The massive Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California is an example of how drought can amplify wildfires in a warming, drying West. The fire, which now ranks as the 14th-largest wildfire in state history, has been racing through parched stands of oak and pine trees, and threatening some of the region’s iconic giant sequoia trees.
By making 360-degree panoramic underwater vision available to anyone who has a computer, scientists hope to alert many more people to the plight of the world’s coral reefs. Scientists have hit on a way to harness 360-degree panoramas from Google’s underwater street-view format in order to let anyone with access to a computer see reefs in real time.
British research into storm cycles has found evidence suggesting reduced atmospheric pollution may have had the unexpected side-effect of increasing the ferocity and frequency of hurricanesScientists from Britain’s Meteorological Office have fingered a new suspect in their attempt to solve the mystery of tropical storms.
Several years ago, Tony Seba, an energy expert from Stanford University, published a book called Solar Trillions, predicting how solar technologies would redefine the world’s energy markets and create an investment opportunity worth tens of trillions of dollars. Most people looked at him, he says, as if he had three heads.
North Dakota, now the second-largest oil-producing state in the US, is neglecting the gas that also comes from its wells, says a report, wasting money and adding to greenhouse gas emissions.
Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate. Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe.
Scientists in the UK say the steady advance in the arrival of spring each year may mean that some butterfly species which develop early will simply be unable to adapt any further. British researchers are using insect specimens kept in museums for a century and a quarter to learn more about climate change and the steady move towards the earlier annual arrival of spring.
The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives.
If you think the much-hyped Atlantic hurricane season has turned into a bit of a snoozefest, forecasters warn that it's not time to nap just yet. Yes, the season was forecast to be an active one, but so far, with the mid-September peak rapidly approaching, not a single hurricane has formed. The five named storms petered out uneventfully. However, forecasters believe the season will still turn out to be busy, and urge the millions of coastal residents not to get complacent.
A new study calls into question the widely-publicized hypothesis that rapid warming of the Arctic climate, including the precipitous loss of summer sea ice cover, is altering weather patterns throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Specifically, the study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters, challenges the findings of previous studies that showed a slowdown in the speed and changes in the shape of the jet stream.
What was once a coast-to-coast drought now divides the U.S. into two distinct pieces, pitting those that have water in the Midwest vs. the have-nots in the West. One of those regions is in for a long, hot, dry, and potentially smoky summer. (Hint: It's not the Midwest.)
Krill, the foundation of the Antarctic marine food web, could be in trouble as the region’s seas continue to warm – but scientists think the risks are manageable. They may not look very appetising, but they are what sustains much of the marine life in the southern ocean.
Scientists may have zeroed in on the cause of a mysterious 18-month drop in global average sea level that occurred between 2010 and 2011, pointing to events that occurred on the world’s smallest continent: Australia. New research shows that during those two years, flooding rains in Australia, which resulted from a rare combination of factors, took huge quantities of water out of the oceans without returning it, like a library user with mounting late fees.
Rachel Maddow reports on the increased emergency level at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan where hundreds of tons of radioactive water is leaking into the sea.
With 51 large wildfires currently burning across the U.S., the nation’s firefighters have been placed on a war footing — known as “National Preparedness Level 5.” It's the first time that step has been taken since 2008, according to Wildfire Today, and it reflects the combination of high fire activity, the large amounts of firefighting resources already committed to wildfires.
The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures.
Scary stories of kidnappings and explosions lead our news feeds, but it's the good news that helps break down the myth of our own powerlessness. "If it bleeds, it leads." Ever hear that maxim of journalism? If you want readers, go with the scary, gruesome story—that's what gets hearts pumping and grabs attention. But what grabs our attention can also scare the heck out of us and shut us down.
It's taken 60 years, but solar is tantalizingly close to beating fossil fuels on price. The prices of solar cells are falling rapidly, and will keep doing so for the next few years. The big questions revolve around the rate of the price declines. And the panels themselves aren't the only place where cost reductions will be found. America has very high "soft costs" -- installation, permitting, marketing etc. Whittling down these expenses will help, too.
It’s going to take more than slashing methane emissions and releases of soot into the air to curb a warming climate. That’s the conclusion of a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory study released this week, saying methane and soot emissions need to be cut in addition to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
The arguments for and against fracking seem clear-cut. But it’s not that simple, and there is mounting evidence that exploiting shale gas may be neither necessary nor sensible. As the international debate intensifies over the arguments for and against exploiting shale gas, the largest British nature conservation charity has objected to proposals to drill at two sites in Britain.
European climate scientists say the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere mean it is virtually inevitable that far more parts of the world will experience more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years. Stand by for extreme weather.
A cold, dry spell that lasted hundreds of years may have driven the collapse of Eastern Mediterranean civilizations in the 13th century BC, researchers in France said Wednesday. In the Late Bronze Age, powerful kingdoms spanned lands that are now Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories, but they collapsed suddenly around 1200 BC.
American business and industry is coming under closer scrutiny from shareholders concerned to see how prepared companies are to respond to the financial pressures of a warming world. Shareholders in the US are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres, a US organisation that promotes more sustainable business practices.
When I give these climate talks, by the end people are typically agitated and full of questions. “What technology is going to fix this?” “How are we ever get people to agree on a solution?” “I’m just one person, what could I possibly do that would make an impact?”
I recently had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Guy McPherson about a number of topics and subsequently began reading his book Walking Away From Empire, Guy’s personal journey of leaving a tenured professorship to radically alter his living arrangements in preparation for the collapse of industrial civilization.
Peoples who have lived in the same place for countless generations – the Amazon, perhaps, or the Arctic – possess invaluable knowledge about living with climate change, and it is evolving all the time. Climate change often seems to be seen as the preserve of scientists and environmental journalists. But what about the accumulated wisdom of traditional and indigenous peoples?
We sometimes forget that one consequence of climate change is likely to be new ways for diseases to spread. But the natural world offers stark reminders. Some like it hot: more protozoans can infect the monarch butterfly as climates become milder; nematode parasites get two chances to infect caribou and reindeer as a result of Arctic warming; and coral pathogens become more active with warmer seas.
Most ice we see melts quickly, from ice cubes melting into a soda to icicles disappearing on a sunny winter day. But in Antarctica, ice can stick around for hundreds of thousands of years. A newly revealed cylinder of ancient ice could change the way we think about climate change. A study published August 14 in the scientific journal Nature looked at 30,000 years of ice in more detail than has ever before been possible.
Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.
Early this week, when Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken toured an area of southeast Colorado hit hardest by the drought of 2012, he was greeted with a vast expanse of parched farmland that had turned into a moonscape with almost no vegetation. However, a welcome series of deluges that washed over much of the drought-stricken Great Plains this summer, drawing a stark contrast between drought conditions today across the U.S. and the devastating drought of 2012.
Dutch scientists have thought up a new use for all the carbon dioxide that pours from the chimneys of fossil fuel-burning power stations: harvest it for even more electricity. They could, they argue, pump the carbon dioxide through water or other liquids and produce a flow of electrons and therefore more electricity.
British scientists say estimates of the amount of iron dissolving into seawater around some of the world’s coasts may be drastically wrong. They say there is no standard, one-size-fits-all way to measure how much iron enters the water in different parts of the globe. Instead, they say, the amounts may vary by up to ten thousand times between one area and another, with profound implications for the impact of the iron on the oceanic carbon cycle.
Devastating drought in the Southwest, unprecedented wildfire activity, scorching heat waves and other extreme weather are often cited as signs of a changing climate. But what if those extreme weather events themselves cause more extreme weather events, fueling climate change?
Greenland’s icesheet is melting, at the surface and at its base. Don’t worry: it isn’t global warming that is thawing the base of the Greenland ice cap. It is just the normal warmth of an active rocky planet.
Extremes in precipitation was the weather highlight of July, with last month ranking as the fifth-wettest July on record nationwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly weather summary report released Tuesday. July was also 30th-warmest such month on record in the contiguous U.S. with the temperature 0.8°F above the 20th century average.
It’s official: global warming could get worse – almost unimaginably worse. Conditions on planet Earth mean that in theory, at least, there could be a runaway greenhouse effect. There is already a runaway greenhouse effect on the planet Venus
Global warming has accelerated during the past three decades, which have each been unusually warm. In fact, the most recent decade from 2001-2010 was the warmest since instrumental records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
A recently published study by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in groundwater near natural gas fracking sites in Texas' Barnett Shale.
The world’s coral reefs are under threat. Some scientists say doses of cloud brightening could provide a solution to the problem. Here’s a new twist to the geoengineer’s dilemma: just change the climate locally – over the bit you want to protect – and leave the rest of the planet alone.
An Alaskan village's quest to move to higher ground and avoid being drowned by climate change has sputtered to a halt, The Guardian has learned. Newtok, on the Bering Sea coast, is sinking and the highest point in the village – the school which sits perched atop 20-foot pilings - could be underwater by 2017. But the village's relocation effort broke down this summer because of an internal political conflict and a freeze on government funds.
Trees may be getting more efficient in the way they manage water. They could be exploiting the higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, growing foliage from a lower uptake of groundwater. If so, then the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect – predicted by theorists and observed in laboratory experiments – could be real.