Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet


The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

Popular Posts

Tuesday 27 December 2011


A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami (UM) scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 ones in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).

'Very wet rain events are the trigger,' says Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. 'The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth's surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults.'

Wdowinski and a colleague from Florida International University analyzed data from quakes magnitude-6 and above in Taiwan and Haiti and found a strong temporal relationship between the two natural hazards, where large earthquakes occurred within four years after a very wet tropical cyclone season.

Which means that because global overheating will increase the number of tropical cyclones, bringing more heavy rain, we can also expect an increase in the number of significant earthquakes.

Full report in <a href="">ScienceDaily.</a>

Friday 23 December 2011


It is fitting that EStarFuture Corporation, which has such a strong emphasis on R&D, has added to its repertoire by becoming a portal for SmallParts, a division of Amazon, 'the hardware store for researchers and developers', which stocks 200,000 items for R&Ders, including laboratory and scientific supplies, metalworking tools, measurement and inspection tools, raw materials, fasteners, tubing, power-transmission products, etc., etc. A vast range. The hundreds of brands feature a host of top names, such as 3M, De Walt, Rockwell...

As Edison said, invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. In other words R&D needs tools and materials to turn ideas into reality. Small Parts is an outlet to fulfil that need.

Wednesday 21 December 2011


As this post by our CEO shows, the 3475-square-metre property that is EStarFuture's headquarters (shared with the CEO) has been invaded by doves.

It a very fitting juxtaposition: white, glorious doves and a company that wants us to be living at peace with the planet.

Invaded by doves, blessed by doves, surrounded by doves, accompanied by doves. Would that every company had such companions and their daily inspiration!

Monday 12 December 2011


ScienceDaily reports that an unusually hot melting-season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons. Fifty GPS stations planted along the coast to measure the bedrock's natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it, showed that large portions of the island's bedrock responded by rising another 6mm (0.25 of an inch).

The bedrock rises 15mm a year, but the temperature spike in 2010 lifted it more in only five months--as much as 20mm in some places (0.79 of an inch).

Tuesday 6 December 2011


Tuna stocks have declined 60% since 1954, reports Science, and in some areas more than 90%.


How much stupider can we humans get? We are wrecking the only planet we can live on in the entire universe, we have been given that message over and over and over again, we have been told very plainly how we are doing it, we have been told that we must to stop pumping carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere, yet we persist in making things worse, led by prats who we are too stupid to vote out of office because we actually like wrecking our home and don't want to pay a cent to stop it or fix the mess.

So last year we actually increased the amount of CO2 by 5.9%. Nearly six percent more! That is arrant, arrogant insanity. We have added 50% in the last 20 years. The combustion of coal accounts for more than half of the growth.

The New York Times adds its thunder to the insane litany.

An epsilion-semi-moronic, brain-damaged, frontally-lobotomised earthworm could do better. And we think of ourselves as the most intelligent life-form...

We are like the lemmings in the cartoon. Blindly plunging over the cliff, and the 'best' thing any can think of is to behave like happy sky-divers.

Wednesday 30 November 2011


<a href="">Reuters says</a> a report by the UN's World Meteorological Organisation ranks 2011 as one of the warmest years on record.

The WMO says global temperatures in 2011 are at the moment the tenth highest on record--higher than any previous year with a La Nina event, despite the fact that it has a relative cooling influence.

It says that this year the global climate was influenced heavily by the strong La Nina, a natural phenomenon usually linked to extreme weather in Asia-Pacific, South America and Africa, which developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued till May 2011. One of the strongest such events in 60 years, it was closely associated with the drought in east Africa, islands in the central equatorial Pacific and the United States, as well as severe flooding in other parts of the world.

The WMO says the warmest 13 years of average global temperatures have occurred in the 15 years since 1997. That has contributed to extreme weather conditions that increase the intensity of droughts and heavy precipitation across the world. The extent of Arctic sea ice in 2011 was the second lowest on record, and its volume was the lowest.

It says the build-up of greenhouse gases puts the world at a tipping-point of irreversible changes in ecosystems.

Tuesday 22 November 2011


<a href="">The BBC reports</a> on growing concerns that ozone-friendly HFCs are not friendly to climate-change, because the average global warming potential of the present mix of HFCs is about 1600--so a kilogram of HFC has about 1600 times the effect on global warming as a kilogram of carbon dioxide.

The HFCs: A Critical Link in Protecting Climate and the Ozone Layer, a report produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), projected that the global warming potential of HFCs in 2050 could be comparable with present emissions from the global transport sector.

Monday 21 November 2011


The monthly figures prepared by the American government show that October 2011 was much warmer than normal compared with previous Octobers.

On average, land areas across the Northern Hemisphere—where the majority of the Earth's land mass is located—were the warmest on record for the month, at 1.29°C (2.32°F) above the 20th century average. The warmth was especially pronounced across Alaska, Canada, Mongolia, and most of Russia and Europe.

According to the UK Met Office, the United Kingdom marked its warmest October since 2006 and eighth warmest in the last 100 years, at 2.0°C (3.6°F) above the 1971–2000 average.

Norway also reported its eighth warmest October, at 1.8°C (2.6°F) above normal, with records dating back to 1900

The dot map from page linked to above shows much of central and northern Russia with average temperatures more than 5°C (9°F) above average.

We are told we must keep the global increase within 2°C if life on Earth is not to become rather nasty. Our chances of doing that are zilch.

Tuesday 15 November 2011


ScienceDaily reports research showing that increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons.

The study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers provides the first clear evidence of how aerosols--soot, dust and other small particles in the atmosphere--can affect weather and climate; and the findings have important implications for the availability, management and use of water resources in regions across the United States and around the world, say the researchers and other scientists.

The study found that under very dirty conditions, the mean cloud height of deep convective clouds is more than twice the mean height under crystal-clean air.

'The probability of heavy rain is virtually doubled from clean to dirty conditions, while the chance of light rain is reduced by 50 percent,' says Maryland's Li, who is also affiliated with Beijing Normal University.

Monday 14 November 2011


ScienceDaily reports that American energy use went back up in 2010 compared to 2009, when consumption was at a 12-year low. The United States used more fossil fuels in 2010 than in 2009, while renewable electricity remained approximately constant, with an increase in wind power offset by a modest decline in hydroelectricity. There also was a significant increase in biomass consumption, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Though carbon emissions in 2010 were higher than they were in 2009, Americans' carbon footprint has decreased over the past few years. The U.S. emitted 5,632 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010, up from 5,428 in 2009, but down from the all time high of 6,022 in 2007. The decrease is due primarily to reduced energy consumption, aided by a shift from coal to natural gas in the electric sector and adoption of renewable energy resources

Friday 11 November 2011


NOAA's updated Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which measures the direct climate influence of many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, shows a continued steady upward trend, reports ScienceDaily.

The AGGI reached 1.29 in 2010, which means that the combined heating effect of long-lived greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere by human activities has increased 29 percent since 1990. That is up from 1.27% in 2009.

Tuesday 1 November 2011


A US physicist who has been critical of climate change data says his own research has convinced him that global warming is real in this ABC interview.

Professor Richard Muller says that to his amazement his results correlate with previously published results from other teams that used both inaccurate temperature gauges and faulty weather stations. He says his research shows the earth's surface temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius since the 1950s.

Thursday 27 October 2011


The Greenland icesheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures do not hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers can undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be hard to stop.

'We are finding that even if you don't have record-breaking highs, as long as warm temperatures persist you can get record-breaking melting because of positive feedback mechanisms,' said Professor Tedesco, who directs CCNY's Cryospheric Processes Laboratory and also serves on CUNY Graduate Centre doctoral faculty.

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Saturday 22 October 2011


The Antarctic ozone hole, which yawns wide every Southern Hemisphere spring, reached its annual peak on September 12, stretching 26.03 million square kilometres (10.05 million square miles), the ninth largest on record. Above the South Pole, the ozone hole reached its deepest point of the season on October 9 when total ozone readings dropped to 102 Dobson units, tied for the 10th lowest in the 26-year record, reports ScienceDaily.


Global warming is real says a major study released on October the 20th. Despite issues raised by climate-change sCeptics, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study found reliable evidence of a rise in the average global land temperature of approximately 1°C since the mid-1950s, reports ScienceDaily.

Click here for more data from the Berkley Earth study.

Tuesday 18 October 2011


Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute are part of a team that has calculated the long-term outlook for rising sea-levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using climate models, reports ScienceDaily.

In the pessimistic scenario, emissions keep increasing, and the sea rises 1.1 metres by the year 2100 and 5.5 metres by 2500.

Even in the most optimistic scenario, which requires extremely dramatic climate-change goals, major technological advances and strong international co-operation to stop emitting greenhouse gases and polluting the atmosphere, the sea would rise 60cm by 2100 and 1.8 metres by 2500.

The two more realistic scenarios, based on stablising emissions and pollution, show a sea-level rise of about 75cm by the year 2100 and 2 metres by 2500.

Monday 3 October 2011


The loss of ozone over the Arctic this year was so severe that for the first time it could be called an 'ozone hole' like the Antarctic one. The study, published in Nature, is reported on the the BBC's website.

About 20km above the ground 80% of the ozone was lost.

This is the report in ScienceDaily.

Friday 30 September 2011


This research reported in Science blames human activity for the negative change in the South Asian summer monsoon.

Abstract: 'Observations show that South Asia underwent a widespread summertime drying during the second half of the 20th century, but it is unclear whether this trend was due to natural variations or human activities. We used a series of climate-model experiments to investigate the South Asian monsoon response to natural and anthropogenic forcings. We find that the observed precipitation decrease can be attributed mainly to human-influenced aerosol emissions. The drying is a robust outcome of a slowdown of the tropical meridional overturning circulation, which compensates for the aerosol-induced energy imbalance between the northern and southern hemispheres. These results provide compelling evidence of the prominent role of aerosols in shaping regional climate change over South Asia.'

Monday 26 September 2011


Scientists and observers are concerned that climate-change will ultimately turn even Everest, the world's highest peak, into a rock-climb. One climber said that he was able to scale it without crampons there was so much bare rock.

Full story here.>/a>

Tuesday 20 September 2011


BusinessGreen reports on figures released by British Gas which show that owners of electric cars who charge them from their own installations of solar cells slash the payback time for the installation to less than five years.

The figures are based on a 2.52kWp system at the home of actor and TV presenter Robert Llewellyn, who uses the panels to charge his Nissan Leaf.


These stories, at TG Daily and LiveScience report a study that explains why the inexorable rise in the average global temperature is proceeding in fits and starts. The deep oceans store excess heat temporarily, for as long as a decade.

Satellites show that the discrepancy between heat coming in and being reflected back into space is growing, so the excess heat must have been going somewhere. Now we know where.

Monday 12 September 2011


A report in the Guardian newspaper shows that the extent of Arctic sea-ice is the smallest it has been since satellite observations began in 1972, and is almost certainly the smallest it has been for at least 8000 years.

If current trends continue, a largely ice-free Arctic in the summer months is likely within 30 years. That is up to 40 years earlier than anticipated in the last assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Friday 2 September 2011


Science magazine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) has published a study of the global production of the four largest agricultural commodities over the last 30 years: maize, wheat, soybean and rice. Together they account for about 75% of the calories consumed by humans, directly or indirectly.

The study found that maize and wheat have been negatively affected by the rise in global temperatures; rice and soybean have not been affected. Maize production declined 3.8%, wheat 5.5%. The authors conclude that 'climate-changes are already exerting a considerable drag on yield growth', which translates into substantial rises in prices.

Full study here.


ScienceDaily reports that a new study of dust-like particles of soot in the air--now emerging as the second most important, but previously overlooked, factor in global warming--provides fresh evidence that reducing soot emissions from diesel engines and other sources could slow melting of sea ice in the Arctic faster and more economically than any other quick fix, a scientist reported in Denver, Colorado on August 31, 2011.

In a presentation at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Mark Z. Jacobson, Ph.D., cited concerns that continued melting of sea ice above the Arctic Circle will be a tipping-point for Earth's climate, a point of no return. That's because the ice, which reflects sunlight and heat back into space, would give way to darker water that absorbs heat and exacerbates warming. And there is no known way to make the sea refreeze in the short term.

Jacobson's calculations indicate that controlling soot could reduce warming above parts of the Arctic Circle by almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit within 15 years. That would virtually erase all of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last 100 years.

'No other measure could have such an immediate effect,' said Jacobson, who is with Stanford University. 'Soot emissions are second only to carbon-dioxide in promoting global warming, but its effects have been underestimated in previous climate models. Consequently, soot's effect on climate change has not been adequately addressed in national and international global warming legislation. Soot emissions account for about 17 percent of global warming, more than greenhouse gases like methane. Soot's contribution, however, could be reduced by 90 percent in 5-10 years with aggressive national and international policies.'

Thursday 1 September 2011


Using computational science researchers at the universities of Kentucky and Louisville have found a simple new catalyst that splits water in sunlight, thus opening another carbon-free door to the hydrogen age.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

Friday 26 August 2011


If global warming continues as expected, it is estimated that almost a third of all flora and fauna species worldwide could become extinct. Scientists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum, BiK-F) and the SENCKENBERG Gesellschaft für Naturkunde discovered that the proportion of actual biodiversity loss should be revised upwards: by 2080, more than 80% of genetic diversity within species may disappear in certain groups of organisms. The study is the first world-wide to quantify the loss of biological diversity on the basis of genetic diversity.

Full story at ScienceDaily.

Saturday 20 August 2011


A key glacier in Greenland is melting faster than previously expected, according to findings by a team of academics that included Dr Edward Hanna from University of Sheffield's Deaprtment of Geography, Dr Sebastian Mernild from the Los Alamos Laboratory, USA, and Professor Niels Tvis Knudsen from the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The team´s new findings present crucial insight into the effects of climate change.

The researchers found that Greenland's longest-observed glacier, Mittivakkat Glacier, made two consecutive record losses in mass observations for 2010 and 2011.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

Saturday 13 August 2011


A research-team at INRS have now built on their pioneering achievement--the first high-performance iron-based catalyst for fuel-cells. They have developed a new and improved iron-based catalyst that generates even more electric power. Previously, only platinum-based catalysts could produce similar performance.

The team, led by Professor Jean-Pol Dodelet, bolsters the prospect of iron-based catalysts replacing platinum ones. Platinum is rare and very costly; iron is the second most abundant metal on earth and is inexpensive.

'Thanks to this breakthrough we are nearing the day when we will be able to drive electric-electric hybrid vehicles--i.e. battery and fuel-cell powered--which can potentially free us from our current dependence on oil to power our cars,' said Professor Dodelet.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

In the EStarCar the need for the so-called 'electric-electric hybrid' was recognised many years ago--right from the start. That is why it has multiple sources of power, centred on a power-train made up of a fuel-cell, a lithium-polymer battery array and an ultracapacitor array. It also has solar cells in the roof. Its sources of power, both primary (such as the fuel-cell), and secondary, such as the ultracapacitors and regenerative braking, at present total more than a dozen.

'Electric-electric hybrid'! What a silly term! Why not keep things simple and call it an electric car? Otherwise every time another source of power is added we will need to add another '-electric' to the string. Under that silly regime the EStarCar would have to be called 'an electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric-electric hybrid'. NO. It is an electric car. An advanced electric car, yes, but an electric car.

Tuesday 2 August 2011


An analysis of prehistoric 'Heinrich events' that happened many thousands of years ago, creating mass discharges of icebergs into the North Atlantic Ocean, make it clear that very small amounts of subsurface warming of water can trigger a rapid collapse of ice-shelves. The findings provide historical evidence that warming of water by 3-4 degrees was enough to trigger these huge, episodic discharges of ice from the Laurentide Ice Sheet in what is now Canada, and raise serious concerns about Antarctic ice sheets.

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Friday 29 July 2011


After a 10,000-year absence, wildfires have returned to the Arctic tundra, and a University of Florida study shows that their impact could extend far beyond the areas blackened by flames, reports ScienceDaily.

Thursday 21 July 2011


June 2011 was the 316th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.

Full report at NOAA/NCDC.

That's 316 in the eye for the head-in-the-sand-junk-science-it-ain't-happening brigade. And still counting...

Wednesday 20 July 2011


An analysis of records left by the Last Interglacial led by the University of Arizona has found that most of the 8-metre rise in sea-levels was due to the melting of ice-sheets, not thermal expansion, and that average ocean temperatures then were only 0.7 degrees Celsius above what they are now.

'This means that even small amounts of warming may have committed us to more ice sheet melting than we previously thought. The temperature during that time of high sea levels wasn't that much warmer than it is today,' said Nicholas McKay, a doctoral student at the UA's department of geosciences and the paper's lead author.

McKay pointed out that even if ocean levels rose to similar heights as during the Last Interglacial, they would do so at a rate of up to a metre per century.

'Even though the oceans are absorbing a good deal of the total global warming, the atmosphere is warming faster than the oceans. Moreover, ocean warming is lagging behind the warming of the atmosphere. The melting of large polar ice sheets lags even farther behind. As a result, even if we stopped greenhouse gas emissions right now, the Earth would keep warming, the oceans would keep warming, the ice sheets would keep shrinking, and sea levels would keep rising for a long time.'

Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the UA's Institute of the Environment and a professor with joint appointments in the department of geosciences and atmospheric sciences, said: 'This study marks the strongest case yet made that humans--by warming the atmosphere and oceans--are pushing the Earth's climate toward the threshold where we will likely be committed to four to six or even more metres of sea level rise in coming centuries.'

Overpeck, who is McKay's doctoral advisor and a co-author of the study, said: 'Unless we dramatically curb global warming, we are in for centuries of sea level rise at a rate of up to three feet per century, with the bulk of the water coming from the melting of the great polar ice sheets--both the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.'

Full story at ScienceDaily.

Saturday 16 July 2011


Using research into the ancients behaviour of El Niño, scientists at Oxford and Leeds Universities predict that the dramatic climate swings behind both last year's Pakistan flooding and this year's Queensland floods in Australia are likely to continue as the world gets warmer.

They have discovered that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the sloshing of the warmest waters on the planet from the West Pacific towards the East Pacific every 2-7 years, continued during Earth's last great warm period, the Pliocene

The Pliocene (which lasted from 5 to 3 million years ago) had carbon dioxide levels similar to the present day, with global mean temperatures about 2-3ºC higher, so it is a useful test-ground for climate research. Ancient temperatures are derived from analysis of the chemical composition of the shells of small organisms, known as foraminifera, in ocean-floor sediments.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

Monday 11 July 2011


World-wide spending in 2010 on renewable energy was up 32% on 2009, with wind-farms in China and small-scale solar panels on rooftops in Europe largely responsible for the increase, according to the latest annual report on renewable energy investment trends issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Last year, investors pumped a record $211 billion into renewables, 32% more than the $160 billion invested in 2009, and a 540% rise since 2004.

For the first time, developing economies overtook developed ones in 'financial new investment'--i.e., spending on utility-scale renewable energy projects and provision of equity capital for renewable energy companies. $72 billion was invested in developing countries versus $70 billion in developed economies. That is huge contrast with 2004, when financial new investments in developing countries were about one quarter of those in developed countries.

Full story on ScienceDaily.

Friday 1 July 2011


Globally, 2010 was one of the two warmest years on record, according to the 2010 State of the Climate report, which NOAA has just released. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society, was compiled by 368 scientists from 45 countries. It provides a detailed, yearly update on global climate indicators, notable climate events and other climate information from every continent.

'We're continuing to closely track these indicators because it is quite clear that the climate of the past cannot be assumed to represent the climate of the future. These indicators are vital for understanding and making reliable projections of future climate,' said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Tuesday 21 June 2011


The 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'.

Full story on BBC News, and also on Reuters.

More in the New Zealand Herald.

Saturday 11 June 2011


Across the globe, rising temperatures and more intense droughts, floods and storms are forcing a rethink in how to grow food, from breeding hardier crop varieties and changing planting times to complete genetic overhauls of plants, in a desperate bid to beat the effects of what we have done to the planet and sustain enough food-production for a growing population.

Full story on NewsDaily.

Tuesday 7 June 2011


The rate of release of carbon into the atmosphere today is nearly 10 times as fast as during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 55.9 million years ago, the best analog we have for current global warming, according to an international team of geologists. Rate matters, and this current rapid change may not allow sufficient time for the biological environment to adjust. Full story at ScienceDaily. Second story on the same subject also at ScienceDaily.

The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists. The Stanford team concluded that many tropical regions in Africa, Asia and South America could see 'the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat' in the next two decades. Middle latitudes of Europe, China and North America--including the United States--are likely to undergo extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years, the researchers found. Full story at ScienceDaily.

Friday 20 May 2011


The extremes of weather in the United States are signs of a new normal, says a group of scientists and government planners.

'It's a new normal and I really do think that global-weirding is the best way to describe what we're seeing,' says climate-scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

Full story at

Thursday 12 May 2011


Technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are unlikely to offer an economically feasible way to slow human-driven climate change for several decades, according to a new report. The American Physical Society has released a new assessment -- Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 with Chemicals -- to better inform the scientific community on the technical aspects of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Robert Socolow, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, who served as a co-chair of the DAC study, said, "We humans should not kid ourselves that we can pour all the carbon dioxide we wish into the atmosphere right now and pull it out later at little cost."

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Wednesday 11 May 2011


New research shows that coccoliths, an important part of the marine environment, dissolve when seawater acidifies, which means that acidification of the world's oceans could have major consequences for the marine and global environments. Experiments show that coccoliths fall apart at the pH levels expected in 2100. Full story at ScienceDaily.

Thursday 5 May 2011

A much reduced covering of snow, shorter winter season and thawing tundra: the effects of climate change in the Arctic are already here, and are taking place significantly faster than previously thought--the conclusions of new research report on the Arctic, presented in Copenhagen this week. 'The changes are dramatic, not coincidental; the trends are unequivocal and deviate from the norm.' See ScienceDaily.

On top of that, a new study is projected a rise of up to 1.6 meters in global sea-levels by 2100, due to accelerating climate-change in the Arctic and the melting of Greenland's icecap.

Friday 1 April 2011


The founder of New Zealand's Climate Change Research Institute, Professor Martin Manning, who also worked on the IPCC's fifth report, says the way the climate is changing is beyond their worst-case scenarios.

Click here for the full article.

Professor Manning says we need a 75% cut in carbon emissions. The technology is there to achieve that, but not the political will.

Thursday 31 March 2011


Although the final data is not in, it seems that the maximum winter extent of sea-ice in the Arctic is tied with 2006 as the lowest ever measured by satellites. That also means that the last seven years have seen the seven lowest measurements since records began in 1979. Full report on ScienceDaily.

Wednesday 30 March 2011


A new NASA-funded study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of the forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010.

'The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation--a measure of its health--decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010,' said Liang Xu, the study's lead author from Boston University.

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Saturday 26 March 2011


A rapid, large-scale change in the type of trees is accelerating in Russia's boreal forest, which spans its cold northern regions, and is the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world. The change is the result of globally and regionally warming climate. That in turn is creating an even warmer climate in the region, according to a new study reported in

New research reported in ScienceDaily work shows that carbon-dioxide rapidly affects the structure of the atmosphere, causing quick changes precipitation, as well as many other aspects of Earth's climate, well before the greenhouse gas noticeably affects temperature.

‘The direct effects of carbon-dioxide on precipitation take place quickly,’ said a lead researcher. ‘If we could cut carbon-dioxide concentrations now, we would see precipitation increase within the year, but it would take many decades for the climate to cool.’

Tuesday 22 March 2011


ScienceDaily outlines a paper published in
Science magazine that reveals a breakthrough in using ammonia borane to store hydrogen that will make it a far more attractive fuel for vehiclesby researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory describes a simple scheme that regenerates ammonia borane from a hydrogen-depleted 'spent fuel' form (called polyborazylene) back into a usable fuel via reactions in a single container. That 'one pot' method represents a significant step toward the practical use of hydrogen in vehicles by potentially reducing the expense and complexity of the recycling stage. Regeneration takes place in a sealed pressure-vessel in off-vehicle sites using hydrazine and liquid ammonia at 40 degrees Celsius. The researchers envision vehicles with interchangeable hydrogen storage tanks containing ammonia borane that are used then sent back to a factory for recharging.

Tuesday 15 March 2011


Unusually low temperatures in the Arctic's ozone layer have initiated a massive depletion of ozone there recently, and the Arctic seems to be heading for a record loss. At the relevant altitudes about half the ozone that above the Arctic has been destroyed in recent weeks, which may also affect regions further south. Scientists expect further depletion, because the conditions that caused the unusally rapid depletion are continuing. Full report on ScienceDaily.

The predicted drop in the temperature of the stratosphere as the troposphere warms due to climate-change was obviously right on the button.

Thursday 10 March 2011


The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating rate, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study, the longest study of changes in polar ice sheet mass. It suggests that they are overtaking the loss from mountain glaciers and ice-caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea-level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.

In 2006, a year in which comparable results for the loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps are available from a separate study, the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets lost a total average of 475 gigatonnes a year, enough to raise global sea-level an average of 1.3 millimeters a year

The pace at which the polar ice sheets are losing mass was found to be accelerating rapidly. Each year over the course of the study, the two ice-sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they had the year before. In comparison, the 2006 study of mountain glaciers and ice caps estimated their loss at 402 gigatonnes a year on average, with an acceleration rate a third that of the ice-sheets.

'That ice-sheets will dominate future sea-level rise is not surprising -- they hold a lot more ice than mountain glaciers,' said lead author Eric Rignot, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine. 'What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice-sheets is already happening. If present trends continue, sea-level is likely to be significantly higher than levels projected by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.'

The authors conclude that if the rate at which the ice-sheets are now melting continues, the world's oceans would be 15 centimetres higher by 2050. When that is added to the predicted contribution of 8cms from glacial ice caps and 9cms from thermal-expansion, the total could reach 32cms.

Full report in ScienceDaily.

Wednesday 2 March 2011


A report in ScienceDaily links the warming of the planet with the extreme winter weather that has hit the United States in the last two years.

What goes round comes round: the United States is responsible for a huge amount of the total global carbon-emissions, and more per head than any other nation.

Thursday 17 February 2011


New research by the University of Washington (UW), reported on ScienceDaily, shows that the world is committed to a warmer climate because of emissions that have occurred up to now, regardless of what we do to mitigate the effects.

There would continue to be warming even if the most stringent policy proposals were adopted, because there still would be some emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The new research shows that even if all emissions were stopped now, temperatures would remain higher than levels before the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century because the greenhouse gases already emitted will probably persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

In fact, temperatures may continue to escalate even if all cars, heating and cooling systems and other sources of greenhouse gases were suddenly eliminated, said Kyle Armour, a UW doctoral student in physics, because tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols, which tend to counteract the effect of greenhouse warming by reflecting sunlight back into space, would last only a matter of weeks once emissions stopped, but the greenhouse gases would continue.

'The aerosols would wash out quickly and then we would see an abrupt rise in temperatures over several decades,' he said.

Wednesday 16 February 2011


Research led by scientists at the University of Arizona, reported in ScienceDaily, says rising sea-levels caused by climate-change could threaten an average of 9 percent of the land in 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100. The Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts will be particularly hard-hit. Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va. could lose more than 10 percent. The research is the first analysis of vulnerability to sea-level rise that includes every U.S. coastal city in the lower 48 with a population of 50,000 or more. The latest scientific projections indicate that by 2100 the sea level will rise about 1 metre, or more.

Friday 4 February 2011


The 2010 drought in the Amazon may have been even more devastating for its rainforests than the unusual 2005 drought, which had been billed as a 1-in-100-year event, report ScienceDaily and NewsDaily.

Analyses of rainfall across 5.3 million square kilometres of Amazonia during the 2010 dry season, recently published in Science, shows that the drought was more widespread and severe than the one in 2005. The UK-Brazilian team also calculated that the carbon impact of the 2010 drought may exceed the 5 billion tonnes of CO2 released after the 2005 event, because severe droughts kill trees (to put that in perspective the United States emitted 5.4 billion tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuel use in 2009).

Saturday 22 January 2011


2010 set new records for the melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in coming decades, reports ScienceDaily.

'This melt season was exceptional, with melting in some areas up to 50 days longer than average,' said Dr. Marco Tedesco, director of the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory at The City College of New York (CCNY -- CUNY), who is leading a project studying variables that affect the melting of the ice-sheet.

'Melting in 2010 started exceptionally early at the end of April and ended quite late in mid- September.'

The study, with different aspects sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the National Science Foundation and NASA, examined surface temperature anomalies over the surface of the ice-sheet, as well as estimates of surface melting from satellite data, ground observations and models.

In 2010, summer temperatures up to 3C above the average were combined with reduced snowfall.

Saturday 15 January 2011


How many times does the human race have to be told the bad news before we call it bad news and stop being bad?

Full report on ScienceDaily.

Tuesday 11 January 2011


This ScienceDaily report on new research indicates that the impact of rising CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years, a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet by the year 3000, and an eventual rise in the global sea-level of at least four metres--even if emissions stopped at their present levels.

Thanks, all you petrol-heads!