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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #28B

Posted on 13 July 2013 by John Hartz

  • Acidic oceans of the future show extinction
  • Dangerous global warming could be reversed
  • Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming
  • How water scarcity could jack up Europe’s power prices
  • Insect discovery sheds light on climate change
  • Japan braces for exceptionally hot summer
  • Pumping water underground could trigger major earthquake
  • Recessions make climate change costlier
  • The global outlook for renewable power in one graph
  • Wildfires may have bigger role in global warming

Acidic oceans of the future show extinction

Ocean acidification may create an impact similar to extinction on marine ecosystems, according to a study published Monday 

The study, exploring naturally acidic waters near volcanic vents in the Mediterranean Ocean off Italy, suggests that ocean acidification as a result of human emissions can degrade entire ecosystems – not just individual species, as past studies have shown.

The result, scientists say, is a homogenized marine community dominated by fewer plants and animals.  

Acidic oceans of the future show extinction, The Daily Climate, July 9, 2013 


Dangerous global warming could be reversed

Global warming could be reversed using a combination of burning trees and crops for energy, and capturing and storing carbon dioxide underground (CCS), according to an analysis by scientists. But experts cautioned that trying such an approach after temperatures had passed dangerous levels could be problematic, as climate change reduced the number of trees available for "bioenergy".

The bioenergy and CCS method was the most cost-effective way of tackling carbon emissions, said the team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, publishing their research in the journal Environmental Research Letters on Thursday. Such an approach could offset and even reverse other emissions from fossil fuels, they claimed.

Dangerous global warming could be reversed, say scientistsby Natalie Starkey, The Guardian, July 11, 2013


Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming

The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist.

James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming by Nafeez Ahmed, EarthInsight, The Guardian, July 10, 2013


How water scarcity could jack up Europe's power prices

Many European countries could see a decrease in electricity generating capacity and an increase in electricity prices thanks to climate change. That’s the overall findingfrom a new study out of the Austria-based Institute for International Applied Systems Analysis, which looked at how higher water temperatures and reduced river flows could affect hydropower plants, as well as the nuclear and fossil fuel power plants that draw off much of that water for cooling.

As of now, 91 percent of Europe’s electricity is produced from those three sources, and nuclear and fossil fuel plants are the continents single biggest consumer of water — accounting for 43 percent of all surface water withdrawal. Given that reliance, it’s an open question how well the power industry can continue to function in climate changes’ new realities.

How Water Scarcity From Climate Change Could Jack Up Europe's Power Prices, Energy Education Foundation, July 13, 2013


Insect discovery sheds light on climate change

Biologists have discovered a new, extinct family of insects that will help scientists better understand how some animals responded to global climate change and the evolution of communities.

The researchers have named the new family the Eorpidae, after the Eocene Epoch, the age when these insects lived some 50 million years ago.

The fossils were found in British Columbia and Washington state, most prominently near Cache Creek.

Insect discovery sheds light on climate change, The Times of India, July 13, 2013


Japan braces for exceptionally hot summer

Widespread flooding in Canada and searing temperatures in the US: Weather patterns appear to be out of kilter. A similar development is taking place in Japan, with thousands being hospitalized due to scorching heat.

Japan braces for exceptionally hot summer by Julian Ryall, Deutsche Welle (DW), July 12, 2013


Pumping water underground could trigger major earthquake

Pumping water underground at geothermal power plants can lead to dangerous earthquakes even in regions not prone to tremors, according to scientists. They say that quake risk should be factored into decisions about where to site geothermal plants and other drilling rigs where water is pumped underground – for example in shale gas fracking.

Prof Emily Brodsky, who led a study of earthquakes at a geothermal power plant in California, said: "For scientists to make themselves useful in this field we need to be able to tell operators how many gallons of water they can pump into the ground in a particular location and how many earthquakes that will produce."

Pumping water underground could trigger major earthquake, say scientists by Natalie Starkey, The Guardian, July 10. 2013


Recessions make climate change costlier

There are thus two main take-home points from this study. First, the economic recession is no excuse for delaying action to address climate change. On the contrary, we should be doing more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because slow economic growth means we'll have less wealth to cope with the climate-induced damages in the future.

Second, if the PAGE economic model is correct, we're currently badly underestimating the costs of our greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, we're not doing nearly as much to decarbonize the economy and address climate change as we should be, and if we don't remedy the situation, we'll pay the price.

Recessions make climate change costlier, Hope family research finds by Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Consensus-the 97%, The Guardian, July 11, 2013 


The global outlook for renewable power in one graph

Energy produced from hydro, wind, solar, and other renewables sources is expected to exceed that from natural gas and double that from nuclear sources by 2016 – becoming the second most important energy source behind coal.

The global outlook for renewable power in one graph by David Wogan, Scientific American, July 10, 2013


Wildfires may have bigger role in global warming

Wildfires such as the Yarnell Hill blaze in Arizona may be warming Earth’s atmosphere far more than previously thought, according to a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Researchers at the Department of Energy facility normally chase fires throughout the western U.S., to measure their atmospheric effects. But in 2011, they took advantage of a conflagration that came to their doorstep – the Las Conchas fire that burned more than 150,000 acres and briefly caused the evacuation of the sprawling facility in the New Mexico desert.

Wildfires may have bigger role in global warming, study says by Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2013

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Comments 1 to 1:

  1. This dropped in my Inbox this morning:

    Huge iceberg breaks away from the Antarctic

    Quote:

    For the Western Antarctic ice shelf, an even faster flow of the Pine Island glacier would presumably have serious consequences. “The Western Antarctic land ice is on land which is deeper than sea level. Its “bed” tends towards the land. The danger therefore exists that these large ice masses will become unstable and will start to slide,” says Angelika Humbert.

    If the entire West Antarctic ice shield were to flow into the Ocean, this would lead to a global rise in sea level of around 3.3 metres, inundating many coastal towns and cities.

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