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

The Pacific Ocean may have entered a new warm phase — and the consequences could be dramatic

Two new studies have just hit about the “warm blob” in the northeast Pacific ocean — a 2 degree C or more temperature anomaly that began in the winter of 2013-2014 in the Gulf of Alaska and later expanded. Scientists have been astonished at the extent and especially the long-lasting nature of the warmth, with one NOAA researcher saying, “when you see something like this that’s totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting.”

The Post’s Sarah Kaplan has covered some of the most immediate consequences of the “blob,” such as weird appearances of strange marine species more typical of warm water, like ocean sunfish, off the Alaskan coast. She also notes that the blob may be linked to the California drought and other odd weather phenomena.

See Also: ‘Warm blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to weird weather across the US

Deforestation is messing with our weather — and our food

New research published in Nature Communications provides insight into how large-scale deforestation could impact global food production by triggering changes in local climate. In the study, researchers from the United States and China zero in on albedo (the amount of the sun’s radiation reflected from Earth’s surface) and evapotranspiration (the transport of water into the atmosphere from soil, vegetation, and other surfaces) as the primary drivers of changes in local temperature. The research is the first global analysis of the effects of forest cover change on local temperature using high-resolution NASA global satellite data. A peer-reviewed paper based on the study, “Local cooling and warming effects of forests based on satellite observations,” hints at how land use policies could have economic implications from forest to farmland.

Plowing prairies for grains: Biofuel crops replace grasslands nationwide

Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands. The study — from UW-Madison graduate student Tyler Lark, geography Professor Holly Gibbs, and postdoctoral researcher Meghan Salmon — is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters and addresses the debate over whether the recent boom in demand for common biofuel crops has led to the carbon-emitting conversion of natural areas. It also reveals loopholes in U.S. policies that may contribute to these unintended consequences.

Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said Sunday.

Last year, 41.8 million tonnes of so-called e-waste—mostly fridges, washing machines and other domestic appliances at the end of their life—was dumped, it said.

That’s the equivalent of 1.15 million heavy trucks, forming a line 23,000 kilometres (14,300 miles) long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s educational and research branch.

Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, it said.

Last month was hottest March worldwide since 1880: US

Rising temperatures across the planet have set more new records, as the US government announced Friday that the globe experienced its hottest month of March since record-keeping began in 1880.

The period of January to March was also the warmest on record, said the monthly report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The latest data, which takes into account global averages across land and sea surfaces, follows announcements from the same US government scientists that 2014 was the hottest year in modern history.

Engineers purify sea and wastewater in 2.5 minutes

A group of Mexican engineers from the Jhostoblak Corporate created technology to recover and purify seawater or wastewater from households, hotels, hospitals, commercial and industrial facilities, regardless of the content of pollutants and microorganisms in just 2.5 minutes.

Climate censorship gains steam in red states

While plenty of people found humor in the recent news that officials in Florida and Wisconsin are censoring state workers’ ability to talk about, much less work on, climate change, other states are not necessarily laughing. In fact, several political and environmental experts told InsideClimate News they could use it as a model to imitate.

 

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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