's why it's was 124 degrees Fahrenheit in India recently where the asphalt melted off the road and people's shoes were getting stuck in it. The agency estimates a 75 percent chance that El Niño’s meteorological sibling, La Niña, will take over in the coming months. La Niña conditions caused by relatively cool equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific can cause droughts in South America, heavy rainfall in Southeast Asia and can intensify Atlantic hurricane seasons.
6-9-16 Volcanic rocks help turn carbon emissions to stone — and fast
Volcanic rocks help turn carbon emissions to stone — and fast
Pumping CO2 into basalt offers advantage over similar methods to combat climate change. A pilot program in Iceland successfully transformed carbon dioxide emissions from a geothermal power plant into solid rock by injecting the greenhouse gas into basaltic lava rocks. A new technique turns climate-warming carbon emissions to stone. In a test program in Iceland, more than 95 percent of the carbon dioxide injected into basaltic lava rocks mineralized into solid rock within two years. This surprisingly fast transformation quarantined the CO2 from the atmosphere and could ultimately help offset society’s greenhouse gas emissions, scientists report in the June 10 Science. “It’s working, it’s feasible and it’s fast enough to be a permanent solution for storing CO2 emissions,” says study coauthor Juerg Matter, a geochemist at the University of Southampton in England. (Webmaster's comment: But it costs money to do so, so no rich capitalist pig executive will ever do it unless forced by law, and the Republicans will make sure that never happens.)
6-9-16 CO2 injected deep underground turns to rock – and stays there
CO2 injected deep underground turns to rock – and stays there
Carbon dioxide rapidly turns into solid carbonates when injected into basalt rocks. Done on a massive scale it could help limit climate change. A small pilot project in Iceland has shown that carbon dioxide can be safely stored in basalt rocks. The finding could help tackle climate change, especially in countries such as India that have lots of basalt rock and little sedimentary rock suitable for CO2 storage. What’s more, the team found that when CO2 dissolved in water is injected into hot basalt deep underground, it rapidly reacts with the rock to form carbonates. It would remain safely stored even if this reaction didn’t happen, says team member Juerg Matter of the University of Southampton in the UK, but turning it to stone is even better. “For permanent storage, this is the ultimate in safety,” Matter says. “Carbonate minerals are really stable.” Injecting CO2 into basalt is slightly more expensive than other storage methods, such as pumping it into depleted oil and gas reservoirs. It also requires a lot of water. But once it turns to stone, there will be no need to keep checking it has stayed put. “You can reduce your monitoring a lot,” says Matter.
6-9-16 Experiment 'turns waste CO2 to stone'
Experiment 'turns waste CO2 to stone'
Scientists think they have found a smart way to constrain carbon dioxide emissions - just turn them to stone. The experiment injected 220 tonnes of carbon dioxide several hundred metres underground. The researchers report an experiment in Iceland where they have pumped CO2 and water underground into volcanic rock. Reactions with the minerals in the deep basalts convert the carbon dioxide to a stable, immobile chalky solid. Even more encouraging, the team writes in Science magazine, is the speed at which this process occurs: on the order of months. "Of our 220 tonnes of injected CO2, 95% was converted to limestone in less than two years," said lead author Juerg Matter from Southampton University, UK. (Webmaster's comment: And just how long will it take before this process is adopted by the rich capitalist pig executives of the CO2 producting industries. We'll be roasted, baked and drowned long before that happens.)
6-7-16 Blowing hot air: Are wind farms really bad for your health?
Blowing hot air: Are wind farms really bad for your health?
Why is Australia spending millions on investigating unfounded claims of "wind turbine syndrome", a probable manifestation of the so-called nocebo effect? Brain Scanner is Simon Oxenham's weekly column that sifts the pseudoscience from the neuroscience. Want to start a dinner-party row? Bringing up wind farms is a foolproof way to divide a room – we either love them or hate them. But while debates in the UK focus on aesthetic appeal and efficiency, an entirely different storm is raging in Australia, where there is fear that wind farms are damaging people’s health. Although more than 25 reviews of the scientific literature have failed to find convincing evidence for harm caused by wind farms, it hasn’t stopped people from blaming them for everything from depression to diabetes. In fact, wind turbines have been blamed for causing or exacerbating at least 247 symptoms, diseases and behaviours, according to a list compiled by Simon Chapman at the University of Sydney, who has been a vocal critic of such claims. In 2012, Chapman described how he had “never encountered anything in the history of disease that is said to cause even a fraction of the list of problems”. And that was back when it named 155 problems, nearly 100 fewer than now. (Webmaster's comment: Wait untill all the twits on social media get ahold of this one!)
6-7-16 Spy satellites reveal early start to Antarctic ice shelf collapse
Spy satellites reveal early start to Antarctic ice shelf collapse
Declassified images suggest ice flow sped up long before previously thought. Declassified photographs snapped in the 1960s by spy satellites suggest that Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf began deteriorating decades before its 2002 collapse. The biggest ice shelf collapse on record was set in motion years earlier than previously thought, new research reveals. Analyzing declassified images from spy satellites, researchers discovered that the downhill flow of ice on Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf was already accelerating as early as the 1960s and ’70s. By the late 1980s, the average ice velocity at the front of the shelf was around 20 percent faster than in the preceding decades, the researchers report in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters. (Webmaster's comment: Global warming has set in motion forces that will be difficult, if not impossible, to counteract.)
6-7-16 Bleaching 'devastates' Chagos Marine Reserve
Bleaching 'devastates' Chagos Marine Reserve
The UK's largest tropical reef has been devastated in the global bleaching event now under way. Up to 85% of the corals in the Chagos Marine Reserve of the British Indian Ocean Territory are estimated to have been damaged or killed in the event. Scientists say the conditions there are worse than in 1998 - the last major bleaching occurrence. The problem is caused by anomalously warm water, which prompts the coral polyps to eject their symbiotic algae. (Webmaster's comment: Heat kills corals, then all the fish that depend on them die next.)
6-6-16 US and India set to join UN climate deal and agree on renewables
US and India set to join UN climate deal and agree on renewables
India's climate move could help clear hurdle for Paris agreement, as Prime Minister Modi meets President Obama over US investment in Indian energy market. It would firmly put the Paris deal on the road to becoming a reality. When he meets with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is likely to announce that his country will ratify the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming. Obama has already said he would use his executive power to make the US ratify the agreement first reached in December and then signed at the UN headquarters in April. This would clear the hurdle of getting nations accounting for at least 55 per cent of global carbon emissions to officially join the agreement before it takes effect. The last roadblock would then be getting enough countries – 55 – to join. So far, 34 countries that make up 49 per cent of emissions have joined. (Webmaster's comment: Don't worry! The Republican congress and Donald Trump will reject it and the CO2 will keep right on going up!)
6-3-16 What’s causing the devastating floods in France and Germany?
What’s causing the devastating floods in France and Germany?
Unusual air currents are behind the torrential rains falling on Europe, but climate change may play a role, too. Paris is flooding. A barrage of heavy rain across France and Germany this week has forced thousands to evacuate their homes and left at least 10 people dead. One region received the equivalent of six weeks of rain in a single day. The river Seine is expected to peak at 6 metres today. A weather phenomenon called an “omega block” is behind the deluge. In this case the air currents known as the jet stream have kinked in such a way to create a large area of low pressure over western Europe. How this fits into the broader trend of a changing climate is still unclear, however. So, has climate change played a role?
6-2-16 Nepal lake: Work begins to drain rising waters near Everest
Nepal lake: Work begins to drain rising waters near Everest
Nepal's army has started work to drain rising waters in a lake near Everest at nearly 5,000m (16,400ft). Scientists say that is vital to partially drain Lake Imja to stop it from bursting its banks with potentially devastating consequences. Imja is one of thousands of lakes in the Himalayas formed by the melting of glaciers. But last year's earthquake may further have destabilised it. Rising temperatures are accelerating glacial meltdown and rapidly filling such lakes, threatening communities and infrastructure downstream.
6-3-16 El Niño’s cooler sibling
El Niño’s cooler sibling
After months of spurring record-high temperatures and wreaking havoc with global weather patterns, one of the most powerful El Niños in history is finally coming to an end. But something almost as disruptive could take its place, reports Smithsonian?.com: La Niña. Whereas El Niño occurs when ocean temperatures in the Pacific become unusually warm, altering the storm track over North America and other parts of the world, its meteorological sister develops with a cooling of the tropical Pacific. Beneath El Niño’s warm surface water, “a deep pool of cool water has been sliding slowly eastward for the past couple of months,” says Rebecca Lindsey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). There’s a 75 percent chance La Niña will arrive by this fall, according to NOAA estimates; if it does, there will likely be a fast transition between the two weather systems. In the U.S. over the past nine months, El Niño has been connected to a balmy winter in the Northeast and soaking rains in the drought-stricken West. A strong La Niña could do the opposite, ushering in a cold and snowy winter for the northern states and unusually dry conditions in the South and the West.
6-1-16 U.S. weather has gotten more pleasant, but will soon worsen
U.S. weather has gotten more pleasant, but will soon worsen
Researchers hope shift will spur action on climate change. Americans have climate change to thank for a decades-long spate of milder winters. Around 80 percent of U.S. residents live in counties where the weather has become more pleasant over the last four decades. That trend won’t last, however: Researchers predict in the April 21 Nature that 88 percent of Americans will experience noticeably worse weather by 2100 than they do today.
6-1-16 Readers share climate change concerns
Readers share climate change concernse
Reader feedback on the April 16, 2016 issue of Science News. Thomas Sumner reported on the progress scientists have made revising forecasts of the far-reaching effects of climate change — from extreme temperatures and sea level rise to severe drought and human conflict — in the decade since the Oscar-winning film’s release. Reader response to the article was overwhelming, with hundreds of online comments. Some people enjoyed the in-depth look at climate change science, while others expressed skepticism about humans’ contribution to climate change and a general distrust of climate scientists. “One of my goals for this article was to highlight that climate change research has itself changed over the last decade,” Sumner says. Scientists are still working to understand how the consequences of atmospheric warming will play out in the coming centuries. But one big message from the last decade of research is that the fundamentals have held up: Natural variability exists, says Sumner, but human activities are largely responsible for the current warming trend.
6-1-16 Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world
Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world
New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, a study says. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, the Renewables Global Status Report found. For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels. Over 8 million people are now working in renewable energy worldwide. For a number of years, the global spend on renewables has been increasing and 2015 saw that arrive at a new peak according to the report.