Climate Change

formerly “Climate Science” this has been updated in recognition of the fact that ALL of our articles, events, etc. involve climate sciience.  ”Climate change” is intended to suggest changing elements of the climate: e.g., shifts in global oceanic and atmospheric circulation and ensuing changes to temperature, precipitation, groundwater levels, saltwater intrusion.

Good News for once: Global Biomass Gains

Changes in vegetation biomass can significantly alter the Earth’s carbon budget and are thus an important factor in regulating the consequences of anthropogenic climate change.  Global estimates of above ground vegetation biomass, however, have been few in number.  Recent advances in remote sensing—such as data from satellite passive microwave observations—now make it it possible to derive detailed estimates of biomass across the entire globe. Liu et al. (2015) utilized this latest technology to estimate global above ground…

How Much CO2 Can the Amazon Absorb?

Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would be much higher today if not for the world’s forests, which generally act as “carbon sinks,” absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions which have been rising steadily since the start of the industrial revolution.  A persistent question for climate change scientists is how much carbon dioxide can forests absorb? A recent analysis of the dynamics of the Amazon ecosystem, one of the largest forests in the world, suggests that we may be approaching the limit of how much…

Drought in the American West: Is the Worst Yet to Come?

Drought powerfully impacts ecological and agricultural systems, and in many areas is expected to increase in severity as a result of climate change.  According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), parts of California and Texas currently suffer from “exceptional drought.” Are these droughts temporary abnormalities or are they the new normal in western parts of the U.S.? A new study by Benjamin Cook and colleagues aims to shed light on this question.

The authors used 17 different general

Study Tests Pacific Salmon Tolerance for Warming Temperatures

Salmon are an iconic Pacific Ocean species upon which millions of people’s livelihoods depend. Their epic migrations link marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, transporting nutrients from the oceans to hundreds of miles upstream. Salmon enhance the productivity of rivers and terrestrial ecosystems, but populations have been over-fished and cut off from their habitat. A new study by Munoz, et al. suggests that climate change further threatens remaining stocks.

The authors investigated the ability

Holocene Arctic Climate Variability: Past, Present and Future

Ray Bradley is Director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, and a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences.  Ray is most famous for his efforts to reconstruct the temperature record over the last 1000 years.  In this talk he looks at the issue of recent change and future change in the context of the past.  His talk reviews how Milankovitch cycles explain a long and gradual decline in Arctic temperatures from the early Holocene, when orbital forcings were responsible for summertime temperatures approximately 2 degrees warmer th

Sensitivity-based Modeling to Better Estimate Future Extinction

The effects of climate change on biodiversity can be quantified by assessing vulnerability of species to changing climatic conditions. Such assessments usually include three elements: assessment of sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and potential exposure of individual species to climate change (Jarzyna et al. 2013, Foden et al. 2013). While sensitivity and adaptive capacity are generally determined by traits intrinsic to the species—physiological tolerance, behavioral traits, genetic diversity, dispersal abilities, or high reproductive rates—exposure is governed by the degree of climate change…

Geoengineering Impacts on the Hydrological Cycle

Jon Egill Kristjansson reviews his work on aerosols, their influence on cloud formation, and how the level at which those clouds forms determines the radiative effect on earth’s climate system. He reviews four approaches to Radiative Management (RM), ie., that part of geoengineering which relates to atmospheric manipulation of albedo to combat global warming, and shares model projections on how that impacts what matters more to human survival than temperature increase, ie., the availability of water through impacts to the hydrological cycle.

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