Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region. The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.
John Abraham & Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, November 13, 2013
A new paper published in The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society fills in the gaps in the UK Met Office HadCRUT4 surface temperature data set, and finds that the global surface warming since 1997 has happened more than twice as fast as the HadCRUT4 estimate. This short video abstract summarizes the study's approach and results.
Latest climate and biosphere modelling suggests that the length of time carbon remains in vegetation during the global carbon cycle -- known as 'residence time' -- is the key "uncertainty" in predicting how Earth's terrestrial plant life -- and consequently almost all life -- will respond to higher CO2 levels and global warming, say researchers. Carbon will spend increasingly less time in vegetation as the negative impacts of climate change take their toll through factors such as increased drought levels -- with carbon rapidly rele
One of the key indicators and consequences of global warming is ice loss at the Earth’s poles. As the planet warms, on average and over time, more ice melts every summer. It refreezes in the winter, but again, as temperatures rise, in general we’ll see less ice at any given time as compared to the year before. The situation for the two poles is different. In the north, the Arctic ice floats on the ocean, and in the south, the Antarctic ice is over land and sea. This means that they ways they melt — how quickly, how much, even where specifically in those regions — are different.
A few days ago I watched the documentary Chasing Ice, as part of our local Transition initiative’s film series. What really struck me in the film was the narrator’s four word comment about 1/3 through the film when he was discussing what we can/should do about arctic melting and runaway climate change: “There is no time.” Just that. He meant that there is no time for us to continue to do what we have been doing — the politicking, stalling, denial, endless debate and research.
In 2014, England will follow the example set by Wales and Scotland and introduce a carrier bag charge. If the Welsh and Scottish experiences are anything to go by, the policy will drastically reduce the number of bags in circulation, keeping unnecessary waste out of landfill and removing a little polythene from the diet of our cities' seagulls. Like recycling, re-using carrier bags has become something of an iconic "sustainable behaviour".
Sea ice is thinner and more fragile, fires scorching northern forests and tundra are sending plumes of soot into the atmosphere, and wild weather might persist in the Arctic and beyond, according to the seventh annual Arctic Report Card, presented Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report, which updates interlinking factors rapidly changing the Arctic environment, was presented at the American Geophysical Unions fall meeting in San Francisco.
Today, in 2013, we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change, or we acknowledge that we have a choice and pursue radical emission reductions: No longer is there a non-radical option. Moreover, low-carbon supply technologies cannot deliver the necessary rate of emission reductions -- they need to be complemented with rapid, deep and early reductions in energy consumption -- the rationale for this conference.