Climate Change News
By Tom Henry – The Blade – May 25, 2014
Thirty-six years after catching flak for one of the most bold and dire predictions about global warming, former Ohio State University glaciologist John H. Mercer is being hailed as a visionary. Mr. Mercer was hardly the first to sound an alarm about greenhouse gases: Scientists were well on their way by the late 1950s toward connecting mankind’s burning of fossil fuels to Earth’s changing climate. But Mr. Mercer made a groundbreaking contribution with a peer-reviewed research paper about West Antarctica’s instability he got published on Jan. 26, 1978, in the scientific journal Nature. In it, he warned the world that West Antarctica’s massive ice sheet — one of Earth’s largest and most important — would eventually melt from beneath, become dislodged, and cause global sea levels to rise 5 meters, the equivalent of nearly 16.5 feet. For full story, click here.
By Jenny Staltovich – Miami Herald – May 24, 2014
For the past three decades, University of Miami geology professor Harold Wanless has tracked the tides as they crept higher, watched oysters head for drier ground and repeatedly warned that the ocean is swelling in ways that could one day put coastal cities like Miami under water. His predictions — punctuated with dire conclusions like “this is going to test the very fibers of civilization” — often drew skepticism or, worse, silence. But earlier this month, two new studies reported findings that, if they hold up, would confirm what he and other scientists have long suspected: Global warming has triggered an unstoppable melting of polar ice in Antarctica that could raise sea level by 10 feet or more over the next several centuries. For full story, click here.
By Brian Bender – The Boston Globe – May 25, 2014
Its famed research vessels and scientists are arrayed across the globe, installing weather instruments off the Cape, tracking water currents in the Labrador Sea, monitoring monsoons in India, and measuring melting ice in Antarctica. In these and other ways, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change. But now the nonprofit institution, facing a severe budget crunch as federal research funding is slashed, has a very different sort of venture in the offing: helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of the very fossil fuels believed to be damaging the environment. For full story, click here.
By Rowan Jacobsen – MotherJones – May/June 2014
The New Poster Child for climate change had his coming-out party in June 2012, when Petey the puffin chick first went live into thousands of homes and schools all over the world. The "Puffin Cam" capturing baby Petey's every chirp had been set up on Maine's Seal Island by Stephen Kress, "The Puffin Man," who founded the Audubon Society's Project Puffin in 1973. Puffins, whose orange bills and furrowed eyes make them look like penguins dressed as sad clowns, used to nest on many islands off the Maine coast, but 300 years of hunting for their meat, eggs, and feathers nearly wiped them out. Project Puffin transplanted young puffins from Newfoundland to several islands in Maine, and after years of effort the colonies were reestablished and the project became one of Audubon's great success stories. By 2013, about 1,000 puffin pairs were nesting in Maine. But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. For full story, click here.