Climate Change News

NASA launches carbon satellite after 2009 failure

WHEC Rochester – July 7, 2014

A rocket carrying a NASA satellite lit up the pre-dawn skies Wednesday on a mission to track atmospheric carbon dioxide, the chief culprit behind global warming. The Delta 2 rocket blasted off from California at 2:56 a.m. and released the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite in low-Earth orbit 56 minutes later, bringing relief to mission officials who lost a similar spacecraft five years ago. Like the original, OCO-2 was designed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from 438 miles above the Earth's surface. Its polar orbit will allow it to cover about 80 percent of the globe. For full story, click here.

Sea Level Rise Cuts Across Political Divide in Norfolk, Virginia

By Christina DeConcini and C. Forbes Tompkins – World Resources Institute – July 2, 2014

While the climate change debate continues in some quarters in Washington, the impact of sea-level rise cut across political divides at the “Rising to the Challenge” conference in Norfolk, Virginia, earlier this week. Members of Congress and Virginia mayors from both political parties joined military and state and local officials to discuss the challenges sea level rise presents to the Hampton Roads area, as well as how to promote federal, state and local action. For full blog post, click here.

Can Coral Save Our Oceans?

Ocean News & Technology – July 2, 2014

Coral reefs are home to a rich and diverse ecosystem, providing a habitat for a wide range of marine animals. But the increasing acidification of ocean water is jeopardizing the calcified foundations of these reefs, endangering the survival of thousands upon thousands of resident species. For full story, click here.

The Disaster We've Wrought on the World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable

By Alex Renton – Newsweek – July 2, 2014

In the great halls of La Boqueria, Barcelona’s central market, tourists, foodies and cooks gather every day to marvel at the fresh food, like pilgrims at the site of a miracle. The chief shrines are the fish counters, where thousands of sea creatures making up dozens of species gleam pink and gray on mounds of ice. But to many ocean scientists this is not a display of the ocean’s bounty but a museum—by the end of this century, many of these animals may be history due to man’s reckless abuse of the planet. As we keep dumping greenhouse gases into the air, the oceans keep sucking them up, making the waters deadly to their inhabitants. For full article, click here.

Research raises new concerns about climate impact of natural gas

By Gayathri Vaidyanathan – E & E Publishing, LLC – June 26, 2014

Natural gas fields globally may be leaking enough methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to make the fuel as polluting as coal for the climate over the next few decades, according to a pair of studies published last week. An even worse finding for the United States in terms of greenhouse gases is that some of its oil and gas fields are emitting more methane than the industry does, on average, in the rest of the world, the research suggests. For full story, click here.

Money Men Tally Cost of Climate Change

By Jonathan Fahey ABC News June 24, 2014

Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience. The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for reductions in emissions blamed for heating the planet. For full story, click here.

Climate Change is Altering Migration Habits of Emperor Penguins

By Juan Pablo Saavedra Maine News June 24, 2014

After tracking emperor penguins, scientists have revealed that climate change has adversely affected the ability of species to return to the same spot each year to breed. The scientists were able to track the penguin's every move by studying their trail feces they left behind while migrating. Michelle LaRue, a research fellow at the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, was the first to notice changing habits of emperor penguins when she found an abandoned breeding ground. She said emperor penguins are the only species in the world surviving on the very white ice. For full story, click here.

A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow

By  W. R. BerghuijsR. A. Woods, & M. Hrachowitz – Nature Climate Change – May 18, 2014 

In a warming climate, precipitation is less likely to occur as snowfall. A shift from a snow- towards a rain-dominated regime is currently assumed not to influence the mean streamflow significantly Contradicting the current paradigm, we argue that mean streamflow is likely to reduce for catchments that experience significant reductions in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow. With more than one-sixth of the Earth’s population depending on meltwater for their water supply and ecosystems that can be sensitive to streamflow alterations, the socio-economic consequences of a reduction in streamflow can be substantial. By applying the Budyko water balance framework to catchments located throughout the contiguous United States we demonstrate that a higher fraction of precipitation falling as snow is associated with higher mean streamflow, compared to catchments with marginal or no snowfall. Furthermore, we show that the fraction of each year’s precipitation falling as snowfall has a significant influence on the annual streamflow within individual catchments. This study is limited to introducing these observations; process-based understanding at the catchment scale is not yet provided. Given the importance of streamflow for society, further studies are required to respond to the consequences of a temperature-induced precipitation shift from snow to rain. For full article, click here.