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Posts Tagged ‘CO2’

Rainforest in Transition: Is the Amazon Transforming before Our Eyes?

January 20, 2012 1 comment

scientificamerican.com

amazon-pasture RAINFOREST TO PASTURE: Deforestation, among other human impacts such as climate change, are having a rainforest-wide impact on the Amazon. Image: Courtesy of Compton Tucker, NASA GSFC

The Amazon rainforest is in flux, thanks to agricultural expansion and climate change. In other words, humans have “become important agents of disturbance in the Amazon Basin,” as an international consortium of scientists wrote in a review of the state of the science on the world’s largest rainforest published in Nature on January 19. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) The dry season is growing longer in areas where humans have been clearing the trees—as has water discharge from Amazon River tributaries in those regions. Multiyear and more frequent severe droughts, like those in 2005 and 2010, are killing trees that humans don’t cut down as well as increasing the risks of more common fires (both man-made and otherwise).

The trees are also growing fast—faster than expected for a “mature” rainforest—according to a network of measurements.

The exact cause or causes of this accelerated growth—which means the Amazon’s 5 million square kilometers of trees are now Read more…

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2010 – 2011: Earth’s most extreme weather since 1816?

June 28, 2011 Comments off

wunderground

Every year extraordinary weather events rock the Earth. Records that have stood centuries are broken. Great floods, droughts, and storms affect millions of people, and truly exceptional weather events unprecedented in human history may occur. But the wild roller-coaster ride of incredible weather events during 2010, in my mind, makes that year the planet’s most extraordinary year for extreme weather since reliable global upper-air data began in the late 1940s. Never in my 30 years as a meteorologist have I witnessed a year like 2010–the astonishing number of weather disasters and unprecedented wild swings in Earth’s atmospheric circulation were like nothing I’ve seen. The pace of incredible extreme weather events in the U.S. over the past few months have kept me so busy that I’ve been unable to write-up a retrospective look at the weather events of 2010. But I’ve finally managed to finish, so fasten Read more…

World’s Oceans In ‘Shocking’ Decline

June 21, 2011 Comments off

bbc

Coral and fishThe oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised.

The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Its report will be formally released later this week.

“The findings are shocking,” said Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.

“We’ve sat in one forum and spoken to Read more…

Record-High CO2 Levels a Bad Sign for Global Climate Goals

June 1, 2011 Comments off

greenbiz

Record-High CO2 Levels a Bad Sign for Global Climate Goals

Record levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions last year threaten our chances of keeping the Earth’s temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius, considered by scientists to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change.

CO2 emissions from energy production in 2010 were the highest in history following a recessionary dip the year before, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a stark announcement Monday. Existing and planned power plants mean the bulk of energy-related CO2 emissions projected for 2020 are already “locked in.”

“This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to Read more…