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Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: February 24, 2013

February 24, 2013

Our Earth

Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: February 24, 2013

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


Dust Bowl Days: Historic U.S. Drought Projected To Persist For Months, Worsened By Thin Western Snowpack

Time is running out to avert a third summer of drought in much of the High Plains, West and Southwest, federal officials warned Thursday.

In First Big Speech, Kerry Sounds Like A Climate Hawk With The Courage To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

John Kerry has delivered his first big foreign policy speech as Secretary of State (here) — and he shows no sign whatsoever of backing down from the moral urgency that has made him a true climate champion.

See Also: Rupert Murdoch Tweets Opposition To Keystone XL: It Brings ‘Lots of Heavy, Dirty Oil Across Country’

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

EPA is working with many other organizations to better understand the causes and effects of climate change. With help from these partners, EPA has compiled a set of 26 indicators tracking signs of climate change. Most of these indicators focus on the United States, but some include global trends to provide context or a basis for comparison. These indicators represent a selected set of key climate change measurements, and are not an exhaustive group of all climate change indicators. EPA’s indicators are based on peer-reviewed data from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations. EPA selected these indicators based on the quality of the data and other criteria.


Key to cleaner environment may be right beneath our feet

While many people recognize that clean water and air are signs of a healthy ecosystem, most do not realize that a critical part of the environment is right beneath their feet, according to a Penn State hydrologist. The ground plays an important role in maintaining a clean environment by serving as a natural water filtration and purification system, said Henry Lin, professor of hydropedology and soil hydrology.

Going negative: Stanford scientists explore new technologies that remove atmospheric CO2

But reducing CO2 emissions may not be enough to curb global warming, according to scientists at Stanford University. The solution, they say, could also require developing carbon-negative technologies that remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Their findings are summarized in a report by Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP).

Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases

The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is shown in a new study conducted by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, among others. According to the study, the melting of sea ice in the Arctic has a tangible impact on the balance of greenhouse gases in this region, both in terms of uptake and release. The researchers have studied the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane both in the tundra and in the Arctic Ocean.

Caves point to thawing of Siberia

Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could see permanently frozen ground thaw over a large area of Siberia, threatening release of carbon from soils, and damage to natural and human environments. A thaw in Siberia’s permafrost (ground frozen throughout the year) could release over 1000 giga-tonnes of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, potentially enhancing global warming.

Climate change effect on plant communities is buffered by large herbivores, new research suggests

Can existing ecological communities persist intact as temperatures rise? This is a question of increasing relevance in the field of climate change and is the focus of a new study to be published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London on 20 February. The study suggests that the answer to this question may have as much to do with the biological interactions that shape communities as with the effects of climate change itself.

New projections of ‘uneven’ global sea-level rise

Sophisticated computer modelling has shown how sea-level rise over the coming century could affect some regions far more than others. The model shows that parts of the Pacific will see the highest rates of rise while some polar regions will actually experience falls in relative sea levels due to the ways sea, land and ice interact globally.

Geoengineering by coalition

Solar geoengineering is a proposed approach to reduce the effects of climate change due to greenhouse gasses by deflecting some of the sun’s incoming radiation. This type of proposed solution carries with it a number of uncertainties,

Penn geologists quantify, characterize sediment carried by Mississippi flood to Louisiana’s wetlands

The spring 2011 flood on the Mississippi was among the largest floods ever, the river swelling over its banks and wreaking destruction in the surrounding areas. But a University of Pennsylvania-led study also shows that the floods reaped environmental benefits — transporting and laying down new sediment in portions of the Delta — that may help maintain the area’s wetlands.


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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