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Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: February 3, 2013

February 3, 2013

Our Earth

Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: February 3, 2013

The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.


Cities affect temperatures for thousands of miles

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.

Groundwater fate and 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.

USGS-NOAA: Climate change impacts to US coasts threaten public health, safety and economy

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.

Central Valley irrigation intensifies rainfall, storms across the Southwest

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.

Depression-era drainage ditches emerge as sleeping threat to Cape Cod salt marshes

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.

Spring may come earlier to North American forests

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.

In beef production, cow-calf phase contributes most greenhouse gases

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.

Ozone depletion trumps greenhouse gas increase in jet-stream shift

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.

Scientist: Ozone thinning has changed ocean circulation

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.

Satellite image shows eastern US severe weather system

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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