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.)

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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).