European wars, famine, and plagues driven by changing climate

Alllie Wilkinson The Thirty Years War was especially deadly. Economic chaos, famine, disease, and war may all be attributed to climate change, according to a recent study. Through advances in paleoclimatology, researchers used temperature data and climate-driven economic variables to simulate the climate that prevailed during golden and dark ages in Europe and the Northern … Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged?

‘Outraged’ Glaciologists Say Mappers Misrepresented Greenland Ice Melt Sara Reardon CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM—So much for claims that climate scientists deliberately misrepresent their data: glaciologists are broadly and loudly panning the latest version of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, released last week, which shows Greenland having lost 15% of its ice cover in the … Continue reading

Air Quality Worsened by Paved Surfaces

Widespread Urban Development Alters Weather Patterns New research focusing on the Houston area suggests that widespread urban development alters weather patterns in a way that can make it easier for pollutants to accumulate during warm summer weather instead of being blown out to sea. The international study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research … Continue reading

Current carbon emissions dwarf those of past climate event

Kyle Niemeyer One way climate scientists try to understand the consequences of increased atmospheric carbon is to study the relationship between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature in previous periods of global warming. The most similar event to current and predicted warming took place almost 56 million years ago, during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). During … Continue reading

King Crabs Invade Antarctica

It’s like a scene out of a sci-fi movie — thousands, possibly millions, of king crabs are marching through icy, deep-sea waters and up the Antarctic slope. "They are coming from the deep, somewhere between 6,000 to 9,000 feet down," said James McClintock, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham Endowed Professor of Polar and Marine … Continue reading

Ozone loss made tropics rainier

Hole over Antarctica changes weather patterns all the way to the equator By Alexandra Witze From high above the South Pole, Earth’s ozone hole can affect rainfall as far away as the tropics, scientists have found. Thinning ozone causes weather patterns to shift southward across the Southern Hemisphere, bringing more rain to a band that … Continue reading

Brown Recluse Spider

Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes. When provoked, the spider, commonly known as the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), injects powerful venom … Continue reading

European Commission Aims to Phase Gasoline- and Diesel-Powered Cars Out of Cities by 2050

The body’s new white paper outlines a complete transportation strategy that is one of the world’s most ambitious efforts to cut oil use and greenhouse gas emissions By Saqib Rahim and ClimateWire Will there be traffic jams like this one on the Champs-�lys�es by midcentury? Image: MaryPortier via Flickr An E.U. body has outlined a … Continue reading

Contrails warm the world more than aviation emissions

by Michael Marshall The innocuous white vapour trails that criss-cross the sky may not be as harmless as they look. In fact, they might have contributed to more global warming so far than all aircraft greenhouse gas emissions put together. High-altitude clouds like cirrus warm the planet by trapping heat. Contrail "cirrus" does the same … Continue reading

Switching biofuels could do a double-whammy on climate change

By John Timmer Miscanthus sinensis Wikimedia Commons Biofuel crops have the potential to offset the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, increasing energy security and decreasing the risk of climate change. However, the choice of crops and target fuel can radically change their impact, as issues like fertilization and ease of processing come into play. But, … Continue reading

Blame human emissions for British floods

by Catherine Brahic  Al Gore famously had his knuckles rapped for implying that human-induced climate change had caused hurricane Katrina. The scientific party line then was "No single weather event can be attributed to climate change". It’s a line that has held strong but is beginning to fray. This week, a study has shown that … Continue reading

Rising seas threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100: study

Rising seas spurred by climate change could threaten 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, a new study says, with Miami, New Orleans and Virginia Beach among those most severely affected. Rising seas threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100: study A map showing where increases in sea level could affect the southern and Gulf coasts of … Continue reading

Climate change keenly felt in Alaska’s national parks

By Yereth Rosen ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of … Continue reading

Plants Moved Downhill, Not Up, in Warming World

In a paper published January 20 in the journal Science, a University of California, Davis, researcher and his co-authors challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures. Between 1930 and 2000, instead of colonizing higher elevations to maintain a constant temperature, many California plant species instead moved downhill … Continue reading

Mountain Glacier Melt to Contribute 12 Centimeters to World Sea-Level Increases by 2100

Melt off from small mountain glaciers and ice caps will contribute about 12 centimetres to world sea-level increases by 2100, according to UBC research published this week in Nature Geoscience. The largest contributors to projected global sea-level increases are glaciers in Arctic Canada, Alaska and landmass bound glaciers in the Antarctic. Glaciers in the European … Continue reading

Glaciers continue to shrink, ice sheets at risk in the long term

By John Timmer Christian Schoof Over the weekend, Nature Geoscience released two papers that provide some perspective on the changes that are likely to take place as our planet continues to warm. One took advantage of an expanded catalog of glacier measurements to track how they would respond to the changes by the end of … Continue reading

What Carbon Cycle? College Students Lack Scientific Literacy, Study Finds

Most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle — an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change, according to research published in the January issue of BioScience. The study, whose authors include several current and former researchers from Michigan State University, calls … Continue reading

Climate Shifts Changing New Weather "Normals"

As the new decade opens up, researchers are gathering data that will redefine weather pattern averages for the nation By Joey Peters and Climatewire  NEW NORMAL: In the past decade, January average minimum temperatures rose nationally by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of the nation warming except for a cooling in Florida and nearby areas. … Continue reading

Is Global Warming Making Tibet Dustier?

by Eli Kintisch SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Sediments taken from the bottom of a lake on the Tibetan Plateau suggest that changes in wind patterns caused by global warming may be making the area dustier. That trend could accelerate the melting of crucial glaciers in the Himalayas and affect already imperiled water supplies. Jessica Conroy, a graduate … Continue reading

Why dire climate warnings boost skepticism

Undermining belief in a fair world may mean that climate warnings go unheeded. By Matt Kaplan The use of dire predictions to encourage action on climate change may be backfiring and increasing doubt that greenhouse gases from human activities are causing global warming. Although scientific evidence that anthropogenic activities are behind global warming continues to … Continue reading

Arctic ice growth stalls as Europe shivers

By John Timmer This week, freezing temperatures and lots of snow wreacked havoc across Europe, stranding many holiday travelers. But on the other side of the Atlantic, some equally unusual weather has kept parts of Hudson Bay from freezing over, causing the growth in Arctic sea ice to come to a halt. To find out … Continue reading

Fox News on climate: skip the science, report the "controversy"

By John Timmer Accusations of biased reporting against Fox News are common enough that they’re no longer, well, news. And examples of poor reporting on the science of climate change are painfully common. But it’s apparently the season of the leak, and a progressive media organization has obtained a leaked e-mail from Bill Sammon, a … Continue reading

Many Coastal Wetlands Likely to Disappear This Century

Many coastal wetlands worldwide — including several on the U.S. Atlantic coast — may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise projections for the 21st century. The marshes of Plum Island Estuary are among those predicted by scientists to submerge during the next century under conservative projections of sea-level rise. … Continue reading

China’s Coal Addiction

As the U.N. climate summit continues in Cancún, the Guardian‘s environment correspondent, Jonathan Watts, looks at one problem not likely to improve soon — the Middle Kingdom’s ravenous appetite for cheap coal. BY JONATHAN WATTS View photos of China’s pollution. Coal is compressed history, buried death. Geologists estimate the seams of anthracite and bituminous coal … Continue reading

The Key to Cancún

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change November 29, 2010 Wall Street Journal As the United Nations climate talks open today in Cancún, here’s my advice for Washington: Stop focusing on China. If fact, I’d go a step … Continue reading

Sea level-ice sheet dynamics may help stabilize Antarctica’s ice

Ethan Gutmann George Nijs To say that there is uncertainty in future sea level rise is an understatement. If you combine the contribution from Greenland, Antarctica, and mid-latitude glaciers with the expected thermal expansion of the ocean, estimates of total sea level rise by the year 2100 range from 0.2 to 2 meters. Two meters … Continue reading

Met Office says 2010 ‘among hottest on record’

Roger Harrabin The latest temperature statistics are a sign of man-made global warming, the Met Office says This year is heading to be the hottest or second hottest on record, according to the Met Office. It says the past 12 months are the warmest recorded by Nasa, and are second in the UK data set, … Continue reading

China bucks recession trend to keep emissions high

Michael Marshall  While rich countries cut back on their emissions during the recent recession, China and India sailed through with no pause in their output of greenhouse gases. It’s further evidence that developing economies are having ever-greater influence on global temperatures. Based on data compiled by the Global Carbon Project, carbon dioxide emissions worldwide dropped … Continue reading

Sipping Margaritas While the Climate Burns

Why the upcoming U.N. climate summit at Cancún could be just as disappointing as Copenhagen. BILL MCKIBBEN Copenhagen, at least in winter, has a grim air — I remember the Ferris wheel at Tivoli Garden kept spinning throughout last December’s U.N. climate summit, but the windchill factor seemed discouraging. In a season for hunkering down, … Continue reading

Sudden surge in carbon sequestration helped end ancient climate change

John Timmer The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a period of dramatic climate change that occurred about 55 million years ago, has been the target of intensive studies of late. That’s because it may provide clues as to what could happen as the concentrations of carbon dioxide in our own atmosphere continue to rise. The PETM saw … Continue reading

Now we are not so sure

Fred Pearce  The more scientists know about global warming, the less able they are to predict the outcomes Mexican standoff: climate talks in Cancun have been undermined by the global recession and a loss of confidence in scientists’ forecasts Cancun in Mexico is one of the least environmentally friendly places on Earth—built out of sandy … Continue reading

Tropical forests thrived in ancient global warming

Michael Marshall  South America’s tropical forests flourished when temperatures skyrocketed 56 million years ago. Could this mean that climate change will spare the Amazon? Carlos Jaramillo of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama, and colleagues excavated pollen and other plant remains from three sites in Colombia and Venezuela. Their samples span the Palaeocene-Eocene … Continue reading

The Heat Was On: Atmospheric CO2 Triggered a Global Warming Event 40 Million Years Ago

In a new study scientists used "paleothermometers" to gauge CO2 and temperatures that prevailed during a long-lived primordial global warming event, and found CO2 to be the culprit By Mike Orcutt Atmospheric CO2 was the primary driver of a 400,000-year global warming event, known as the middle Eocene climatic optimum (MECO), according to a new … Continue reading

Climate change in the Eocene: how’d all this carbon get here?

By John Timmer Although the burning of fossil fuels has been humanity’s first attempt at changing the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, it’s not the first time the planet has experienced something of the sort. About 50 million years ago, the Earth saw a dramatic change in the atmosphere’s carbon isotopes, which implies … Continue reading

Asian coral die-off could be worst ever; Is climate change to blame?

By John Platt A massive coral bleaching event in Southeast Asian reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans is the worst coral die-off since 1998, and possibly the worst science has ever observed, says Andrew Baird of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. Bleaching occurs when environmental factors … Continue reading

The Arctic Shifts to a New Climate Pattern in Which "Normal" Becomes Obsolete

According to an international team of climate scientists, warming continues to shrink the snow and ice cover that defines the Arctic, signaling the region’s shift By Lauren Morello and ClimateWire  NEW NORMAL: Scientists say a return to previous Arctic conditions is unlikely Image: U.S. Geological Survey Warming continues to shrink the snow and ice cover … Continue reading

New research confirms global surface winds are slowing, blames land use changes

By Mike Orcutt Are surface winds around the world really slowing down? That’s the suggestion of a new study in Nature Geoscience. The authors built on previous studies indicating such a trend by analyzing surface wind data from 822 wind stations in Europe, Asia and North America. The study concludes that the widespread "atmospheric stilling" … Continue reading

Slowed population growth could lower emissions by 29 percent

By Casey Johnston MERIC To meet goals of reduced emissions, we may need to look no further than our own populace, according to a study published in PNAS. By analyzing a few different data sets and projections for population and emissions growth, a group of researchers found that a concerted effort to slow population growth … Continue reading

Climate changes, and there goes the neighborhood

Ranges of rattlers and voles likely to shift drastically with warming By Susan Milius PAST IS PROLOGUEShifts in vole species in California and Oregon have inspired researchers to reconstruct where voles lived during past climate variations to get an idea of how animals might cope, or not, with predicted warming.Jerry Kirkhart/Wikimedia Commons PITTSBURGH ― Rattlesnakes … Continue reading

Caribbean Coral Die-Off Could Be Worst Ever

Credit: NOAA Hot times. The extent of warming in the Caribbean is more devastating in 2010 than in 2005, previously the worst year for bleaching there. by Eli Kintisch Scientists studying Caribbean reefs say that 2010 may be the worst year ever for coral death there. Abnormally warm water since June appears to have dealt … Continue reading

A warming world could leave cities flattened

by Kate Ravilious EARTH is starting to crumble under the strain of climate change. Ice keeps mount Rainer stable (Image: Kevin P. Casey/Getty) Over the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods (see "Early signs"). The collapses are triggered … Continue reading

What Caused the Massive Flooding in Pakistan?

A ClimateWire investigation into the origins of the flood disaster uncovered evidence that points to a calamity caused by man, the cumulative effect of erratic weather forecast by climate change models, massive deforestation, and lax attention to infrastructure. By Nathanial Gronewold and Climatewire Louisville flooding. Image: NWS, Courtesy NOWSHERA, Pakistan — "Allah was angry … Continue reading

Will birth control solve climate change?

By David Biello An additional 150 people join the ranks of humanity every minute, a pace that could lead our numbers to reach 9 billion by 2050. Changing that peak population number alone could save at least 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year by 2050, according to a new … Continue reading

Does a Weaker Sun Mean a Warmer Earth?

Changes in the sun’s output of various wavelengths of light have been warming the planet recently, contradicting scientists’ computer models of the solar cycle By David Biello SOLAR SURPRISE: In the most recent solar cycle, the sun put out more visible light than anticipated by scientists, exacerbating global warming. Image: Courtesy of NASA / Solar … Continue reading

Unexpected solar irradiance could impact climate

By Yun Xie Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Satellite NASA Throughout a solar cycle (roughly 11 years), there are variations in the level of irradiation from the Sun, which has an impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the temperatures of both the atmosphere and Earth’s surface. During the last cycle, spectrometers … Continue reading

There will be blood – watch exclusive of 10:10 campaign’s ‘No Pressure’ film

Here’s a highly explosive short film, written by Richard Curtis, from our friends at the 10:10 climate change campaign  Gillian Anderson to increase awareness of climate change via 10:10 campaign starring in a mini-movie "No Pressure" directed by Richard Curtis. Photograph: 10:10 Our friends at the 10:10 climate change campaign have given us the scoop … Continue reading

Think or swim: Can we hold back the oceans?

Not even massive geoengineering projects will stop the seas’ relentless rise. Maybe it’s time we found somewhere to put all that excess water By Stephen Battersby  FOR some, the end may come slowly, as the seas creep a little higher each year. That was the fate of the ancient cities of Herakleion and Eastern Canopus, … Continue reading

The future looks weedy

By Tim De Chant nerdegutt There’s an old saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And for many species, climate change is set to make things a whole lot tougher. The question on ecologists’ minds is, which species will be able to get going? Plants are of particular concern, given that … Continue reading

Strange summer melt leaves Arctic ice near record low

By John Timmer At a rough level, the ice cap in the Arctic acts a bit like a metronome. During the sunless months of the winter, the ice grows, reaching a peak in early March. As the sun returns, it melts, bottoming out in early September. But a closer look shows that there are both … Continue reading

Home of "Ice Giants" thaws, shows pre-Viking hunts

Home of "Ice Giants" thaws, shows pre-Viking hunts Norwegian archaeologist Elling Utvik Wammer picks up a stick believed to be about 1,500 years old and used by ancestors of the Vikings to hunt reindeer in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway September 9, 2010. REUTERS/Alister Doyle By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent JUVFONNA, Norway (Reuters) – Climate … Continue reading