The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Even if you live more than 1,000 miles from the nearest large city, it could be affecting your weather. In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study this week in Nature Climate Change.
Simon Fraser University earth scientist Diana Allen, a co-author on a new paper about climate changes’ impacts on the world’s ground water, says climate change may be exacerbating many countries’ experience of water stress. “Increasing food requirements to feed our current world’s growing population and prolonged droughts in many regions of the world are already increasing dependence on groundwater for agriculture,” says Allen. “Climate-change-related stresses on fresh surface water, such as glacier-fed rivers, will likely exacerbate that situation.
According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems. The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, authored by leading scientists and experts, emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change.
gricultural irrigation in California’s Central Valley doubles the amount of water vapor pumped into the atmosphere, ratcheting up rainfall and powerful monsoons across the interior Southwest, according to a new study by UC Irvine scientists. Moisture on the vast farm fields evaporates, is blown over the Sierra Nevada and dumps 15 percent more than average summer rain in numerous other states. Runoff to the Colorado River increases by 28 percent, and the Four Corners region experiences a 56 percent boost in runoff. While the additional water supply can be a good thing, the transport pattern also accelerates the severity of monsoons and other potentially destructive seasonal weather events.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts has a problem. The iconic salt marshes of the famous summer retreat are melting away at the edges, dying back from the most popular recreational areas. The erosion is a consequence of an unexpected synergy between recreational over-fishing and Great Depression-era ditches constructed by Works Progress Administration (WPA) in an effort to control mosquitoes. The cascade of ecological cause and effect is described by Tyler Coverdale and colleagues at Brown University in a paper published online this month in ESA’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Trees in the continental U.S. could send out new spring leaves up to 17 days earlier in the coming century than they did before global temperatures started to rise, according to a new study by Princeton University researchers. These climate-driven changes could lead to changes in the composition of northeastern forests and give a boost to their ability to take up carbon dioxide.
Scientists have long known that cattle produce carbon dioxide and methane throughout their lives, but a new study pinpoints the cow-calf stage as a major contributor of greenhouse gases during beef production. In a new paper for the Journal of Animal Science, scientists estimate greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle during different stages of life. They show that, depending on which production system farmers used, beef production has a carbon footprint ranging from 10.7 to 22.6 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kg of hot carcass weight.
Depletion of Antarctic ozone is a more important factor than increasing greenhouse gases in shifting the Southern Hemisphere jet stream in a southward direction, according to researchers at Penn State. “Previous research suggests that this southward shift in the jet stream has contributed to changes in ocean circulation patterns and precipitation patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, both of which can have important impacts on people’s livelihoods,” said Sukyoung Lee, professor of meteorology.
A hole in the Antarctic ozone layer has changed the way that waters in the southern oceans mix, a situation that has the potential to alter the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and eventually could have an impact on global climate change, a Johns Hopkins earth scientist says. In a paper published in this week’s issue of the journal Science, Darryn W. Waugh and his team show that subtropical intermediate waters in the southern oceans have become “younger” as the upwelling, circumpolar waters have gotten “older” — changes that are consistent with the fact that surface winds have strengthened as the ozone layer has thinned.
A powerful cold front moving from the central United States to the East Coast is wiping out spring-like temperatures and replacing them with winter-time temperatures with powerful storms in between. An image released from NASA using data from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite provides a stunning look at the powerful system that brings a return to winter weather in its wake.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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